The silence of Bishop Minns, et. al.

Matt Thompson of Political Spaghetti, who is not an Episcopalian, and has not ecclesiological axe to grind in our current crisis has followed the saga of the Nigerian bill that would strip gays and lesbians of various civil rights more closely than anyone. He wonders why Archbishop Peter Akinola and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican) are supporting the bill, and why Akinola’s allies in this country–the Rt. Rev. Martyn Minns, resident of Fairfax, Va., rector of Truro Church and missionary bishop of the Church of Nigeria to the United States, the Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan, bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the conservative Anglican Communion Network, the Rev. Canon David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council and others–are unwilling to speak out against a piece of legislation that criminalizes basic human rights.

He writes:

“Conservative Christianity has already taken a very hard right turn into some very dark political corners, but I am sure that conservative Anglicans in the US and elsewhere would agree with me that this is not how they want to represent themselves to their fellow citizens.”


“Bishop Minns, and his allies in the Anglican Communion Network, have no moral alternative but to call for this legislation to be withdrawn (as the US Department of State has done), or at the very least make a clear statement of disassociation. If they can’t do this now, then from here forward let them never again declare their support of the rights of the minority in the face of a majoritartian, ideological onslaught (are you hearing this, Institute on Religion and Democracy?). They will have impeached themselves utterly.”

The full post is here.

I am especially interested in Minns’ silence. He is a bishop of the Nigerian Church, yet is still being allowed to serve as the rector of one of the largest parishes in the Diocese of Virginia. His parish and some other large and influential congregations, such as the Falls Church, are in the midst of 40 days of discernment about the future of their relationship with the Episcopal Church. It isn’t inconceivable that these parishes would decide to join the Church of Nigeria. In which case we’d have several thousand people in northern Virginia pledging themselves to a Church which, on principle at least, would seem to favor rewriting the First Amendment of our Constitution to deprive Americans–not just gays and lesbians, but those who advocate publicly for gay marriage, and members of churches that bless gay unions–of rights they now enjoy.

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