Bishop Minns on mere cultural preferences

Bishop Martin Minns is quoted in an article, "Values worth fighting for in World Magazine as saying

“The real question we have had to face in the Episcopal Church,” Minns asked, “is how do we separate the values that are worth fighting for from those that are mere cultural preferences? And to what immutable standards do we appeal to make these decisions? These are not just questions for Episcopalians, or Anglicans in the rest of the world, but for all Christians everywhere.”

Minns said that “Holy Scripture” should be that immutable standard, which is why arguments over abortion, homosexuality, and other cultural and political issues must be argued from “first principles.”

I suppose this all means that Bishop Minns believes that abortion rights and rights for homosexual persons are "mere cultural preferences."

Other cultural preferences in other cultures, or even our own in the good ol days, were to require that abortion be criminalized, making both the woman and the doctors and any who advised her criminals. Or to make homosexual sexual acts illegal and those who acted criminals subject to imprisonment and perhaps death. But never mind, these are "mere cultural preferences."

Bishop Minns oddly says, "we have to face (these issues) in the Episcopal Church." He has either forgot that he is not a bishop in the Episcopal Church, or he really doesn't think of himself as having left. But he has. It is just as well. In the article he has very little good to say about the Episcopal Church. Still, he can't quite avoid the temptation to speak from within it.

The "Values Voter Summit" is sponsored by FRC Action, the legislative action arm of the Family Research Council, and James C. Dobson's Focus on the Family Action, and others. Their spiffy website for the September 12-14 meeting in Washington posted as "invited" speakers all sorts of people, including the candidates for President. Bishop Minns was not so listed. When linked to the actual "speakers" list, there he is, one among a great list of speakers, neither candidate for President among them. They are still listed at the bottom of the page as "invited." Interestingly enough McCain, Obama and Palin were invited, but not Biden.

Bishop Minns needs to revisit the "mere cultural preferences" business. After a while all sorts of seemingly important concepts, not even well formed in America, will be lost. Is the equal pay for equal work notion a "mere cultural preference." Are civil rights for everyone?

Bishop Minns is playing to the crowd and what a crowd it is.


  1. It always amazes me that these "reasserter" types can't recognize their own problems with "cultural preferences."

    Let's once more quote C.S. Lewis on "usury," just for fun:

    "There is one bit of advice given to us by the ancient heathen Greeks, and by the Jews in the Old Testament, and by the great Christian teachers of the Middle Ages, which the modern economic system has completely disobeyed. All these people told us not to lend money at interest: and lending money at interest-what we call investment-is the basis of our whole system. Now it may not absolutely follow that we are
    wrong. Some people say that when Moses and Aristotle and the Christians agreed in forbidding interest (or "usury" as they called it), they could not foresee the joint stock company, and were only dunking of the private moneylender, and that, therefore, we need not bother about what they said. That is a question I cannot decide on. I am not an economist and I simply do not know whether the investment system is responsible for the state we are in or not This is where we want the Christian economist But I should not have been honest if I had not told you that three great civilisations had agreed (or so it seems at first sight) in condemning the very thing on which we have based our whole life.

    So where, exactly, is the "reasserter" movement on this topic? Do they even recognize it as an issue? From what I've seen the answer is an emphatic No. Mere cultural preferences, perhaps? Gee, what do you know?

    And I'd really like to know how, exactly, abortion is in any way analogous to homosexuality. Even the merest hint of the remotest relationship would do....

  2. There was a time when democracy was a mere cultural preference, compared to the very ancient and absolutely sacred divine right of kings. How long has it been since we've had a rightfully anointed ruler?

  3. One of my favorite quotes, from sociologist Ellen Rosenberg: "As the code words have become 'Bible inerrancy,' the Bible itself is less read than preached, less intrepreted than brandished . . . The Bible has become a talisman."

    I don't think Minns has thought through his insistence on "Bible, Bible, Bible" as opposed to "cultural preferences."

    The Bible is not only a product of cultural preference, but is inevitably read differently in each culture. I've been told that Chinese Christian ministers refer, for instance, to The Word as "Tao" and their sermons as "Tao-talk." Whether that's true or not, I can't say, but imagine the uproar if someone used the term here.

    The Bible is gift in two ways - it points the way, introduces us to the Beloved, testifies to the Beloved's activity in other lives, then . . . leaves us adrift in archaism and self-contradiction so that we must come to know the Beloved personally if we are to share in this exciting story.

    Only those too afraid to meet the Beloved insist on Bible as primary rule and measure.

  4. Counterlight:
    Ah, I think 2000 with George W. Bush. ;-0

  5. Nah, I think he means equal rights for blacks and women. That's where the rot started, you know. And it's all the fault of TEC. Only Akinola et Co. can save the world.

    Poor deluded fundamentalists.

  6. “The real question we have had to face in the Episcopal Church,” Minns asked..."

    The real question we have to ask is, "What is he talking about?" Minns is not a part of the Episcopal Church, so what is the "we" he is talking about? His premise is faulty, thereby invalidating anything else he has to say after that. What is it about these poor fellows that compels them to welcome and nurture such a spirit of bitterness?

  7. I wouldn't be certain that Minns, who is English and raised in what, in the UK, was a less racially-polarized era, does mean that, James, but there's little doubt in my mind that this is precisely what a proportion of his conservative Virginia flock does think. How would things go down with a native Nigerian bishop, rather than a Brit-accented white one, do you think?

    Is "we have to face (these issues) in the Episcopal Church" arrogance, delusion, or both?

  8. Deluded and hypocritical fundamentalists, that is.

    What a bunch of total hooey we've been listening to for the past 5 years. The so-called "orthodox" are as wedded to the culture as anybody else is, and probably even moreso.

    Their own particular view of the culture, that is. Enough already with the Minns and the rest; they remind me of nothing so much of the so-called "conservatives" in our nation's capital who've been using other people as "wedge issues" for the past 30 years....

  9. Watch this or this and tell me who has given in to the prevailing culture.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.