Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Open Letter to GAFCON leaders

Updated again Friday morning

The following letter has been sent to the Leadership Team of GAFCON. A press release from Changing Attitude LGBT Anglican leaders threatened with murder and violently attacked in Nigeria and England explains the background to the letter.

Open Letter to the Leadership Team of GAFCON

Dear friends in Christ,

You may know that there were several instances of actual physical violence and threats of violence and death enacted against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leaders of Changing Attitude in Nigeria over the Easter Weekend 2008. The leader of a Changing Attitude group was violently beaten. Subsequently, death threats have been issued against the Directors of Changing Attitude in Nigeria and England.

The discourse taking place in the Anglican Communion about the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our churches must be conducted in the context of Christian love and mutual respect. If it is not, then people will continue to perpetrate abuse and violence against LGBT people.

Some Anglican Christians act in this way because they believe that the language of criticism articulated against LGBT people in general and the Episcopal Church in particular gives them permission to perpetrate violence and abuse against Christians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. We know that is not your intention, but it is the reality as many experience it.

Changing Attitude understands that the Anglican Communion is engaged in an extended period of debate about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our churches. We are committed to engage in this debate and in the Listening Process which is integral to it and authorised by the Councils of the church.

Conservative Anglicans will want to argue against the position which Changing Attitude represents. They will continue to question the pattern of life and identity adopted by some lesbian and gay Christians. We recognise the integrity of those who hold this position at the same time as we disagree with it. We are not resistant to engaging in the debate with those who hold radically different views.

We recognise that it is extremely difficult to conduct this debate in language that does not polarise opinions or inflame tensions. Tension will grow more intense in this period immediately prior to the Lambeth Conference and the GAFCON event.

The language we use has direct consequences on the lives of LGBT Christians. Language affects us emotionally, spiritually and physically. We ask that all of us within the Anglican Communion be mindful of the words we use and the opinions we express when talking about LGBT people. We ask that all of us actively discourage any form of threatening behaviour so that we may all engage in respectful listening and conform the pattern of our lives to the pattern of love embodied by our Lord Jesus Christ.

None of us wishes to encourage or condone violence and none of us wishes to be responsible, indirectly, for murder or violence perpetrated on another person, whatever their sexual identity.

Yours in Christ,
(Signed)

Revd Canon Professor Marilyn McCord Adams
Rt Revd Michael Bourke
Rt Revd Ian Brackley, Bishop of Dorking
Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ramsbury
Very Revd Vivienne Faull
Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth
Rt Revd Richard Holloway
Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme
Revd Sr Una Kroll
Rt Revd Richard Lewis
Rt Revd Jack Nicholls, Bishop of Sheffield
Rt Revd John Oliver
Rt Revd John Packer, Bishop of Ripon & Leeds
Christina Rees
Rt Revd Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire
Rt Revd John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln
Rt Revd Dr Peter Selby
Rt Revd Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth
Revd Dr Anne Townsend
The Revd Canon Angela Weaver

Letter sent to:
Rt Rev Nicodemus Okille, Archbishop Henry Orombi, Rt Rev Wallace Benn, Rt Rev Martyn Minns, Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Archbishop Greg Venables, Archbishop Peter Akinola, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, Archbishop Justice Akrofi, Archbishop Donald Mtetemela, Rt Revd Michael Nazir Ali

Update Wednesday evening

The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued this statement:

Archbishop condemns recent violence against lesbian and gay people

Wednesday 09 April 2008

In response to reports of violence and threats towards Christians involved in the debate on human sexuality, the Archbishop has given the following statement:

“The threats recently made against the leaders of Changing Attitudes are disgraceful. The Anglican Communion has repeatedly, through the Lambeth Conference and the statements from its Primates’ Meetings, unequivocally condemned violence and the threat of violence against gay and lesbian people. I hope that this latest round of unchristian bullying will likewise be universally condemned.”

Update Thursday

Additional information from Changing Attitude at Nigerians threaten English and Nigerian Directors of Changing Attitude.

And the BBC has published Archbishop criticises gay threats.

Friday morning
The Church Times has Gay Nigerians suffer violent abuse by Pat Ashworth.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 April 2008 at 11:37pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

Don't CA think that ALL people have a right to protection from violence? Why just LBGTQ people? Many Christians have been beaten, and even killed, in Nigeria recently! Why didn't CA speak about their rights? Or do they think that GAFCON is behind the violence?

Having a moral view about sexual behaviour is not the same as fomenting violence. I worry about liberals who think that all disapproval leads to violence... what will they do to me one day?!


ps Nice to see so many Bishops acknowledging the Rt Rev Martyn Minns' orders.... can we assume that they will now insist he be invited to Lambeth?

Posted by: david wh on Tuesday, 8 April 2008 at 11:57pm BST

"Some Anglican Christians act in this way because they believe that the language of criticism articulated against LGBT people in general and the Episcopal Church in particular gives them permission to perpetrate violence and abuse against Christians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. We know that is not your intention, but it is the reality as many experience it." Changing Attitudes

We know that is NOT your intention?

http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/2005/09/archbishop-akinola-gays-produce.html

We know that is NOT your intention?

http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/2006/01/why-listen-when-we-can-beat-defame-and.html

I think hoping for "good intentions" is playing a dangerous game of "pretend" with those who would/do instigate crimes of hate.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 1:24am BST

Yes, an important letter and timely. The reports heard recently are concerning. They should be able to condemn violence even though some of the stuff published has a nasty tone about it.

Here is one example:

http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/index.php/2008/04/07/the-gay-gene-hoax/

So people should keep cool heads.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 1:34am BST

Why is this letter signed only by "the usual suspects"? Where is the Anglican voice on these matters?

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:48am BST

Oh, on second reading I notice that there are quite a number of mainstream bishops among the signatories. I hope this group will continue to keep watch.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:51am BST

David Wh

Nothing about the actual violence perpretrated then? Nothing to say to the victims of this, who may well be reading your comments here on TA?
Only concern that liberals who question it will be so moved against you because of your posts on TA that we will hunt you down and beat you up?


I repeat my plea of a few weeks ago.

Are there people here who will stand shoulder to shoulder with me and help me write a letter to all the leaders of GAFCON, affirming that whatever we may think of homosexuality, we do NOT condone violence against gay people?
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could sign this letter, each identifying which side of the debate we stand on?

It would send the truest Christian message that we're all concerned with following God's commandments, and that hatred has no place in Christian life.

Any offers?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 10:15am BST

Dawid Wh

Further to my previous post...

and quid pro quo I shall sign your open letter to whoever you want to send it, condeming violence against Christians, in Nigeria and anywhere else in the world.
If it helps, I happily identify myself as a Changing Attitude supporter.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 10:31am BST

Most of the signatories to the letter appear to be patrons of Changing Attitude. Are they accusing the GAFCON leadership of incitement to violence? What is the purpose of this letter,exactly?

Posted by: Flossie on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 10:59am BST

"Nice to see so many Bishops acknowledging the Rt Rev Martyn Minns' orders.... can we assume that they will now insist he be invited to Lambeth?"

