Comments: Monday in London

Michael Hampson's article is a breath of fresh air - at last, someone telling it like it is.

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 11:56am BST

Thanks for these links Simon. They were both clever and to the point. I've been pondering how this debate would be held with God.

"Dear God, please reward us for repressing homosexuals and punishing any that would provide them hospitality. We fought hard against this impure sin, and made damn sure that women had no control over their own wombs (naughty Eve, they all should be punished)."

I wonder how God would respond. Perhaps He would ask the first person without sin to cast the first stone. Perhaps He would suggest we check out the glass panels in our own house. Perhaps He would offer to solve the impurity of GLBTs if we managed to get our other impurities under control - 100% of them by 100% of humanity. You know, small things like Baal-like sacrificing of children through preventable illnesses and starvation; committing soldiers to die or attacking civilians in selfish wars and other acts of aggression; conducting covert imperialism and depriving women and children of food, water and medicine through economic sanctions; polluting other countries' water supplies with mutagenic chemicals and/or radiation; destablising nations to retain our economic control - knowing that will cause civil unrest with consequent abuse of women and children and other vulnerables; having legal systems that presume women always want to have sex and are never raped; presuming that women always want to have babies and are capable of providing for their upbringing; ensuring that God's perfect creation of men are unfettered so they may or may not contribute for some or any of their children's upbringing (in or out of wedlock) as and when it suits their whims.

I wonder what Jesus would call "unbearable burdens"?

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 12:05pm BST

That _Times_ article looks rubbish to me. +Williams is not on record as rating a "shoot first, ask questions later" "policy" over doing proper prior investigation, nor does he demand more power for himself and/or his minions.

However, the Guardian article does meet with some approval, here: I was wondering about use of the adjective "homophobic" in describing a lot of these Africans, and I have not forgotten that some resolutions linked from here have cut both ways: it's one thing to affirm ties with the rest of the anglican communion by issuing a sort of apology and that B033 thing last week, but I've not forgotten there was some wording about also apologizing to LGBT folks for their non-inclusion in the past, as well.

From the Guardian: "There is no international commission to protect gay people - or decent churchgoers - from offensive fundamentalism."
Funnily enough, I think there's James 2:1-13...

Posted by Tim at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 12:44pm BST

Just listened to this excellent radio discussion of General Convention on the BBC Sunday Sequence programme from yesterday (click on the url I've given). Interviews with Stephen Bates, Susan Russell, David Virtue, Andrew Carey, etc.

The programme blog describes it: You'll hear Susan Russell, the president of of the pro-gay campaign group Integrity, describe the Convention's final resolution as 'spineless'; the conservative internet columnist David Virtue explains why he thinks 'the game is now over'; journalist and commentator Andrew Carey, though he won't be drawn on what his father, Dr George Carey, is thinking at the moment, tells us he's not sure if the next Primates' Meeting can now go ahead; the Reverend Briony Morton, a pro-gay vicar in Brighton, expresses her bitter disappointment at Rowan Williams's rather cold response to the election of Anglicanism's first female primate; and Stephen Bates of the Guardian shares his experience of interviewing the Episcopal Church's new presiding-bishop, who gave the impression that she wouldn't be concerned terribly much if her church was required to walk apart from the Anglican Communion.

Go to - select Listen Again, and scroll forward about 34 minutes.

Posted by Jason Green at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 12:45pm BST

Yes,it is a good discussion.

I think the African attitude is actually 'homophobic' in its earlier meaning - just listen to akinola talk about gay people - there's a real visceral loathing and disgust there which has nothing at all to do with theology!

Posted by Merseymike at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 2:11pm BST

Hampson's article is seriously confused, and wallowing yet again in the culture of victimhood. It contributes nothing to the analysis of last week's GC. His obituary for the Church of England is somewhat premature. The Guardian would do better to ask some of the contributors here for their take on the General Convention.

