Multiculturalists Working to Undermine Western Civilization

Deprive us of free speech and you turn us into animals

babel

May 20, 2018

 

Here’s a magic spell for turning a human being into an animal: silence the person, constrict his vocabulary and strip him of speech. When you shut down speech you turn human beings into animals.

Kanzi, the world’s most speech-savvy pygmy chimpanzee, can ‘speak’ only 500 words. The average three-year-old child has a lexicon of 1,000 words and learns a new one every 90 minutes of its waking life. Ergo, the relentless onslaught on speech is fundamentally an assault on our humanity.

In an Orwellian pincer move, a cross-section of powerbrokers is launching a blitzkrieg on speech. The censors of speech are tightening bit and bridle to control who speaks, what one speaks and how one speaks.

Last week, our group of pro-lifers in Port Erin on the Isle of Man were confronted by another group using the f-word as conjunction, preposition, interjection and adjective, trying to rein in our right to free speech. Pro-life groups are also being muzzled like dogs by buffer zones in England and on the Isle of Man.

While we were jousting with philistines, barbarians in both Houses of Parliament were hacking away at the freedom of the press with battle-axes. Despite a defeat for Labour in the Commons, the Lords once again voted to establish a second Leveson-style public inquiry and suffocate the freedom of the press.

In an Orwellian pincer move, a cross-section of powerbrokers is launching a blitzkrieg on speech.

Students at redbrick universities are using violence to ‘de-platform’ conservative speakers. Masked thugs stormed Jacob Rees-Mogg’sspeech at Bristol University calling him a ‘fascist’, ‘Nazi’, and ‘racist’. Even radical feminist Germaine Greer had her vocal cords tied in knots by anti-speech students at Cardiff University because of her views on transgenderism.

Now the Sentencing Council for England and Wales is threatening a draconian punishment of six years imprisonment for so-called hate speech against race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy, maternity and gender reassignment. The list is a veritable Left-wing thesaurus of victimhood. The fiction of ‘hate speech’ is yet another Orwellian flamethrower intended to snuff out speech and paradoxically to destroy the very diversity progressives claim to be championing.

Welcome to Babel, the archetypal story of human beings domesticating speech to create the ultimate totalitarian state. Babel permits no alternative language, no alternative thought and no alternative possibility. Babel is the archetype of a society in which people exchange God-given freedom for human-imposed slavery by acquiescing to a regime of political correctness that is facilitated by a centralised language emptied of meaning, nuance and creativity.

The story of Babel begins with people attempting to create one world with one language. Globalisation begins with the McDonaldisation of language. The ‘whole earth’ now has ‘one language’ and ‘one set of words’, reports the Genesis story. The word ‘language’ and ‘all the earth’ occur five times each in the narrative.

This McDonaldization of language is an artificial construct that restricts and coerces. It is not the result of human creativity and diversity that has so far been blessed by God in the narrative beginning with creation. Abruptly and rudely we are thrust into the narrow world of Babel (Genesis 11) after streaming through the broad and diverse world of the Table of Nations (Genesis 10).

The Tower of Babel is the archetypal story of human beings domesticating speech to create the ultimate totalitarian state.

The Table of Nations underlines the linguistic diversity that already exists. The children of Japheth, Ham and Shem speak ‘with their own language’. Two verses later, the Tower of Babel story hits the reader like a stinging slap in the face: ‘And it came to pass, that all the earth had one language and one vocabulary’. The linguistic totalitarianism of Babel follows the linguistic pluralism of the Table of Nations.

For an ideology seeking total control, diverse languages, abundant vocabulary and dissenting thought pose a stumbling block. Diversity needs to be eliminated and replaced by a homogeneity that will consolidate a centralised power. It is the McDonaldisation of speech that will enable the ideological empire to achieve its totalitarian goals.

