Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Two Days

In Three Days

Legal Fiction

Many of those who would defend the proposed Anglican Covenant (when you can find them) will argue that there really is no centralization of authority involved at all. After all:

(4.1.3) Such mutual commitment does not represent submission to any external ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance. The Covenant does not grant to any one Church or any agency of the Communion control or direction over any Church of the Anglican Communion.

Of course, this conveniently overlooks the fact that the proposed Covenant also empowers the unaccountable Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion to:

(4.2.5) . . . recommend to any Instrument of Communion relational consequences which may specify a provisional limitation of participation in, or suspension from, that Instrument . . .

So, there is no control or direction . . . but if you don't toe the line, there will be consequences.

Over at Not the Same Stream, in an excellent and thoughtful article, Paul Bagshaw calls this a legal fiction.

I have a shorter, pithier word for it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Aesop on the Anglican Covenant

Apparently this really is one of Aesop's fables. It seems appropriate to our discussions of the Anglican Covenant. (h/t to Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside, who was on about something else entirely.)

The Frogs Desired a King

The Frogs were living as happy as could be in a marshy swamp that just suited them; they went splashing about caring for nobody and nobody troubling with them. But some of them thought that this was not right, that they should have a king and a proper constitution, so they determined to send up a petition to Jove to give them what they wanted.

"Mighty Jove," they cried, "send unto us a king that will rule over us and keep us in order."

Jove laughed at their croaking, and threw down into the swamp a huge Log, which came down - splash - to the swamp.

The Frogs were frightened out of their lives by the commotion made in their midst, and all rushed to the bank to look at the horrible monster; but after a time, seeing that it did not move, one or two of the boldest of them ventured out towards the Log, and even dared to touch it; still it did not move. Then the greatest hero of the Frogs jumped upon the Log and commenced dancing up and down upon it, thereupon all the Frogs came and did the same; and for some time the Frogs went about their business every day without taking the slightest notice of their new King Log lying in their midst.

But this did not suit them, so they sent another petition to Jove, and said to him, "We want a real king; one that will really rule over us." Now this made Jove angry, so he sent among them a big Stork that soon set to work gobbling them all up. Then the Frogs repented when too late.

Better no rule than cruel rule.

I'm sure I don't need to draw a diagram here, except to note that the picture on the right suggests that some of the frogs will resist.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Innocuous - like a fox in your henhouse

Lesley of Lesley's Blog (a relatively recent addition to my ecclesiastical blogroll) has posted a column by guest blogger Jonathan Clatworthy, General Secretary of Modern Church. In it, Jonathan takes on the widely held assumption that the Anglican Covenant in a bit of innocuous fluff, or at worst, a benign inconvenience.

My favourite bit:

In practice, once the Covenant was in place there would be immense pressure to toe the line on whatever issue the most intolerant chose to campaign about. One by one the Standing Committee would build up a set of pronouncements which became the Anglican teaching. We would be turned into a confessional sect demanding of our members assent to an ever-increasing list of doctrines.

The way to avoid this absurdity is to make sure the Covenant does not come into effect in the first place.

Go read the whole piece.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Courage, my friends. 'Tis not too late to build a better world.

The title of this post, a quote from the late Saskatchewan premier, Tommy Douglas, seems the only possible title to apply to this courageous video.

While all of the "It Gets Better" videos have spoken a profound measure of hope, this courageous statement by Fort Worth, Texas Councilman speaks that hope so poignantly while presentingg the raw devastation of the despair he felt as a young adolescent. He skips over two sentences that he finds simply too hard to read, but the context makes it clear that he came perilously close to taking the same path of despair that far too many LGBTQTS teens have taken.

Every bully should be forced to watch this.

(Note for my non-Canadian readers, Tommy Douglas is also the grandfather of film and TV star Keifer Sutherland.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Criminalization of Dissent

In Toronto, an adult common-law couple are not allowed to be alone together, cannot communicate by cell phone and must be chaperoned by one of their parents. A 21-year-old woman is not allowed to leave the house unless she is accompanied by her parents. Last week, an Ontario judge ruled that attendance at a Ryerson University seminar violated parole conditions of a Toronto activist.

Read more about the stupidity of it all here.

This weekend will mark the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the end of Canadian democracy - the anniversary of the day that Pierre Trudeau imposed martial law in peacetime based on a completely false tale of "apprehended insurrection." We are a mere 100 days from when Stephen Harper essentially pulled the same authoritarian stunt in connection with the G20 protests in Toronto.

The student has surpassed the master, with Harper's arbitrary arrests more than doubling the number under Trudeau.

With the vantage point of history, it has become fairly clear that Trudeau's fantasy "apprehended insurrection" was nothing but a Reichstag Fire to justify a massive crackdown against his ideological foes. It is swiftly becoming obvious that Harper's $1 billion police state in Toronto was based on much the same authoritarian hysteria.

