Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fall Out/Follow Up on the Gospel According to Orama

A quick peek at blogland over my lunch break illustrated that the conversation continues over the horrifying insistance by a Nigerian bishop (Isaac Orama) that gays and lesbians are "inhuman" and "unfit to live."

Elizabeth Kaeton did her usual fine job of "what can we learn from this boys and girls" and Mark Harris weighed in with what may be a nominee for most understated title in blogland: "Things are getting pretty strange in Global South land."

And Fr Jake makes this important point:
There have been condemnations of the declaration that gays are "unfit to live" from all corners of the Episcopal Church. For that we can be thankful. Yet, even in light of these condemnations, this incident has given me cause to wonder if the sentiments expressed by Bp. Orama are really an isolated incident, or are they more broadly accepted, but just not so bluntly stated?

Well, case in point are comments du jour over on titusonenine today, where someone named Alice Linsley opined "I am more likely to be shot in the USA for speaking against homosexual acts than an African is to be killed for being homosexual."

Really? And the statistics to bear that out would be found where? Perhaps Ms. Linsley should walk a mile or two in the shoes of our brother Davis MacIyalla or sojourn with members of Integrity Uganda for a bit. I'd be happy to make the introductions.

Or maybe not. Because then I read further, and Ms. Linsley, not content in taking Bishop Orama's abandonment of the core Christian doctrine of imageo Deo and making it "all about her" takes another step across the line into Literalist LaLa Land and asserts:

I do believe that Bishop Orama’s view is more biblical than TEC’s version of Christianity.

Really, Alice?! Do tell. Denying the humanity of homosexual persons and pronouncing them "unfit to live" is more "biblical" that TEC's commitment to seek and serve Christ in all persons? To reprise my blog from yesterday: This is what we're up against, people! If you hit the "snooze button" on the wake up call here it is again: Alice et al really DO believe that we are less than human and therefore expendible. And truth be told, I'm honestly not even interested in hearing the defense of such an indefensible position. I'm done. And if that makes me closed minded then so be it.

Maybe there are a few things to which the mind SHOULD be closed ... maybe there are some arguments that are just not worth having ... maybe this is where we turn to the Holy Scriptures which actually ARE a lamp unto our feet and actually DO contain for us all things necessary to salvation and check out what the one who IS our Lord and Savior had to say about those who will not hear the Good News of God's healing grace, abundant love and call to love -- not dehumanize -- our neighbors.

Luke 9:1-5. Check it out. I've got to get back to work.

29 comments:

Liz+ said...

Good ol' Alice was once an Episcopal priest until she came to the TRUTH that women can not be priests. She's in the process of collecting names of women clergy who have left the Episcopal Church.

What a gem.

Frair John said...

Alic is a ... well she's ...

delusional and suffering from an illness.

What she says is a sign of the deep seated pathology on the Right at all levels. Not being able to get there own way is equated with systemic persecution. In the horror chambers of the fevered imagination of the far right there is no room for honest disagreement, we are evil people, bent on their destruction. The fact that she feels physically threatened is a sign of just how far the group think and the warped desire for persecution is and serves as an symbolic example of the loathing she feels for GLBT people. "DECENT people can't go out any more, but those (insert "polite" euphemism here)can just go out and get married!"
The fact that she would, no doubt, subtly applaud a good, old fashion gang killing of a gay kid here in the US and I think that is the source of her statement. Since she wishes in her hateful heart of hearts that I would be drug out of my house and killed in the street I must want the same for her. The violence is so engraved in her (and those like her over at TitusOneNine and Fort Viagra) soul that it has grown to take over her whole outlook on the matter.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Isn't there a song by the Jefferson Airplane, "Go Ask Alice"?