I expect they are being polite.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 10:59am BST

Violence must be condemned and stopped and as well as the use of hate language.
The Church of Nigerian Anglican Communion still put up their false statement
against me on their website because they know they can get away with it.
I thank God for helping me to escape being kidnapped 2 Sundays ago. And I thank
God that he saved the life of the leader of CAN Port Hartcourt who was badly
beaten up only a week earlier and.

If you ask me who these people feel encouraged by I will have no other person
to mention than Tunde Popoola who repeatedly refuse to believe my own side of
the story and keep treating me as if I don't exit but will not hesitate a moment
to publicly attack me where ever the issue of CAN is raised.

Conservatives media are still working with Tunde Popoola's false statements
against me and re-modifying the lies all the time.

If any Nigerian Bishop or African bishop should have singed the Changing
Attitude letter I am sure the bishop would be defrocked within 24 hours.

Archbishop Akinola has exaggerated the Nigerian story to much that anyone who
dare to speak against his views will be publicly declared a homosexual
supporter and only God knows what will happen to such person or bishops. We must
not forget that he has openly supported a law last year that would have made it
illegal for people to meet with homosexuals in public, and that would have put
these people in prison for up to 5 years.

I am grateful for everyone who speaks out against violence against anyone.

Posted by: Davis Mac-Iyalla on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 11:10am BST

David Wh: Why would being against all violence prevent you from taking a stand against violence done to gay people? The point is that there is specifically abusive language directed (it seems, uniquely,) at gay people by church leaders, to their shame, and there is specific violence done to gay people. One does tire of flat-earth churchpeople in denial about the nasty reality of anti-gay violence. I certainly lived it as a gay person growing up in the UK, so I can imagine how much worse it must be in some other societies. I think you need to take on board the experiences of gay people like me, and not just wish them (and us) away.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 11:40am BST

"Having a moral view about sexual behaviour is not the same as fomenting violence."

No indeed! But saying that gay people are less than animals, a cancer on the Body of Christ, and ought, with those who support them, to be jailed for five years certainly goes a long way to creating this situation. Why is it you cannot see this? Why is it that you believe that in order to express your belief that the Bible condemns homosexuality you either have to speak about gay people the way +Akinola does, deny that it has any effect, or otherwise minimize the very real threat of violence that your words and ideas create? What's more, why is it that when people point out to you the very real and dangerous consequences of your behaviour, you're immediate response is to deflect the issue as though people whose lives are endangered by your actions are actually making something up about you? This cannot all be laid at the feet of one man. But everyone who has had a role in creating this situation has to take responsibility for their actions. You too!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 12:14pm BST

People certainly need to be aware of the possible consequences of the chosen means of expression.

There is no excuse for death threats and violence, and it is important that, if these people claim not to have such intentions, that they unreservedly condemn such activities.

It is their responsibility to do so, and whilst there are violent acts committed against many people, these are directly aimed at people because of their sexual orientation.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 12:28pm BST

Flossie

I shouldn't think for a minute that CA are accusing GAFCON leaders of violence. But it is true that anti gay violence is often perpetrated by people who are socially and religiously conservative.
It is also true that GAFCON is largely about being anti gay, homosexuality being the "presenting issue".

So it would help if the GAFCON could recognise that some people might feel encouraged by its theology.
Especially where supposed Christians are beating up gay Christians, as happened in this case, it would be very encouraging if GAFCON could say, clearly: We oppose homosexuality, but we also oppose violence. We are called to love the sinner, not to beat him up. This is not what Christians stand for. This is not what God wants from us.


And I agree with you, it's sad that it's largely Changing Attitude patrons who feel strongly enough about this to speak out.

Shall we speak out too?
Will you sign my letter?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 1:42pm BST

"What is the purpose of this letter,exactly?"

To point out the reality of violence in the lives of gay people? It's certaihnly necessary. Look at this thread! To listen to David Wh, gay people are under no more threat of violence than anyone else, and he certainly seems more interested in defending that position than he is in listening to or trying to understand the testimony of those who are direct victims of this kind of thing. I await his response to Davis's post. He is not alone. Conservatives routinely deny the reality of anti-gay violence, and certainly never acknowledge that their behaviour contributed to that violence. Not active incitement, certainly, but the statements of GAFCON leaders and their support for the oppression of gay people certainly has contributed to this situation, and they should be made to take responsibility for that. Not that they will, of course, but one does what one can! Besides, creation of an atmosphere of fear will drive more and more gay people underground. That serves two purposes: it gets those sinister subhuman perverts out of sight, and it makes it even easier to portray them as sinister subhuman perverts skulking around in dark alleys just waiting for the chance to do God knows what indignities to good God fearing Christians and their children. It's hard not to see purpose behind this, actually.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 1:58pm BST

Having a moral view about sexual behaviour is not the same as fomenting violence. I worry about liberals who think that all disapproval leads to violence... what will they do to me one day?!

Yes, having a moral view about sexual behaviour is not the same as fomenting violence. There are many conservative Christians who believe that homosexual acts are wrong and who do not foment violence and who speak out against violence.

However, the Anglican church in Nigeria has fomented violence and - now, as in the past - conveniently ignores violence and will not speak out against it. This wilful ignoring of those who harm gay people in the name of Christ is a moral failure.

Those Anglicans in this country who associate themselves with the Anglican Church in Nigeria are choosing to overlook the fact that the latter is overlooking violence and fomenting violence.

It makes the claim to moral superiority highly suspect. 'We are more moral than you and we are happy to condone the beating and imprisonment of gay people'? I don't think so.

Posted by: PamBG on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 3:03pm BST

Dave Wh wrote: “Having a moral view about sexual behaviour is not the same as fomenting violence. I worry about liberals who think that all disapproval leads to violence... what will they do to me one day?!”

Ignore you?

; = )

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 5:17pm BST

Erica,

I'll gladly sign anything you do.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 5:20pm BST

'Are there people here who will stand shoulder to shoulder with me and help me write a letter to all the leaders of GAFCON, affirming that whatever we may think of homosexuality, we do NOT condone violence against gay people? '

I would be very happy Erika. The Changing Attitude letter is timely, and representative of a considerable breadth across the communion. It is particularly pleasing to see Canon Professor MacCord-Adams taking a stand, a woman of great learning.

I doubt however you will get very far with David Wh, whose usual tactic is to post an inflammatory comment at the head of a post and then disappear.

Posted by: John Omani on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 5:51pm BST

A failed opportunity to ask how Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals are making common cause, by hiding their different approaches to morality and contradictory interpretations of the Gospel, and pretending they are Biblically orthodox.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 6:06pm BST

"Or do they think that GAFCON is behind the violence?"

David Wh (and Flossie), I think David Mac-Iyalla just answered your question.

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 6:33pm BST

Violence has no place in our disagreements. But except for suppositon and conjecture, I have never seen any evidence linking any GAFCON participant to such violence. Moreover, other than anecdote, what is the evidence that supports the proposition that "Some Anglican Christians act in this way because they believe that the language of criticism articulated against LGBT people in general and the Episcopal Church in particular gives them permission to perpetrate violence and abuse against Christians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender?" Should I assume that Changing Attitude's language is what led to the physical assault several years ago on Kenyan Bishop Oketch in London by two men wearing collars who expressed anger over his stance on Lambeth 1.10? That would be just as irresponsible.
I would certainly prefer to see Global South leaders clearly condemn violence perpetrated against gays and lesbians. Perhaps if they were not accused of encouraging and inciting it on the flimsiest of bases, they might be more receptive to hearing how they might help create an environment that is less dangerous for those who are at risk.

