Friday 16 April 2010

Not in my name, George Carey

‘UnChristian’,the report of the research undertaken by the Barna group into the attitudes of 16-30 year old Americans by conservative, Born-again Christians, demonstrates that the strategies being followed by those who label themselves orthodox conservative Anglicans are detrimental to Christian mission, evangelism and witness, let alone being detrimental to the status and well-being of LGBT people.

Conservatives such as George Carey reinforce the younger generation’s experience of the church as being homophobic, too political, judgmental, hypocritical, insensitive and taken to demonizing sections of society.

Ruth Gledill wrote in her blog that Lord Carey of Clifton, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and his fellow ‘victims’ are giving all Christians a bad name – too right! The lions don’t exist beyond their imaginations or the arena beyond their story books. She issued a challenge to liberals – time for us to stand up and say: “We will not be slain by this malevolent spirit, not even when the persecutors are our fellow Christians.”

George Carey is so very, very wrong every time in his interventions and his attempt to defend and protect the church as are the bishops of Winchester, Exeter, etc. He is utterly arrogant every time he claims to speak on behalf of ‘all Christians.’ In his statement, he says: “I am confident that I have substantial support from those in the Church of England and other Christian denominations.” Let me assure you, George, that you certainly DO NOT! You speak on behalf of a narrow-minded, defensive, insecure minority.

He is intervening with the judiciary to protect the prejudices of individual Christians in their stance at work towards LGBT people. The Court of Appeal makes ‘disturbing’ judgments and hold to ‘dangerous’ reasoning in his mind only because they uphold the equality law of the UK against a minority Christian mindset which is bigoted and narrow-minded.

Henry Orombi, Mouneer Anis and Ian Earnest pursue a similar, obsessive, selfish path in their demands that the Archbishop of Canterbury dances to their expectations. The younger generations in their own countries as well as Anglicans of a different mindset dismiss their attitude as arrogant, bullying and unchristian.

They put the Archbishop in an impossible position, one he has found it difficult to extract himself from, compromising his friendship with many erstwhile supporters. To exclude the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Primate of the Church of Canada from the next Primates meeting would be guaranteed to release a furious determination among liberals in the Church of England to fight every step of the way to protect a Christian ethos which is of the essence to us and which is being dramatically eroded by Carey, Scott-Joynt, Nazir-A;I, Oromibi, Anis et al.

Et al in the UK includes the appalling Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre who thinks "Recent decisions of the courts have illuminated insensitivity to the interests and needs of the Christian community and represent disturbing judgments.” She believes the decisions undermine religious liberties and affect the fundamental freedoms of every UK citizen. She thinks this is now a critical election issue. She’s off the wall. I’m a Christian and the courts aren’t insensitive to my needs as a gay priest.

The tragedy for us is that these people get reported as if they represent the majority of Christians in this country. They don’t, but when people read what they say, they think this is what Christians think and believe.

Enough of their arrogance and prejudice – it is time to reassert that Christians live by other values – and at least the authors of the report ‘UnChristian’ know what these values are – unconditional love, radical transparency, personal integrity, maturity.

Those of us who are gay, those who work for LGBT Christian equality, those who practice generous inclusivity and hospitality, have lived through more than two decades of abusive attitudes, Synod reports and of bishops claiming they know the mind of God and have the sole right to interpret scripture.

These Primates and bishops do NOT SPEAK IN MY NAME. I will NOT be slain by their malevolent spirit. Join Changing Attitude and help us change the ethos of the church from bigotry, intolerance and prejudice to truth, love, wisdom and a commitment to the Jesus of the Gospels who proclaimed justice and grace for all in the Kingdom of God.

Colin Coward
(Note: comments are now being moderated. I am away on retreat in Glastonbury with my parish until Sunday afternoon, and any comments will not be approved until then)

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