Six In The Morning

1 WE LOVE BRAD, OR PERCEPTION IS REALITY A year before the province’s next election, the Saskatchewan Party and its charismatic leader are miles ahead of the NDP in popular support. Random thought: the Saskatchewan NDP is like a spouse who put you through school and made you successful, and then when you became established you dumped him/her for someone prettier. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

2 WAYYY TOO LITTLE, WAYYY TOO LATE Members of the Anglican diocese of Saskatoon have voted to start blessing same-sex marriages but the change must still be approved by a bishop. Soooo, what. You want applause? As smarter people than me have said, Christianity has learned to ignore all kinds of antiquated crap in the bible — Leviticus, for example, bans eating fat and shellfish, condemns people with flat noses and says you have to burn your pants and jerk off an unclean ox if you sit in the chair a menstruating woman sat in.

Christian churches should’ve modernized their position on homosexuality long ago. By dithering on this, the Anglican diocese is saying being gay might be a sin. That sends a clear message that ignorance about and prejudice against gays and lesbians is acceptable. No, don’t argue. It does.

People love who they love. Love isn’t a sin. And asking love to wait for some bishop who may or may not have a clue to become comfortable with same sex marriage is a joke. Get over the stupid hang-ups.

In other too-little-too-late GLBT news, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Congress should repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before the freshly-elected teabagging hordes take their seats. Wouldn’t hurt, though it would’ve been good to do this before the election. And in other Church Of England-specific news, five bishops have resigned because they don’t think women are equal to men. Boo-effin-hoo.

3 FIRST MINOR SKIRMISH IN REPUBLICAN PLOT TO KILL HEALTH CARE FAILS Good. Jesus would say people deserve health care. Even American people. Possibly even Republican voters.

4 WHERE CAN I GET MINE? White poppies that commemorate peace and civilians killed in war have been banned from a PEI market because people are crazy. I’m serious — where can I get mine? Anyone know? I’d be comfortable wearing both white and red poppies.

5 YAY SCIENCE! Canadian researchers might have found a way to help people suffering from blood conditions like leukemia to grow their own healthy blood cells. Neat!

6 BURMA’S HAVING ELECTIONS ANNNND… VIOLENCE, TERROR, ETC. An election whose outcome was fixed by a military dictatorship sparks chaos, death, sadness and misery. Who’d have thought?

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.

9 thoughts on “Six In The Morning”

  1. I would just like to point out that not all Christian denominations believe that gay people are the fifth horseperson of the apocalypse. *coughUnitedChurchcough*

  2. Katie: yup! No insult to awesome Christian churches is intended. It’s sad that they seem to be in the minority.

  3. I have no interest or intention of defending the Anglican Church on the points you raised because I think you’re largely correct. That said, the story needs to be considered in the context of a number of factors.

    While Anglican praxis is far from universally consistent (on nearly anything), the hardline homphobia seen in many evangelical churches has been largely absent from Anglican churches (at least in the developed world) until relatively recently. Indeed, about 20 years ago, the official positions of Canadian Anglicanism on issues of human sexuality would have been slightly more progressive than society as a whole.

    The problem that Anglicanism has in dealing with sexuality issues (both the place of LGBTQ folk and the role of women) has to do with the relaities of the Anglican Communion, the international family of churches which derive from the Church of England.

    During the last 10 – 15 years, a far right American movement – the Institute for Religion and Democracy – has sought to undermine mainline denominations in te US due to their progressive positions on most global justice issues. IRD has used different tactics with different denominations, although the common thread has been the creation of “astroturf” (ie, faux grassroots) pressure groups within denominations. In the case of the Episcopal Church (the official Anglican denomination in the US), this has involved using sexuality as a wedge issue, and fanning the issue in parts of the two-thirds world where homosexuality is still considered scandalous – or even criminal. (See the Ugandan “kill the gays” bill, for example.)

    A ggod summary of the role of the far right in financing the Anglican wars can be found here: http://www.edow.org/follow/

    As a result, while the pressure the United Church (for example) went through as it changed its practice was primarily internal, the pressure on the Anglican Church of Canada has been external – connected to the threat of separating the Anglican Church of Canada (and the Episcopal Church) from an increasingly Global South dominated Anglican Communion.

