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Words on gays cost bishop post at Dartmouth

By Lisa Wangsness, Boston Globe

Dartmouth College has rescinded the appointment of a prominent African bishop as dean of a campus institution that focuses on furthering the moral and spiritual work of the school because of controversy over his views on homosexuality.

The extraordinary move by Dartmouth’s new president, Philip J. Hanlon, to retract the college’s offer won praise from those who raised concerns about how the appointment would affect gay students on a campus that has sometimes struggled with intolerance.

But it left Bishop James Tengatenga of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi without a job and far out on a limb on gay issues in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality.

Hanlon, who met last week with Tengatenga on Dartmouth’s campus in Hanover, N.H.,said in a statement Wednesday that after much reflection and consultation with senior leaders at the college, he decided that Tengatenga’s past statements compromised his ability to lead the William J. Tucker Foundation.

“The foundation and Dartmouth’s commitment to inclusion are too important to be mired in discord over this appointment,” Hanlon said.

Tengatenga, who also serves as chairman of what is effectively the board of directors of the 85 million member worldwide Anglican Communion, had already resigned his diocesan post and expressed public support for gay marriage after receiving the Dartmouth post.

He declined to comment in an e-mail Wednesday, saying he had not yet received a letter from the college withdrawing the offer.

His appointment had sparked a campus controversy as word spread that he had sharply criticized the election of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, and that he had asserted in 2011 that the Anglican dioceses in Malawi remained “totally against homosexuality.”

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