on Tuesday, 19 August 2008 at 3.46 pm by Simon Sarmiento
categorised as Anglican Communion, ECUSA, Lambeth Conference 2008
Bishop Pierre Whalon, who is Bishop in Charge, Convocation of American Churches in Europe has written On polygamy, homosexuality, and generosity.
Bp. Whalon states that Christians in countires with Isalmic populations expereince increasing hostility because of the way TEC and others treat gay people. [I would quote exactly but can’t cut and paste e/my program when it’s the first comment] Again, I ask Bp. Whalon or anyone else to cite an instance of such harassment or hostility on the part of Muslims that is linked to TEC – or any other Christian body – that treats gays fairly. I want sources like Reuters, AP, BBC – independent press. I don’t want a press release from Bp Akinola. This claim has been… Read more »
Cynthia, it would certainly be helpful to have such reports. At the same time, such events were reported in the blog posts of a number of American bishops as stories shared in the indaba groups. It was reported often enough, and from enough different countries, that I think we need to take the possibility seriously. Does it happen more often than glbt persons are attacked, in those countries or elsewhere? Who knows? Most likely not. But neither do we want to get into the “can-you-top-this” competition of “my pain is worse than your pain.” *Both* are tragic. Neither do I… Read more »
I would be more persuaded by those who claim to experience violence by the AC’s reputation as a “gay church”, if they would CHALLENGE LGBT-affirming provinces on an “If… Then…” basis. “If you will consecrate same-sex bishops/bless or MARRY same-sex couples, ***THEN*** [_______________].” For TEC/AngChCanada to pull out of the AC will do NOTHING to solve this problem (Try saying “We’re not the ‘gay church’ anymore—there’s a moratorium!” to your persecutors. AS IF that would stop them?) However, a properly-constructed CHALLENGE to North America (among others!) would force us to (probably literally) “put our money where our mouths are.” For… Read more »
A very good example of the Lambeth reports that Marshall refers to is an interview given by the bishops of Michigan to their diocesan media officer who also reported Lambeth directly. It is a very frank interview. ‘Bishop Gibbs: My biggest hope about the reflection [a summary of small groups discussions] that comes out is that it honestly reflects the fact that we are not of one mind as a Communion, but that we are of one heart—one heart in Jesus. And that we do want to stay together as a Communion, we are looking desperately for ways to make… Read more »
I came across a documented case of violence against a gay man in Africa just a few days ago. Violence against gays is not a myth. I think the following is close to the bone: “Rescuing” Americans seems to provide a happy distraction from the lingering wounds of the collaboration of Rwandan Christians, including some Anglicans, in that horrific event. I also applaud the bishop’s appeal for theologians to make the biblical case for inclusion of glbt people, a call repeatedly made by Rowan Williams also. The witness of loving gay couples makes the case when correlated with what Paul… Read more »
I am curious about the Archbishop’s proposed Pastoral Forum to deal with the problems minorites encounter in the various provinces of the Anglican Communion. Will this just be limited to hearing and advocating on behalf of conservative minorites in TEC and ACCn? What about the LGBT minorities in Africa? What about the Gay Christian Movement in the Church of England? Or is this just for bishops? If it is, what about +Gene Robinson or Bp Ingram of New Westminster. The Archbishop seems to envision a ‘holding company’ for these conservative bishops. Is he willing to provide the same accomodations for… Read more »
Bishop Pierre Whalon can look to strengthen the case for inclusion theologically if he wants, but calling it moral theology rather than essential doctrine won’t change the James Innell Packer’s of this world who elevate the Bible to a literalist pinnacle and decide it is doctrine. It is also over optimistic in terms of what the Pastoral Forum will set out to do. As far as I can see, the Conference behind the Conference still finds TEC guilty and still will act against it.
