This is Why They are Winning

This is Why They are Winning

By BILL MUEHLENBERG
http://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/04/19/this-is-why-they-are-winning/

I wrote a piece yesterday on the culture wars and why our side is losing so much of the time, while the other side seems to be winning so often. I noted that the other side sees the bigger picture and is willing to work for the long haul.

Christians and conservatives tend not to. As a result, they keep notching up victories and we keep notching up defeats. I said that we too need to see the bigger picture and be willing to go long term in these battles if we want to be successful. You can read what I wrote here: billmuehlenberg.com/2016/04/18/big-picture-long-term/

One clear cut example of all this is the battle over homosexuality. The activists have long had a big perspective on this, and have been willing to take the necessary time to achieve their goals. And they have always been quite upfront about their goals and strategies.

It is just that most folks on our side were not aware of them, or did not want to be aware of them. I have made it my business to be aware of such things. Thus for decades now I have read the homosexual press and followed their strategies as outlined in their books.

Yet many of my colleagues have been rather clueless over the years. Some of them have told me that the issue is no big deal. Even noted Christian leaders have told me that. And when I warned twenty years ago about the push for homosexual marriage, some of these leaders scoffed and said it was just not going to happen.

I suppose I can now say “I told you so” and leave it at that. But we still have Christian leaders in denial or with their heads in the sand concerning various fronts in the culture wars. They still don’t get it and they still are not taking the threats seriously.

Meanwhile the other side takes their mission very seriously indeed. Decades ago they devised strategies and game plans to win, and this is unfolding before our very eyes. They are big picture people in for the duration of the war. We are not. That is why they are winning.

As just one example, I have often mentioned a homosexual strategy manual that appeared back in 1989 entitled After the Ball. In it two homosexual activists offered a detailed blueprint on how they would win America over to their agenda. I have quoted from it often in my own books and articles.

Had our side taken seriously and paid more attention to such strategies, we might not be in the mess we now find ourselves in. And had we taken seriously the need to engage with culture, looking at the longer term prospects and the bigger picture, we might have had some more wins on the board by now.

But for the most part our side is asleep, apathetic and AWOL — meanwhile the other side is committed, dedicated and on a mission. Thus we are losing by default. But some others have been saying the same thing, although likely falling on deaf ears as well.

I am reminded of one very important article that appeared twelve years ago by Al Mohler. He also notes the importance of this particular volume and the amazing progress the activists have made. It is worth quoting heavily from this article:

The spectacular success of the homosexual movement stands as one of the most fascinating phenomena of our time. In less than two decades, homosexuality has moved from “the love that dares not speak its name,” to the center of America’s public life. The homosexual agenda has advanced even more quickly than its most ardent proponents had expected, and social change of this magnitude demands some explanation.
A partial explanation of the homosexual movement’s success can be traced to the 1989 publication of After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s. Published with little fanfare, this book became the authoritative public relations manual for the homosexual agenda, and its authors presented the book as a distillation of public relations advice for the homosexual community. A look back at its pages is an occasion for understanding just how successful their plan was.
Authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen combined psychiatric and public relations expertise in devising their strategy. Kirk, a researcher in neuropsychiatry, and Madsen, a public relations consultant, argued that homosexuals must change their presentation to the heterosexual community if real success was to be made.
Conceiving their book as a “gay manifesto for the 1990s,” the authors called for homosexuals to repackage themselves as mainstream citizens demanding equal treatment, rather than as a promiscuous sexual minority seeking greater opportunity and influence.

Mohler notes how the authors made a point of targeting the churches in their campaigns and then writes:

There can be no doubt that Christianity represents the greatest obstacle to the normalization of homosexual behavior. It cannot be otherwise, because of the clear biblical teachings concerning the inherent sinfulness of homosexuality in all forms, and the normativity of heterosexual marriage. In order to counter this obstacle, Kirk and Madsen advised gays to “use talk to muddy the moral waters, that is, to undercut the rationalizations that ‘justify’ religious bigotry and to jam some of its psychic rewards.” How can this be done? “This entails publicizing support by moderate churches and raising serious theological objections to conservative biblical teachings. It also means exposing the inconsistency and hatred underlying antigay doctrines.”
Conservative churches, defined by the authors as “homohating” are portrayed as “antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology.”
A quick review of the last 15 years demonstrates the incredible effectiveness of this public relations advice. The agenda set out by Kirk and Madsen led to nothing less than social transformation. By portraying themselves as mainstream Americans seeking nothing but liberty and self-fulfillment, homosexuals redefined the moral equation. Issues of right and wrong were isolated as outdated, repressive, and culturally embarrassing. Instead, the assertion of “rights” became the hallmark of the public relations strategy.

