Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wake Up Call

Nothing like a little rabid rhetoric from Nigeria -- that bastion of Christian orthodoxy -- along with your morning cup of coffee to get your Wednesday morning going:
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The Anglican Bishop of Uyo, Rt. Rev. Isaac Orama, has condemned the activities of homosexuals and lesbians, and described those engaged in them as "insane people''.
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"Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God's purpose for man,'' the bishop said.

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Inhuman.
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Not fit to live.
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I just saw the piece on Google alerts but Fr. Jake had the story yesterday ... check him out before you email/comment that this is just one Nigerian Nutcase who stands alone.
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Inhuman.
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Not fit to live.
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This is what we're up against, people. If anybody out there is deluding themselves that this is just a "gentleman's disagreement" about polity or theology or hermeneutics then here's your wake-up call:
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Inhuman.
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Not fit to live.
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The Episcopal Church is standing firm on the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ calling us to manifest our love of God by loving our neighbors as ourselves as we do unto the least of these in His name. We are the leaven in the loaf of an Anglican Communion where the Bishop of Uyo can make these kinds of pronouncements in the church's name ... putting the lives of gay and lesbian people in jeopardy by dehumanizing them and naming them "not fit to live."
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And here's OUR wake up call: We're done playing defense.
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Our call is not to "defend" our commitment to the core values of the Christian Gospel and the basic tenets of Human Rights to the rest of the Anglican Communion. We've been there and we've done that.
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Our call is to challenge the Archbishop of Canterbury to censure those whose denial of the very humanity of gay and lesbian people denies the imageo Deo that actually IS a core doctrine of the faith received from the apostles.
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And that's the conversation we should be calling our bishops to have with His Grace in New Orleans. And at Lambeth. And until the cows come home if necessary. Because this isn't about "the church" anymore. It's about lives on the line. "Inasmuch as you've preserved the unity of the Anglican Communion" doesn't seem to be on Jesus' list -- but "inasmuch as you've done it unto the least of these" certainly is.
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We've had our wake up call so let's get on it with it -- get on with this Gospel we've been given to proclaim. And let's "just say no" to those insisting that "these issues" are distracting us from our mission and ministry because including all the baptized in the Body of Christ IS the mission and ministry of the church.
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Because no child of God is inhuman.
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And every single one of us is fit to live.
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And the Lord who died that we might not JUST live but have life abundant calls us to be his Body in the world to bring that Good News to all.
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Are you awake yet?
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AFTERNOON UPDATE:
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Posts on this story include Episcopal Cafe, EpiScope, Fr. Jake (noted above but with over 300 comments to peruse) and a new blog dedicated to calling for a repudiation of anti-gay violence while Matt Kennedy still doesn't "get it" and wants to see Nigeria Isaac Orama and raise them Jack Spong.
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Talk about "makes the heart sad." Whatever.
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Meanwhile, Kendall Harmon HAS stepped up with "A Statement to Be Condemned Without Reservation" -- good for him! -- and Stand Firm's Greg Griffith's response, entitled "Unfit for the Episcopacy" includes this quote:

Describing homosexuals as "unfit to live," or that that sentiment is in any way part of the Gospel message, is where I get off the bus. "Life not worthy of living" is the phrase Nazis used to describe Jews, dissenting Christian clergy, the physically handicapped, the mentally retarded, and anyone else who might spoil their vision of a pure Aryan world. If being homosexual makes one unfit to live, then being the kind of sinner Bishop Orama is makes him similarly unfit to live; and of course, that is not the Gospel of Jesus, not the Good News we have been entrusted by Christ to carry to the world. Bishop Orama deserves our prayers that he might come to understand this, but - if his remarks were accurately reported - he does not deserve to be a bishop in the Christian church.

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AND LET THE PEOPLE SAY "AMEN!"

21 comments:

Ann said...

