Friday, 4 April 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury answers questions on radio phone-in

Updated Sunday morning

A full transcript of the broadcast is now available: ARCHBISHOP’S PHONE-IN ON LBC RADIO: TRANSCRIPT.

Lambeth Palace press release: Archbishop answers questions on LBC radio phone-in

Archbishop Justin spent an hour answering questions on LBC’s radio phone-in this morning, tackling topics ranging from same-sex marriage to the nature of God.

Listen again to the full programme here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGdBTMx1Vgo.

LBC Radio has this: Archbishop: Gay Marriage Could Mean Murder Of Christians. Embedded in that page is a six-minute clip of the part of the interview that is attracting the most media attention.

And also this: Archbishop Confronted by Angry Ann Widdecombe.

Media coverage:

Guardian Andrew Brown African Christians will be killed if C of E accepts gay marriage, says Justin Welby

Tablet Liz Dodd Christians in Africa would die if CofE accepted gay marriage, Welby warns

BBC Welby: backing gay marriage could be ‘catastrophic’ for Christians elsewhere

Church Times Madeleine Davies Welby links gay marriage with African killings

Anglican Communion News Service Abp Welby: Anglican Communion sexuality decisions can mean African Christians suffer

Pink News Archbishop of Canterbury: Africans could be killed if the Church of England backs same-sex marriage

And Archbishop of Canterbury defends Anglican position on gays from Ann Widdecombe attack

Mail Online Steve Doughty Gay marriage puts the world’s Christians at risk of violent revenge attacks: Archbishop’s warning over spread of liberal views in CofE

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Comments

"Christians in Africa would die if CofE accepted gay marriage, Welby warns"

Textbook ***victim-blaming*** ("Could die"? As opposed to the LGBT Africans who ARE dying?!). Despicable!

O Lord, REFORM your church! Make more spit-mud to SAVE us from our blindness! Bless and protect ALL victims of violence---especially your LGBT "least of these".

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 7:50pm BST

Well. At least now we know what dreadful theology and ethics are driving the continued oppression of LGBT people in the CoE…

Because my church lifted me up, told me that I'm created in the Image of God, and honors my 23 year marriage-to-be as a gift from God, I and my church are responsible for the murder of … hundreds, thousands?

And the extreme degree of rape and degradation of women in Africa is due to what, WO and WB?

And the West should obviously take our marching orders from hate monger's in Africa? And African Muslims and Christians would be living in peaceful harmony if it wasn't for those obnoxious Western Churches following Jesus and doing Justice?

Can the ABC (and Rowan before him) not see that brutality is brutality, and perpetrators will always find an excuse? It's called scapegoating!

The theology and ethics of this ABC are dreadful. I've stood in places of massive death as well. It tears at the heartstrings, but the reasons it happens are typically complicated. How nice to come out with a pat, simple answer to the massive suffering. We'll just continue to oppress our LGBT people to save lives elsewhere… Unbelievable.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 7:53pm BST

The Archbishop's logic is ridiculous. Suppose there is a deeply patriarchal society somewhere and the Church of England starts ordaining women bishops. So if there's a Christian community: they'll make women equal so we'll kill them... Does that mean the Church would stop ordaining women, to protect them abroad?

The idea that a group of Christians would turn people gay - well, tackle the superstition that anyone turns anyone else gay, least of all a group of Christians. Talk about letting the bully boys decide things.

We don't say well the Unitarians come under attack so we won't do it here - the Unitarians around the world are perfectly well aware of the dangers and seek to protect themselves and gain their co-religionists' support. Instead, they provide places of progressive intent and defend them.

Posted by: Pluralist on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 7:53pm BST

No mention of LGBT Africans, only British ones. Their lives don't count too? Or do African gays have to pay the price for their communities' intolerance?

Posted by: Andrew on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 8:06pm BST

So don't we think that the best response to fear would be one that shows that there is nothing to fear?
If we treat our own gay population with contempt we're showing that we're agreeing with Africans. Whereas if we start to treat our own gay population as fully equal we demonstrate that they are as normal and faithful as everyone else and that no African needs to be afraid of them.