Posted by: Dan on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 6:40pm BST

"I would certainly prefer to see Global South leaders clearly condemn violence perpetrated against gays and lesbians. Perhaps if they were not accused of encouraging and inciting it on the flimsiest of bases, they might be more receptive to hearing how they might help create an environment that is less dangerous for those who are at risk."

Since Bishop Akinola has been a very forthright and public supporter of the Nigerian government's anti-gay agenda--an agenda that has, indeed, led to violence against gay citizens of that nation...and since Bishop Akinola is a forthright and public leader of the Global South...and since no other leader of the GS has made a forthright and public denouncement of Bishop Akinola's support of the government agenda--

--well, if it walks like a duck, etc.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 7:37pm BST

Thank you, John and Göran.
Simon, do you think it would be acceptable to post my email address here, so people could contact me direct?
It's erika at blagdonlake dot demon dot co dot uk
I hope many more of you will participate in this.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:04pm BST

"The threats recently made against leaders of Changing Attitudes are disgraceful."

1. Being attacked by a mob and being beaten to within an inch of your life are more than threats.

2. Such violence against gay people happens every day.

3. Disgraceful? Gambling away the family rent and milk money is disgraceful. Murderous mob violence against another human being (especially one who has done you no harm) is a bit more than "disgraceful"!

4. Prior to the letter sent to the GAFCON folk, only stone cold silence emanated from Lambeth. So much for THAT crozier being a symbol of protecting the sheep.

5. Why is there no theological reflection in the comment? Yes, that would be difficult wouldn't it? Better to leave it out - along with any mention of the locus of the "threats".

In short, I have seen weak and sorry statements, but this one takes the cake!

Posted by: Kahu Aloha on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:32pm BST

Perhaps if they were not accused of encouraging and inciting it on the flimsiest of bases, they might be more receptive to hearing how they might help create an environment that is less dangerous for those who are at risk.

Posted by: Dan on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 6:40pm BST

Dan, if don't read the "direct quotes" supplied and if you don't care about what REALLY is vile and what dangerous and visicious stupidities blurt come out of the mouths of GS Primates, so be it...there is nothing to be done for those who will NOT read/see...MOST Anglicans/Christians don't need a trial by Jury to figure out what Davis just posted above...your not-so-sly deflection in support of "destructionist" instigators of fear/hate-crimes at Church is appauling.

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:50pm BST

I suppose it is consistent that some church leaders throw up that there are other Christians being abused: so why should they worry about whether or not some Christians, e.g. GLBTs, are being abused or whether their own behaviour is complicit or condones such conduct.

Perhaps it was that logic that made it tenable for dioceses to aid and abet pedophile priests move from one unsuspecting parish to another rather than dealing with their molestations of parishioners' children and friends. In many dioceses, it was only after the expensive legal lawsuits enforced by the secular state that some dioceses repented of their behaviour and put in place child protection strategies.

Then, there are those women who come to church on Sundays hiding red eyes and/or bruises caused by their "Christian" husband's aggression as they enforce their right to demand their wives' biblical submissiveness.

Personally, as a liberal, I don't have to do anything to these conservatives. Their words and their conduct are for worse than anything I could ever do to them. The more they spread the word, the more they condemn themselves. Matthew 23:13-15

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:56pm BST

I suppose you can't "prove" that the guy shouting "FIRE" in the crowded theatre was responsible for the stampede of people, or for the injuries and deaths resulting from the stampede.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 9:28pm BST

I can't imagine how anyone who follows Jesus would dream that they should use violence against, or abuse, people because they have an LGBT orientation... or even people who have extreme or abusive sexual desires. But publicly rejecting homosexual sexual behaviour as immoral, and verbally opposing campaigners for gay marriage, is not violence.. nor is it condoning violence.

Now, in the UK, a disproportionate number of gay men do suffer and even die each year due to other people's bad attitudes and behaviour.... But the biggest part of that by far (many thousands) is due to sexually transmitted diseases... that were inflicted by other gay men!

If Changing Attitudes put as much energy into changing attitudes to irresponsible sex as it does into remonstration about UK conservatives' attitudes to sexual morality it would save a lot of real suffering.

Posted by: david wh on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 12:39am BST

As a Baptized Anglican for 68 years , I must take issue with wording in the third ( 3rd ) paragraph above...I do not "Identify" myself as a Gay person , I was Created homosexual , by a Just and Loving God..and again in the 5th paragraph...( 5th) I am not living a " life and identity adopted " as Gay...I am a Christian living the life God has purposed for me to " walk in , and be fruitful..."
In other words , I have not made a MORAL CHOICE to be homosexual...I am homosexual..

How can ++ Peter Akinola hold sway over the church in Nigeria , and allow those who are part of his flock , be damaged or hurt...

Posted by: David R. Lyon - lay- Dallas on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 12:46am BST

Will gladly sign it Erika.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 1:08am BST

"ps Nice to see so many Bishops acknowledging the Rt Rev Martyn Minns' orders.... can we assume that they will now insist he be invited to Lambeth? [david wh]"

No one has disputed that these men are bishops. The reason they have not been invited to Lambeth, per communication from the ABC, is that they are not part of the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Robert Leduc on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 3:20am BST

Lambeth the Sphinx has spoken.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 6:21am BST

i'll gladly sign, erika.

oh, great, RW has condemned violence against gay people. isn't refusing to ordain gay people an encouragement to those who want to treat them with less respect? isn't withholding the invitation to lambeth from gene robinson encouragement to those who consider gay people to less worthy of equal treatment, and therefore easy victims?

RW wants to have his cake and eat it. he is at the forefront of violent acts against gay people and his example gives comfort to those who commit physical acts of violence.

akinola's words make him less suitable as a guest at lambeth than gene robinson's lifestyle, yet akinola is made welcome.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 8:15am BST

David: I trust that you would offer the same advice to the many, many more people who are infected by STD's in Africa, most of whom are supposedly conservative Christians? And, heterosexual. Or maybe not.

Also, few people actually die of STD's these days in the UK - HIV , for example, is much more of a chronic illness which can be controlled with drug therapies.

I am sure that Christian gay groups do support the promotion of stable and faithful relationships. Jeffrey John has written about them. But of course, you don't support them, you old hypocrite!

I look forward to your campaign against the promiscuity in sub-Saharan Africa which has led to enormously high rates of HIV in the heterosexual population. Naturally, as this is a problem literally thousands of numbers larger than the effect on gay men, I shall expect your mob to concentrate on it in a proportionate way.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 10:12am BST

"If Changing Attitudes put as much energy into changing attitudes to irresponsible sex as it does into remonstration about UK conservatives' attitudes to sexual morality it would save a lot of real suffering."

In Australia, it was the GLBT movement that was the most effective in coming up with strategies to manage the outbreak of AIDS and how to slow down its spread.

