Monday, March 5, 2012
Terse, Testy, and Troubled: the ABC Defends the Covenant
Oh, my! Well, I think this pretty well speaks for itself.
After having suffered another blow this weekend, with two more dioceses in the Church of England voting down the Anglican Covenant, it seems the Archbishop is slipping on the brass knuckles and is ready to go to the mat for this document.
Again, he maintains that there has been input on the Anglican Covenant from "pretty much everybody" in the Communion. Well, that's simply not true. Unless "everybody" has a British accent and moves within the inner circles of Canterbury, then I maintain that there were a lot of others left out of the discussion, especially anyone of the American, Canadian, equality-for-all-the-baptized persuasion.
He is arguing that the Covenant is necessary for those parts of the Communion that "need to be in relationship." This is a kinder, gentler way of saying those Communion partners in places where the church is a minority or threatened and are homophobic. The Archbishop equates voting against the Covenant with being selfish and not thinking of those "bits of the Communion" who are less fortunate. That's just rubbish. A piece of paper will not mitigate for the threats faced by Christians living in countries where they are a minority threatened by sectarian violence. Those who would attack the Church are going to do so, whether there is an Anglican Covenant or not. The enemies of the Church don't give a hoot about the Covenant.
But who does care? Those of us living in the parts of the Communion who clearly are the target of Section Four, which (despite what the Archbishop says) contains language that clearly sets up a means of disciplining those "bits" of the Communion that are following the Holy Spirit and moving in a way that makes the Archbishop and others itchy. We are the ones likely to be sanctioned, have our roles reduced on the grander Communion scheme, and essentially make us second-class Churches. Don't think he's capable of thinking this way? Remember, this is the same Archbishop who refused to invite NH Bishop Gene Robinson to the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference because Robinson is an openly-gay man in a partnership. And he was quick to condemn the diocese of Los Angeles for electing a partnered lesbian, Mary Glasspool, as a suffragan bishop. This while Uganda continued to threaten to enact legislation that would allow for the death penalty for gay people, a horrible proposal which took the ABC some days to finally say was wrong.
It is clear that the Archbishop realizes his legacy is on the line with the votes in England on the Covenant. And while I wish the man no ill, I hope that the clergy and laity, who have been the ones most troubled by the proposal, continue to question the need for this document... and will it really draw us together, or force us further apart? I'm afraid it really is the latter. Hence, I hope the dioceses in the CofE continue to vote "NO".