He concludes this way:

Public relations is now a major part of the American economy, with hundreds of millions of dollars poured into advertising strategies and image enhancement programs. Observers of the public relations world must look back with slack-jawed amazement at the phenomenal success of the approach undertaken by homosexuals over the last two decades. The advice offered by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen is nothing less than a manifesto for moral revolution. A look back at this strategy indicates just how self-consciously the homosexual movement advanced its cause by following this plan.
Those who oppose the normalization of homosexuality have indeed been presented as backwoods, antiquated, and dangerous people, while those advancing the cause are presented as forces for light, progress, and acceptance. Conservative Christians have indeed been presented as proponents of hatred rather than as individuals driven by biblical conviction. The unprecedented success of this public relations strategy helps to explain why America has accepted everything from homosexual characters and plotlines in prime-time entertainment to the lack of outrage in response to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
At least we know what we are up against. Biblical Christians must continue to talk about right and wrong even when the larger world dismisses morality as an outdated concept. We must maintain marriage as a non-negotiable norm–a union of a man and a woman–even when the courts redefine marriage by fiat. At the same time, we must take into account the transformation of the American mind that is now so devastatingly evident to all who have eyes to see.
The real tragedy of After the Ball is that the great result of this is not a party, but the complete rejection of the very moral foundations which made this society possible. In order to address the most fundamental problems, we must understand the shape of the American mind. Looking back at After the Ball after fifteen years, it all comes into frightening focus.

Yep, these folks had a strategy, had long-term goals, had commitment, and had the bigger picture in mind. And with all that, coupled with a comatose, clueless and careless church, they have made tremendous strides in their mega social and sexual revolution.

When will Christians start doing similar things for the cause of Christ and his Kingdom? The early Christians did just that: they turned their world upside down. We need another such Christian revolution, or counter-revolution. I am certainly committed to it. Who will join me?

Going, Going, Gone: How LGBTI propaganda is dissolving Christian sexual ethics in the Church of England

 

By Dr. Lisa Nolland
Special to VIRTUEONLINE
www.virtueonline.org

A very important revolution is occurring at this point. It is part of a far wider pan sexual revolution which has, since the 60s, gained great momentum, though its roots go back to Marx, Marcuse, the Frankfurt School, Kinsey and others.

There are two important facets to this revolution. First, there is the ‘liberation’ of sexuality and gender from conventional, ‘repressive’ artifices such as marriage and notions of male/female bodies and gender. Secondly, there is the state-sponsored support for and protection of those so ‘liberated’. No dissent now allowed; for many of those who were spearheading the revolution the call for tolerance was only ever a ruse.

Though many factors are involved, arguably the most important is the brilliant psychological strategy in After the Ball: How America will conquer its fear and hatred of Gays in the 90s (Kirk and Madsen). Their only error was in the length of the time it would take.

The implementation of the book’s strategy is, I believe, the prime reason for the success of the sexual/gender radicalization now occurring within official Church of England [Cof E] structures.

‘LGBTI People’

Evangelical Anglican church leaders and organizations do not appear to have understood the immensity of the threat nor been able to push back to reframe the debate and reclaim the territory. Because sexual behaviours and psychological dysfunction are now included in the protected category of identity and personhood, gay is perceived as and treated as comparable to race. (1) ‘LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] people’ are thus oppressed minorities in need of state protection. To object to this new status quo or their loving ‘relationships’ is ‘racist’, hate-filled and evil. Indeed, because many of us know people who have struggled hugely to live according to orthodox Christian standards, we are even less sure of how to proceed.

Conservative leaders duck, deny and distract, unlike the rest of us who have to negotiate these minefields in our working lives and do so mostly by keeping quiet and, if necessary, by appeasement. Indeed, many leaders believe they can sit this one out because it is not impacting their ‘preaching the Gospel’ (not yet!). That the content of this Gospel is ever-more truncated does not appear to worry them, nor does the success of 24/7 LGBTI propaganda which ensures the odd sermon on Romans 1 falls on increasingly hostile ears.