  4. Ironically, therefore, it is the North American Anglicans’ liberalism on issues of race and colonialism that is leveraged against any liberalism on issues of human sexuality. To reject the predominate Global South view on human sexuality opens one up to bogus charges of racism.

    The far right agenda in financing this is to undermine and marginalize the Episcopal Church. The Anglican Church of Canada is mostly collateral damage in this. The Church of England (where gay clergy and the blessing of same sex unions are so common as to be unremarkable) are left largely off the hook because such things are not officially allowed.

    As part of the struggle for the soul of Anglicanism, certain elements (including the once progressive Archbishop of Canterbury) are pushing for the adoption of an Anglican Covenant which would effectively limit the capacity of independent Anglican churches to alter their practices unless and until the most conservative provinces are prepared to consent.

    (Formally, the Covenant expressly says that the autonomy of member churches is respected. However, it establishes a process to impose “relational consequences” on member churches that refuse to toe the line. It’s rather like telling your children that they don’t have to eat their broccoli – but that they won’t get any pudding if they don’t. You may call it “consequences,” but we all know it’s just a weasel word for “punishment.”)

    Just last week, an international coalition was launched to oppose the Anglican Covenant. The next day a Welsh bishop who had been part of the team that drafted the Covenant compared Covenentskeptics to fascists. This may be one of the fastest applications of Godwin’s Law in the history of ecclesiastical politics.

    In other words, to a very great extent, the Canadian (and American and British) Anglican debate about human sexuality is layered over with debates about the nature of ecclesiastical communion, the nature of biblical and ecclesiastical authority and lingering guilt about colonialism.

    The fact that Saskatoon – traditionally a relatively conservative diocese – has moved in this direction is actually quite remarkable. I believe this is the first primarily rural diocese to make this move. (The others to date, IIRC, are New Westminster [Greater Vancouver], Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara.)

    If anyone actually cares to know more about the current Anglican disputes, they are welcome to check out my blog (simplemassingpriest.blogspot.com) or the official site of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition (noanglicancovenant.org).

  5. Jeez Malcolm, if you’re going to write great comments like that I’m going to have to start actively baiting you instead of just being my usual inflammatory jerkish self.

    Thank you very much.

  6. I know. Using a blog to try for some real dialogue. What WAS I thinking? ;-)

    But more seriously, you may have some Anglican readers who are not aware of how the proposed Anglican Covenant would constrain the Anglican Church of Canada’s capacity to respond pastorally to LGBTQ folk.

  7. From what I now know about this (thanks to you), this Covenant Coalition stuff would drive me absolutely bonkers if I were in an Anglican church congregation. I could be way off and you’d obviously have a lot more insight on this, but I’d guess divisions like these end with progressive Anglicans leaving the fold for self-directed worship or perhaps a secular life on the one hand, and conservative Anglicans leaving for more evangelical churches on the other. and smart, dedicated, sensible Anglicans are stuck in a lonely place. Which is bad, because you seem like the sort we need more of.

  8. Well, we’ll see how it plays out. As recently as a few weeks ago, it appeared that the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada and several other member churches were sleepwalking into approving the Covenant. Last week, an international coalition against the Covenant (including your humble correspondent) was launched and has seemingly awoken at least some in the Church of England – to the point that one of the architects of the Covenant has managed to mire himslef in the complications of Godwin’s Law.

    The main test will come later this month, when the General Synod of the Church of England will decide whether to give the Covenant approval in principle and send it on the the dioceses for review. Were te Covenant to be defeated at that stage, it would probably be stone dead – after all, an Anglican Covenant without the Church of England would be too bizarre for words.

    Ironically, the Anglican Right don’t like the Covenant either because, according to them, the punitive measures are a) not clear enough and b) not punitive enough.

    In previous disputes (ie, the ordination of women a few decades ago), what has usually happened is that the hard right has lost and a small minority of them wander off to Rome or to evangelicalism depending on their inclination. (See the five CofE bishops who announced yesterday that they are becoming Roman Catholics.) An even smaller minority may (as has happened in the past) wander off to create “continuing Anglican bodies,” generally marked by a bishop to parishioner ratio that’s a trifle top-heavy.

    It’s too early to see how this plays out, in part because it’s the first one being played out on an international basis as opposed to within one member church of the Communion. But with New Westminster, Niagara and Toronto already blessing same sex unions and Ottawa and Montreal close behind, I don’t see us retreating – though we may overall slow down.

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