I've dealt with a few Christian GLBTs, a lot of their focus is on having responsible sex. A large part of their education programs are based on helping GLBTs understand how self-loathing can make souls behave irresponsibly and irrationally -e.g. unsafe sex.

They help slow the spread of STDs and other mutilating behaviours by teaching souls to love themselves, and not take on the self-loathing and punishment that others would throw on them, and thus to transcend and not act out irresponsibly.

It is similar to what we do to help refugees, indigenous groups, abuse victims understand that they have value and don't have to repeat the victim-abuser cycles from their childhood or environment.

It is Christianity (and other faiths) at their best.

Luke 11:46 “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."

Some souls should spend some time talking to souls who do ministry to GLBTS, it might help them be better Christians, not only with GLBTs but the other souls as well, including themselves.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 11:58am BST

Frankly, I don't know that I believe a word that Davis-MacIlya says. I suspect he has found a way to make money from westerners willing to contribute money to protect him from threats that may be mostly imagined or even invented.

Posted by: Dan on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 1:58pm BST

poppy,

If what you say about RW stands for conversation here than slander has become the order of the day! In accord with this people can not speak for themselves - we will say what their words and actions mean: get real!

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 2:10pm BST

ben w. i struggled to find a sentence in your last post, but i think you are disagreeing with me. look at it this way. when you help to create a moral climate in which gay people are not regarded as equal to straight people (and this is what RW has done) then you open the door to violence against them, you legitimise those who would go further. we have laws that prevent people singling out people for special and second-class treatment because of their race or their gender or their sexuality, but the c of e is exempt from 2 of these provisions. rw colludes with those who use the exemption. in this way, he is complicit in physical attacks on gay people. i know what real is. do you?

Posted by: poppy tupper on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 2:27pm BST

Dan
I know Davis Mac-Iyalla personally and I confirm that every word he says is true.

Money from Westerners? If only! And I mean that very seriously.

Anyone who does feel they would like to support him can do so via the Changing Attitude website.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 3:48pm BST

According to the egregious Dr Sugden on Anglican Mainstream, this letter is from the Bishop of Portsmouth. There is no acknowledgement that three other diocesan bishops as well as a clutch of suffragans signed it.

But the Bishop of Portsmouth recently spoke in favour of the proposed embryo research bill. He said that were it not for such research, he would be dead. He has been suffering from leukaemia and has had two if not three bone marrow treatments.

Has this turned him into A-M's Target for the Week? Sugden's singling him out in this way seems potentially to have some very distateful implications.

Posted by: cryptogram on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 4:27pm BST

Dan--on what basis have you decided you can't believe a word Davis Mac-Iyalla says? Have you ever met the man? Do you seriously doubt that there is violence against GLBTs---either in Nigeria or in the U.S.? (Two words for you: Matthew Shephard)

I am always curious as to why those who are in no danger for their views are so quick to dismiss dangers to others.

Full disclosure---I have hosted Davis Mac-Iyalla in my home. If he *is* a con man, he has got to be the most gentle, sincere con man in the history of the world. For one thing, he never asked for money...he only asked for an opportunity to tell his story.

Of course, I am reminded that people with a vested interest in the status quo considered Jesus to be crazy and a liar too. Davis would never claim to be Jesus, but--to my mind--he walks The Way with Him, and apparently must suffer the same hatred and persecution.

Dan--I encourage you to ask yourself "What if Davis is speaking the truth?" What would you do differently if you knew he was?

Posted by: Paige Baker on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 4:32pm BST

poppy,

If principled disagreement in the context of respect for the people with whom we disagree is to be equated with support of violence then any meaningful conversation is at an end!(who is falsifying here? when has RW ever spoken or acted to say that gay people are less than equal human beings?).

This amounts to a tactic simply to co-opt those who disagree (like the domineering husband, "It does not matter what you say, I know what's good for you and you are called to submit that is all there is to it.")

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 4:35pm BST

Other than his own personal statements, is there any objective evidence to substantiate threats against him? Other than the claim that an unnamed person was assaulted at a funeral by unknown assailiants, is there any objective evidence the incident occurred and that the bizarre statements alleged to have been made by the assailants actually were made?
Erica - you confirm everything he says. Is that simply becasue you believe him to be truthful or have you witnessed the incidents?

Posted by: Dan on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 5:02pm BST

I would agree with conservatives that principled opposition to homosexual behaviour, to the blessing of same sex unions and to the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals is not the same thing as advocating violence against homosexuals.

Indeed, there are any number of conservatives who speak in very measured tones, who make their case respectfully and honestly, who actually do "hate the sin" while loving the person they perceive to be a sinner.

Such people do not refer to homosexuals as "cancer."

Such people do not refer to homosexuals as "lower than animals."

Such people do not spread discredited data claiming that the lives of all homosexulas are disease-ridden, desperate and short.

Such people do not tar every homosexual person with rampantly irresponsible sexual behaviour.

Peter Jasper Akinola is not one such.

David Virtue is not one such.

Chris Sugden is not one such.

These and other leaders of the "conservative" movement (note the use of quotation marks - these people are no more conservative than George Bush is a peacemaker) are not responsible and resepectful opponents. They are hateful, venom-spewing, homophobic liars and hatemongers - scarcely different than Fred Phelps and his band of "God Hates Fags" heretics.

It is well past time that ALL honest people - liberal, conservative or moderate - to condemn the wilful dehumanizing of God's children.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 5:15pm BST

ben w.
you ask for an example. there are many. I'll give you one. RW made Jeffrey John withdraw from the post of bishop for the simple reason that he was a homosexual who had been in an active sexual relationship. now, that is treating him as less than a heterosexual and that contributes to a climate of opinion. within that climate of opinion some diocesan bshops refuse to appoint youth workers who are gay, and some thugs beat up homosexuals. they take comfort and support from one another. i don't for a moment believe that RW wants gay people to be beaten up, but he ought to own up to his part in creating a mind set where they are seen as fair game on different levels. do try harder.
my point about Akinola being less fit than Gene Robinson to attend Lambeth stands.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 5:31pm BST

Event 1: public statement "x is bad/immoral/evil"

Event 2: anonymous statement "Kill x!" (*)

Event 3: covert action, ASSAULT on x.

It is not necessary to believe that the perpetrators of Event 1 *directed* Events 2 and/or 3, for them to have the *moral responsibility* of PREEMPTIVELY DENOUNCING events like 2 or 3, ***every time*** they say "x is bad (etc)"

(*) I write from Somewhere in the American Heartland, where just two days ago, Event 2 occurred in a nearby city (in a neighborhood w/ a significant gay population): "Kill Gays!" spray-painted all over the neighborhood. :-(

[NB to Dan: "Kill Heterosexuals!" and NOT the example you cited re the Kenyan bishop---contemptible as any act of violence is---is the true *equivalence*. LGBTs are threatened, assaulted and killed for WHO they are, not ANYTHING they have said or done! (And speaking of contemptible: your impugning of Davis Mac-Iyalla---a longtime poster here who, qualitatively, has more credibility than you do, Dan!)]

