Thinking Anglicans

Latvia: bishop writes to president

Updated

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell has written to the President of Latvia, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, following the recent events that occurred in Riga.

See Reuters Latvian gay priders bombarded with eggs, excrement and the Baltic Times Gay bashers arrested after parade attack. And also this first hand report on commentisfree.

Update Wednesday evening additional Baltic Times reports here: Gay pride celebration marked by clashes, EU reps call for sanctions on Latvia and FIRE JAUNDZEIKARS.

Update Thursday evening
Thomas Hammarberg is the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg. He has written this article about the Riga events.

Update Friday morning
The Church Times has this by Rachel Harden Protesters attack worshippers.

The bishop’s letter has been published on the diocesan website. The recent statement on human rights by the Latvian president is here. The bishop’s letter concludes:

You have made it recently very clear that human rights lie at the very foundations of the Constitution of Latvia and that they are to be respected without any discrimination or restriction. Furthermore the Constitution also guarantees to the residents of Latvia the right to freedom of speech and assembly. I hope, along with many other Christians and people of goodwill, that those who threaten such human rights will be brought to account and that those attacked at St Saviour´s will be interviewed for the information they can give to assist the process of bringing unlawful behaviour to account. In our opinion, this is important, because its seems evident that the events of July 22nd were not a spontaneous protest, but a pattern of behaviour by organized vigilante groups who use intimidation and threats of violence as their tools. European history is well versed in such tactics and their consequences.

Within the Anglican community there are differing opinions as to the moral appropriateness of homosexual behaviour. However, we are unequivocal in our belief that the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered toward people of the same sex is anathema to us and that, as children of God, homosexual people deserve the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship. The attack that occurred on Saturday was not, however, just an attack on homosexual people but a hostile assault on a varied number of people and on St Saviour´s church.

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Martin Reynolds
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This is a vast improvement on last year’s knee jerk reaction from this bishop and shows a growing understanding of the issues. The diocese has thought deeply about the violent events at Riga Pride last year. This has also become a matter for serious concern within the Porvoo group though sadly after an hour meeting with the Archbishop of Latvia it seems I was unable to convince him to use his best offices to prevent further violence this year My only concern comes with the last sentence. I have been aware for some time that when the violence lesbian and… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

A good, and brave letter, but the moral health warning weakens his appeal, it seems to me.

Tim Jones
Guest
Tim Jones

Dear L. Roberts,

You mention
“moral health warning”

Which bit precisely?

Dave
Guest
Dave

I completely agree with +Gibraltar. I also agree with last year’s statement that it is inappropriate for…. “a church service to be used in what would seem to be a lobbying and confrontational way to make a political points about homosexuality” Gay Activists are not really just arguing for *tolerance* of people who experience homosexual orientation and an end to victimization, but are really demanding full approval of same-sex sex and demanding the marginalization or exclusion (ie victimization) of anyone who dares speak or act as if same-sex sex is wrong. In Latvia “Gay Activists” complain about victimization; in liberal… Read more »

New Here
Guest
New Here

Yeah, heterosexuals just can’t catch a break in this world.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Hi Tim Jones I had this bit in mind : ‘Within the Anglican community there are differing opinions as to the moral appropriateness of homosexual behaviour.’ This kind of thing can add to the climate of intolerance, and can lead to violence, I have found. The intellegensia and chattering classes put out this sort of statement, and it then manifests on the ground, at a ‘yob’ or crowd kind of level. A case in point : Within living memory it was promulgated that ‘Jewish behavior is morally questionable’. And the same charges were made of the Roma people and ‘homosexuals’.I… Read more »

David Bewley
Guest
David Bewley

I note that the president of Latvia , Dr.
Vike-Freiberga opposed the Riga ban on the Pride Parade even before these deplorable events on the 22nd.
http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/15939/

Hopefully she will now take some strong action against these thugs.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Laurence wrote “This kind of thing can add to the climate of intolerance, and can lead to violence, I have found.” …. “Within living memory it was promulgated that ‘Jewish behavior is morally questionable’.” Dear Laurence, Christianity is all about *God’s love for Sinners*.. There is no dichotomy between love and moral questioning ! Neither is it reasonable to assume that people are so infantil that they can’t distinguish between moral conviction and physical violence and abuse! In fact I doubt that you believe it either if you think about your own willingness to criticise other the morality of conservative… Read more »

JayVos
Guest
JayVos

Having lived in Montreal, Dr. Vike-Freiberga would know that the city has a large lbgt community.

