3/15/2009

The Global Warming of Fear and Hate: Antisemitism, Homophobia and Xenophobia

There is something disturbing afoot in these times in the US when the fear mongers are having a field day blaming the Jews for the collapse of the economy, gay people for destroying the family and gypsies (and all other foreigners) for taking away jobs and undercutting national life. There is something even more disturbing to know that the fear mongering has its world wide supporters. It is the time of Global Warming of Fear and Hate.

We remember the last round:
They came for the Jews, the Queers and the Gypsies. That was then, in the 1930's. There was a world depression then. It was called Great. Formerly "great" European powers had seemingly lost their way. Amazingly stupid and senseless wars had exhausted some and sent others into overly extended empire building.

So when they came to exterminate Jews and Homosexuals and Gypsies almost no one wanted to bring up the fact that the jack boots tromping through the streets of Europe were part of a great Lie. The Great Lie took many forms, but one was that everything would be alright just as soon as the world or nation was purged. Speaking out against this turned out to be very difficult and a remarkable number of church leaders found themselves silent at a time when voices needed most to be raised.

That was then, and now is now.

The word was out, towards the end of the 20th Century, that there was a New Europe in the making and a new post-racist more globally conscious America and even a global economy that would lift the worst of the underclass to at least less marginal economic levels. Eastern Europe would turn the corner and find greater acceptance in Western Europe, the North American Free Trade scheme would even help solve US immigration problems and a tolerance for difference would generally arise and end Antisemitism, Xenophobia and Homophobia. The word was that the New Europe was in the making and there was hope that the US might work its way through its racism to a new place.

That was then, and now is now.

Then 9/11 happened and cut short these dreams. The US and others embarked on a "war against terrorism," a war with no end in sight and which suspiciously looked like imperial war. A whole administration in the US was build on the base of fear, and fear breeds fear elsewhere, everywhere. The world has become fearful. Meanwhile a world wide depression has come back now caused by serious greed heads and the greed in each of us.

So the volatile mix of fear, endless war, economic ruin are at the ready once again. And of course there was the globalization of greed, fear and the great lies. The breeding ground is ready, and now a new spring for totalitarianism may be in the offing. 1984 is still a vision for the future and the boot slamming into the face forever is still a possibility.

Tolerance for hating Jews, queers and gypsies (read those damn foreigners) has returned full force and unabated by memory of "then." What, if anything, has the Church to say about the rule be fear? (And here I mean most particularly the Episcopal Church or any other church member of the Anglican Communion, but more generally the "church" as the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace that is the Body of Christ.)

Ruth Gledhill has run several stories on the rise again of Antisemitism. In particular read "Anti-Semitism: 'New, virulent and lethal" and "The 'new' anti-Semitism." Some of her stories have concerned the willingness of the Church, in this case the Roman Catholic Church, to promote someone who claimed the holocaust never happened. Some of these articles concern the broader issues of Antisemitism in England, Europe and the world. Other essays have appeared as well, in particular "The writing is on the synagogue wall" a Times of London op ed piece. The author, Denis MacShane, writes,

"The periodic crises that have shaken world capitalism in the century and a half since Marx wrote Das Kapital are marked by a common political phenomenon. It is the rise of political anti-Semitism. Attacks on Jews and Jewishness constitute the canary in the coal mine that tells us something is going seriously wrong."

"Jews are again made to feel they are not full citizens of the countries of their birth because they refuse to support the right of Hamas and Hezbollah to use terror attacks against Israeli civilians. The canary in the coal mine seems in danger of its life once again."

In an earlier blog, titled Beating up the Archbishop is just the beginning, I tried to speak to some of the issues that link Antisemitism to Xenophobia and racism and the efforts of the Archbishop of Canterbury to address them..

The popularity of blaming the Jews for all our economic troubles is doubled up with blaming the foreigners for ruining the job market (for example, the Turks, or Latinos or the Africans) and Homosexuals for ruining the family and family values. There are growing instances of graffiti being drawn on the walls of religious houses of worship, beatings of people in the streets who are identified as part of a suspect group, broad hints that "of course" its the Jews who control the money, all Arabs are terrorists, all foreign workers are ripping off the countries in which they work, and homosexuality "is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this county."

This last is from Archbishop Akinola's remarks on the current bill before the Nigerian legislature.

The Archbishop of Nigeria argues that objections by outsiders to the proposed law - legislation that would make or continue criminal status for gay and lesbian persons, anyone who supports them, anyone who celebrates pledges of fidelity and love by them or speaks out for their rights - is just another attempt by former colonialists to tell Nigerians what to do.

The Archbishop's statement to the Nigerian Legislature stated:

"The family is the nucleus of any society and its destruction will lead inevitably to the destruction of the society. Same sex marriage is out to foist on the world a false sense of the family which will bring disastrous consequences to mankind." "...we must take note of the various stages of pernicious western influence in our nation and continent. The slave trade dehumanized us, the political colonization humiliated us while neo-colonization has continued to exploit us through imperial institutions/agents like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The present clamour for unrestricted human rights especially in relation to same sex union is yet another ploy to unleash more mayhem on this nation."


Left unchecked by international objection by conservatives and liberals alike, the efforts by Nigeria, backed by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), will provide support "on the ground" to separating out homosexuals along with the Jews and the hated foreigners of choice and marking them as the source of all that has befallen the virtuous. "They" are the problem and everything would be better if "they" were all put away. We know how the Archbishop feels about Gay and Lesbian people, and about American and the West.

