24 January 2014

Movie Review: Love Free or Die

This is Gene Robinson, and the documentary Love Free or Die, is the telling of the story of troubles in the Anglican communion through the biography of Gene Robinson. In 2003, Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the (Episcopal) diocese of New Hampshire, USA. In 2008 when Rowan Williams convened the Lambeth Conference for all the bishops in the Anglican Communion, Robinson was not invited. Robinson went anyways and held dialogs with those bishops at the conference who would listen.

Robinson's consecration sparked a crisis for the Anglican communion when conservative American bishops withdrew from their dioceses and attempted to establish a non-local all-USA diocese of conservative churches. They attempted to take their Anglican church property with them and learned, as did Gregorio Aglipay in November of 1906, that hierarchical churches, such as Roman Catholicism and even more loosely hierarchical churches such as Anglicanism, are the title owners of their church property and the existence of a particular human bishop only holds a beneficial, possessory interest even if legal title to property resides in the name of a particular bishop. In other words, you can leave but the church stays, father.

It should be noted that in 2006 Anglican Americans elected a woman to be primate, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United State, Katharine Jefferts Schori. She was the first woman to be elected to such a post, further infuriating conservative Anglicans.

Subsequent to the Lambeth conference in 2008, American Anglicans installed Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian as a suffragan bishop of the diocese of Los Angeles. This led to outrage by the conservative African bishops. Americans went a step further to adopt a policy permitting the consecration of openly gay bishops and permitting the blessing of same-sex unions where recognized by law.

This is a great documentary that tells this story with narrative focus. It's worth watching as a matter of understanding and history how those with strong religious beliefs deal with their brethren with regard to sexuality.

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