Thinking Anglicans

CEN report on Windsor book

The Church of England Newspaper reported the publication of the new book on the Windsor Report under the headline Anglican liberals attack Windsor report.

Andrew Linzey has commented on a significant inaccuracy in this report in a letter to the CEN editor. The text appears here below the fold.

Dear Editor

In your news report (“Anglican Liberals attack Windsor”, 30 September) you claim that I ‘compare Anglican attitudes to homosexuals to the policy of the Nazis’. That is not an accurate summary of my Introduction to the book, Gays and the Future of Anglicanism.

Rather, I begin with the Nazi claim that gays are “mistakes of the Creator” and I argue that it is a short step from believing that gays are “mistakes” to actually treating them as such. My point is we (emphasis on the “we”) Christians need to wrestle with the fact that our theology has helped fuel a situation in which there has been (in this century alone) visceral hatred and persecution of gays. All churches, including the Anglican Communion, need to take stock of themselves in this regard, but that is not to say that all Anglican attitudes are Nazi.

I understand that positions are polarised, passions are inflamed, and that it is therefore difficult for any of us to resist the temptation to misdescribe, but insofar as you are able to do so you will provide a valuable service to us all.

Yours truly
Andrew Linzey

14 comments

  • Dave says:

    Mr Linzey wrote to CEN: “In your news report .. you claim that I ‘compare Anglican attitudes to homosexuals to the policy of the Nazis’. That is not an accurate summary ….. I begin with the Nazi claim that gays are “mistakes of the Creator” and I argue that it is a short step from believing that gays are “mistakes” to actually treating them as such ….. that is not to say that all Anglican attitudes are Nazi.”

    Only some Anglican attitudes presumably!… in which case which ? I think he has confirmed the accusation!

    The oft repeated liberal assertion that saying that “homosexuality is sinful” is tantemount to justifying hatred, persecution (and abuse), is ridiculous! Would a liberal christian say that anything they considered sinful was “ok” on these grounds ? If we say “polygamy is sinful”, a polygamist might find themselves disapproved of by society, even disciplined by the church, but that is not “hatred and persecution” it is a proper and reasonable response to show them that they have sinned. And we would all speak out against abuse persecution etc of polygamists… after all, we know that We Are All Sinners !!

    The real issue is whether homosexuality is sinful.

  • Connecticutian says:

    It’s rather hard to read the above quote, and NOT conclude that the author is suggesting that “our theology” is what led to the Nazi claim. If the author’s own ‘clarification’ only reinforces the connection, what else should the CEN editors have made of the quote?

    By the way, all reasserting/conservative Anglicans here who think that “gays are mistakes of the Creator”, raise your hands. Didn’t think so. Which neo-nazi Anglicans did Mr. Linzey have in mind?

  • Mark Beaton says:

    On the logical fallacy dubbed the ‘Reductio ad Hitlerum’ see the following article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

    If Mr Linzey ‘understand(s) that positions are polarised’ and ‘passions are inflamed’, he wouldn’t such a comparison – except that it has also become tiresome from overuse.

  • Merseymike says:

    Either you accept gay people and their relationships, or you don’t. if you don’t, then we are not being treated as equal, and the consequences are that all sorts of discrimination is thus justified.

    It isn’t acceptable from my perspective, and thankfully the State has started to recognise this.

  • Mark Beaton says:

    ‘Either you accept gay people and their relationships, or you don’t. if you don’t, then we are not being treated as equal, and the consequences are that all sorts of discrimination is thus justified.’

    Merseymike, are you including gays who have sexual relationships with more than one person, just like straights who have ‘open marriages’? Are you saying these relationships should be accepted (socially approved of?)? If not, why not? I have read people like Andrew Sullivan and folk in MCC-Canada supporting consensual polyamory. Do you think them wrong?

  • One should be careful with comparisons…

    The trouble with signature Dave’s assertion “And we would all speak out against abuse persecution etc. of polygamists…” is that there has never been such a thing.

    Whereas State, Church and private abuse and persecution of “sodomites”, “buggers”, “homosexuals” and so on, have a long and well documented history all the way from Lateran IV in 1215.

  • Dave says:

    Dear Merseymike, not treating some sexual relationships as equal to others is a long way down the spectrum of negative responses from “hatred and persecution”. Hence my objection to the blanket use of “homophobia” – which I feel is deliberately slanderous.

    Dear Göran, good point; I just wanted a less contentious example. Here’s another: A guy at work a few years ago got caught “kerb crawling” (looking for prostitutes) and most folks ostracised him – so I made a point of being friendly.

    Actually I sometimes wonder whether, in UK and Swedish social circles nowadays, evangelical Christians are less socially acceptable, and therefore more ostracised, than homosexual people… “not one of us?”

  • Merseymike says:

    No, Dave, homophobia is simply a description.

    As for being ‘ostracised’, i think that unacceptable and prejudiced attitudes may well lead to questioning. After all, racism is no longer socially acceptable. Just because you dress your homophobia up in religious doctrine makes it no more acceptable

  • Dear Dave,

    I tried to caution a g a i n s t the use of comparisons.

    A good metaphor is a God-send, all others tend to be misunderstood, when they are not outright misleadin. Take women’s ordinaton.

    If I say that in the OT God speaks through a donkey, so why not through a woman? People would only get angry.

    All they would hear is “donkey” – donkeys being stupid and irrational.

    So, those in favour would hear “stupid and irrational” (women’s ordinaton is un-biblical, wrong, un-traditional and so on).

    Those against would hear “stupid and irrational” (if God can anoint a donkey, he can anoint y o u).

    So, regardless of being to the point precisely, this metaphor doesn’t work ;=)

    As to Swedish Evangelicals, the left beguin to see their islamophobia as a political problem, a threat to peace and stability, while the right (still) tend to discard them as wackos.

    And no, I wouldn’t venture into any comparisons, I haven’t been living in England for over 30 years.

  • Dave says:

    Dear Göran and Mike, first homophobia, now islamophobia ! All these people I feel compelled to love, but liberals like yourselves and Linzey insinuated that I “hate and fear” – because I have conservative views on right and wrong (behaviours or beliefs).

    I love this political wordplay, it makes me smile (groan sometimes) but you mustn’t confuse it with Facts and Truth ! (Alexandrian?)

  • Dear Dave,

    I was only giving you what they (left and right) are writing in their blogs. Nothing do do with “political wordplay”, as they are not doing politics out of this ;=)

    The left are very concerned that the rampant, American WOT-inspired, anti-islamism of Swedish Evangelicals is going over the top.

    American style Evangelicalism is on the whole quiet and marginal, mostly confined to the Pentecostal Free Churches – who have a bad namne with the public generally, which is reflected in right wing blogs, when they comment on Pastors Robertson, Phelps and others (including Swedish Pastor Green).

    Evangelicals do have a political party. However this is calling itself Christian Democrats, and get very inflamed if you remind them that they were once founded (1964), as the political wing of the Pentecostal movement, out of a protest against the out-lawing of spanking.

    They are in fact doing their utmost to resemble the continental Christian Democrats, not the American TV-variety.

    They don’t even have a party line against abortion!

    Lastly, to my mind, the politics of “hate and fear”, terrorism and so on, have little to do with left or right nor wright or wrong.

  • You didn’t comment on the donkey ;=)

  • Dave says:

    Göran wrote: “You didn’t comment on the donkey ;=)”

    I just gröaned !

  • And making fun of my name isn’t “ad hominem”?

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