Live: Sudanese primate calls on Robinson to resign (updated)


fourth version, includes response from Bishop Robinson’s spokesman

By Jim Naughton

The Primate of the Church of the Sudan, the Most Rev. Daniel Deng called on the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson to resign to preserve the unity of the Anglican Communion.

“God is not making a mistake creating Adam and Eve,” Deng said, asserting that homosexual activity contradicted Biblical teaching. “He would have created two Adams if he wanted.”

Deng said Robinson’s resignation would allow the bishops who are not at the Lambeth Conference to reconcile with the Communion. He claimed to speak for 150 bishops from 17 provinces who had held a meeting during the conference.

“Gene Robinson should just go away from the Anglican world and be a normal Christian,” said Deng. He said he could not predict the future of the Communion if Robinson did not resign.

Robinson’s spokesman Mike Barwell said the bishop would not respond until he had seen a transcript of Deng’s remarks.

“There have been calls for his resignation since the day he was nominated. He has been very clear he would not step down… and that even if he did, the whole issue of gay clergy and gay bishops would not go away,” Barwell said.

Many Episcopal bishops could not comment on Deng’s press conference because they were unaware it had taken place.

Deng said he hoped that the Lambeth Conference would make a decision on homosexuality that Archbishop Rowan Williams would enforce.

Asked whether there were homosexuals in Sudan, Deng said, “They have not come to the surface, so no, I don’t think we have them.”

Deng’s comments were made in the media room at the Lambeth Conference in an interview arranged after two statements from his church appeared in the media room this morning. The other statement concerned the civil war in the Sudan and the genocide in Darfur.

His comments came as a surprise to Episcopal bishops at the conference. The Churches of Sudan, Burundi and Tanzania are to be guests of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church at a wine and cheese party on Saturday evening on the conference grounds.

A spokesman for Deng said he believed that Sudanese bishops would attend the party. “It’s nothing personal,” he said.

Deng and Jefferts Schori recently spent time together in Salisbury during the pre-Lambeth hospitality initiative.

The Church of Sudan has extensive relationships with Episcopal churches maintained through American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan.

Following Deng’s statement, the Rev. Dr. Chuck Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop who had also come to the press room, said the Episcopal Church wanted to continue to work in partnership with other provinces on the mission and ministry of the church.

An Episcopal bishop said he believed conservative American bishops were involved in publicizing the statement, but Deng’s spokesman denied that.

In a related development, Bishop Jack Iker of Forth Worth, called on the bishops of his own church who supported Robinson to go home.

To shorten this post the Sudanese statement can be found here.

Look for updates to be added here.

Anglican Journal reports here.

The Guardian article is here

Ruth Gledhill of The Times reports here.

The Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity, responds here.

What is news is that the Archbishop of the Sudan helped make the case on Tuesday that the schism facing the Anglican Communion is the direct result of hard-line reactionaries who will stop of nothing short of compliance with their narrow, exclusionist agenda as their criterion for being in communion.

Louie Crew, founder of Integrity, writes here.

From TEC the Sudan needs our love and our money..

Episcopal Life reports the story here.

Thinking Anglicans continues to update with new links here.

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ginny gibbs

I was so sorry to read Bishop Deng Bul's comments, because my diocese (Chicago) has been in a relationship with his former diocese, Renk, for many years. Several parishes have sent delegations to the Sudan to volunteer there.

Also: it's important to check primary source material. Still, I'm surprised and sorry to read of this development.

I can only think that once again, it's a case of following the money, as we all learned here before.

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Huw Richardson

It's tempting to get all up in a twist about this, but Jesus wanted us to forgive again. And again. And again. Until we get nailed to wood for doing it. And then again.

I'm reminded of Jay Bakker apologising for Christians. Abp Deng is still "one of us" from the outside looking in. And so we need to start apologising to the world for how we act. As Jay puts it, "We're sorry for being self-righteous judgemental bastards." It's going to take that kind of meta-confession for us to do Gospel and betaken seriously in the world. Look at the Pope asking forgiveness for the sins of his clergy. That should be us as well.

There is no "us and them" here. There is a world of broken humanity, some of whom participate in what we claim to be the solution to that brokenness. But we are broken as well. So we need to ask forgiveness for our brother Daniel - and all of us.

But I agree the Church should drop the lawsuits in secular courts. That's one part of St Paul I agree with 100%. When we take each other to court over property we are a laughing stock.

I know Archbishop Deng means "go be a layman", but the irony is strong. We need to be away from all this churchiantiy and political power plays and go be normal Christian for a while.

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Roger Mortimer
Roger Mortimer

The demand that TEC "cease court actions with immediate effect" makes it pretty clear who's calling the tune here.

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Bill Moorhead

A commenter on Ruth Gledhill's blog noted that we should respond to what Archbishop Deng actually said, rather than what he is assumed to have said. Good point. So I watched Ruth's video of the news conference. Obviously Deng strongly disapproves of the "North Atlantic" actions on committed same-sex relationships (a subject about which he seems not well informed), but I am not hearing from him the level of hatred and bile that comes from some other Primates on this subject. Nevertheless he still seems to think that the way to solve the problem he perceives is to throw *somebody else* under the bus. That just won't do.

Slightly OT, for a very moving account of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan, see the documentary "God Grew Tired of Us."

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