Comments: WR: the exact responses

Simon,

A thorough and fair analysis - well done. However, I'm quite certain that *any* explanations based on facts and reason are bound to fail with the most reactionary "traditionalists."

They won't respond in kind because they don't argue from that stance. Instead, I'm quite convinced that their position was arrived at emotionally and "viscerally." The most extreme and vocal aren't out for renewed communion, they're out for blood. You can talk about facts, reason and community until you're blue in the face, but you aren't speaking the same language (being old enough to remember both the Civil Rights struggles in the 60's and women's ordination in the 70's, this is all too familiar).

Posted by David Huff at Saturday, 15 January 2005 at 4:43pm GMT

I sincerely and earnestly pray your analysis is completely wrong. The Windsor report seemed to many to be a toothless wonder which delayed the clarity the Communion needed. And if we are now saying that ECUSA's Bishops in this statement have satisfied the WR and at the same time made a (good) case for further delay in us obtaining that clarity, then heaven help us. Any normal person surely wants the Anglican Church to stand up and say something definite: it seems to me that we are being led into an incoherent confusion where the only definite thing that can be said is that nothing definite can be said about what Anglicans now believe, say, stand for, teach etc etc.
I am praying that we will either make up our minds that we want to be biblical and put the Anglican house in order, or the leadership will say something we can understand that is unbiblical and force us to take action. Your interpretation of the statement depresses me beyond measure.

Posted by Neil at Saturday, 15 January 2005 at 8:08pm GMT

I agree with Neil in the post above - a clear statement from both the Windsor Report and the HoB would have helped. I am curious about point 4, though:

(Here we note that there are those among us who do not agree with the statement in paragraph 144 of the Windsor Report that “the Episcopal Church has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions.”)

vs

Resolution C051 of GC 2003: ...that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions...

If the Windsor Report is incorrect, according to the Bishops, what then does Resolution C051 mean? Has the ECUSA HoB (or GC2003 documents) expanded on the resolution?

David's comments can be expanded to include the reactionary "leftists"; after all, we surely are an "inclusive" church.

Posted by Greg at Sunday, 16 January 2005 at 4:32am GMT

Greg wrote: "David’s comments can be expanded to include the reactionary “leftists”; after all, we surely are an “inclusive” church."

I certainly won't deny it *could* be that way. I haven't personally met any extreme "liberals" who want to split the church, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some out there with a complete "tough luck, if you don't like it, then leave" attitude towards the anti-GC2003 crowd.

I just hear and read *much* more unbending rhetoric plus threats, and acts, of schism from the extreme right than from the other side.

Not to paint all, self-identified conservatives with one, broad brush. There are some who seem ready to pitch in with the mainstream and do the hard work of staying together. e.g. Bp. David Bane (Southern Virginia), Bp. Don Johnson (Western Tenn.), the folks involved in "The Living Church" magazine, etc...

Posted by David Huff at Monday, 17 January 2005 at 3:38am GMT

It seems to me that that Simon's analysis fails on one critical points, and this is the basis for the Bishops' expression of "regret." The WR called for regret "the proper bonds and constraints of affection were breached" in what the Episcopal Church did. The HOB statement expresses regret for the consequences of those actions, not for the actions themselves. There is a crucial difference, which is made all the more glaring by the fact that, in the very days leading up to the Salt Lake City meeting, the Archbishop of Canterbury himself (building on earlier comments by Robin Eames and N.T. Wright, among others) clarified this precise point.

Posted by Dan Martins at Monday, 17 January 2005 at 4:56pm GMT

>>
I haven’t personally met any extreme “liberals” who want to split the church, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some out there with a complete “tough luck, if you don’t like it, then leave” attitude towards the anti-GC2003 crowd.

I just hear and read much more unbending rhetoric plus threats, and acts, of schism from the extreme right than from the other side.
>>

Ahh yes of course. All the blame with the conservatives, and the "liberals" are a model of restraint and respect. I would have to disagree and it appears to me that more than a fair share of schismatic vitriol comes from liberal ordained clergy, which is a shame. Also, it appears to me that the "liberals" think that only their view is correct ("inclusive only if you agree with our views") and that their ego would not allow them to make the required statement. The prevailing liberal view appears to be "We want to belong to the communion although we don't want to follow any authority because it gags the Holy Spirit."

I don't think "facts and reason" were used to argue the point for ordaining a gay bishop. Having lived through the Civil Rights struggles, please explain the parallels that you see.

Posted by Greg at Tuesday, 18 January 2005 at 4:04am GMT

Greg wrote: "Ahh yes of course. All the blame with the conservatives, and the “liberals” are a model of restraint and respect."