Did you see Matt Kennedy's comments on Fr Jake? Leading Stand Firm-ite defending this as no different from Jack Spong's words. Kennedy thinks "burning in hell" from listening to Jack is comparable to calling for the death of gays and lesbians,

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely appalling and unexceptable. I call on Bishop Martyn Minns to speak out against this spiritual abuse. It is patently unchristian and immoral. This Nigerian bishop is sanctioning violence against innocent human beings. Yes, he can hold up his Bible and justify this barbaric thinking by calling gays and lesbians inhuman, but what kind of religion, what kind of Christianity, what kind of Anglicanism, what kind of church would support this genocide? Yes, genocide. That's what this so-called man of God is promoting in Nigeria. Minns needs to put a stop to it. Akinola needs to put a stop to it. Williams needs to put a stop to it. This is outright sickening. This man should be put on trial and kicked out of the church. Calling for the death of a group of fellow human beings is criminal. Let's call it what it is and do something about it! The sooner the better.

Frederick J. Hyde

Anne Kennedy said...

hmm, not quite what I said Ann. The bishops words are indefensible and I was not defending them.

My point was simply that guilt by association goes both ways. The attempt by Fr. Jake to condemn ++Akinola through +Orama leaves him open to the suggestion that KJS bears responsibility for the teachings of John Shelby Spong in who was invited as clergy conference facilitator to her diocese in 2003.

Matt

Walt said...

Matt+ plays the Spong card early and often. According to Matt+, Spong is worse for our eternal souls while the vile, hate-filled homophobia emanating from Nigeria is worse for our physical being. What rot!! The hate spewed by Orama is soul-killing. Ideas whether right or wrong can at least have the benefit of getting people to think and make up their own minds. Dehumanizing a group of people by saying that they are not fit to live has NO redeeming value.

Anonymous said...

Matt, While your analogy holds some truth, let's talk about leadership. If any Bishop of TEC were to call for the killing of or death of any group of people, I would hope she would take some sort of leadership action. The same is true for Akinola and his bishop. You have to admit (and did, I think) that no matter where you stand on the gay issue, it is wrong to say they have no right to live. All bishops in the Church of Nigeria should condemn such language.

Frederick J. Hyde

toujoursdan said...

This analogy doesn't hold truth. It is hyperbole meant to deflect the conversation.

Let's face it, conservatives have had many, many years to have brought Spong to presentment for heresy. If Spong was guilty of doing the spiritual harm Kennedy describes, it would be their moral duty as true witnesses of Christ to do everything they could about it. Righter was brought to trial for ordaining a gay man. They said and did nothing about Spong. They are just as guilty as the "liberals" they accuse.

Secondly, few of us made a decision to accept Spong's personal authority or leadership. Most of us were Episcopalian before he was elected and after he retired. Unless you live in his diocese, he's pronouncements have no more weight than anyone else's.

On the contrary, these people are making a choice to affiliate with a church whose leadership has made abusive statements about gays and lesbians over recent years and sponsored and supported legislation that curbs their human rights, condemned by the Bush Administration's State Department, the EU and the UN. Orama's comment may be the most extreme so far, but it's hardly the only one.

This is just a fallacious equivalency argument to deflect attention from a bishop in the church they are supporting who makes genocidal statements. Instead of merely condemning the statements and saving the Spong discussion for its appropriate time and place, tacit support is being shown for this Nigerian bishop by his North American minions who are trying to refocus the debate elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

The words of the Bishop of Uyo made my Starbucks mocha suddenly tasteless. It is no small irony to me that after saying the terrible things about gays and lesbians not being fit to live, he went on to talk about providing a safe place for Biblical christians in North America. Arrgh. The first time an Anglican clutching a 1928 BCP is beaten to death in the United States will be the first time ever, so please, no more talk about safe spaces for people who are simply disagreeing with others and only risking the deeds to their buildings. Many, and I hope most, American Episcopalians remember too well the barbed wire fence in Wyoming on which a good Episcopalian was killed for being gay.

Jim said...

"The Episcopal Church is standing firm on the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ calling us to manifest our love of God by loving our neighbors as ourselves as we do unto the least of these in His name. We are the leaven in the loaf of an Anglican Communion where the Bishop of Uyo can make these kinds of pronouncements ....."