The Babel story climaxes with God issuing a statutory warning about the terrifying totalitarian possibilities of this one language that brooks no alternative. God confuses and destroys the new language. ‘Babel’ comes from the Hebrew word for confusion.

In Genesis, Babel is the final scene in the trans-historical drama beginning with creation. The biblical creation story makes a clear distinction between God creating animals (who cannot speak) and humans (who can speak to Him and to one another). Indeed, man’s first speech-act is naming the animals—thus clearly distinguishing humans from animals by virtue of the potential for speech. ‘The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of heaven and all the wild animals.’

‘To deverbalise a society is to dehumanise it,’ wrote Oxford scholar J L Austin. Deprive human beings of free speech and you will turn them into animals. This is why when people run out of words or are limited in their vocabulary they will use Molotov cocktails, stones or fists to make a point, as ferocious animals react when provoked.

It is the McDonaldisation of speech that will enable the ideological empire to achieve its totalitarian goals.

Instead of engaging in rational and civil debate when they discover they have been rendered speechless by poor education or progressive victimhood ideology they will, like Kanzi the chimpanzee, spew their limited vocabulary of 500 words, comprising mostly the f-word.

Last week, our pro-life group experienced behaviour that was even worse. When our opponents were losing ground, they got a stooge to borrow a motorcycle without a muffler and rev it continuously for more than 15 minutes in an attempt to deafen us, frighten us and silence us. Thankfully, the engine broke down and the hooligan silently retreated – he simply lacked the vocabulary to conduct an intelligent argument.

The Babel narrative finds its resolution in the event of Pentecost, which the church celebrates today, fifty days after Easter. Pentecost confers a new gift of tongues and reverses the linguistic hubris of Babel. The Holy Spirit reminds us that, unlike animals, we are created in God’s image and likeness and with the ability and freedom to speak. Pentecost is the feast of true diversity that progressive homogeneity seeks to obliterate forever.

(Originally published in The Conservative Woman)

‘Absolutely surreal’: Student mob smashes window in protest against Jordan Peterson

Featured Image

KINGSTON, Ontario, March, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A mob disrupted a presentation by bestselling author and freedom-of-speech hero Jordan Peterson yesterday afternoon.

Dr. Peterson and Professor Bruce Pardy addressed a packed lecture hall at Queen’s University on the subject of free speech. Their presentation was entitled “The Rising Tide of Compelled Speech in Canada.”

Early in the lecture, two women invaded the building and walked across the stage holding a banner reading “Freedom to smash bigotry.” In the balcony at the back of the hall, a male student shouted abuse at the stage. All three students were roundly booed by the audience, which was sprayed with an unidentified liquid by the women when they left they hall.

Outside, a mob of dozens shouted slogans and obscenities and banged on the doors and windows of Grant Hall. They kept up the racket for the 90-minute length of the forum, stopping briefly only after a woman broke one of the stained glass windows of the historic Victorian Romanesque-style building.

“Mark my words, that’s the sound of the barbarians pounding at the gates,” Peterson told the audience.

The mob blocked the front and back doors of the hall with trash and recycling bins, forcing the audience to leave via an adjacent hall, where they ran a gauntlet of protesters screaming “Shame on you.” One woman quipped, “Lock them in and burn it down” to the cheers of the other protestors.

Police were called to the scene.

Afterward, Peterson posted several clips of the protest on Twitter, telling a follower that the speaking engagement was “absolutely surreal.”

“The mob neglected to bring torches and pitchforks, but the sentiment was there: ‘Lock them in and burn it down,’” he wrote.

Peterson identified one protestor in particular as the worst of the disrupters.

“This individual (Jonathan Shepherd) was the worst of them all at Queen’s, accosting us afterward on our way to the parking lot, commandeering the event at the beginning, yelling in the forum, cursing and swearing … Turns out he has a history of these things.”

Shepherd has been removed from other Queen’s University events, including presentations by Conservative Party leadership candidates Kevin O’Leary and Kellie Leitch.