Hate is always near at hand and living in strange fantasies makes it easier to turn hate into a virtue. In the 1930's the hate 'package' was bundled together by Hitler and company and carried out without much opposition until people woke up to discover that all of Europe was being rummaged through in a sweeping effort to clean house of Jews, Queers, Gypsies, Commies, and whatever else seemed counter to the fascist vision.

Now in this post modern era, where there is little trust in great meta-narratives, the narratives of hate become parceled out - some antisemitism here, some homophobia there, some xenophobia elsewhere. What bundles it all together is unclear. There are lots of questions: Does antisemitism in Europe have a connection with racism in the US? Is a legal bill in Nigeria a matter of concern for the world, or is it simply an internal matter for one country? Why, in the beginning of the Obama presidency, did some commentators talk about the US becoming "french" - meaning socialist (a word not to be spoken)? Is that just a joke or the use of xenophobic labeling to cover a greater fear?

Some years ago I was considered for a position in Europe and was asked what I might write about if I took the post. I responded that I was fascinated by the notion of "the New Europe." I noted that our son was in Germany and our daughter was Romanian and I found their experiences very informative. From talking to them I was not sure that there was a "New Europe" and that I wondered if the old one was simply sitting out the moment until ancient practices found their way forward again. It was not a popular thing to say. I still wonder, however, whatever happened to the "New Europe"? Perhaps fear got in the way, and hate found its way back in.

Across the waters we are no better, of course. Racism, Antisemitism, Homophobia and Xenophobia are all close to the surface. We may have an African-American President, a gay Bishop, and people in high places with strange sounding names and faces of other color than pasty gray/ pink, but that's not all. In the dark night of our fears the America for Americans crowd lurch forward, ready to set things right by getting back at those awful people who are the source of all their fears. It is all too easy for Americans to slide back into racism and into anti-gay and antisemitic ideologies as well.

The churches of the Anglican Communion have been contributors to these fears and hatreds on some occasions, and on others prophetic voices calling their respective societies to a place beyond their own cultural practices. We have learned positively from one another at times, as in the witness of the church in South Africa. At other times we have been a reminder of the fallen state of whole peoples, the church included, as in the US where the churches for too long have contributed to the sins of racism and bigotry. There is opportunity in this particular moment for the leaders of the Anglican Communion, the Primates in particular, to speak out in criticism of the Archbishop of Nigeria's stance regarding HP 150 now being considered.

There are many reasons to be disturbed by the support of the Church of Nigeria for the legislation "HP. 150, A bill for an act to Prohibit Marriage Between Persons of Same Gender, Solemnization of Same and for Other Matters Related Therewith." Among the reasons for protesting this support is that The Church of Nigeria, through the Archbishop's voice, makes the strong claim to both be part of the Anglican Communion and to champion the Communion's core values while at the same time arguing for its support of the HP 150 by using fear tactics. This must be countered by others in the Communion lest it be assumed that this is the voice of the Communion. The Archbishop supposes that

"Same sex marriage apart from being ungodly is also unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, uncultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this county. It is also capable of existincting [sic] mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation. The need for doing this is urgent, compelling and imperative. The time is now."

The arguments involve, in addition to matters of some dispute among Christians concerning "ungodly and unscriptural," certain judgements concerning natural law and social judgment (unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy and uncultural) and xenophobic patriotism (un-African and un-Nigerian).

The Archbishop's argument in support of this legislation is accompanied by considerable (and perhaps justifiable) anger against colonial rule and the accusation that acceptance of same-sex marriage is being foisted on Nigeria by western forces. He says,

"Nigeria is a sovereign state and has the right to make laws that will regulate the life of her citizens. It will amount to reducing her status as an independent nation if laws made in other lands are imposed on her. Again our law courts as a creation of our constitution are also made to interpret the same. They cannot therefore interpret or enforce any law or right that is not recognized by our constitution.

Furthermore, we must take note of the various stages of pernicious western influence in our nation and continent. The slave trade dehumanized us, the political colonization humiliated us while neo-colonization has continued to exploit us through imperial institutions/agents like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The present clamour for unrestricted human rights especially in relation to same sex union is yet another ploy to unleash more mayhem on this nation."

So this "clamour for unrestricted human rights" is a ploy by "them" - western pernicious influence, neo-colonialists, and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. This gives the Archbishop every chance to say that in addition to being pro-Nigerian and anti-gay he is also against international monied interests, which in some parts of the antisemitic world codes antisemitism.

Two matters that remain unclear: Just who is providing the "clamour" in Nigeria for same sex unions such that this bill is necessary? If the Archbishop is indeed to claim he is Anglican and meet head-on his Islamic critics then he must show that he is not taken in by British and American Anglo attitudes. He must be Anglican without being in any way un-Nigerian. Additionally, if he is to claim Anglicanism as high moral ground, equal to Muslim high ground, he must show that he is opposed to gay rights, something that other Anglican communities seem to support. So it makes sense to vehemently oppose gay marriage and any organization of gay interests. He has to be able to speak out against rights for homosexuals.

