Friday, 9 March 2007

Nigeria: Time changes its mind

Updated Saturday morning

Some months ago, Time called Archbishop Akinola one of the 100 most influential people in the world. See this piece by Rick Warren.

More recently, there was an opinion article At the Center of a Schism.

In another opinion piece yesterday David Van Biema Crunch Time on Gays for Anglican Archbishop now says this:

Awkward as it may be for an outsider to intrude in the doings of a country or a church that is not his own, I nonetheless believe that the Most Rev. Archbishop Peter Akinola has some explaining to do. The Anglican Primate of Nigeria, one of the most powerful churchmen in Africa, needs to clarify his stance on a Nigerian anti-homosexuality bill he initially supported, which assigns a five-year prison term not only for practicing gays, but also for those who support them. Akinola either needs to publicly renounce, in strong terms, his early support of the bill’s punitive clauses and to amplify the rather tepid concern he later expressed about them, or else he needs to explain why he’s not doing so to the dozen or so churches in Virginia whose congregants were largely ignorant of the legislation when they voted to join Akinola’s archdiocese in December.

As Jim Naughton points out, Time’s reasoning on this topic does sound odd.

Saturday Updates
Voice of America has Nigerian Activist Slams Anti-Gay Bill
Ruth Gledhill has Akinola must speak out to save gays

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 8:29am GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

Having witnessed a recent exchange here on TA where a conservative American blogger claimed that he'd had no access to the legislation and therefore could not comment, I'd be inclined to let the Virginia congregations off the hook. Moderates and progressives have been hiding the relevant URLs to make the conservatives look bad.

RR

Posted by: Raspberry Rabbit on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 10:37am GMT

So RR - It's the responsibility of the moderates and the progressives to inform and educate the Virginians regarding Akinola's stance on the Nigerian legislation. They have no responsibility to know this for themselves? What else didn't they know? That CANA was not a province of the AC or a dioceses of Nigeria, but just a mission. Perhaps, they didn't know that TEC is a mainstream chrisitan church either. There's lots that the Virginians were mislead about. But I guess it was the fault of those moderates and progressives for not keeping them informed.

C.B.

Posted by: C.B. on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 1:57pm GMT

Late last year I received an email from a confused member of a Virginian parish's vestry wondering if what I was saying was true.

If all he had read was +Minns' letters on the subject, and had been told not to trust what +Chane had written in the Washington Post back in Feb 06, then he would have had every reason to be confused.

A commenter named C.B. on Jim's blog has the right idea. This Time piece was aimed at the Virginian parishes -- not at us.

Posted by: Matt on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 2:39pm GMT

Just a small point, RR: moderates are the new conservatives, and so cannot be grouped with progressives. Liberals are the new regressives and conservatives are the new digressives. Colanders are the new sieves.

Posted by: matthew hunt on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 3:01pm GMT

I have to agree, this legislation has been in the foreground for some time. Ignorance is no excuse (as the old saying goes). I can understand conservative but what the Virginia churches are saying is: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness," except in Nigeria!

Historic Colonial parishes espousing very un-American ideas, certainly not in keeping with the ideals of which this country was founded on.

Posted by: BobinWashPA on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 3:19pm GMT

RR - irony is little understood in N. America and frequently passes unrecognized.

Posted by: lapinbizarre on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 4:09pm GMT

Well, now that this has come to light, I hope that the seceding Virginia parishes shall call their new archbishop to account. They've got a better shot at changing his mind than we do. I wish this had come to light in the mainstream press much earlier, but oh well. It's out in the open now, and Anglicans all over the world will need to respond.

Posted by: Weiwen on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 4:09pm GMT

Do we really need to keep rabbit running round just these same irrational Anglican realignment tracks by spin doctoring up some false sympathy for the poor antigay folks in Virginia who accidentally let themselves get publicly snookered into being (allegedly) Apostolically Biblical in ways which obviously, to the rest of the world, are violations of human rights?

Not all that long ago, these same folks and their leaders were self-righteously instructing us in every forum, just why their antigay preachments were the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the God-given truth. Now they find those same preachments being used to justify Nigerian human rights violations. Non-conservative thinking predicted somebody would paint somebody else into something like this corner, based on just how the antigay biblical preachments more or less typically function.