The student-activist told the Queen’s University Journal that he was impressed by the turnout.

“There is a lot of commitment out here for trans rights and for shutting down the conspiratorial hate speech (sic) of Jordan Peterson,” he told the Journal. “The protest has been successful in letting people know that even if we didn’t stop him from taking, we’ve let it be known that we are opposed to him speaking.”

DC Episcopalians Opt for Open Borders and Transgenderism, Eschew Gendered Pronouns for God

Author:

Jeffrey Walton

A trifecta of resolutions introduced and passed by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s annual convention confirm a further politicized and progressive direction in which the denomination is headed.

Embracing progressive themes, delegates to The 123rd Diocesan Convention approved legislative proposals “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” and “On the Gendered Language for God” at the Washington National Cathedral on Saturday, January 27.

Resolutions were passed in under one hour and were introduced by a small number of delegates. The Rev. Kimberly Lucas, Rector of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., and a graduate of liberal Union Theological Seminary in New York, sponsored all three resolutions. Two of the three resolutions were submitted by The Rev. Alex Dyer, rector of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Parish in Washington, D.C. Dyer was briefly notable last year on social media for wrapping banners around construction fences at St. Thomas in which an image of a face-palming Jesus was accompanied by political messages including the tagline “a progressive church for a progressive city.”

According to statistics made available by the Episcopal Church, St. Thomas has declined precipitously in the past five years, shrinking from a weekly attendance of 150 down to 75 (-50%). St. Margaret’s has similarly declined from approximately 240 attendees in 2006 down to 130 (-46%).

In the past decade, weekly attendance in the Diocese of Washington has declined 17 percent. Meanwhile, baptisms have dropped 35 percent and weddings have declined 39 percent. In April, the diocesan clergy conference will hear from an organization assisting churches “to move from a place of plateau or decline to sustained congregational health.”

“Sacred Welcome”

Resolution #1 “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” was endorsed by the Race and Social Justice Task Force of the Diocese. It read:

Resolved, that the people of the Diocese of Washington, as disciples of Jesus Christ and persons of faith and conscience, take seriously the biblical mandate not to wrong or oppress the alien in our midst, and in faithfulness to our Baptismal Covenant, oppose the policies of the incumbent Executive Branch that target undocumented immigrants for deportation while also placing undue restrictions on refugees seeking safe haven in the U.S.

The resolution was amended to remove reference to the presidency and to change “alien” to “immigrant” out of concern that the former term had a negative connotation (resolutions can be viewed in full here.)

Resolution drafters asserted, “Its passage would send a message of solidarity to the hundreds of immigrants in our midst.”

Transgender Persons

Resolution #2, “On Inclusion of Transgender People” calls upon the diocese to “encourage all parishes to remove all obstacles to full participation in congregational life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities fully accessible, regardless of gender identity and expression.”

Resolution drafters cited the Episcopal Church Baptismal Covenant wording “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?” as a basis for transgender advocacy. The statement quickly dived into intersectionality theory, charging “that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia give rise to discrimination” and that “Fixed boundaries of gender identity are being challenged and churches need to respond.”

The resolution was adopted without debate or discussion.

Gendered Language

Resolution #3, “On the Gendered Language for God,” related to Book of Common Prayer revisions that will potentially be considered by the national church at General Convention this summer:

“…eliminate, when possible, all gendered references to God and to replace them with gender neutral language, and if necessary, to alternate gendered titles when referring to God.”

The resolution was amended to read “…if revision of the Book of Common Prayer is authorized, to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God.”

“Over the centuries our language and our understanding of God has continued to change and adapt,” the resolution drafters asserted. “Our current gender roles shape and limit our understanding of God. By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God. Our new Book of Common Prayer needs to reflect the language of the people and our society … language should not be limited by gendered pronouns when avoidable.”

