Sunday, March 18, 2007

Global South Anglicans: Replicating Patterns of Oppression?

Sarah Dylan Bruer, an Episcopal priest in training, offers us some thoughts on a major Global South Anglican blog.


The blog in question is, but it's down at the moment. Anyway, it was a collection of writings by major GS Anglican bishops and thinkers.

As Sarah points out, everyone in the above photo is male. All the faces are male, as are most (maybe all) the people whose backs are turned. From what I remember from my visits to the blog when it was running, all the posters were men. All were conservative, some highly so. Now, both Africans and Asians were represented, as was one White contributor from the US (Dr Ephraim Radner), so I commend their racial diversity.

But, these guys are NOT the only voice of Anglicans in the Global South. Half of all Global Southerners are female. Some, like me, aren't theologically conservative. I suspect that many of them would be willing to agree to disagree on homosexuality. And yet, the title of the blog of GS bishops is, Global South Anglican.

As I mentioned before, when we are oppressed, we often replicate the patterns of oppression we learned, and then inflict them on groups that we have power over. Here, it looks to me like some Global South leaders have usurped the voice that is not theirs - the voices of their women, their laity, their LGBT people. They constantly shove the issue of homosexuality in the faces of their people, alleging that these homosexuals are out to destroy the family. More pressing issues have been shoved to the sidelines, because some men can't stand the thought of what gay men allegedly do with each other in bed. We've failed to condemn the Church of Nigeria's support for the Same Sex Marriage Prevention Act. We've failed to condemn the Church of Zimbabwe's failure to confront Robert Mugabe.

Mad Priest ( posted this comment of Desmond Tutu's, given after Morgan Tsvangirai was wheeled out of the hospital:
"We Africans should hang our heads in shame. How can what is happening in Zimbabwe elicit hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation from us leaders of Africa?

"Just when one thought that the news out of Zimbabwe could not get worse, sure as anything it does.

"Do we really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh and blood, fellow Africans, are being treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were ever treated by rabid racists?

"Oh Africa, my Africa, oh Africa our Africa, why are we betraying you so viciously in Zimbabwe, in Darfur, in the DRC (Congo), why are we letting you down so horribly badly?"

We in the Anglican Communion have gotten so distracted by the issue of homosexuality that we have forgotten to deal with issues of human rights. This reflects very poorly on us. I pray we fix it, now. Oasis Michigan, my Diocese's LGBT outreach ministry has sent a response to the Primates' Communique to our House of Bishops. In it, we ask them to call Akinola to account for his support of Nigeria's SSMPA.

Meanwhile, despite the implicit claim of Global South Anglican, the writers there are not the sole voice of Anglicans in the Global South. You've already stumbled on my blog. Here's one more:
(Luiz Coelho is a gay Latin American and a progressive Anglican)

Meanwhile, Episcopal News Service has coverage of the gathering of Anglican women delegates to the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Resolve " remain resolute in our solidarity with one another and in our commitment, above all else, to pursue and fulfill God's mission in all we say and do."

" not accept that there is any one issue of difference or contention which can, or indeed would, every cause us to break the unity as represented by our common baptism. Neither would we ever consider severing the deep and abiding bonds of affection which characterize our relationships as Anglican women."

"The women of the Communion have, I believe, moved from bewilderment to outrage at the ways in which a small cabal of leaders have continued to insist that the issues exercising them alone over human sexuality are inevitably to preoccupy us as well." - Jenny Te Paa, ahorangi (dean) of the College of St. John the Evangelist, Auckland, New Zealand

"...the priority focus for Anglican women always has been the pressing issues of life and death, which are daily facing too many of the women and children of God's world. How can we compare the needless horrific suffering of women and girls being brutally raped when collecting firewood or water with the endless hysteria of male leaders wanting to debate whether gay men have full humanity or not?" Te Paa again

"Everybody is aware of the Nigerian position. My understanding of the Bible is God made man and woman. The Bible also says to be compassionate to others around us ... Even in the family, sisters and brothers from the same womb, we disagree. But that does not stop us from being sisters and brothers. I say this as a mother, as a woman, as a wife, it can never be over." Olajumoke Florence Akinkoye, lawyer from Nigeria

Nomfundo Walaza of South Africa, member of Anglican Consultative Council Standing Committee: The women's statement came after a "sacred space listening process."

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