Thursday, 14 June 2007

ECUSA Exec Council declines primates' proposal

Updated Friday morning

Episcopal News Service reports that the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, USA (a body similar in some ways to the Archbishops’ Council in the Church of England) has declined to participate in the plan put forward by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in February for dealing with some disaffected Episcopal Church dioceses. This follows earlier action by the ECUSA House of Bishops.

Read the whole of the official press release: Executive Council declines to participate in Primates’ ‘pastoral scheme,’ says only Convention makes policy which begins:

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council told the Anglican Communion June 14 that no governing body other than General Convention can interpret Convention resolutions or agree to deny “future decisions by dioceses or General Convention.”

The Council declined to participate in a plan put forward by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in February for dealing with some disaffected Episcopal Church dioceses.

The statement, titled “The Episcopal Church’s Commitment to Common Life in Anglican Communion,” “strongly affirm[ed] this Church’s desire to be in the fullest possible relationship with our Anglican sisters and brothers.”

The text of the statement and its accompanying resolutions passed with limited debate.

The statement agreed with the House of Bishops, which said in March that the so-called Pastoral Scheme “would be injurious to The Episcopal Church.” An accompanying resolution (EC012) also “respectfully requests the Presiding Bishop to decline as well.” The statement itself “respectfully ask[s] our Presiding Bishop not to take any of the actions asked of her by this scheme.”

Read the full statement text: The Episcopal Church’s Commitment to Common Life in the Anglican Communion.

The Living Church issued this report: Council Rejects Primates’ Pastoral Plan; Insists on Diocesan Accession Clause.

A further ENS report is titled Executive Council puts disaffected dioceses on notice about constitutional changes:

Episcopal Church dioceses that change their constitutions in an attempt to bypass the Church’s Constitution and Canons were warned by the Executive Council June 14 that their actions are “null and void.”

The Council passed Resolution NAC023, reminding dioceses that they are required to “accede” to the Constitution and Canons, and declaring that any diocesan action that removes that accession from its constitution is “null and void.” That declaration, the resolution said, means that their constitutions “shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed…”

Rachel Zoll of Associated Press reports this development in Episcopal Panel Rejects Anglican Demand
Michael Conlon of Reuters has U.S. move on gay bishops may widen Anglican split
New York Times Laurie Goodstein Anglican Demand for Change Is Rebuffed by Episcopalians
Los Angeles Times K Connie Kang Anglicans’ demand on gays is rebuffed

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An appropriate response to the bully-boys. General Synod (C of E) should take a leaf out of their book next month.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 7:35pm BST

In other news, council approved a resolution declaring “null and void” attempts by a number of dioceses to revise their constitution to qualify their accession to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention.

“Any amendment to a diocesan constitution that purports in any way to limit or lessen an unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church is null and void, and be it further resolved that the amendments passed to the constitutions of the dioceses of Pittsburgh, Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin, which purport to limit or lessen the unqualified accession to the constitution of The Episcopal Church are accordingly null and void and the constitutions of those dioceses shall be as they were as if such amendments had not been passed,” council stated in Resolution NAC-023.

I am delighted that TEC is taking a hard-line with the Network bishops and their curiae that seek to subvert the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. I am happy to know that this kind of scandalous and un-Christian behavior will no longer be tolerated.

+Jack Leo, +Bob Pittsburgh et al, if you disdain TEC as much as you say you do, why not do the honorable thing and resign your positions quietly (and don't steal the silver as you exit!).

Posted by: John Henry on Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 7:36pm BST

This "Primates Proposal DECLINE" is so 4th of July (that's what we call people/places/things in Latin America when they are extra splendid, wonderful and beyond descriptive words for beautiful, good, FREE,LIBERATING and FANTASTICO)!

God likes brave! God likes it when we say NO to descrimination, persecution and *difference* and the preaching of fear and hate!