Perhaps the legislation has been at the instigation or sponsorship of Nigerian Anglicans just so that the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) can forcefully show that it is indeed Nigerian and morally equal to or superior to Islam in its condemnation of Western decadence. I do not know this to be so or not, but the question is, I submit, worth the answering.

Well, two out of three's not bad. The Archbishop has shown himself to be against those foreigners and their pernicious ways, he has shown himself as pure as his Muslim counterparts. It remains to be seen just what he has to say about Jews and Israel. But there is little to hope for there.

Every Anglican community has its problems being part of a culture, a society and a country. We all know the costs and we are all fallen. At the same time we are called to be better than that. Our friends have every business asking when and how The Episcopal Church engages culture, society and nation when matters of Christian values and morals are at stake. We in the U.S. don't come up with a very good score card. So we have little business making accusations from the high ground.

From the belly of the beast, however, it is still necessary to call one another to account lest the old linkages of national purity, claimed high moral ground and religious prejudice wrap themselves together in a fearful and terrible union. We do not need the tyranny of fear in the Anglican Communion or in the world. Homophobia and Xenophobia support such fears and it is too easy for antisemitism to join them as the circle of fear grows and totalitarianism
finds nurture and new soil.

For this and other reasons there needs to be clear and nuanced response from leaders in the Anglican Communion, response that provides a counter to the global warming of fear and hate.

48 comments:

  1. Mark+, just curious, what are your thoughts about "hate speech" laws in the Netherlands and (on the agenda) in Canada that have resulted and/or could result in the jailing of pastors who publicly preach and proclaim that homosexual behavior is sinful...would you say that such imprisonment is also unjust or is that "different"?

    Matt Kennedy

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  2. Sigh.

    This is a thought-provoking post, Mark, with much in it that commends it.

    At the same time, it is also troubling (in other than the ways intended, that is!).

    I don't doubt, that there IS growing anti-Semitism (to again match the Hard Times). Any doubt of that was erased, when recently a Republican spokes-hack questioned about "the Crisis" that occurred on their watch, responded w/ a jaw-dropping ad hominem against "George Soros and Charles Schumer". Huh??? [Google it: I understand the clip is on YouTube]

    At the same time, though, this quote from your post, Mark:

    "Jews are again made to feel they are not full citizens of the countries of their birth because they refuse to support the right of Hamas and Hezbollah to use terror attacks against Israeli civilians. The canary in the coal mine seems in danger of its life once again."

    Besides being a Straw Man, it is UTTERLY DISINGENUOUS to equate criticism of Israeli military/settler policy, with anti-Semitism. To perpetuate this false moral equivalence, is create a milieu of sloppy causality, in which actual anti-Semitism (of the "Blame the Jews when the economy tanks!"-type) can plant its noxious roots.

    Can we please stick to the facts, and not fall down this rabbit hole of "A equals Not-A"?

    [NB: always recalling that some of Israel's most dedicated See-No-Evil propagandists are a) at safe distance away from the consequences of their agitation and b) are NOT Jewish (rather ConEv Millenialists)]

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  3. There is another parallel. The established church of Germany was so compromised by its peddling of cheap grace that it could not speak out effectively. It was made irrelevant.

    Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. 'All for sin could not atone.' Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin..

    and

    Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession.... Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. 47

    I don't know how the liberals can read this and not fall on their knees and exclaim, "My God, how did Bonhoeffer know us so well?" Cheap grace is bestowed by the baptismal covenant, forgiving all sins without repentance (except for the sin of non-inclusivity).

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  4. "is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this county." Akinola

    Just curious, where does +Peter go to get convulted and dangerous sensationalized projections on the aledged/upcoming LGBT plague/tragedy?

    Who advises +Peter on the "perversions, deviations and aberrations" of Anglicans/Others who often love one another and love God?

    Which specially "pay off" oracle has delivered such demoralizing prophetic rubbish that Akinola preaches it and pontificates about it as fact in PUBLIC?

    Does +Peter have inside information from God or only a handful of bigoted wealthy old men?

    Clearly, Akinola operates with a standardized defamation group of folks who are against the good spiritual health of LGBT Christians and many others.

    The fictional fear *script* that +Peter and his accomplices attempt to drive home as religious fact is base and baseless and delivered as cowardly slurs (how would Akinola know the REAL character of all LGBT Christians/others?).

    Ongoing REAL slander against LGBT Christians/others by Akinola ("Hooligan children of LGBT people" and LGBT are "lower than pigs" for example) ought result in the imprisonment of a man who instigates crimes of hate (no matter which new flavor of a massacre/persecution he may wish to promote each Season).

    Planning/preaching and instigating retribution/murder is the same as doing murder...being a accomplice to theft and the exploitation or harming of innocents is not considered manly OR holy in most any persons Holy Book.

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  5. This is probably the only time, Mark, where I have to say I strenuously disagree with you.

    First, there IS no proposal for marriage in Nigeria, so any laws targeting that are flat out disingenuous in fact, let me use stronger words, they are a lie and meant to deceive. A person in power, as he is, using this tactic is outright dispicable.

    Same gender marriage is illegal in Nigeria. But extending the laws, as Akinola supports, to ANYONE even supporting a non-marrying couple (which it does) is over the top.

    Second, if we are to measure the worth of Christianity by its ability to stand up to Islam (read: I'm as powerful as you are Mr. Mullah), we might as well fold our tent and split. While the two have some in common, the differences are serious.

