Monday, September 7, 2009

The radical extremism of the "conservatives"

The Guardian has launched a series on the future of conservative Anglicanism. Given that the first article focussed on Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola and, to a lesser extent, the now thankfully former Bishop of Rochester (UK) Michael Nazir-Ali, I suspect the series will be more focussed on the irreconcilable extremists who tart themselves up as conservatives.

In fact, the very first essay in the series makes the very clear case that there is nothing the least bit conservative about this lot of rabble-rousers. Real conservatism, by definition, seeks to conserve. Akinola, Nazir-Ali, Duncan, Harvey et all seek, not to consereve but to destroy. And, as The Guardian's Savi Hensman makes clear, they do it the good old fashioned way, by scapegoating those who are different - with LGBTQ folk and Muslims at the top of the list.

That's right. The radical right wing figure they need to move on from preaching hatred of LGBTQs, so they've started to preach the hatred of Muslims.

It is all too easy to project evil on to another group, harder to acknowledge that it may be found in one's own community and self. In the Gospels Jesus urges his followers not to be so fixed on the speck in someone's else's eye that they do not notice the log in their own, and warns of evil thoughts in the human heart which, if unchecked, may result in harming others. This does not mean that injustice should not be resisted, but regarding people as good or bad simply on the basis of religion or ideology is risky.

Many Anglicans, including moderate conservatives, are too conscious of their own need to be delivered "from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness" (in the words of the Litany) to be attracted by the simplistic approach of the radical reformers who misleadingly call themselves "conservatives" or "traditionalists". Their campaigning has to some extent paid off. Yet, in the longer term, many Anglicans in the UK and elsewhere will hold on to values which are at odds with those of the conservatives striving to reshape the communion.

Let me be clear - there are lots of people who are conservative on the presenting issue and on other issues of theology and praxis who do not engage in this radical scapegoating. Many of these are understandably embarrassed by the antics of the extremist pretendy conservatives.

After all, who would not be embarrassed by that evil man, the Primate of Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja who refuses to condemn an attack in which 660 Muslims were murdered in a two day rampage, mosques and houses burned to the ground, women and girls raped.

"Let no Muslim think they have a monopoly on violence" hardly seems a sufficient response.

The real Jesus disapproves of rape and murder.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Amen! I grew up among "fundagelicals" and I know the preaching of fear and hatred when I hear/read it. I am not hearing the voice of Jesus in what they proclaim.