From her biography on the presidential website:

From 1965 to 1998 Vaira Vike-Freiberga pursued a professorial career at the Department of Psychology of the French-speaking University of Montreal, where she taught psychopharmacology, psycholinguistics, scientific theories, experimental methods, language and cognitive processes. Her experimental research focused on memory processes and language, and the influence of drugs on cognitive processes.

In June 1998 she was elected Professor emerita at the University of Montreal and returned to her native land….

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

See Reuters Latvian gay priders bombarded with eggs, excrement and the Baltic Times Gay bashers arrested after parade attack….

“In Latvia ‘Gay Activists’ complain about victimization; in liberal countries they demand victimization of people who don’t approve!” Dave

My Dear Brother Dave,

Your reasoning/gripes are fascinating to me but please check out this *really* BIG DEMAND of those of you “who don’t approve”

http://www.matthewshepard.org/

“replace HATE with understanding, compassion and acceptance.”

(all CAPS, my emphasis, Brother Dave)

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dave, I think it is unreasonable to presume that all souls are capable of distinguishing between moral conviction and physical violence. Listen to any serial violent criminal, and they have a moral and philosophical/theological paradigm to justify their behaviours. Physical violence is the least sophisticated of a continuum of abuse behaviours, which range up to domestic violence or expand into sociopathic cults who organise covert cliques to keep their society clean e.g. Klu Klux Klan. The really cute ones will never be confused by the Holy Spirit as they have their solo scripture interpretations that stand the test of time… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Dave I would love to see y o u relecting God’s love more, here, — & asserting it less.

The moral questionning that leads to (the) holacaust(s) can not moral.
‘Moral conviction and physical violence and abuse’ are closely linked in the history Church morality.

I challenge you to visit any UK synagogue and experience the high security measures—just to attend worship. This is one of the outcomes of Churchianity and its ‘moral’ legacy.
Let us talk more upon your return from shul.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Laurence

I agree with what you are saying, but would point out that this is not an exclusively Christian phenomenum. Unfortunately, there are examples aplenty in these modern times across most of the religions. Those that don’t have any recent examples often can blush when you look through their history, or they are too young to have any history and therefore stumbled into this trap. This is to do with a human condition that when silly souls try to deny there is a problem they become part of the problem.

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

terrible that there was violence. Christ has come to set us free sin and death..violence is sin.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Dave, It’s true that in some University settings, political correctness has evolved close to tyranny. How this happened is, I think, copmplex, and I don’t doubt the CUs themselves have at times done things that antagonized the university body. I’m not saying they were wrong for doing so, though at times they might have been more circumspect, perhaps. I also perceive that British society has an anti-Christian streak. I don’t perceive it in America, BTW, despite what the Cristian Right would have us believe. That isn’t the point though. Surely this doesn’t justify a bunch of hooligans throwing feces at… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The dilemma that never quite seems to get much attention, in my view, is simply that too many of the foundations of our received moral condemnation or questioning have shifted. In the Middle Ages, we had a certain pre-scientific biology of human reproduction that essentially fit nicely with the discerned immorality of all non-reproductive sex acts. Since sperm were complete human beings, the person who didn’t use his – and in the Middle Ages, essential reproduction certainly was male-centric – sperm correctly was obviously denying God by denying the sole moral (natural) purpose for which sperm could conceivably exist, i.e.,… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Laurence, Leonardo, Cheryl et al I don’t particularly enjoy the suggestion that my approach is analogous to the Klu Klux Klan; or that lack of approval is encouraging “HATE” (haven’t I just said that God loves Sinners?); or that the church’s ‘moral’ legacy is violence against Jews… (I would suggest that the latter case is primarily about fears of attacks by of Moslem extremists rather than Christians!). But I don’t think that your strong moral disapproval of me means that you hate me – or are encouraging violence or abuse against me.. However, if you *really do* believe that… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“However, if you *really do* believe that moral dis-approval engenders hate… then presumably that is what you experience in yourselves. In which case shouldn’t I be worried about what you might want to do to me … because you morally disapprove of me ?” Dave Good grief brother Dave! I just think you’re a snappish/oldish dude (like me) that happens to also be a fellow member of the Anglican Communion. I don’t assume much/anything about your character/morals or personal life nor do you know much about mine. I have a lifetime of Christian experience to share with you as a… Read more »

Robert Christian
Guest
Robert Christian

Dave:

I really have one question concerning your atonement theology. How does a loving God, who creates everything with and out of love need a atonement sacrifice i.e. dead animals or people in order to love that which God created?