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 6:20pm BST

Dan,
Let's turn this the other way round.

The Nigerian church has persistently made allegations against Davis, but has persistently been unable to provide the tiniest shred of evidence against him.
His story can be tracked through the web pages of Changing Attitude.

Colin Coward has also repeatedly asked Tunde Popoola in open conversations on Thinking Anglicans to provide evidence for his continuing slander of Davis. He has never received a reply.
This can be tracked through the TA archives.

In the recent attacks there has been evidence that the police is taking the assaults very seriously. They would not do that if the injuries sustained were not real, and if Davis had not been able to provide further evidence.

The unnamed person has to remain unnamed because of the danger gay people face in Nigeria. But again, there is evidence that the police considered the sustained injuries to be genuine, the threat to be genuine, and that supporting evidence was supplied by the assaulted person.

The British police have also taken the threats made against people here very seriously, again they would not do that unless supporting evidence had been supplied.

Those who signed the open letter to GAFCON and the Archbishop of Canterbury are all intelligent and careful people. They would not do that unless it had been possible to convince them of the seriousness of the events.

Let me ask you - other than a desperate wish to see this as a publicity stunt and a scam (for reasons I do not quite comprehend), what evidence do you have for your implied accusation that Davis is lying?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 6:37pm BST

JCF
I don't doubt gays and lesbians suffer violence at the hands of others. That it happens at all is obscene. But that truth does not require me to accept as true every allegation made nor this fellow's speculation as to who instigated some alleged incident.

Posted by: Dan on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 7:01pm BST

"He said that were it not for such research, he would be dead."

I'm not sure how informed the bishop is in this case. I don't know the bishop or his treatment, but bone marrow transplants have been an essential part of some leukemia treatment for years, as have stem cell transplants (the cells in that case come from thre patient's own body). Such treatments did not come from research on embyros, as far as I am aware, though I stand to be corrected. It is possible to study, and transplant, stem cells from an adult human.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 8:36pm BST

Ben: either you agree that gay relationships are equal to those of straight people or you don't. Simple as that. Anything other shows that you do not regard gay people as equal. The church is homophobic through and through. I think its unreformable, personally, other than splitting.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 9:00pm BST

poppy,

Actually for those who are prepared to be fair it is evident that RW has gone out of his way to affirm gay people as equal human beings. Even subject to serious criticism he has done so!

Therefore the example you cite of Jeffrey John is interesting. Out of context you can say anything you want. Keeping in mind the context of the AC as affirming faithfulness in marriage as the standard for bishops (and Lambeth '98 1.10 as one reflection of it), RW worked with great patience and understanding in this case. Without seeking to re-empt the matter, if there was a way to bring to J J to this post he supported appropraite steps to this end (in the end as I recall there was a kind of mutual recognition that in the light of the record and for the good of all this was not workable).

So in the first instance you ignore important elements of the situation and misconstue what happened ("RW made Jeffrey John withdraw from the post of bishop for the simple reason that he was a homosexual who had been in an active sexual relationship"). In the second instance you are simply wrong ("that is treating him as less than a heterosexual ..."). Malcolm in the post above has recognized this when he says, "I would agree with conservatives that principled opposition to homosexual behaviour, to the blessing of same sex unions and to the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals is not the same thing as advocating violence against homosexuals."

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 10:08pm BST

But his actions do not reflect some of his words, Ben. Or he would simply say - discrimination is wrong. And the current teachings of the church, which do not regard gay people as equal and do not treat them equally, are also wrong

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 12:26am BST

Dan, why should I, or anyone here, GIVE A DAMN, what you say or believe?

After all, that's *your* take on "this fellow".

His name is Davis Mac-Iyalla, Dan. He's a real person, w/ a real history, who's not only posted here at TA longer than you have, some of us here (around the world) have actually met him! His "speculation" (your term) carries actual WEIGHT here...

...unless you simply dismiss all the testimony of everyone w/ a contrary POV than yours (Oh wait: that's what you ARE doing)

Lord have mercy!

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 6:00am BST

Dan wrote. “But that truth does not require me to accept as true every allegation made nor this fellow's speculation as to who instigated some alleged incident.”

Can you explain that? For I am not following.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 6:53am BST

Whatever one believes about the presenting issues

THERE IS NO PLACE FOR CHRISTIANS TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS KIND OF VIOLENCE OR TO HOLD BACK FROM CONDEMNING SUCH VIOLENCE WHEN IT OCCURS

In particular, within the Anglican Communion, we are supposed to be engaged in a listening process. Listening isn't closing off the conversation by saying 'I don't believe you' or 'I don't like what you are saying' even though these things may be true. It is saying 'tell me more, explain further ...' even in the face of scepticism, suspending our personal 'right of judgement' for a while and valuing the other person's story ahead of our need to express our own opinion.

And remember also there are such things as sins of omission - the failure to speak against violence when we are in a position to do so will only allow violence to flourish.

This week we remembered Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the courage of the confessing church. It was Bonhoeffer who also reminded us that there is a cost of discipleship. We should be resisting this violence ...

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 9:57am BST

ben, i'm going to accept your integrity and that you believe that what you say is true. in which case, i have a very valuable bag of magic beans here that i am prepared to see you at a reasonable price.

Posted by: poppy tupper on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 10:31am BST

".....you ignore important elements of the situation and misconst[r]ue what happened ("RW made Jeffrey John withdraw from the post of bishop for the simple reason that he was a homosexual who had been in an active sexual relationship"). That's right, Ben, in the interests of truth this ought to read "was a homosexual who had been in an active sexual relationship and who had brought a pack of rabid evangelicals baying at his and the Archbishop's heels".

Dan, your posts on "this fellow" Davis Mac-Iyalla are among the most uncharitable, not to say the most sanctimonious, I have ever read on Thinking Anglicans.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 11:48am BST

"either you agree that gay relationships are equal to those of straight people or you don't"

I would reword that ultimatim: "gay relationships that stick to the monogamy of straight heterosexual relationships are equal".

Sorry, gays that sleep around and tell you to respect them in the morning are no better than males who promise to repsect females in the morning but then go off to satisfy themselvs with no reagard to their reputation nor trustworthiness.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 11:48am BST

Cheryl,

You do see that in order to talk about this in some meaningful fashion we are required to make some distinctions!

Interesting statement that: "either you agree that gay relationships are equal to those of straight people or you don't." Yes, some agree and some don't! First, they are not the same or you would not be talking about them in this way (there is a distinction). Now, they may be what some people want, they may be meaningful to them. But if they are not the same in what sense equal? It is apparent: a male and female relationship brings more "difference" to the relationship. It brings the possibility of bearing children to the relationship. Persons involved in homosexual relations may think them "more meaningful." On what basis are they to be declared as "equal?" If you take into account Biblical and historic Christian teaching we certainly make a distinction and they are not simply equated.

As in the case of poppy earlier, it is a point of view that for its own purposes wants to slide over and ignore key elements in the situation (if you ignore the standard set forth in the NT and the tradition of the AC for the position of bishop you can have anyone you deem to be "nice" as bishop. And you can say what you want about RW - because he seeks to respond in the context of historic AC teaching - you can say he is involved in "hateful action" against J J and gay people). You can say it ... whether it is true or not is another matter.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W` on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 2:07pm BST

Dan is wilfully distorting reality here.

