Monday, March 05, 2007

From the comments: Ephraim Radner

I hope he won't mind my posting his comment to the front page of my blog, but his words are significant. The Nigerian legislation -- and Archbishop Akinola's explicit endorsement of it -- are serious issues that transcend the theological and ecclesiological crises that rend the Anglican Communion. Common ground must be found. To do so, liberals must be willing to grant, at least in this one instance, that Akinola's endorsement is grave enough to overlook their distaste of their opponents' "theological and evangelical" arguments against homosexuality, and grave enough to lead conservatives to understand that this is their problem to fix and their burden to bear.

I post Ephraim's comment here in its entirety, and I look forward to your thoughts.
Dear Matt,

Unlike some, I don’t have a problem with the single-minded way you have pursued this issue. It is an important one. While I don’t agree with everything you write on the topic, I believe that the credibility of Christian witness – and that obviously includes conservative Christians as much as anybody – demands some clear articulation of our duties to protect basic human rights and our willingness to fulfill these duties. In this case, as you know, I believe that these basic human rights, included in God’s own purposes for human life and understood communally within the larger society of nations, would be subverted by major parts of this proposed legislation (especially in sections 7 and 8). It needs to be said that the essay that Andrew Goddard and I wrote on this topic – and that we forwarded to the Nigerian Church via Martyn Minns – was posted on an evangelical Anglican website (Fulcrum) and certainly represents the views of many conservative Anglicans (as you suggest it probably does). It is quite possible to admire Abp. Akinola’s spiritual and missionary leadership – and I do, greatly – without agreeing with (and by in fact publicly disagreeing with) his support of this proposed legislation. You are right: this is an area where Anglican Christians across of the board ought to be able to be of one mind, even if they continue to stand far apart on basic theological principles dealing with sexuality. It is interesting, however, that there seem to be very few persons in the gay inclusionist wing of the church who are willing to accept this common ground: to argue for the theological and evangelical unacceptability of same-sex behavior, they claim, is already to have attacked the human rights of homosexuals. I have heard this claim made many times in response to my own views. In this kind of climate, it must be admitted, it is hard to make the kinds of distinctions necessary to bring conservatives and liberals together on this fundamental ground. I appreciate your more sensible – and to my mind, truthful -- approach.

Ephraim Radner
If it interests you to take part in finding this common ground -- and especially if you are a conservative -- please email me, and we'll see where it leads. Reaching out on this issue would work wonders to engender good will for the coming months, and could even save thousands of gay and lesbian Nigerians from harassment, gratuitous violence, and other forms of persecution.

Remember, the bill could pass presently, and if it does, and you've said nothing, then it's partly your fault.

1 comment:

*Christopher said...
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