Jesus of Nazareth
Politics of Religion
Bishop Josephine Egan of Abba Ministries of Canada delights in telling jokes. I tend to point out that their funniest aspect is frequently her uncontrollable mirth or muddled punch lines, but to no avail. A favourite 'Chinese joke,' which as a person of Chinese descent she can tell with political impunity, goes something like this: a couple brings their baby to their priest to be baptized. Mr. and Mrs. Wong are undeniably Chinese; however, the baby is black with the cutest afro curls. The priest wonders briefly about adoption, but decides to say nothing; then asks the father for the baby's name. The father, with an inscrutable glance at in his wife who is staring at the pattern on the carpet, responds, "Something Wong."
Groans are appropriate; however, the absolute inability of Primate Hiltz and the Anglican hierarchy to deal with the advanced terminal illness plaguing Canadian Anglicanism leads us to the inescapable conclusion that there is indeed something very wrong with their leadership of the Anglican Church of Canada [ACoC]. Recently, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the ACoC, has joined other leaders of the Canadian Council of Churches [CCC] in calling on the Canadian government to respond to crises in the Middle East. Hiltz' signature appears first, followed by the leaders of other churches, many of who have similar management problems to the ACoC. This is not a new activity for Hiltz, who finds it much easier dish out advice to others than to do his own job as Primate. I notice that his free advice often involves the government of Canada forking over tax dollars to the ACoC so that they can spend them doing Hiltz's 'good deeds'.
The sentiments expressed in the CCC document, taken at face value, appear to be relatively innocuous and the very few Canadians who read the document, will nod sleepily, while failing to indulge themselves in any in-depth analysis. Let us take a shot at that analysis and perhaps we can see whether the future of Anglicanism is any brighter now that Hiltz has had his say.
If Hiltz had studied the Middle East in depth he would know that there is no miraculous solution that will reverse the bloodshed and turmoil that has prevailed there for countless millennia.
If Hiltz had studied his own 'beloved church' in depth he would know that he is representing significantly less than 1% of the Canadian population, and only as a religious leader: this hardly gives him a mandate for meddling in the nation's foreign affairs.
The CCC letter is prolix, naive and pompous, and would appear to be attempting to teach Mr. Harper to suck eggs. In my opinion, it is Harper's support for Israel that is at issue here, and if indeed that is what is afoot, then Hiltz et al are playing a very dangerous game. Anglicanism [or indeed any other faith group] is not going to be saved by out-of-touch, bigoted churchmen lacking in worldly experience interfering in any sovereign nation's politics; regardless of how desperate the situation may appear on the ground.
Anti-Israeli, or anti-Semitic, dare I pose the question?
To me it seems that perhaps the greatest impediment to the survival of Anglicanism has been its inability to rid itself of some of the more damaging scriptural interpretations and dogmas of the past while at the same time insensitively ramming new ones down the throats of their aging and bewildered adherents.
Hiltz has supported full communion between the Lutheran Church and the ACoC, and it is a matter of record that Martin Luther himself was virulently anti-Semitic. In recent years the Lutheran Church has made statements decrying anti-Semitism but is anti-Israelism okay? When Hiltz became diocesan Bishop of Nova Scotia and PEI he preached around the diocese where he repeated, often and loudly, a sermon enforcing the words of the first letter of St. Peter [1 Peter 2 The Living Stone and a Chosen People]. We have to assume that Hiltz, a prince of the church, possesses an adequate knowledge of scripture and knew, that this is a deeply anti-Jewish passage. Peter addressed these words to redeemed believers, not to the Jewish community or to the Jewish nation, and calls them "God's chosen people." God has only one holy nation in His domain and it is not the nation of Israel.
As I said before, political interference is standard operating procedure for Hiltz: in his 2010 New Year's address Hiltz urged the government to restore funding to Kairos a Non Governmental Organization [NGO]. "We believe the cut of Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA] funding for Kairos denies hope for millions of people throughout the world and damages our reputation among the nations," the Primate pontificated; however the Jerusalem based think tank, NGO Monitor, offered an opposing viewpoint: "Kairos is a main supporter of the anti-Israel divestment movement in Canada, coordinating this agenda on behalf of member church groups." Citing a 2008 paper released by Kairos entitled "Economic Advocacy Measures: Options for KAIROS Members for the Promotion of Peace in Palestine and Israel" NGO Monitor reported the Kairos paper included a document from the Palestinian NGO Sabeel, which calls for divestment from companies that are complicit in Israel's "illegal and immoral behavior" and "apartheid practices." While Kairos seeks to promote social change, NGO Monitor stated it "promotes a political agenda" at odds with Canadian government policy on Gaza.
