2/25/2006

Finally a Bishop Speaks Out


Thinking Anglicans, always the source of important material on Anglican Communion matters, just today (2/25/2006) noted that the Washington Post has an article by Bishop John Chane that is highly critical of the Archbishop of Nigeria and his support for Nigeria’s new law criminalizing homosexual acts and organizing to support homosexuals or their rights. It is wonderful to finally see in print the criticism others and I have called for HERE and HERE. It is important that such criticism come from sources of some considerable authority. As Bishop of Washington, John Chane is in a position to bring his criticial and prophetic powers forward and to put the skunk on the table. Thanks, Bishop Chane; thanks Thinking Anglicans.

20 comments:

  1. Since +PJA has involved himself in (heinous) civil matters of the Nigerian nation, it would be nice to see some of those "residing in +John Chane's diocese" *cough* the Bush Administration *cough* speaking out against Nigerian policy as well.

    THANK YOU, BISHOP CHANE! :-D

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  2. obadiahslope25/2/06 8:26 PM

    When Akinola met Obasanjo he directly challenged him (as Mark H has alluded) on government corruption face to face.
    That is speaking truth to power.
    When Chane has met Bush has he done the same? Directly? face to face? If not, why not?

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  3. I don't know about +John Chane but during the last Gulf War, the Presiding Bishop at the time, ++ Edmond Browning, protested outside the White House. The President at the time was the present President's father, who actually was an Episcopalian. And so was the First Lady. My father once met her but not the President at church in Houston.

    I especially remember this, because it was one of the things complained of by a proto-Network tract I read in the mid 1990s. As for +Chane and the President, I wonder what the next visitation to St. John's in the Park will be like. Maybe, the President will attend elsewhere that day.

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  4. apparently obadiah is looking for some sort of equivalency that does not exist. he is now trying to equate akinola's actions with bishop chane's, or some such, as if the two can be said to be equally poor. or maybe he is suggesting that government corruption in nigeria is just like what happens in the usa?

    obadiah is obviously not informed about what the episcopal church and bishop chane have stated repeatedly about priorities in government, and about what they actually do.

    nor can he be troubled it seems to condemn akinola and his church's lies and slanders about their own people, or their support for discriminatory laws that attempt to criminalize even reporting or speech, or akinola's recent thinly veiled incitments to violence.

    in response to this, he may just try to suggest some other sort of equivalency that will have us believe that yes, wicked men are in the church everywhere, so be quiet!

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  5. obadiahslope26/2/06 5:47 AM

    rmf,
    Caelius got my point.
    Akinola, and from what Caelius said spoke truth to power, face to face with their president.
    Akinola on corruption, Browning on the first gulf war.
    Has Chane confronted Bush the second on the second gulf war?

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  6. obadiahslope26/2/06 5:49 AM

    mf,
    Caelius got my point.
    Akinola, and from what Caelius said, Browning, spoke truth to power, face to face with their president.
    Akinola on corruption, Browning on the first gulf war.
    Has Chane confronted Bush the second on the second gulf war?
    (fixed omitted word)

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  7. obadiah,
    you are far afield.

    i don't know whether chane has "confronted" bush on war. the point is, he hasn't actively supported laws banning speech and expression, like akinola has, nor has he called people dogs and less than human, or incited to violence.

    akinola has. he stands up for it. you think this is just fine, apparently. bishop chane doesn't. i stand with bishop chane, not with you.

    this is not a game of words, though you seem to think so.

    in defense of akinola, you try to change the subject by ignoring what akinola has done and what chane is calling him out on, egregious affirmative lapses in his christian duty and episcopal responsibilities.

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  8. obadiahslope26/2/06 3:52 PM

    RMF,
    For the record:
    I don't support freedom of association being denied to gays. I don't support free speech being denied to them.
    I have supported these rights and campaigned for them.
    JCF raised "civil matters of the Nigerian nation". as Mark has generously acknowledged Akinola has a good record of confronting the government. I wondered if Chane had been as couragous in Washington. It is a fair question to my mind.
    It is easy to lecture people on the other side of the world. i am rather good at it myself!

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  9. IIRC, the National Council of Churches (of which TEC is a founding member) found fault w/ Bush's justification for War on Iraq, back in March 2003---when support for the war was at its HIGHEST! (i.e., the NCC member-churches were taking a great risk to their reputations, by going against popular opinion---truthfully, probably the majority opinion of their own laity, at that time. That's what it means to be prophetic). Certainly, nothing has happened to change the NCC member-churches leaderships' minds since! (just that the laity has come round, to anti-war thinking, also :-D)

    Whether +Chane, personally, has spoken out against the War is beside the point: TEC's policy is clear. We oppose the war, while (pastorally) supporting the troops sent to fight it.