The only rational response to African homophobia can be full equality here.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 8:28pm BST

So the 30 year old African women is more valuable than the 15 year old English young gay man bullied by his peers until suicide is a reasonable option. This reminds me of the Animal Farm "All animals are equal some are just more equal than others" Sick!

Posted by: Fiona Bell on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 8:38pm BST

I'm just astonished at how poorly the Archbishop of Canterbury is reasoning this through.

Because murderous factions in Africa, who will choose any excuse to murder or no excuse at all, seize on homosexuality as a reason to commit war crimes, the Church of England therefore must trim its moral sails?

I'm not the first and I won't be the last to say this, but what the Archbishop of Canterbury is thinking and saying is absolutely appalling.

Why is anyone according this man any moral suasion whatsoever?

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 8:54pm BST

There needs to be a lemma to Godwin's law (that as a discussion on the Internet progresses the probability of a comparison being made to Hitler asymptotically approaches one) that whenever Welby is discussed, Chamberlain will not be far behind.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 8:56pm BST

It's a powerful argument. We are being challenged to say 'let African Christians die so we can have gay weddings'

But is it really that dichotomous: gay rights for African lives?

Where Christians are persecuted in the world is that really because of some Christian support for gay rights? Really?

Is perpetuating Anglican homophobia in the West the answer?

Do we let people like Boko Haram determine Church of England policy? I think they will continue murdering Christians regardless.

Are not gay men and women being killed around the world, and yes, in Africa, by people who profess the name 'Christians'?

Posted by: Fr Andrew on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 9:05pm BST

My volcano runneth over:

Twisted thinking, damaged believing?

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury was here in Guatemala. He preached at the Cathedral of Santiago. He preached ¨holding our differences in tension by covering them in prayer.¨

If ++Justin had dared to lecture on blaming vile human atrocities/abuse on LGBT people, Anglican or not, in the Americas or in the U.K. or anywhere else, I would have escorted him to our Central Cemetery in Guatemala City.

The Central Cemetery is a walled in, centuries old jammed packed place, where tens of thousands of REAL victims (and their politically/socially/religiously correct-like murderers) are entombed (it's just a few blocks from the city dump...see video, ¨recycled life¨).

So much for the double-talk, rationalizing, blame, and empty pontificating from ++Canterbury... someone said he was a good business man, maybe that is true...The Merchant of Penitence?

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 9:48pm BST

(English is not my mother tongue: forgive me the errors.)
The morality of such an argument is highly disputable.
When the Nazis passed the Racial Laws, roman catholic authorities preferred not to oppose them (they just asked such laws to be applied in "a charitable way"; I wonder what this might mean...), so that german catholics were not harassed by the State.
Consequences are known.

Posted by: Jose Ribeiro on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 10:38pm BST

I have never before supported the disestablishment of the Church of England. I do now. There is nothing to protect in the Church of England when its leader does not even mention the murder, physical punishment, and imprisonment of LGBTI people in these African countries that Welby is referring to. Clearly the deaths and imprisonment of LGBTI people in African and other countries are not a consideration in his moral decision making. Our lives, evidently, mean nothing to him. Welby gives away his deep prejudice when he refers to "catering to" LGBTI people in England. Welby associates himself with those bishops and people who harbor murderous hatred against LGBTI people. These are the people he is concerned about. These are the people with whom he empathizes.

How is it possible to support such a Church and its leader which offer immoral excuses for silence in the face of pogroms against gay people and refusal to support the full humanity of LGBTI persons in his/its own jurisdiction, in favor of protecting those who have been led to hate and punish LGBTI persons?

I can see no sufficient basis to support the continued establishment of the Church of England. It is time for concerned people in England to move to disestablish this church. How can the British people and their government possibly support such an organization?

Posted by: karen macqueen on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 10:49pm BST

If this is the line of argument he's resorting to, then he knows that he's lost the argument.