Perhaps the latest thrusts inside the Church will prove to be the necessary wake-up call. We must up our game while we still can do so. Below are bullet points of places of epic LGBTI success within the C of E and recommendations for pushback at the end.

1. Thriving LGBTI Anglican (and related) advocacy organizations in the UK

—Inclusive Church; Accepting Evangelicals; Changing Attitude [CA]; Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement; LGBTI Mission; ‘Synod Evangelicals for Good Disagreement’, among others

—Inclusive Church partners with heavyweights like the Church Urban Fund (the Cof E’s poverty charity). (2)

—250+’Inclusive Church’ Cof E churches and 60+ CA Cof E churches. (3)

—An orthodox Christian sexual ethic? From CA’s Sexual ethics: A Report of the Lesbian and Gay Clergy Consultation Working Group(2003): ‘…casual sex can often be addictive and destructive [but], we think it is important to remain open to the possibility that brief and loving sexual engagement between mature adults in special circumstances can be occasions of grace… The exploration of our sexual selves can be something which benefits from involvement with more than one person’. (p. 11) (4)

2. Senior leaders/cathedral champions of LGBT issues

—Public campaigners for gay marriage: Bishop of Salisbury, Nicholas Holtam (5) and the Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, More Perfect Union: Understanding Same-Sex Christian Marriage (2014).

—Publicly supportive of the LGBTI Mission: The Bishop of Liverpool, Paul Bayes (2016). (6)

—A senior manager at C of E’s National Church Institutions honoured by two LGBT award bodies in 2016. (7)

—Blessing Pride with Opening Prayer and Flying the Rainbow Flag, York Minster (June 2015). (8)

3. Other prominent and popular LGBT Anglican clergy
—The Revd Richard Coles, Vicar of Finedon, North’shire; hugely popular UK ‘media vicar’, author of the autobiographical Fathomless Riches (2014). Coles claims ‘having lots of casual and anonymous sex with strangers’ was ‘one of the great liberations of my life’. When questioned about its Christian ethic, he was unrepentant: ‘I had a fantastic time.’ (9)
—The Revd Rachel Mann, ‘trans’ lesbian activist at Manchester Cathedral who in 2014 spoke at a wildly successful event with hundreds of evangelical youth workers. (10) A sample of her/his Eucharistic liturgy: ‘Holy God, chuckling wise woman, tender and strange… Christ our Sister, unite us in your holy bleeding… Birth-Spirit, as you coursed in intimacy through the veins of Eve and Adam, Hagar and Abraham, Deborah and Lappidoth, Naomi and Ruth, be the pulse of our lives. Desire us with your desire’. (11)
4. Church of England Synod
—The Revd Andrew Foreshew-Cain, the first ‘married’ gay priest elected to the C of E Synod, October 2015.

—Inclusive Church’s stall was prominently placed near Reception for the February 2016 Synod. Images at end.
5. Education

—Stonewall (LGBT Rights) School Champion Programmes in 120+ Church of England schools. (12)

—Valuing All God’s Children: Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying (May 2014). Though not all bad, by setting sexual ‘orientation’ alongside characteristics such as race and ethnicity, this document for over 5,000 CofE schools reinforces the false but plausible ‘born that way’ notion of homosexuality. (13)

—CHIPS and ‘Pride in Primary’, compulsory LGBT ‘educational’ programmes for 4s+. The former includes mock same-sex marriage ceremonies for 8-9s and prompts to get involved in PRIDE for 10-11s. Research on church school involvement is ongoing. (14) What is certain, though, is that our heterosexual Christian youth, marinated now in all things gay from nursery onward, are changing their ethics to become pro-gay; indoctrination works! (15)
6. The ABC

—‘You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship.’ He went on to explain (March 2013) he had ‘particular friends where I recognise that [,] and am deeply challenged by it’.(16)

—‘If one of his own children were to be gay and fell in love with another person of the same sex, and asked his blessing, how would he react? “Would I pray for them together? You bet I would, absolutely. Would I pray with them together? If they wanted me to. If they had a civil service of marriage, would I attend? Of course I would.” But, I challenged him, conscious of what many evangelicals believe, wouldn’t you say to them that while you love them, their relationship was sinful or inappropriate? “I would say, ‘I will always love you, full stop. End of sentence, end of paragraph.’ Whatever they say, I will say I always love them.”‘ (17)