    That Akinola chooses to play the power game in this way is distressing and, as you point out, since he is part of the communion, that also involves me.

    So, on this topic, I can whip out my "Not in my name" sticker as it easily applies. He is entitled to believe what he wants. He is NOT entitled to treat human beings worse than chattle and expect that to be tolerated by the AC. So, on that note, I support TEC getting OUT of the Communion IF he doesn't put a stop to that action and if he is not roundly critisized by others in the AC. OR, I, of course, can walk out the door and no longer be Episcopalian. I will at least have the grace to leave my hymnal behind which is one helluva lot better than anything he has done.

    While he apparently has the moral authority (read power) in his country to use language that defames and literally harms, I do NOT have to support it and won't. If fighting for ten souls means killing one, he has lost the entire point, don't you think?

    Finally (and yes these are strong words), Akinola is essentially doing what Hitler did in proclaiming a national enemy (and the question would be, who is next?) that will tear the heart out of the country and it's people. If he challenged the Jews in this way, instead of same gender folks/couples, would we even be HAVING this discussion? No, we wouldn't. The Jewish community would be all over us like flies on you know what. And for good reason.

    By giving ANY power to Akinola, we are just as guilty as he is. Perhaps you are prepared for that, but I am not.

    And while Akinola doesn't give a FIG what we think, it is important that the world understand we (TEC) do not support his rhetoric or his intention.

    There are many roads to Rome and he had better back track and find another because the one he is on is a dead end.

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  6. Dear Good Shepherd Weekly/ Matt Kennedy...I agree completely that imprisonment for preaching and proclaiming that homosexual behavior is sinful... is unjust. It has nothing to do with the truthfulness of the content, but with freedom of speech.

    Preaching that homosexual behavior is sinful is different from preaching that exercising freedom of speech in defense of homosexual rights is punishable by imprisonment. The first is a matter of opinion about which it seems people differ. The second is about the denial of the right to have opinions.

    Archbishop Akinola may of course have any opinion he wishes, wrong or not. I was trying as much as possible on a "hot" topic to indicate that when his opinions about same sex marriage is joined with his opinions about homosexual behavior and those are attached to what it means to be a true Nigerian / African / Christian /Human he is inviting a very different sort of criticism - the bundling of a wide set of fears and hates against an unknown enemy in order to say something else to his hearers. What he is saying to his hearers is something else altogether.

    Akinola's stance is about something else than the great fear that people are stomping in the streets in every village and town in Nigeria for the rights of gay people to marry. It is using fear and hate for other ends. I believe he is at least disingenuous and perhaps dishonest.

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  7. JCF...the quote "Jews are again made to feel..." is from the op ed Times of London article. I think you are precisely right. I quoted from it because the article was speaking of what appears in some instances to be the English take on the matter.

    One indeed ought to be able to criticize Israeli policy without being antisemitic, since as far as I know there is nothing that suggests that all Israelis hold to one policy or another or that Jews throughout the world stand in one place or another on the issue.

    I share your sense (if I got it right) that the beginning of "blame the Jews" comes with believing that they constitute a closed highly ordered community that are a "cabal" of some sort and in a unified way do anything.

    Indeed antisemitism plants itself, it seems to me in making the same generalization that "all X are Y" that serves so well in racism and a variety of phobias about people and people groups.

    The writer seems to have been talking about Jews being made to feel not citizens of England because of being critical of Hamas and Hezbollah. He was not (I think) talking about anyone else but Jews. So his remark is not that my being critical of Israeli policy as a non-Jew is antisemitic but that questioning the loyalty of citizens who are Jews for defending such policies is.

    Meanwhile staying clear of the rabbit holes in this matter is pretty difficult. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Cany...your passion is on target. My post was an effort to open a door through which you might walk. I am waiting for some confirmation of just who proposed the legislation and if there was any instigation by the CofN (Anglican Communion). If so the fat is in the fire.

    I too believe the bill is a put up job so the hate and fear can be used to good advantage. Read the blog again. I think we are in full agreement, barring only that I sometimes (no often) believe those who are bishops in the church, although as easily as wrong as all of us, find themselves playing out parts that we would not wish on our worse enemies. And it is unclear if they are simply doing what they want, are living out the results of their need for power, or are bearing the cross. I believe Archbishop Akinola profoundly wrong and his words dangerously bundling of fears and phobias, but I also know I do not walk where he is walking.

    So, we are left only with your problem. There is no proposal for same sex marriage in Nigeria, there is a bill against something that is not proposed. Either it is inoculation against the terrors of the West, it is a scare tactic for other reasons, or it is completely self serving. But the Communion must distance itself from this mess. Where is the voice of the Communion now?

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  9. I always wonder what people like robroy do with Christ's demand from the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

    Unasked-for forgiveness. Absolution without repentance. "Cheap grace," I suppose.

    Unless, of course, you think God denied Jesus' demand...but that raises a whole different set of theological problems.

    Pax,
    Doxy

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  10. Unfortunately, this is because those calling themselves conservative or traditionalist are actually reactionary. They lack the ability or imperative to do any interior examination, and so, all that is around them becomes the target - look at the "conservative" response here; self-pity and projection/deflection at a junior-high level.

