Liberal Anglicans are calling for Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams to retract comments he made on the selection of a US lesbian bishop.
Three thousand people have joined a Facebook group set up two days ago to call for Williams to speak out instead about anti-gay laws proposed in Uganda.
Williams responded to the selection of bishop-elect Mary Glasspool within hours but on Uganda, Lambeth Palace released a short statement last week saying he was in “private” talks with the country’s Anglican Church.
Although Ugandan ministers have said provisions for executions and life prison sentences for gays will be dropped, the bill will still lead to imprisonment for those ‘promoting’ homosexuality or having gay sex.
The Facebook group says: “The Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to exercise moral leadership to protect gays and lesbians in Uganda and has instead exercised political pressure to attack a bishop-elect in Los Angeles because she is a lesbian.
“As Anglicans who treasure their Communion and expect more from their Archbishop, in the Advent spirit of John the Baptist’s cry to the religious leaders of his time, we call on Rowan Williams to repent of his earlier statement.”
The Facebook group was set up by Susan Russell, a former president of Anglican gay group Integrity.
She told the Guardian that signatories include bishops and former staff of Lambeth Palace.
Yesterday, one of the most powerful Christian pastors in the US condemned the law, leading many liberal Anglicans to question why Williams has not spoken publicly about it.
Rick Warren, who is firmly against gay marriage, said the law was “terrible” and called on Ugandan church leaders to condemn it.
Williams suggested that Glasspool’s appointment could jeopardise cohesion in the Anglican church and warned it could have serious implications.
She is the first out gay bishop to be elected since Gene Robinson, of New Hampshire, was consecrated in 2003. His appointment caused deep rifts between liberals and traditionalists.
In the last three years, the Anglican Communion has been pushing for “restraint” on the numbers of gay bishops in order to avoid a split in the Anglican church.
In July, Anglican clergy and laity in the US voted to reject a three-year moratorium on the consecration of gay clergy.