Clergy delegate The Rev. Linda R. Calkins from St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Laytonsville, Maryland, brandished a copy of The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation and asked when the Episcopal Church would join with those behind the 2004 translation.

Reading from Genesis Chapter 17, in which God tells Abraham “I am El Shaddai,” Calkins asserted “if we are going to be true to what El Shaddai means, it means God with breasts.”

El Shaddai is traditionally translated to mean “God Almighty,” but The Inclusive Bible reads “..and God said, I am the breasted one.”

“Having studied much feminist theology in my masters’ degrees, I wrote a thesis on liberation and freedom and non-equality in feminist theology and existential counseling,” Calkins told the convention. “And I am still waiting for the Episcopal Church to come to the place where all people feel that they can speak God’s name. Many, many women that I have spoken with over my past almost 20 years in ordained ministry have felt that they could not be a part of any church because of the male image of God that is systemic and that is sustained throughout our liturgies. Many of us are waiting and need to hear God in our language, in our words and in our pronouns.”

First printed in Juicy Ecumenism

Britain’s Constitutional Crisis and the Politics of Sex

By Stephen Baskerville
http://anglicanmainstream.org/
It is now very clear that Britain is entering its most serious constitutional crisis since the war, and it is doing so under a prime minister who is its most unaccountable. Having departed from the accepted British norm of parliamentary government in favor of a popular referendum, Britain created a vacuum that has been filled by a government with a subtle but determined ideological agenda that makes challenge almost impossible. Because Britain is (as often) the leader in this constitutional innovation, how Britain extricates itself from this debacle will have repercussions for all of us.

How was this allowed to happen? Two decisions in particular demonstrate just how irregularly British government has operated during and since the referendum.

First, in trying to recover the sovereignty surrendered to the European Union, MPs (perhaps unavoidably) used the diffidence that always accompanies EU questions to depart from Britain’s customary parliamentary procedures and foist the decision on an always fickle electorate. Though the electorate spoke clearly, its voice can change (or be made to change).

Now, despite the fact that retreat would have serious consequences for constitutional government, the political class is applying pressure in any effort to defy the popular will even after having elevated it to the level of formal legal status. In a country less stable than Britain this could produce constitutional nihilism, and even Britain faces the specter of chaos.

But the second decision was far more momentous, for it began the journey toward chaos, and that was the decision to allow Theresa May’s putsch. It is very clear that the current prime minister is out of her depth and incapable of long-term leadership.

This is certainly not because she lacks political skill. It is because she herself came to power illegitimately and can survive only by creating more of the havoc that brought her to power in the first place.

Mrs. May and other leftist elements of the Conservative Party took advantage of the post-Brexit confusion to stage a coup. They spun the referendum results into a New Left platform that had nothing to do with the voters’ expressed wishes. Not only were they on the wrong side of the referendum result, they immediately set in to implement policies that were more extreme versions of precisely those that had been repudiated by the voters in the referendum, with bizarre words about “social reform” to benefit the “disadvantaged” rather than “the privileged few.” They continued the same spin through the election, which was interpreted as everything but what it largely was: a negative referendum on Mrs. May’s failure as Home Secretary to deal with terrorism.

In short, Mrs. May has no claim or credentials to be prime minister and consequently no authority to negotiate Britain out of its current dilemma — which indeed, she largely created. Any other Prime Minister would have been forced to resign long ago.

So why this “Teflon” ability to defy the basic principles of British parliamentary government? How could a politician with no popular mandate immediately begin by claiming one for policies the opposite of what the people had voted for? Further, how has she been able to continue this extraordinary immunity from responsibility, even after leading her party to a humiliating election disaster that was likewise widely attributed to her personal failures alone?