    Unfortunately, that also seems to be the default setting for humans when they get in a mob. The problem in the West is not individualism, but blindness to the individual. Then again, we see exactly the same drives and motivations from the Third-Worlders who declaim against the U. S.

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  11. "those calling themselves conservative or traditionalist are actually reactionary."
    I guess the dangers of stereotyping are not confined to those damned orthodox.
    Dan

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  12. Those of us who have experienced so called "cheap grace", as I have, know it is and was not cheap - it cost a life, the life of Jesus, the Christ. If I had not been the recipient of this wholly costly "cheap grace", I would not be alive today. I fear the strawman of "cheap grace" as raised here is another ploy to heap on our lgbt brothers and sisters burdens we ourselves who are not l,g,b or t don't bear, and will never have to bear.

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  13. Fr. Mark,

    I think there is a factual error in your post. I am certainly no fan of ABp. Akinola, but he was not turned down for an entry visa into Israel. He was turned down by Jordan.

    The Jordainian officials did not say way, but I suspect had association with anti-Islamic violence in Nigeria was at least a factor. The Gaf(fe)Con reorganization was precisely because the archbishop was not welcome on Moslum land. At the time I recall thinking that Jordan had shown superior judgment.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  14. I wonder if "expensive" grace is really Grace at all.

    "To God -- If you have formed a circle to go into, go into it yourself and see how you would do." -- William Blake

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  15. Combating climate change may not be a question of who will carry the burden but could instead be a rush for the benefits, according to new economic modeling presented at “Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges & Decisions” hosted by the University of Copenhagen.

    Contrary to current cost models for lowering greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change, a group of researchers from the University of Cambridge conclude that even very stringent reductions of can create a macroeconomic benefit, if governments go about it the right way.

    “Where many current calculations get it wrong is in the assumption that more stringent measures will necessarily raise the overall cost, especially when there is substantial unemployment and underuse of capacity as there is today”, explains Terry Barker, Director of Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (4CMR), Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Congress.

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  16. Jim...thanks for catching that. I have corrected that error. We all have our Gaffes. (sigh)

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  17. Dietrich Bonfhoeffer, Lutheran minister and theologian...who criticized the "social" Christians in Germany for closing their eyes to Nazi persecution of the Jews, homosexuals and other outcasts.

    Dietrich Bonfhoeffer, who was executed because he spoke out against the Nazi perversion and falsification of the Gospel.

    Perfect example, Robroy. History shows us that Bonfhoeffer wouldn't have been a fan of Peter Akinola.

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  18. A few further thoughts if I may.

    I suspect the ABp is going to avoid anti-semitic utterances. He and the worst elements in Israel agree on Islam. So, given the unholy linkage of the far wrong wing and the worst of the "Christian Zionist" (which is neither Christian nor Zionist) movement here and in Israel, I expect him to avoid the anti-semitic road.

    Of course I have been wrong before and the ABp seldom misses an opportunity to model the worst in Anglican leadership. So, he may surprise me, a little.

    As a Rom, can I point out to you that 'gypsy' is about the same for us as the 'n word' is for our Afro-American friends? Consider that no one even notices when someone says they have been 'gypped.' Of course it is true, we do steal so maybe..... :-)

    FWIW
    jimB

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  19. Hi Mark--Great post! I think the time is long past where we can expect a response from the Anglican Communion. There is a definite leadership gap which I think the Episcopal Church needs to step into. Just as the poor will always be with us, so will the bigots and the hate mongers with an agenda that is wholly self-serving.

    This statement from Bp Akinola definitely rankled:

    "Nigeria is a sovereign state and has the right to make laws that will regulate the life of her citizens. It will amount to reducing her status as an independent nation if laws made in other lands are imposed on her. Again our law courts as a creation of our constitution are also made to interpret the same. They cannot therefore interpret or enforce any law or right that is not recognized by our constitution."

    Yet, he has the nerve to intrude in the polity of our own country and while he may be trying to win favor with the dominant political force in his country, he seems bent on fostering anti-Muslim sentiment in this country. This man will foster hatred wherever and whenever and against any nation or tribe that stands in the way of his agenda.

    We know that we are fallen and imperfect people too but I think we have a better chance at being a reasonable voice. I pray that we will take it.

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  20. Can we still hate Mormons?

    Thanks,

    DoW

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  21. "those calling themselves conservative or traditionalist are actually reactionary."
    I guess the dangers of stereotyping are not confined to those damned orthodox.
    Dan


    You just reacted, Dan. Reactionary.

    It's not a stereotype, simply the truth. Unfortunate. Sad. But, still, the truth.

    Can we still hate Mormons?

    Thanks,

    DoW


    You may hate whoever you like, Worms. Just be honest about it and be man enough to take the consequences for doing so.

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  22. Fr Mark,
    Off Topic:

    I am always fascinated by the reaction one gets when one hits a hornets nest with a stick.

    This was one of your very best!

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  23. Matt, your claim that hate speech laws in Canada currently do or presently will allow for the jailing of clergy who preach that homosexuality is sinful is a complete fabrication.

    Like some other countries you may be familiar with, Canada is governed by laws and a constitution - a constitution which guarantees freedom of religion. The Constitution Act trumps any individual piece of legislation.

    This is part of the same dishonest fearmongering that the extreme right used in opposing Parliament's decision to permit same sex marriage - the false claim that churches would be forced to solemnize such marriages.

