Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The big kafuffle on HOB/D the last few days has been on the draconian measures that have been proposed by the Anglican Church of Uganda against LGBT folk. There has been a hue and cry raised demanding that the Presiding Bishop or the Executive Council make a statement condemning this attempt to criminalize or even execute LGBT people in that country. The PB was asked about this at the CNY diocesan convention just this weekend. She explained that the situation is much more volatile in Uganda than we understand in the US. She also recognizes that the legislation which is being presented there is being underwritten by ultra-conservative elements in the US. I have been impressed with the ability of members of HOB/D who have combed online places where the wider communion issues are being monitored. It is amazing that this issue has become such a hot topic all over the world, and how we see the underhandedness of it all.
All too often I separate church from state these days. Part of this comes from having taught in public school. We were well-trained to make hard lines between ‘politics’ and ‘church.’ I have even done so in the pulpit—being clear that my opinion would not endanger the 503c status of my parish. I like to think that the people in the pews have the sense to vote the way that they want to no matter what I say. I try to name Christian principles from the pulpit and let the people decide for themselves.
But I have seen over the past 10 years the kind of meddling in politics by folks in the name of ‘church’ that have made my skin crawl. This legislation in Uganda is being sponsored not just by the Church of Uganda, but with big money of super right-wing elements that are not Anglican or Episcopalian. It is being underwritten by groups with a Screwtape mentality who would disband American democracy for right-wing theocracy. It is the continued work of IRD and those who were the object of the Chapman Report that shows that this is one of the most diabolical efforts to undermine not only the love of Christ in the Church but also the basic governmental structures of our nation and other democratic nations of the world. These efforts are not by upstanding groups. They are fear-mongering groups that heighten anxiety and make the emotional strain so difficult that God-loving people give up rather than stand against this kind of perverse thinking.
I used to read the books of Robert Ludlum thinking that they were fiction. But the more that I see the effects of the scheming of these small groups of very wealthy people trying to manipulate my Church and my nation, I more I wonder if there is not some kind of cabal trying to take over our minds. I do not believe that this is just the mere paranoid feelings of someone in her sixties. Whatever it is, I am not one who is about to give in to them. +Jack Spong said that he remained an Episcopalian in the face of the neo-conservatives simply because he was unwilling to allow them to take over the Church. I’m with +Jack on this one. We need to expose these devious attempts of this cabal for what they are. I am really not willing to call them ‘conservative’. They are not just a matter of being on the right of a continuum on which I stand at the left. These groups are here to destroy, not just discuss another opinion. They are here to control, not merely offer a different way to skin the cat.
It is interesting that it has been LGBT issues that have flushed these “Controllers” out. That these groups come to the fore at the beginning of the fall of patriarchy doesn’t surprise me. Their anxiety began to be seen as women began to step into previously male-dominated positions in medicine/science, academia, politics and the Church. But the real clincher was when LGBT people began to take their rightful places in business, Church and politics. This is clearly not a liberal/conservative issue. It is a matter of POWER and not power that can be accessed by the democratic process. In many cases it is family power—large, extremely wealthy families that “know best” for the world’s society. They have taken on the veil of Christianity or Islam, or “Family Values” to legitimize their grasp for world power. And I think that such groups are not just factions who have different opinions. They are clearly those whose dogma is contrary to both Christianity and the rule of the people. I guess I am not going to retire after all.
(It is interesting that even the word "Cabal" has been taken over by the rightwingers -- just google image the word)