Posted by: The Rev'd Mervyn Noote on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 11:05pm BST

This is disgusting. Something that happened in America must mean recognizing some of us as human. I could not care if he sits up at night and thinks about this. What he said is unacceptable. This is the absolute last straw. Churches throughout Africa seem to have no problem taking money from the Episcopal Church. But now he blames us for a massacre?

That he would play this card is beyond the pale. He has no moral authority, now. Nothing more that that man has to say should ever be listened to, again. He should resign. If the Church of England wants any respect from this point on the members of that church should demand that he resign.

In a few weeks he will be at an appearance in the US with our Presiding Bishop. I hope that the crowd on hand gives him the welcome and all of the questions that he deserves for this. And I hope that she gives him a good solid lecture, which he sorely deserves. What an ignorant bigot.

This is the last straw, as far as I am concerned, between the Episcopal Church and the Church of England. Enough is enough. No more. Fix this. Demand he resign.

Posted by: Dennis on Friday, 4 April 2014 at 11:57pm BST

Wrong as I think Welby is, I give him points for honesty. Rowan Williams has said the same.

The only way forward is to break up the Anglican Communion. It's unsustainable to give Uganda and Nigeria a veto on English policy.

Posted by: James Byron on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 12:05am BST

The dishonesty of the ABC's statement is so transparent that I hope it gets wide publicity and thus expose him and his ilk for what they are. That some Muslims in South Sudan murder Christians because some states in America allow civil marriage equality falls below even the lowest bar of credibility. What's next in the paranoia chain? Anti-Semitism, anyone?

Posted by: Peter on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 12:35am BST

This might mean more if he was willing to stand by the graves of murdered gay Christians, and a whole lot of gays who aren't Christians.

Posted by: FD Blanchard on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 1:22am BST

There are few decent words for how dreadful the ABC's statement is. I am astonished that he could construct such a hollow argument and worse, that he appears to believe it.

Today in the US we are remembering The Rev Dr Martin Luther King - a truly prophetic voice. This observation from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail seems painfully relevant:

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; ... Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Dr King's letter was prompted by an admonishment from a group of various clergy who thought his actions were likely to cause harm and stir up violence.

The ABC's statement has much more in common with that clergy admonition to Dr King... And the ABC's protestations of how much pain he feels are, I think, more likely the cry of someone who wants comfort more than justice.

I can be proud to being and Episcopalian - but grateful that the Communion is made up of independent churches - because I would have a very hard time being part of a church that was led by someone like the Rt Rev Mr Welby.

Posted by: Scott on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 2:06am BST

I think the Archbishop makes a powerful and painful argument here. As Christians we have responsibility to our neighbour, and our neighbours include not just Christians at home but also those far away, who may suffer as a consequence of our well-intentioned actions. To say that we must do what is right by gay and lesbian Anglicans in England at the cost of potentially placing African or Asian Anglicans in danger is an incredibly difficult and troubling decision to make. If you believe in the universal and catholic church (as some in the C of E still do!) then simply saying that we must privilege the needs of those closest to us geographically - or those whose lifestyles and opinions most clearly resemble ours - is not feasible. Even if we passionately believe we are doing the right thing, can we in good conscience take a step that might mean death or persecution for others? And will gay and lesbian Africans, whose situation is already precarious, be made more or less safe by a possible backlash against the actions of the C of E? These are not questions to be dismissed easily in the blithe assumption that we know what we are doing is right. On the contrary, we need to proceed thoughtfully and prayerfully and in the full knowledge of how costly our words and actions can be.

Posted by: rjb on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 2:50am BST

One can understand and indeed share Archbishop Welby's sense of compassion for murder victims in a religious persecution. However, Welby could learn something from the family and co-workers of people who are often similarly the victims of ideologically driven violence.

Canada recently lost two foreign aid workers, women, Zeenab Kassam and Roshan Thomas, killed in violent attack in Afghanistan. I suppose one could say its what happens when women from North America or elsewhere in the west intervene in local ideology and culture. It is interesting to read, therefore (see the link below), how the brother of one of the aid workers killed comes to terms with the situation. Archbishop Welby could learn something from such a stance in terms of an appropriate response.

