Monday, May 01, 2006

Following the Money, cont'd

I mentioned this weekend that Jim Naughton's much anticipated articles on the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church and its financial backing are now available online. I think the articles are definitely worth the read. Like others, my interest was particularly peeked by the link of conservative Episcopalians to Howard Ahmanson -- I find his support of the Discovery Institute, which has done more to foul the waters of understanding between religion and science than any other organization, to be particularly disturbing.

I suspect that there are a couple of people who are interested to hear what I have to say about the articles -- especially given the content of this blog for the last two months -- but I want to avoid comment as much as possible. There is nothing wrong with unchecked political giving to a non-governmental organization. My interest is predominantly restricted to the endorsement by Nigerian Archbishop (Anglican Communion) Peter J. Akinola of legislation that would essentially criminalize homosexuality in Nigeria.

As such, the only comment I will advance is that I am concerned that the ideological support conservative Episcopalians have given to the Archbishop is coming home to roost. Akinola has set up a convocation of his province in North America (search for "CANA" in that link). As the ranks of religious liberals are threatened by poltically motivated giving from wealthy conservatives, religion will become an ever stronger force acting against the civil liberties we all cherish. It is in this that I find the words of Bishop Chane's February Washington Post op-ed particularly apt: "Should the institute succeed in "renewing" these churches, what we see in Nigeria today may well be on the agenda of the Christian right tomorrow."

Conservatives call this conspiracy theory -- I think they're using the current crisis in the Anglican Communion to avoid seeing that the most powerful Anglican in the world, a man recently named one of the 100 most influential people by Time, Archbishop Peter Akinola, has let ministry to homosexuals become persecution.

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