    A completely different kettle-of-fish than +PJA's "we may not be able to restrain our restive youth [from acts of violence---Muslims "not having a monopoly" on it]": a thinly-veiled threat. >:-(

    [obadiah: it's not about "confronting the government" or supporting the government. It's about CONFRONTING EVIL and SUPPORTING RIGHTEOUSNESS. Specific church-state relations should derive from these first principles---not the other way around]

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  10. obadiahslope26/2/06 6:31 PM

    "TEC's policy is clear. We oppose the war, while (pastorally) supporting the troops sent to fight it."
    I hope you are right JCF. Can you point to an action of the GC, HoB, or executive council - ie a body that speaks for the whole of GC and not just a lobby group with in it - that endorsed that stand? (I am sure you can find stamenst by the peace fellowship, but what about TEC as a whole?
    It could well be the right stand to take. I am not an American so perhaps it is not my right to finger point
    (As to my country. Only one Australian Anglican Bishop supported the war - a liberal - and he has now reversed his stance. All the others including the evangelicals have questioned it.)

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  11. obadiahslope26/2/06 9:04 PM

    In the interests of fairness I searched for a statement by GC. I coulnt find one. (is that just my poor search skills?).
    But here is a statement by Bp Griswold at the start of the war - which may be the one JCF had read. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/3577_20257_ENG_HTM.htm

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  12. Anonymous (Dave):
    I don't agree with the archbishop about restricting people's right to advocate for change in the law (if that is actually his postion -something no one has actually seen a statement about), but I have met and spent time with the man and have great admiration for his courage and zeal for evangelism. Instead of patting yourselves on the back for being so much more enlightened than the Global South primates, why not face the problem head-on? We are two different churches with not enough in common to pretend there is any semblance of unity to preserve. Take a clue from Exodus and find a way to let the people go. If Pharaoh let the Hebrew people take their cattle and other posessions, can't you be as gracious?

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  13. Bishop Chane and Jim Wallis co-authored an op-ed opposing the Iraq war before it started.

    Here is the url
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A23271-2003Mar13?language=printer

    More recently, he had an op-ed opposing the war accepted by the Post, however, it didn't run because it grew dated as they waited for an opening.

    The Bishop meets with members of the administration with some regularity. Sometimes those meetings are appropriate forums for stating opposition to various administration policies, and sometimes they focus on collaboration on efforts against the spread of AIDS in Africa.

    The bishop also had a brief opportunity to speak while the President was in the congregation at the Katrina service in September at the National Cathedral. Here is Amy Sullivan of Salon:

    Sneaked into the service, though, was one rebuke to the president, delivered by Bishop John Chane of Washington's Episcopal Diocese, the official host of the event and a man who has not hesitated to criticize Bush in the past. Before he led the opening prayer, Chane reminded the audience, "Our Lord Jesus reminds us that faith without works is nothing."

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  14. obadiahslope27/2/06 8:25 PM

    Hi there Jim,
    Congratulations on getting +Chane into the Post. that was a real coup.

    In my earlier post I spoke about Akinola confronting his president face to face.

    You I am sure appreciate how gutsy that is. Hard enough to do to a first world president. Really hard witha third world one.

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  15. Mr Harris,

    Hello. I'm one of the co-counders ( with Frederick Clarkson ) of Talk To Action, a group blog focusing on the rise of the Christian right, and what to do about it. The site features a number of noted writers and activists in the field and currently has over 900 members.

    We have two subsections on our site for posts concerning ongoing attacks on the United Churches of Christ and the United Methodist Church, but now we're expanding our scope:

    Lately, a number of conversations have started on Talk To Action between Episcopalians caught up in local fights ( see also here, and here ) and your writing on this blog has been recommended.

    This developing dialogue has inspired us to create a brand new section on our site :

    This has a number of subsections, for posts and discussions relating to, in turn, attacks on the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, United Methodist, United Congregationist, and Lutheran churches, and on the UCC.

    Site members who post in those subsections can also post in a central section which is ecumenical and which will be - eventually - interfaith as well.

    We want to stress that members of different denominations and even different faiths are in fact caught up in a common struggle ; simply the proximity of posts, from leaders from different donominations, on one web page space will make that commonality painfully apparent: it is a start.

    You may or may not know the names of Dr. Bruce Prescott, Rev. John Dorhauer, and Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, but those three are among the most active leaders, in their respective denominations ( Baptism, the UCC, and United Methodism ), who work to counter IRD associated attacks on their denominations. They are featured writers on Talk To Action and will participate in these discussions along with many others.

    Those three have stressed to me that, while intradenominational dialogue on these matters has until recently been sparse, Interdenominational (let alone interfaith) dialogue has been close to nonexistant.

    Talk To Action is working to change that, and your participation would be welcome.


    Best, Bruce Wilson

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  16. Bruce Wilson2/3/06 5:29 PM

    Mr Harris,

    Hello. I'm one of the co-counders ( with Frederick Clarkson ) of Talk To Action, a group blog focusing on the rise of the Christian right, and what to do about it. The site features a number of noted writers and activists in the field and currently has over 900 members.

    We have two subsections on our site for posts concerning ongoing attacks on the United Churches of Christ and the United Methodist Church, but now we're expanding our scope:

    Lately, a number of conversations have started on Talk To Action between Episcopalians caught up in local fights ( see one, two, and three ) and your writing on this blog has been recommended.

