40 Comments on “Anglican Unscripted 96

      • Used how?

        Generalizing about Africans is racist, obviously; referring to specifics — talking about homosexuality as if it’s an infections disease — is not at all racist.

          • Yes, it is. Plenty educated folk, inside and outside Africa, also take that position.

            So who, specifically, has said that? Can you please link their comments?

          • Anyone who talks about homosexuality as though it were an infectious disease is, IN THAT RESPECT, ignorant and uneducated. Their nationality or race is immaterial. If such a belief about homosexuality is particularly common in certain countries, that indicates that ignorance and lack of education ON THAT PARTICULAR SUBJECT is particularly common in those countries. There is nothing racist about saying so.

              • State opposition to divergence from sexual norms has taken different forms in different eras. Earlier Western Civilisations criminalised adultery as well as homosexuality. The UK continues to criminalise even consensual bigamy (six months imprisonment) and incest between consenting adults (up to two years imprisonment).

                Declaring a prohibition on specifc types of sexual relationships with the threat of custodial sentences might well be viewed by some as talking about those relationships as though they were infectious diseases. The aim of sentencing is an endorsement of general abhorrence towards such behaviour in the wider society. Any era which relents on its former scruples is prone to call its forbears ignorant and uneducated on that particular taboo.

                While rich Western countries may claim to be tolerant of other races, their white management hegemony continues to maintain a gereal board-room quarantine against non-blacks and women. Equally, the white majority in those countries take a dim view of miscegenation. Treating mixed race couples as a pariah is another form of racial quarantine.
                are the beliefs that rpompt such behaviour based solely on ignorance and a lack of education on the subject?

                Well, they might simply hate the idea of having to behave as an equal, rather than as inherently superior intellects; or that any genuine empathy, consideration and full integration with those non-whites that they know is an equality too far.

              • Even that isn’t racist. Racism is treating people differently because of their ethnicity. If anyone’s said that Africans are inherently inferior, that’s racism, and I’ll unhesitatingly condemn it. If, instead, they say that a particular nation has low education that leads to ignorance, the fiction of race isn’t the issue.

                    • Your point would only apply if someone had said, “Africans are ignorant and uneducated,” or an equally sweeping comment, something I’ll condemn unhesitatingly in advance.

                      You’ve not linked anyone doing that. You’ve not linked any comment. We’ve got nothing to work with.

                    • Try Fr. Longenecker, a former Anglican priest turned Catholic who blogs on patheos.com:

                      In a post entitled provocatively, If Anglicans marry gay Christians will die (5th April, 2014). he wrote:
                      ‘The Africans think homosexuals are all demon possessed while the Americans make soothing patronising noises to the Africans’.

                      Yep, Africans, whether Chritian or otherwise, are steeped in superstitious belief that homosexuals are all demon possessed. How he knows this?

                      Well, of course, he must have conducted a thorough survey because Western views of Africs have finally transcended stereotypes.

                    • This post, I assume?

                      a) He’s not a liberal Anglican
                      b) He’s equally sweeping about Americans
                      c) His tone (such as you can tell from a blog) is sarcastic
                      d) He ends by complementing Welby and condemning TEC for insularity

                      Looks like you’ve found someone on your own side making sweeping comments about Africans! Own goal, much. ;)

                    • Try reading John Spong’s remarks in an interview before Lambeth 1998 (as the Bishop of Newark):

                      ‘They’ve moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They’ve yet to discover the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we’ve had to face in the developing [sic] world’.

                      Naked racism!

                    • A comment from 15 years ago, and an unclear one: which “they” is Spong referring to? All Africans, or superstitious groups that happen to exist in Africa? Could well be the second: Spong ain’t shy about condemning superstition in his own bailiwick.

                      So far, you’ve produced an ally likely speaking in jest, and an ambiguous comment over a decade past its use-by. Color me unimpressed.

                    • I’m commenting from my iPhone and had to type, rather than copy/paste.

                      The link will show that the comment was directed towards Africans generally. Otherwise, the comparison of a few superstitious groups with the entire developing world would not make sense.

                      James, I do wish you’d realise that I’m just about smart enough to realise that this kind of thinking is not the preserve of liberal nor conservative Western Christians. On both sides, whether conservative tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, or blatant accusations of backwardness, it’s strange that you now give both of these quotes the benefit of the doubt.