Conservative thinking replied: No, Our Conservative Biblical Thinking Is Waaaay Different (and blessed and caring and holy). And: You are so silly, you progressive thinkers, for bring up that old stinky red herring? And: We New Conservatives will show you just how to preach antigay without human rights violations (or any other untowards results except blessed repentance and amendment of life?). As we realign the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Okay, the rest of us hesitatingly responded. Show us what is up with that.

Conservatives can, in fact, call Akinola and others to bright task, the moment they decide in good conscience to do so. Just as Canterbury could. All are adults, all claim to be believers, and all claim to be following their best conscience.

The way to public repentance is easy, the moment they swallow their own false pride at being the sole biblical Jesus Freaks on our planet who could never, ever under any circumstances be snookered into violating someone's human rights, under any cultural circumstances. The doors to repentance on these accounts are, in fact, wide open. We are not standing in the way of changing conservative minds, except that one must pass through one's own embarrassment in public and learn from one's mistakes maybe.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 4:15pm GMT

What? RR, are you serious? How, pray tell, can somebody hide something on the worldwide web? And why would we want to? I attribute it to willful ignorance. The people who didn't want to know, who didn't want to examine ++Akinola's beliefs or policies and discern his fruits because they wanted more than anything to dissassociate themselves with another group whatever the cost. When hatred becomes a cornerstone of action then truth no longer reigns.

Posted by: Annie on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 4:30pm GMT

People, Raspberry Rabbit is being facetious. He's one of the good guys...

The people in those parishes are some of the most highly educated people in America. They are NOT stupid or ignorant.

But they are complicit in what is about to happen in Nigeria.

Posted by: paigeb on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 5:14pm GMT

Un-American ideas? Drinking Bud Lite, watching NASCAR, rooting for the surge in Iraq and smearing queers-you'd be surprised at what is going on in this country. Wouldn't surprise me if somebody just south of the beltway is wishing that what is going on in Nigeria could happen here.

But oh, as RR said, it's probably just a vast left-winged conspiracy.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 5:57pm GMT

And don't hold your breath for Rick Warren to chime in against Akinola's embrace of the awful legislation. He does not forefront his homophobia, but I understand it is there.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 6:44pm GMT

Dear C.B. and R.R.

There are a lot of souls who might think I am a bit "whacked", but the reason for my vehemence is that this censorship is rife.

Unfortunately, the moderates, the majority middle and the liberals do have to take responsibility for making sure the information gets out there.

There is a strategy that came up in a court case last year where one parishioner in one diocese felt she had been badly mistreated, and that it was collusive across the levels of the church. A favourite strategy is to "starve the fire" of fuel.

When I heard a bishop almost bragging about how they had locked out any true prophecy in February 2005, God was furious and told me that I was the only one who could get through. (The rest, as they say, is history).

You are not seeing a new phenomenom. This has been going on for a long time. What has happened is that the internet has made it possible to share information. So even when my home computer was attacked to destroy evidence, there was a public audit trail on the internet that they could not destroy and I had back up plans that enabled me to recover key documents with verifiable dates and times so they could not say I had made things up.

Isaiah 53:8-14. Jesus has seen the light of life (53:11) and has the consent to use the unquenchable fire.

Foolish people who think that because God decreed a church or religion be created that it will not be disciplined?

Luke 24:15-16 “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Who by the way is the light of life/Cherubim of the Glory/Daughter of Zion/promised faithful love)

Prophecy was never meant to end. No human institution is above error or being corrupted by power. The brain might scream that it is in control, but the heart and lungs move outside of its conscious control, and the intestines can teach the body to revolt against poison even when the brain has not understood. The brain might be important but it can not exist without the body and if it abuses or ignores the body then it too dies.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 6:52pm GMT

RR - If you were being dryly ironic - I apologize for not getting it. Clearly, I am way to earnest for my own good, and need additional bells and whistles maybe even incense to be adequately cued. But if you go over to T19 and read their response to the article, your comment doesn't sound so tongue and cheek at all. Peace.