Likewise Hames falls into the journalistic trap of demanding simplistic answers to complex questions which he does not quite comprehend. Again there are people better qualified to comment than Hames, who should stick to reporting on the foibles of politicians.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 3:17pm BST

It is all well and good to engage conversation across our many differences. I often dream of that and advocate for that. But such conversation presumes that we can establish together in common value and civilian commitment, a neutral, listening, accurate, empathic institutional network of spaces where, first off, all of us who may speak in this conversation are actually welcome. Globally.

The difficult bind is that increasingly the new conservative believers say that the doctrinal / witness precondition of their entering such a neutral listening space is that it first be tilted in favor of their own sacred conformed views, or else it is simply too ungodly to occupy. At various times, different ways of tilting are advanced.

One silly deal we are offered is that we shall agree to their special reading of scripture (or Primate reports, or newspaper articles or bad/nonsense science about queer folks or something), or else sensible engagement is impossible. This naturally skews things by loading the frame ahead of time, in favor of their special claims that there is one and only one right way to investigate scripture or whatever else it is that they wish to use as a hammer against differences. Then, lo, we find that they alone possess God's hammer.

Another silly deal we are offered is sort of the stealth edition of the first deal. That is, we are invited to agree ahead of time that while we must take up residence in any and all of the preferred orthodox frames that will undoubtedly be used in the near future conversation - so that we can finally get a taste of the eternal truths that only new conservative believers possess and live out in daily life - the reverse is not needed. New conservative believers are to be exempted from ever having to take up much serious, inquiring residence in anybody else's frames because that would be asking them to step in dog excrement and thus soil their uniquely pure white garments, washed carefully in the pure blood of the lamb. Oops. Whatever that invitation is, it isn't listening and mutual give and take. Above all, it lacks cognitive and emotional empathy, not to mention skilled imagination.

Yet a different iteration of the second distortion is that we get invited to allow new conservatives to join/engage convesation among us, only so long as their misrepresentations of other, alternative frames goes unchallenged and unremarked. Thus, we are agreeing ahead of time that we will stay silent when they hold forth about their favorite target lists of queer folks, women, liberals, progressives, secular humanists, and a great deal else. This amounts to a deal in which we agree to ignore any slanderous things they may happen to say about unconformed people in God's name, and in which we agree to not notice that they have come perilously close to bearing false witness against a neighbor they don't like much.

That people and views exist diffferent from new conservative ones exist is undoubtedly still true. However, so far, one hardly ever gets a careful reading of the alternatives, conducted by new conservative believers. They are always rushing right along to get us to their full, complete, clear knowledge of all of the gospel. So, again, we cannot really have much of an inquiry together, because they know ahead of time that they are so right that all important questions have already been answered, not least in their special abilities to diagnose just what is wrong with all possible alternatives to their views.

Alas. I don't really know how to entertain these folks without agreeing ahead of time that we shall disagree, and maybe serving together down at the soup kitchen would be more productive for the time being than trying to discuss our differing views. We used, used to be able to also count on common prayer as another option, but they are rapidly and loudly closing that off in favor of their special, unique godliness. What to do? One seems callous to keep inviting people to the Lord's table when they keep replying that your - queer? female? liberal? scientific? questioning? book-reading? poetry-writing? partnered? parenting? ECUSAn? Canadian? Scottish? New Zealander? Non-judgmental? - existence will soil or contaminate them. Alas. Lord have mercy.

Posted by drdanfee at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 3:26pm BST

I think the press is overlooking the tripartite nature of this conflict. The BBC invited extremeists from both ends and managed to get no one to represent the broad middle of the Chruch. The liberal end is unhappy with the result of GC becuase their principles felt compromised. The traditionalist end is unhappy because, in their view, TEC failed to mimic the words of the Windsor Report. The middle wants TEC to enagage Windsor honestly. The middle wants unity over the purity demanded by either extreme.