Bp Whalon is correct that only a theological reinterpretation of the revelation of Scripture could form a firm foundation for the Church to accept some form of same-sex sexual relationship as not sinful. Other teachings have been found to have been culturally relative, and therefore re-interpretable (eg the role of women in the church), or based on incorrect interpretations of the original meaning (eg the absolute ban on receiving interest for a loan). The trouble is that the texts condemning same-sex sex were written when it was seen as acceptable in in other surrounding cultures! God’s revelation in Judaism and… Read more »
I agree that we have to take this concern seriously. I am very concerned for those who are trying to minister in a homophobic environment. However, that does not allow for Christians to support or advocate abuse of homosexuals or any group. It was also interesting for me to hear from a Nigerian at Lambeth, that in fact the Muslim north is, in practice, more tolerant of homosexuality than the Christian south.
“such events were reported in the blog posts of a number of American bishops as stories shared in the indaba groups. It was reported often enough, and from enough different countries, that I think we need to take the possibility seriously.” Ah! Where there is smoke, there is fire. Not regarding where the smoke actually comes from. Sorry – the sources are not disinterested and are hearsay. Not good enough. If I were to report on the likelyhood of evolution being an unscientific bit of foolery, I could cite many many letters to that effect to the editor of my… Read more »
That statement made me rethink my response Marshall. Very well put and you’re right, in our eagerness sometimes, and in my case more than I’d like to know, we bite back without truly listening and possibly trusting that there is some truth to some of these statements. I often wonder if they GS folks don’t use this as a lead in to “see how your position has hurt our evangelism,” but maybe we need to listen and give them the benefit of the doubt. That said, I agree with you that this shouldn’t deter our working to full inclusivity of… Read more »
The conflict between Christianity and Islam in Africa pre-dates by decades, at the very least, any whiff of Gene Robinson: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/nigeria-1.htm I don’t doubt that in this context that the latest insults have employed references to Gene Robinson, but even if there were no such thing as LGBT persons, this conflict would still be raging. I am also certain that the taunts refer to the different ethnic and social origins of the people who are attacked – if we followed this logic, one would have to recommend, say, that any Nigerian Christian with an Igbo background should not be fully… Read more »
Marshall Scott Yes, it was reported on a number of bishops blogs. One reported it as fact first and 4 days later added that it was now “incontrovertible” fact. I asked whether there had been any evidence to substantiate this and what made the previous “fact” now “incontrovertible”, but although he engaged with virtually all other comments (including many of mine), he did not reply to this. I think it DOES matter very much whether these reports are true or to which extent they are true. Violence against lgbt people in African countries by their own people is well documented.… Read more »
Marshall Scott, Further to my previous post, Changing Attitude and Changing Attitude in Nigeria are working very hard trying to protect the lives of lgbt people in Africa while at the same time improving their status in society. To my knowledge the organisation has not received any support, moral or actual, from any of those bishops who now call loudly for the protection of African lives, nor from other people who now support the moratorium on the grounds that it helps people in Africa. This is not to treat the potential danger of African Christians lightly. But those who have… Read more »
“It was also interesting for me to hear from a Nigerian at Lambeth, that in fact the Muslim north is, in practice, more tolerant of homosexuality than the Christian south.”
Yes, and it was the Muslim part of the Nigerian Parliament that was against Archbishop Akinola’s proposed introduction of a law that would have criminalised supporters of homosexuals and threatened them with prison of up to 7 years. “Supporters” being anyone seen in public with a known homosexual.
This can be verified through the TA archives.
So, had we been having this debate 70 years ago we would be urging discretion about the persecution of Jews in case it brought reprisals against our fellow Christians in Germany. Do we need to be more careful when we speak out against anti-Semitism and the oppression of women, lest churches in the Middle East come under attack for being ‘Jew-loving’ or ‘women-loving’?
How Christian is African missionary work when it relies on the sacrifice of innocent bystanders? The African Bishops’ argument is despicable.
Fascinating that the only part of Bp Whalon’s piece that is attracting any liberal comment here is on whether TEC’s “sanctification” of same-sex relationships is causing harm to Christians in countries with significant Muslim populations. That was hardly the core of his argument!
