Read it all here.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz, calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.
The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.
I asked the crowd to chant with me: “We are opposed to the injustice of the illegal occupation of Palestine. We are opposed to the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. We are opposed to the indignity meted out to Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks. We are opposed to violence perpetrated by all parties. But we are not opposed to Jews.”
Earlier in the week, I called for the suspension of Israel from the International Union of Architects, which was meeting in South Africa.
The extraordinarily blinkered conclusion Tutu reaches is:
The pursuit of freedom for the people of Palestine from humiliation and persecution by the policies of Israel is a righteous cause. It is a cause that the people of Israel should support.
There is no mention of Hamas repeated violating ceasefires, using Gazans as human shields, having the destruction of Israel in its charter, the fact that, for propaganda, Hamas wants its citizens to die or the indoctrination of children to hate Jews. The article is reproduced on the Anglican Communion News Service; since it is sitting there without editorial comment, we must assume that the ACNS is untroubled by Tutu’s viewpoint.
Here is a different view from someone who has not succumbed to the miasma of leftist pollution that is afflicting Tutu’s neocortex:
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the Diocese of Montreal was well represented in the Montreal Pride parade:
The priest in the photo is Rev. Donald Boisvert whose book, “Out on Holy Ground” includes this gem on phallic worship and the holiness of gay sex. I note with interest that the usual reference to stable, long-term, committed relationships has been supplanted by the more accurate if less edifying, unknowable anonymity:
As the dominant masculine symbol, the phallus acquires many characteristics of the holy. This is not a particularly modern interpretation. Phallic worship is as old as human civilization, and perhaps as controversial today as it was in the past. It has always been transgressive, associated with disorder and excess, with riotous freedom and wanton sex. …. I call gay sex “holy sex” because it is centred on one of the primal symbols of the natural world, that of male regenerative power. The rites of gay sex call forth and celebrate this power, particularly in its unknown and unknowable anonymity. Gay men are the worshippers paying homage to the god who stands erect and omnific, ever silent and distant.
A paradigm of contemporary Western Anglicanism.
First, he seems to think that the Gospel – the Good News of Jesus Christ – is not so much the fact that we are reconciled to the Father through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, but that Christianity, the Church, or indeed, God himself, places no restraint on our doing pretty much whatever we feel inclined to do – including marrying people of the same sex.
Second, forget all that “one flesh” nonsense, sex is not at the heart of marriage at all, companionship is. That is why married couples are mainly celibate, a regrettable misunderstanding that lead to the extinction of the human race around 200,000 years ago.
Third, when we feel guilty, we needn’t repentant of what we’ve done that caused the guilt. All we have to do is attend an Anglican Church where the priest will infuse us with a gooey sensation of self-worth, assuring us that it’s fine to keep on doing what is making us feel guilty – particularly if it’s have gay sex; sorry, companionship.
Bishop of Buckingham the Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson this week spoke at a debate on the issue at Kidlington’s St John’s Church.
A prominent supporter of gay marriage, he told worshippers at the Broadway church that the Christian tradition holds “the root of marriage is not sex but companionship”.
He said: “The idea that marriage is about friendship has become extremely powerful in England.”
Christians must symbolise “good news”, he said: “One of the really painful things I have had to learn is how the Church can be really bad news to people”.
This can “stir feelings of guilt and lack of self worth”, but he said: “God has made us like that. If he wanted to make us another way he would but he didn’t.”
A survey response from 120 Anglicans demands that their bishops “become fluent with the science of climate change”; this, they said will be “prophetic”. That is a good point. Anglican bishops have had years of valuable experience: the only thing less reliable than weather forecasts are prophecies from Anglican bishops.
“What sort of leadership in response to global climate change would you hope to receive from a group of Anglican bishops and archbishops?”
This question garnered over 120 responses from Anglicans Communion-wide when posed early in July by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN).
So what do respondents name as priorities? They certainly want the bishops to be bold, vocal and to speak with a sense of urgency. The word “prophetic” appears again and again. Otherwise the bishops should be “visionary, courageous, strong, uncompromising, wise, discerning, proactive and humble.”
To whom should they speak? Both to the Church but also to civil society, governments, industry and policy makers. Many respondents cited visible and consistent dialogue with other Churches and like-minded organisations as essential.
Respondents want bishops to do their homework and become fluent with the science of climate change and work very much in public with national and international bodies. One respondent urged the bishops to “use the bully pulpit to galvanize folks in the pew and others to realise this is a real disaster in the making.” Others want bishops to join marches and go public with their personal commitments. Many want the bishops, all bishops, clergy and lay leaders to live in a different and noticeable way.
In an era of horrifying and grotesque Christian persecution, it’s comforting to see Anglicans concentrating on what is really important.