                      I see that you’ve managed to suspend the kind of scrutiny exacted upon James’ testimony. Well done on showing your true colours.

                      Colour me black.

                    • Color me fair.

                      Helps me no end that you’ve inadvertently labeled your own guy a racist, but going along for that ride don’t sit right if it ain’t so.

                      As for Spong, if he was talking about all Africans, you’ll get no argument from me. If on the other hand he was talking about this, well, I do hope we’re not seeing the racism of low expectations.

                      And gee, look how all this has distracted from Welby’s comments. Nifty.

                    • He’s no more my own guy than you are. As I said, your selective scrutiny has shown where the real divide lies.

                      Your triumphal blindness to my allegiances remains insuperable. The choices were never inadvertent , however anxious you are to declare then so.

                      I will label the thinly veiled racial slurs on both sides of this debate. Left and right-wing white partisanship means little to me, but don’t let that stop your ‘bull in a china shop’ debating finesse.

                    • Nothing selective in my scrutiny: I want to know who Spong was referring to. That is scrutiny.

                      I’ve tracked down the source, a hostile article from The Church of England Newspaper and unfortunately it doesn’t say. Its inflammatory and misleading headline does nothing for its credibility.

                      More to the point, why on earth did you reach back to 1998? I asked for exampled of “naked racism” in response to Welby. In 1998 Welby was a country rector. I doubt he provoked much “naked racism” in the Ufton parish magazine.

                    • I’m comparising your lightly exonerating touch here with your ease in taking an immediately dim view of James Parker’s testimony.

                      Hopefully, listen to 10:18 – 13:16 again. If you’d done your research, you’d know that even Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold finally denounced as racist the remarks that you claimed was an ambiguous comment and the racism of low expectations. Why would the then Presiding Bishop declare it racist, if it was no more than ambiguous.

                      Peter mentioned naked racism on Facebook as a reaction to Welby’s comments. My reference to John Spong’s remarks mentioned earlier in the Anglican Unscripted episode was simply to gauge your reaction, which is one of patent liberal-excusing bias that even Frank Griswold refused to countenance.

                      ‘They’ve moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They’ve yet to face the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we’ve had to face in the developing world. That’s just not on their radar screen.…Scientific advances have given us a new way of understanding homosexual people. At the Lambeth Conference and in dealing with the Third World this knowledge hasn’t percolated down, and it’s not going to change overnight….If they feel patronized that’s too bad. I’m not going to cease to be a 20th century person for fear of offending someone in the Third World….I would rather they were Christians than animists, even superstitious, fundamentalist Christians of a type I have primarily experienced in Africa’.

                      If you can call this ambiguous, I’m sure you’ll find a delightful euphemism for any Facebook posts that fall just short of using the n-word.

                    • The sneering remark:
                      ” …….. if you’d done your research …..”
                      does not come well from this commentator.

                    • How generous by comparison was your remark on TA about what you’ve viewed as Archbishop Rowan Williams’ intellectual prostitution:

                      ‘How much better if he had come home to work as a parish priest (a job he has never done) in the Welsh valley he came from, rather than desperately hawking his body around Cambridge begging for any Mastership going.’


                      Butter wouldn’t melt…

                    • That Spong article is infamous: speaks volumes you had to reach for it. My research (rather, Stephen Bates’) says it was shoved under the door of African bishops at Lambeth ’98. It fueled the environment that got Resolution 1:10 passed.

                      If Spong was generalizing about Africans, it’s racist, no doubt; if he was talking about the “superstitious, fundamentalist Christians” who tried to exorcise Richard Kirker of homosexuality, well, would you accuse Spong of racism if he’d said “fundamentalist Christians of a type I have primarily experienced in the Bible Belt”? If not, how is this not the racism of low expectations at work?

                      I’m skeptical of James Parker conflating sexual orientation and gender dysmorphia. I have his own words’: I must rely on the authors of a … less than PC headline for Spong’s.

                    • You’re clutching at straws. You could reasonably rely on Spong’s own apology recorded at the Lambeth Conference. In the aftermath, where was the liberal hue and cry when it was published?

                      As recorded on the CofE website, his only defence was to prsent his disdain for African theological as distinct from Africans themselves: http://www.lambethconference.org/1998/news/lc057.cfm

                      “In the process of saying that, I’ve been heard to insult Africans, for which I am really sorry. That is certainly not my intention,” said Bishop Spong. In using the word “superstitious” to refer to African views on theological issues, he was misunderstood to be labeling Africans as superstitious. That is not the case, he said.