Where are the moderate voices who laud TEC for expressing a desire to remain in the Communion and expressing, as best they are able, a desire to conform with the demands of the WR? We're not hearing those voices in the coverage we've been given.

Posted by ruidh at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 3:57pm BST

I think it's more or less true to say that the "middle" in ECUSA is shrinking and directionless "(partly as a function of being in the middle of a whirlpool). It, essentially, has nothing to sell except to urge staying on the boat, while the other parties try to grab the rudder.

I'm sure most US churchgoers are in the middle, though I'm not sure that's a good thing. What I've seen is a kind of myopic conservatism (small "c") that clings to place, building, and habit and ignores theology and ecclesiology. Such people have no interest in what they call "church politics," though they suffer the outcomes. Many have faded away from churchgoing entirely as they reached the point at which they no longer felt comfortable; this includes, I suspect, the majority of the old Episcopal families who built the parishes and who now play golf rather than God.

As a result. vestries and diocesan conventions were years ago hijacked by liberal activists, who had a very firm agenda. The cumulative effect of this was that General Convention came to be made up of the liberals chosen by liberals in the dioceses, and even more radical. And that made the conservative more strident and combative, just to survive.

The current situation is in many ways the result of the much-vaunted "democratic process" in ECUSA, and a monitory of how easy it is to seize control of a system.

Posted by Austin at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 4:29pm BST

`drdanfree' writes sensible stuff, including: "One seems callous to keep inviting people to the Lord's table when they keep replying that your - [potential adjectives] - existence will soil or contaminate them. Alas. Lord have mercy."

Yes, that's pretty much putting the finger on what I've been thinking as well. I get the impression that the barrier to being described as a "liberal" is low.

There's a great quote in Adrian Plass's second "Sacred Diary", a fairly prolonged monologue saying that there's nothing wrong with treading the narrowest path yourself whilst holding arms open wide to drag others along. I get the distinct feeling that many are failing to grasp both sides of this.

Amusingly, while I can't find my copy nor any cite for the quote online, I did stumble across _Anglican Identities_ by one Rowan Williams esq. Might have to (re-?)read that now...

Posted by Tim at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 4:54pm BST


TEC has no easy out on this one, at least not at the top levels. It had more than ample time to work out language, circulate it, and try to come up with something that would be acceptable by a majority of the bishops of the church. It then could have worked at explaining this language and promoting it so that it could pass through the House of Deputies. Instead it did nothing. The consequence was chaos and a last minute bit of ghastly tripe bulled and bullied through by the PB and the PB elect that pleased no one, not even the "middle" as far as I can tell. And, that I think is why you hear no words of praise even from the middle--they are as disgusted as everyone else by the muddle made of this thing by the leadership of TEC, particularly the PB and his cronies.

In any case, there is a proverb about what the road to hell is paved with. I cannot say that the resolution passed even goes as far as genuinely expressing "good intentions" on the part of TEC with regard to WR.


Posted by Steven at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 5:06pm BST

I confess to being delighted to see Mr Hampson's article in the Guardian. His clarity about the whole situation is a dramatic contribution to the debate. Sadly, His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury will not pay any attention. He has decided long ago to play the role of Pope Pius. He says to others that they must pay the price of his principles. For there to be an Anglican Communion at all in the future he must do nothing whilst men and women are abused by their co-religionists. He presents this as a virtuous position, which only a man of his intellect and personal holiness is able to comprehend.

If any group should have the temerity to claim the title 'Confessing Church' it is those who are being ground down by Dr Williams continued ability to reject the demands of conscience and love in favour of polity and pragmatism.

And why do I write on this site rather than to His Grace at Lambeth Palace? I do so simply because I know that all I would get would be a 'curt note' from the Chaplain. At least here I may get a fair hearing.