Better if the ABC had matched his compassion with a clear condemnation of those actually responsible for such violence together with a call for the rule of law and security on the ground, instead of trying to transfer guilt for such a horrendous crime to people seeking civil justice elsewhere.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/zeenab-kassam-s-death-in-afghanistan-not-in-vain-says-brother-1.2589051

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 3:11am BST

Having heard Ms. Widdecombe's rant, I wonder if she thinks that there is "something of the night" about Archbishop Justin?

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 3:39am BST

With this line of reasoning Welby would fail to pass any Ethics 101 course.

Posted by: Terra Incognita on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 5:17am BST

Gay and Lesbian Anglicans may now decide not to marry, if they accept the Archbishops account that deaths may occur in Africa as a result. This is their choice. (Although, sadly, other excuses for ethnic cleansing may be found, even if marriages are cancelled!)

However, is it in any way a moral response of the ABC to say "I will stop you from marrying, to stop them from being killed." -unless, of course, he is willing to divorce his own wife in solidarity with those LGBT people whose forbearance he demands?

Perhaps we should start a petition for the Archbishop to divorce, as an act of standing alongside those in this terrible dilemma. (Or is the whole thing all a load of nonsense, when the actual argument on the issue is lost?)

Posted by: Iain Baxter on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 6:41am BST

Rjb, if the architects of Grand Apartheid started murdering Christians until Anglicanism introduced racial segregation, should it have given in?

This is nothing but an extortionist's charter. Murderers alone bear responsibility for their murder. Personal responsibility 101. Welby's wrong: it's as simple as it gets. I refuse to feel an ounce of guilt because some homicidal bigot uses a policy I support as a pretext to slay innocents. It's on them, not me.

If Welby's concerned, he should offer to break ties with the provinces in question. Then we'll see just how sincere their concerns are.

Posted by: James Byron on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 7:28am BST

Quite frankly this reminds me of the silence of the Pope with regard to the persecution of the Jews in Germany supposedly because he feared this would lead to persecution of Roman Catholics.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 8:50am BST

Why did the Archbishop not denounce those who spread the malicious rumour that Christians will be forcibly converting others to homosexuality? Why did he not denounce the rumour as a lie? Why has he nor asked where such lies come from? Has he investigated the homophobic activities of the militant homophobe Scot Lively and those 'Christians' in the UK who support him in spreading fear and hate of homosexual people. And why does he think that sacrificing lgbt people in the Uk will appease the haters, the ignorant, the manipulated and the manipulators elsewhere?

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 9:04am BST

Hmmm...I should do a bad thing so that my doing a good thing will not incite bad people to do bad things to good people.

How disappointing.

Should not the ABC especially act reflexively for the good, trusting that God bends history's arc always in the direction He deems good?

Should not the ABC especially ask the same of all of us?

Should we not ask of the ABC a deeper and more fully informed perspective evidencing greater moral clarity?

Posted by: Peter of Westminster on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 10:26am BST

What annoys me is the double standard.

When straight people in Africa are put at mortal risk (allegedly) by us gay people in the West - Archbishop Justin shouts out loud and clear.

But when the opposite occurs, gay people in Africa are put at mortal risk by the straight people in Africa (Ugandan Bishops calling for the death penalty for homosexuality) Archbishop Justin is notably silent on the issue, and fails to condemn, or agonise publicly about the pain such moral dilemmas cause him in the small hours of the night.

If he had spoken out repeatedly about the death of gay people in Africa, I would be more inclined to listen to him now. As it is he gives a clear impression that the deaths of gay people are of less concern to him than the deaths of straight people.

Simon

Posted by: Simon Dawson on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 10:30am BST

Ehh...and sometimes I think I speak too glibly of history's arc and things God does with it and the moral clarity of others, realizing from my own experience of institutional life how difficult it is to hold to a deontological (or even a virtue) ethic in the tumble of it all and how very often I myself lapse into a utilitarian parsing of the good.