No one has suggested that the addressees of the open letter have (necessarily) directly advocated violence against homosexual persons.

What the letter says (you have read it, haven't you Dan?) is that the use and abuse of language can dehumanize people and can lead to violence.

There is a difference between saying "I don't agree with the ordination of a non-celibate homosexual" and saying "homosexuals are a cancer." Perhaps the difference is too subtle for you to grasp, but there is a difference. The former does not dehumanize homosexuals. The latter does. The former likely does not serve to incite violence against homosexuals. The latter almost certainly does.

There is a difference between saying "I think the Church should not bless same sex unions" and saying "homosexuals are a lower than animals." Perhaps the difference is too subtle for you to grasp, but there is a difference. The former does not dehumanize homosexuals. The latter does. The former likely does not serve to incite violence against homosexuals. The latter almost certainly does.

I don't think you're a stupid man, Dan. Clearly you are sufficiently literate to operate a computer and to write a more or less comprehensible sentence.

Thus I can only attribute your bizarre comments to support for the manner in which several of the "conservative" leaders have wilfully, intentionally and maliciously used language intended to dehumanize homosexual persons.

And if you're fine with "homosexuals are a cancer" and "homosexuals are lower than animals," then I find it difficult to believe that you's have any problem with "God hates fags."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 5:05pm BST

"It brings the possibility of bearing children to the relationship."

Ben, I've always had doubts about modern gay positive theology, as least as far as it deals with marriage. I am not at all convinced that marriage is NOT solely for a man and a woman. There are alegorical factors to do with the creation of life, fertility, etc. I was reading about ancient Near Eastern mythology a few nights ago. One thing that struck me was the linking of fetility and the Divine, stories of gods impregnating godesses as allegories of the fertility of the Earth, etc. I have no doubt these ancient tales informed later, and contemporary, Hebrew scholars and prophets. Not to say these myths are "God breathed" but they certainly informed the understanding of the prophets on whom God breathed. Clearly the linking of male and female fertility to the Divine Creativity is an ancient meme in Near Eastern culture, and doubtless was an influence on the Hebrews. The question is, do we want to maintain this pagan attitude in Christianity? There is nothing inherently wrong in us preserving the places where God revealed His Light to the pagans. Augustine said there is nothing new in Christianity, it is all there in paganism, just covered and hidden. I would argue, actually, that this is a place where we must hold on to our pagan past. The thing is, I don't equate gay marriage with gay acceptance, or even tolerance. If marriage is only for heterosexuals, it makes as much sense to say I am persecuted because the Church won't marry me as it does to say I am persecuted because I can't bear a child, being a man. This is not permission to hurt, slander, lie about, exclude, persecute, or otherwise defame gay people, though, which is a distinction the Right does not seem capable of making.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 6:57pm BST

Cheryl. Yes, I agree - but that is exactly the point. Its the quality of the relationship, not the gender of the participants, which matters!

And those who do distinguish on that basis are honophobic - as is the Bible and historic Christian teaching.

That is why revision is needed.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 7:08pm BST

Malcom
What is the evidence that Peter Akinola's words have incited violence? Don't tell me it almost certainly does. How would comments by Peter Akinola to western journalists provoke attack inside Nigeria by the folks alleged to have committed them? Do you think street thugs in Nigeria read the NY Times? And yes I am literate - at least Phi Beta Kappa thought so as did the institution of higher learning who conferred my doctorate. I do not condone thuggery against gays or anyone else. IF it occurred, it is to be condemned. Nothing I have seen or heard convinces me it took place. Erika vouches for everthing Davis Mac-Iyalla says. Based upon what? I know and have spent personal one on one time with Peter Akinola. And I can confirm that he has never authored, promoted, supported or condoned violence against gays or anyone else. How do I know? Ask Erika.

Posted by: Dad on Friday, 11 April 2008 at 8:01pm BST

So, unless we can draw a direct line from "Akinola called gays a cancer" to "Budddy there punched a gay man in the head," then calling gays "cancer" is acceptable behaviour?

You are joking, aren't you?

Language is not without power. Using degrading and dehumanizing language is not morally neutral and does have a cumulative effect.

That is why attempted genocide always - ALWAYS - begins with dehumanizing descriptions of the proposed victims.

And since you are not a complete idiot, I am quite sure you don't believe your own desperate spin. If Peter Jasper Akinola is calling gays "cancer" when he speaks to western media, then his language is at least as incendiary when he speaks in Nigeria.

He may not have the intent of inciting violence - although personally I think he does.

But the open letter does not accuse him of having such intent. It calls on him (and others) to consider the import of the language they use.

I can only think of one reason why you find this so offensive. I'd prefer not to attribute that reason to you, but I see little choice.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 5:39am BST

Dad, no, Nigerians probably don't read the New York Times. They do have access to the internet. Those who attacked Davis and the Port Harcourt leader cited the Changing Attitude web site as their source of information. They had clearly been reading it carefully. So do the staff in the church office in Abuja. It was from the web site that the Nigerians who sent me texts got my phone number and address, which they quoted to me.

You won't believe this, will you? You think I am either naive or a liar. I am astonished at the vitriol that is being poured out on myself and gay Nigerians. Conservatives have a huge need to defend themselves against the truth. Every post which expresses disbelief confirms the people who have perpetrated the attacks and issued death threats in their belief that they can get away with it, and have the support of the Church of Nigeria.

Posted by: Colin Coward on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 6:52am BST

Dad wrote. “And yes I am literate – at least Phi Beta Kappa thought so as did the institution of higher learning who conferred my doctorate. I do not condone thuggery against gays or anyone else. IF it occurred, it is to be condemned. Nothing I have seen or heard convinces me it took place.”

It doesn’t, does it?

Sorry, but you have just managed a wholesale Denial of the facts, dressed in self righteousness and a bit of snobbery ;=)

It is as ridiculous as it sounds.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 7:07am BST

Does Dad actually b e l i e v e that an average Nigerian policeman would be i n t e r e s t e d in investigating a case of what The Venerable Akintunde Popoola so often colourfully has described on Thinking Anglicans as “Jungle Justice” – and, not least, of putting his name under the Report???

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 7:27am BST

Dad,
you ask me to comment.
I did comment earlier on this thread, in a post aimed at Dan.
Maybe you would care to respond to that before we continue this conversation?
(Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 April 2008 at 6:37pm BST )


My open letter to GAFCON is now ready for signing. A few people have offered, sadly, so far not a single conservative despite all your protestations in the last 2 weeks that violence must be condemned. If anyone would like to at least read the letter and then make a decision, please contact me. Simon has published my email address earlier in this thread.
(Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:04pm BST )


And I'd be grateful if Göran and John Omani could contact me. You have both offered to sign but I have no contact address for you.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 9:10am BST

Ben
"If you take into account Biblical and historic Christian teaching we certainly make a distinction and they are not simply equated."

