Comments: ACC-16 latest reports

I have a general response to Justin's speech and a reflection on the unspoken issue that is wracking the Communion.

First generally, I don't think the great generational challenges listed can be limited to two: religious violence and climate change.

I believe that - in terms of the human flourishing that Justin mentions - a third overwhelming force is at work in the world, and that is the market-driven system of laissez-faire capitalism that impacts on poor communities, divides between rich and poor, steals wealth and commodities for the privileged, mandates economic empire, exploits labour for the profit of the few, and... linking with climate and the environment... rapes and pillages our natural world.

On the more specific (and unspoken) issue of LGBT dignity and inclusion... Justin's comment:

"Hospitality has to be accompanied by the giving of social dignity."

Well quite.

But how can social dignity be received, if a person makes apologies, but regards people's sexuality as a sin, penalises gay priests, takes away their jobs, repudiates churches (or provinces) who affirm gay relationships, threaten 'consequences', and generally aid and abet the marginalisation of gay and lesbian lives - because of theological belief that the bible sees these as 'abomination'?

What kind of social dignity does that afford?

And isn't it actually patronising, to urge us to 'love the sinner' while anathematising people's most precious, devoted, lovely, sacrificial, intimate, holy relationship with another human being?

Doesn't it just make the bestower of 'apology' feel better, "because I'm really not a horrible person", I just can't accept your sexual relationships in our church.

Social dignity is violated when we try to dominate, try to impose our own values on other peoples.

But of course, Justin in his speech was trying to talk about anything except the issue that everyone knows is causing the Communion-wide crisis: meanwhile... we have renewed calls for an Anglican Covenant to enforce uniformity and episcopal authority... we have the Bishop's Letter on C of E priests who dare to get married... we have 'consequences' for TEC... we seem to be going backwards, slipping by some time warp into a Higton universe.

Social dignity it is not.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 17 April 2016 at 1:38pm BST

Archbishop Welby's focus on violence and climate change is welcome.

I've attached a link to a Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) program 'Tapestry' which has a short web article about their interview with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who has written 27 books, including Not In God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence. In it, he emphatically rejects the idea that religion does more harm than good, as many atheists contend.

"Forgive me. I respect atheists and secular humanists and I love them with an undying love, but let us not be that naive. The cause of violence is not religion. The cause of violence is the human heart."

The topic is certainly timely, one that is being engaged by both our ABC and the Roman Catholic international organizations as well.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 17 April 2016 at 4:14pm BST

"And isn't it actually patronising, to urge us to 'love the sinner' while anathematising people's most precious, devoted, lovely, sacrificial, intimate, holy relationship with another human being?" - Susannah Clark

That's the dilemma. If diversity according to conscience is to be allowed, then conservatives must be free to speak of homosexuality as a mortal sin on a par (theologically) with other mortal sins. It seems to me that we can legitimately expect equality in terms of accesses to religious rites and sacraments and in terms of election to various posts but I am not sure we should prevent people from expressing their view that same sex relationships are sinful.

Posted by Kate at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 9:10am BST

Kate, in a context where diversity of conscience was allowed, then I would whole-heartedly defend the right of those who in good conscience believed gay sex was wrong. In fact I do defend that right (as I have previously posted here).

However, in the present context, where diversity of conscience is not accommodated, and the majority view (eg man-man sex is sin) gets imposed as a uniformity, I'm afraid all protestations of 'loving the sinner' FEEL acutely patronising, and are insufficient to remedy the situation.

At that point, such 'love' feels like largesse, given as a condescension from a position of moral superiority, while STILL imposing a dominant view on others' consciences in a way that results in diminution of people's actual lives, not to mention the witness of the church to an incredulous world.

It is more likely to make the bestower of the largesse feel good, than the people whose intimacies and precious love have been anathematised.

It is the dominant group, backed by primates and bishops, who are trying to "prevent people from expressing their view" within the life of the Church.

Yes, diversity of conscience should be allowed. It works both ways. Just saying "But we love you..." while disallowing who we are, is frankly loving us, while blacklisting the people we are. It is love on someone else's terms, not love for the whole of who we actually are. It is still saying who we must be, if we want to be in the Church. And I don't think that's actually love, but rather, domination.

Unity in diversity is a common-sense maturity. It needs a whole lot of grace. But it is possible, if people stop trying to dominate each other.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 10:59am BST

"Mortal sin"?

Posted by cseitz at Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 11:43am BST

Kate, the fact that you know what the right-wingers' view is is proof that they have not, as they have consistently maintained, been silenced. We, as gay and gay-affirming, were *repeatedly* told by these same people that we could live out our convictions in the MCC or some other far-flung arm of the Church. Well, that door opens from both sides, and they have a lot more options than we ever, ever, ever did for different places to accept their point of view and allow full vent to it - the Baptists, the Catholics, Missouri Synod Lutherans, the Anglican movement, ACNA, on and on. So, when they start whinging about being inconvenienced by leaving their parish, or heart-broken to leave friends, or, much worse, complaining about the loss of pensions or jobs, then ask yourself how truly important these issues must be to them, that they cannot even give up these things to live them out. If they don't want to go, then they just have to be happy with the same accommodation we received, which was to be allowed to talk and try to convince others by their argument. If they don't think that's enough, perhaps they know the argument is false, as well.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Wednesday, 20 April 2016 at 8:55am BST

"If diversity according to conscience is to be allowed, then conservatives must be free to speak of homosexuality as a mortal sin on a par (theologically) with other mortal sins."

Being gay isn't a mortal sin! And accusing us of that would be hate language in my view. Imagine if there was a racial version of that. It would be clearer.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 20 April 2016 at 10:14pm BST
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