                      “That was an unfortunate word and I think it communicated an unfortunate message,” he said.

                      Notice he again targets African views without none of the possible specificity of your conjecture. It’s a racist stereotype. No better than saying one doesn’t mean to insult LGBT people by lambasting theology of LGBT’s as steeped in victimhood.

                      Invoking the advancements of Copernicus and Einstein, while disparaging African theology as animistic is like citing the polyphony of Beethoven and Mozart in order to dismiss African music as unintelligible backward nonsense.

                      The more you defend racists, the more you participate on their evil.

                      If Spong’s remarks were innocuous, you could also ask why Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold would issue an apology of any kind, rather than defending his bishop as thoroughly misinterpreted by all who read the transcript. Speculating implausibly in the light of Spong’s own apology is a weak tactic.

                      And how does the infamy of how his offensive remarks were distributed ever plumb greater depths than the spiritual nadir of Spong making those comments in the first place?

                      You’re just being an apologist for blatant racism.

                    • That Spong article *is* infamous, on that much we agree, but not for the same reasons you seem to think. What raised eyebrows here was your facile attempt to give Spong a free pass on racism, but use a very different standard when it comes to others.

                      The jig is up with you here, James.

                    • I don’t give anyone a free pass on racism: we’ve yet to establish that it is racism, for the reasons given.

                    • Oh no you don’t, James. Spong was absolutely not speaking “in jest”, and if you think he was you have either a serious reading comprehension issue or historical amnesia.

                    • Never suggested that he was: I was referring to the conservative Catholic that David Shepherd mistakenly labeled a liberal Anglican.

                    • ‘Fr. Longenecker, a former Anglican priest turned Catholic’ were my words.

                      The idea that I would intentionally mention his movement to a more conservative denomination, only to view his as a liberal Anglican is laughable.

                      A blatant falsehood is your latest faux pas. You could at least value what’s little remains of your now tarnished reputation as an apologist for one who admitted wrong and was criticised by his bishop for racist remarks.

                    • For clarification, that was some gentle ribbing at you producing a conservative Catholic instead of a liberal Anglican. I’m happy to confirm that I don’t think you were mistaken about his denomination.

                      Spong offered a carefully worded clarification of his own for that hatchet job of an article. You’ve yet to explain how what he said is racist.

                      Interesting how the same accusation crops up in ’98 and ’14, and in both cases, distracts from the issue.

                    • You’re bordering on the ridiculous. Liberal commenters would have been happy to join your position if they felt you had a case. Others, like Andrewes have seen through your attempt to defend the indefensible. The parallel with homophobic disdain (without qualification) for LGBT victimhood theology is telling. Spong attacked African theology (without qualification) as superstitious.

                      You’ve also yet to explain why his remarks attracted censure from his own bishop. Your ship is sunk, but you want me after your conspicuous hiatus to help raise your Titanic disaster. No dice.

                    • “Spong attacked African theology wholesale and without qualification …”

                      Except he did no such thing, at least, not in the article. It does all it can to cast his words in the most damning light possible, including a headline that’s far worse than anything Spong says.

                      I suspect that in agreeing to give an interview Spong, reasonably, mistook The Church of England Newspaper for an official, or at least moderate, publication. If he did, he paid dearly for his mistake.

                      D’you have a link to this “censure”?

                    • At the risk of mirroring your own love of pedantry, I see that you’re quite capable of the sort of qualification missing from Spong’s apology:
                      ‘Except that he did no such thing’ is swiftly pursued by ‘at least, not in the article’.

                      Spong had every opportunity to qualify his remarks. his only clarification was that his reference to superstitious was directed at African theology (without qualification), not Africans themselves.

                      Your charitable speculation about Spong’s perceptions of The Church of England Newspaper requires a groundless assumption of naivete.

                      You can continue to defend the indefensible and research the credibility of David Skidmore’s account of Spong’s apology and even links to Griswold’s actual words.

                      The rest of us can see through this and now move on.

  1. I know I have said it before, but I don’t understand why Peter would want to be associated with these two men …….. it’s just ghastly!
    But, I guess he does add a thoughtful, intelligent moment which makes the rest look ever more ghastly!

      • well, no accounting for taste ….
        England only this late?
        Our first cleric married just a couple of days after it started, I am told …..
        Celebrated that!

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