Holding one’s people hostage to politics

Tobias Haller on the Tanzanian bishops decision to refuse financial aid from the Episcopal Church:

Now, if this refusal of funds merely meant one less perk for the bishops who passed this legislation, that is, if it really concerned them directly, I would say, fine. But the money these bishops are refusing isn’t meant for them — it is for ministries to the hungry, the poor, the widows and orphans — of which there are hundreds of thousands in Tanzania. The bishops are holding a metaphorical gun to the heads of these suffering hostages, and threatening to pull the trigger unless The Episcopal Church repents and recants. Do you think that image overwrought? We are talking here literally of life and death for many of these innocents. And while going on a hunger strike oneself to force others to an act of conscience is one thing, to make others undertake a starvation strike seems altogether immoral. I don’t know what ethical system these bishops were instructed in, but in my book (you know, the one with an Old and a New part) the primary duty of those who would serve God is to serve the suffering, not to demand adherence to a purity code.

Read it all.

A commenter on Mark Harris’ blog has suggested that the Tanzanians, like several other African provinces before them, are not concerned about taint, but about demonstrating that they cannot be bought. But if that were the case, they’d need to stop taking money from people in this country with whom they are now in political agreement.

Those who doubt such money plays an essential role in sustaining the current crisis might be interested in this statement by Canon AkinTunde Popoola, spokesman for the Church of Nigeria.

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