Posted by Anglicanus at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 5:11pm BST

Where do I go for more information about relations between American and Africans inclined to "walk apart"? Conjecture: While American conservatives may be united with many Africans and Asians on issues of women and homosexuality, I fear that they will be in for a rude shock when it comes to actually apportioning power in a new "communion." You see schism-inclined conservatives make up at most 20 percent of ECUSA. However much they long for the cut-and-dried certainty of authoritarianism, American conservatives are used to doing things American style. When (if?) the ACN split from ECUSA to join the Global South, they will not have enough money or members to call the shots - which Americans are really used to doing. The ACN may could become another rather sad item on on Wikipedia's list of Continuing Anglican Churches -- no longer part of AC but also not really attached anywhere else. Also, who says that Bishop Duncan et al. will actually be able to take all their members with them when they go? It's one thing to threaten to leave, it's another to actually go. It's a long time to September and even longer to the next Lambeth Conference.

Posted by Susan at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 7:52pm BST

why no comment boxes for the thinking anglicans entry titled "yet more comment on General Convention"?

Posted by thomas bushnell, bsg at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 9:08pm BST

Don't forget your church history. Pius IX was elected as Pope with a reputation for liberal ideas. He ended up issuing his 'Syllabus of Errors' which condemned those who argued that "...the Roman Pontiff can and ought to reconcile and ajust himself with progress, liberalism and modern civilisation." The same Pope presided over the First Vatican Council which proclaimed Papal Infallibility as a doctrine of the church. Who knows where the liberal Rowan Williams will end up? I make the point, that undergirding the issues of controversy at the moment on women priests and bishops, and the question of homosexuality, the whole traditional ethos of the Anglican Church (in which theology is worked out in terms of an interplay of scripture, tradition and reason and in which provincial autonomy is prized) is under attack, in favour of the infallible pronoucements of scripture as interpreted by a college of primarily conservative primates and spouted forth out of Canterbury, ex cathedra, as their passive mouthpiece. Fanciful? I only hope and pray that it is.

Posted by AlaninLondon at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 9:10pm BST

I don't agree with the Times article being rubbish. In fact it rather nicely repeated my sentitments, which is where I will see one thing from ABC which indicates an openness to genuine communication and yet on the same day find another which states he is meeting privately with US conservatives and others, so that the contents of his thoughts and positions are not subject to scrutiny or comment by others (presumably liberal elements of the church).

I think the Times article rather effectively brought home the "Yes Minister" double speak which could be interpreted as either tolerance or disciplining, depending on the shade of glasses, angle of the sun and who is in the room at the time.

I feel like Jeremiah hearing the priests calling peace, when really what they mean is that they have shut the "unworthies" outside and are trying to intimidate into silence the few souls who dare to point out that Rome is a burning and injustice is rife.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 10:11pm BST

A question, rather than a comment: When Hampson talks about sanctions against homosexual godparents to what does he refer? He writes "with sanctions imposed against everyone from homosexual clergy to homosexual godparents,"

Posted by Dave at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 10:27pm BST

If people can't understand what Rowan Williams says then that is their problem and they shouldn't be criticising him or attempting to engage with the theological points he is raising. It was perfectly obvious what he was saying in that article.

Posted by Edward at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 10:44pm BST

Drdanfee, that was a delightful posting. It reminds me of a core theme I am finding in Noam Chomsky's latest book "Failed States". The theme being that it is not whether force is being used, or covert destabilisation, or pre-emptive strikes, or economic sanctions. The issue is that someone is having the temerity to do to the US what they have been doing to others for decades (see also Michael Moore's "Bowling For Colombine").

The issue for the conservatives is not their tactics or confidence in advocating their interpretation of the scripture. Their issue is that others have dared to develop an alternative attractive form of scripture that others can relate to e.g.