No, that's not what I said. Go back and read the comment again :)

"Having lived through the Civil Rights struggles, please explain the parallels that you see."

During the 1960's, the issue of whether people could fully participate in the life of the church regardless of their racial/ethnic background came to a head. In the 1970's, that same issue erupted again over gender.

The parallel is, of course, that now we are dealing with whether a group of people who are also segregated by society based solely on an innate characteristic (sexual orientation this time, vs. race or gender before) are to be allowed to fully participate in the life of the church - or society itself for that matter.

To be blunt, no matter what sort of pretty language or intellectual/theological contortions you wrap around it, it's an issue of prejudice.

Posted by David Huff at Tuesday, 18 January 2005 at 4:31pm GMT

"The WR called for regret “the proper bonds and constraints of affection were breached” in what the Episcopal Church did. The HOB statement expresses regret for the consequences of those actions, not for the actions themselves. There is a crucial difference"

Is it really, Dan? I think it's a subtle one . . . no, maybe a *paradoxical* one is the best way of putting it.

Jesus: fully God, fully human. _Good_ Friday. "When I am weak, then I am strong." "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first."

_We worship a paradoxical God_.

In the same way, consider the Episcopal Consecration of V. Gene Robinson: I have *no doubt whatsoever* that the angels in heaven were singing _Gloria in Excelsis Deo!_ at the work of the Holy Spirit to make +Gene a bishop . . .

. . . at the same time, as Our Crucified God suffers with us, I have *equally little doubt* of the pain felt in heaven, feeling the pain God's children felt at what they believed was a breach of biblical order.

Celebration in heaven. Weeping in heaven. At the same time. For *exactly* the same act.

Why? _Emmanuel_: God with us.

Can we learn to dance w/ our brothers/sisters who are dancing, and cry w/ our brothers/sisters who are weeping? _That's how we fulfill the Great Commandment._

And that's only way the Anglican Communion can stay (come?) together.

Posted by J. Collins Fisher at Wednesday, 19 January 2005 at 8:23am GMT

"but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some out there with a complete “tough luck, if you don’t like it, then leave” attitude towards the anti-GC2003 crowd.

I just hear and read much more unbending rhetoric plus threats, and acts, of schism from the extreme right than from the other side"

I think both sides have the “tough luck, if you don’t like it, then leave” crowd. The threats are no less from the "liberals" and you can spin it however you want. I just don't see a difference between the extreme right fundamentalists and the liberal fundamentalists - both don't give in to reason.

"The parallel is, of course, that now we are dealing with whether a group of people who are also segregated by society based solely on an innate characteristic (sexual orientation this time, vs. race or gender before) are to be allowed to fully participate in the life of the church"

The best explanation scientists have come up with is that homosexuality is not all genetic and therefore not innate. So unless you can prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that homosexuality is entirely innate like the color of your skin, there is no bias. Even with the entire human genome decoded, no one has found a homosexuality gene (and please don't quote Dean Hamer, his studies have been disproved). Besides, we are not talking about celibate homosexual people attending church or taking part in its activities as lay members but actively homosexual people consecrated as priests and Bishops. (And yes I do object to the consecration of divorced people as priests and Bishops.) It appears to me that there is a selective application of scientific criteria when it supports the argument in question.

Posted by Greg at Thursday, 20 January 2005 at 6:10am GMT

Greg wrote:
"So unless you can prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that homosexuality is entirely innate like the color of your skin, there is no bias."

So it's OK to be a bigot about something that's not entirely innate ? Cool! now I have an excuse to be a complete horse's a** to any extreme rightwing conservative I meet! (sarcasm concluded :)

"Even with the entire human genome decoded, no one has found a homosexuality gene"

The human gene structure was just completely decoded, what ? a year or so ago ? That's not enough time to discover the genertic components of *most* conditions. What's your point ?

I also find that both of your statements which I've quoted above are classic examples of an argumentum ad ignorantiam. The basic idea is that it's a fallacy to assume that, since something has not been proven true, it is therefore false. See http://www.datanation.com/fallacies/distract/ig.htm for add'l explanation. These sorts of arguments are, as the website explains, "a special case of a false dilemma, since it assumes that all propositions must either be known to be true or known to be false. As Davis writes, "Lack of proof is not proof." " (BTW, I realize that the name of the fallacy uses the latin form of "ignorance," which I certainly don't mean in an insulting way - that's just what this particular logical fallacy is called. It simply implies that one is arguing that "X is known" from a position of a lack of knowledge - i.e. "Lack of proof is not proof.").