Hiltz and his CCC brethren end their latest epistle with a quotation from one of the trickiest Old Testament passages to interpret from any eschatological viewpoint: [Isaiah 65:17-25] According to dispensationalists, Isaiah is referring to the millennial age on earth during the 1000 year reign of Christ after his return to earth and according to postmillennarians, this passage refers to the latter day glory of the church on the earth. Both are probably in error, isn't it far better to see Isaiah 65:17-25 as describing the same time frame as Revelation 21, which is clearly describing the eternal state? Therefore it is difficult to see how Hiltz et al were inspired by the Middle Eastern prophet Isaiah to put pressure upon Stephen Harper to alter or redevelop foreign policy in 2013 unless the hidden agenda is anti-Semitism or anti-Israeli-ism.
Hiltz's conduct of the Aboriginal Residential Schools affair is another case of advice aimed at 'shifting the blame' and 'following the money'... Hiltz was adept at shifting demands for action away from the ACoC and onto the Canadian Government who by-and-large had accepted their role in this sorry affair. Between 1892 and 1996 the ACoC and other churches were complicit in crimes ranging from alleged genocide through psychological, sexual and physical abuse of Aboriginal children. The church's motives are unclear beyond the destruction of the First Nations people and a warped sense of evangelization; however, what is very clear indeed is that the ACoC's Residential Schools Initiative was perhaps the forerunner of their penchant to influence Canadian Government policy for their own profit!
More recently, when the Roman Catholic Church settled financially [not without some sleight of hand] at a lower liability figure than the ACoC, Hiltz screamed, 'Not fair!' and insisted on money back trough the niggardly Anglican Amending Agreement. Finally, the much vaunted Truth and Reconciliation Commission [run on the unsuccessful and prejudiced ANC/Anglican Church Archbishop Desmond Tutu Anglican model] provided and still provides Hiltz with fluffy material for the pulpit. Once again this is paid for out of the pockets of the Canadian taxpayer and the great majority of the Aboriginal victims remain silent and disappointed.
So, how do we judge or rate this latest effort of Primate Hiltz with regard to its impact on the future of the ACoC? Consider the following questions carefully and answer yes or no... Is Hiltz's [and indeed other so-called church leaders] opinion important?
Does it take into account the general opinion of Canadians? Has there been a consultative process with adherents?
Is Hiltz, and the content of the letter, anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli, or could he/it be interpreted as such?
Do Canadians, whether Anglicans or not, expect Hiltz to advise the Canadian government, or any other government, on policy matters?
Could interference from the CCC and Hiltz damage Canadian-Israeli relations by empowering factions that threaten the sovereign state of Israel?
How much time and money [charitable donations] was spent by the ACoC on this project?
Is the project designed to empower any particular group of church adherents and/or increase interest in Anglican Christianity or church attendance?
Given that the current problems in the Middle East involve internecine strife between Moslems [Sunni, Shia and offshoots like Druze] and between Moslems and Jews is advice from Christians sought after by the various factions, or even in the slightest bit welcome?
I could continue; however, there is no point in belaboring the point. It is obvious that this is an example of everything that the Anglican leadership is doing wrong; the net gain to Anglicanism in Canada and Christianity in general is zero, and indeed there may well be negative aspects of the CCC initiative that could possibly make a bad situation in the Middle East much worse. The best conclusion would be that Harper writes back and tells Hiltz and the CCC to pursue their own professions and not bother the government. I am sure that he has diplomats at the PMO who can say, "Mind your own business!" diplomatically of course.
The author acknowledges and thanks numerous sources on the World Wide Web including the Anglican Journal
Author: Rev. Malachy Egan
Article Date: June 2013
UPDATE # 1. August 2013
Dean Peter Elliott [Robin] in his pathetic desperation to become the next bishop of New Westminster, BC, has seized upon the words of Papa Franco, who said that: "If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?'
Amazingly and suddenly, these few words, delivered quite casually, have become a papal endorsement of Elliott's homosexual lifestyle. It is also rather presumptive of Elliott to expect us to just accept his self-assessment that he "seeks the Lord and has good will". These isolated remarks that arrived on the eve of Vancouver BC's, Gay Pride Week [the culmination of years of political manipulation by Elliott and others from within and without of the Anglican closet] were seized upon by the gay Dean, who surrounded by adoring clerical underlings looked every bit the wannabee bishop that he in fact is, as a substitute sermon for Transfiguration Sunday.
Using words like "Transfiguration" and claiming the support of everything from decriminalization to science Elliott glides across "the gay men's health crisis of HIV-AIDS" to come to the conclusion that men indulging in consensual anal sex "are simply a normative variation in human nature, in and of itself, morally neutral" I am inclined to think that he includes bisexuals, who succeeded in spreading AIDS into the heterosexual population, within that normative category. The disease is still rampant in the third world and the death toll of millions continues to build toward staggering proportions.