As to the moderates, my heart goes out to you. But this is not just a fight between extremists, this is your fight too. When planes flew into the World Trade Center prays for God to intercede went up. When the US invaded Iraq and we grapple with the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and fear its training ground for civil warfare, prayers went up (from all sides). When Londoners dealt with July 7 bombings and the aftermath of fear, prayers went up. When Hitler authorised the massacre of millions of Jews and other unworthies, prayers went up. When Pol Pot, Stalin etc. etc. committed atrocities, prayers went up.

You all prayed for God to intervene, you all prayed for peace, you all prayed for your children to grow up safe and sound. The problem is those who want a sedative for the symptoms of the hangover but don't want to deal with the cause of the hangover.

There are leaders who would prefer to use "divide and conquer" to keep us fighting amongst ourselves, rather than dealing with the root causes of poverty and war. There are leaders who would rather find scapegoats and have you chasing delusional dreams that destruction of those scapegoats will solve the world's problems. There are leaders who shelter those who do not care about even their own grandchildren, just so long as they can retain their delusional power base and glory in this lifetime. These same leaders would be prepared to use nuclear weapons, these same leaders have no intention of creating world peace - because they would lose their military career paths and arms and/or oil revenues. Those leaders will destabilise churches, societies and families so that people can not find peace within themselves or with each other.

The cure for the hangover is to stop drinking from of God's wrath. One can choose to drink hate, elitism, sectarianism, fear-mongering, pride, deceit, violence, narcissm, pimping or prostitution. But don't be surprised if you feel sick afterwards. It is necessary for us to learn to recognise the glazed eyes who have been seduced into chasing power and money; irregardless of the cost to themselves, their descendants or others. The war against terrorism begins within each and every one of us.

Anyone who thinks they can be a moderate and not have a position on this has no right to complain about war, suicide bombers or any other acts of violence that they might experience; because they have abdicated their personal responsibility. You will not stop such systemic acts of violence unless you develop a systemic culture that embraces the values that make such practices ungodly and to be shunned by all decent people, irregardless of their faith or denomination.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 10:50pm BST

Comments box missing was a glitch, now fixed, sorry.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 26 June 2006 at 11:54pm BST

just as it is not appropriate to blame ++Frank for everything the episcopal church does, it is not appropriate to blame +++Rowan for the church of england's moral cowardice.

it is time to blame the general synod for permitting the bigots to run the show for so long.

the general synod could, if it wishes, say that issues in human sexuality no longer has any binding force; could declare "local option" in the matter of gay ordination just as the rest of the industrialied anglican countries have it, and so forth.

it is the entire church of england which is rapidly losing its moral authority, not just its senior primate.

is it really true that english anglicans (unlike their welsh and scottish co-islanders) are this attached to hypocrisy?

Posted by thomas bushnell, bsg at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 12:55am BST

Susan raises an excellent point.

I suspect that few of those outside the U.S. are aware of how closely the controversy in TEC is tied to secular politics. It's really a part of the much larger kulturkampf that the Right has been fighting since Reagan came into power.

With very few exceptions, the "reasserters" in TEC are political reactionaries. While they might have a lot in common with the Africans where sexuality and gender are concerned, they will quickly find that the Africans are much more progressive on economic matters, such as low-cost AIDS drugs and debt relief, which their American allies see as nothing short of communist.

An interesting example is the reaction to the Millenium Development Goals on the conservative discussion boards, where they were denounced as tired hippy dogoodery, an excellent example of what's wrong with TEC, more silliness from the UN (which American reactionaries hate passionately), etc. But then the statement from CAPA arrived and what is the one good thing they could say about the General Convention? That it took the MDG seriously.

The marriage between the Duncanites and the Akinolans will not be a happy one. Or a long one.

Posted by New Here at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 3:22am BST

What do you mean TEC did nothing? A tremendous amount of effort and energy went into a reply to the Windsor Report. A special committee made up of conservatives and liberals worked very hard on crafting resolutions to offer the GC. Here is the Report of the Special Committee of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion,
"One Baptism, One Hope in God's Call."

