The Guardian asks the question “What is the future of Anglican Conservatism” and this week is publishing essays in response.
In the first essay, Savi Hensman reflects on the future of Anglican Conservatism, which she says is becoming more radical and more tolerant of violence, especially against Muslims. She says that the habit of attributing evil to an outside group is both easy and hard to break. It is not a great leap from vilifying gays to preaching hatred against Muslims.
She notes that the Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria is both vocally anti-gay and “appears to believe that, in the Muslim-Christian conflict in Nigeria, communal violence can sometimes be justified.”
..Many Anglicans horrified by abuses against Christians by Muslim fanatics in Pakistan, Sudan and elsewhere were also revolted by the expulsion and mass murder of Muslims in Bosnia by fighters inspired by a distorted version of Christianity.
It is all too easy to project evil on to another group, harder to acknowledge that it may be found in one’s own community and self. In the Gospels Jesus urges his followers not to be so fixed on the speck in someone’s else’s eye that they do not notice the log in their own, and warns of evil thoughts in the human heart which, if unchecked, may result in harming others. This does not mean that injustice should not be resisted, but regarding people as good or bad simply on the basis of religion or ideology is risky.
Many Anglicans, including moderate conservatives, are too conscious of their own need to be delivered “from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness” (in the words of the Litany) to be attracted by the simplistic approach of the radical reformers who misleadingly call themselves “conservatives” or “traditionalists”. Their campaigning has to some extent paid off. Yet, in the longer term, many Anglicans in the UK and elsewhere will hold on to values which are at odds with those of the conservatives striving to reshape the communion.
H/T to Thinking Anglicans.