Saturday, October 18, 2008

Martyn Minns is a Baby-Killer

Here's a new wrinkle in the Anglican schism.  A badly over-written article posted at Virtue Online complains that the GAFCON churches don't put enough energy into opposing abortion.

We are impatient with those who, like Fr. Brian Turley, devote 60% of an op-ed piece to the argument that anybody who disagrees with them is a Nazi.  There has been some public discussion of late regarding hatchets and scalpels, compared to which the old "my opponents are fascists" is a chainsaw.  After all, Hitler denied gay people any civil rights; Abp Peter Akinola has attempted to do likewise -- does that make him Goebbels?  Likely not, although time may tell.  

Still, Turley has put a finger on something worth noting:  the American churches which have made such a fuss over what they, with comparatively little documentary support, consider to be the "traditional Christian teaching" on homosexuality, have had relatively little to say about another matter on which -- whatever the theological pros and cons may be -- the witness of tradition is quite strong.  (Think Didache, people).

Of itself, this is a small thing.  After all, the schismatics have been awfully busy with their single-item agenda; perhaps they plan to address other items in due course.  That sort of narrow focus is a luxury which only fringe groups possess.  But perhaps their hesitation has a strategic component.  While we assume that the anti-gay and anti-abortion demographics overlap, we also suspect that they are not identical.  For GAFCON and its adherents to make a fuss about the latter now might cost it at least some member churches, and some money.  So it doesn't.

If so, there is a strategic opening for the PECUSA, and the Anglican Communion, here.  They could identify Anglican parishes (and perhaps provinces) with an historic anti-abortion stand but which have also got an historically-informed anti-schism stand, and invite them to share their thinking, as publicly as possible.  This would leave a bad taste in the mouth of  many, or even most, Episcopalians; but it would also be a reminder of the historic Anglican commitment to living together under one ecclesiastical structure even while disagreeing on matters of faith and practice.

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