BTW it is crass to suggest that conservative beliefs really just amount to persecution and oppression of homosexuals… Even liberals believe that SOME sexual attractions and desires are wrong… and certainly wouldn’t accept that their beliefs amount to persecution and oppression of people who experience those attractions and desires! Beware sloppy thinking..
“For example, how ’bout North American-staffed “Nonviolent Protection Corp”? Literally putting our bodies between Sudanese Anglicans, and their attackers? It’s just a thought…” It upsets me when “liberal” Christians dismiss reports of militant people who identify as Muslim using Western tolerance for homosexuality as an excuse for violence. It strikes me as very much the same as conservatives denying anti-gay violence. However, I strongly agree with the above quote. I would caution that I made exactly the same claim over a year ago, and no less a person than Tunde Popoola advised me, that, were I to do such a… Read more »
Something which is independently documented as causing tensions, riots and bloodshed between Christians and Muslims in places like Northern Nigeria is Christian tolerance of alcohol consumption and alcohol sales. I’ve yet to see calls for world wide Anglican tee-totalism or for the use of Ribena only in the eucharist, or for Anglo catholics to lay off the gin in the Home Counties lest they scandalise their Muslim brethren in Africa and cause riots. It’s interesting to see how the Muslim response must be paramount in one case (even though no-one can point to any independent reports of this ever happening),… Read more »
The implicit deal we Anglican believers are being offered, sacrifice one group’s physical safety (queer folks) right now for an unknown length of time, in return for progress or outright settlement in triumph in another group’s safety (African Anglicans) is simple-minded sound bite – disinegenuous at best. If you push a bit on the physical safey of queer folks in Africa, you typically get a Samaritan parable disclaimer: I see no violence, I hear no violence, I do no violence – as a believer I always cross the road when I see queer folks who might be threatened or attacked.… Read more »
“It upsets me when “liberal” Christians dismiss reports of militant people who identify as Muslim using Western tolerance for homosexuality as an excuse for violence.”
That would upset me too.
But all I can hear are liberal Christians asking for verification of these reports, all at the same time stating that if they were true, they would have to be taken very seriously and we would have to think seriously about how to protect the people concerned.
“verification of these reports” How does someone in a small village in Northern Nigeria verify that people killed her son yelling “Death to the sodomites!”? It is certainly an expected aspect of our fallen human nature that people would behave this way, and Muslims are just as fallen as we are. Whether or not it happens is not really the issue. What is at issue here is that Christians living in close proximity to militant Islam fear it and feel that arrogant Westerners are ignoring a real threat to thier lives, so caught up are we in what we see… Read more »
I don’t know, Ford. Is this Nigerian woman real or is she a hypothetical example? If the woman has found it possible to alert enough people to what happened, to the point that bishops could confidently take the story to Lambeth, then I would expect other, independent sources to have picked it up too. Or for the bishops to have given concrete examples that others might verify. Anything, however small that might help. The point Cynthia keeps making is that there just is no independent confirmation of any kind of violence of the sort. I suppose the suspicion is that… Read more »
“while Islamist aggressors generally make their motives for attacks very public, there is at least a possibility that these reports are purely politically motivated.” But Islamist aggressors DO make it very clear what their motives are: they will no longer be dominated and oppressed by the decadent corrupt Westerners. Erika, ask your Middle Eastern friends. They will tell you that ordinary people in the Middle East consider you a prostitute simply because you are a Western woman, and all Western women are prostitutes by definition. I get this from a colleague from Iraq. That is the impression of Western society… Read more »
Boy, am I tired of the “African Muslims are killing African Anglicans because of American Anglican homosexuals” meme. In the first place, I find it really hard to believe that such persecution exists (do African Muslims really keep that much abreast of PECUSA politics?), and no, I’m not willing to take ++Akinola’s or ++Orombi’s unsubstantiated word on the subject. Secondly, even if it were true, what’s the point? The whole purpose of the argument is to condemn liberal Anglicans for endangering African Anglicans over what I imagine is supposed to be the frivolous subject of gay rights. I reject the… Read more »