The 11th hour panic that ended with the passage of B033 was the result of strong arm tactics by the House of Bishops, particularly our Presiding Bishop Griswald, and also our new Presiding Bishop Elect Jefferts Schori. They were intent that PBE Schori get invited to Lambeth. They were desperate to say that TEC gave a reasoned response. Read the witness of those who were there and the shock they felt at being asked to revisit what they had clearly rejected the day before. The extreme pressure that was applied that they give PBE Schori a chance with the WWAC and no time to deliberate. Please don't say that nothing was done. The resolution that passed is absurd and the language is meaningless. Exactly whose "manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church?" Any sinner fits the profile. None need apply. You can even buy the t-shirt!
We need to move on with the work that Christ calls us to and leave judging our brothers and sisters to God.

Posted by faithwatch at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 3:36am BST

I admire R Williams' attempt to defend tradition and secure church unity. That he is attacked from both sides is a point in his favor. I heard that he has asked Akinola to apologize for his antigay activities -- is this true? The latter is very homophobic, but his Catholic counterpart, the Cardinal of Lagos is worse:

"All these stories are geared towards destroying the marriage institution. It’s very strange, indeed very absurd. How could a man and a man or woman and woman be in a sexual relationship? It’s crazy. This is a curse. All they (gays and lesbians) want to do is destroy the human race.

"It is the same thing that made them to start using the condom. They call it family planning. People now want to have less children. So, they brought in the condom. Actually, there is a company that produces condom that wants to be located in Nigeria. They want to start producing condoms in Nigeria! That is besides the abortions they commit on daily basis.

"Haven’t you also heard about people doing sex exchange? Men transform into women and women can become men! These are all targeted at destroying human life.

"Those who are doing family planning now have two kids. A man gets married, gets a boy or a girl or two boys and hands up. He has had enough. After they have done all these and it is not enough, men now want to get married to fellow men and women want to get married to fellow women. Is it not absurd? Is it not sickness? Is it not like challenging God? But I thank God for the fastness of this regime to arrest the situation. They did not even waste time before coming up with a law. Nigeria factor did not come into force.

"You heard that a group of them (gays and lesbians) actually came out to flaunt their homosexuality and lesbian behaviours and are asking for official recognition. That cannot happen in Nigeria. Of course, it cannot happen in the Catholic Church. It’s an abomination. It cannot happen in this part of the world. No, it cannot happen.

"I thank God that the secular society did not leave the matter in the hands of the church. It acted appropriately and the church knows what to do now. I am hopeful that as stipulated, the government gets serious with it because we know that in some parts, homosexuals exist. It has to stop."

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 5:39am BST

I doubt if R Williams has a completely worked out theology of same-sex relations; he is not a moral theologian as such; he said that the Anglican teaching on the issue is the same as that of Rome!

I found the Guardian article sufficiently troubling (despite its victim posture) to comment as follows in their combox: "It seems that Archbishop Williams is more deeply traditionalist than was realized, and feels he should resist an increasingly powerful pro-gay lobby that he associates with ecclesial unruliness, permissive morals and modernist theology. [At least he can empathise with that view.] He is also possibly anxious about not burning bridges with Rome. [Which is a matter of basic ecumenical responsibility.] Whatever about all that, the behaviour of the leading Roman and Anglican churchmen in Nigeria has amounted to the vilest stirring up of popular hatred, with bishops urging the secular state to persecute members of their own flock. Schori is a beacon of the future; Akinola leads the Gadarene swine down the cliff; Williams would do well to embrace the future rather than the past."

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 5:43am BST

Can we eliminate homosexuality? Would eliminating homosexuality solve the problems of sin in this world? By the homophobics own words, they acknowledge that the problem of homosexuality has been documented in the bible for 1000s of years.

Would eliminating every Jew from the planet remove sin? Did Hitler fail because he did not succeed in the final extermination of the Jews and the snuffing of the Torah?