Ah, yes. There is:

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell them a hookah smoking caterpillar has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

When the men on the chess board
get up and tell you where to go
And you just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "Off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said

Feed your head
Feed your head

Ummm .. . . maybe not.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the virulently anti-gay religious people in the USA (barring Phelps clan) are typically "subtly applauding" the death of gays by violence. They likely say and consciously mean "I don't approve of murder, beatings, or other form of violence against anyone", both because the Ten Commandments bans murder and because both religious opinion and secular opinion is opposed to murder, and anti-gay people tend to be the sorts of authoritarian followers who strongly want to be in tune with the majority message. I don't see them as either being self-aware enough to acknowledge a "subconscious" impulse to approve of said gay-bashing murder, or honest enough to admit to it if they do perceive this dark part of themselves. (and of all of us, though desire for violence may have different trigger).

NancyP

Jim said...

Oh come now, Alice! Where exactly will you be shot for disagreeing with those of us who favor equality? By whom?

In Nigeria, Arch-heretic Akinola favors a law that would make it unlawful for Rev. Susan and I to agree to have dinner with our beloveds and talk about human rights at dinner. In Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and Rwanda men can be sent to prison for loving one another. You know like Jesus instructed "A new commandment I have for you, that you love one another."

Only the Court and Constitution keep that from being the case in Texas. One cannot imagine the former Episcopalians in Plano arguing against such a law. IRD which funds a fair number of the conservative initiatives actively favours laws like that.

In Nigeria, a bishop can call people sub-human, you know, like the SS did in the Shoah. My people, the Rom, were slaughtered by those who thought God told them they were better than the sub-humans.

Finally, are you so evil, so bigoted, so blinded that you can seek to play the victim while you dishonor the memory of the millions of sub-humans murdered by the godly good people? If this is the stuff of priesthood, thank God for layity!

Coincidentally, Dr. Dennis Prager, a very right wing talk show host and commentator, wrote a piece recently that discussed the use of 'victim-hood' to cover evil. I wrote a commentary on it, and its applicability to some writings by Dr. Virtue on my blog. If anyone is interested, perhaps it helps explain the Alice's of this sad, sad world. http://essaysbyjim.blogspot.com/ will take you there.



FWIW
jimB

nlnh said...

OK, it's time to put up or shut up: Alice needs to go walk the streets of Abuja while publicly identifying herself as a lesbian.

Meanwhile, Susan can roam around rural east Texas telling people that she is an "orthodox reasserter."

Let's see which one returns safely.

David Ould said...

The fact that she would, no doubt, subtly applaud a good, old fashion gang killing of a gay kid here in the US and I think that is the source of her statement. Since she wishes in her hateful heart of hearts that I would be drug out of my house and killed in the street I must want the same for her.
Of for goodness sake. When will the left tire of continuing this relentless nonsense about us wanting to see homosexual people killed? It's absolutely ridiculous.

For shame that you would accuse others of it, and Susan, I would have thought that you would have the decency to call your commentors on this sort of baseless charge.

David Ould said...

Oh come now, Alice! Where exactly will you be shot for disagreeing with those of us who favor equality? By whom?
Haven't you heard?
"The fact that Susan Russell would, no doubt, subtly applaud a good, old fashion gang killing of a Alice Linsley here in the US and I think that is the source of Susan Russell posting this blog entry."

Come on Susan, have the courage of your convictions and allow this comment to stand.

Bill said...

Fr. Jake writes: “. . . .this incident has given me cause to wonder if the sentiments expressed by Bp. Orama are really an isolated incident, or are they more broadly accepted, but just not so bluntly stated?”

Perhaps I’m jaded, but I don’t wonder at all. I believe these sentiments are out there and festering. I used to try to be positive but when it happens over and over again you just have to accept the fact that some people hate us. Some say so openly but many more silently. You need look no further than the results coming out of the polling booths on issues that impact the GLBT communities or seeing congregations of churches leaving over issues of women’s rights or sexual preference. If anyone thinks that these people don’t hate us because they felt they had to leave, they are indeed naïve. In their minds we upset their lives and caused them anguish and frustration. There is a real danger in this country. Over the years of the present administration in Washington, the line between church and state has been repeatedly attacked and left tattered. It is not unforeseeable in the near future to see dramatic swings to the right in our constitution and legal systems.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

davidI'm letting your comment stand because it is a perfect illustration of friar john's point and the reality of the what we are facing in the reactionary irrationality of the religious right.