Thanks be to God (see EVERYONE at the Communion Rail I hope)

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 8:18pm BST

Today the Massachusetts legislature defeated the attempt to amend the Mass. constitution to ban gay marriage. The vote was 151-45. Fifty votes were needed to send the amendment to the voters. Pennsylvania has introduced a bill to ban discrimination against LGBT people. California is also considering a bill to legalize gay marriage. Whatever the ultimate outcome of the divisions in the Anglican Communion, American society is gradually embracing the rights of LGBT people. This will continue to pose challenges to all Christian groups that wish to deny full participation of LGBTs. However, the widening acceptance of LGBTs throughout the "West" means that the divisions in the Communion cannot be wholly blamed on ECUSA. BTW, by its own report, the Southern Baptist Convention is starting to bleed members, so it may be that the conservative evangelical victory party will have to be postponed, especially considering that conservative evangelicals made a big mistake in aligning themselves so closely with Bush Inc. The African bishops aligned with Akinola have shown a serious lack of understanding of the mood of American society, which is understandable considering that they have relied so much on conservative dissidents.

Posted by: Susan in Georgia on Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 10:10pm BST

Very good.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 10:32pm BST

And don't forget that much of Europe has introduced gay rights policies, including the UK, which is why all this is so very awkward for the CofE

I'm glad to see the US church not wavering.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 11:07pm BST

Never let it be said I don't respond to good news when I see it, either! Glad to see them showing some spine :)

Posted by: Tim on Thursday, 14 June 2007 at 11:55pm BST

To all the stories on this thread:

[Cue the Handel]

Hallelujah, Hallelujah!


Posted by: JCF on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 12:13am BST


And perhaps now -- in the wake of TEC's HoB speaking, and its EC ruling, and in advance of +++Rowan's "sabbatical" in the USA and his meeting with the TEC HoB -- would be a good time for +++Rowan to pour himself a nice cuppa and sit down to read the following, which he himself once wrote:

*Remember*, dear +++Rowan?

Posted by: Viriato da Silva on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 12:52am BST

About time to meet bullying and attention seeking behavior with firmness - modern thought, research and opinion are strongly in TEC's corner - but TEC has made itself a target by being ahead of conservative religionistas and desperately needs and appreciates the good thoughts and support of like minded individuals and organizations. Perhaps all this seems obvious or pompous but hanging together now is infinitely better than being persecuted one at a time later. Fair warning - this is not a game and the TEC "problem" will no doubt be replayed elsewhere soon including in the UK.

Posted by: ettu on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 1:02am BST

A prog-lib person might get passing whiplash from either the Primates Meeting ultimatums, the Con-Con vote in Massachusetts, or both. Tired of conservative realignment cliff hangers as the essential nexus of the gospel? Well, yes, but following Jesus has for me meant that I had to become completely willing for TEC - and other provinces for that matter - to declare themselves in blind conformity with our legacy negatives, so that I could not presume to stay where it might become clear I was not honestly or openly wanted.

Whew. I guess a pause for deep breathing is in order. Thanks all, thank goodness, thank God.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 3:56am BST

The bully boys are not just bishops obsessing about church purity. They are in direct connection with the playground bully boys who drive children to suicide or with the bully boys who made a public spectacle of themselves in Moscow lately. Christians cannot play the bullies' game, even for the best of reasons. But we have all played it, whenever we have practiced or countenanced or silently colluded in convenient discrimination.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 4:09am BST

"There they go again."

I am disappointed in both AP reporter Rachel Zoll and Michael Conlon of Reuters. Both seem to be going for cheap headlines instead of covering the nuanced substance of the Executive Council statement.

The AP titles Zoll's story "Episcopal Panel Rejects Anglican Demand." Reuters runs with "U.S. move on gay bishops may widen Anglican split."

Did either of them bother to read the Executive Council statement? The Executive Council did not "defy" anyone. In fact, their statement was humble and pastoral. If you want defiance, look to the statements of the dissidents within and outside the Episcopal Church, in which they label us "heretics" or "apostate" or call some of us "worse than dogs." THAT is defiance.

I'm grateful for the moderate and pastoral statement of the Executive Council today. Along with two colleagues, I "said my piece" at the Episcopal Majority site: I think the Executive Council tried to open a new door today, and I am proud of them.

Posted by: Lisa Fox on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 4:49am BST

TEC will not tolerate "rebel" dioceses or they should not object to the AC not tolerating rebel provinces.

