Live: Sudanese primate calls on Robinson to resign (updated)

fourth version, includes response from Bishop Robinson’s spokesman

By Jim Naughton

The Primate of the Church of the Sudan, the Most Rev. Daniel Deng called on the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson to resign to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion.

“God is not making a mistake creating Adam and Eve,” Deng said, asserting that homosexual activity contradicted Biblical teaching. “He would have created two Adams if he wanted.”

Deng said Robinson’s resignation would allow the bishops who are not at the Lambeth Conference to reconcile with the Communion. He claimed to speak for 150 bishops from 17 provinces who had held a meeting during the conference.

“Gene Robinson should just go away from the Anglican world and be a normal Christian,” said Deng. He said he could not predict the future of the Communion if Robinson did not resign.

Robinson’s spokesman Mike Barwell said the bishop would not respond until he had seen a transcript of Deng’s remarks.

“There have been calls for his resignation since the day he was nominated. He has been very clear he would not step down… and that even if he did, the whole issue of gay clergy and gay bishops would not go away,” Barwell said.

Many Episcopal bishops could not comment on Deng’s press conference because they were unaware it had taken place.

Deng said he hoped that the Lambeth Conference would make a decision on homosexuality that Archbishop Rowan Williams would enforce.

Asked whether there were homosexuals in Sudan, Deng said, “They have not come to the surface, so no, I don’t think we have them.”

Deng’s comments were made in the media room at the Lambeth Conference in an interview arranged after two statements from his church appeared in the media room this morning. The other statement concerned the civil war in the Sudan and the genocide in Darfur.

His comments came as a surprise to Episcopal bishops at the conference. The Churches of Sudan, Burundi and Tanzania are to be guests of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church at a wine and cheese party on Saturday evening on the conference grounds.

A spokesman for Deng said he believed that Sudanese bishops would attend the party. “It’s nothing personal,” he said.

Deng and Jefferts Schori recently spent time together in Salisbury during the pre-Lambeth hospitality initiative.

The Church of Sudan has extensive relationships with Episcopal churches maintained through American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan.

Following Deng’s statement, the Rev. Dr. Chuck Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop who had also come to the press room, said the Episcopal Church wanted to continue to work in partnership with other provinces on the mission and ministry of the church.

An Episcopal bishop said he believed conservative American bishops were involved in publicizing the statement, but Deng’s spokesman denied that.

In a related development, Bishop Jack Iker of Forth Worth, called on the bishops of his own church who supported Robinson to go home.

To shorten this post the Sudanese statement can be found here.

Look for updates to be added here.

Anglican Journal reports here.

The Guardian article is here

Ruth Gledhill of The Times reports here.

The Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity, responds here.

What is news is that the Archbishop of the Sudan helped make the case on Tuesday that the schism facing the Anglican Communion is the direct result of hard-line reactionaries who will stop of nothing short of compliance with their narrow, exclusionist agenda as their criterion for being in communion.

Louie Crew, founder of Integrity, writes here.

From TEC the Sudan needs our love and our money..

Episcopal Life reports the story here.

Thinking Anglicans continues to update with new links here.

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