Sunday, January 10, 2016

African Bishops Embrace Ignorance and Threaten Schism

The one place in the world where conservative Christianity is growing is in Africa, since the continent has the conditions most needed for growth: a poorly educated and ignorant population.  But the ignorance isn't confined to the members in the pews.  In Africa, the bishops of the Anglican Communion - and I would argue the same applies to the Catholic Church - are so stupid they fail to realize that homophobia, not homosexuality, is a European import and they ignore modern medical and mental health knowledge on sexual orientation.  And that doesn't even begin to address the issue that the human genome project has shown that Adam and Eve never existed and that "The Fall" never occurred, thus eliminating the need for a messiah.  As they threaten a schism in the Anglican Communion, the question is are they really as ignorant as they seem or is this some sick power play for control over their ignorant followers.  Religion Dispatches looks at the looming show down between knowlege and modernity and ignorance and bigotry.  Here are excerpts:
“The issue of gay marriage is threatening to split apart the Anglican Communion ahead of an important summit in Canterbury in England next week,” according to the Christian Post, “with African and Asian leaders threatening to walk out on Archbishop Justin Welby.

Welby has been hoping to preserve the communion in the face of conservative outcry over the backing given same-sex marriage by liberal bishops, including leaders of the American Episcopal Church.

The Daily Mail’s Jonathan Petre reports:
The row has torn the Church apart for a decade – with conservatives accusing liberals of abandoning the word of God by backing openly gay bishops and marriages for gay couples – and the Archbishop wants to broker a deal to allow both sides to co-exist peacefully.

But insiders said a hardcore of eight to 12 conservative archbishops from Africa and Asia are preparing to quit the meeting on the first morning unless the liberal Americans ‘repent’ or the Archbishop throws them out.

In what would be a massive challenge to Archbishop Welby’s authority, the conservatives, who represent some of the biggest of the 38 individual Churches in the worldwide ‘Communion’, are then likely move to their own headquarters nearby for the rest of the meeting.
While they are unlikely immediately to break their historic ties with the Archbishop of Canterbury – the nominal head of the Communion – they would boycott future official meetings and set up a parallel church, drawing away traditionalists from the Church of England.

The Mail on Sunday has learned that feelings are running so high that the three most powerful leaders, the Archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda, were last week on the brink of snubbing the meeting altogether, but were persuaded to attend by colleagues still hoping to force concessions from Welby.

Sources said they have lost patience with the Archbishop’s refusal to discipline the liberals for ignoring official policy urging them to refrain from creating gay bishops or approving gay marriage without widespread agreement.
Personally, my inclination if I were Archbishop Welby would be to let them walk and immediately cut off 100% of funding from the modern elements in the Anglican Communion.  Indeed, I would go further and have all western aid to reactionary religious institutions cut off as well.  The embrace of ignorance and demagoguery needs to carry a very heavy price.

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