    So, we now have a brand new section on our site :

    It has a number of subsections, for posts and discussions relating to, in turn, attacks on the Episcopalian, Presbyterian, United Methodist, United Congregationist, and Lutheran churches, and on the UCC.

    Site members who post in those subsections can also post in a central section which is ecumenical and which will be - eventually - interfaith as well.

    We want to stress that members of different denominations and even different faiths are in fact caught up in a common struggle ; simply the proximity of posts, from leaders from different donominations, on one web page space will make that commonality painfully apparent: it is a start.

    You may or may not know the names of Dr. Bruce Prescott, Rev. John Dorhauer, and Rev. Andrew J. Weaver, but those three are among the most active leaders, in their respective denominations ( Baptism, the UCC, and United Methodism ), who work to counter IRD associated attacks on their denominations. They are featured writers on Talk To Action and will participate in these discussions along with many others.

    Those three have stressed to me that, while intradenominational dialogue on these matters has until recently been sparse, Interdenominational (let alone interfaith dailogue has been close to nonexistant.

    Talk To Action is working to change that, and your participation would be welcome.


    Best, Bruce Wilson

    ReplyDelete
  17. After reading all Mark’s and Chane’s recent comments concerning Akinola’s support of this new law, I have several questions:

    1. Where does Akinola specifically state that he supports this law? The BBC article gave no such statement; it simply pairs the story about the bill with comments from Akinola about homosexuality. The spokesman for the Church of Nigeria, Canon Akintunde Popoola, is quoted in the Living Church as saying, “Archbishop Peter to my knowledge is yet to comment [publicly] on the bill.” Is he simply uninformed, then, and is Popoola an incompetent spokesman? Where can Akinola’s statement of support be found? Is there documented evidence of this, and if so, where?

    2. In view of the fact that a large portion of Nigeria’s land mass is under Sharia law (if I read this map right). Under Sharia law, open homosexual activity is punished by execution, not imprisonment. That being the case, what will the actual impact of this law be? Might it in fact save lives? How does this law compare with the laws of other African nations?

    3. Reading the recent news, it seems that the Church of Nigeria may have been paying much more attention to the escalating violence in Nigeria between Christians and Muslims, and the resulting loss of lives (100 just recently) and the destruction of many churches and mosques. Is this not more worthy of our attention right now as well?

    4. Bishop Chane claims that Akinola receives much funding from certain conservative foundations run by American multi-millionaires. Martyn Minns is quoted as saying in reference to this, “The money thing is absolutely not true,” and I would presume Martyn Minns is in a position to know. Now, I really don’t care where the Church of Nigeria or the Diocese of Washington gets their money from, as long as it’s not organized crime. A church lives off of donations; we understand that. Still, is there documented evidence for this accusation as well?

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  18. In response to rb...

    I know of no direct statement of Akinola regarding the new law. What I do know is that his spokesperson, on behalf of the Church of Nigeria, has spoken in favor. Canon Popoola may or may not be competent, but he is the spokesman for the Church of which Archbishop Akinola is Primate.

    What I have asked is why the Archbishop has remained silent on the matter. You suggest that it might be for the saftey of gay and lesbian persons, given other possibilities in the country. A bad argument, I think.

    Archbishop Akinola has made some remarkable statements critical of the Government. He has also made very challenging statements regarding the violence going on, some of which have been construed as supportive of violence in return. But about the criminalization of homosexuality he has had nothing to say.

    I have been critical as well of the fact that almost no one, until Bishop Chane, has made any comment on the matter. Now there are demands in England that the Archbsihop of Canterbury speak to the matter.

    I applaud the Archbishop of York holding the President of the United States to task for the imprisonment of suspects without charges or trial. It is only his charity that kept him from charging the churches in the US of complicity by silence.

    It is quite appropriate to hold the Government of Nigeria to task, and the Archbishop of Nigeria, who claims rather selectively to hold Lambeth 1998 I.10 dear.

    The violence in Nigeria is bad and may get worse. You are right that this deserves our closest attention. In the Church of Nigeria, however, it is not the Archbishop who has spoken out, but three bishops in the areas most affected.

    In many ways I think I would like Archbishop Akinola. I have said so in a previous blog. But I find his silence in these matters strange and bad news indeed.

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  19. Anonymous Dave: Fact not spin from Fr. Mimms:
    "What about Archbishop Akinola? What are his views? As far as I know Bishop Chane has never attempted to contact him to find out. Archbishop Akinola has not spoken publicly on the proposed legislation and has not thrown his “prestige and resources behind the new law,” as Chane insinuates. He is presently working overtime to lower the religious and ethnic tensions in Nigeria and to care for those who have been traumatized in the recent strife. He is not seeking to victimize or diminish anyone. He is primarily an evangelist and a pastor whose desire is to see all people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. His opposition to ECUSA’s repudiation of traditional Biblical teaching on human sexuality is a matter of record and a viewpoint that is supported by the vast majority of Christendom. However, the idea that he is looking to establish a ‘purified communion’ bankrolled by cabal of conservatives in the USA has no basis whatsoever and is surely the product of an overheated episcopal imagination."

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  20. Anonymous (Dave) : Sorry - I meant Minns.

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