Those who ally themselves with the likes or Orama should not be surprised when their polemic elicits fear based reasctions from those who have been called inhuman and unfit to live.

Watch the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So" and listen to the story of the gay high schooler whose mother had to scrub "die faggot" off his car before he left for school in the morning and then tell me there are not those who live in literal fear for their lives for being who they are.

Alice is not one of them and while I would never wish anyone to harm a hair on her head I do pray the reality of the persecution gay and lesbian folk experience might sink into it ... and into yours!

Anonymous said...

George
You will need a new whipping boy. Bishop Orama denies making the statement and the reporter has promised a retraction.

Frair John said...

Anonymous 10:33 - An unsubstantiated e-mail from Cannon Popoola, a paragon of truthful reporting and restrained rhetoric I'll add, is not what I would call a reason to suddenly start backing down.
UPI still has the story up. They have never retracted it, and requests for verification from them have gone unanswered as of this moment.
I'll also add that Alice's comments (the moajority of comments were about) are still outragious and point that, at heart, many of the "right" are filled with vitriol and hate.

Anonymous said...

George
All of us are too disposed to believe the worst about our "enemies." The Canon's statement is that Bishop Orama denies making the statements attributed to him. It does not say Popoola denies Orama made the statement. So if you want to wait for more news before retracting some of the terrible things said about this Bishop, by all means, wait. But perhaps in the interim, new slanders can be held in abeyance.

Anonymous said...

David Ould, we are all divided creatures. Lives there anyone who doesn't have a second of inappropriate schadenfreude when a political enemy tanks his career through stupidity, or a terrorist suffers severe burns while attempting to blow up an airport? But then we get over it with a little effort and a little grace. Decency (and mature adulthood) consists of the recognition and minimization of one's more violent feelings. I contend that there are a lot of people out there who would never commit violence against gays, but who are perfectly happy to shrug and say "They had it coming" when hearing of a gay-bashing or murder of a transgendered person. If we didn't have a lot of these people, gays and transgendered people would have been added to the hate crimes bill long ago.

NancyP

David Ould said...

I contend that there are a lot of people out there who would never commit violence against gays, but who are perfectly happy to shrug and say "They had it coming" when hearing of a gay-bashing or murder of a transgendered person.
And such people deserve our mutual condemnation.
oh wait, I forgot. I am one of those people, apparently.
If we didn't have a lot of these people, gays and transgendered people would have been added to the hate crimes bill long ago.
I'm sure you're well aware that there are a number of reasons why such bills are opposed. Please have the decency to desist always ascribing the very worst motivations to such opposition.

But what would I know, I'm just a (potential) gay-basher.

David Ould said...

Watch the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So" and listen to the story of the gay high schooler whose mother had to scrub "die faggot" off his car before he left for school in the morning and then tell me there are not those who live in literal fear for their lives for being who they are.

Alice is not one of them and while I would never wish anyone to harm a hair on her head I do pray the reality of the persecution gay and lesbian folk experience might sink into it ... and into yours!


Susan, you're an educated woman so why does it appear as though you're simply not listening???!!! We condemn such actions without reservation.

Yet you still allow commentors on your blog to claim the exact opposite of us and then make the same claims yourself.

The first time it might be seen as an oversight. The next few times just a failure to properly understand. But now, after the matter has been raised again and again, it just looks like a deliberate attempt to misrepresent those you disagree with, and that with a most unpleasant brush.

For shame.

Mark said...

Wow, Reasserters really are godless.

Mark said...

I categorically deny ever having made the statement "Reasserters are godless."

Suzer said...

David, with all due respect, I don't see that anyone here has suggested you personally would commit violence against gay people. I'm not sure exactly who you are referring to when you say "we", but the comments here seem directed toward one particular person (Alice), who I don't know and it appears I wouldn't care to know.