In 2013, we live in a world that is, quite rightly, becoming increasingly tolerant of homosexuality; however, there remain areas of intense and often violent disapproval within the Christian right and Islam. Human nature being what it is, the pope is correct, who are we [any of us] to stand in judgment; although in many cases this is exactly what we do? God gave us free will and the enduring challenge to humanity is to refrain from all activity that causes harm to others whether it be child abuse; violence; greed; power-mongering; spreading hate and misery or transmitting disease to other people. Elliott appears not to understand any of this, just as by redacting the pope's words for his own purpose, he deceitfully ignores Roman Catholic dogma and tradition that insists upon homosexual celibacy.
I suspect that many people can accept homosexuality as a variant of human sexuality, and live side-by-side without giving the matter a passing thought; however, the total acceptance of every aspect of variant lifestyles as "normative" is probably restricted to the GLBT community. Hiltz, Ingham and Elliott have done untold damage to the Anglican Church with their GLBT agenda: they have disenfranchised thousands or faithful adherents [some of them homosexuals]; they have redacted Holy Scripture unfaithfully to advance their own agenda; they have ignored Jesus and they have wasted millions of charitable dollars that might have brought some relief to the orphans of AIDS in Africa.
Let us apply the same 'litmus test' that we used to judge or rate Primate Hiltz in this article [above] with regard to Elliott's impact on the future of the ACoC. Once again, consider the following questions carefully and answer yes or no...
Is Elliott's opinion of himself important? [N.B. He has been labelled an 'influential gay' by the media]
Is Elliott's position on homosexuality accepted by all, or a majority of, GLBT people?
Does his opinion and position take into account the general opinion of Canadians? Has there been a consultative process with adherents?
Is Elliott, in his Transfiguration Sunday sermon, preaching the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Do Canadians, whether Anglicans or not, want or expect Elliott to use the ACoC as a platform to express his own view on homosexuality?
Could Elliott's actions threaten interfaith relationships with Canadian Moslems?
How much time and money [charitable donations] was spent by the ACoC on Elliott's personal homosexual agenda and on the GLBT project?
Is the project designed to empower any particular group of church adherents and/or increase interest in Anglican Christianity or church attendance?
Dean Peter Elliott marches on unchecked advancing his personal homosexual agenda through his position within the ACoC, twisting the words of others; perverting Scripture; caricaturizing Christianity and making a parody of our Savior's words that is offensive to a majority of Christians. It seems to me that Elliott would do, or say, anything to obtain that which he craves: power, position, fine robes, vis-a-vis the bishopric of New Westminster, BC.
It is November, the ghoulies and ghosties have begged their treats, having, as usual, ignored the long tradition of the Day of the Dead; All Saints have been hallowed but the aging Anglican nominations committee [just a guess, but average age 59, which totally ignores and excludes Anglican youth in the diocese] that is charged with processing candidates to replace Michael Ingham as Bishop of New Westminster, BC have yet to post any nominees despite promises to the contrary. You might be able to find a list of nominees here when they finally wake-up [the deadline for nominations was three weeks ago]: http://www.electoralsynod2013.com/The-Nominees
At months end a new bishop will be elected to replace Ingham, who retired in August. Ingham's gay [GLBT] marriage agenda can be credited with starting the national schism in the Anglican Church of Canada [ACoC] and forcing Primate Hiltz' homosexual church out of the closet and into the forefront of Anglican politics.
The diocese is currently being run by a homosexual, in a homosexual marriage, Peter Elliott; who as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral was Ingham's sidekick throughout the critical years of the schism; and without doubt covets the bishop's miter and the power and the glory of the continued development of the homosexual church.
Homosexual. It is just a word, but do we have a problem here?
The Anglican Communion does and it's a big one. Canada has been a trendsetter and trailblazer with regard to this issue. The reality of the schism is brutal: congregations have been disenfranchised; the courts of our nation have ruled politically, blindly supporting Hiltz, Bird, Ingham and Elliott on the issue and like civil war, brother has been pitched against sister. And, like civil war, issues polarize at the extremities. Peter Elliott, branded by the press as Canada's most influential gay is the ACoC's public face because Hiltz is undeclared on the issue and therefore Elliott heads up the liberal loony left. The Anglican Network in Canada [ANiC] which appears to worship J. I. Packer does not have a specific clerical face to lead the conservative rabid right, but various minor celebrities like blogger David Jenkins [currently being sued by Anglican Bishop Michael Bird] are vying for the position. Asked if he is homophobic, Jenkins foams at the mouth and trots out the usual right wing Biblical nonsense based on that hoary old chestnut: "Condemn the sin; not the sinner". Check out Jenkins' sentiments here: http://www.anglicansamizdat.net/wordpress/pop-culture/wrestler-shocks-interviewer-by-announcing-hes-gay/ For the right-wing extremists, the GLBT agenda and homosexuality is at the beating heart of the everything that is evil in Anglicanism today.
