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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Mendacity, Hypocrisy and Death

Apparently, "Our Rowan" has gotten himself in a bit of a mess. Again.

And, once again, it is of his own making.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a full-frontal attack on the government's polities. His two-page critique, titled “The government needs to know how afraid people are”, published in "The New Statesman," is "the most forthright political criticism by such a senior cleric since Robert Runcie enraged Margaret Thatcher with a series of attacks in the 1980s".

You can read the entire article here.

The report from across the pond is that "Lambeth Palace is braced for an angry response but Dr Williams, who became Archbishop of Canterbury nine years ago, is understood to believe that the moment is right for him to enter the political debate."

Already, one blogger is reporting,
"The left are looking to make more of his comments in the New Statesman than are actually there, and the right is attacking him for things he hasn't said.

In the entire article, Rowan does not actually criticise a single government policy. What he does say is that people are afraid of them, and the government needs to explain what is going on better."
I must say that I am not all all well versed in the politics of the United Kingdom but I will say that, at first blush, I was pleased to see a prominent church leader speaking out about the injustices of the affairs of State.

I heard myself say, "Well done, sir. Good form!"

Cartoon by MadPriestt
Well, that was until I read this quote from His Grace that caused me to raise my left eyebrow before bursting into ironic laughter:
“With remarkable speed, we are being committed to radical, long-term policies for which no one voted,” the Archbishop says. “At the very least, there is an understandable anxiety about what democracy means in such a context.”
Surely, the man is talking about the Anglican Covenant Contract, right?

No. No, the man is criticizing the government for doing precisely what he has done in to the Anglican Communion.

I feel compelled to point out the obvious: The Archbishop of Canterbury was appointed - not elected by the people - yet, he has imposed himself in the affairs of churches over which he has no jurisdiction or authority.

You simply can not make up this stuff.

Didn't Jesus say something about beams and motes? Why, yes.... yes, in fact he did: "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. " KJV, Matt 7:5)

Is there no end to the amount of hypocrisy we will have to endure from the current administration at Lambeth Palace?

I fear not.

Perhaps the belief that "the time is right for him to enter the political debate" is part of a strategy to divert attention from the mess he's made of the Anglican Communion.

It won't work.

Presiding Bishop at Southwark Cathedral
Indeed, I think the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury is so weakened by his silence about the continued oppression of Queer people in Africa (and don't even get me started about the 13 bishops in the Church of England who are reported gay), his obvious sexism and misogyny as publicly manifested in his treatment of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church when he refused to allow her to wear her miter during her visit to Southwark Cathedral, combined with his obvious disdain for allowing women to be be "appointed" bishops in the Church of England, and the fact that he is ramming what he calls an "Anglican Covenant" down the throats of everyone in the Communion - "for which no one voted" - that, instead of becoming a prophetic voice, he'll be seen as the Voice of Mendacity.

Tennessee Williams, in his play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" has "Big Daddy", one of his characters say,
"What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?...There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death."
If you're wondering what that smell is, coming from across The Pond, you need look no further than Lambeth Palace.

It's the smell of mendacity, hypocrisy . . .  . . . and, I fear, death.


mark said...

So do you support what the government is doing to the disadvantaged, the poor, the disabled, on this side of the pond?

Dom said...


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mark - Of course not. What a silly question to ask me, of all people. What's your point?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dom - You bet. I am sick unto death of this whole shambles. I'm thinking it's just best to admit that the Communion is torn and ask Rowan that, if he can't mend it, to please step aside so someone else can. Because, it's is repairable. It just needs strong leadership

Anonymous said...

Is this not a requisite for running a religion?

They lie to you; then they take your money.

Muthah+ said...

Every time I think that the Church has taken a step forward, we have leaders who take 2 steps backward.

I can't believe that the ABC doesn't get it. But then again, he doesn't believe that the Church SHOULD be democratic.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Yes, and he would be wrong about that, too.

J. Michael Povey said...

With love and respect Elizabeth! I do not believe that the Communion "just needs strong leadership", nor can any Archbishop mend it.

After all, Jack Iker and Bob Duncan are "strong leaders" as is Peter Akinola.

We should instead pray for "servant leaders" such as Desmond Tutu.

I believe that the communion cannot be mended. And I thing that's a good thing. In my opinion, we are witnessing the maturing of many of the constituent Churches of the Communion, and maturing that is leading them to reject the idea that "Daddy (a.k.a. The Archbishop of Canterbury) knows best".

Hooray for that, (even though I do not care for the opinions of some of the "adult children" of the Communion).

I believe that the communion is moving away from its Canterbury fixation, and that I welcome. We are emerging as adult churches who no longer need or desire the paternalism of Canterbury.

