07 February 2009

The hypocrisy of the Primates

A tremendous amount of cyber ink has been spillt about the Primates Communique from Alexandria, and also Lambeth 1998, particularly Resolution 1.10. A number of readers are still in the dark about it. I've decided to post it with some editorial emphasis.

First, what does resolution 1.10 say?

This Conference:

  1. commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality;
  2. in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
  3. recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God's transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
  4. while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
  5. cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
  6. requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;
  7. notes the significance of the Kuala Lampur Statement on Human Sexuality and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23 and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process.
Take particular note of the emphasized bits of 1.10. Notice in no terms does the wording make this canon law of any province. It "commends," "believes," and "advises" -- neither of those terms makes it law. The words do not convey a command.

Additionally, the statement from Kuala Lampur is just that, a statement. It was not published as canon law. It is simply a statement from the Province of South East Asia agreed to by eighty delegates from the so-called Global South, led by the former Archbishop of Nigeria. It has not been adopted by the Communion as a whole and our House of Bishops rejected it. Make sure to read the introductory paragraph on the Statement.

Take particular note of (c) above:

. . . [All] believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.

Even to my feeble mind, that would mean sexual orientation is not a barrier to participation in any aspect of the Church. How, then, can one be a "full member" when one is denied access to all sacramental rites of Church life.

The ordination of same-gender attracted people seems to be fulfilling the express letter of 1.10. Yet, certain segments of the Anglican Communion refuse to ordain those whom 1.10 explicitly states are full member of the Body of Christ. That, to me, is egregious hypocrisy.

Equally egregious is the hypocrisy in this statement

We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons

The sad fact is that the Communion is not listening in any form. When discussions are held about the experience of "homosexual person," those persons are excluded from the discussion. Instead, they are talked about.

Now, how many of you can tell me what Lambeth 1998 1.3 is about? I bet none of you can without following the link. 1.3 that each province make an "intentional effort" to, among other things, see how "women and children are victimised by the religious systems in which they live."

I'll bet a quid that none of you have ever heard about that part of Lambeth 1998. It is completely ignored by Provinces that victimise women both religiously and support the legal victimisation of women. Is Orombi calling upon all misogynists to resign? Of course not.

From the Human Rights Organization, we learn this about Nigeria, Akinola's Province.

The rights of women in Nigeria were routinely violated. The Penal Code explicitly stated that assaults committed by a man on his wife were not an offense, if permitted by customary law and if "grievous hurt" was not inflicted. Marital rape was not a crime. Child marriages remained common, especially in northern Nigeria. Women were denied equal rights in the inheritance of property. It was estimated that about 60 percent of Nigerian women were subjected to female genital cutting. Cross Rivers and Edo States adopted legislation banning the practice and imposing criminal penalties; the governor of Rivers State announced that he would follow suit. Child labor, especially in domestic work, often completely unpaid, remained common. There were numerous reports of the organized trafficking of children between Nigeria and other West African countries, and of women within West Africa and between Nigeria and Europe. In February 2000, police announced the arrest of a Lagos-based businessman in connection with the sale of women and girls to Europe; in August, another man was arrested in Anambra State for trafficking children to other countries in West Africa.
Where is Akinola's "righteous indignation" concerning this? We hear the deafening sound of silence on this issue. He is a misogynist, therefore, 1.3 doesn't apply to the Communion.

Or, how about
Resolution 1.9? That speaks of the importance of ecology. Is Akinola leaving over that? No, the only important and "binding" resolution of 1998 is part of 1.10. The so-called Global engages in the victimisation of women and children, so most of 1998 must be ignored.

Instead, the GS focuses on persecuting the GLBT community, and they use that same, mostly ignored 1998 to support their "manifold sins and wickedness which....they grievously have committed."

That is sheer hypocrisy.