Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Anglican Covenant - I'll lay me down and bleed awhile.

The poem itself dates back to the 16th century, and it has become almost a derivative cliché in Canadian politics when a candidate or a leader finds the tide against them. But it was Tommy Douglas who first brought the phrase to the Canadian consciousness when, after 17 successful years as Premier of Saskatchewan, he was defeated by Regina voters in his first election as federal leader of the newly reorganized New Democratic Party.

"Fight on my men!" says Sir Andrew Barton,
"I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I'll lay me down and bleed awhile,
and then I'll rise to fight again.

Earlier today, the Church of England General Synod approved the first step towards adopting the proposed Anglican Covenant. Technically, the matter before Synod today only sends the Covenant to the dioceses for consideration, and there were certainly many speakers in the debate who indicated they would vote for the Act even though they were far from convinced of the value of this Covenant - and for some, of any Covenant.

Those of us who are active in the No Anglican Covenant Coalition would have loved nothing better than to derail this Act today. We didn't get our wish. Our statement on the matter is here (warning - .pdf).

My Church of England colleagues can be proud of the fact that the Covenant is now a real issue with English churchfolk.

The CofE establishment will not be able to get this passed on a nod and a wink, with no real debate or discussion, as they so clearly hoped. They will be forced to square the circle of their odd narrative: that the Covenant is absolutely vital but doesn't really change a thing.

Earlier today, I felt a strong desire to "lay me down and bleed awhile." I looked for video of Tommy's speech from that night in 1962. It's just as well I didn't find it, for on reflection, I have remembered an even better speech to highlight.


Suem said...

You are right that the fight isn't over. It might have been strange if it had fallen at this first hurdle.
It is worrying that it is going to the dioceses and yet so few people actually know what it is and have this very woolly idea that it is about us all co-operating or talking together.
Still - plough on, it's not even over yet, and if and when it is adopted there will still be plenty to play for.

Anonymous said...

Why not disestablish the church in England and get over this medieval nonsense?

Malcolm+ said...

Nixon, while disestablishment is an excellent idea, that's really a separate question. The proposed Anglican Covenant is a document that would bind and constrain all the member churches of the Anglican Communion, of which only one (of 38) is established.