Would stopping every abortion remove sin? Would removing contraception improve morality?

Would removal of all other religions resolve world conflict? Would having only one form of absolutely correct and pure Christian faith eliminate conflict?

No. And any strategy that relies on the unrealistic extermination of the other is doomed to fail. If for no other reason that in the process of attempting the extermination the souls become more evil than that which they sought to destroy.

Sometimes the victory is not in destroying "the other" but in recognising that attempting to destroy them means you lose your own soul. Civilisations are built on the recognition that there are boundaries that once crossed simply lead to bloodbaths and destroyed societies. Civilisation involves understanding that there needs to be strong moral codes that protect the vulnerable, encourage people to live to their best, and contain the violent. It involves laws that apply equally to the strong as to the weak, for when any group believes they are above the law, the law becomes meaningless and it becomes a bloodbath of survival of the most ammoral or simply pure luck in the grace of God.

Nor can we expect others to be civilised when we destabilise their homes, make medicine and first aid impossible to access, food and water erratic and/or unsafe. It is unreasonable to call people violent barbarians when you have painted them into a corner where they can not provide for their children basic needs or education.

If you oppose protecting GLBTs, the environment, people of other faiths, then you have embraced hatred and a path towards barbarianism. You have read the letter of the bible (and only remembered the parts that support your delusions) and are completely blind to the intent of bible. Sophistry over words does not change that you have hardened hearts and sociopathic consciousnesses.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 9:27am BST

Thomas Bushnell needs to understand that General Synod has been denied over a number of years the opportunity to approve or disapprove Issues in Human Sexuality, which is presented as a policy document by the House of Bishops.

If there were to be an open debate, and if the House of Bishops were to permit voting on resolutions, the present General Synod would take a strongly conservative position, as it did with the Higton debate in 1987.

But the business of General Synod is carefully controlled by the Church House machine, and the elected members of Synod in the House of Laity (and the House of Clergy) are denied debate by the unelected part in the House of Bishops.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 9:33am BST

My comment on Tim Hames' article:

Intelligence has hardly been a problem in the history of mankind. It is pride and the absence of a fear of God.

++Rowan has a humility, spirituality and love for and fear of God that many will do well to emulate even if bits of his theology (discussed in his years as a theologian) is unacceptable to some.

I see nothing in ++Rowans that deserves any association with this article.

Posted by Rev Terry at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 10:44am BST

Mike Hampson undermines his argument by what must be deliberate misrepresentation of the facts in his desire to launch a full-frontal attack on Rowan Williams.

The entire Anglican communion has NOT risen up against the American Church. If Rowan has risen up against TEC (and I’m not sure this is an accurate statement) the Churches of Canada, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil., South Africa and England (in any official pronouncement) most definitely have not.

The Church of England’s exemption from human rights law was NOT carefully negotiated by Lambeth Palace, if I am correct, but by the officials of the Church of England at Church House.

Gay clergy will NOT be summarily dismissed unless they swear their relationship is celibate.
Summary dismissal is illegal. Everyone, including bishops, are now subject to the clergy discipline measure.

The Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, is implicated in the sponsorship of bill which proposes legal penalties against homosexual civil rights activities and against gay marriage, but the bill is NOT on the statute books.

Rowan Williams has NOT lobbied parliament for exemptions from UK anti-discrimination legislation to ensure that all church schools will have the right to maintain a consistent anti-homosexual ethos. This is work undertaken by the bureaucrats at Church House and by members of the House of Bishops in the Lords. If Rowan HAS spoken to this effect in the Lords, then I am wrong and I apologise.

Is the Church of England becoming increasingly active in the persecution and expulsion of its own homosexual membership? Does Michael Hampson mean lay people here, or those who are ordained? Are LGBT clergy so gutless that they are being expelled from the Church without protest, public statement or contact with LGCM or Changing Attitude or the Clergy Consultation? I have heard no such reports.