Posted by David Huff at Thursday, 20 January 2005 at 2:43pm GMT

Hmmm:

"The parallel is, of course, that now we are dealing with whether a group of people who are also segregated by society based *solely* on an *innate* characteristic (sexual orientation this time, vs. race or gender before) are to be allowed to fully participate in the life of the church - or society itself for that matter

So it’s OK to be a bigot about something that’s not entirely innate ? Cool! now I have an excuse to be a complete horse’s a** to any extreme rightwing conservative I meet! (sarcasm concluded :) "

First, you stated that society is discriminating based *solely* on an *innate* characteristic i.e. if the characteristic is not *innate*, or if the *innate characteristic* is present in a person with *some other characteristic* (read *not solely*), presumably, that society finds abhorrent, then, it is not discrimination or bias. BTW, I don't see "segregation" here - nobody is relegating homosexuals to shanty towns or preventing them from voting.

[sarcasm]Surely, you were not waiting for an excuse, were you? Considering the flies and the stench, another animal comes to mind - an a** - who would've thunk it? Does PETA know that you are misrepresenting an animal? [end sarcasm] :)

"The human gene structure was just completely decoded, what ? a year or so ago ? That’s not enough time to discover the genertic components of most conditions. What’s your point ?"

No, the human genome was completely decoded at least 3 years ago and yes, for 40 years there has been some sort of research trying to prove that the homosexuality is in the genes and as yet, we haven't seen the evidence. My point is that "innate characteristic" has not been proven by science - your statement that science *may* prove it "x" years from now is no reason to perform an ordination today. I am not arguing "X is known", I am arguing "(causes of)homosexuality are unknown" with the best scientific explanation as I have stated above. If "(causes of) homosexuality are unknown", how can you claim that "homosexuality is innate"? What is your scientific evidence? First prove scientifically (beyond a reasonable doubt), then ordain. Further, if "science" were to prove conclusively that there is no *genetic* link or that it is not an "innate characteristic" , will ECUSA stop ordaining gay bishops ? (I don't think so).

Posted by Greg at Friday, 21 January 2005 at 5:41am GMT

"So unless you can prove (beyond a reasonable doubt) that homosexuality is entirely innate like the color of your skin, there is no bias."

That's your standard, Greg? Because I hear other conservatives who say that even IF it's proven (to their satisfaction) entirely innate, they *still* won't accept it as a natural expression of human sexuality (I hear the "Alcoholism Analogy" invoked: "someone may be genetically-predispositioned to be an alcoholic, but a drunk is still a stinkin' drunk!").

"The best explanation scientists have come up with is that homosexuality is not all genetic and therefore not innate."

Like the "best explanation scientists have come up with" for the fact that the world is *drastically* heating up, is that it's a natural, cyclical phenomenon?

I'm not saying the genetic evidence of homosexuality has reached the level of human-caused global warming, only that the *deniers* of both (I'll throw in the Holocaust and Evolution, for good measure), have the same stench of _power-driven ideology_ surrounding them.

"Besides, we are not talking about celibate homosexual people attending church or taking part in its activities as lay members but actively homosexual people consecrated as priests and Bishops"

Do you *routinely* speak of married couples as "actively heterosexual"? If not, then please do not do so of those in committed same-sex relationships (they are no more or less "active" than their heterosexual peers).

"(And yes I do object to the consecration of divorced people as priests and Bishops.)"

Yes, and Bill Clinton thought Saddam had WMD . . . _but not to the extent of taking calamitous, irreversible actions over them_. I keep hearing conservative Anglicans say "and I don't approve of divorce, either!" (nor--as someone whose heterosexual spouse left me---do I). But it's always said as an _Afterthought_. Have they, the last several decades of divorce/re-marriage gradual acceptance, taken action to split the Anglican Communion over it? To say "Sign here, onto my POV, or you're out"? Convened special commissions, called Emergency Primates Meetings?

_Methinks there's objections, and *OBJECTIONS!*_

"It appears to me that there is a selective application of scientific criteria when it supports the argument in question."

And the argument in question is, "What amount of evidence is enough for me to give up POWER?" To which the (selective) answer is, "No amount is enough!" Not enough "scientific criteria," not enough understanding the Biblical witness *in context*, not enough of the Church's Tradition of letting go prejudice (to embrace the *human freedom* God intended for His Image), not enough sweet Reason from the lives of faithful LGBT Anglicans. If POWER determines that the *status quo of discrimination must be preserved at all costs*, then no amount of evidence is sufficient, and no argument can ever be persuasive.

The question that haunts me: _what is POWER afraid of?_

Posted by J. Collins Fisher at Friday, 21 January 2005 at 6:43am GMT
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