Saturday, May 5, 2007

Contest: A new church was born today... What shall we name it?

The conservatives have been saying that the Anglican Communion should have a central authority in an uber-primate and covenant. They have also said that no church should make a change in doctrine or practise without some kind of consensus throughout the Anglican Communion and an okay by the Primates and instruments of unity - including the Archbishop of Canterbury.

They have made the argument that the TEC and ACC made an illegal unilateral move by ordaining VGR and allowing same sex blessings. (Ignoring that several other national churches have done the same thing or that churches also unbiblically allow divorced and remarried adulterers to be members, clergy and bishops. But hypocrisy isn't a sin, evidently.) The failure to "repent" of this illegal move should be enough to "expel" the TEC and ACC from the Anglican Communion.

Neither the Archbishop of Canterbury nor do other national churches of the Anglican Communion recognize CANA as a parallel Anglican church in North America. The ABC requested that Akinola not attend this service. That request was ignored by both CANA and Akinola.

Now, by the Conservative's own argument, the Nigerian Church has committed the same "sin" as the TEC. It made a unilateral move without the okay of the instruments of unity, the ABC or approval by the other Primates of the Anglican Communion. Akinola has put himself above the authority of the ABC by ignoring the ABCs request. The punishment should be the same as they advocate for the TEC and ACC - expulsion from the Anglican Communion.

CANA views Akinola as their new uber-primate above the ABC. When Akinola attended any sacerdotal CANA ceremony then he is acknowledged and accepted their view that he is the uber-primate. Once you have two uber-primates you have schism. A country can't have two Presidents, nor can a church have two primates.

So congratulations! A new church has been born. They have a new Archbishop of Abuja as your new uber Primate, they have ceased to be Anglican. They are still Christian, but no longer in communion with the Church of England.

I am taking submissions on its new name. Any ideas?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Bishop demands 'better theology' of sex

MICHAEL VALPY: Globe and Mail

The Christian church has a deeply flawed understanding of sex that has led to morally groundless objections to masturbation, birth control, abortion and homosexuality, says a leading Canadian Anglican bishop.

In particular, the church has been wrong for centuries on the notion that sex exists only for the purpose of procreation, Right Rev. Michael Ingham, bishop of the Greater Vancouver Diocese of New Westminster, told a conference in Ottawa last night.

"Christianity as a religion stands in need of a better theology of sexuality," he said, "a better understanding of the complex role sexuality plays in our human nature and of the purposes of God in creating us as sexual beings."

He said the church has misunderstood references to homosexuality in the Bible, wasted energy in persecuting individuals who have argued for a new understanding of sexuality, and failed to comprehend how much the Bible and church doctrines have been shaped through the lens of male experience.

Bishop Ingham's call for a new theology of sex will be felt as a shock throughout the 77-million member Anglican Communion, Christianity's third largest denomination.

He already has outraged most Anglican leaders by authorizing the blessing of same-sex unions in his diocese.

That act led in part to the Canadian church being asked to withdraw from the executive body of the world church.

His comments last night come just two weeks after world Anglicanism's primates -- or senior archbishops -- issued an ultimatum to the U.S. branch of the church, giving it until Sept. 30 to pledge not to bless same-sex unions or appoint openly gay bishops at the risk of being kicked out of the communion.

The Canadian church is to decide nationally on same-sex blessings in June.

The forthrightness of Bishop Ingham's address on sexuality is without precedent in the Canadian Anglican church. It not only puts him at odds with much of the Anglican Communion but with Roman Catholicism, most Protestant sects and the Orthodox Church.

The Bible's Christian New Testament condemnation of homosexuality, he said, is "almost certainly" a proscription of sex between adult males and young boys -- tolerated in the 1st century AD in Greek society -- and not a proscription against adult homo-eroticism.

"[The Christian biblical writer] St. Paul understood same-sex relationships only in terms of the older-man and younger-boy relationship of the Greeks, which we call pederasty, or in other words child abuse. . . . But no difference was perceived [by the Christian church] between child abuse and adult same-sex love.

"Today we have a better understanding of homosexuality as a basic and natural orientation experienced by some members of the human community, just as we find the same thing among some animal species, and in Christian terms we must come to think of this as not only natural but also God-given and good.

"But these developments in the social sciences and therefore in popular understanding are still relatively new -- since about the 19th century. They have not yet penetrated the church's thinking except at the edges of its consciousness and greatly against its will."

Several times in his address, Bishop Ingham referred to the church's inability to get beyond a fixation on genital intercourse -- and a negative view of sexuality for any purpose other than procreation as tainted, impure and evil -- isolated from a full, loving interpersonal sexual relationship.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Gays welcome... immigrants not so much

Sigh...It's sad to say that while Quebec has made great gains in acceptance of gays and lesbians, immigrants, especially Muslims, are often still out to lunch. The stereotyping found in the declaration sickens me. There is only one immigrant family in the village in question, and everything prohibited in the declaration is already illegal in Canada. So the intent is to keep those weird Muslims out of pure, White, Catholic, French speaking Qu├ębec.

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Immigrants wishing to live in the small Canadian town of Herouxville, Quebec, must not stone women to death in public, burn them alive or throw acid on them, according to an extraordinary set of rules released by the local council.

The declaration, published on the town's Web site, has deepened tensions in the predominantly French-speaking province over how tolerant Quebecers should be toward the customs and traditions of immigrants.

"We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here," said the declaration, which makes clear women are allowed to drive, vote, dance, write checks, dress how they want, work and own property.

"Therefore we consider it completely outside these norms to ... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."

No one on the town council was available for comment on Tuesday. Herouxville, which has 1,300 inhabitants, is about 160 km (100 miles) northeast of Montreal.

Andre Drouin, the councilor who devised the declaration, told the National Post newspaper that the town was not racist.

"We invite people from all nationalities, all languages, all sexual orientations, whatever, to come live with us, but we want them to know ahead of time how we live," he said.

The declaration is part of a wider debate over "reasonable accommodation," or how far Quebecers should be prepared to change their customs so as not to offend immigrants. Figures from the 2001 census show that around 10 percent of Quebec's 7.5 million population were born outside Canada.

Earlier this month the Journal de Montreal newspaper published a poll of Quebecers showing that 59 percent admitted to harboring some kind of racist feelings.

The Herouxville regulations say girls and boys can exercise together and people should only be allowed to cover their faces at Halloween. Children must not take weapons to school, it adds, although the Supreme Court of Canada has already ruled that Sikh boys have the right to carry ceremonial daggers.

Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, said the declaration had "set the clock back for decades" as far as race relations were concerned.

"I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion ... in a public document written by people in authority who discriminate openly," he told Reuters.

Last year a Montreal gym agreed to install frosted windows after a nearby Hasidic synagogue said it was offended by the sight of adults exercising.

Newspapers say a Montreal community center banned men from prenatal classes to respect Hindu and Sikh traditions and an internal police magazine suggested women police officers allow their male colleagues to interview Hasidic Jews.

Montreal's police force is investigating one of its officers after he posted an anti-immigrant song called "That's Enough Already" on the Internet.

"We want to accept ethnics, but not at any price ... if you're not happy with your fate, there's a place called the airport," the officer sings.

An accompanying video shows clips of Muslims and Hasidic Jews and at one point shows shots of a partially nude woman to mock those who wear veils.

The Herouxville declaration is available, in English and French, at the "avis public" section of the town's Web site, http://municipalite.herouxville.qc.ca.