Posted by: NP on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 7:09am BST

Lisa Fox: you're being unfair to journalists. The statement may have been nuanced and polite. It may well have been the right thing to say. But of course the news value is that it makes the schism clearer. The whole point is that TEC was told to do something -- at risk of unspecified consequences -- and has now point blank refused. Good on them, I say. But this is a statement with a clear power-political meaning, and that is what ought to be in the headline.

NP -- one obvious difference is that TEC is a legally constituted entity composed of bodies who have all agreed that its central decision making bodies are competent to make these decisions. The AC is not.

Posted by: acb on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 8:13am BST

NP, TEC isn't being intolerant of "rebel" dioceses, is it? It is reminding/telling dioceses that there is no legal way in which they can not accede to the Constitutions and Canons of the Episcopal Church and that any diocesan action that removes that accession from its constitution is “null and void.”

I am disappointed in you, NP. Yet again you are deliberately distorting truth and reality, to accord with a version of reality that you wish to believe in yourself. But it isn't true.

The Anglican Communion isn't tolerating rebel Provinces. That is why the Archbishop of Canterbury has not issued invitations to the Rt Revd Martyn Minns nor the AMiA bishops. This is because these are bishops of putative rebel Provinces within the boundaries of the Episcopal Church, the majority of whose bishops have been invited to the Lambeth Conference because TEC isn't a rebel Province (as I suspect your post is trying to imply).

Please correct me if I am interpreting your post wrongly.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 8:35am BST

So, Colin, if TEC is not a rebel Province, what was the Tanzania Communique all about and why are we waiting for clear statements from TEC at the end of September?

Clearly, TEC is out of step with the AC or we would not have had Dromantine, TWR and the Tanzania Communique - would we?

Posted by: NP on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 9:25am BST

It's wonderful to see the US bishops being clear that they have evolved to this position with my prayer, consideration and discussion. It is wonderful to see societies seeing a need to offer dignity to all its citizens.

There is now an onus on us to say that as souls are given legal entitlements, that brings obligations to behave in a civilized manner.

God knows, the world could do with the Anglican Communion leaders demonstrating the ability to engage in dialogue, behave in a moderate manner (even with people we personally might detest) and to be prepared to ensure that all souls can safely go about their business.

When we see what is happening in places such as Gaza right now, that is the future we face if we can not learn to treat not just our friends and those we approve of well, but also those who we dislike or fear.

I would rather be associated with trying to end terrorism, on both a domestic front as well as the international scale, than seen as someone who is so entrenched on destroying or repressing their enemies that they are literally prepared to kill a planet unless it flatters them.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 12:07pm BST

Quick comment about news coverage - reporters don't write the headlines for their stories - and yes, conflict sells more papers than nuance - if it bleeds, it leads.

That said, I do wish the word 'split' could be excised from both text and headlines. That word implies something like a 50/50 division, when in fact those who refuse to accept decisions of the overwhelming majority of TEC comprise far less than 50%.

Even when it seems that a large number are leaving TEC - as in Colorado - the actual numbers of those who vote to leave are far less than the numbers touted by the likes of Armstrong etc.

But I guess "TEC Remains Overwhelmingly United for Justice" just isn't a sexy headline.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 1:03pm BST

As the back-and-forth between NP and Colin makes clear, the old adage still obtains: "One person's rebel is another person's freedom fighter."

(Of course, for some of us that brings up the question George Carlin asked: "If fire fighters fight fires, and crime fighters fight crime, what do freedom fighters fight?")

At the same time, NP, the term "rebel" implies an institutional structure, and not simply a body of opinion. The Executive Council responded within the context of an institutional structure to actions of institutions in the same institutional structure - dioceses within the Episcopal Church. To violate the constitutional rules of that structure is a significant step beyond holding a minority opinion within a context of opinions. The Anglican Communion per se has no institutional structure. The Episcopal Church can hold and act on a minority position within the body of belief help across the Communion; but there's no structure to "rebel" against.

The bishops and clergy of the dioceses named in the Executive Council statement can hold a minority opinion within the institutional structure of the Episcopal Church; but to act on that belief in such a way as to violate the institutional structure is meaningfully different. It might meaningfully be called "rebellion."