Not to put too fine a point on it, there is but one reason, the silver bullet that now silences all criticism so effectively that it need no longer even be stated (and cannot be stated by its critics), and it is the one that is now manifesting itself all around us: “gender equality.” Unlike any potential competitor, Mrs. May makes herself immune from responsibility by skillfully playing sexual politics. The role played by her sex was celebrated when she assumed power not only by her allies but also by virtue-signaling pundits, though few really wanted to dwell on the ironies and implications. But as the current wave of accusations demonstrates, the triumph of sexual ideology has now made it is virtually impossible to hold women leaders accountable.

This has more to do with ideology than with sex, and the exceptions prove the rule. The excoriation of Andrea Leadsom for her Christian values during the leadership contest confirms that marginalization is now the rule for leaders who are feminine without being feminist.

Moreover, Britain’s greatest post-war Prime Minister was a woman. The difference was that Margaret Thatcher never engaged in ideologically female politics. She never made an issue of being a woman and never invoked feminist or “gender” ideology with its oppressor/victim Manicheanism that intimidates dissent and opportunistically celebrates double standards. Indeed, her entire government was one long battle against ideology: socialism, self-aggrandizing functionaries, unions, the welfare state, unilateral disarmament — of everything, in short, that has since become ideologically feminized. She accepted full responsibility for her policies, including the inevitable end.

Mrs. May’s politics are fundamentally different. Though she waves the banner of conservatism, she picks and chooses the ideological currents that will win her power. As Home Secretary, this meant de-prioritizing terrorism and crime in favor of ideological programs targeting law-abiding citizens, usually under the guise of combatting “violence against women,” while likewise prioritizing same-sex marriage. Even when ostensibly combatting terrorism (or “extremism”), she concocted pointless schemes driven by ideology. Most extraordinary was her proposal for the state to register and vet all religious leaders — as if priests, pastors, and rabbis pose a serious terrorist threat.

Now her successor as Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who helped engineer her June 2016 coup, is following suit: downplaying terrorism and crime and instead using her office to intimidate the expression of unorthodox views by law-abiding citizens.

In the struggle for the Tory Party leadership, it is no accident that an obviously appealing candidate of proven ability and moral character, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has been blackballed and sidelined by nothing more than his widely shared opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, the main shibboleths of the sexual left. Now, the expanding use of sexual accusations for political purposes (which has in fact been going on for years) confirms the ascendency of the sexual left, and the same methods employed by May and Rudd — and DPP Alison Saunders — are having much more serious consequences.

The Conservatives now face more than the relatively straightforward matter of choosing a leader who is acceptable to various party factions. They must come to terms with the sexual radicalism that is now the vanguard ideology of the left and that also increasingly grips and paralyzes most of the right.

Stephen Baskerville is Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College. He is the author of The New Politics of Sex: The Sexual Revolution, Civil Liberties, and the Growth of Government Power (Angelico, 2017).

Created Male and Female

image

An Open Letter from Religious Leaders, December 15, 2017

Dear Friends:

As leaders of various communities of faith throughout the United States, many of us came together in the past to affirm our commitment to marriage as the union of one man and one woman and as the foundation of society. We reiterate that natural marriage continues to be invaluable to American society.

We come together to join our voices on a more fundamental precept of our shared existence, namely, that human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one’s sex as male or female.

We acknowledge and affirm that all human beings are created by God and thereby have an inherent dignity. We also believe that God created each person male or female; therefore, sexual difference is not an accident or a flaw—it is a gift from God that helps draw us closer to each other and to God. What God has created is good. “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

A person’s discomfort with his or her sex, or the desire to be identified as the other sex, is a complicated reality that needs to be addressed with sensitivity and truth. Each person deserves to be heard and treated with respect; it is our responsibility to respond to their concerns with compassion, mercy and honesty. As religious leaders, we express our commitment to urge the members of our communities to also respond to those wrestling with this challenge with patience and love.

Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can “change” their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of “first, do no harm.” Gender ideology harms individuals and societies by sowing confusion and self-doubt. The state itself has a compelling interest, therefore, in maintaining policies that uphold the scientific fact of human biology and supporting the social institutions and norms that surround it.