For the majority of the remaining and ever dwindling numbers of tithing Anglican adherents and many outsiders like myself, the opposite is true, and homosexuality is only a very small part of the problem. However, just like the situation in Syria, the extremists will fight to the death and everyone else will become collateral damage.
Tragically, if the Diocese of New Westminster, BC elects Elliott as their bishop any faint hope of reconciliation in the Anglican Church will evaporate. In my opinion, the repercussions will vibrate through the entire Anglican Communion and the schism will spread, with the Church of England [CofE] which is currently lead by a weak and vacillating Justin Welby, becoming the next victim. You might consider that the ANiC's rabid right has considerable roots in the CofE and that those roots are still well connected and thriving.
The nominations committee in New Westminster may well be influenced by Elliott and probably Hiltz. Elliott, whom I am quite sure will be nominated, although I pray he will not, will reset Anglicanisms doomsday clock at thirty seconds to midnight if elected; in any case this committee needs to get the candidates into the public realm so that every Anglican in the diocese can influence the result; hopefully for the better and not the worst!
In writing this article the author acknowledges the Diocese of New Westminster and Anglican Samizdat.
PART TWO, NOVEMBER 2013. FINGERS CROSSED: PETER ELLIOTT NOT NOMINATED... YET!
The nominations were published on Wednesday morning: there are eight nominees, four men and four women, two Canadians; a British Canadian; a Kiwi; two Yanks and a Brit. The Canadians appear to hail from Nova Scotia which is Hiltz territory.
Fortified by strong coffee, Bishop Josephine and I suffered through the CV's and videos and summed the candidates up as a "totally uninspiring bunch". A few talk about wives/husbands, which means very little in the Anglican priesthood and there are no declared homosexuals [GLBT] partnered or otherwise.
Beware the small print: provision is made, pursuant to Canon 219, for further nominations to be received until November 19, 2013, which means there is still time for the Gay Dean to stage a coup d'etat.
And the winner is the Rev. Canon Melissa M. Skelton an American. She was probably the best choice of a poor bunch of candidates, all career Anglicans. I said as much to the Anglicn Journal, who routinely censor my comments.
She is touted by the diocese as "unmarried; with an adult son who has a family" which leaves us to speculate whether New Westminster will continue to follow its blatently GLBT agenda, or perhaps move more towards a rational centre. Of course such a move would put Skelton at loggerheads with Dean Peter Elliott, unless of course Hiltz moves him to a position of destructive power elsewhere
Somehow, methinks that Ingham, Elliott and Hiltz had already done their homework and their lobbying. Skelton was elected by huge majorities in both houses of the diocese [Lay and Clergy]
UPDATE # 4. DECEMBER 2013
Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu was not getting sufficient publicity out of Nelson Mandela's death; so he decided - like any princely Anglican egotist - to pout and drum his heels on the floor while rolling around South Africa in a tantrum like the well fed princely butterball that he is.
last week, he was not going to attend Mandela's funeral because the South African government, with whom he has been at loggerheads over a failed publicity stunt with the Dalai Lama, did not kiss his ring and he was not asked to officiate, at least according to his daughter... Now he is gate crashing the event with no reason given.
In the past Tutu has figured prominently at the funerals of most of the major anti-apartheid leaders, including Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Walter Sisulu and others.
It occurs to me that the real reason may be that Tutu's relationship with Nelson Mandela may not have been as amicable as he [Tutu] would like to portray it. Certainly, his past with Winnie Mandela, who is a cruel and violent person, is punctuated with confrontation.
Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize like so many retired and now respectable terrorists is, like so many Anglican bishops, not quite the man that his public face portrays.
Please read TUTU - NOBEL HYPOCRITE written back in 2005. Nothing changes in the Anglican world - things just get worse.
The author acknowledges the international press.
UPDATE # 5. DECEMBER 2013
LIGHT DAWNS ON A CLOUDY BRAIN...
The Church of England is just 'one generation away from extinction', the former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said recently.
Wow! Has Carey just awakened from a long coma, or perhaps he has discovered my biting commentaries upon the demise of the Anglican Church?
Crying over spilt altar wine after half a century of good living, denial and inaction by Fat Cat Anglican Primates and Bishops is an exercise in futility.
Merry Christmas 2013
The author acknowledges the Daily Telegraph, even though they want to charge me to read their articles and Private Eye for its dedication to satire.
and love your neighbour as yourself."