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Australian archbisop wants liberal US clerics expelled over gay clerics, gay marriages

October 2, 2003

SYDNEY — The Anglican archbisop of Sydney on Thursday called for the church to expel liberal North Americans who allowed homosexual clerics and same-sex marriages.

Archbishop Peter Jensen, an outspoken conservative, said the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had seriously underestimated the offence taken by Anglicans worldwide over homosexuality in the church.

Jensen's comments in the British religious magazine New Directions were prompted by the election of gay bishop Gene Robinson in the United States in August and a Canadian diocese's recognition of same-sex marriages.

He said Anglicans, particularly in Africa and Asia, found the stance unacceptable and could be driven away from the church if Williams did nothing or recognised the North Amercians' position.

He said expelling the North Americans was the riskiest and bravest option because it would send a powerful moral and spiritual message.

"Strong word expel, but in effect yes, I suppose, to ask them to leave the club while they get themselves sorted out," Jensen told ABC radio.

He claimed Anglicans in Asia and Africa could convert to Islam because they were so distressed at the church's admission of homosexuals.

"They're under great presure from Muslims, for example, and ordinary people who say 'how can you be Christians and still be connected to these people in the US who have come to this terrible view?'," he told Sky News.

Jensen acknowledged expulsion could split the church but said there was little option.

He believed Anglican leaders would insist that Williams act when he meets them to discuss the homosexual issue in London later this month.

"His moral authority is on the line," Jensen said. –Sapa-AFP

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