It’s intellectual curiosity.
Peace
Bob

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dave. Disagreeing with sloppy thinking is not the same as condemning the person. Actually, only the other day I again God a prayer of thanks that you continue to post on TA. If it were not for your honest convictions, you would not be so blunt and the issues could not be articulated and thought through. In that respect you have much more respect than some local Anglicans who commented that you can not win an argument with God and so stopped arguing. (My mind still reels that they stopped the arguing and didn’t ask the logical whoa! of why… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Bob The atoning sacrifice concept comes from the Old Testament. The book of Numbers is a good example of the need for sacrifices or pleading by the anointed advocates on the sinners’ behalfs (typically Aaraon and/or Moses). However, God foreshadowed that at some point He would render the need for sacfices to be obsolete – it was a stage in humanity’s evolution. Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice to cover humanity’s sins and to act as the advocate for humanity. e.g. Psalm 130:7-8 …put your hope in the LORD… He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins. Much as… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

I wonder why, this being Eastern Europe ‘n’ all, these attacks have not been described w/ the word that’s *perfectly appropriate* here:

It was a POGROM. >:-(

Steven
Guest
Steven

Dave: Thanks for your comments. Don’t be dismayed by the responses around here, they are merely typical of the (overwhelmingly and often absurdly liberal) TA crowd. Many in this group link everything to a persecution scenario they like to identify with, e.g, Nazi Germany being a particular favorite. Frankly, I think this is an extremely lazy way to contextualize the events at issue and build a world view, but it seems to give them a great deal of comfort. Anyhow, from there they can neatly divide the world into virtuous “progessives” (i.e., “freedom fighters” and the “oppressed”–like them) and “oppressors”… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Laurence: I should have said welcome a while ago, you have been asking some good questions. Steven obviously has our psychological disorders pegged out. Nice to know that self-righteous complacency isn’t a cause for God’s wrath, nor do the “sane” people have to let their consciences worry them, nor do they have to worry about empirical facts (which they do their best to make sure aren’t gathered or are lost in a bureacracy if they are not complimentary). Nor do they have to try and make the bible pertinent to these times. After all, there’s no way that God might… Read more »

Robert Christian
Guest
Robert Christian

Chreyl: Thanks for your insights. At this point in my life I don’t feel that atonement is something that we have to share a common belief. I believe peace, compassion, love, caring for the disadvantaged are things we can work together on . These are issues which all can agree on and work to bring to fruition. The once broad church can be an example of how to live in disagreement but also to live in peace and love. Just imagine if Iraeli and Palestinians could learn to live together without having to agree on everything! We can be the… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

It is curious and odd to tag the people who notice antigay violence as curious, odd, or disturbed for bothering to notice it. Around the world we continue to sustain particular occasions of physical violence, aimed at both the Queer Folks/Allies attacked in those instances, as well as pretty clearly expressing a great deal of traditionalistic consternation. So far as I can tell, the consternation involves recurring themes: (1) strong negative feelings about Queer Folks expressing a positive view of themselves, especially in any sort of public gathering, ritual, or demonstration. (2) strong negative feelings which seem to be straight… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Concerning atonment theories of salvation. We can hardly deny that sacrifice was a major part of almost all known ancient near eastern religions, including Judaism in its various eras or forms. Sacrifice in these religions is simply a ritual given. Within that ancient lexicon, the Jewish sacrifices can be read as all too similar, except for the startling lack of human sacrifices. You can pretty much occupy an ancient near eastern frame, with Yahweh being the real sacrifice receiver, and Ishtar or Baal the unreal receiver. Or, you can dig a bit deeper, and find that ancient Jewish monotheism had… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I am sure that as the sun set on Riga the neo-Nazi gangs and other extremist groups took a little time off from “gay bashing” to refresh themselves and replenish their plastic bags with faeces while simultaneously discussing the finer points of the doctrine of the atonement. Elsewhere in the city lesbian and gay folk sat and nursed their bruises and washed off the excrement reflecting on their day and how their lazy way of thinking had in fact produced the comfortable world they inhabited and coming to the conclusion that the swastikas that had been thrust in their faces… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Steven, that is an amazing analysis! Take the beam out of thine own eye, that thou mayest see clearly to remove the mote which is in thy brother’s eye.

