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Volume 16, Issue 2: Recipio the Younger

New White Colonialism

Ben Merkle

The Episcopalian Church of the USA consecrated homosexual Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. That same year the Bishop of Oxford in the Anglican Church attempted to appoint homosexual Jeffrey John as the Bishop of Reading. Although this attempt failed, the close call was enough to ruffle feathers throughout the Anglican communion and tensions have arisen once more as Jeffrey John has been recently put forward as Dean of St. Albans. In 2002, the New Westminster diocese of the Church of Canada recognized a same sex union, also causing a tremendous uproar within the Anglican communion.

These various inroads of sodomy within the Anglican Church are a small part of a much larger sodomite movement, but an odd complication has arisen in this particular arena for the homosexuals. In the unbelieving story, opposition to sodomite Bishops is supposed to be proof positive of homophobia, and generally synonymous with northern European, white power obsession. In the Ameri-pagan mind, those who object to practicing queer clergypersons are the folks who walk arm-in-arm with clansmen and uneducated snaggle-toothed rednecks. They are supposed to be the unenlightened persecutors of minorities. Only with the mightiest of efforts have the progressives managed to ignore the glaring problem of the Nigerian Church.
The Primate of Nigeria, the most Reverend Peter Akinola, has been at the front of the battle over sexual perversion, speaking out against the Anglican apostasy in no uncertain terms. When the Church of Canada gave her blessing to a sodomite union, the Nigerian Church officially severed communion with the diocese of New Westminster. But most significant is how Akinola cast the nature of the controversy.
Many of us from the two-thirds world feel that the global north still seeks to retain its disproportionate power and influence in our Church just as in the world. It is significant that those dioceses most tempted to indulge themselves with unilateral actions, taken without consulting the wider Communion, seem so often to be among those materially most advantaged and to be in the global north. Should this not occasion reflection? Do we not see here, in the ready assertion of superior wisdom, a new imperialism?
The Nigerian Church has continued to cast the European and American sodomite agenda as another wave of white colonialism. This is "a new imperialism." It's "colonialism" all over again. It is a white, European agenda being forced onto the African Church. Akinola noted that ". . . the rich Churches in Europe, America and Canada . . . have long used their wealth to intimidate the financially weak Churches in Africa."
The homosexual debate has evangelicals hemming and hawing and trying to make their timid objections friendly, all the while knowing that no matter how many qualifications are made, they will still be portrayed as back woods fundamentalists. Akinola is immune to these concerns. He writes, "I cannot think of how a man in his senses would be having a sexual relationship with another man. Even in the world of animals, dogs, cows, lions, we don't hear of such things."
What an awkward position our liberal brothers are in. This is supposed to be a fight between the enlightened, open minded, educated progressives and the intolerant, ignorant, hatemongering Bible thumpers. But when the Church of Nigeria steps into the ring, propaganda gets tricky. How enlightened is it to call Africans ignorant? "Backward African bishops," as some have called them, really doesn't sound so enlightened. Things get trickier: of the 76.5 million members of the worldwide Anglican Church, 36.8 million are African.
It works to use nasty invectives against other whites. Mary Ann Sieghart vomited a tirade in the London Times against Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and the movement begun in his diocese. Sieghart describes the Sydney Anglicans as "the most narrow-minded, puritanical and zealous brand of Anglicanism, a new puritanism." Sieghart attempts to lay the blame for the blocking of Jeffrey John's appointment on Jensen's shoulders, writing "It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that it was Jensen's people who managed eventually to block the appointment of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading." Jensen is certainly a player, but his being singled out over the African Churches, is far more strategic than honest. You can call Australians "narrow-minded," because they're as white as the sodomites they oppose, and so are preferable as an enemy.
Akinola is certainly in a rhetorically privileged position, making him a powerful voice in the current fight. And his faithfulness in light of the privilege has been glorious. The most telling moment throughout this debate came quite recently. Several African churches, including both the Nigerian and the Kenyan have refused to receive money from any diocese recognizing sodomite clergy. The decision will have a major impact on the already impoverished Church. But unlike "principled" American tax objectors who make the hard decision of refusing to pay money, the Churches of Nigeria and Kenya are refusing to take money, just when it is most needed. Akinola explained the decision well: "We will not, on the altar of money, mortgage our conscience, mortgage our faith, mortgage our salvation."

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