Sunday, April 06, 2014

You have to hand it to Justin Welby; the man has seriously rattled Anglican leftists all over the world.  The Guardian’s Andrew Brown is honest enough to admit that people with functioning consciences realize a Western gay person not receiving a pointy hat and hooked stick or not being able marry his or her partner in church just isn’t as ethically serious a matter as people being raped or MURDERED, except, perhaps, to moral bankrupts, sociopaths or, apparently, western Anglicans:

There are some sympathetic aspects to Welby’s position. In fact, there exists a perfectly good moral defence of it. The odd thing is that it’s not a Christian defence at all, but a strictly utilitarian one. The suffering caused to a lesbian priest in England who cannot marry her partner is – as far as we can measure and compare these things – less than that of an African woman raped and then murdered along with her children. If there really is some kind of exchange between the two, however tenuous, the utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer would surely argue that the African’s interests come first. 

Nor are we relieved of moral responsibility for a crime or tragedy simply because other parties are more to blame. If some lunatic holds a knife to my child’s throat and says he will kill her if I say “Cheese”, it would be wrong to say “Cheese” just to show how irrational the lunatic is being. The whole point about moral blackmail is that something of value could be lost to the blackmailed person.

Right here, of course, is where the “but” goes.

Archbishops are not supposed to be Peter Singer-style utilitarians. And it seems to me that there are two things wrong with the Welby position from the point of view of Christian ethics. The first is surely that, while we have the right to make our own decisions about whether or not to yield to moral blackmail, we have no right to make them for other adults.

You might object that an archbishop is there to make decisions for other people, so different rules apply. But he is also there to set an example. And this leads to the second Christian objection to this kind of blackmail. Christians are called on to do what is right, and to trust that God will bring good out of it even if evil immediately follows. Failing to do what you believe is right is, in some lights, a kind of blasphemy.

A reading from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.  And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.  But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords),yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.

But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?  And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Here ends the reading.  You may be seated.

The situations are different, of course.  What Paul says here, Andy, is that because of what Christ accomplished for us on the Cross, Christians have the freedom to do a great many things.  But if exercising Christian freedom causes or could cause harm to another Christian or even to another human being, true Christians ought to have enough concern for others to volutarily refrain from exercising their freedom.

Because which is more important?  A gay “marriage” or a human life?

Please stand for the Nicene Creed.

Brown’s piece is a commendable effort to at least try to understand both sides of the issue Welby raised. 
The response of San Francisco California Episcopal Squishop Marc Andrus, on the other hand, is an intellectually-incoherent mess.  Par for the Episcopal Organization course, in other words.  It starts out like this:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has made public statements that reveal at best a lamentable naiveté and at worst both homophobia and colonial thinking. Archbishop Justin Welby has claimed that the Church of England, if it marries gay and lesbian people there is responsible for the deaths of homosexuals in Africa.

Which is not what he said AT ALL, Andrus, you pea brain.  I hope you all have some IQ points to spare because you’ll lose quite a few of them if you read all of this.  But let’s get the meaningless boilerplate out of the way, shall we?

The archbishop was shown the mass grave of Christians from a village in Africa, killed, he was told because their neighbors did not want to become gay by association with people whose religion supported rights for LGBT people. It is clear that the archbishop was shocked by the brutality behind this mass murder, and the very scale of the killing. I too am overwhelmed by it.

You, too, are “overwhelmed” by something you didn’t see or experience.  Right.

In the face of tragedies larger than a human can take in, I think we often go to answers and solutions that we know, that are familiar.  Here, I think the archbishop fell back on a solution that was already unjust, but familiar to him: retrench around marriage as only between a woman and a man. Don’t inflame violent people further.

Or my gracious lord of Canterbury took people at their word and suggested that western Anglicans, for the sake of people that they claim are their Christian brothers and sisters, might want to consider backing of fexercising their “rights” for a while.  To-may-to, to-mah-to.  Then Andrus gets even dumber still.

Welby’s argument is parallel to saying that the segregation laws in the United States that obtained until the mid-60s and the disenfranchisement of women in the United States until the 20th Century should have both been continued if someone claimed that blacks and women in other countries would be endangered by moves towards greater justice here.

Only to a blithering idiot, Andrus.  In fact, it requires a blithing idiot to consider that a serious argument about anything at all.  As inadequate or unjust as the American political system far too often was in our history, that inadequacy or injustice had absolutely no effect whatsover on non-Americans.

But since the Anglican Communion crosses borders, decisions made by its individual churches have a profound effect on every other church in the Communion.  If the Episcopal Organization wants to give Robbie a pointy hat and a hooked stick, Robbie becomes, by the rules of the Anglican game, an Anglican bishop regardless of what Africa and the rest of the world think about it.  While we’re on the subject of colonialism, Marc.

We should remember that the archbishop has made his views on same-gender marriage clear. In an address to the House of Lords he reiterated, as he did in the radio interview most recently that marriage is a sacred institution reserved for heterosexuals. In fact, in this most recent interview the Guardian wrote that the archbishop did not want LGBT people to be treated with any greater severity than adulterous heterosexuals are treated. The core idea here if anyone cares to look closely is that same-gender relationships are sinful.

That pretty much bottom-lines it there, Marc.  As most of us figured out a long time ago, The Issue has only one right answer and until the Third World understands that answer and accepts it, we here in the comfortable West are quite prepared to accept a little “collateral damage,” if you know what we mean and we think you do.  Oh, we’ll pretend to feel bad about it but you know how it is.

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