Posted by: C.B. on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 7:14pm GMT

"I hope that the seceding Virginia parishes shall call their new archbishop to account. They've got a better shot at changing his mind than we do." (Weiwen)
...or, the Virginians may find out what it's like to live with an autocratic archbishop. Peter Akinola is not about to be told what to do by U.S. Americans.
Lois Keen

Posted by: Lois Keen on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 8:35pm GMT

drdanfee,

when I said that I hoped the VA congregations would speak to Akinola, I was trying to be nice. If they fail to do so, I will have much harsher words for them, words that will likely include "fire" and "judgment".

Cynthia,

I read Warren's laudation of Akinola on Time. I am absolutely amazed that he describes Akinola as a man of peace. I'm quite glad that I didn't read his Purpose Driven Life - I would now have to burn the book.

Posted by: Weiwen on Friday, 9 March 2007 at 10:52pm GMT

Apologies to all if I sounded in writing too short tempered. I am short tempered, in fact.

After three successive Lambeths called for worldwide Anglicans to study what was changing in our views of sexuality, and why, we are still being told that unfortunately, nobody who matters on the Anglican right was paying attention.

Then, when somebody on the Anglican right does get their coattails caught temporarily in some public elevator door, the excuse is likely to be: This untoward event is a leftwing pagan plot to discredit scripture and God.

Are you dizzy yet? Believe me, I am. Spinning.

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 12:47am GMT

Here is a reminder of what conservative Anglicans in Nigeria (and all conservative Anglicans around the world who support it by their continued silence) would like Nigerian LGBT people to be faced with just for, say, meeting up as a group for mutual support over coffee because they already live in a violently homophobic society.

(BBC News 9th March 2007)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6435787.stm

This is what they want. This is what Akinola would like to happen to LGBT people, for simply advocating for themselves. Is it what you want? If it isn't you need to speak urgently to the appropriate people to try to stop it. Now or never.

Akinola: "You are satanic - worse than animals"

LGBT person: "No we are not"

Akinola: "Officer, arrest this dog for promoting sodomy. Do with him as you will."

Officer: "Yes, Your Holiness, we'll make the dog confess and rot in jail"

Akinola: "Bless you, God will reward you for your faithfulness"

Posted by: matthew hunt on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 3:54am GMT

The proposed Nigerian legislation is wrong, and I state that unequivocally for my part. I hope that the Nigerian Anglican Church will change its mind and oppose it openly.

But I am surprised at the viciousness with which commentators here attack conservatives in America (and elsewhere) who are are not climbing the barricades in opposition to this legislation. Of course people prefer to be ignorant of the things that unsettle their hopes and comforts! It is as often unconscious as anything, and afflicts all of us, myself included.

It must the said that the stories coming from Nigeria regarding imprisonment of gay people and violence against them are not numerous or well-documented, and they are not well-publicized (even if Abp. Akinola himself has been in the news quite a bit lately). What reports there are are not pretty, but use of analogies with the days of National Socialism are simply way beyond the pale. (Cf. a recent summary at http://www.iglhrc.org/files/iglhrc/reports/Voices_Nigeria.pdf). One has to work very hard indeed to get reliable information on this, and it should not surprise us at all if many people do not have a strong sense of the concrete dangers of the proposed legislation. What they are hearing is by and large political debate, often tinged with a good deal of posturing.

But, after all, there is little disucssion on most blogs of the kinds of violence, potential and real, against religious practice and speech that can be found on websites like Forum 18, which document the ongoing imprisonment of Christians and other religious orgnizers around the world. These reports are well-researched and grounded, yet even they receive hardly any publicity. A little reflection on motes and logs would be helpful here.

Beyond the simple evangelical unacceptability of the proposed Nigerian legislation, however, is the fact that Anglican councils and their documents, to which the Primate of Nigeria has affixed his signature, have spoken relatively clearly about the Christian duties of the Church to protect the persons of homosexuals within the social body in a non-discriminatory way. This makes this matter one that goes beyond the demand for moral awareness in a particular case -- something in which we all fall short -- to one that questions the trustworthiness of our stated commitments. In the present turmoil within Anglicanism, that trustworthiness and its lack is at the heart of our common frailty.

Posted by: Ephraim Radner on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 5:19am GMT

'Viciousness’ ?

'Motes and logs' ?

