Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Sunday meditation in which the pond's thoughts turn to 1662, Adam and Eve, angry Anglicans in Africa and Sydney, and sexless Anglicans in Britain ...

(Above: is it only the pond who appreciates the splendid irony of the story Gay bishops allowed - but they can't have sex, following immediately under an image of actor Ralph "sex on a plane" Fiennes doing noble work?)

Did the pond hear on ABC radio the words "a unique tribute to a very unique composer'?

The ABC? Which once had a style guide?

There is no civilisation left, and if you claim you've found shards of it about the house, it is likely very uniquely doomed.

Put George Carlin in charge of the ABC, the pond proposes, instead of that meathead Mark Scott (If I were in charge of the networks).

Never mind, hey ho, on we go, back, albeit Ralph-less, to that bizarre celibate gay bishop announcement. (cf Carlin on "celibate").

The pond admits its Sunday meditation has thus far failed to note the splendid decision by the Church of England that gay clergy in civil partnerships can become bishops ... but only if they're celibate (cf Carlin on "celibate").

So let's remedy the deficiency by quoting from Gay sex is in the closet, but don't blame the church:

...why should the church keep getting away with inequality, thereby appeasing dangerous homophobes in countries such as Uganda? 
 This latest decision says it all. Billed as a compromise, it's really just a moral riddle that could never hope to be solved. It's not even "Don't ask, don't tell", because they are asking and they're insisting on being told. 
 The church is effectively demanding that gay men volunteer to be neutered, like troublesome tomcats, that they are gay without the sex. (I know that plenty of straight relationships involve no sex, but that's another story.) 
 One wonders, how could this even be workable: spot-checks of ecclesiastical bedsheets?; sensors attached to a nancy-boy bishop's wayward testicles?; the desexualised civil partners taking endless cold showers in the cloisters?

The writer, Barbara Ellen, goes on to blame society and heterosexual British people in general for tolerating gay culture, but failing to consider gay men and women might actually have sex or be sexual beings.

Actually, if you spend a couple of moments contemplating the way that het and gay can share sexual practices - most notably oral and anal sex - you realise this is more of a reflection on sex in Britain.

And if anyone's going to cop a share of the blame, why not include the Sydney Anglicans?

The British compromise, which is a wretched affair, is driven by the desire not to have the Sydney Anglicans march in lock step with the homophobic Africans, the Ugandans, Kenyans, Nigerians and such like out of the Anglican alliance altogether.

The Sydney Anglicans are a part of the Gafcon push, and idle chatter of the kind found here in Kenya: Anglican Church Rejects Proposal for Gay Bishops is their bread and butter too.

Do you find the Sydney Anglicans lining up to denounce the angry African Anglicans lining up to denounce the new compromise, not because it's abusive of gay people, but because it's going to widen divisions in the church.?

Do you see Sydney Anglicans making a stand for moderation and against the extremism recorded in African Anglicans denounce Church of England gay bishop rule?

Of course not, because angry Sydney Anglicans are right there with angry African Anglicans in terms of homophobia, and are quite happy for the angry African Anglicans to do their dirty homophobic work.

After all, it was only last year that Dr Peter Jensen was backing Jim Wallace and the ACL and proposing being gay is a health risk (should gay people be made to wear plain paper packaging and dire photos and  large printed health warnings? - here).

The pond tends to make benign fun of the angry Sydney Anglicans, but this shouldn't disguise their hateful tendency towards homophobia and their encouragement of same in African Anglican congregations.

You can trace this back a long way, even beyond the report of 18th October 2005, Sydney Anglicans signal support for Africa, but hey that'll do for starters:

Sydney Anglicans have expressed their overwhelming solidarity with conservative Africans, backing Nigeria's concerns over the Church of England's decision to allow clergy to be in same-sex partnerships. 
 The Diocesan Synod yesterday passed a motion, without debate, requesting the Diocesan Standing Committee look at ways of modifying the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia with regard to the way it expresses Communion with the Church of England. 
 Sydney Anglicans also passed with sustained applause a motion giving "encouragement to the Archbishop of Canterbury' in his recent efforts to protect Bible-believing Anglicans. 
Supporting the motion, the Rev Dr Mark Thompson said the Archbishop's Panel of Reference was a significant step forward for the Communion. "We should welcome this Panel of Reference and pray for it success," he said. 
 "We should see the creation of this panel as an opportunity to raise the profile of the plight of our brothers and sisters." 
 Dr Thompson ran through a long list of disputes " from Connecticut to Recife " where he says Bible-believing Anglicans are persecuted. 
 "The current crisis in the Anglican Communion has been brewing for some time," he says, "but brought to head by the consecration of a praticising homosexual." Dr Thompson said has been an "international movement to silence all dissent', despite the great level of "distress' provoked by the consecration.

And where's Dr Thompson these days for toeing the corporate line and provoking sustained applause and experiencing a great level of distress, though whether that's the same level of distress experienced by gay people in Africa being bashed and killed is hard to say?

Why he's been promoted to head of Moore College ... And speaking of Moore College, do we find brave Michael Jensen making a stand against conservative angry African Anglicans?

Not on your bloody nelly, not when there's time for blather about The secret treasure in your church cupboard.

The secret treasure, it turns out is the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

... I can’t help feeling as a Generation Xer that we was robbed. We have been robbed of something extraordinary, and it has been substituted for something less grand, less profoundly grace-shaped, less Scriptural (believe it or not) and less memorable.

Ye ancient cats and dogs, Jensen is stuck in 1662 and he's one of the more modern angry Sydney Anglicans.

So what set the pond off on this path?

Well partly it was reading the piece by Ellen but also it was reading Alexis Okeowo's Out in Africa, A gay-rights struggle with deadly stakes, in The New Yorker, unfortunately behind the paywall.