Ford Absolutely, Islamists will no longer be oppressed by decadent Westerners. They assert that, and based on that they carry out terrorist attacks. Those fears I take seriously, theirs and the resulting ones in the West. I am not denying any deaths, and I do know that Christians are actually being persecuted by Muslems. This, too, I take as seriously as Muslims being attacked by other people, or being made to feel oppressed. What I will not do is accept guilt where there is no shred of evidence. No-one has yet claimed that African churches accepting money from Western churches… Read more »
Erika wrote: “But when not a single incident of violence has been verified, while Islamist aggressors generally make their motives for attacks very public…” It seems to me that it is the “Christians” that make their motives for attacks very public e.g. “No monopoly on violence”, a few years back, or “No comments”, more recently ; – ( Ford wrote: “all Western women are prostitutes by definition. I get this from a colleague from Iraq.” I am sure this is about the clothes, Ford. I actually think all this talk of violent Muslims is just the Very Proper Gander exercising… Read more »
“What I will not do is accept guilt where there is no shred of evidence.” It’s not about our guilt, Erika. Human beings hate each other, it’s part of being fallen. We find ways to single out the “other”. We love to hide behind religion to do it. Anglicans are doing that now, all of us. God has placed in our way things that we can use to justify that hate and fear, and I think He did it as a test. Muslims are people too. There is a group of people who are no more Muslim than Fred Phelps… Read more »
Ford I think the difference between us is that I need proof in order to be able to truly bear the other’s burden. Sitting at home twisted in sympathy (I exaggerate to make my point, apologies) isn’t actually helping anyone. If bearing the other’s burden means anything it has to mean that I modify my own actions in order to help the other, or that I go out of my way to provide practical and actual support. Both would be possible. But to say “I believe I know of your plight and I do feel ever so sorry for you,… Read more »
I rather suspect that some cases of anti-Christian violence by Muslims have included homophobic rhetoric about “the gay church.” Why not? It’s one more arrow in the quiver for fundamentalist Muslim rabble-rousers. Now, if Muslim violence against Christians would stop if only we westerners would quit ordaining lgbts and blessing their unions, then we’d really need to have a serious discussion about this. But I don’t believe for a minute that these things are the sole cause of such violence. You see, I am not an idiot. If the North Americans (and the Brits and the Australians and the Kiwis… Read more »
Ford, you wrote, “Whether or not it happens is not really the issue. What is at issue here is that Christians living in close proximity to militant Islam fear it and feel that arrogant Westerners are ignoring a real threat to thier lives, so caught up are we in what we see as a fight for justice.” Huh. Do you actually do a lot of talking with people in northern Nigeria? How do you know — besides having the gay-hating Nigerian bishops’ word for it — that anyone is actually afraid that the reason that the Islamists are coming after… Read more »
“It’s closely linked to the issue of whether or not this fear is a complete fabrication of the GAFCON episcopate.” No, I haven’t talked to Nigerians, but I have talked to Arab Christians, who tell me of the hostility of their Muslim neighbours. No doubt I’d get the same thing from those Muslim neighbours. I also know that hate and finding ways to justify that hate are basic parts of human nature, regardless of the religion those humans profess, so this isn’t about making Muslims evil. Even if this IS as a complete fabrication of the GAFCON episcopate, their people… Read more »
“…are hearing what their bishops are saying…”
You make a good point, Ford. I hadn’t considered that news of our perfidious ways might reach African Anglicans as easily from their bishops as from CNN.
“I hadn’t considered that news of our perfidious ways might reach African Anglicans as easily from their bishops as from CNN.” I don’t want to be disrespectful of them, but I figure that for some in the more rural areas of Nigeria, what their bishop says is far more real than CNN. How many of them have ever seen CNN, or anything like it? I don’t think rural Nigeria has as much contact with worldwide telecommunications as urban North America. I’m from Newfoundland, and in rural parts of this island you can’t get broadband net access, and that’s in “affluent”… Read more »