This is about Christian churches and organisations, most notably for us - *Anglicans* and Anglican Primates - who have been vocally PUSHING for this legislation . The same Nigerian Anglicans are actively working in close partnership, in other ways, with conservatives in the USA, Asia and elsewhere.

*Those* conservatives who are otherwise cozying-up with Nigerian Anglicans need to communicate their objection to the Nigerian Anglicans or it will be assumed by all that they are either not bothered about the suffering and injustice it will cause many thousands of innocent people or, because those people are LGBT, they approve of the legislation and its consequences.

The silence of *colleagues* and supporters who are aware, is willfully turning a blind eye.

Turning a blind eye is approval. Complicity.

I'm very grateful that there is a handful of conservatives who are not turning a blind eye. Notably, most 'moderates' with authority and influence also seem to be turning a blind eye. That's what leads me to doubt the existence or point of a 'moderate' perspective in current Anglicanism. Maybe that’s why schism is more a pronounced possibility nowadays.

When Christians persecute people, I find it more shocking than the persecution of Christians. It is more disgusting when these things are done in God's name. We are called to suffer for our neighbours, not to cause suffering to them. The implication that those who object to Christians who are persecuting others are hypocritical because they are not also objecting on the same forum to Christians being persecuted elsewhere seems... to be a diversion.

I’m assuming that the word was used in reference to other commenters’ postings, but if any of this, or any of my comments, contains anything 'vicious' I would like it precisely pointed out so that I may either refute it or apologise for it. I’m sure most would prefer that too.

It is to be expected that relatively few authoritative reports of actual cases of proven homophobic harassment, assault or imprisonment would issue from a country that can comfortably consider this legislation and has a legal and penal system of the sort shown in the above given link. It’s not what violence and imprisonment already exists which is at issue here – it’s what imprisonment and violence is likely to occur directly as a result of *Anglican promoted and supported* legislation about to be passed.

Posted by: matthew hunt on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 11:14am GMT

"It must the said that the stories coming from Nigeria regarding imprisonment of gay people and violence against them are not numerous or well-documented, and they are not well-publicized..."

a) Gay people aren't that numerous, so of course incidents of violence won't be numerous in absolute terms.

b) Given the stigma against being gay, incidents of violence would be underreported. Do you know how many transgendered people were murdered in the US last year? Probably not, because such cases aren't widely reported.

Given the above, the fact that Davis Mac-Iyalla has received death threats and has been driven into hiding is enough for me to be concerned about violence against LGBT Nigerians.

"But, after all, there is little disucssion on most blogs of the kinds of violence, potential and real, against religious practice and speech that can be found on websites like Forum 18, which document the ongoing imprisonment of Christians and other religious orgnizers around the world. "

That's a good point, and I have made efforts to post about violence or prejudice against all religious converts on my blog. However, that's completely irrelevant to the discussion here.

"Beyond the simple evangelical unacceptability of the proposed Nigerian legislation..."

I suggest you reconsider the way you phrase your statements. Some here would think that you care first about "saving" people's souls, more so than the statements of Anglican bodies that call for non-discrimination, and not at all about the fact that this is a clear violation of human rights. I assume this is a case of differences in language.

Posted by: Weiwen on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 11:38am GMT

Dear Ephraim,

You are of course entirely right in your comments about human rights abuses perpetrated on (let's say) Christians.

However what is proposed here is a legislated for human rights abuse (which is quite unusual) and also a law that is inspired by us - by Christians, by believers in the gospel, people who claim to have met with the Lord. This isn't something happening out there that we may or may not deplore, it is of our doing, flows from the debates within our communion.

So my answer to concerns about human rights abuses on whatever ground is that they do not justify adding some in of your own like - some believers are having their human rights and dignity abused (and they are) so that justifies human rights abuses by us or by vitue of our message.

We make choices here. We are custodians of the gospel and we now make choices about what kind of faith, what kind of heritage our faith leaves in the world.

I gain the very sad impression that Archbishop Akinola wants this bill as his legacy but if we don't speak out convincingly it will be the imprint of the gospel on today's world.

So there is a very momentous decision to be made because laws when they are made tend to stay made - all the more so when passed, be a criminal offence to campaign effectively for its repeal.

Of course I regret if the law passes, but if it does it will be very effective as a guide to judging the tree by its fruit and drawing certain conclusions.