The movement today to enforce the false idea—that a man can be or become a woman or vice versa—is deeply troubling. It compels people to either go against reason—that is, to agree with something that is not true—or face ridicule, marginalization, and other forms of retaliation.

We desire the health and happiness of all men, women, and children. Therefore, we call for policies that uphold the truth of a person’s sexual identity as male or female, and the privacy and safety of all. We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.

Sincerely Yours:

Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera
Bishop of Scranton
Chairman
USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church in North America

The Rt. Rev. Eric V. Menees
Bishop of San Joaquin
Anglican Church in North America

Rev. Eugene F. Rivers, III
Founder and Director
Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies
Church of God in Christ

The Rev. John F. Bradosky
Bishop
North American Lutheran Church

Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Seltz, PhD
Executive Director
The Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Chairman
USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

The Rev. Paull Spring
Bishop Emeritus
The North American Lutheran Church

Most Rev. James D. Conley
Bishop of Lincoln
Chairman
USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and
Defense of Marriage

Rev. Tony Suarez
Executive Vice President
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey
Bishop, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic
Anglican Church in North America

Very Rev. Nathanael Symeonides
Ecumenical Officer
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison
President
Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod

The Rev. Dr. L. Roy Taylor
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in America

Imam Faizal Khan
Founder and Leader
Islamic Society of the Washington Area

Andrew Walker
Director of Policy Studies
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz
Archbishop of Louisville
Chairman
USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty

The Rev. Dr. David Wendel
Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism
The North American Lutheran Church

Melchisedek
Archbishop of Pittsburgh
Orthodox Church in America

Paul Winter
Elder
Bruderhof

Who decides membership in the Anglican Communion? Not the Secretary General of the ACC!

The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey is President & CEO of the American Anglican Council. 

It is simply not true to say that ACNA is part of the Anglican Communion,” he [Idowu-Fearon] said. “To be part of the Communion, a province needs to be in communion with the See of Canterbury and to be a member of the Instruments of the Communion. ACNA is not in communion with the See of Canterbury—and has not sought membership of the Instruments.”  Idowu-Fearon added that “There is a long-standing process by which a province is adopted as a province of the Communion… ACNA has not gone through this process.”  <http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/acna-not-province-anglican-communion-secretary-general-clarifies/> Accessed 13 Sep 2017

 

The Secretary General’s statement that The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is not a province of the Anglican Communion is misleading at best.  It ignores the very process of recognition of the Anglican Church in North America by some GAFCON provinces as early as July 2009.  It ignores the public and published recognition of Archbishop Foley Beach as “a fellow Primate of the Anglican Communion” by those Primates of the Anglican Communion who installed him as the second Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America on October 9, 2014.  The Secretary General ignores the recognition of the Anglican Church in North America as a “partner province” of the Global South by the Primates of the Global South in their October 2016 Communique.

 

In other words, the process of recognition of the Anglican Church in North America as a member Church within the Anglican Communion is already a 10-year process initiated by Primates of the Anglican Communion, representing Churches of the Anglican Communion, and in keeping with their “long-standing” procedural authority to do so.  It’s certainly in the Secretary General’s interest in his Report to take pride in his achievement in helping to form a new ‘province” of the Anglican Communion in Sudan.  But that does not give him the right to take pride in misstating who decides membership in the Anglican Communion—especially by usurping the rightful authority of the Primates to do so while they are in the middle of an already ongoing process of recognition.

 

Perhaps the Secretary General is worried that the process has become so far advanced already that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to incorporate any of the ACC’s “suggestions” into the governing documents of the Anglican Church in North America.  That’s ok.  We can assure the Secretary General and the ACC that we have consulted some of the finest canonical minds in the Anglican Communion, as well as the widest possible range of governing documents among the Churches of the Anglican Communion, in shaping our own.  The recognition by the Primates and Provinces of the numerical majority of Anglicans within the Communion testify that we have done our job well.