“Fairy tales and the gay man’s journey” is a five week Pride event put on by the Diocese of New Westminster’s Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral. It will be led by Holy Trinity’s rector, who is himself gay, Rev. Dale Yardy. As the invitation says:
Join us for a five week journey as we listen to, and unpack through small group reflection and conversation, the wisdom and spirituality of five beloved fairytales as applied to the gay man’s journey.
Rev. Yardy explains more in this CBC interview. Apparently, it has a lot to do with the ugly duckling feeling alienated and excluded: it’s an LGBT metaphor – I bet no-one saw that coming. Just to be clear: it has nothing to do with the word “fairy”.
It’s difficult to find any compelling reason to visit Bradford; I accidentally passed through it once when I became lost on my way to somewhere more interesting. George Galloway, the eccentric, or as some would have it, congenitally unbalanced politician for Bradford West (a particularly uninteresting subdivision of the already excruciating dull City of Bradford), has devised an ingenious scheme to lure Jews, for whom he clearly has a particular affection, into his constituency: he is employing reverse psychology:
The devious plan has worked:
However, just eight days after Mr Galloway’s comments, a Jewish and Israeli group led by Rabbi Shneur Zalman Odze visited Bradford to ‘prove a point’ and claimed they had received a ‘nice reception even from those who weren’t pro-Israel’.
The first Jews to set foot in Bradford for 300 years; well done, George.
Vicky Beeching is a Christian celebrity, singer, and more recently media commentator; she has just announced that she is a lesbian. What makes this interesting – and, since I am firmly convinced that celebrities’ opinions are rarely sensible, the only thing that does – is that for a number of months prior to her unburdening herself, Beeching has been promoting same sex marriage in her blog, giving Biblical references as reasons for her support of same sex marriage. She urges us to have good disagreements: I can see her becoming a mouthpiece for Justin – it’s all about relationship – Welby.
As it turns out, though, the more probable reason for her view is an entirely personal one: she is attracted to other women. As so often seems to be the case, the Biblical texts are being read in the light of subjectivity, in this case because the reader is herself gay or, in other instances, because someone close to the reader is.
“I’m gay,” she says, confirming what is written. She has never said this publicly before – a handful of people in her private life know. She has only just told one her closest friends, Katherine, and Katherine’s father, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The enormity of the political ramifications of this disclosure scarcely have a second to sink in – a theologian who spends holy days with the Archbishop, whose God-fearing lyrics are sung by millions in America’s Bible Belt, coming out as a lesbian – before I begin to reflect on the implications for her personally.
Even though military action is “a terrible thing to wish”, he wishes it.
Canon Andrew White writes:
I have just returned from a secret visit to Qaraqosh – once the largest Christian town in Iraq, but no longer.
Today, Qaraqosh stands 90 per cent empty, desecrated by the gunmen of the fanatical Islamic State terror group now in control. The majority of the town’s 50,000 people have fled, fearing that, like other Christians in this region, they will be massacred.
The militants, in a further act of sacrilege, have established their administrative posts in the abandoned churches.
My visit, under the noses of the gunmen, was frightening – but that is nothing to the terror of the poor souls left behind.
Since I went to St George’s Anglican church in Baghdad in 2003 – the only Anglican church in the city – I have seen countless terrible things. Many of my congregation have been killed or mutilated in the years of violence.
But I have never witnessed anything on the scale, or which has affected me quite so dreadfully as on this visit to the north of Iraq
In the nearby city of Irbil, I found many of those Christians who had fled. Some 30,000 refugees are packed into the Kurdish capital, forming a new Christian suburb.
I spoke to one woman who had survived the massacres in Qaraqosh. She had a bandaged left hand. When IS soldiers could not remove her gold wedding ring, they had simply hacked off her finger. She wept as she told me.
The refugees are now penniless, robbed of their homes and possessions. Christian houses were daubed with the letter ‘N’ for Nazere and given to Muslim families.
I met Hana, who used to be the caretaker of my church in Baghdad, and fought to stay dry-eyed as he told me the fate of his youngest son, aged five. The boy was chopped in half in front of Hana’s eyes during an IS attack.
Where is their protection? It is a terrible thing to wish, but I now believe that military action of some sort is necessary, if only to reduce the movement of IS tanks, their soldiers, and their power and authority on the ground.
Even this is not the solution in the long run. We need money, and we need prayer. Without those we have nothing.
Those wanting to donate can do so at the website of the Foundation For Relief And Reconciliation In The Middle East: frrme.org
Andrew White was in favour of the US’s removal of Saddam Hussein even after the persecution of Christians had begun. It is to the West’s shame that what was begun in Iraq was not completed and that it has taken the horrors mentioned above to stir us into action again; I fear we will still lack the resolve to see it through to the end.