    Y'know, it would be so much easier to discuss these issues rationally if some folk on the extreme right would stop making stuff up.

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  24. http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=140824

    Matt Kennedy

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  25. And what Malcolm says goes for Sweden aswell!

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  26. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/augustweb-only/8-9-12.0.html

    Ah yes, Sweden...

    Matt Kennedy

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  27. Since Matt Kennedy is want to go on about this Red Herring, here is the actual Letter to the Editor in question;

    Homosexual Agenda Wicked

    June 17, 2002

    The following is not intended for those who are suffering from an unwanted sexual identity crisis. For you, I have understanding, care, compassion and tolerance. I sympathize with you and offer you my love and fellowship. I prayerfully beseech you to seek help, and I assure you that your present enslavement to homosexuality can be remedied. Many outspoken, former homosexuals are free today.

    Instead, this is aimed precisely at every individual that in any way supports the homosexual machine that has been mercilessly gaining ground in our society since the 1960s. I cannot pity you any longer and remain inactive. You have caused far too much damage.

    My banner has now been raised and war has been declared so as to defend the precious sanctity of our innocent children and youth, that you so eagerly toil, day and night, to consume. With me stand the greatest weapons that you have encountered to date - God and the "Moral Majority." Know this, we will defeat you, then heal the damage that you have caused. Modern society has become dispassionate to the cause of righteousness. Many people are so apathetic and desensitized today that they cannot even accurately define the term "morality."

    The masses have dug in and continue to excuse their failure to stand against horrendous atrocities such as the aggressive propagation of homo- and bisexuality. Inexcusable justifications such as, "I'm just not sure where the truth lies," or "If they don't affect me then I don't care what they do," abound from the lips of the quantifiable majority.

    Face the facts, it is affecting you. Like it or not, every professing heterosexual is have their future aggressively chopped at the roots.

    Edmund Burke's observation that, "All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," has been confirmed time and time again. From kindergarten class on, our children, your grandchildren are being strategically targeted, psychologically abused and brainwashed by homosexual and pro-homosexual educators.

    Our children are being victimized by repugnant and premeditated strategies, aimed at desensitizing and eventually recruiting our young into their camps. Think about it, children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.

    Your children are being warped into believing that same-sex families are acceptable; that men kissing men is appropriate.

    Your teenagers are being instructed on how to perform so-called safe same gender oral and anal sex and at the same time being told that it is normal, natural and even productive. Will your child be the next victim that tests homosexuality positive?

    Come on people, wake up! It's time to stand together and take whatever steps are necessary to reverse the wickedness that our lethargy has authorized to spawn. Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds.

    Regardless of what you hear, the militant homosexual agenda isn't rooted in protecting homosexuals from "gay bashing." The agenda is clearly about homosexual activists that include, teachers, politicians, lawyers, Supreme Court judges, and God forbid, even so-called ministers, who are all determined to gain complete equality in our nation and even worse, our world.

    Don't allow yourself to be deceived any longer. These activists are not morally upright citizens, concerned about the best interests of our society. They are perverse, self-centered and morally deprived individuals who are spreading their psychological disease into every area of our lives. Homosexual rights activists and those that defend them, are just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities.

    The homosexual agenda is not gaining ground because it is morally backed. It is gaining ground simply because you, Mr. and Mrs. Heterosexual, do nothing to stop it. It is only a matter of time before some of these morally bankrupt individuals such as those involved with NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Lovers Association, will achieve their goal to have sexual relations with children and assert that it is a matter of free choice and claim that we are intolerant bigots not to accept it.

    If you are reading this and think that this is alarmist, then I simply ask you this: how bad do things have to become before you will get involved? It's time to start taking back what the enemy has taken from you. The safety and future of our children is at stake.

    Rev Stephen Boissoin


    Stephen Boissoin was at the time National Chairman of the Concerned Christian Coalition (now Concerned Christians Canada Inc.)

    Should this letter appear in the press, substituting conservative christians for gay folks, Matt Kennedy and his minions would be all over it as a violent, hateful attack against them!

    ::the word verification is dipsy::
    hahahahahaha

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  28. Yes, David, the words are unkind and harsh and I would certainly criticize them...but they are not criminal...do you think he should be jailed?

    While you point fingers at Nigeria for jailing activists, perhaps you might turn your gaze to the "enlightened" nations of Canada and Sweden as well...or is it only wrong when Nigeria does it?

    Matt Kennedy

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  29. Matt Kennedy says:


    While you point fingers at Nigeria for jailing activists, perhaps you might turn your gaze to the "enlightened" nations of Canada and Sweden as well...or is it only wrong when Nigeria does it?


    False parallel. Nigeria is criminalizing homosexuality itself, and speech about it is secondary. Neither Canada nor the Netherlands is criminalizing anti-homosexual belief, and I am guessing at this point, only speech against homosexuals. In the privacy of your own home, you are allowed to believe in anything you want.

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  30. Not just "unkind and harsh" but lies, from beginning to end.
    When such people speak for you, Matt, should it surprise you that nothing your side says can be trusted? When you spend your time trying to paint Nigeria in a better light by pointing fingers, why should we believe that you - or those you speak for - have the moral and emotional maturity to be listened to seriously?

    I ask, knowing you will ignore it. Such is your witness and pastoral response to those you "love."