Have you read Tobias Haller yet? I've often posted the link to his sex articles here. Continuing to make simple statements like this isn't going to impress anyone on TA.
If you're serious about engaging, let's have a proper conversation based on what Fr Tobias says.

http://jintoku.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 9:34am BST

The main contours of the situation I see as follows:

(1) GAFCON leaders do not need to receive a letter informing them that we do not condone violence against gay or any other people, because no GAFCON leader or participant would condone violence against anyone at all (gay or otherwise) in normal circumstances. And we must all really be well aware of that fact: so why pretend otherwise.

(2) The link between these brutal attacks and the orthodox Christian position on homosexuality is...well, I'm stumped. What is the link? Is there a link? Why are some people claiming that there is? Opposition to homosexual behaviour (as opposed to opposition to self-styled homosexual people) is something widespread, and is not confined to Christians.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 1:31pm BST

Dearest Erica Baker,

Congratulations to your letter! I used to be reachable via my Blog, but unfortunately this service/link disappeared due to some entirely unilateral revision or other by the Blogspot people. There seems to have been innumerable such revisions.

My password was destroyed in one of them, so I am not even able to reach my Blog nowadays : - (

Simon Sarmiento, however, has my e-mail, for all comments are signed with it.

I hereby solemnly authorize him to forward it to you (for I haven’t got yours either ; = )

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 6:58pm BST

Thank you Göran.

I looked for your address on your blog, it's astonishing that it can just disappear!

My email address can be found higher up in this thread (Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 at 8:04pm BST)


Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 9:36pm BST

Christopher Shell

It's quite simple really. If I say to my children that I'd rather they didn't play with a certain group of other children, I may have my own reasons that appear valid to me.

But when I then hear that those other children are getting beaten up, I don't need firm evidence that my own pronunciations are directly to blame.
As a responsible parent I will take the opportunity to affirm, strongly, that whatever I said about these other children, I did not intend for them to get beaten up. So if you, kids, had any part in this, STOP DOING IT NOW! If you didn't, good. But whoever did it: STOP DOING IT NOW!

Where's the problem?

Unless I hate those other children so much that I'm secretly glad they got beaten up. Then I'll continue to claim that I don't like violence, but will fudge and do everything short of actually making a contribution towards stopping it.

Could there be any other reason for Christians not to speak out against violence?

Still waiting for conservatives, ANY tiny single conservative, to support my letter.....


Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 12 April 2008 at 9:43pm BST

Christopher: "(2) The link between these brutal attacks and the orthodox Christian position on homosexuality is...well, I'm stumped. What is the link? Is there a link? Why are some people claiming that there is? Opposition to homosexual behaviour (as opposed to opposition to self-styled homosexual people) is something widespread, and is not confined to Christians."

____________________________________________________


A trifle disingenuous, wot?

The open letter is very clear. Perhaps you should read it.

The problem is not "the orthodox Christian position on homosexuality."

The problem is the hatemongering language of some of those who claim to be defending "the orthodox Christian position on homosexuality."

One can defend "the orthodox Christian position on homosexuality" without calling gay people " a cancer," without calling them "less than human."

THAT is what the letter is about, and your avoidance is simply pathetic.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Sunday, 13 April 2008 at 5:41am BST

Despite all the references to statements made years ago, when tempers subside, I do hope that we get to know the results of the investigations into the text messages Colin submitted to the police in UK. I believe the originating cell phone can be traced even in Nigeria, including other numbers that were in communication with it. They should all be thoroughly investigated and I am particularly interested in any link the owner of the cell phone has with GAFCON or with CA leaders.

Posted by: Tunde on Monday, 14 April 2008 at 1:17pm BST

Tunde, if you actually had any understanding of communications, you would realize that increasingly desperate spin does nothing to advance your cause.

And you might also then have the sense to tell your boss to tone down the hatefilled rhetoric.

No one - not even Colin - is suggesting that your boss picked up the phone, called a hired thug and said, "Go beat the crap out of Davis Mac-Iyalla." Some of the posters here wouldn't put it past him, but that isn't the issue here.

The issue is that inflammatory language encourages inflammatory actions. Referring to people or groups of people as "cancer," as "satanic," as "less than human" is not a morally neutral act. It encourages attitudes which make it easier to treat such people with disrespect, even with violence.

It is no coincidence that genocides, for example, are always preceded by extended periods of dehumanizing rhetoric. It is not by chance that a German government documentary depicted Jews as rats in the late 1930. It is a random alignment that Hutu extremist radio broadcasts in Rwanda were referring to Tutsis as cockroaches immediately prior to the genocide.

Words have power, Tunde. As a supposed professional communicator, you should know that.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 14 April 2008 at 5:10pm BST

The open letter is nonsense and pure politics. The Primates, as a group, have all condemned abusive treatment of gays, etc. The open letter targets the GAFCON bishops. Send it to all bishops. Ask that it be read in every church. I would sing such a letter but not one that implies that the GAFCON bihsops bear some special or particular responsibility.

Posted by: Dan on Monday, 14 April 2008 at 6:26pm BST

Erika,

I have hesitated to respond to your last post (where does it get us?).

I have read some of Haller and pieces like it. The argument involves "natural theology" and "modern knowledge." The point I made I think is basic to Christian identity, if you take into account Biblical and historic Christian teaching we certainly make a distinction,homosexuality is not simply equated with marriage of male and female. If we seek to evade this then we may indeed simply be talking past one another.

We have been down the path you propose before, there are certainly assumptions that people make about this that need to be questioned. And there are some important questions to be explored but the assumption that "modern knowledge" of itself solves moral issues is even more of a blind alley.

To respond in your terms I might say: Until you have read Oliver O'Donvan (Regius prof of Moral Theology, University of Oxford), Resurrection and Moral Order,"continuing to make simple statements like this isn't going to impress anyone" here.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 14 April 2008 at 6:42pm BST

There would have been nothing wrong with having that letter sent to every bishop in the Communion with the request that it be read in every Church.

That said, not every primate has used dehumanizing rhetoric about homosexuals.

Of those I know have done so, it happens that only 100% have established leadership roles in GAFFEPRONE.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Monday, 14 April 2008 at 8:44pm BST

Malcom
You previously insulted me by questioning my literacy. I will not return the favor but please be so kind as to go back and read what Erika wrote. She asked for folks to join in a letter stating: 'we do NOT condone violence against gay people." To my knowledge, none of the leadership of the Global South has condoned such violence. That is why it is inappropriate to address such a letter merely to them. It suggests that they have condoned that kind of violence.

Posted by: Dan on Monday, 14 April 2008 at 10:40pm BST

Malcolm,

The language of contempt has not come simply from one side!

Even the language about me here only a few weeks ago was not just insulting it was the equivalent certainly of calling someone a "cancer" or lower than an "animal." What has been the lnguage about RW, bishop N T Wright, or former +++Carrey? And what about language with refernce to evangelicals? Are we really going to take this seriously? Perhaps ... let him who is without sin cast the first stone? Where do we begin to set this right? I have been asking for that for some time!

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Monday, 14 April 2008 at 11:40pm BST

Just asking is no good. It won't lead anywhere.

You have to start with yourself.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 6:20am BST

Ben said: 'the language about me here only a few weeks ago was not just insulting it was the equivalent certainly of calling someone a "cancer" or lower than an "animal".'


