Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Archbishop & the Episcopal Church

Stephen Bates' blog today in the Guardian from the U.K. offers interesting reflections on the relationship between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Episcopal Church. The essay is well worth reading in full. Here we highlight a few excerpts.

Speaking of the communiqué issued by the primates in Tanzania, he writes:

It was always obvious, however, that the Americans, who have grown increasingly exasperated at the way they have been treated, were unlikely to accept the unprecedented interference with their polity that the communique sought to impose. Williams, unless he was in his most Pollyanna-ish mood, must have known that, just as the American (and probably African) evangelicals certainly knew that conditions were being imposed that could never be met. They probably even knew that there is absolutely nothing the American church could ever say that would sufficiently appease them.
He also points out: "Dr Williams . . . has steadfastly declined to visit the US church while happily receiving regular delegations of conservatives at Lambeth Palace. The American bishops invited him to go and visit them, to hear their views . . . ." He continues:

But Williams is in the thrall to the conservatives. He has even appointed the American conservative theologian Ephraim Radner to the body advising on the pastoral scheme, just when Radner has joined a Washington-based organisation, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, dedicated to overthrowing the US church and largely funded by the Ahmansons. These bizarre, multimillionaire Californian Christian reconstructionists believe in publicly stoning gays (and other reprobates) to death.
We offer one modest correction. Archbishop Williams appointed Radner to the Covenant Design Group – not (so far as we know) to the Pastoral Council. However, in the long term, the covenant (if one is adopted) may be the mechanism that determines who is fully "in" the Anglican Communion. Thus, it is a position of significant influence.

In the interest of precision, we also observe that Ahmanson didn't exactly say he believed in publicly stoning gays; he said (according to Jim Naughton) that while he no longer thinks it is "essential" to stone gay people, "It would still be a little hard to say that if one stumbled on a country that was doing that, that it is inherently immoral, to stone people for these things." (See Follow the Money, Part one, footnote 13.)

Bates concludes: "Williams might do well to reflect that it is not the liberals who are demanding that their opponents be flung out of the church, and that maybe he should, for once, listen to what they have to say before they go. If Paris was worth a Mass, then the future of the Anglican communion should be worth at least an air ticket."

Do read the whole thing.

Update: In the comments on this post, John B. Chilton reminds us, "A lengthy statement by Ephraim Radner has been posted at titusonenine: Ephraim Radner: What Way Ahead? He's not happy." Yes, we saw his long piece. We just could not figure out how to summarize it within the length limits we seek to maintain here. Go read it, those who want to. . . . And many thanks, John!

1 Comments:

Blogger John B. Chilton said...

A lengthy statement by Epraim has been posted at titusonenine: Ephraim Radner: What Way Ahead?


He's not happy.

3/22/2007 10:14 PM  

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