Thinking Anglicans

Fulcrum on Human Rights in Nigeria

Fulcrum has published an article entitled Human Rights, Homosexuality and the Anglican Communion: Reflections in Light of Nigeria by Ephraim Radner and Andrew Goddard.
(Dr Radner is an American colleague of Andrew’s in the Anglican Communion Institute).

The article is lengthy and needs to be read carefully. It contains, early on, this summary of its conclusion:

…It will seem repugnant to some, of course, that we might even raise a question about the conclusion regarding gay rights at this point in history. It needs, therefore, to be said here that the conclusion of this paper is that the Church ought to work to protect a range of civil liberties for gay people, and that the Nigerian Church’s support of its nation’s anti-gay legislation is wrong. However, the conclusion is not obvious in advance of a chain of arguments. These arguments have not been generally rehearsed in present debates and, even here, will be pursued only sketchily. Hence, the conclusion cannot be assumed at all, and does in fact need justification. Bishop Chane’s “line”, the “crossing” of which marks the passage from a legitimately contested approval of same-sex unions into the abuse of human rights is not at all well-defined and established.

Or is it?

Read the whole article.

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badman
badman
13 years ago

A thoughtful and well referenced article, which might, however, perhaps have referred to the Cambridge Accord, which can be seen, e.g., at http://www.northwestern.edu/episcopal/1999-00/cambridgeaccord.html It is a remarkable fact that a number of those who supported Lambeth 1.10 refused to support the Cambridge Accord – George Carey, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, was one of those who expressly refused to do so. An opportunity to draw the distinction suggested by these writers, between (a) the ethical and moral standards and teaching of the church and (b) the church’s acceptance of the civil and human rights even of those whose behaviour it… Read more »

Caelius Spinator
Caelius Spinator
13 years ago

This is a well-considered and well-written argument, provided one accounts for the biases of the writers. As the writers seem to admit, the arguments about the theological basis of natural or fundamental rights are not as developed as they should be. At one point, the writers appear to make some sort of theological critique of the Church of Nigeria. However, they only make a weak cultural relevance critique, so they may have the opportunity to criticize North American liberals. This is a cheap shot, though one which may earn them sympathy from some of their readers.

drdanfee
drdanfee
13 years ago

Well these authors are welcome to join the rest of us in concluding that most of our legacy justifications for the most violent forms of physical gay bashing are no longer viable. Given the starting negative legacy definitions and assumptions for which these authors have still such great sympathy and respect, I suppose that is a big deal. What the authors lack is any awareness or indeed critique of their own straight legacy privileges. By pledging this legacy blind spot from the start, they guarantee that they can repeat several straight privilege assumptions: (1) wondering if non-straight people actually exist… Read more »

John Henry
John Henry
13 years ago

AMEN to the Conclusion: “It is a part of the tragedy of the current division among Anglican Christians, among others, that these two choices – unrestrained advocacy of ecclesial and social blessing of homosexual relationships or harsh legal sanctions against the human personhood of homosexual people – have been offered as the only practical alternatives within the current debate. Thus, if there is a charge to be made regarding moral complicity in the abuse of fundamental human rights, rights that include the protection of social cohesion, the family, and moral instruction, as well as the rights of respect for the… Read more »

Colin Coward
13 years ago

The article by Andrew and Ephraim is a really helpful piece of research and analysis. My one major objection is to two sentences in the concluding paragraph, written, I assume, by Ephraim Radner: “There is, for instance, every reason why the Nigerian Church, based on its own theological and moral commitments, should fear the unconstrained permission of gay advocacy within the church itself and within the surrounding civic sphere. She has only to look at the way in which such lack of constraint has contributed to the destruction of the American Episcopal Church and, to a lesser extent, other Western… Read more »

Pluralist
13 years ago

I agree with Colin Coward.

Just because there is a Church that advocates extreme repression to some people because of their sexuality, does not mean that the via media is somewhat to the right of toleration. It means that that Church is wrong and repressive, and should be challenged, and the principle of justice and inclusion to real human beings is as being found in the American Church (and even then rather late in the day, but at least it is coming along).

There are institutions and there are people, and institutions might matter, but people matter more.

Martin Reynolds
13 years ago

This grudging admittance of the legal tyranny facing the majority of queer folk is unlikely to move the stony hearts of those at whom it is aimed.
We wrote to the bishops of the west who support the bishops of the GS over two years ago and followed through with further pleas. http://www.lgcm.org.uk/html/importantNews.html
Only one bishop made any sort of response.

There seems to be no mention of the part religion has played in the existence and continued prosecution of these horrific laws.

But if they can change one soul and save one life it will be worth their effort

laurence
laurence
13 years ago

‘ … unrestrained advocacy of ecclesial and social blessing of homosexual relationships… ‘

Why am I dissatisfied with the above words, and similar words ?

Submitting them to my ‘ equivalence equality test’ will soon show the problem. As in : —

‘ … unrestrained advocacy of ecclesial and social blessing of heterosexual relationships… ‘

No heterosexual would stand for this kind of stuff.

It’s the attempt to portray lgbt equality as extreme, by juxtaposing the statement I object to, next to ‘.. or harsh legal sanctions against the human personhood of homosexual people’.

Cheryl Clough
13 years ago

I am concerned about the assumption that one particular church’s issues can be attributed to tolerance to homosexuality. It reminds me of the assumption that people got TB because they were poor. When finally, they worked out it was because they lived near the railway lines and inhaled the coat dust… Is the decline of the communion unique to the US? Was it happening before the tolerance began? Why are people staying away from churches? Scholars at networking conferences will hypothesise based on agreed academic paradigms (herd thinking here). Experts loved to be congratulated and quoted by their colleagues, even… Read more »

William
William
13 years ago

…”such lack of constraint has contributed to the destruction of the American Episcopal Church” Oh, dear, I must have missed the destruction of the American Episcopal Church. (We were out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday.) I suppose this means my vestry meeting for next week is canceled and my wife needn’t bother preparing her Sunday School lesson. Bit of a bother having to dispose of the church property, but there’s a crew of developers quite keen on putting up a new shopping mall. Wait! You don’t suppose the church has already been knocked down, do you? I do wish… Read more »

laurence
laurence
13 years ago

William you should keep your eyes open !

Craig Nelson
Craig Nelson
13 years ago

I found the article to be well worth the read but in ths case seeing is believing. The argument is for some sort of middle way. The onus is actually on people who like to purport to be in some way moderate to develop concrete actions to go along with the kind of positioning people adopt to look moderate but (as in the proposed legislation in Nigeria) turn the other way. Well its a big subject but the historical record is quite unambiguous in that the people who have advanced th civil rights and protections for gay people didn’t do… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
13 years ago

Yesterday’s new is OK.

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