Friday, 5 November 2010
Gregory Cameron writes to the Church Times
The Bishop of St Asaph, Gregory Cameron, has written a long letter to the Church Times about the recent advertisement opposing the Anglican Covenant.
His letter is available to read in full here.
Sir, — There was a very curious document in last week’s Church Times (full-page advertisement, page 7). In it, two organisations, Inclusive Church and Modern Church, for which I have formerly had the highest regard, turned themselves into the nearest to an ecclesiastical BNP that I have encountered.
They resort to the old tactics of misinformation and scaremongering about foreigners and outside influences to whip up a campaign against the Anglican Covenant, and replace reasoned argument with a “Man the barricades!” mentality that is little short of breathtaking…
There is also a news article about this, see Ed Beavan ‘Little Englander’ jibe at Covenant advert.
A BISHOP has compared two groups opposing the Anglican Covenant to “an ecclesiastical BNP”. They are “latter-day Little Englanders”, he says…
…The Revd Jonathan Clatworthy, general secretary of Modern Church, said this week that the Covenant had come out of the debate in the Communion over gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions, but this had been “played down by the Covenant’s proponents”.
He denied the charge of scaremongering. Conservative bishops “have made it quite clear the whole point of the Covenant is to exclude the United States”, he said.
“It’s really a case of allowing differences of opinions to be heard and explored, and that would be prevented by the Covenant as the text says when there is a big controversy you can appeal to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion, and they will lay down a decision that will be binding for all Anglicans.”
He said that it would lead to a “centralisation of power” and make the Church of England a “more confessional Church”, making “Anglicanism more like Roman Catholicism with a mighty Magisterium”…
And the Question of the Week in the Church Times is Should the Church of England reject the Anglican Covenant?
Posted by Simon Sarmiento on
Friday, 5 November 2010 at 7:28am GMT
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As others have said, once people begin invoking Fascist organisations and associations) (Nazis/BNP?/Hitler/1939), rational debate flies out of the window.
Godwin's Law strikes again.
Civility - within some strands at least of the 'orthodox' side - seems to have packed up. The tone of some of the recent comments seems to me quite simply disgraceful.
Whilst showing due deference to the office and work of a bishop, let us not forget whose Chaplain the Bishop of St Asaph was. His letter and its tone may well simply be those born of close service to Dr Williams. But I have to say that if these are really his views then the leave of naivety that they exhibit is breath taking. Has Bishop Camernon either never bothered to read Canon Sugden's writings or rather chosen never to believe a word of them?
Let us realise just what is being achieved by this Covenant and stop it in its tracks.
Maybe the good bishop's letter lost ( / gained) something in translation ?
We all know that The Standing Committee of the anglcan communion is NOT and is not INTENDED to be the same as the (recently formed) ACC standing committee as known and loved since the 60s.
BNP ? Give me a break. Those suffering threats and intimidation or judicial repression in many lands, and some supported by anglican churches in Africa, need no lessons in the reality of suppression.
We all know that the so-called Anglican C------t (I can't bring myself to misuse such a central biblical term) was devised with the sole intention of dealing with TEC for its policy of equality towards women and lgbt people.
It is no Covenant.
Another man ordained bishop and now losing his sense of proportion ?
Is it time to try out different forms of episcope ?
Bishop Cameron is the same fellow who put a board member of the Institute for Religion and Democracy on the covenant design team. The IRD exists to destabilized the mainline Protestant churches in the United States. Imagine a member of the design team who was a board member of an organization dedicated to undermining the Church of England. Or of Nigeria.
I agree that the insults in the letter are unworthy of the writer and demean his case. They contrast with the quotations which he attacks, which are neither personal nor abusive, but are derived from stated facts. Whether or not Cameron agrees with them, they are rational argument in a way that most of his letter is not.
Stripped of name calling, the core argument in the Cameron letter is:
"... the most extreme power at the Standing Committee’s disposal under the Covenant is — wait for it — “to make recommendations” (4.2.7)."
