The almighty dollar and the crisis of Anglicanism

You will want to read all of Pat Ashworth’s story in this week’s Church Times.

It begins:

LOUD voices from Africa, aided by the “almighty dollar” and internet lobbyists, are distorting the true picture of what Africa’s 37 million Anglicans really think about sexuality and the future of the Anglican Communion, says the Bishop of Botswana, the Rt Revd Musonda Mwamba.

The Bishop, by background a lawyer and social anthropologist, was giving the keynote address to senior judges, lawyers, bishops, and clergy at the Ecclesiastical Law Society conference “The Anglican Communion: Crisis and Opportunity”, in Liverpool at the weekend. The minds of most African Anglicans were concentrated on life-and-death issues, and they were “frankly not bothered about the whole debate on sexuality”, he said.

In an incisive address, the Bishop concluded that the minority of Africans who had “the luxury to think about the issue” did not want to see the Communion disintegrate. They valued the bonds of affection, and would prefer to follow the process recommended by the Windsor report. He rebutted as “simplistic and a distortion of the truth” the belief that the African provinces were a monochrome body.

Here is the key passage:

Numbers (Nigeria having “the largest number of Anglicans in the world”) and money could be seen to influence and even manipulate the situation. “The almighty dollar has been used to strengthen the voice and position of some African bishops, who have been invited to the States and given generous incentives. Very tempting for a bishop from a poor African diocese to be fêted and offered funds by the American hosts if he endorses the party line.

“One of the things which most amaze me in this whole debate is the manner in which lobbying in America has been used to influence opinion, decision, and relationship. It has resulted in the creation of a culture of ‘them’ and ‘us’, ‘in’ and ‘out’, and never the twain shall meet. The success of this lobby has been assisted mainly by the dissemination of information on the internet.”

Past Posts