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 2:48pm BST

For me there is a major problem with Reuters and even the NYT reporting of all this. The document produced by tne Ex. Com. addresses the primatial scheme as proposed by Tanzania (vs. that proposed by +Jefferts Schori the American primate) It does not address the content of either of the "requests/ultimatums" in the Tanzanian communique i.e a moratrium on same sex blessings and an agreement not to consecrate a bishop in a same sex relationship. It questions the authority of the primates to make such demands and it states that, given TEC polity, the Executive Council could not make a permanent decision that bound TEC dioceses in the future.. That authority rests with general convention. TEC has not yet even received commentary on the specific requests of the communique on same-sex relationships. The primatial vicar scheme had to addressed because the time-line suggested by the Archbishop of Canterbury...six months prior to the Sept 30 deadline for the a response to the 2 "same-sex" issues. How either Reuters or the NYT got a headline implying that the Exec Com. had made a decision baffles me since the document itself so clearly declares that it does not have the right to make such a decision that can bind TEC's future. At best its decisions can bind TEC in the interim between general conventions. I am not a canon lawyer and I do wonder if the Executive Committee could have bound TEC to a moratorium on these issues until 2009? But the meeting was to address the PV s scheme and, had the Exec Com. so acted having just completed a request for input/study guide on the specific same sex issues, it could easily have been accused of pre-empting its own process. Until it moves through that process, it is asking that the primates consider what its legally constituted legislative body has done (the resolutions of 2006) and the ++Williams' sub-committee's TEC Windsor compliance report.

On the Churchill, Stalin Roosevelt triad in WWII, I often think of how easy it was for the dictatorships to make or change a decision on a dime and how slow and stodgy the democracies seemed. Probably still true. ...Thanks be to God

Posted by: EPfizH on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 3:05pm BST

The statement and the press release give a conflicting message. Does GC interpret its own resolutions? Or does nobody interpret them?

Posted by: Ormonde Plater on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 3:33pm BST

NP loves to make broad-brush statements, trying to make everyone believe that TEC is being rejected by the many provinces which constitute the Anglican Communion.

Then, every time he/she is called to account for the lack of truth to such statements, based upon the increasing number of Anglican provinces now rejecting the attempted fundamentalist putsch, NP simply repeats the statements, or rephrases them, so that his/her theme is endlessly repeated.

That tactic reminds me of tactical quotes attributed to two masters of the perpetual ever-repeating falsehood:

“A lie told often enough becomes truth.” - Vladimir Lenin

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." - Joseph Goebbels

Of course, if NP wants to exclude from Abuja's version of a new Anglican Communion all of the provinces which are now refusing to reject the historical diversity of the Anglican Communion, among them Canada, United States, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Scotland, with others now inclined to join that group, then NP will find an ever more narrow group of provinces that will tolerate intolerance.

Just give it time, NP, and you can rejoice in being a member of the Central African Communion of Fundamentalist Anglicans.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 3:40pm BST

To Lisa: It is worth noting that reporters (apart from some columnists) don't write the headlines for their own stories.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 6:23pm BST

Further to the WWII references, I offer the following quotation:

"Liberals are seeking to destroy our Communion and the Episcopal Church is threatening us ith its money. The Communion is in danger, yes, danger, from within and without. We need new laws and covenants. Without new laws and covenants, our Communion cannot survive."

Does this seem an accurate portrayal of the "conservative" position?

Consider - change the word "Liberals" to Communists;" change "Communion" for successively "country," "republic" and "nation;" change "new laws and covenants" for "law and order." You now have a quotation from Adolph Hitler when he was still a rabblerousing nobody in Bavaria.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 6:24pm BST

Godwin's Law violations help nobody.

Posted by: Oriscus on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 6:58pm BST

A reader wants to appreciate NP for sticking to his/her guns, but then the awareness of the persistent brinkmanship that tilts consistently near to bearing false witness against all sorts of different neighbors. And one hesitates, maybe.

Is TEC a province in foppish or adolescent rebellion against the wisdom of the ages and the unchanged truths of revelation about queer folks being dirty, danger, and repugnant to both believers and God?