But recommendations from an influential and authoritative body have force. Bishops in England are appointed by cathedral chapters, on the "recommendation" of the appointments committee transmitted through the Prime Minister and the Queen. The "recommendations" are always accepted at every stage.
I think that the anti-Covenant ad could probably be picked apart. But it is striking that neither Graham Kings on the Fulcrum website or Gregory Cameron in this letter have laid a glove on it.
This makes it seem more, not less, persuasive.
What is going on? Ruth Gledhill tries to stop people forgetting her by likening Wallace Benn to Hitler, and recruits in Ed Tomlinson's wireless listening photo, and now Gregory Cameron exported to Wales likens Modern Church/ Inclusive Church to the British National Party on the basis that they are little Englanders. They all seem to be off their rockers.
Lambeth 1.10 was a recommendation that simply could not "advise" the legitimising or blessing of same-sex couples or the ordination of those so united.
Badman has hit the proverbial nail on its head. "Recommendations" soon become law, all butter not melting in various episcopal mouths notwithstanding.
I recommend that the Covenant not be adopted. I pray that will be the "mind of the communion" too.
Fascists, Nazis and now BNP and 'Little Englanders'. There needs to be a moratorium on any Bishop, in office or retired, writing or saying anything public for quite a long time. They seem to have lost any sense of proportion and are holding themselves up to ridicule while outraging many.
I do wonder, though, whether this intemperate thrashing around is significant. Do they sense that the battle is lost?
"Bishop Cameron is the same fellow who put a board member of the Institute for Religion and Democracy on the covenant design team."
Was it Gregory who appointed the Design Team?
I had been led to believe it was Lambeth Palace .....
In any event, I believe (unless he is a consummate actor or worse) that he was genuinely shocked when he was told that E. Radner held office at the IRD - as, I am told, were those he went on to inform.
On the broader issues I think badman has it, aye! badman has the gist of it for sure.
Gregory has let himself down with this and his wiser arguments that follow will be lost in his overblown accusations.
A comparison to UKIP would have said as much without the facist overtones - sadly his contribution has muddied the waters rather than bringing clarity, rather like the Covenant he drafted.
It was the EDS who gave Cameron a doctorate for his work of reconciliation within the Communion - wasn't it Jim?
But it is interesting that nobody (other than a poor statement from Kearon) seems to have uttered much of a defence of the ACO and the new Standing Committee - and there are questions to answer - before this. And here we have Gregory pouring disdain on those who hanker after the camaraderie we once enjoyed which he puckishly describes in terms of membership of a swanky London Mens Club - while claiming the Standing Committee remains as it was, untarnished. undeveloped - even unchanged!
In my most wicked moments I do get some small comfort (perhaps Jim does too?) from the fact that the viper they clutched to their bosom has gone on to do as much harm as he possibly can to the Instruments of Communion Gregory has done so very much to support. We could have told them so!
I am only an American and thus not hip to the nuances of British discourse, but is it really considered a good thing there to call one's fellow Christians fascists?
We all know that The Standing Committee of the anglican communion is NOT and is not INTENDED to be the same as the (recently formed) ACC standing committee as known and loved since the 60s.(Me)
Sorry ballsed that up !
I meant of course :
ACC old - Standing Committee of the anglican communion new !
I think it is inappropriate to call Archbishop John Chew a viper...after all, his views about the Instruments are likely indistinguishable from those of Dr Radner. The Communion is a mess. Vipers -- their name is legion.
An extension of Sugden & Co's bleating accusations of "Colonialism" against those have stood up to the bullying of Orombi & Akinola.
I wish Bishop Cameron would explain to me how I, an artist living in Brooklyn, who has spent a grand total of 3 days on English soil in the entire course of his life, qualified to be a "Little Englander."
Perhaps it is inevitable that Bishop Cameron, pictured in the Church Times article conversing with Archbishop Ian Earnest of the West Indies, would have a similar mind on the Covenant issue.