Are we? Oh dear Lord are we? I pray in a church headed by the presiding bishop who shoved B033 up the throats (not a typo) of the House of Deputies. I wish I was sure the leadership wont sell out again. If the HoB wants to assure me and other skeptics (that we are the leaven, disavowing anything less than full acceptance of our lesbian and gay members lay, or whatever, pledging to vote for episcopal candidates on merit not sexuality, and formally appologizing for B033 would be a great way to start.

I am sorry, I hear our straight PB talk about putting lesbian and gay clergy in, "a crucified place," and I hear "It is expedient that one man die to quiet the people."

FWIW
jimB

Anne Kennedy said...

Frederick,

You said:

"If any Bishop of TEC were to call for the killing of or death of any group of people, I would hope she would take some sort of leadership action. The same is true for Akinola and his bishop. You have to admit (and did, I think) that no matter where you stand on the gay issue, it is wrong to say they have no right to live. All bishops in the Church of Nigeria should condemn such language."

I completely agree.

Matt

David said...

As sickened as I am over +Isaac Orama's hateful pronouncement, I am even sadder by the silence from the Bishops and Primates of our Communion which should be ringing with outrage and calling for a stop to the thuggery by the bullies of the patriarchy.
Or don't Anglicans draw a proverbial line in the sand... Well this one does, and I am going to be personally writing to each of the Diocesan Bishops in my country to call on them to speak out, bare witness to the true significance and meaning of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
Here in Canada, +Isaac would be liable to prosecution for hate crimes- something I am proud to say out government has persued rigorously in the past.
And the leaders of our Church remain silent? Only if we don't hold them accountable!
Thank-you Susan for speaking so powerfully to this
"And the Lord who died that we might not JUST live but have life abundant calls us to be his Body in the world to bring that Good News to all."
Amen!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Can I ask a question that is only slightly off topic?

Matt, why are you signing in as Anne Kennedy and using her picture?

You've done it in other sites, but it's just disconcerting in the context of this discussion about identity and humanity.

seamus said...

Elizabeth,
matt is a crossdresser.
(juat kidding matty) he has problems with his login.

Anne Kennedy said...

Liz+,

I have explained on numerous occassions...the last time being only three days ago in my exhange with Tobias Haller+ regarding the created order, I cannot, for some reason get my own password and blogger account. I have written to them about it and hope to recieve info. In the meantime I am very careful to sign my name at the bottom when it is me or if I forget to go back and let people know. There is absolutely no intention to mislead and I certainly hope that is not what you are suggesting.

Matt

muerk said...

Elizabeth Kaeton:

But they're married! They are "one flesh" ;-)

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Matt ... bummer.

Blogger is sometimes an "unholy" mystery. Hope they clear up the login thing.

Anonymous said...

Matt ... I've got the same problem. I've given up and just use the "anonymous" route and put my name at the end ... if they ever figure out what's wrong in login-land please share!

Fred

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Matt,

Sorry. I obviously don't spend as much time reading comments in other's blogs as I ought.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima nissan stanza.

And, it's "Elizabeth," Matt.

Never "Liz," "Betty," "Beth," or any other derivation or nickname - even if meant as an expression of informality or term of edearment or friendship.

It's the name I was given at Baptism. It's the name God uses when s/he speaks to me.

If it's good enough for God, I suspect you'll agree that it's good enough for you.

Suzer said...

Matt+ -- I left a comment for you on Tobias' blog a few days ago about the blogger sign in problem. Don't know if it was helpful or not (probably not), but wanted to direct you there in case you hadn't seen it.

Blogger can be a mystery, at times. :)

David said...

While I give mad props to Harmon+ for his clear, unambiguous stmt., have you noticed the tenor of the comments in that thread ?

They start out (almost entirely) alright, but get worse & worse as you go down-thread. Makes one seriously wonder if any reasserter angst over +Orama isn't about what he said, but that one of their own got caught being a bit too blunt...

Anonymous said...

"That Kaeton Woman", as she is called at OCICBW, has hit one out of the park. But then again, MP's job is to keep us from being so serious we descend into brain freeze.

NancyP

Anonymous said...

+Russell hits one out of the park.

(please delete previous post, I got a bit confused)

NancyP