Longer term the Church needs to sign up to the universal nature of human rights - but I see we are some way from that.

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 11:57am GMT

Dear Dr. Radner and other believers of conservative or evangelical persuasions,

May I take it that, once again, you would like to claim or assert a special comprehensive high ethical and religious ground innate to conservative or evangelical religious views as your views?

Are we being urged to agree with you that nothing in your legacy negative preachments has now - or ever could have? - any depth or surface connects with things like the impending draconian Nigerian legislation which criminalizes even the public mention of queer life?

Really?

Would you believe a similar claim by progressive believers that nothing in their positive and accepting views (and church life practices?) has anything to do with same sex couples openly wanting to settle down, make lifelong commitments, and raise children together?

How would I sound to you if I made such claims?

How do we square the near future Nigerian human rights violations with all the realignment talk about how shallow and secular and inadequate human rights narratives or models were, for dealing with queer issues inside the churches? Could there be an intellectual and emotional connection? Between preaching such things, and eventually doing such things?

Posted by: drdanfee on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 4:37pm GMT

I am so furious I can't even express myself.

FYI, Ephraim Radner: people who loftily declaim far and wide on the topic of their own moral superiority really cannot use as an excuse that they "do not have a strong sense of the concrete dangers of the proposed legislation."

The and obvious inference to be drawn is that most so-called "conservatives" just don't give a damn. Believe me, it's not news to gay people - who, BTW, are historically among the very first to speak out against persecution because we experience it first-hand at the hands of so-called Christians.

And BTW your claim that Akinola's off the hook because he signed his name to a document that he violated in the very next second is a rationalization absolutely beyond my comprehension. And sorry to tell you but the Nazis DID arrest homosexuals and others who'd committed no crimes whatsoever; sorry you find the comparison odious, but it does seem to fit.

The Church is morally dead, in every way that counts. There's no point that I can see in belonging to such an organization any longer; it's a hindrance to one's moral development.

Posted by: bls on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 4:53pm GMT

I'm watching an implosion here. Radner is reaching out. Meet him mid-way.

bls, for example, is completely misreading Radner's final couple of sentences. ++Akinola has signed documents pledging to protect the dignity of homosexual person; Radner is saying that this legislation represents a violation of the Archbishop's word.

Everyone in this debate is going to see their position as having the moral high ground. But on this issue -- that the legislation is wrong and should be stopped -- we are all in agreement. Please, don't scare off those acting in good faith!

Posted by: Matt on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 5:48pm GMT

C.B.

My comment was not tongue in cheek.

Any priestly caste that has control over communication and is actively excluding and bullying any voices of conscience is an anathema to God.

God once said "the poor you will always have with you".

To that should be added "the prophets you will always have with you".

I have heard (on several occassions, from several leaders at various levels (including Bishop)) announcements given with authority and force that God no longer handed out the gift of prophecy. Specifically, God no longer handed out the gift of prophecy for the rebuking and refining of the churches. Any and ALL attempts to rebuke or refine their priestly caste does not come from God, because their saviour Jesus means they no longer need to be corrected by God as he is their pure advocate who forgives them all their errors. Any anyone who attacks them is evil.

This is not an isolated incident. After failing to get them to privately repent, I tried to get the church heirarchy to see that they had a problem and to discreetly resolve it.

It became clear that they have no mechanisms for even holding a hearing to consider whether they were dealing with genuine prophecy. Worse, to the highest levels they instituted a campaign of "starving the fire of fuel" by denying it had happened and referring to "insane" zealots. They then called me and those who listened a Baal prophets.

My mission since then has been to demonstrate that this is not isolated or unique, but a cultural blind spot. It has been fun to see all the churches and faith communities scrambling to get their own houses in order. They all realise they have do to others what they have done to me. At the moment there are still some die hards trying to bully us into submission. We laugh, because we know who sent us and to God you must answer for your mistreatment and deceipt.

Prophets come from God, they are the faith communities' consciences, they advocate for whom no one else will advocate. Faith communities only have to deal with rebuking prophets when they fail to mete our true justice and compassion and rely on deceipt and power to hide their greed and hatred. They only have to deal with slam dunk prophets when the whole priestly caste has become morally moribund.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 8:15pm GMT

Matt, what do you mean by an implosion in your earlier comment?

