Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

For only in you can we live in safety.

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-\
Function: noun
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)

Any questions?

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

Christina Rees

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


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks for your comments, Susan. I think it can be summed up by noting that bullies often belong to the "no fair hitting back" school of human interaction.

Unknown said...

Feigning victimhood is one of the long list of unattractive things the Right Wing has gotten very, very good at.

Mark Harris said...

Thank you Susan. Great job. Thanks to the folk at Changing Attitudes.

edav38 said...

I would really like to know of the Passages in the New Testament where CHRIST stated that this is ok, that Violance against Anyone, regardless of if they are a Christian or not, is ok.

Christ was not of this mind.

Please, put my name on the list of whom they can come after. Put me at the Top of that List, because I will stand on the Side of Christ Against this Violance any day of the week.

Jim Costich said...

Those who seek to chase God's GLBTI people from God's house are not victims. They are perpetrators with such arrogance that they feel affronted when their victims fight back and decent heterosexuals cry foul in defense of their GLBT brothers and sisters in Christ. They quit the Episcopal Church and now howl because their resignations were accepted. They wanted out and they left so why are they still hanging around in the way, trespassing and harrassing Episcopalians? It's time to block the emails, ignore the posts, call the cops when the harrassment doesn't stop, and charge them with tresspassing if they won't leave buildings to the remaining Episcopalians to whom they belong. That's what the police and the anti-harrassment laws are there for.

David@Montreal said...

Thank-you Susan+ for posting this.
Just last night, I and a lot of Canada were shaken to hear an interview with Garreth Henry, leader of the LGBT community in Jamaica on CBC radio.
Not only did Garreth suffer threats and physical attacks personally from both the police and anonymous thugs, he also personally knew 18 of the 20+ gay men murdered on the island since the turn of the century.
What shook me most was to hear of how both the Prime Minister and many of the clergy continue to actively call for violence against our people.
Thankfully, Garreth is now a refugee here in Canada, but the violence contiues back in Jamaica.

Ecgbert said...

Of course deposition makes sense when somebody leaves. Used to be routine when an Anglo-Catholic priest went over to Rome. Selden Peabody Delany about 90 years ago got a gracious letter from the Bishop of New York when that happened telling him he respected Delany more than those who held his views and didn't make the move.

Still it can strike one as petty: 'You CAN'T quit; you're FIRED!' Take that!

Regarding apples and oranges that's what I've been saying lately only with the sides switched.

Under American law no-one can really threaten gays. (Even if a foreign bishop really does think jailing them is meet and right, which for the record I don't.) Or straight Episcopalians for that matter.

So the Third World alphabet soup of dioceses and parishes in America now under foreign Anglican bishops (but not sitting Anglican bishops themselves - fair enough; TEC is Anglicanism's affiliate in the US) are no threat to you even if they keep the churches they use.

Feeling oppressed because, for example, the Southern Cone Diocese of San Joaquin exists and Bishop Schofield is at Fresno Cathedral is one thing. Being oppressed, like when bloggers clamour to drive those people out of their buildings and are willing to spend the money on lawyers so to do, is another.

Nobody is moving to drive the Episcopalians there out of their churches.

For libertarian reasons I defend both sides' right to be.

JimB said...

What I think is clear is that the schismatics have not only read the Chapman memo, they have studied Machiavelli. Their use of big lie tactics is disgusting but none-the-less real. Most recently note that refusing to pass a 'flying bishop' amendment to the canons in Wales has been typified as violence. ;;sigh;;


Unknown said...

Say it loud enough and long enough and, eventually, it will be all you will hear.Keep it up. you are winning, for now.