I have no idea what the end of all of this will be. But it will be good if here and there we allow ourselves to participate in God's Mission.

Despite Muthah's comment, that participation will not depend on any notion of democracy. It will rest in the messy business of allowing ourselves to be wafted on the winds of the Spirit, and trusting her to lead us to a communion which is deeper and richer than the Anglican brand.

It will be a communion with the Holy and Triune One; with the sick and sad planet; and with G-d's beloved of every nation, ethnicity and religion (or no religion); and especially with the poor and oppressed.

Let's stop obsessing about ++ Rowan. Let's stop obsessing about the semi-mythical Anglican Communion .

Let's begin to soar in the thermals of the Holy Spirit!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Douglas - You are being sarcastic, I presume.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Michael - Of course, what we need is strong servant leadership. Alas, it's not a concept widely known among those who wear their collars backwards. We are in the sad state of affairs we're in - across the board - because there is no vision, no energy, no focus, no clarity about what it means to be a servant or a leader. It breaks my heart.

J. Michael Povey said...

Amen to Elizabeth's comment (and thanks to her for publishing mine.

I do believe that P.B. Schori gets the servant leadership bit - and for that I am grateful.

MarkBrunson said...

I've been accused of imputing the worst motivations to Rowan, to which I respond, "Of course! I believe in giving a man what he's worked for."

I think this is all about disestablishment and parliamentary overhaul and keepig it from happening.

MarkBrunson said...

Mark (above),

I feel, and perhaps Elizabeth does, as well, that this is not a particularly impressive spokesperson for the just treatment of those at the margins, like the disadvantaged, poor and disabled. Certainly, given his own track record, the best that can be hoped for is that Rowan's statement will be written off far and wide as a jaded political maneuver. He risks nothing in the attack, and gains back - quite undeservedly - a decent public image.

In the case of a Runcie, there was a man who walked the talk. He, in fact, *did* risk, as Thatcher's vicious backlash showed. He stood on the side of the marginalized and outcast in ecclesial as well as secular affairs. That is why we, on this side of the pond - respect him, and generally find Rowan's statement hypocritical to the point of farcical disgrace.

Anonymous said...

"Mendacity, Hypocrisy and Death": Do I get to choose just one, or do I have to take all three as a package?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mark - As I said to Michael, we are in sore need of leaders - ordained and laity - who understand the concept of 'servant leader' - and, put that understanding into action.

Alas, that's not what we have in "our Rowan".

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Douglas, unfortunately, these three tend to be traveling companions.

Anonymous said...

Douglas - You are being sarcastic, I presume.

It really depends on your point of view. A non abusive, non cult religion, of course.

But truly, cults live on mendacity.

I should know, since I've spent decades (over half a century) trying to recover from one cult after another (my older brother got me into three of them up front, serially).

It never ceases to amaze me, the pretense that they don't know what you are talking about when you catch them in lies. They act as if you either don't understand or, worse, discount you for not having the "qualifications" to express your 'opinion' (backed by science, history and logic).

I loathe them all and sometimes wish that the Old Testament "Wrath of God" would be mercifully invoked. Unfortunately, I believe that God is giving these hirelings of the false prophet a life time to prove themselves and whether or not He would want to spend eternity with them. So, for now, we must learn from the things we suffer, and have the faith that God the Father will sort it out.

I've gotten sick and tired of being conned in the meantime. I've promised myself that (God willing) I will learn the methodologies to avoid the narcissist, sociopath and psychopaths in religion and avoid them like the plague they are.

I wish them well. More precisely, I wish them at the bottom of it.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Douglas - I'm sorry for your experience, truly I am, but lying and taking your money is not a 'requisite for running a religion'. It is, rather a perversion of what religion purports to do. So, I'll take your sarcasm for what it is - humor to cover up absolutely understandable anger and pain. As someone who is an ordained member of an religious institution and still believes there can be positive effects from organized religion, I apologize for your experience.

Anonymous said...

And you don't have to. I was originally baptized a Lutheran at the age of 6. Attending a Roman Catholic Parochial School was a mixed bag. So, no, you don't have to apologize. I appreciate your kindness and mercy -- something present in the organized religious bodies I have experienced.

As for the pain, we learn from what we suffer. In my case, I've benefitted greatly, now having the absolute proof I need to completely discredit the entire venue of eschatology representing the cultic doctrine from the Great False Prophet of the 20th Century. Believe me, it's worth it just for that.

And the thing is, now that I've been through the experience there is at least limited opportunity to assist others. I rely on your site here as an inspiration of what could be... minus the Covenant, of course.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thank you, Douglas. Come back anytime.