Also, what, in practical terms do we need to do to meet Radner half way?

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 10:32pm GMT

Craig,

Patience, calm nerves, and forgiveness -- all are needed if we're going to find common ground on this issue.

We have already found common ground with Radner, but he feels compelled to voice what I think is a valid concern, that conservative Americans who are trying to find the right path on this issue are being rather harshly treated.

There has been, in my opinion, a "concerted reluctance" to be completely open about the truth over here among conservative American Anglicans, and there are also a great many people who are still ignorant of what the legislation actually says.

What I mean by implosion: attacking Radner -- a man willing to stick his neck out on this issue (read the latest from T19 if you want to know what I mean) -- for voicing a concern.

Meeting him half way: Patience with falsehoods, misunderstandings, and miscommunications is essential, alongside a recognition that our words are too harsh to be either helpful or corrective. Be nice!

I really don't want to be a nanny here. I'm just saying that I can see how others might be turned off from participating by our responses to thoughtful conservatives.

Posted by: Matt on Sunday, 11 March 2007 at 12:04am GMT

I have greatly admired Matt’s energy and sensitivity as he tackled the commentators on a Titus 1:9 thread about this article. It was a marathon and he struggled valiantly there.

Ephraim Radner’s contribution here is something different however. Slowly, Dr Radner is unpacking his thinking for us. Let us discount, for the purpose of this comment, his references to other commentators and the lack of reliable information from Nigeria. This sandwich has the meat either side of that frothy bread.

Firstly Radner reaffirms his unequivocal opposition to this Nigerian Bill.

But Radner goes much further in his last paragraph. Here he acknowledges that by actively promoting this legislation the Nigerian Anglican Church threatens to bring down the fragile new order being created for the nascent world wide Anglican Church.

This new order relies heavily on the credibility of the Primates and specifically on that group acting in a way that honours their joint statements and treats Lambeth Resolutions as “definitive”. This is plainly not the case in this instance.

There would clearly be no hope of ratifying the draft Covenant enshrining this new order if this Bill becomes yet another “reality on the ground”. Moreover it renders moot other decisions made by this group and destroys any confidence the disparate members of our Communion might have in them.

All this at a time when the concilliar model being promulgated by the Archbishop of Canterbury is itself under attack from within the Primates Group as other paradigms of “Catholic Order” are being forcefully advanced. It is interesting to see that haste, once seen as the enemy of developing good governance, has now been seized by Canterbury and others in an attempt to forestall the wider gaps that might occur if these ideas are developed and take root.

Trust does indeed stand at the heart of our present turmoil, if the Nigerian Anglican Church succeeds in pressing this Bill forward it is hard to see how that trust might be re-established.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 11 March 2007 at 9:52am GMT

Many thanks to both Martin's last post, which was helpful, and to Matt's, though I'm not 100% clear on the meaning of 'implosion' in this context or what (other than being nice - which I'll endeavour to do) we have to do to meet Radner half way (though as I do believe very strongly that we need to work in larger coalitions which include people we have disagreements with - an that means that we need some discernment and generosity to try to help the process along).

I would like to see some flesh on the bones of what that would mean for us - it is after all an urgent piece of work.

As regards Matt's faithful endeavours on T19... it's actually well worth a read and gives you an insight into a certain frame of mind that is behind alot of this stuff, and yes Matt has been both valient and thoughtful in his comments there and you certainly learn a lot about the bigger political situation in Nigeria - we often seriously neglect that in our discussions.

Anyway, I particularly liked this quote from one of the comments:

"Matt is trying to protect traditionalists — from themselves. Traditionalists are perceived as being filled with hate for gay people, and one step away from being fascists. Akinola’s support for the bill encourages people to see us that way."

I wouldn't quite have expressed it like that but there's some truth in that.

Here's the link for anyone else wanting to plough through the comments - http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=18199

Posted by: Craig Nelson on Sunday, 11 March 2007 at 5:50pm GMT

Bringing down "the fragile new order being created for the nascent world wide Anglican Church"?

Don't make me laugh. The Anglican Communion doesn't care what Nigeria does to gay people; the Primates had their chance three weeks ago to say or do something publicly, and they took that time to let TEC know, instead, what loathsome creatures we were for blessing lifelong love.