Steven
Guest
Steven

Cheryl:

I don’t remember mentioning you by name. In fact, I was just commenting on a general (and oft noted) tendency on TA. BTW-I was also not commenting on your theology of atonement, which I have not been following. However, I will comment that your remarks (as I have noticed in the past) tend to morph into a stream-of-consciousness recitation of your “I hate” list whenever you get riled. Thus, I can only follow your response so far. After that it becomes too personalized and disconnected from the subject.

Steven

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“I am sure that as the sun set on Riga the neo-Nazi gangs and other extremist groups took a little time off from “gay bashing” to refresh themselves and replenish their plastic bags with faeces while simultaneously discussing the finer points of the doctrine of the atonement. Elsewhere in the city lesbian and gay folk sat and nursed their bruises and washed off the excrement reflecting on their day and how their lazy way of thinking had in fact produced the comfortable world they inhabited and coming to the conclusion that the swastikas that had been thrust in their faces… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Martin Reynolds wrote: “I am sure that as the sun set on Riga the neo-Nazi gangs and other extremist groups took a little time off from “gay bashing” to refresh themselves and replenish their plastic bags with faeces while simultaneously discussing the finer points of the doctrine of the atonement. Elsewhere in the city lesbian and gay folk sat and nursed their bruises and washed off the excrement reflecting on their day and how their lazy way of thinking had in fact produced the comfortable world they inhabited and coming to the conclusion that the swastikas that had been thrust… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

As I was dressing for Sunday mass it became clear to me that it is a lovely Saturday morning…Thanks be to God for another beautiful day (no matter which day it comes on)!

Steven
Guest
Steven

Ford:

Always a good point. However, the “beam” specified is not my particular “beam”–I’ve doubtless got other blind spots (as many here will rush to affirm). Still, if other people here can feel free to critique (despite their “beams”) so can I. And, if you watch this board for a while you will definitely see the pattern I have specified re-enacted numerous times.

Steven

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Robert, I loved your posting. No, we don’t have to agree on everything to find love and fellowship in God through Jesus. God has not made us the same and we have different gifts and purposes. I relish that diversity. Dave, I am so sorry to see that you are feeling so upset (this is more so than normal for you). I love that you love your faith enough to want to defend it so vehemently. But love sometimes includes “tough love” and spoilt children sometimes need to have their toys taken away from them. There was a mistaken paradigm… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Thanks Cheryl, Ishall certainly ponder Isaiah 54, along with your other other bible references. JC Fisher -Thanks- ‘Pogrom’ is indeed the word that had somehow slipped my mind. Riders in the Chariot is a novel that speaks to so many of the issues here and so beautifully and with such faith and love. By Patridk White (Penguin). I typed ‘Pius X11’ on another ‘thread’ , I realise, and had intended to post it here. I hope taht it is not too cryptic a remark for those who know of this man’s role in the murder of European Jewry. I think… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“The point is that not everyone who opposes what the thugs do necessarily approves of same-sex sex. These two stances are not mutually exclusive!” Dave What the “thugs do” IS a direct result of the righteous and pompus preaching that conveys heterosexual (?) “disapproval” of same-sex people who have sex and LOVE oneanother! Does “abomination” ring a bell? How about Akinolas lack-of-wisdom as he spouts off to the press about LGBT people being “lower than animals” and our children are “hooligans?” Akinola endorses REAL hatelaws against his LBGT fellow citizens (and their families/friends who support them) and wants all of… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

In discussion with Archbishop Vanags of Latvia earlier in the year I suggested that the language of the joint statement he had subscribed to last year had helped to inflame the situation. I pointed out that in the West the only political groupings that held common cause with these views were of the violent totalitarian sort that already enjoy, and feel justified in murdering us. I read him the statement from the Primates meetings at the Dromantine that Bishop Rowell uses in part at the end of his letter “the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Martin Nice website link. Additionally, if they can not convince us that they do not support thuggery of their own children, then how can they convince us of their ability to love souls of other denominations or faiths? If we can not find peace within ourselves then how can we find peace with others? If nothing else, I hope out of this whole process that souls will come to recognise who can provide good counsel. And that leaders outside of the churches will be judged by the quality of who they seek counsel from. Thus leaders who choose to seek… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Steven, The point is that we ALL have beams in our eyes. Both sides have a not unjustified suspicion of the motives of the other. I see it far more well developed in what you write than in what is posted by “liberals” here, but that my just be personal bias. It sounds very much like the paranoia I hear from Fundamentalists, actually, who seem to yearn for an Emperor who wants to be worshipped so they can get thrown to the lions for refusing. Some of us need to feel we are the great white knights defending the poor… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Martin ; I think we shall always see through those who are careful about how they speak and act.