Or is TEC - and here the sound bites must expand to mention others at all levels of worldwide Anglican Communion life - a statistical minority believer voice, fully within the boundaries of historic Anglican leeway, typical Anglican comprehensiveness and complexity, and exemplifying traditional Anglican provincial autonomy despite all the hype about new-fangled Anglican police powers whose actual covenants and institutions haven't quite been enacted among us?

To resist the most recent developments towards grabbing power at the most recent few Primates Meetings, too many of whose members continue to preach the most egregious sort of traditional flat earth legacy negatives about a variety of key hot button Anglican topics - leeway/comprehensiveness, autonomy balanced with real bonds of affection, gospel discernment is always categorical and Either/Or in form and function or it cannot be real and true, and of course those pesky queer folks and their much disputed yet real daily lives of patience and faithfulness and common sense decency - may be a traditionally archetypal Anglican stance to take.

The mystery? What do realignment believers really hope to gain by pulling all Anglican things to themselves alone, while continuing to trash talk all the rest of us? What is the gospel purpose and vocation of all that trash talk, again?

Is generalized trash talk about TEC as a province - just see one of the hyper conservative realignment blogs to sample the latest - just another fine version of trash talking everybody in the communion who is not already aligned with the curious push for realignment?

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 15 June 2007 at 10:03pm BST

No-one has violated Goodwin's Law, Oriscus - on the contrary, it seems to be alive and well in these parts. Be thankful that the rather descriptive American term "ChristiaNazi" has not raised its head.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Saturday, 16 June 2007 at 2:16am BST

In re: World War II, the church and gays in the US military. Pres. Truman's integration of the U.S. armed forces following World War II had a large effect on the participation of African-Americans in US public life. Bob Barr, a prominent American conservative, has demanded that gays be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. armned forces. There is rising pressure from the courts and from other groups for the end of "don't ask, don't tell." And the military's expulsion of dozens gay Arabic linguists is regarded as having seriously damaged "national security." If gays are allowed to serve openly in the US forces, then conservative evangelical attempts to deny full participation in the church to LGBT persons will suffer an irrecoverable blow. Americans are sentimental about military veterans. When openly gay soldiers begin to die in combat, look for all legislative restraint against full participation of gays in all aspects of American life to be removed; the result will be a cultural coup of the first magnitude. It will not be an end to homophobia, but it will be a body blow to its public acceptability. If the Iraq War were not an obscenity, I would find it amusing that the evangelical right bids fair to engineer its own downfall by supporting it.

Posted by: Susan in Georgia on Saturday, 16 June 2007 at 1:25pm BST


You might like this rabbinic interpretation of the "Boy who Cried Wolf" parable

There's also nothing wrong with tolerating a bit of mudslinging. Sure, the mud sticks for a while (in Eve's case a few thousand centuries), but eventually God cleanses even the most vilified. I love Isaiah 52:2 "Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck,O captive Daughter of Zion."

It also reminds me of that scene from Predator where Arnie comes up out of the mud to save himself and humanity. I don't mind getting dirty if that is what it takes to save this biosphere and humanity from extinction.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 1:02am BST

Susan in Georgia said,
"If gays are allowed to serve openly in the US forces, then conservative evangelical attempts to deny full participation in the church to LGBT persons will suffer an irrecoverable blow."

I'm not sure I follow the logic. The US military has atomic bombs, but the Anglican Communion takes a dim view on WMD - are we in error there? Are we adding the Uniform Code of Military Justice to Scripture, tradition, reason and ?

Posted by: Chris on Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 6:55am BST

Chris posted the following:

Susan in Georgia said,
"If gays are allowed to serve openly in the US forces, then conservative evangelical attempts to deny full participation in the church to LGBT persons will suffer an irrecoverable blow."

I'm not sure I follow the logic. The US military has atomic bombs, but the Anglican Communion takes a dim view on WMD - are we in error there? Are we adding the Uniform Code of Military Justice to Scripture, tradition, reason and ?”

As a retired officer of the US Armed Forces, let me help Chris to understand the significance of Susan's point, which was distorted in the analysis by Chris.

The radical right wing in the US, including its fundamentalist Christian allies, depends upon the patriotic reactions of millions of Americans to reinforce its prejudices (or, for the more comfortable sake of Chris and fellow fundamentalist believers, its narrow interpretations on what is actually unacceptably sinful) upon the rest of American society.