 

So, let’s look at the authoritative documents of the Anglican Communion that address the question of membership.

 

  1. Recent events and publications question the necessity of relationship with the See of Canterbury as an essential prerequisite for membership

 

Yes, it’s true that Resolution 49 of Lambeth Conference 1930 defined membership in the Anglican Communion as a fellowship, within the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury.

 

However, the 2005 decision of the Church of Nigeria, the largest province of the Anglican Communion, to change its Constitutional definition of membership in the Anglican Communion from “relationship with the See of Canterbury” to relationship with those who uphold the historical formularies of the Anglican Communion (The Bible, the 39 Articles and the BCP 1662 and Ordinal) sent a shock wave through the Anglican Communion that Anglican identity and membership is in fact based on a common confession– and not geography or mere “bonds of affection.”

 

This in turn shaped the definition of membership in the Anglican Communion in the Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion (London: Anglican Communion Office, 2008).  According to Principle 10.4 of the PCLCCAC, “the relationship of ecclesial communion within the Anglican Communion is based on the communion of a church with one or more of the following (a) the See of Canterbury…; or (e) all churches which profess the apostolic faith as received within the Anglican tradition.” (emphasis added).

 

Clearly, relationship with the See of Canterbury is no longer the prerequisite that it was in 1930 for membership in the Anglican Communion.

 

And, in fact, the Archbishop of Canterbury has never refused to recognize as a member of the Anglican Communion any Church which has been moved forward by 2/3 of the Primates to the ACC for addition to the Schedule of Churches in the Anglican Communion. Whatever approval the See of Canterbury offers comes at the end of the process—not at the beginning.

 

  1. According to its Constitution, the ACC has only an advisory role in the formation and recognition of new Churches in the Anglican Communion

 

Under Article 5 of the Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council,[1]which enumerates the specific powers of the ACC, Article 5.3 provides that the Council has power “To advise on inter-Anglican, provincial and diocesan relationships, including the division of provinces, the formation of new provinces and or regional councils, and the problems of extra-provincial dioceses.”[2]  (emphasis added).  It is simply misleading, publicly or privately, to suggest that the ACC has anything more than an advisory role in the formation of new provinces.  This is borne out by the very language of the oft-referenced Resolution 12 of ACC-10 regarding the formation of new provinces (see below).

 

Article 7 of the Constitution describes the Structure of the ACC, and defines membership within the Anglican Communion as those Member-Churches “which are included in the Schedule to these Articles”[3]  However, Article 7.2 does give the Standing Committee of the ACC (aka The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion) permission to add a Church to the Schedule of Member-Churches with the assent of 2/3 of the Primates:

 

“…with the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion (which shall be deemed to have been received if not withheld in writing within four months of the date of notification) the Standing Committee may alter or add to the Schedule.”[4] (emphasis added).

 

This language leads to two observations.  The initiative of the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion is permissive only.  It is not required beforehand for the formation of a new province.  Secondly, the ultimate authority in any case rests in the assent of two-thirds of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. In other words, the ultimate authority for forming a new province/Member-Church of the Anglican Communion rests with the Primates, and not with the ACC or its Standing Committee.

 

  1. Resolution 12 of ACC-10 does not give jurisdiction to the ACC to create or withhold recognition of a new Church within the Anglican Communion

 

The Secretary General is in error when he claims that a new Province must apply to the ACC, much less “the Instruments,” before it can become a province.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There are no official regulations guiding the formation of a province—merely suggestions. In 1996 ACC legal advisor (now Canon) John Rees said the ACC-10 guidelines were not intended to be a legal requirement but rather a flexible aid in provincial formation.  The Anglican Communion News Service echoed Rees’ statement when it reported that the ACC-10 guidelines would “ensure new Provinces the opportunity to benefit from the advice of the ACC and the experience of other Provinces” but were not necessary steps for creating new provinces.[5]