—The fact that LGBT groups support the ABC’s ‘Shared Conversations’ and report positive results is telling. The ABC has reached his goal: ‘conservatives’ have the right to speak but the issue is tacitly framed as second-order, agreeing to disagree. For the ABC, the aim ‘is not, as it were, to convert the other, but to enable each to listen and see the others as a human being and as a fellow Christian.’(18) For CA, ‘All dialogue takes us forward’. (19)

—The other vital component here is the ABC’s framework. ‘I loathe and hate homophobia. I find it incomprehensible that people should feel that way about LGBTI people. And I’m always ashamed when I find it’. (March 2016) (20) As mentioned above, what had in the past been seen as behaviours or related problematic psychological conditions are now being treated by the ABC as a core and valued part of an individual’s personhood and identity, to be given dignity, affirmation and protection.

—We have tried to connect directly with the ABC but found it impossible. Then we discovered his Correspondence Secretary, Andrew Nunn, is a gay activist who is convinced he was ‘born gay’. (21)

Recommendations

Many now are taking their lead from the ABC. He doesn’t endorse gay marriage, but his uncritical and lavish public support for gay concerns and priorities will leave others thinking that there is no real reason not to.

The ‘coming out’ of ‘good people’, friends and family, proves a game changer for the thinking of many, as is making this issue a matter of abstract rights, identity and ‘loving relationships’, and not bodies, behaviours, biology and appalling unintended consequences. It is classic After the Ball propaganda, brilliant and effective. (22) With the West successfully ‘gayified’ and the Opposition silenced and/or busy elsewhere, the Developing World is next in line.

Living Out (the sole ‘acceptable’ Anglican evangelical response) is good but seriously truncated. Founded in 2013, it offers a website, network and speakers (one is now married to a woman) who have personal experience of same-sex attraction but live according to the Bible’s teaching on sexuality. LO gives helpful pastoral advice, all the more impressive because of the authenticity of its advice givers. It also works with churches to enable them to become more loving and understanding of those with these issues. (23)

However, Living Out is unable to deal with the immense ideological, political, cultural and psychological challenges. First and foremost is the notion of ‘LGBTI people’ — the false correlation of one’s sexuality or sexual attractions with core identity. That there are many and far less palatable sexualities coming out now is the elephant in the room. Nor will LO focus attention on the indoctrination of our young or stand with the increasing numbers of (mostly black) Christians punished by an increasingly coercive state. (24) LO is unable to help those with unwanted same–sex attraction move beyond gay to develop their heterosexual potential. Ex-gays are a powerful response to the propaganda of After the Ball. Ironically, the ABC refused to meet one of my ex-gay colleagues, while we await the outcome in the case of another. (25)

LO also appears unable to expose the false claims for the moral superiority of ‘full inclusion’ which keep shaming and shutting down conservative voices. Here I am thinking of Inclusive Church’s mantra—‘We believe in inclusive Church — church which does not discriminate, on any level, on grounds of economic power, gender mental health, physical ability, face or sexuality’— and Valuing All God’s Children: ‘Everyone is an insider, there are no outsiders’ (p 28). In fact, LGBTI groups discriminate in the same way as conservatives but get away with it because no one publicly challenges them on their exclusion of non-PC sexual minority people who are still semi-closeted. (26)

There are great arguments and resources out there but which receive virtually no air time in British Anglican evangelical circles. Please contact me if you wish to know more. DrLisa1957@gmail.com

Lisa Severine Nolland MA MCS PhD (Bristol) is Convenor, Marriage Sex and Culture Group for Anglican Mainstream

