1/14/2009

Archbishop Akinola and "the so called societal ladies."

Archbishop Akinola is nothing if not consistent in his ability to make snotty remarks. Christmas, it turns out, is not only a fine time to talk about the Holy Family and the holiness in all families when they are loving households in Christ, it is also a easy time to take cheap shots at perceived decadence. Here is the Archbishop, in his Christmas Letter, on femiinism:

"In our time, we have seen a frightening development as homes break down and children have to be raised by either of the parents. It is becoming fashionable as people take pride in being single parents. If by death a partner is snatched away, this is understandable. We pray for people of such experience that they will be comforted. But there are some men in our society who are utterly irresponsible with carefree attitude and who will not pay attention to their children; likewise are the so called societal ladies, the feminists: the “what can any husband do to me”, the ‘I can survive on my own’ – these too have little or nothing to offer our younger generation in morals or values."

That there are parents who abandon their responsibilities for their children there can be no doubt. Men who do this are rightly called "irresponsible." The Archbishop seems to think that the parallel name for women who abandon their responsibilities for their children is "feminist." He doesn't get it. The proper name for women who take no responsibility is "irresponsible" just as it is for men.

But Akinola chooses to use the term "feminist" to describe such women.

What we have here is yet another example of the Archbishop's ability to use words that carry the possibility of societal reform and use them as words of scorn. "The so called societal ladies, the feminists," become objects of scorn used, just as "gay and lesbians," are made objects of scorn. It's a cheap shot of course. After all, to hear the Archbishop tell it, feminists and gay and lesbian folk are all foreign to Nigeria. They are all decadent western imports into the pure land of Nigeria where everyone ought to know their duty.

It is really unfortunate. The Archbishop's Christmas Letter was really meant to support the family unit. But what his pot-shot at feminism does is cheapen it. And, in process it also attacks feminism as somehow a vice leading to the destruction of civil society. As the button to the right suggests, however, "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."

George Conger did a re-write of the letter which can be read HERE. He too understands that the Archbishop "hits out at feminism." So the question is, does anyone in the realignment community get even the least bit upset about the equation of the words "feminist" and "irresponsible"? For the rest of us, here is one more example of the fact that Archbishop Akinola is not a roaring lion (re Rick Warren) but rather a particularly bullying tomcat.

His retirement cannot come too soon.


15 comments:

  1. I will venture a guess and say, "no, no one in the schismatic group cares" Mark. Certainly not in SJ and FW.

    I believe what is most troubling is that the women in these groups stand back and 1) let that be said and 2) believe it themselves.

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  2. Thank God for Archbishop Akinola and his stance for the gospel of Christ.

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  3. Mark,
    The likes of Akinola, Iker, et. al. will pass. The influence of such autocrats who pontificate such stuff is ebbing. I beleive that Lambeth showed not only that TEC will continue to do what is necessary for the People of God in our church, but that it is possible for us to worship together with differeing opinions and differeing customs.

    I am looking forward to being in FTW for the first time in 30 years.

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  4. As an abuse survivor, I cringe reading that letter and wonder how many women in his cure are staying with abusive husbands because it's their duty.

    I don't have to wonder about the shame those who have left must feel in reading that letter. To me, it's like a physical blow. And I'm unfortunately very familiar with what those feel like.

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  5. Mary Sue, I cannot speak for Akinola's cure, but David Schofield once told a woman whose husband was physically abusive, that it was her duty to "Go home and do your wifely duty. That's the way God ordained it."

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  6. Father Mark, the Conger link does not work correctly. It misdirects.
    *****

    Forgive me, but please take another look at Akinola's words. I believe that you have misread the Primate of All Nigeria. I do not believe that he meant to equate feminist with women who abandon their children. He abruptly shifted gears and is speaking about women who are independently minded and are not seeking marriage.

    So for him, fathers who abandon their families and women who do not marry and create families are setting bad examples for the current generation. Not that this reads any better, but I am sure you misunderstood his point

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  7. David... thanks on the link. I corrected it (I think).

    As to the read of the Primate.. he certainly is abrupt in speaking of men and women separately - men as irresponsible and women as feminists. The problem is that he views both as irresponsible to the family model. The one because personally irresponsible, the other because socially irresponsible.

    The hook is the previous sentence about people taking pride in being single parents. It is the parental issue in both men and women that is in question. The difference he claims between men and women is the difference between personal and ideological irresponsibility.

    The anti-feminist stuff was a throw-away ...and statement that made for good press, but not much else.

    At least that is how I see it. On the other hand maybe I'm a bit angry about his dumping on people this way.

    BTW, I really appreciate your checking in on the blog and your comments.

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  8. Mark, when I first read the line, "the so-called societal ladies" I thought it was an euphemism for whores --women who don't marry and sleep with whomever they please. And then when he linked feminist with whore I knew I should probably avoid ever being in a room with him!

    I think it best not to ignore this kind of stuff, nor to think it will just go away with time. Like racism and homophobia, the hatred and persecution of women as women must be brought to light and called what it is: sin. Deadly sin.

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  9. Akinola is enough to make one question the efficacy of Baptism.

    This man's words aren't Christian, and just about as opposite from God as you can get.

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  10. Be it having a child without marriage - or leaving the father because he is irresponsible or violent - is hardly "feminism." It's survival sometimes.

    Shall we all say a special prayer for the Mother's Union in Nigeria?

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  11. To me it´s Akinola assuming things from reading thirdrate scandal sheets that are placed in front of him by +Tunde or somesuch non-astute attendent for attention...Akinola lives in his own little dented world of his own meant-to-sound-wise yet plain silly interpretations...¨Hooligan Children of LGBT and single parents¨ is his ROOT blunder (that he´s STILL trying to pasturize and make sensible and remotely ¨concerned¨) here.

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  12. I agree with you that Akinola's characterization of irresponsible motherhood as "feminism" seems to represent a deliberate distortion of what is normally meant by that term.

    But I think the same can be said for the slogan, "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." If that's all that's involved we've all been feminists for eons.

    Of course I think I know what both errors are aiming at, Akinola implying that feminism leads to irresponsibility, your implication that acknowledging anything less that absolute equality is a denial of personhood. In that sense it's a common rhetorical device--but we should recognize its use appears on both sides of the pro and anti divide.

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  13. Eick,

    That is all that is involved and te problem is we have not all be feminists.

    It is a profound insult to the likes of ABp Akinola to consider that women have the same potential rights as a superior critter like himself. That is precisely the problem.

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  14. Rick, absolute equality or absolute equivalence?

    If women aren't equal to men, then they are either inferior or superior. Either assertion is sexist.

    LPR

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  15. "If women aren't equal to men, then they are either inferior or superior."

    I think we've forgotten that equality is a term applied only metaphorically to human beings.

    Literally, it is a relationship between quantities. And human beings are not quantities.

    So, no, I don't think that difference means inferiority or superiority.

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