The Church is a moral dead zone. The only hope we have of stopping Nigeria is the secular world - boycotts via the U.N. and through decent people outside the church who will speak out against the Nazis in the church and the government there.

The idea that these people - Radner and Harmon - would come here and scold us is almost beyond belief. Particularly Harmon; that that man would have the nerve to lecture people at Thinking Anglicans is just stunning, given the bile and venom that emanate from his blog every minute of the day.

Posted by: bls on Sunday, 11 March 2007 at 7:47pm GMT

If Dr. Radner finds this place "vicious," then he will probably need for Aunt Pittypat to fetch him the smelling salts if he should ever pay a visit to VenomOnline, T19, or Stand Firm.

Posted by: JPM on Sunday, 11 March 2007 at 10:44pm GMT

It is because of this :
“the Primates had their chance three weeks ago to say or do something publicly, and they took that time to let TEC know, instead, what loathsome creatures we were for blessing lifelong love.”
Expressed to Rowan Williams by us here:
http://www.lgcm.org.uk/html/AngText04.html
that this enterprise is coming apart, bls.

There was a window of opportunity open to the Primates in the case of the Nigerian legislation, the opportunity passed without a single mention in any of the plenaries.

The focus of this meeting was so heavily distorted that perhaps the most significant breach of Lambeth 1.10 and Primates Statements was passed over. When we wrote to Rowan Williams in 2004 we said:

“Homosexual people continue to be deeply offended by the actions of many parts of the Communion where our existence is not even acknowledged, where our voices are strangled before we can be heard or seen as part of the family of God brought into being by the Word.”

And later, in a section that is highly pertinent to this debacle we said:

“There are many amongst us who, in the short or medium term, would gladly relinquish such fripperies as the wearing of a mitre if freedom from tyranny for the majority of LGBT people in our world were the prize, or even for the promise of making that struggle for justice a top priority for the Anglican Communion.”

http://www.lgcm.org.uk/html/OpenLetter.html

There can be no doubt that the Primates Group has failed its lesbian and gay members, and more importantly from an institutional point of view, has failed the test of protecting its own policy and sacred duty of care. Significantly it missed this greater threat to our Communion life because of the obsession bls characterises.

No matter how the TEC house of bishops responds to the current demands from the Primates the future of the Covenant and the Primates Group has suffered a blow from which it will not recover.

The belief that the Primates could successfully “police” the Anglican Communion was an unrealistic and flawed solution from the outset. Few if any would ever be willing to sign up to creating the machine that would give it the capacity and teeth to be “effective” – Ratzinger saw this clearly – there was no chance of moving forward with this agenda without a Magisterium and a substantial Curia with a finger in every pie.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 12 March 2007 at 9:40am GMT

If Dr. Radner finds this place "vicious," then he will probably need for Aunt Pittypat to fetch him the smelling salts if he should ever pay a visit to VenomOnline, T19, or Stand Firm.
JPW

Yes, indeed . They are appalling.

What a witness.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 12 March 2007 at 10:42am GMT

Martin

I loved your last posting.

Again to paraphrase the bible.

"The poor you will always have with. And so too the afflicted and GLBTs".

No amount of legislation will change that GLBTs exist. The fact that they are mentioned so far back in the bible proves it is not a modern phenomenom.

If we can't stop them existing, let's give them the protection of citizenship and the responsibilities that come with that.

It's a bit like saying women should go away. If God was so happy with Adam, then why did God create Eve? If God was so happy with the "perfect" then why did God create the "imperfect"?

Instead of trying to ignore us and hide us away, maybe the puritans could think about what God wanted them to learn from us. Was Eve simply a walking uterus or did she have gifts in her own right? Did Adam ever bother to find out what they were? If he didn't, he insults both Eve and God, because it shows that he didn't trust God to give him a worthy companion.

Similarly, we have huge amount to learn from the afflicted. The first and most obvious lesson is not to take our wellbeing or the gifts that God bestows upon us for granted. What the Lord giveth the Lord can take away.

In failing to treat with respect the gifts that God has given us (including beautiful Gaia), we have desecrated creation and insulted God.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 13 March 2007 at 8:34am GMT
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