Jefferts Schori said science informs everything from how she interprets the Bible to her views on homosexuality—two subjects that now embroil her church and the larger Anglican Communion.
“I think it’s pretty clear from scientific studies that homosexuality, particularly male homosexuality, has got a significant component that is determined before birth,” she said. “It is, at least from a theological perspective, part of the created order. ... It’s the church’s job to help people live holy lives however they’ve been created, and sexuality is part of our creation.”
But conservatives argue that her progressive views stray far from traditional Christianity. Since her election, four Episcopal dioceses and dozens of parishes—still angry over the 2003 election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire—have seceded.
“She’s continued the trajectory that was already established,” said Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who led his diocese to leave the Episcopal Church last October. “The Episcopal Church has moved progressively away from classical Christianity and mainstream Anglicanism.”