I was struck this morning by two streams of email threads in my VERY full inbox. The first was a series of protest emails on the HoB/D list (the listserve for Bishops and Deputies of the Episcopal Church) protesting the "violence" being perpetrated against "orthodox clergy" by the bishops who are moving to depose those clergy who have left the Episcopal Church and aligned themselves with other provinces.
The second was the press release (posted below) from Changing Attitude in England protesting the actual violence (as in death threats and muggings) being perpetrated against LGBT leaders in the Anglican Communion.
Can we say "Apples" and "Oranges"???
.Yes we can. And yes we should
And it's time to start saying something else. It's time to start crying foul (or "Calling B.S."as my kids would say!) on those who claim for themselves the status of "victim" when they are the ones perpetrating the schism causing the divisions in this church and in this communion.
It is nothing less than unmitigated gall incarnate that those who have been sowing the seeds of dissention in this church and this communion for over a decade (see also The Chapman Memo) are now daring to paint themselves as victims of "violence" as they begin to reap their harvest of division.
Let's refresh our vocabularies:
Pronunciation: \ˈvī-lən(t)s, ˈvī-ə-\
Definition: exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse
And now, let's review:
There is an ontological difference between feeling excluded because you're disagreed with and being excluded because of who you are. (AKA Apples v. Oranges, Part I)
There is a critical difference between being the victim of violence because you are gay or lesbian, bisexual or transgender and claiming to be the victim of violence because you've left the Episcopal Church and your bishop has finally deposed you. (AKA Apples v. Oranges, Part II)
CHANGING ATTITUDE ENGLAND PRESS RELEASE
8 April 2008
LGBT Anglican leaders threatened with murder and violently attacked in Nigeria and England
Over the Easter weekend 2008, gay leaders of Changing Attitude Nigeria were seriously assaulted. They, and the Director of Changing Attitude England, were also threatened with death because “they are polluting Nigeria with abomination and immorality”. The attacks were reported to the police in Nigeria, Togo and the UK.
In an open letter to conservative Anglican church leaders nineteen Anglican bishops and leaders have expressed concern about the use of incautious language and urge conservative church leaders to consider the effects of the language that they use.
The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said:“The Anglican Communion has been in turmoil for 10 years since the 1998 Lambeth Conference passed a very negative resolution about homosexuality. The conflict in the church has intensified since then, with many bishops and other leaders making highly judgemental and often abusive comments and pronouncements about LGBT Anglicans.
“Such inflammatory statements lead some members of Anglican Communion churches to believe that threats and violence against those who are LGBT (or those who support a more open stance towards LGBT people) are not only justified but are authentic expressions of Christianity.”
For further information contact: Reverend Colin Coward,
Director of Changing Attitude England
Open Letter to the Leadership Team of GAFCON
Dear friends in Christ,
You may know that there were several instances of actual physical violence and threats of violence and death enacted against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leaders of Changing Attitude in Nigeria over the Easter Weekend 2008. The leader of a Changing Attitude group was violently beaten. Subsequently, death threats have been issued against the Directors of Changing Attitude in Nigeria and England.
The discourse taking place in the Anglican Communion about the presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our churches must be conducted in the context of Christian love and mutual respect. If it is not, then people will continue to perpetrate abuse and violence against LGBT people.
Some Anglican Christians act in this way because they believe that the language of criticism articulated against LGBT people in general and the Episcopal Church in particular gives them permission to perpetrate violence and abuse against Christians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. We know that is not your intention, but it is the reality as many experience it.
Changing Attitude understands that the Anglican Communion is engaged in an extended period of debate about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our churches. We are committed to engage in this debate and in the Listening Process which is integral to it and authorised by the Councils of the church.
Conservative Anglicans will want to argue against the position which Changing Attitude represents. They will continue to question the pattern of life and identity adopted by some lesbian and gay Christians. We recognise the integrity of those who hold this position at the same time as we disagree with it. We are not resistant to engaging in the debate with those who hold radically different views.
We recognise that it is extremely difficult to conduct this debate in language that does not polarise opinions or inflame tensions. Tension will grow more intense in this period immediately prior to the Lambeth Conference and the GAFCON event.
The language we use has direct consequences on the lives of LGBT Christians. Language affects us emotionally, spiritually and physically. We ask that all of us within the Anglican Communion be mindful of the words we use and the opinions we express when talking about LGBT people. We ask that all of us actively discourage any form of threatening behaviour so that we may all engage in respectful listening and conform the pattern of our lives to the pattern of love embodied by our Lord Jesus Christ.
None of us wishes to encourage or condone violence and none of us wishes to be responsible, indirectly, for murder or violence perpetrated on another person, whatever their sexual identity.
Yours in Christ, (Signed)
Revd Canon Professor Marilyn MacCord Adams
Rt Revd Michael Bourke
Rt Revd Ian Brackley, Bishop of Dorking
Rt Revd Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ramsbury
Very Revd Vivienne Faull
Rt Revd Lord Harries of Pentregarth
Rt Revd Richard Holloway
Rt Revd Stephen Lowe, Bishop of Hulme
Revd Sr Una Kroll
Rt Revd Richard Lewis
Rt Revd Jack Nicholls, Bishop of Sheffield
Rt Revd John Oliver
Rt Revd John Packer, Bishop of Ripon & Leeds
Rt Revd Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire
Rt Revd John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln
Rt Revd Dr Peter Selby
Rt Revd Kenneth Stevenson, Bishop of Portsmouth
Revd Dr Anne Townsend
The Revd Canon Angela Weaver
Letter sent to: Rt Rev Nicodemus Okille, Archbishop Henry Orombi, Rt Rev Wallace Benn, Rt Rev Martyn Minns, Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Archbishop Greg Venables, Archbishop Peter Akinola, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini, Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, Archbishop Justice Akrofi, Archbishop Donald Mtetemela, Rt Revd Michael Nazir Ali