Posted by: Peter of Westminster on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 10:55am BST

This explains his silence on the horrible treatment of sexual minorities in Africa and the complicity of the Anglican Church in many of those countries. The odd thing is that he mentioned specifically that he was told that African christians believe that people are "taught" or "converted" to being gay, which triggered a violent backlash. He refused to denounce this thinking when prompted by the radio announcer stating that it would reflect a "neo-colonial" attitude to do so, which was an easy way to deflect the question. I always assumed he was more sophisticated than your run of the mill evangelical but maybe he truly believes that mumbo-jumbo?

Posted by: etseq on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 11:04am BST

It is indeed a tragic situation, though I suspect that those responsible for the massacre might have found some other excuse if this one had not been available. But the question of responsibility is rather more complicated. For instance, it is not surprising if massacres occur if some Nigerians take at face value claims that the country is at risk from an 'invading army of homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexual lifestyle', 'The sin of homosexuality, it must be reemphasised, destroyed the communities of Sodom and Gomorrah' and 'The church in the west had vowed to use their money to spread the homosexual lifestyle in African societies and churches; after all Africa is poor. They are pursuing this agenda vigorously and what is more, they now have the support of the United Nations.' But these inflammatory untruths come not from Islamist extremists but Nigerian primate Nicholas Okoh.

Posted by: Savi Hensman on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 11:14am BST

I don't understand this anyway.
Presumably, the killed Christians were African Christians who are already among the most homophobic in the world.

So why should liberal Christians in the West be responsible for people slaughtering known conservative Christians in Africa?


And do we have any evidence that there is a causal link? Standing by a graveside and being told "This is all the fault of you liberals in the West" is one thing.
But if you seriously want lgbt Christians in your own church back home to consider this as an argument, you need to provide some evidence.
Who was slaughtered as a direct consequence of what? When? By whom?


Otherwise this is a little like abusive parents blaming their children saying "look what you made Mummy do".

From what I gather, there are some very conservative Western Christians exporting their anti gay fight to Africa and skillfully whipping up hatred there.

That does not make equality in the West wrong or dangerous, it makes individuals who whip up hatred wrong and dangerous.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 11:14am BST

Justin, I have just thought of a really clever way of stopping Nigerian Christians being killed.

Get British Anglicans to declare that Jesus was only a prophet and that the Qur'an is the final and authoritative text, and Mohammed the greatest prophet of all.

That way we will almost certainly save lives in Africa.

You know it makes sense, and we have a compassionate duty to define our doctrine in terms that will best appease anyone who threatens to kill, rape, set on fire, terrorise or blow up.

Logically speaking, if your plan (a) would save 'x' lives, and my plan (b) would save 'x' times 10 lives, then surely you can see that my genius idea is both morally and practically a superb solution.

Doctrine will in future be defined by level of threats made against us.

I'll get in touch with my gay and lesbian friends and explain their lives must be put on hold for to calm down the people who threaten us.

I suggest that we cut out the confirmation service and encourage new Christians to take shahada instead. This would send a positive message to Boko Haram.

(Incidentally, I'm not criticising Islam in these ironic comments, I attend a mosque in East London and admire the community of faith there. What I'm criticising is complete breakdown of logic, in effectively blaming gay people for their own victimisation, while telling them to stop rocking the boat.)