After all, they were part of its enabling architecture. One cannot expect to agree with those who are seen to be iconoclasts seeking to break it down. However, the Citadel is not yet in place. May its foundations, at least in its present form with section 4 intact, be demolished
Time for all concerned to watch (preferably) or hear Der Ring. Power, love, creativity, futility, renewal - t'is all there.
only an American and thus not hip to the nuances of British discourse, but is it really considered a good thing there to call one's fellow Christians fascists?
Posted by: JPM on Friday, 5 November 2010 at 7:24pm GMT
It is virtually de rigeur !
"Perhaps it is inevitable that Bishop Cameron, pictured in the Church Times article conversing with Archbishop Ian Earnest (sic) of the West Indies, ...."
Er, I thought Ian Ernest was Indian Ocean, not West Indies.
Modern Church and Inclusive Church are more like the Liberal Democrat Party - before that is they got into bed with David Cameron!
Can anyone comment on where the Covenant process has got to in the Church in Wales?
Martin, I am trying to remember why I think Bishop Cameron was a key player in putting the panel together. He defended the Radner business to me at the Lambeth Conference. I can't speak about what they knew or didn't know when they appointed him, only that they did nothing once we called attention to the information. Don't you think there should be an honorary degree for blog commentary? I would nominate you if you'd nominate me.
In fact (sorry for two postings) if someone could direct this new member of General Synod to the positions on the Covenant taken by the Anglican Churches in the British Isles apart from the CofE, I would be most grateful.
Is it not Drexel Gomez of the W.I.? But the letter by Dean Smith (the other "Rowan"), at the same link as the one from Bp Gregory, is well worth reading, too.
Other than Mexico and Southern Africa, no member churches of the Communion have expressed any official position on the proposed Anglican Covenant. Mexico has signed on, and Southern Africa has signed on provisionally, which requires a subsequent ratification by another session of their General Synod to give it effect.
I have no official insight into the state of play in Scotland, Ireland or Wales, although I am given to understand that there is a significant amount of Covenantskeptic opinion in all three - including membes of each House of Bishops.
In addition to the dubious propriety of the Radner appointment, Cameron et al have regularly turned a blind eye to the way in which Gomez, as Chair of the Covenant Design Group, deliberately and intentionally threw in his lot with the schismatics by preaching at the ordination of faux-Ugandan bishops to serve breakaway congregations in the US.
The No Anglican Covenant website has all that you are looking for. Go to the bottom of the Background page, where you will find where each church of the Communion has got to.
"Er, I thought Ian Ernest was Indian Ocean, not West Indies." - RPNewark -
Indeed, you are right. Mea maxima culpa!!!
An obvious case of Anglican agoraphobia!
Drexel Gomez's alignment with the schismatics could have been predicted - after all, was he not joint editor of 'To Mend the Net', on which the Covenant is largely modelled, and a driving force in the campaign to transform the Anglican Communion?
It is curious that Gregory Cameron should suggest that some of us working for a more inclusive church are similar to the virulently homophobic (as well as racist) far right!
Savi is correct that Gomez's agenda should have been clear to anyone with half a brain. However, at the time he was appointed chair of the CDG, he had commited no overt act of schism which would have disqualified him. His participation in the illicit ordinations changhed all that.
Lambeth's failure to remove him as chair of the CDG at that point demonstrates that the Covenant has never been about unity, but rather a power play against the hated North Americans.
Not by a long shot the first time this has been pointed out, but Drexel Gomez participated in the 2007 Nairobi consecrations of Bill Atwood & Bill Murdoch and so is himself directly complicit in the schismatic border-crossings condemned in the Windsor Report.
I see at the moment, at 9pm GMT on Sunday 7 Nov. 2010, The Church Times poll on those who support or reject the Covenant runs at 14% pro, 84% anti.
I know the number of voters is small, but surely this indicates the probable rejection of the Covenant by readers of the Church Times. It would be very interesting to see what would come from a similar poll in the Church of England Newspaper.