 

In fact, ACC-10 Resolution 12 restated the advisory role of the ACC in making recommendations (rather than directives) on the formation of new provinces in the following language:

 

“Resolved that this Council (1) affirms its commitment to assisting in the creation of new Provinces(2) urges those involved in promoting the creation of new Provinces to consult the council through its Secretary General… (3) affirms the guidelines set out in previous Council resolutions, and (4) adopts the additional guidelines as set out in the appended schedule.”[6](emphasis added)

 

The language of the additional guidelines appended in ACC-10 Resolution 12 is not mandatory but rather permissive, as demonstrated in the following language: “…(2) The proposal for a new provincemight (and ideally would normally)  be accompanied by an invitation to the ACC for a visit by the Secretary General… to discuss the application [of these guidelines] to the specific situation in the local area…”; (4) “…The ACC can provide significant assistance in advising both on the content of constitutions… and on the arrangements that may need to be made for that stage of the discussion…”  and (5) “the Secretary General [of the ACC] may, in consultation with the Standing Committee as appropriate, appoint a committee, or call upon individual consultants, to make observations on its behalf for further consideration by the promoters and their advisors.[7] (emphasis added)

 

Finally, ACC-10 reaffirmed the authority of the Primates to recognize Provinces when, in Resolutions 1 and 2 welcoming Mexico and SE Asia as new Provinces, it began both resolutions with this declaration: “Resolved that the Primates having assented, this ACC-10 meeting in Panama welcomes…”

 

  1. The Primates have unconditional authority by 2/3 assenting to recommend a Church be added by the ACC to the Schedule of Churches in the Anglican Communion.

 

The Guidelines set out in previous ACC Resolutions, affirmed by ACC-10 Resolution 12, include the following:

 

  • in 1993, at a joint meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Consultative Council, Resolution 47 regarding the new Provinces of Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire “requests the Primates to add them to the list of Member Churches in the Anglican Communion,” and
  • Resolution 48 regarding the new Province of Korea “requests the Primates to add it to the list of member Churches of the Anglican Communion following its inauguration.”

 

In both Resolutions, the Council explicitly recognizes the Primates as having the authority to determine the membership of the Anglican Communion—and this is the very fundamental guideline affirmed in ACC-10 Resolution 12.  Moreover, this is also the same express condition precedent to the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion adding a Church to the Schedule of Member-Churches under Article 7.2 of the ACC Constitution.

 

Conclusion

 

The Secretary General’s declaration that Anglican Church in North America is not a Church in the Anglican Communion is at best premature.  At worst, it is misleading and characteristic of the increasing overreaching of the ACC in its jurisdiction.  The Anglican Church in North America is already in a 10-year process of recognition by the Primates, who have the jurisdiction to extend such recognition.  The ACC may offer advice if requested.  They have not been requested by the Primates recognizing The Anglican Church in North America to do so.  The Secretary General should work with the Primates rather than seeking to usurp their authority.

 

 

The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey is President & CEO of the American Anglican Council. 

 

 

 

[1]The Constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council, as incorporated under the UK Charities Act 2006 (Companies House UK: Company No. 7311767, 12 July 2010), < http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/39479/the-constitution-of-the-anglican-consultative-council.pdf >  Accessed 19 Sep 2017

[2] Ibid., at 4.

[3] Ibid., at 7.

[4] Ibid.

[5] CEN, December 11, 2008, “Canterbury won’t block or bless new province,” < https://geoconger.wordpress.com/?s=John+Rees&searchbutton=go%21 > Accessed 17 September 2017

[6] ACC-10 (1996: Panama City), Resolution 12, “Creation of new Provinces,” < http://www.anglicancommunion.org/structures/instruments-of-communion/acc/acc-10/resolutions.aspx#s12 > Accessed 19 September 2017.

[7] Ibid.