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 11:46am BST

Permit me to say something as a Nigerian born Anglican, who has reflected deeply on the Archbishop Justin Welby’s most recent comment on gay marriage and the results for African Christians. The archbishop has it wrong here, and I think that just like other comments of his, this is a deliberate tactic to attract the African bishops to attend the next Lambeth conference in 2018.
It’s not the first time the Archbishop of Canterbury has let down LGBT Anglicans by trying to appease the bishops of the Global South. The Lambeth conference is not the new heaven that Jesus Christ promised us, and LGBT human rights should not be sacrificed to the golden calf of Anglican unity. If you try to pander to, rather than stand up to bullies, the result will simply be more bullying. I was born and raised in Nigeria, and even the greatest Nigerian homophobes will tell you that Nigeria’s religious war has no connection with homosexuality. I have witnessed numerous Muslim-Christian clashes in Nigeria, and none of them have ever been related to homosexuality, but rather to religious blasphemy. The comment from the archbishop will put Nigeria’s LGBT people in further danger, because religious homophobes will now feel more justified by the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion. Surely by now, the archbishop must realise that a tactic of appeasement will not work with the African bishops, but arguably simply makes the situation worse. The only hope that LGBT Africans have, is that one day they will have the same freedom as LGBT people in UK. In his statement, the archbishop makes African LGBT people feel even more abandoned than they already are.

Posted by: Davis Mac-Iyalla on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 11:50am BST

"[T]his is a deliberate tactic to attract the African bishops to attend the next Lambeth conference in 2018."

Unfortunately I think Davis Mac-Iyalla has correctly perceived what is going on here--which is that the Archbishop of Canterbury remains focused on the post-imperial role of his office, to the cost of gay people in England and elsewhere.

And I share the outrage of those here who ask (i) whether there is any evidence to back up the Archbishop's hearsay about this massacre and (ii) whether the Archbishop should have refuted his interlocutors' apparent view that same-sex marriage is a communicable disease.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 1:06pm BST

It's the racism of low expectations from Welby.

Western LGBT people are reasonable, and are willing to accept being oppressed without blowing stuff up.

Muslims are not reasonable, and therefore we should not provoke them because they might start blowing stuff up.

It is both craven (we offer a veto over policy to anyone with an AK) and racist (it assumes that "the other" are insolubly violent and incapable of reason). It also throws over the side African gays, non-violent (ie, the vast, vast, majority) Muslims, women and many others.

It's a retread of the last Labour government's policy, in which extravagantly rhetorical violent groups are accorded the status of legitimate spokesmen for their "community", because they are "authentic". It's absolutely shameless.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 1:42pm BST

I worry that ++Justin might have actually have provided those who are hostile to Christianity, with a further excuse for violence.

We sometimes hear of Christians being massacred in Nigeria because of one person's act. On one occasion a journalist had made a flippant comment about the Prophet. On another, a Christian teacher was said to have siezed a copy of the Qu'ran from a pupil reading it in class during a non-religious lesson.

IMO, the massacres that followed these acts showed that these people hated their Christian neighbours anyway. They just wanted an excuse, any excuse.

++Justin has now given them yet another one. Sooner or later, an Anglican church somewhere in the world, which does not currently carry out blessings of gay unions, will start doing so. And when that happens, sadly, the killers will be out in forcein Nigeria, attacking Anglican and any other churches. My fear is that some thugs who have never thought of using homosexuality as an excuse of attacking their (often equally homophobic) Christian neighbours, will start using that line now.

Posted by: Sam Roberts on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 3:18pm BST

I don't think Justin's being racist.

I think he's being managerial.

He's trying to 'manage' the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

However, there's only one CEO in the Church, and he/she may be dealing direct with local priests, local churches, local communities... in all kinds of open and variant ways.

If Justin has a role at all, it should perhaps be more like a nurse in a hospital, listening to what each patient wants, and respecting the patient's right of 'informed consent'.

What is needed is for each local church community to be supported, in its own community-specific ways, to be facilitated to follow its conscience, its mission, and it's diverse ways of opening up to love.

Facilitation and protection of conscience are valuable contributions he could make, if he wants to collaborate with God, and God's communities.

"How can I help you, and your local mission and outreach?" should be a key question.

The bishops should stop trying to impose uniformity on either the Church of England or the Anglican Communion.

There simply is no uniformity. There are huge differences between communities, both in England and worldwide.