When Americans see gays honorably serving, openly, in the US Armed Forces, they will no longer be able to imagine these people as marginal to US society, and as comfortably invisible human beings.

With that patriotic appreciation for this new (i.e. open) segment of the US military, the radical right wing and fundamentalist allies will have to come up with new scapegoats, and many of the middle-ground of the US will shift to a new acceptance of gays and lesbians.

It has nothing to do with WMD's, whether nuclear weapons or otherwise, and everything to do with experiencing a class of human beings who were formerly -- in the minds of many of these Americans -- pariahs.

All of a sudden, they will find a need to reexamine the former knee-jerk reactions which they had on the issue of homosexuality, and many Americans will begin to understand that "it ain't necessarily so."

Patriots will be appreciated.

Serving gays will bring that new appreciation.

Eyes will be opened, and a more careful examination of the customary prejudices, and how they influence religious interpretations, will follow.

So Chris, it is not any influence by the UCMJ, but it does involve scripture and reason.

I hope I've helped you.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 9:57pm BST

I recognise with Jerry and Susan's insight that honestly acknowledging GLBTs in the US military would culturally knock a bit hole in the US's religious bigotry.

There is also an illusion that if they don't acknowledge them, that somehow the US armed forces are more "holy" than their opponents. There's a few problems with that paradigm.

The first and most obvious is that the world knows there are GLBTs in the US military as the vectors for AIDS pandemics were made manifest it became clear there were many male to male interactions have happened in the communities in which the US military visits.

The second is that big "G" God does not go to war on behalf of the souls who flatter Jesus the most, nor even God the most. God detests war and violence and only uses them in the worst of circumstances. (Why else do you think God kept the Shechina in a box for so many centuries? It was partly for her protection, but also for humanity's. And if Jesus didn't like her, why did he bother waking up the disciples to witness his transfiguration and her endorsement? The fire of the divine presence and the dark cloud around Jesus and Mount Sinai are the same consciousness. Solomon recognised them same. Solomon knew that God dwelt in a dark cloud (1 Kings 8:12), but Solomon sought to build a suitable temple which was then filled with the fire of the divine presence (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).)

The third issue is that God despises idolatry in any form. One main reason God despises idolatry is that the minute a species thinks of one thing as being the "ideal" or "perfect" it becomes obsessive and unbalanced. That leads to excesses and deficiencies that ripple out over time (That is one of the reasons God recommends the Jubilee Year, it puts an end to ripples before they degenerate into intergenerational civil wars or the complete destruction of communities or ecosystems). The Buddhist concept of detachment is very useful, and the souls of the Abrahamic traditions would do well to learn both detachment and meditation. Mind you, the Buddhists can make the error of being too detached and become indifferent to the suffering of others.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Sunday, 17 June 2007 at 11:11pm BST

Jerry - That doesn't help at all since labeling anyone who disagrees with you a "fundamentalist" is unhelpful and childish. This type of attack distracts from your argument.

One can humbly, prayerfully and reasonably look at what we know of God, believe homosexuality is a sin and not be a fundamentalist. Names such as John Stott, NT Wright and Billy Graham are fundamentalists under your definition. A fundamentalist will deny or minimize God's grace to homosexuals while I affirm God's grace is offered to all and "there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Posted by: Chris on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 12:04am BST

TEC reminds of the image of a man who climbs a tree, petches on a branch and then decides to saw off the branch on which he is petching on. How unwise.

Posted by: RA on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 4:54am BST

Jerry - you don't even seem to have heard of Dromantine, TWR, the Tanzania Communique.....keep up the wishful thinking if you like but I suggest you read the ABC's time interview and see his record - but then you like revisionist arguments so you can make these FACTS mean whatever you like.....this will not be so easy post Sept 30th

Posted by: NP on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 12:53pm BST

Re: Fundamentalism

Two ideas that may be useful here:

1) +NT Wright speaks of a dynamic form of Scriptural authority. The Bible is not a rule book or source book for morality. Rather, the authority of Scripture comes from God (it has no authority of its own) and that God-given authority is exercised in the way reading Scripture changes our hearts and minds to be more Christ-like.