Which in turn reflects on the complete lack of empathy and understanding and sympathy for the plight of gay people in intolerant African states by allegedly Christian people, who fail to understand the depth of hostility and persecution of gays in Africa, and the way their casual complicity and fellow travelling compounds the bashings and the killings.

The story's not just about Sydney Anglicans of course; American evangelists and pentecostalists are there in force.

What the abstract of The New Yorker story leaves out are the chilling details of the story, which begins:

On a breezy October night two years ago, Frank Mugisha was having a beer with friends in Kampala, Uganda's capital. They had gathered at a gay-friendly bar called Tcozy, in a congested area full of pubs popular with students from Makerere University. Over the sound of screeching karaoke, Mugisha heard his name and turned to see a friend holding up a newspaper. It was a local tabloid called Rolling Stone, and the headline on the front page, next to photographs of Mugisha's friends. David Katto, a gay activist, and Christopher Senyonjo, a human-rights advocate and former Anglican bishop, read "100 PICTURES OF UGANDA'S TOP HOMOS LEAK." The tagline was "Hang Them."

Hang them!

Well three months later David Kato was dead, murdered (the police conveniently blamed a 'random home invasion' when apparently it's common to think that gays are sent money and gifts by international donors), and Mugisha's boyfriend of five years fled the country because of abuse, while others fought on, and the tabloid Rolling Stone outed more Ugandans and claimed there was a connection between Ugandan gays and a Somali terrorist group.

And so on and so forth, through the sorry history of David Bahati's outrageous bill and the back-tracking of meddlers like Rick Warren and Scott Lively amid international protests, and Mugisha still carrying on his work, and Samuel L. Jackson giving him a shout-out for what he's doing, mingled with talk of corrective rapes, and house arrests in which families harangue recalcitrants ...

And you emerge feeling that perhaps Sydney Anglicans are indeed doing their bit to ensure the world stays back in 1662.

Meanwhile it wouldn't be a proper Sunday meditation without the week-old thoughts of the Pellists for the Sunday Terror, and by a curious coincidence, the subject happens to be gay marriage, though the header France might led you think it's George Pell rabbiting on about food, wines, beautiful countryside, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and the French thinking differently and loving ideas, the sort of cliches any bubble-headed booby might produce.

Well naturally he does all that, but then he gets down to tin-tacks:

On the feast of the Assumption the present Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Vingt-Trois sparked a controversy, when he prayed "May children and young people cease being simply the object of the desires and conflicts of adults, so they can enjoy fully the love of a father and mother". The fact that homosexual marriage was on the political agenda caused the reaction. 
 Surprisingly France's most famous newspaper "Le Monde" published an article by a leading public intellectual and Catholic convert backing the Cardinal. 
 Public opinion did not expect much other support for the archbishop, but this came from a variety of unexpected sources when the Council of Ministers approved homosexual marriage on November 7th. The Minister for Justice let the cat out of the bag when she told the Cardinal that "what is at stake is a reform of civilization". He agreed, saying the change would redefine humanity, the roles of men and women and procreation. 

Yes indeed. Moving beyond 1662 would pose enormous difficulties in maintaining homophobic prejudice, and it's grand to know that the Catholic church is also doing its bit.

He made no appeal to Bible teaching saying the issue touched the nature of human life. Unlike us, who concentrate on the small number of couples who would enter homosexual marriages, on the short term practical consequences, many of the French from both sides of the fence realize basic issues are at stake. They know ideas are powerful and will be taught in schools to the next generation. 

Yes, shocking, alarming ideas, like Christ never mentioning homosexuality once, but talking endlessly about love, and the need for it (and thank the long absent lord, the gay priest within the extended family has indeed found love).

Anyhoo, such is the power of ideas, but who do we find the Pellists lining up with?

 On November 17 hundreds of thousands marched through the streets of Paris and a dozen other cities supporting traditional marriage. 
 The uprising was led by a gossip columnist Frigide Barjot, the Socialist Laurence Tcheng from a movement called "The Left for Republican Marriage" and an atheist homosexual Xavier Bongibault, founder of a movement called "More Gay sex without marriage". 
 The feminist philosopher Sylviane Agacinski, wife of a former Socialist Prime Minister, strongly criticized those who claim sexual differences are not founded in nature, but simply ways of thinking, cultural constructs. 
 The Chief Rabbi of France, the Mufti and even the foreign spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church joined the fray to defend marriage. 
 All the parties know what is at stake.

Yes, the Pellists would rather line up with Jews, Islamics, leftists, Putinist Ruskis, gossip columnists, atheists and feminists than allow folk to express their love for one another.

And they don't even recognise how pitiful, tragic and desperate it all sounds.

It seems these days provided you're a bigot, prejudiced or simply a mad hatter at a tea party, the Catholic church, Pellist branch, is with you all the way.

And so ends the Sunday meditation, and it's hard not to conclude that in its own way, the world is most wondrous and fucked up. And still, in the minds of many, stuck somewhere around 1662. Or perhaps 4004 BC if you follow the Ussher chronology and rabbit on, as Sydney Anglicans are wont to do, about how Adam and Eve defined relationships for all eternity...

Well if you can believe Adam hung around for 930 years, you can probably  believe anything. Remind us, Mr. Crumb:


  1. A great post Dorothy...and isn't it great to know that Sydney Anglicans are committed to life long homophobia ?

  2. A salutary reminder Dorothy and Anonymous that the Sydney Anglicans shouldn’t be regarded just as flaky kooks. Given some power they show no mercy to those they hate. Let’s hope the government holds firm on the anti-discrimination bill. While they’re at it they might have a hard look at the tax exemptions that subsidise the Angries’ support for the persecution of gays in Africa. I don’t want to be contributing to such a cruel scheme.


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