(1) Intersex alone has a biological foundation but is not a ‘third sex'; http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children
(2) http://inclusive-church.org.uk/links
(3) http://www.inclusive-church.com/directory; http://changingattitude.org.uk/find-a-church
(4) http://changingattitude.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Sexual-Ethics-imposed.pdf
(5) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/28/gay-marriage-bishop-salisbury-backs-same-sex-weddings
(6) https://lgbtimission.org.uk/2016/04/08/liverpool-diocese-notes-our-launch/
(7) https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2016/02/cofe-senior-manager-recognised-in-two-national-lgbt-awards.aspx
(8) http://www.yorkmix.com/things-to-do/previews/minster-to-team-up-with-york-pride-in-historic-show-of-lgbt-support/
(9) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2793353/a-confession-far-radio-4-s-favourite-vicar-inspired-tv-s-rev-tells-enjoyed-open-air-sex-strangers-drug-binges.html#ixzz45amc3Lqv
(10) http://www.christiantoday.com/article/youth.work.summit.its.vital.to.develop.a.pastoral.response.to.lgbt.young.people/37584.htm
(11) http://www.rachelmann.co.uk/pp002.shtml
(12) http://anglicanmainstream.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Valuing-All-Gods-Children.pdf
(13) https://www.stonewall.org.uk/our-members
Several hundred educational institutions are listed as Stonewall Champions in the UK!
(14) http://www.educateandcelebrate.org/about-us/; file:///C:/Users/Lisa/Downloads/SRE%20bulletin%202015%20Autumn.pdf; contact me for details.
(15) http://anglicanmainstream.org/our-children-as-gay-champions-2/
(16) http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/mar/21/archbishop-canterbury-admits-gay-challenge
(17) http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/12/the-tide-is-turning-in-this-country-justin-welby-interviewed/
(18) http://www.christiantoday.com/article/evangelism.in.an.age.of.terror.homophobia.and.indifference.an.interview.with.archbishop.of.canterbury.justin.welby/83040.htm
(19) http://changingattitude.org.uk/about-changing-attitude/who-we-are/trustees
(20) http://www.christiantoday.com/article/evangelism.in.an.age.of.terror.homophobia.and.indifference.an.interview.with.archbishop.of.canterbury.justin.welby/83040.htm http://www.virtueonline.org/ex-gay-anglican-blogger-says-archbishop-welby%E2%80%99s-gay-secretary-blocks-information
(21) http://www.parentsofgaychildren.org/uploads/After_the_Ball_-_outline_by_Richard_Cohen.pdf
(22) http://www.livingout.org/
(23) http://www.christianconcern.com/cases
(24) http://www.core-issues.org/;
other excellent groups include http://desertstream.org/ and http://www.restoredhopenetwork.org/. Personal information from UK ex-gay leaders.
(25) Emerging now in the public sphere are sexual minorities such as polyamorists (plural loves) who are sometimes bisexual (having a lover of both sexes simultaneously); polygamists (think Islamic or Mormon); those with GSA (genetic sexual attraction, also known as incest); those claiming paedophilia or zoophilia as their sexual ‘orientation’.

The Left’s hatred of Jews chills me to the bone

View of the Holocaust Memorial in winter with snow in Berlin, Germany
Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany Credit: Alamy


As a young boy, I used to think my grandma very strange. In her bedroom she kept a suitcase, packed and ready for use at a moment’s notice. “Just in case,” she’d tell me when I asked where it was that she was always waiting to go to. “You never know when they’ll turn on the Jews.”

Her house in Northwood was epitome of suburban comfort, and I couldn’t understand what on earth she meant. Until, that is, I learned some history – including the history of the Jews. Which is, in short, that pretty much everywhere, they have turned on the Jews.

From my teens through my twenties and thirties, the fact that I am Jewish meant little to me beyond the Jonathan Miller sense of being Jew-ish. I adored beigels, matzoh balls, Seinfeld and Woody Allen more than your average gentile would think they deserved. And that was about it. If you’d asked me, I’d have told you that after the Holocaust, real, serious anti-Semitism – the sort where Jews were killed for being Jews, rather than the odd nasty comment – was a thing of the past, in civilised Europe, at least.

MP apologises for anti-semitic remarks Play! 01:19

Then something happened. 9/11, to be specific. I realised something was up that I didn’t really understand. So I read and read and read. And then read some more – especially the words of the terrorists and their fellow Islamists. They were explicit and open. Jews were the enemy. All their “issues” with the West pivoted, in the end, on their Jew hate. So I immersed myself even more in the issues around terrorism and Islamism. Because, you see, it mattered.

It matters, of course, to all of us, because – as we have seen both on 9/11 and ever since, Islamist terrorism is not specific in its targeting. But it matters to me more, I would say, than anything else I can think of. Because although these maniacs will happily kill anyone, they say, and their subsequent murders show, that – quite specifically – they want to kill me. A Jew. So on level I am not in the least bit shocked, or even surprised, by the reemergence of Jew hatred as a thing in recent years. By what arrogance would we think that our generation, alone in history, would be free of the oldest hatred?