The actual problem is their beliefs. It is those which need to change – hence the need for a revisionist approach which discards that which is homophobic.

Steven
Guest
Steven

Ford: Thanks for a thoughtful post. Frankly, one good sincere post is worth thousands of “rants” (of which there is no shortage around here–including my own)! And, I do realize that the solution I continually urge is not really comfortable to either side. The human tendency is to want to rout the “unbeliever” and set things right. (Optionally, in Christian circles at least, the “unbeliever” may be free to sit there quietly–as long as he/she doesn’t rock the boat). Having been at TA for a while I can fully attest to the fact that liberals are as guilty of this… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

A good rant can be fun, believe me I know. My problem with ranting is when it goes from being fun to being the only way we speak to each other, and the to being the only way we can understand a situation. The only thing I would disagree with is: “We need to separate so that we can be ourselves and fulfill the Church’s mission.” If after a separation each side would be fulfilling the Church’s mission, why do we need to separate? Or is it that we would be fulfilling the Churches mission as we see it to… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Ford: The latter rather than the former. As with other aspects of this dispute, the visions of what the “Church’s Mission” is varies quite a bit between the two sides. And, both sides think the other’s vision is seriously defective. Thus, together we can only hamper and impair each other’s efforts to fulfill our respective visions. However, from my perspective, all of this is just “sugar to make the medicine go down”–the split is taking place even as we speak, whether we like it or not. Nothing can stop it now. And, given the depth and breadth of the division… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

An add-on, albeit more local, on the hate crime statistics. My home state California’s stats have just been released for 2005: The Attorney General’s office hi-lite includes: A July report by the California attorney general’s office shows that while reported hate crimes have been on a decade-long downward trend in the state, they have increased in fast-growing Riverside County. Sexual orientation has consistently been the No. 2 motivation for hate crime, behind race and ethnicity, the report said. Statewide, there were 255 anti-gay hate crimes in 2005, the report said. The wholte AG report at: http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/release.php?id=1323 The larger historical trend… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Steven, I too think the split is a fait accompli, my question is why? Each side would love to blame the other, but is ++Akinola’s lust for power any better or worse than the desire on the part of some people to be seen as the great defenders of the downtrodden? Each is convinced of the rightness of their claim. If the Church splits, it will be because of both arrogant liberals and arrogant conservatives, it will be because of our own wilfulness, our own refusal to follow the basic tenets of our faith because being right is more important… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Ford: Good post. By a split I don’t necessarily mean a complete divorce. I’d rather see something like the two tier system that the ABC is proposing. However, even this will not be easy. It will be an uphill struggle against those in TEC that don’t want to be in the second tier, and those (like Akinola) that don’t want them in at all. It will also be extremely complicated to work out, particularly considering that various players (e.g., COE and TEC) are not ideologically pure. Thus, some within those bodies may fit into the first tier and others will… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

There is already a scandal in the eyes of the world. Being in one house to keep one’s reputation intact can become scandalous when there is a perception that some parties are being abused. Parallels to domestic abuse example where the woman is financially entrapped and has nowhere to flee. That’s why they created women’s refuges in the 1970s, which led to many a violent scene as the men would try and drag their women and children home. In Australia at that time 50% of women who had been threatened that if they left their husbands, they would be killed,… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

Cheryl:

Well, that’s your vote I suppose. I have always promoted separation, but separation with dignity and charity. And, I think separation is not only absolutely necessary, I think it is unstoppable at this point. But (to put it in family law terms) I would much rather see an agreed and negotiated legal separation that proceeds to a conclusion with some mutual charity and a minimum of bitterness than a protracted and very nasty divorce and struggle over property, pension funds, etc.

Steven

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Steven

And to follow your analogy further. I would rather see a divorce where the children don’t suffer because the parents are squabbling. And if one parent doesn’t want the children, then they shouldn’t contend the custody battle when they only intend to neglect or abuse the children anyway. Ideally, it would be nice to know that all the children are going to be treated fairly and given reasonable access to both parents, but unfortunately some parents only want to deal with their “perfect” offspring and hide the others lest their reputations become tarnished.