    No. These people should not be jailed. However, they should be held immediately responsible for their words - one of those they speak to kills someone for being gay, abuses their gay child, costs a gay employee their job, they should be held liable - at least in civil court. I have no problem with class action lawsuits, either, so long as representing lawyers receive very little of the money.

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  31. My question for the rest is, why are you letting Matt draw you in like this?

    He knows Akinola and Nigeria are in the wrong and is clumsily - obviously - deflecting. You've answered him fully enough for such peripheral concerns.

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  32. Please study your examples better Matt and stop the exaggeration.

    The case that you site has never been about putting someone in jail.

    After Stephen Boissoin's letter appeared in the local paper a young man was attacked. The claimant in the case, not the young man, another member of the local community who said the letter caused him to be afraid in his own community, filed an accusation with the Alberta government human rights commission asking for a monetary penalty and a public apology from the defendant. Failing a public apology the claimant requested that the defendant be bared from having anything published in Canadian publications ever again.

    That has been the finding in Alberta. Rev Stephen Boissoin's letter has been ruled to not be criminal, but to cause harm to members of the local community and he has been levied fines to pay and he and his organization have been barred from any form of publication, print or electronic.

    Perhaps you could give reference to your Swedish case Matt. Please know what you are talking about before you bore us with your Red Herrings.

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  33. Well certainly anything that someone writes that causes someone else to "be afraid in his community" is entirely criminal.

    If preaching a sermon or writing a letter in which homosexual behavior is identified as sinful is considered "language that makes people feel afraid in their communities"...well then, by all means, let's put the perp behind bars.

    It is the hatred of +Peter Akinola that drives you to so focus on Nigeria when there are, as the persecution of Christians in Canada and Sweden make clear, abuses of freedom of speech in your own backyards.

    Oh and MarkBrunson...you wrote:

    "No. These people should not be jailed. However, they should be held immediately responsible for their words - one of those they speak to kills someone for being gay, abuses their gay child, costs a gay employee their job, they should be held liable - at least in civil court."

    Which is very very close to the argument that some have made for jailing advocates of homosexual behavior.

    Homosexual behavior is destructive to body and soul...damning in fact if engaged in defiantly and unrepentantly. The promoters of this way of life are, then, although unknowingly, promoting human destruction.

    Should they then be subject to prosecution?

    Of course not. Any legislation which would result in the jailing of advocates of this admittedly soul and body destroying behavior would be an egregious violation of human rights.

    Unfortunately it appears that some of you on the left are unable to show much concern for the human rights of those who do not agree with you.

    Matt Kennedy

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  34. I think it is amazing that the classic two year old's argument "someone else is doing something bad too!" advanced by of all things a father who had the title of 'father' among us has captured this post's comments. It is shameful that the argument was advanced, it is shocking that some here have fallen for it.

    Now back to our initial evil -- Peter Akinola and the deviant church of Nigeria advancing evil and using our Anglican name.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  35. So Matt, I take it that this is your surrender. You cannot defend this Red Herring because it was untrue from the start. Your Red Herring from Canada, with proper vetting, is shown not to be at all what you claimed that it was.

    You have nothing to show us from your Sweden Red Herring.

    So you resort to repeating a few of the same baseless, fishy claims and a couple of childish rants as your encore.

    Next time you visit, I hope that you could stick to actual topic of the post, speaking directly to its strengths or weaknesses and not try for the diversion. On this one you look whiney, weak, childish, and also pretty foolish.

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  36. A few years ago my daughter, who lives in our house in the city, received a flier in the mail box. It was full of lies and hate toward homosexually. It was so bad I cried to read the little bit I managed.

    I took the flier down to the city police station to complain. Guess where it got me - absolutely no where. It nearly got me into trouble for complaining. When the police told me they could/would do nothing, I mentioned that I would then. Did they ever get excited - wanted to know what I was going to do. I had been thinking of writing a letter to the editor of the local newspaper complaining about such trash and hate being in my mail box. They strongly advised me not to do it.

    So I took the flier to an activist friend and he got a bit better response but still nothing was done.

    So, these laws against hate speech and the persecution of those who speak against homosexuality in Canada is all built up on a house of straw to help others claim hardship. I was made to feel more uncomfortable about complaining than the author of the "hate" flier.

    Love and Prayers,
    Ann Marie

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  37. tired of whining fundamentalists19/3/09 3:31 PM

    Matt, shouldn't you be packing?

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  38. Ann Marie
    Just after the Civil Partnership legislation came into force in England we had a note from our Parish Council that they would take any hate speech against homosexual extremely seriously, and they encouraged anyone who felt discriminated against to come forward and speak to them or the local police.
    This is such a lovely place that I should be surprised if anyone had the need!

    It goes to show that it doesn't all have to be bad news, even if progress is ever so slow.

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  39. Homosexual behavior is destructive to body and soul...damning in fact if engaged in defiantly and unrepentantly. SO saith Matt Kennedy.

    I suggest that you all simply ignore Rev. Kennedy, who frankly knows nothing, and foolishly places words in public places to prove it.

    (Let us recall that he infamously over on Fr Jake's site suggested that at a promiscuous ashamed gay man having illicit furtive sex could seek forgiveness, while a happily and stably partnered gay man was much more sinful for living monogamously!).

    Rev Kennedy is a man obsessed who is becoming close to trollish.