‘Anti-Semitic’ comic’s show ban sparks protest Play! 01:01

But on another, more visceral level, it chills me to the bone. And it’s not the terrorists. They threaten me, of course, as they threaten us all. Yet to me, the real chill comes from their fellow travelers – the useful idiots of the terrorists and Jew-murderers who say they do not have a racist bone in their body, but when it comes to Jews, a blind spot emerges. The likes, to be blunt, of the now suspended Ken Livingstone, who claims never to have come across a single example of Anti-semitism in the Labour Party. He clearly has never looked in the mirror. Much has been written – especially by the brilliant Nick Cohen – on the “Red/Green Alliance”; the phenomenon by which a swathe of the Left has linked up with radical Islam, leading to the bizarre spectacle of Leftist feminists supporting Islamists who would cut off the hands of women who read books.

With “anti-Western-imperialism” as part of the glue binding the alliance, everything else falls into place. So Hamas and Hezbollah might have as their defining goal the elimination of an entire people from the face of the earth, but that unfortunate consequence for Jews is by the by, because Hamas and Hezbollah are freedom fighters.

And because Israel is part of the Western imperium, as well as a key target for Islamists, it is also enemy number one for progressives. So an obsessive preoccupation with the Jewish state becomes the default position of the Left. China, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia – pah! The focus must be on Israel and Israel alone. From that springs an entire worldview that encompasses “Zionist” control of the media, of business, of everything. And we can’t be accused of targeting Jews because we don’t use the word. We say Zionist, not Jew.

So deep does this warping of what it means to be Left and progressive now run that it is almost prosaic to assert Zionist control. But now, to cap it, we have a Labour leader whose entire political career has been in this milieu – feeding it, growing it and pushing it.

For months now, week by week, examples have been emerging of cut and dried anti-Semitism – most dressed up, oh so cleverly, as anti-Zionism, but much not even bothering to hide it. And the Labour leader’s response to the criticism that he is soft on anti-Semitism and that it’s his political mindset that has fuelled its rise is not to get hard on anti-Semitism. It’s to get irritated.

Miliband: Peer’s comments ‘disgraceful’ Play! 00:24

This is not some academic exercise or interesting political theory. This is reality – the reality that the Labour Party is now run by a cadre for whom anti-Semitism really is ok, so long as it is dressed up as anti-Zionism. Because Zionism is the enemy of all good people.

Should I admit that I am afraid? Because I am. I don’t go about my life in fear. I wouldn’t be writing this or doing my job if I did. But how, quite rationally, can I not be afraid when Jews are being murdered on the streets of Europe simply for being Jews; when anti-Semitic tropes and discourse is becoming part of the mainstream of political debate; and when one of our main political parties is led by a man who does not merely let this fester, but actually describes representatives of terrorist groups as “friends”?

If this is the level we have reached today, I fear not just for myself but far more for my children. History shows that when anti-Semitism takes hold it does not wither; it grows. Yes, Britain is a wonderful home to Jews, as it is to all minorities. Yes, we have the full backing of the law and the authorities. But yes, I do look over my shoulder. Wouldn’t you?

Stephen Pollard is the editor of The Jewish Chronicle.

Only bigots oppose gay marriage. But in BBC land they must be Christian not Muslims.

 

According to a new poll, more than half of British Muslims want homosexuality criminalised.

Such findings come as no surprise. The real surprise is that it’s been reported by the media (although you’d have to search very hard to find the story anywhere on the BBC news website).

Just prior to the legalisation of same-sex marriage, when the issue was being debated in TV and radio studios up and down the country, producers of current affairs and debate programmes wanted to find opponents of same-sex marriage who would go on air and say why they disagreed with the proposed legislation.

Invariably, the speakers were Christian, with the debate framed in such a way as to make Christians and anyone who disagreed with same-sex marriage look like religious bigots. I was asked by one producer to debate the issue on a local BBC radio station, and when the producer understood that my arguments were purely secular – about the effect on children and the common good – and that I wasn’t going to say something along the lines of “It’s against God’s law” – I was dropped. That producer wanted a token bigot, preferably banging on about God and Christianity, just to really trash the image of Christians for the secular minded audience.

At the time I wondered why none of the people asked on to these programmes were Muslim, given what the Koran says about homosexuality. Why were news editors and producers only interested in Christian opposition to same-sex marriage? It was as if Muslims had absolutely no opinion on the issue.

Or was it something more deliberate than that? Were the producers and editors and these TV and radio programmes just really keen to preserve the image of Muslims for their audience, and keen not to associate the religion of Islam with opposition to same-sex marriage in the minds of the British public?