Is Rowan Williams really known to be busy advising the Americans to resume active discrimination against homosexual clergy?

Posted by Colin Coward at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 11:37am BST

The Times raises the question: Should we put intellectuals in power? The answer is, I suggest:
(1) The main criterion for ensuring a successful (or, rather, good) church appointment is to appoint a person of holiness.
(2) If they are also an intellectual so much the better. The danger of appointing someone who is not intellectual is that they will not understand the issues, and may end up contradicting themselves.
(3) The article seems to have been asking What sort of person is it *pragmatic* to appoint? That is not relevant. It is not always *pragmatic* to appoint someone of integrity, but it is always *better* to do so.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 12:44pm BST

I must agree with Austin on the finer points of the "democratic" process within the ECUSA. And perhaps this GC had it's "Epiphany Moment" (to use a terribly trendy phrase, sorry but it fit) this last round down in Columbus. B033 is at it's worse it was compromise; a (once) wonderful hallmark of American politics. At it's best it is a signal to keep in dialogue with the rest of the world, another (at one time) merit of American diplomacy.

Austin's letter strikes a nerve. As a tenor soloist of a RSCM choir in a very prestigious church in nearby Akron, I can attest to the sentimental value of worshipping in a church lost. As a gay man, I also know the pain of exclusion from the Lord's Table, but not necessarily God. And as cradle Episcopalian, I certainly can admit to the many mistakes made by the leadership of the past. My parents are a part of that group that now worships at the eighteenth hole.

I am satisfied with B033. It is not all that I would want it to be. Nothing ever could. And to attack the Dr. Williams is at this point seems to be continuing in a spirit of meaness that got us all here in the first place. Perhaps indeed we could follow ++Rowan's example of a fear of God balanced by a love of God.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 1:10pm BST


I think you make my point for me on both counts. As to the tactics employed by the PB and the PB to be, you agree. As to the things you have to say about the "efforts" taken to respond to WR pre-convention, you merely show them to be what they are--completely ineffectual and pointless. The fact remains, nothing worthwhile (i.e., of any real consequence in terms of actions taken at GC) was done before GC. And the final bit of balderdash issued pleases no one.


Posted by Steven at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 1:45pm BST

Could anyone ever be as naive and trusting as Colin Coward.

Face it Colin. Your approach hasn't worked. Bring on the split!

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 6:25pm BST

If the Church of England using "its own methods" which it lauds as being of God cannot arrive at the same protections for real people that other bodies arrive at without making claim to the same fount of goodness than certainly the Church of England is messed up. Speaking charitably of course.

Posted by RMF at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 6:34pm BST

Thanks for this'choirboifromhell'. Another perspective, and thoughtful and compassionate.
You know whereof you speak, and that is the thing.
I defo need this corrective voice, as I can go over into blame and blaming. You are generous.

Posted by LurenceRoberts at Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 7:54pm BST

Colin Coward, thank you for your posting. All you say is accurate. The debate will not be advanced by personal attacks on Dr Williams but by reasoned argument, which has been sadly lacking in a number of commentators recently who have set about condemning him.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Wednesday, 28 June 2006 at 10:43am BST

I think the major problem with the liberal wing of the church is that it has confused liberalism with passiveness in some quaters. But I believe the whole thing lies in the history of the Church Of England in that it is always trying to square a circle. I.E reconcile Protestantism with catholicism.
That said one wonders why writers such as Don Cupitt and Mr Hampson don't join the Unitarian church. The Unitarian church combines tradition with liberalism and in all but name is very simialar to liberal Anglicanism. The reason people don't join Unitarianism is I believe down to the prestige and so say authority and status that the Anglican church affords them. Why stick with a dying institution when there is a more liberal and traditional style of church in existance?
Fr Brian

Posted by Fr Brian at Sunday, 15 July 2007 at 2:06pm BST
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