Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Global South to the World: "The Evil of Homosexuality is a Perversion"

The self-styled orthodox primates in the self-styled Global South have begun their meeting, and are beginning to issue pronouncements. Led by the primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Peter Akinola, the group released a statement saying, “The Church affirms our commitment to the total rejection of the evil of homosexuality which is a perversion of human dignity." Read the story here.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Allen said...

This shouldn't come as a surprise but the way the rhetoric keeps being stepped up is disconcerting.
I have a harder and harder time even wanting to be in communion with people like this and I know they sure as hell don't want to be in communion with people like me.

9/21/2006 7:38 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

“Western churches once carried the faith to Africa and Asia, and now churches in Africa and Asia are needed to carry it back to the Western countries.”

I hope they don't bring female genital mutilation and polygamy back with them. Funny, but I've never heard Akinola or any of that camp decry those things, not to mention the abysmal drug situation, child soldiers, lack of health care, overwhelming population of AIDS orphans, or any other problem Nigeria and other African countries are facing daily. I've tried to find where Akinola and his crowd talk about any of those issues facing Africa, but have only been able to find articles about the obsession with gay sex. Perhaps that is the media's fault? I'd really like to know what, if anything, Akinola is doing to address the other desperate issues faced by his countrymen.

9/21/2006 8:55 PM  
Blogger BubbaHoTep said...

Suzer,

Go to their website

http://www.anglican-nig.org/home.htm

You will see the church attacking many, many of Africa's problems.

In about 3 seconds I saw statements on poverty, labor issues, disease, and care for the elderly.

Also, the church has made many statements against polygamy and has a frim policy against it.

Please, before you make remarks such as this, do a little research.

Thanks!

9/22/2006 9:29 AM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Thanks for the link, Bubbahotep. That's what I was looking for. And I had done a little research but was unable to find that link amid the myriad information discussing Akinola's anti-gay statements.

I went and spent some time at the Church of Nigeria's website, looking for concrete information about what the Bishop of Nigeria is doing to help the people of Nigeria, and frankly I was a bit dismayed. There are many more articles condemning TEC, condemning homosexuals, condemning "inappropriate dress" for women, etc., etc. than there are showing the good work that the church is doing to help the poor and oppressed of that country. And maybe it's being done, but isn't being reported -- I have no way of knowing from the information presented on the website.

I have seen first hand the problems many countries in Africa face. I saw nothing on the website condemning female genital mutilation or polygamy -- they seem more interested in condemning homosexuality. The articles I saw about AIDS had to do with promoting abstinence and against condom use. While I believe abstinence should be taught, condoms also must be a part of the equation. There were also laudatory articles about what they are doing about the AIDS/HIV crisis, but no concrete information as to what steps they are actually taking (procuring medicines, taking in AIDS orphans, etc.). One article did discuss encouraging young people not to stigmatize those with AIDS, which is one positive thing.

I had to do some searching to find anything more than general statements against poverty and disease.

So, in the end, I still see very little of what Akinola and those who would follow him are doing to help the desperately poor, the sick and the elderly in his country. I wish they would promote that a little more on their website, rather than focusing almost entirely on their theological disagreements with the rest of the communion.

Thanks again for the link. I wish that, rather than spending so much time with divisiveness, we could all find those common causes that unite us (the poor, sick and elderly) and work to relieve suffering in this world.

9/22/2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger contratimes said...

Suzer, Bubbahotep, and others, blessings!

It is perhaps unfair to assume so much from any website. I just visited the website for the Episcopal Church of the United States. There is no immediate evidence of any reference to common American problems: urban poverty and violence, rape, drugs, domestic abuse. Am I to assume that TEC, my church, cares nothing for these things? Sure I find a link to The Millennium Goals, but those are not the Church's goals; they come from somewhere else. And while I find under the link, "Ministry," recommended readings, not one book is offered that promotes social justice, overcoming poverty, or tempering gang violence. Instead the Church seems to believe that issues of faith and science are the things we should read about. Other suggested reading links do not link to anti-poverty sites, or sites regarding gross segregations.

I notice, too, that if I go to the "Search" feature, I get results, not of eccelesiastical articles honed to build faith, but many news articles from the ENS. I note that 400 of any given query is the maximum search result. I note, too, that the query "rape" yields 96 results; "racial inequality" and "inner-city violence" yield 3 results each; "gang violence" yields 4; "rape" gives us 96; "gay rights" yields 283; and "homosexuality" gives us 338. Curiously, "Gene Robinson", "Jesus" "racism", and "poverty" all yield the maximum number of results, 400. Does this mean that the American Church believes Gene Robinson is as important as Jesus or poverty? You see the problem here.

