Friday, June 27, 2008

GAFCON; It is all about Power

This opinion piece is biased. It is not politically correct. It is cynical and definitely not ‘Christian’.

And from my very biased view, it is so accurate that you will forgive me for not having any reservations to putting it here. In full. Sometimes we are too determined to be ‘politically correct’ to see logic when it is shoved into our faces.

Anti-gay bishops are after power, not truth

By George Pitcher

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 26/06/2008

Leadership in the West is “a mess and unable to understand the post-colonial reality”. The best thing to do would be to “dismantle” the western establishment to usher in a post-colonial world.

Who might this be speaking? The increasingly beleaguered Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in one of his more mild-mannered moments?

Actually it is Canon Vinay Samuel, who was yesterday addressing the alternative Anglican conference in Jerusalem, Gafcon, for bishops who feel that they cannot in conscience attend the decennial Lambeth Conference at Canterbury next month, so long as they have to be in communion with openly homosexual bishops.

Not that Canon Samuel is a bishop. He is from the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. But he reveals what Gafcon is really about. The Global South’s spiritual leader, Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, is fond of saying that the post-colonial West demonises him and that a new order must be ushered in.


In his launch address at Gafcon, he speaks of it being “a godly instrument appointed to reshape, reform, renew and reclaim a true Anglican Biblical orthodox Christianity.” Mark that word “reclaim”.

Meanwhile, a cheerleading website for Gafcon, Virtueonline (“The Voice For Global Orthodox Anglicanism”), declares that it is “the height of western Anglican arrogance to perpetuate the myth that the West holds sway over the communion.

That day is long gone along with the Elizabethan Settlement and the British Empire.

A new global Anglican Communion day is dawning and its strength is coming from new global quarters.”

One might say “headquarters” and there is no doubt where they are to be located – in post-colonial Africa.

So this conference of Anglican dissenters is not about homosexuality at all, or rather only in so far as it is a useful lightning rod for an alternative, authoritarian Anglican Communion.

Nor is it really about Biblical authority, which even the most conservative scholarship will acknowledge is a moveable feast.

It is simply about where the locus of Anglican authority should reside. And it is driven by a post-colonial political imperative; the West has used and abused the Global South and now it’s pay-back time.

In this worldview, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is a “relic” (Canon Samuel’s word) of old empire, who must be replaced, presumably by the likes of Archbishop Akinola, who has come within a hair-trigger of saying that Muslim Nigerian violence against Christians will be met in kind.

This presumes that Dr Williams is a political leader to be overthrown by an official opposition. He is nothing of the sort.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is primus inter pares in the worldwide Anglican Communion, holding together (or trying to) a loose federation of global churches, often at odds with one another but on a common journey.

Nor is Gafcon an official opposition. It is an unholy alliance of Anglican interests that want to replace post-reformational dialogue and mutual tolerance with an authoritarian catechistic power that dictates from its centre what it means to be an Anglican.

And it’s an unholy alliance because African primates are at once complaining about American imperialism in their continent, while taking American protestant fundamentalists (and their money) into the Gafcon cause.

When innocently duped bishops, such as Dr Michael Nasir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, discover the truth – that it is a straightforward power play to replace the pluralist Anglican Communion with a rigid and narrow new orthodoxy dictated from Africa – they will be disappointed.

Though not, perhaps, as disappointed as Dr Nazir-Ali will be that this proposed new regime doesn’t offer him a path to the See of Canterbury.


Princess said...

Haven't been here in a while.Got loads to catch up on. Off to read! :)

DeTamble said...

Haven't been here in a while. Haven't got time to catch up :-(
What happened to those carefree hours I used to be able to spend on Blogger... :'(

gayuganda said...



thought you gals had all gone off, giving me the cold shoulder!

deT, you still have to read for the exams!

DeTamble said...

Exams are over, I've just had a backlog of stuff I needed to catch up on. And work is so tiring, god! I work this hard to be this poor! GARGH!!!

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