The Archbishop of Canterbury’s latest work, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is selling even better in the United Kingdom than it is within the Episcopal Church.
Having arrived at the mistaken conclusion that the can spend the good will and affection that Episcopalians once felt for him to buy a truce with the leaders of the Anglican opposition, Dr. Williams has recently arranged to alienate armies of his own church members by supporting the Roman Catholic Church in its efforts to win an exemption from a new law which prohibits discriminating against gay couples who want to adopt a child.
The reviews of this performance, in which he was joined by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, are still coming in, but here is a sampling
Simon Barrow of Ekklesia writes: It would appear that the most senior figures in the English Catholic and Anglican churches have no real idea just how bad they look to a massive number of people right now. Living in something of an ecclesial cocoon, they express “shock” at the reaction to their determination to discriminate. (Read it all.)
Meanwhile, on the Guardian’s blog, Stephen Bates writes: the archbishops have comprehensively lost this one from every point of view. No influence, no leadership, looking vaguely homophobic and wholly hypocritical and nothing to show for their johnny-come-lately last stand. (Read it all.)
Under Rowan Williams’ leadership, the Anglican Communion is fast becoming known as the Church of the Human Rights Violation. He never spoke a public word against Archbishop Peter Akinola for supporting draconian anti-gay legislation in Nigeria. He maintains Bernard Malango of Central Africa on a panel of advisors, despite the fact that Malango is sheltering a bishop who has incited murder. Yet he has gone to great lengths to embarrass and undermine the Primate of our Church, which has as its great sin, “breaching the proper constraints of the bonds of affection” (per the Windsor Report) in ordaining a gay bishop who is not celibate.
Williams’ willingness to pander to prejudice to keep the Anglican Communion intact and to remain in the good graces of Rome have damaged, perhaps irrevocably, his credibility as a moral leader. It has also compromised the witness of the Communion he leads, and given aid, comfort and momentum to the right wing organizations, such as the Bradley, Scaife and Ahmanson foundations, that are working to undermine our Church.
Surely, at some point, a few of our leaders will object to this behavior and insist that the archbishop hear them out. Surely they understand that in supporting the Anglican Communion we are complicit in the efforts to cripple our Church. Surely they understand the anxiety that the Archbishop is helping to perpetuate in this Church, how neatly that plays into the hands of those working against us, and how deeply it compromises our efforts to spread the Gospel.
Surely. Perhaps? Maybe? No?