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Glass houses.

Dear editor,

Re: More dissident bishops for U.S. (October Journal). Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies said at the ceremony at which three more schismatic bishops were consecrated to minister to dissidents in the United States, "The gospel ... must take precedence over culture. Homosexual practice violates the order of life given by God in Holy Scripture."

How long is the Anglican Communion to be held hostage to this kind of hypocrisy and moralism? They claim that the church in North America has been seduced by the decadent culture of the West. The implication is that they represent a pure and scriptural tradition untainted by cultural influences.

How is it, then, that the local cultural tradition of polygamy, tribal marriages, and (male) sexual promiscuity is winked at in large parts of the sub-Saharan church, including in the highest ranks of the clergy?

The West has canonically chosen a gay bishop, and in some places has authorized the blessing of same-sex unions. The biblical conservatives demand that we repent and promise to amend our ways. Do we not, then, have the right to demand the same from them--beginning with a public acknowledgment by them of their sins? When they charge us with not responding adequately to Lambeth '98 and the Windsor Report, have we not the right to ask how come "they find reasons to exempt themselves from paying regard to them" (Church Times, Oct. 5)? The quotation is from the joint standing committee of the primates and of the Anglican Consultative Council; the reference is to things like Archbishop Peter Akinola's support for draconian anti-homosexual legislation in Nigeria, despite Lambeth's call for civil rights, dignity and dialogue.

Certainly the Age of Hypocrisy has dawned, at least over the horizon of world-wide Anglicanism, and our failure to name it is costing us dearly. Jesus was not afraid to denounce hypocrisy--why are we? Our failure to do so has probably already lost us our unity; must we lose our integrity as well?

Archbishop Gomez's claim that "The gospel must take precedence over culture," is a two-edged sword which cuts through cant and moralism in Africa as much as in the West. As Archbishop Robert Runcie of Canterbury once said, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones--and we all live in glass houses."

Archdeacon Peter Hannen

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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Hannen, Archdeacon Peter
Publication:Anglican Journal
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Dec 1, 2007
Previous Article:Common cup.
Next Article:True dissidents.

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