What's needed is not top-down management mentality, but facilitation of local church communities to be the people they feel called to be, with a huge range of expressions and authentic responses to the Love of God, and the communities where local churches are situated.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 3:28pm BST

Thought inspired by Richard Ashby and Scott: When I saw the French film 'La rafle' (the round-up) a few years ago, the small children wearing a yellow star sewn on their outer garments and expelled from public parks, brought to my mind our Lord. I saw him as a child wearing a yelow star, excluded and then rounded up. And I wondered what would have happened if the pope had proclaimed that as our Lord was made to wear a yellow star, so all Christians should do so from the following day. Would the world have gone in Ghandi's direction - violence overcome by passive resistance? We will never know, but certainly history would have taken a different turn. And so .... pink triangles anyone? might not solidarity and identification with the oppressed change the world?

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 7:05pm BST

With Welby's enthusiasm for GAFCON, I am reminded of this Private Eye cover:

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/covers.php?showme=732

Posted by: Interested Observer on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 9:24pm BST

"As Christians we have responsibility to our neighbour, and our neighbours include not just Christians at home but also those far away, who may suffer as a consequence of our well-intentioned actions. To say that we must do what is right by gay and lesbian Anglicans in England at the cost of potentially placing African or Asian Anglicans in danger is an incredibly difficult and troubling decision to make."

rjb, you are accepting a false premise. Sudan has been at war for most of the last 50 years and suddenly it's MY fault? And what about the murdered gays in Africa? They don't matter? That is good Christian ethics? The patriarchs decide that throwing me my LGBT brothers and sisters under a bus is going to create magical peace in Africa? The murderers will murder, and come with excuses for it later. Remember the aid workers in Nigeria who got killed vaccinating children because the Muslims in that village thought they were sterilizing their children? We should cave on human rights and justice because of an incredible level of ignorance?

Read MLK's Letter from the Birmingham (Alabama) Jail.

And here's a good response from Integrity USA:
http://walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com/2014/04/archbishop-of-canterbury-links-attacks.html

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 10:21pm BST

And I still don't get why Africans would think that murdering Christians in their own country who are outspokenly strongly anti gay is protection from gay liberals in the West.

Can someone explain the logic behind this?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 5 April 2014 at 11:19pm BST

Couldn't agree more, Cynthia.

Unfortunately, the Church of England has a type of laissez-faire liberal more concerned with niceness than justice. They just hate to upset anyone. They wring their hands, talk about how we shouldn't rush to judgment on "complex issues," and toddle off to sip the Fair Trade coffee: they're passionate about justice that costs them nothing. They'll exhort everyone to be nice, then haughtily tick both "sides" off for tone. They'll say all the right things in private and keep silent in public. The only people they stand up to are those who call on them to act: those with the temerity to confront them with the depths of their own cowardice are shown no mercy.

MLK's white moderates reborn.

Posted by: James Byron on Sunday, 6 April 2014 at 12:05am BST

"The only people they stand up to are those who call on them to act: those with the temerity to confront them with the depths of their own cowardice are shown no mercy."

Indeed. Heaven help a boat-rocker in England.

Posted by: Jeremy on Sunday, 6 April 2014 at 12:55pm BST

To the above comments

Is submitting to Christ not an option for you?

Phil

Posted by: Phil Roberts on Monday, 7 April 2014 at 6:12pm BST

"Is submitting to Christ not an option for you?"

What exactly do you mean, Phil? Those of us advocating for justice are likely doing so because we believe that's what it means to follow Christ. Welby's apparent appeasement to the murderers is not appearing very Christ-like, but maybe you can explain it? We have the words and example of MLK addressing Welby's attitude pretty directly in his Letter from the Birmingham (Alabama) Jail. MLK definitely thought that he was following Christ. He also supported gays.

So you'll have to be MUCH clearer about what your idea of following Christ is. I have a boatload of justice workers and martyrs that is influencing my view of this.

Posted by: Cynthia on Monday, 7 April 2014 at 9:01pm BST

"Is submitting to Christ not an option for you?"

By all means.

Let us do unto gay people who wish to marry what we would have done unto ourselves.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 9 April 2014 at 3:32pm BST
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