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Re: A Tainted Easter Message [from the Washington Post]


Thank you for writing.

In Matthew 12, when Jesus talked about the sin of Sodom, he referred to the 
inhospitality of the local marauders to the strangers within their gates. 
The men in the crowd in the Old Testament story were  rapists;  the turn-on 
for the rapists is power, not affection.

When Jesus referenced the story, he did not mention the sexuality there. 
Indeed, who would assert that Lot's heterosexuality is normative?  Note well 
his willingness to throw his own daughter's to the rapists.  Would you want 
your own daughters to see you in him?  See the work of your fellow Brit D. 
Sherwin Bailey on the Sodom story, written 50 years ago: Homosexuality and 
the Western Christian Tradition (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1955). .

On several visits to Africa I have found African Christians quite hospitable 
to me as an out gay Christian .  I was the convener of the lesbigay caucus 
at the World Council of Churches in Harare in 1998.  Africans packed over 50 
padres (break-out discussion groups) sponsored and led by lesbigay 
Christians (see my diary at the time: 

When I met with bishops of Uganda in February 2001, I asked what they had 
done to live into their pledge at Lambeth 1998 to hear the witness of 
lesbian and gay Christians. They asked us what The Episcopal Church had done 
in this regard, and they seemed open dialogue.   But the Archbishop turned 
hostile.  That evening he excoriated me before most bishops of the Sudan and 
Uganda where we were guests at his palace (see 
http://rci.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/natter_old2/msg00058.html).  This 
inhospitality was very un-African and un-Christian.

A Sudanese bishop recently visited in The Episcopal Church and his host 
bishop, one who supports the decisions of the Diocese of New Hampshire, was 
being especially careful not to offend the Sudanese guest.  The two visited 
many places in the diocese to raise awareness about the need in Sudan and to 
prompt generosity.   In introducing the Sudanese bishop the host bishop 
said, sensitively, words to the effect of:  "We grieve that our actions have 
offended you. We take the Windsor Report seriously and hope that we can 
continue these bonds of affection..."   After about the third such 
introduction, the bishop from the Sudan took his host aside and said, 
"XXXXX, what is the Windsor Report?"

The fury and rage of the primates is no more on the radar screen of most 
congregations in Africa than it is on the radar screen of most parishes in 
The Episcopal Church..   They and we have far more important matters to 

It is well documented that the primates' inhospitality is being encouraged 
by powerful money from one major donor in the United States, Howard 
Fieldstead Ahmanson Jr. . (Google for "Ahmanson Anglican" and you will 
access close to 800 items).    Ahmanson is not buying the primates' 
convictions (they have held those all along), but he is encouraging the new 
priority they have given to sexuality -- never before in Christendom used as 
a matter of core doctrine.

Many Africans, including Christians, have not accepted Western Christian 
mores about sexuality.  Several clergy friends who are African tell me that 
many priests and bishops keep mistresses whose names are known in the 
community.  If you do not have African friends who can confirm this for you, 
you do not have a level of trust with which they can be candid. 
Missionaries to Africa steadily complained about the intractable sexual 
mores of their converts, and Western visitors have often looked down our 
noses at them.  One can easily appreciate the personal satisfaction the 
primates must feel in the opportunity to look down their noses at The 
Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada for approving what the 
primates see as clearly unbiblical.

Shaming and shunning are understandable, but not laudable.  They are not 
Gospel values.

If lesbian and gay Christians promoted the promiscuity which  the primates 
stereotypically attribute to us, I would share the primates' disapproval.

The primates are very selective in the sexual sins of the West which they 
attack.  They have not spoken out against the Church of England's 
endorsement of the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles --  
breaking with scripture and Christian tradition far more unambiguously than 
did The Episcopal Church in consenting to the consecration of the duly 
elected Bishop of New Hampshire.

Most evangelicals are willing to admit that gay and lesbians people are but 
the presenting issue, that their more stringent concerns are with the 
authority of scripture and with governance in the Anglican Communion.   That 
is, gay and lesbian people are scapegoats.

Most who are scapegoating us have not visited our Samaritan wells.  They 
have not learned of the transformations that Jesus is working in our lives.

Louie Crew, PhD, DD, DD, DHL
Member of Executive Council (like your Archbishop's Council, but also the 
Board of Directors of The Episcopal Church)
Chair of deputation of the Diocese of Newark to General Convention 2006

----- Original Message ----- 
To: "Louie Crew" <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 5:12 AM
Subject: Re: A Tainted Easter Message [from the Washington Post]

> Dear Louie,
> I sense your grief and frustration, but also have to point you to the
> account of the destruction of Sodom and the reasons for this.
> The Church is Africa has always put great trust in the Old Testament
> teachings, and see any one who flies in the face of this teaching, as
> subversive, and therefor someone not to be trusted.
> I pray you to also understand the cost to them of this moral decision.
> Yours,
> Rev'd Michael  XXXXXXXXXXX 

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Louie Crew" <lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu>
> Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 4:47 AM
> Subject: A Tainted Easter Message [from the Washington Post]
>> FYI.
>> L.
>> Louie Crew, PhD, DD, DD, DHL
>> Member of Executive Council
>> Chair of deputation of the Diocese of Newark
>> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A2215-2005Mar25.html
>> A Tainted Easter Message
>> By Colbert I. King
>> Saturday, March 26, 2005; Page A15

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