    Stop feeding the trolls.


    IT

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  40. Since Matt won't supply any more information about his Swedish lies, I will. Here is a link to Box Turtle Bulletin where the case is completely debunked:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/tag/sweden

    "The Swedish pastor Åke Green was sentenced to prison by the lower court, but acquitted by the two higher courts including the Supreme Court. He has NOT been jailed. The only thing the Åke Green-case proves is that religious freedom is strongly protected, even in a country with hate speech laws such as Sweden."

    "In 2007 the Supreme Court also acquitted a Christian blogger, who was prosecuted for a discussion on his blog, where a blog commenter stated that homosexuals should be hanged upon stakes as punishment and a warning. The commenter also wrote that the sooner a sodomite meets his hangman, the better."

    The case was dismissed on technicalities, apparently, so the great imprisoning of the orthodites hasn't quite ever gotten under way, despite their fearmongering false rhetoric to the contrary.

    You can even go to the man's own website and read where he acknowledges that he was sentenced to a month in jail by the lower court but then acquitted by the high court. He never served time in jail. Red-handed, Matt.

    Calling homosexuals a "cancerous tumor on society" that must be "excised" in his sermon is not hate speech to Matt, apparently, and anyone who heard such an uplifting, Christ-filled sermon and then proceeded to shoot a few queers or bash the heads of some dykes would be perfectly within their rights of religious freedom. After all, the OT calls for the stoning deaths of such abominations, eh Matt?

    Disgusting. And right to the heart of the matter that Mark rightly raises. Good on you, Mark!

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  41. Very kind of you "Tired" but actually, I'm unpacking... :)

    Matt Kennedy

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  42. Which is very very close to the argument that some have made for jailing advocates of homosexual behavior.

    Lots of words.

    Answer: No. It isn't at all. You know it isn't. Another reason not to believe what you say.

    Homosexual behavior is destructive to body and soul...damning in fact if engaged in defiantly and unrepentantly. The promoters of this way of life are, then, although unknowingly, promoting human destruction.

    A supposition stated as known fact. Lie.

    Is this really your Christian example? To lie?


    Should they then be subject to prosecution?

    According to your side - no matter how hard you try to sweet talk us - yes.

    Akinola speaks for you as long as you refuse to condemn his actions.

    Still deflecting and trying to damage control.

    We see you.

    Of course not. Any legislation which would result in the jailing of advocates of this admittedly soul and body destroying behavior would be an egregious violation of human rights.

    Lying about "admittedly soul and body destroying" again? Do you ever tell the truth, Matt? Do you even know what it is?

    Who's admitted that we can trust? No one. Be honest - difficult for you, I know, but try. See, I actually care for your soul, though you would happily condemn mine.

    Soul destroying? Who can admit that? It is a subject of religious faith. Prove the soul. Weigh it out. You can't, so it can't be proven to be destroyed.

    Lies from you again, Matt.


    Unfortunately it appears that some of you on the left are unable to show much concern for the human rights of those who do not agree with you.

    What human rights have we denied you? Do you live? Do you support your family? Are you forbidden from marrying? Are we attempting to do so? Are you in danger of losing your livelihood or life because of our teaching? Stop you contemptible projection!

    Stop whining. You're supposed to be a responsible adult.

    Now. Answer a question.

    What good is the image of God you present to us?

    No lies about homosexuality, which you have no understanding of, please.

    Answer, or admit you have no Good News to pass on. Be responsible - FOR ONCE! - for your witness, Matt.

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  43. Good grief! Is Matt really using OneNewsNows as a legitimate news source? You just shot yourself in the foot, Matt.

    OneNewsNow leaves out a few key details (Quelle surprise!) like the linkage the court made between the letter, which didn't merely call homosexuality a sin, but said that homosexual PEOPLE were no different than paedophiles, and an attack against a gay teenager made in Red Deer.

    That would be called incitement.

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  44. Yes, David, the words are unkind and harsh and I would certainly criticize them...but they are not criminal...do you think he should be jailed?

    People don't go to jail over this. They are fined.

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  45. I think someone made this point before, but I"ll make it again:

    If someone called Christians a "cancerous tumor" that "must be excised", what would be the conservative response? Even in the US, most Christian of nations, they bitterly complain if someone says "Happy HOlidays" instead of "Merry Christmas".

    Hmmm, but they are okay having laws protecting THEIR religious speech. As indeed, is fine. I believe in protecting speech. Whether it attacks gays or fundamentalists, it should have the same protections. As indeed it should have for positively affirming a point of view as well, as in supporting gay marriage.

    In CA one of the big arguments against prop 8 was it would somehow "legitimize" discussion of gays in a positive way and this was somehow an affront to the religious. Funny how selective they are. Why isn't their advertising against gay marriage an equivalent affront to me? If they get protection, so should I. But no, it's all one way for them. Religion über alles.

    My religious training was years ago but I remember one idea being "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." What happened with that?

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  46. We are not all United Statesonians here. Freedom of Speech is not as sacrosanct in other nations as in the USA. You lot are want to protect hate speech as being a part of the freedom.

    That is not true of other nations. Freedom of Speech is more narrowly defined elsewhere, and often does not protect hate speech, but makes it a civil and sometimes criminal offense. Father Mass Progeny, more than others, forgets that it seems.

    ReplyDelete

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