The connection you seem to be missing, though, is the violence that anti-gay religious rhetoric can lead to against GLBT people. There is a very real connection there, a connection that some religious conservatives don't like to admit to, but it does exist. Hate speech (whether religiously motivated or otherwise) can lead to hate crimes -- it's been proven over and over again throughout history. I have not yet heard a convincing argument against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to hate crimes legislation, and I've read many, many arguments for and against. The only argument I find at all plausible is if one argues against hate crimes protection altogether -- disallowing protection for any group that is discriminated against. There seems to be some rationality to that point of view, however I think it's unrealistic given the world we live in.

Anonymous said...

written above:

The connection you seem to be missing ...is the violence that anti-gay religious rhetoric can lead to against GLBT people. There is a very real connection there, a connection that some religious conservatives don't like to admit to, but it does exist. Hate speech (whether religiously motivated or otherwise) can lead to hate crimes.

The troubling core issue for many of us in the "middle" is that "anti-gay religious rhetoric" apparently includes my saying that I do not believe gay/lesbian sexual relationships are God's intended purpose for human sexual expression.

The connection you seem to be missing is that labeling my beliefs as "hate speech" comes across as aggressive intolerance.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

anonymous ... saying that you "do not believe gay/lesbian sexual relationships are God's intended purpose for human sexual expression" is not hate speech. It's expressing your opinion. Calling gay and lesbian people abdominations in the sight of God is another category. That's the thin-end-of-the-wedge thing where if God hates 'em then so can we.

"Inhuman" and "unfit to live" is another category altogether ... as the denouncements from even the most conversative quarters have illustrated.

Perhaps the more important question is are you able to be part of a faith community where your opinion on this matter is a minority opinion? Or are you open to living with the tension of being in communion with those who believe God's intended plan is different than yours?

Suzer said...

The connection you seem to be missing is that labeling my beliefs as "hate speech" comes across as aggressive intolerance.

Not missing that connection at all, Anonymous. In fact, as Rev. Russell commented, the way you stated your beliefs is not even close to hate speech, and I'm not sure many (if any) people would ever label it as such. Some of the religious conservatives I hear from claim that the pro-GLBT inclusivity side has a "victim complex." I would state that some on the anti-GLBT inclusivity side have a victim complex as well. Sometimes we talk so much AT each other, that we don't hear what each other is saying. Few if any people I know would label your beliefs, as stated, as "hate speech."

And as Rev. Russell again already said, "not fit to live" is an entirely different thing. And I realize that you know that. I do have respect for your beliefs, even if I don't agree with some of them. We are free to disagree and, I believe, still come together at the Table and share communion. In fact, I'm closer to the "middle" than the left, but many would automatically label me one way. And I see that is the point you are trying to make as well -- let's be careful not to brush with too large strokes.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the more important question is are you able to be part of a faith community where your opinion on this matter is a minority opinion? Or are you open to living with the tension of being in communion with those who believe God's intended plan is different than yours?

Very glad for comments above that suggest it is not "hate speech" (to some anyway) if I say that I do not believe gay/lesbian sexual relationships are God's intended purpose for human sexual expression.

Related to Susan's question quoted above, if I do believe as I stated above....

....do I then venture into "hate speech" by saying that I would not be comfortable with church leadership who were not pursuing what I believe was God's intended purpose for human sexual expression?

This follows, you see, since I also believe that a person's sexual expression has a deep impact on their spiritual integrity.

Spiritual integrity, servant leadership, sacrificial living before the Cross are qualities that matter to me in spiritual leadership.

Could I be in Christian community with those with differing views. Assuredly yes! I am called to do so.

On the other hand, would I follow leadership who did not believe as I do about sacrificially pursuing God's highest and best purpose for human sexuality?

No, I could not do so and maintain my own spiritual integrity.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

And are there those who are still part of the Episcopal Church who do not accept the leadership of women in sacramental roles because to do so would be to violate their spiritual integrity?

You betcha.

Do I agree with them.

Heaven's no!

Do I think they should be forced to receive the ministry of a woman whose orders they believe aren't valid?

Don't be ricidulous.

Do I think they should be able to hold a congregation or a diocese hostage to their own opnion on this matter?

Nope.

I could go on and on but I've got to preach the 7:30 in the morning ...

Anonymous said...

oh dear. I was not saying anything about women in ministry!