Goodness, it’s not even as if Christians want to go as far as the Muslims quoted in this poll. Most Christians would never want to see gay men and women imprisoned for their sexuality. Those who understand homosexuality as a sin would consider it a sin answerable to God rather than answerable in a court of law.

If producers and editors of TV and radio programmes wanted to find fundamentalist opposition to same-sex marriage when the issue was being debated live on air, why didn’t they go the Muslim community? If the findings of this poll are to be believed, they would have found plenty of speakers willing to make the religious argument.

Could it be that those who set the news agenda really want to hide from a politically inconvenient truth when selecting speakers from religious communities?

What is the Anglican Consultative Council

By Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel, Church of England Newspaper:sugden and samuel

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written to urge all Anglican primates to attend the Anglican Consultative Council in Lusaka from April 8-19.

The primates of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda have indicated that their representatives cannot attend because the spirit of the Primates Meeting in Canterbury, which introduced consequences for TEC and its participation in Communion decision-making on doctrine and polity, appears to be being overridden or ignored.

The issue of trust has emerged again.  Trust was undermined by the invitation to Lambeth 2008, to the TEC Bishops who had consecrated Gene Robinson, in July 2007 before the September deadline for TEC’s response to the questions of the Dar-Es-Salaam primates meeting.  The Jerusalem GAFCON Conference of 2008 was the direct result.

Archbishop Okoh of Nigeria argues that the orthodox have been manipulated by the revisionists and misled. He writes: “In spite of the hollow restrictions placed on The Episcopal Church, ( in January) the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council have avowed that the Primates had no authority to take that decision. “

Despite past history the GAFCON Primates decided to attend the January meeting. They demonstrated a love for the unity of the Communion but on a basis of common faith. They have not yet given up on the Communion.  But ACC’s actions so far confirm their suspicions that they are being misled and manipulated and even an orthodox Archbishop of Canterbury cannot stop it.

How can ACC not accept the Primates’ decision? Why is it arrogating such roles to itself?  Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda are right in drawing a firm line on the sand.  Their approach is principled, not managerial or political.

Politically, TEC holds powerful cards – money, power, access, communication, control of the media and leverage. But did TEC accept the Primates decision in January in the light of what they look on as a replay in Lusaka?

But the political and managerial approach overlooks the fact that these decisions are about God’s truth on the nature of men and women, morality and the life of the church.  If church leaders cannot be trusted when it comes to guarding the faith, everything descends to managing power relationships.

Kenya and Nigeria were very gracious in trusting the conversations at Canterbury and the decisions made there.  They now suspect that they were misled.

Lusaka is not the place to sort out church polity, unity, doctrine or matters of sexuality. Those are the callings of the primates meeting and the Lambeth conference of Bishops.

While the ACC has synodical form with bishops, clergy and lay, it should not think of itself as the General Synod of the Communion. It does not make doctrinal decisions or define the mission of its member churches. Those decisions belong to the Lambeth Conference and the Primates’ Meeting. It does not define Anglican identity, even though membership of the ACC is part of being part of the Communion.  It is not there to demonstrate Anglican unity across diversity. That ecclesiological matter is beyond its brief. Powerful forces will try to push ACC down this path.

ACC provides a network and means of working together of these many churches in addressing  critical challenges.  There are many networks in the ACC on everything from environment to women’s issues and back: far too many for the Lusaka conference to focus on. But activists will attempt to use it to further their causes on those umpteen matters. Lusaka will dissipate its efforts and end up endorsing motherhood and apple pie. Everyone else will regard ACC and the Anglican churches as irrelevant.

The world faces huge challenges.  Terrorism and refugees; persecution and issues of religious freedom; dreadful poverty in places like Sudan and increasing inequality in many countries leaving people ‘left behind’ due to economic systems: human rights being used to challenge religious faith and conscience.  Politicians have no answers.  Anglican churches face them head on every day and have hope in the midst of them.

ACC Lusaka can speak forcefully by addressing these few matters with Christian hope, and planning together to share resources and expertise in resourcing the churches to analyse and respond together to the pressures many Anglican communities face in the world, whether in the west with its rapid cultural change and secular hegemony or in the non western world where many face poverty and persecution. The need for resilient communities of faith is urgent. These can only be built on revealed truth and the received faith of the Church that has resisted and thrived against many challenges over generations.

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