What is being suggested by some might be considered the fallacy of high expectations. If I am a fireman, surely it does not follow that I am a hypocrite if I do not put out all fires. Nor does it follow that I approve of the fires I am unable to extinguish. If I am an orthopedic surgeon, surely I am not to be derided if I do not remove cancers from anything but bones; and it does not follow that I must like cancers elsewhere. If any bishop (or diocese) is fighting ONLY ONE perceived threat, then it does not follow that said bishop is not fighting others; nor does it follow that said bishop does not wish to fight others. We expect too much if we expect this. Besides, it is not as if those bishops fighting homosexuality have suddenly made it a priority, as if it just appeared by magic, out of some dark, prurient place in their hearts. They are RESPONDING to the push by countless activists intent on redefining a sacrament. This "fire" was not started by whacky bishops; it was set ablaze by the activist, willful religious who acted on their own private convictions, with regard for no one but their own sense of rightness and moral purity.

I am not saying this justifies anything anywhere. It merely points to a problem, two problems: It is foolish to draw any conclusion from someone's perceived silence; and it is foolish to think that one can gather much from an Anglican website about the totality of a person's (or movement's) soul. And, lastly, I have not said here, nor have I even suggested it, that homosexuality is a fire or a cancer. I have pointed to a fallacy; I have used analogies that speak exactly to the issue at hand. I could have easily said that a jeweler must be a hypocrite because he only deals in diamonds; or that a vegetarian is a damned hypocrite for eating tofu while ignoring lentils. The fallacy is simple to commit; it is just not that easy to see.

Peace,

Bill Gnade

9/22/2006 12:26 PM  
Blogger Suzer said...

Hi Bill. You make a good point that we can't expect a website to contain everything about what a diocese is or is not doing in the world.

But I do worry (I'm good at that). I have witnessed the poverty in Africa, I have witnessed the lack of education, the government corruption, and been overwhelmed by a desire to help and heartbroken by the slow pace of change in Africa. The poverty is everywhere, and measures to help seem to be a drop in the bucket. The issue of the church and homosexuality is an important one, no doubt, but I worry that bishops like Akinola have become so reactionary that other real problems faced by their congregants will be overlooked and ignored.

I have to disagree somewhat with your depiction of how this became an issue, as if those who want equal rights are wilful children foisting their personal desires on the church. No doubt, it is always a difficult journey toward equality and justice for all -- ask those involved with the Civil Rights Movement in the 50's and 60's. I do not believe the "activists" have regard for "no one" -- I think the call for inclusion means they have regard for "everyone", including those whom the Network would exclude. And their conviction is derived from Scripture and from Jesus' teachings, but few from the Network side of the fence would agree.

I'm exhausted -- it's been a long week, so I hope what I've said makes some sense.

Blessings,

Susan

9/22/2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger contratimes said...

Dear Susan,

Well, I pray you have a restful weekend. And you have made perfect sense.

I have nothing to dispute. You and I will disagree, but I am fine with that. And there is much to disagree on. It breaks my heart that so many of us find ourselves at odds. It seems so utterly wasteful.

But convictions run deep. I, too, believe I am following the teachings of our Lord. I will not dare say that you do not find Scripture your main and most powerful force; I will not dare assert that you do not hear the voice of Christ. Who would ever do such a thing? Since convictions and presuppositions are so close to the heart, discussing them, or sharing them, or exposing them to scrutiny and debate, feels so much like a personal threat or insult. I know this deeply; and I know how exhausting it can be.

Be that as it may, I am not one to refuse real dialogue. I hope you see several things in what I write. First, I hope you see grace. If you do not find that, then I am a failure. Second, I hope you find reasonableness, a thoughtfulness unafraid of the power of reason, or the tough question. Third, I hope you see a man who uses no invective; I may dabble in sarcasm, but it is usually done in fun and a spirit of playfulness: all this gets rather tedious if a person cannot aspire to be witty. But there are no nasty labels I paste on people; at least I never do so in a glib or casual way. This is not to say that I do not find the words conservative or liberal, for example, to be useless; they are an efficient shorthand. But I always try (I often fail, no doubt) to see people first, at least here, in the comments section of blogs. I share all this merely to let you know that I appreciate not only your candor, but your kindness.

Blessings to you,

Bill Gnade

9/22/2006 7:53 PM  

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