And, please, I'm certainly not about holding anyone hostage, let alone an entire congregation!

Heavens, I was just following up on your invitation above (maybe I misunderstood) to explore the question of being in community with others who believed differently than I do. I meant no offense. (was offense taken somehow?)

I explored that question one step further to the difficulty of leadership who believed differently than I do.

but perhaps that one step further was indeed perceived as hate speech, somehow??

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Anonymous -- my point -- not well expanded as I was is a hurry -- was that OF COURSE there is room in this church for people who disagree on the leadership of the LGBT baptized ... there's still disagreement about the ordination of women, for heaven's sake! The issue gets to be insisting that in order to feel included you have to be agreed with -- and the exclusion of LGBT people from leadership in the Episcopal Church is -- happily in my mind -- becoming a minority opinion.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for following up with your comments, Susan. Gratefully received.

And my point, just thinking out loud here -- hoping that is okay -- was simply this:

If someone does believe that God's highest and best purpose for sexual expression does not include gay/lesbian sexual expression, then they may well also see this as a concern in spiritual leadership.

This is, they might truly believe that it matters to God whether spiritual leaders are living sacrificially before the Cross in this area of their life, as well as others.

Spiritual leadership, then, would be a calling that is something beyond being baptized.

The heartfelt question, with which many are truly wrestling, is does this sort of spiritual leadership matter to God?

Some believe that it does.

For them, please hear this, it's not about "being agreed with", it's about wanting to honor God.

One wry observation: if there is (somewhere) a position of truth and wholeness to be found in this question of spiritual leadership & sexual expression, then surely assertions of majority v. minority are moot.

But that's only if one believes that truth may not necessarily be determined by majority vote. Perhaps some feel otherwise.

Robert Easter said...

Susan, I must ask, besides the Alice's faux pas of using the first rather than third person in her hypothetical remark, why does it bother you that she said Bp. Orami's alleged remark was a "more biblical" view? Are you careful to follow Holy Scripture to craft a "biblical view," or do you not rather take what is convenient from Scripture to bolster your own contemporary views? To my reading, without even checking the context of her post, it is about like taking offense that a tree is seen as more deeply rooted than a cat.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Susan, I regret that you have misrepresented me, and I also feel that we are so far apart that I'm not sure we could have a conversation without a moderator to faciliate.

Where to begin?

I was a priest in ECUSA untile March 2005, but no longer believe that women should be priests. This does not mean that I regard women as inferior. The decision to set aside Episcopal orders has to do with conclusions I've drawn from several years of research on that topic. Much of this is published online, but if you can't find it< i would be glad to email the series of essays.

My statement that the Nigerian bishop's view on homosexuality is more biblical than TEC's is likewise based on considerable research. This research is also available to read online, much of it at http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/

I've responded to comments about my statement about being shot at T19 and Stand Firm. In case your readers are interested, I will post that response here also.

I remarked that "I am more likely to be shot in the USA for speaking against homosexual acts than an African is to be killed for being homosexual.” This is what I wrote by way of explanation: “Anyone read the Gallop Poll on American attitudes toward homosexuals? Given the tide, speaking against homosexual acts isn’t wise. Now compare the reality of liberal America to most African societies, still very traditional, even in the cities. One aspect of traditional African society is that things are handled within the family, clan and community. There are suprizingly few cases of homosexual acts and even those few cases do not automatically result in a person’s death. Clans are less likely to put their own to death than impersonal western societies are to use capital punishment. This is why I made the remark about it being more likely that I would be shot in the USA for speaking against homosexual acts than for a homosexual to be killed in Africa.”

You may accuse me of violent hatred and irrationality, but my statement remains that the biblical view emerges out of an Afro-Asiatic cultural context and is closer to Bishop Orama’s view than to TEC’s. I also stated that I do not condone the harshness of the statement that Bishop Orama apparently didn’t make.

I'm gathering information about women who have left ordained ministry in TEC as 815 has not yet up-dated the data and I think we all would be interested to know how this crisis is playing out among clergywomen. So far I have 10 on the list. Perhaps your readers would know of others?