Tuesday, 28 June 2005

ABC and ACC on Zimbabwe

From this morning’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

0733 Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams on world poverty, Aids and Zimbabwe

Listen with Real Audio (8 minutes)

ACNS Anglicans call on Zimbabwe Government to halt policies of destruction
Full text of resolution as passed is below the fold.

BBC Asylum returns immoral - Williams
The Times Ruth Gledhill Archbishop attacks ‘immoral’ deportations to Zimbabwe
Reuters Envoy wants ‘comprehensive’ picture of Zimbabwe
Press Association ‘Immoral’ to Send Asylum Seekers Back, Says Archbishop
ENS Zimbabwe crisis, Lambeth Conference planning raised by ACC
This includes a note on the presentation by Tom Wright.

Earlier reports on Zimbabwe
Press Association Bishop Backs Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers
Observer Church hits at Zimbabwe deportations

Resolution Text

“The Anglican Consultative Council acknowledges the social and historical imbalance that the people of Zimbabwe have experienced in the tenure of their land, their implications the current crisis and the need for them to be addressed. However, the Council:

  • notes with profound sorrow and concern, and condemns, the recent political developments in Zimbabwe where hundreds of thousands of persons have had their homes destroyed and have become displaced persons within their own country, and where:
    • after up to two years of drought many families are dependent on relief but food distribution is often refused to those who do not support the political party in power
    • those suffering from HIV/AIDS and orphans do not receive appropriate help from the government
    • there are serious restrictions on democracy
    • there is little freedom of speech or tolerance, and human rights are denied
    • politicians and uniformed forces act as if they are above the law
    • people are arrested, imprisoned without fair trial, and tortured.
  • asks the government of Zimbabwe to reverse its policies of destruction and begin to engage in development that eradicates poverty;
  • calls upon the leadership of the African Union to persuade the government of Zimbabwe to consider the humanitarian aspects of the situation in that country, and to act to remedy the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe;
  • supports the Church of England in its approaches to the government of the United Kingdom to reconsider its policy of repatriation of refugees to Zimbabwe;
  • welcomes the proposed pastoral visit of church leaders from South Africa to Zimbabwe to take place in the near future;
  • assures the Christian churches and the people of Zimbabwe of its prayers in this time of national disaster.”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 28 June 2005 at 12:32pm BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England

How admirable and intelligent the Archbishop is! and what a pity that the Communion he leads has wasted all this time fussing about Gene Robinson's sexuality instead of grappling with a truly Christian response to the desperate conditions of this world.

Posted by: dmitri on Tuesday, 28 June 2005 at 1:40pm BST

I don't think that the orthodox and the conservative wings will see the issue as being that trivial, and the issue of Gene Robinson's sexuality is not the main point. The issue has not so much been homosexuality as the departure from what conservatives believe is the Word of God. People can deride them if they wish, but they are asking "What next? What else are we going to have kicked to touch?" That is the main concern. I reckon that if a senior member of the church of England were saying that the resurrection of Jesus was just a myth not to be taken seriously, the same furore would have existed.

With regard to priorities, it suits liberals to potray evangelicals as obsessed over sex. Believe me, they are HEAVILY involved in other issues. Though upset over what they see as a depature from the church's teaching, they are also heavily involved in a Christian response to the desperate conditions of this world. Several from our church are going to Edinburgh, a huge petition to the government has been presented, and all sorts of ways of raising money have been in train for weeks. A substantial portion of our income goes to the third world.

Please do not let it be imagined that conservatives are obsessed over the issue of homosexuality; that would be a seriously unfair and incorrect assumption. Whether it is out of misinformation, ignorance, or a deliberate attempt to malign the conservatives in the church, it would seem that the main issue - the place of the Bible in the teaching of the church - is being overlooked.

Posted by: Robert on Tuesday, 28 June 2005 at 4:47pm BST

I think Robert is correct. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that many people are losing sight of the main issue, the role and authority of the Bible for the church. I absolutely cannot agree with the way that many conservatives are using the Bible in this dispute -- I don't for instance see marriage as a fundamental theme in Biblical theology -- but we need at least to face up to the wider issue that they are raising.

Personally, I think that the Anglican position should be that, while everything necessary for salvation is contained in the scripture, not everything contained in scripture is necessary for salvation. I also think we need to get away from modern (late 19th-c and later) literalism, and reclaim more traditional ways of reading the many levels of meaning in the Bible. But I recognise that we need a Biblical theology!

It's also unfair to castigate conservatives or evangelicals as being obsessed about sex to the exclusion of other concerns. It hurts me deeply when some participants here or on TitusOneNine assume that everyone who disagrees with them shares a set of dismissive and radical views about the Bible and theology. So I shouldn't turn around and make equally hurtful assumptions about those who disagree with me. It doesn't lead to listening!


Posted by: Dr Abigail Ann Young on Tuesday, 28 June 2005 at 6:58pm BST

Does anyone know how the churches in Africa are dealing with this? Mugabe is a past master at blaming every criticism, including that of the Zimbabwean opposition, as being down to the racism of the evil West, and no doubt the AofC will be labelled in the same way.

I know Mugabe is Roman Catholic ; and that the RC's in Zimbabwe have been critical, but that other churchmen have been somewhat in his pocket.

I think criticism from other African churches may have more impact ; has there been any? African governments have been slow to criticise .

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 28 June 2005 at 10:50pm BST

Oh, dear, the "usual thing" gets immediately dragged into this one.

I worship (by choice) in theologically conservative Anglo-Catholic churches, dividing my time between the dioceses of London and Lichfield. I wholeheartedly support His Grace's condemnation of the iniquitous government policy of deporting people to Zimbabwe. The church where I worship in the diocese of Lichfield has a number of asylum seekers (Zimbabweans, Sri Lankans and an Armenian family) among its congregation, and the view of my fellow-worshippers is very clearly that the general policy of the government on asylum is a disgrace. The Archbishop deserves the support of every Anglican, and indeed every Christian, for his stance.

And if we MUST talk about the "usual thing", the same parish offered an altar to a priest who had had an unfortunate brush with the law over "cottaging", after the ultra-liberal area bishop couldn't sack him quick enough.

Posted by: Alan Harrison on Wednesday, 29 June 2005 at 11:47am BST

I'm glad that he found somewhere but cottaging is itself the product of lack of self-esteem and a prejudiced society - its a very negative and unhelpful pursuit.

Much better that people have relationships openly and honestly, which the church doesn't allow. No wonder some men end up taking part in that sort of activity.

Still, conservative Anglo-Catholicism is so full of hypocritical closet-cases, that he'll find plenty willing to surreptitiously encourage him in continuing dishonesty and self-oppression.

Back to Zimbabwe, perhaps?

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 29 June 2005 at 12:57pm BST

Alan, what you call "the usual thing" was prompted by dmitri's message, where a serious issue was dismissed as a triviality.

That apart, I too am astonished over the government's decision, and am glad the ABC stood out to be counted.

Posted by: Robert on Wednesday, 29 June 2005 at 1:31pm BST
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