Now Ben, I'd sure like to see that. I've never seen anything on TA about ANY poster that can honestly be compared with Akinola's vile and odious language about gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered persons.

I'm not questioning that you may have been insulted. That I believe. (Nor would I defend it as being morally neutral either.)

But when you claim that you have been subjected to the equivalent of "cancer" or "less then human," I simply do not believe you.

Evidence, please.

And Dan, very few bishops of the Communion routinely use dehumanizing language about GLBTs. Those that do mostly seem to be attending GAFFEPRONE.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 6:51am BST

Dan,
sorry, I hadn't appreciated that your open letter comment was aimed at me, not the open letter this thread refers to.

Would you care to read my letter before you comment on it?
If you contact me I gladly send you the draft.

Having said that, it would be wonderful if all bishops in the Anglican Communion would make a stand against anti gay violence.
I'll be the first to sign your letter to them all!
Well done for suggeting this.... I assume that's what you were doing?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 7:52am BST

Simon

Please screen Ben W. His allegations "Even the language about me here only a few weeks ago was not just insulting it was the equivalent certainly of calling someone a "cancer" or lower than an "animal."" can either be true or a bald-faced lie.

If true, provide the links. If not, comment that there are no links to support the allegation and treat appropriately.

TA, unlike many other blogs or forums, does not remove evidence to deny historical truth. If the allegations are true, the evidence exists in TA archives. If there is no evidence, it merely proves the corruption of some souls who purport to be "holy" and to offer "peace".

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 11:46am BST

Erika
It was indeed what I was suggesting. Violent acts perpetrated against homosexuals are evil. All bishops of the church should be able to agree on that.

Posted by: Dan on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 2:16pm BST

Dan,
the problem is that when attacks do happen, everyone agrees in principle that they should not happen, but many also doubt that this particular attack happened (presumably because no-one took a u-tube video when it happened) and discredit the victim.
And so, although we all agree in theory, in practice, no-one does anything about it.
As we can see again here.

I must admit, today I feel really low about it all.

When I first posted the idea on TA I had planned to write a neutral letter, simply condemning an act of known violence. I thought it would be possible for conservatives and liberals to sign it, maybe even identifying their allegiance. Imagine - A N Other from Stand Firm. It would have been a brilliant message that people can have opposing views on homosexuality without condemning violence against anyone. To my mind, it would have raised the credibility of the conservative camp!

Instead, I find that even liberals find such a statement too dicey to sign. Despite a lot of support on TA here (by people posting with pseudonyms or untraceable first names only), only 5 have actually agreed to signing so far!

What kind of church is this, where it's becoming an act of bravery to say that it is wrong to beat someone up?

If that's what church is like these days, God has probably left it a while ago and it's time to leave the sinking ship.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 4:23pm BST

I meant "without condoning violence", of course. Neat Freudian slip!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 4:46pm BST

Dan said: "Violent acts perpetrated against homosexuals are evil. All bishops of the church should be able to agree on that."

Thank you for that unambiguous statement. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced your second sentence is accurate.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 5:09pm BST

Erika,

Sounds like people have to get on your list in order to be accepted as against the violence?. As one person has noted, just the way you put it, "we do not condone violence." That was accepted and clear from the beginning without being on anybody's list.

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 9:29pm BST

Cheryl,

I am quite willing for Simon to do as you have suggested. There was an incident about two or three weeks ago and three or for months ago there were a series of misrepresentations and denigrations of me and others (to which I reacted).

I think it is telling that you are so eager to conclude a judgement that, without regard for my statement and before considering the evidence, you anticipate a negative judgement against me!!

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Tuesday, 15 April 2008 at 9:39pm BST

"That was accepted and clear from the beginning without being on anybody's list."

Really?

"Acccepted" by whom? "Clear" to whom?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at 4:59am BST

Ben
Oh no, no-one has to "get on my list".

But two things are true:
Conservatives here have said they are against violence. Yet, when this particular instance of violence became known and even condemned by the Archbishop, many have tried to smear the victims and called them liars.

People have approached me and offered to sign my letter, but at the last moment have pulled out because they feared to reveal their real identities.

And many here have criticised me for wanting to write this letter in the first place, rather than criticising the violence that inspired it.

Draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at 8:30am BST

Ben W
I think you may have misconstrued the comment by Cheryl. I agree with her that, if you are going to make such a strong charge about earlier commenters here, you should substantiate it by citing specifics to which you object. It's not my responsibility to do that for you.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at 8:51am BST

Simon

As you are aware, when someone has made an allegation against me, I have take responsibility for protecting my own name. For example, there was a Will who claimed I had referred to a biblical passage that I had not. I made the effort to review the biblical passages quoted within the thread and "Will" never rose to the challenge.

My comments at that time apply again now "If you can not link to such a reference, then your claim is spurious and deceptive. In Aussie slang, another word is "busted". God does not require perfect messengers, and sometimes relies on the imperfect to expose the nit pickers. If perfection is required, we all stand condemned, even more so those who think they are not."

The thread concerned http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002708.html

Like myself, Ben has to take responsibility for protecting his name. If he cannot quote the passage with the substantiating link, then he has proven his calibre to be no better than "Will's".

Ben now has to prove that he moves with the Spirit of Truth. God's truth shows no partiality in justice or matters of the Law.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at 11:04am BST

Cheryl et al,

The incident of which I spoke was the post under "due process for bishops" (Mar 18) on this list. The post was submitted on Mar 21.

It was made about me in response to one who has constantly expressed his contempt for me and any evangelical(regularly accussing me of "lying," or of RW "showing his wolf's teeth etc). The response was in mockery of me, that what I really support is the conduct of "God's true follower, the example of Lot who offered his daughters to be raped and then fathered their children."

Now I do regard this as lower than an animal! For no animal would behave thus, and it is parallel to the way it is used when others speak against same-sex relations. I have deliberately not used the name of the person because an apology was made after (though the seriousness of it was not clearly recognized).

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at 9:29pm BST

Link please

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Thursday, 17 April 2008 at 12:11pm BST

Ben, I don't agree that this is worse than calling someone a cancer, or less than human, or satanic.

I will agree that it was over the top.

I note two things that distinguish this from the horrific language and conduct of Akinola et al.

1) The person who said it (whoever it was) is not an influential leader of the Anglican Communion.

2) The person who said it was prepared a) to acknowledge that s/he said it, b) was prepared to withdraw and c) was prepared to apologize.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Thursday, 17 April 2008 at 4:11pm BST

Malcolm,

It is helpful to keep things in context and perspective. You call attention to that.

You will note that what I said above was "the equivalent" of this language of contempt and hatred. The original point,this is far from being one-sided, of evangelicals against others (I noted in the echanges from J I Packer I found strong clear language about the differences but considered and thoughtful), we have had some form of it here for a long time.

In the incident I referenced here, it was not as such withdrawn, it was if anything "excused" (for those who want to check it is a simple matter of clicking March in the archive above and scrolling down to the entry).

Ben W

Posted by: Ben W on Thursday, 17 April 2008 at 5:39pm BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.