Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Guardian: Vicious hot air currents

Maybe it's being in a company of saints - a most un-Anglican communion of the like-minded. But the rhetoric of the gathering of conservative churchmen in Jerusalem seeking to wrest control of worldwide Anglicanism from the woolly nuances of Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the wicked, gay-friendly liberalism of the Church of England and US Episcopal Church is already spiralling upwards on a vicious current of hot air.

Two days into the great realignment, we've already had the archbishops of Nigeria and Uganda denying that gays are ever persecuted in their countries - and failing to find the words to condemn the violence if they are; voices calling for biblically lethal punishment for homosexuals; and lip-smacking assertions that the old church has fallen prey to apostasy, brokenness and turmoil, in its attempt to "acquiesce to destructive modern, cultural and political dictates".

Adding to the fervour, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester (who flies in today), has announced his tender conscience will not allow him to associate with those Americans who ordained the openly (as opposed to privately) gay bishop Gene Robinson five years ago. He also says he will boycott next month's gathering of the world's Anglican bishops, called by Williams in Canterbury.

You may find it hard to recognise the C of E in all this. It runs counter to most of the tolerant traditions Anglicanism espouses as part of its constitutional accommodation with the secular state that founded it. The trouble with the coalition of interests meeting in the Middle East - in defiance of the wishes of local bishops who thought more religious conflict was the last thing Jerusalem needed - is they have Got Religion. Read more
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