2) I've heard this idea from a Lutheran theologian, but it might be found other places as well: A fundamentalist will begin with the Bible in an attempt to move to Christ - "I believe in God because the Bible says He exists." The correct view is to begin with God and Christ and therefore trust the Bible because God gave it to us - "I believe in God and can therefore trust his word found in the Bible."

The process of interpretation - and even the goal of Scripture! - is very different between fundamentalists and conservatives. They may hold some positions in common, but lumping the two groups together ignores these very important ideas of the role of Scripture and how God uses it.

Posted by: Chris on Monday, 18 June 2007 at 5:03pm BST

Oh my. Getting double-teamed by the unrevealed NP, and the half-revealed Chris.

Let's deal with NP first, who repeats his/her customary mantra " don't even seem to have heard of Dromantine, TWR, the Tanzania Communique..."

Well, of course I've heard of them NP; you keep repeating, ad nauseam, that relatively unimportant triad as if each was the equivalent of the Council of Nicaea.

They're not.

And you can keep referring to posters to this site as representing "wishful thinking," and I will keep referring to your views, and that of your allies, as "delusional thinking."

And what does that prove?

Just watch more, and more, and more of the Provinces continue to reject the exclusionary chants of Abuja and its allies.

Sorry about that, NP. Traditional Anglicanism, and not your friends, seems to be carrying the day.

And as for Chris, I love the way you try to deflect my analysis about what Susan had written, simply by selecting one word and acting all huffy about it.


And just so you understand how I am using the word fundamentalist, at least with regard to Christians, in my view Christian fundamentalists believe that they alone are guardians of the truth, and generally will not admit that other Christians may validly interpret the Bible differently than themselves.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate your taking the time to reply, so good night to both of you, and to your unrevealed friend RA (whom I shall hereafter think of as Amen Charlie).

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 5:42am BST

Jerry, do you agree then that liberals can be fundamentalists as well?

Turning to the analysis prospered by Susan and you: I think its weak on two levels.

1) Many, many conservative Christians in the US already see homosexuals as God's children and have witnessed positive contributions to society. Yes, some still hold to less gracious views. There is no great sea change to follow a few war heroes.

2) Most Christians do not look to the military to inform their faith. Military metaphors are used at times, but those metaphors illustrate an idea - they don't create the inspiration for the idea itself. I doubt many people would see a gay Audie Murphy and say "I want someone like that leading my church!"

Posted by: Chris on Tuesday, 19 June 2007 at 2:49pm BST

Re: gays in US military. I did not say that homophobia would end, only that its continued support on the basis of religion would be weakened by Americans' admittedly less than thoughtful patriotism. My comments were meant as an example of how social change occurs and how change in one area will affect thinking in another. As a white Southerner born in the 1950s, I am vividly conscious of how slavery and segregation were strongly defended using Scripture. The criticisms leveled at my comments here will not occur to most Americans, who lack their keen rhetorical skills and their investment in a certain view of Scripture. BTW, the fact that the US has WMD is actually valued by the religious right here, which believes fervently in a strong national defense. Thanks to Jerry Hannon for elucidating my somewhat telegraphic commentary.

Posted by: Susan in Georgia on Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 12:42am BST

After being criticized for applying the term fundamentalist, I posted to Chris my own definition: " my view Christian fundamentalists believe that they alone are guardians of the truth, and generally will not admit that other Christians may validly interpret the Bible differently than themselves."

Chris then responded: "Jerry, do you agree then that liberals can be fundamentalists as well?"

My answer, Chris, is that I certainly hope not.

I do not believe that I am the sole possessor of absolute truth, and I don't believe that any mortal -- in any part of the spectrum of Anglican theological beliefs -- can claim that certainty.

This is all the more reason that I reject those Anglican zealots, such as Abuja and his allies, who do claim sole possession of "the truth," and then work to impose their beliefs on other Anglicans.

And that is a principal factor in my own rejection of the fundamentalist mindset, and one reason why the historical diversity of Anglicanism, and its historical acceptance of differing scriptural positions, should be cherished by all Anglicans, conservatives, liberals, and even centrists like me, alike.

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Wednesday, 20 June 2007 at 5:42pm BST
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