Stephen Harper is the new Pierre Trudeau - and I don't mean that in a good way.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When will it get better?

My daughter has written a moving and disturbing reflection on the issue of bullying and violence targeting LGBTQ people. As always, I cannot say enough how very proud I am of my daughter, who is now a columnist with an online parenting magazine, Connected Mom. She is a wonderful parent and an incredibly gifted writer. Her blogposts and her columns move me, challenge me and more than once have left me in tears.

Please go and read the whole thing. But here is the most challenging part:

When will it get better?

When will the hatred and cruelty and Dehumanizing end? When will LGBT couples be recognized and afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples? When will LGBT people be allowed to live freely and openly no matter what their profession? When will the ‘alternative’ LGBT lifestyle be awarded more consideration and respect than flamboyant pantomimes on prime time?

When will cowardly men stop hiding together in alleys waiting to extinguish all that they have been taught to hate about themselves? Which generation will it be that finally breaks free of the learned hate & teaches the next to be peaceful and accepting?

The bullying, unfortunately, doesn’t end at the doors of high school. It is institutionalized, it is ingrained, it is everywhere. Maybe our capacity to deal with it gets better, maybe we find a little more power in our lives, more independence and control and feel a little more at home in our own skins. But the bullying doesn’t end with high school.

We keep saying it will get better but people are dying and I am tired of waiting.
At her baptism, her mother and her godparents and I promised on her behalf that she would "persevere in resisting evil," that she would "strive for justice and peace," that she would "respect the dignity of every human being."

She is keeping those promises we made on her behalf. That is why she is tired of waiting.

How do I proclaim hope to my daughter? To the families of those countless young men and women - not just the six we heard of in the last few days, but all of them - who saw no way out of hopelessness and despair? To the next victim? And the next? And the next? Where is the Gospel, the Good News?

It does get better.

Not fast enough. Not by a long shot. And too late for some to see the victory this side of the Jordan.

But in the end, evil will not triumph, even when evil steals the mantle of righteousness and blasphemes God by speaking hate in his name.

Evil will not triumph.

In the Words of Dr, King:
When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

Thanks be to God.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A litany for children who have died from bullying

From Kirkepiscatoid:

In September, 2010, four gay children died from bullying. Children are being bullied, tormented, and abused for many different reasons, and there is a distinct upswing on bullying in our schools. Please take this to prayer with me. (Note: If you wish to use this prayer in a service, you are free to use with attribution for non-commercial use. I'd love feedback on how you used it.)

Remember, all bullied children are "somebody's babies."

A Litany for children who have died from bullying
--by Kirkepiscatoid

O God of justice and mercy, we pray that no more daughters and sons in this world die as the result of bullying simply because of who they are; be it race, religion, sexual orientation, or social awkwardness. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

That our schools become places of nurturing and hope rather than shame and derision. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

That our teachers instill values of charity and acceptance in all children so there is no need for one child to feel superior over another. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

That parents can put aside what they were sometimes taught, in order to promote tolerance and diversity at home. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

That our communities support children who feel “different from the others” and show them lives that are theirs to claim, lives they cannot begin to imagine to see at home. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

That all children can grow up feeling self-empowered and truly loved simply as themselves, and not suffer beatings and psychological abuse at home or school. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

O Lord, you understand this above all others, for your only Son hung among thieves on a rough wooden cross on a barren hill, just as Matthew Shepard hung from a rail fence on a lonely road. Be our light in the darkness, Lord; protect our children and fill them with the love of your Holy Spirit; hold them in your Son’s loving arms in their most fearful hours, and be with them always.

Oh, and for the record, the anti-Christians at Focus on the Family have not bothered to respond to my email.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who Would Jesus Bully?

My blog friend Grandmére Mimi has been keeping a posted tally of teen suicides as a result of homophobic bullying. Children being harrassed to death because they are (or are perceived to be) gay. There is no defence.

What appalls me is that there are those who would blaspheme the Name of Jesus by opposing anti-bullying programs based on a warped and twisted abuse of the idea of religious freedom.

Here is the email I have just sent to Focus on the Family:

In the name of the Living God, I admonish you to repent of your opposition to anti-bullying programs. This is not about religious freedom. This is about young men and women and little children being hounded to death by bullies.

Your opposition to anti-bullying programs is a disgrace to authentic family values and authentic Christianity.

Father Malcolm French

It is reassuring to know that there are people taking action. Talk show host Ellen Degeneres is using her celebrity to raise public awareness with a video (which I can't seem to embed). And the It Gets Better Project is speaking directly to the kids themselves.

Who would Jesus bully?

Not the tax collector nor the prostitute.

Not the Samaritan nor the leper.

Not the gay nor the lesbian.

And those who claim otherwise are doing the work of the Father of Lies.