Saturday, October 16, 2004

The PC Paradox and the Anglican Church

African dissent key to Anglican stance on homosexuals

[A]s the Anglican Communion wrestles with the continued furor over last year's election of an openly gay American bishop, attention is being focused on feisty Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, who has threatened an Anglican rebellion if the American church goes unpunished..."We no longer need to look to Canterbury to become Christians," Akinola said during a recent U.S. tour. "If they want to create a new religion, good luck to them, but we don't want a new religion. What we have already is good enough for us."

I follow the furore in the Anglican Church closely because it's a striking case of the Paradox of Political Correctness. For over 30 years self-hating Liberals have valorized and patronized the Other and are now beginning to discover that a good many Others reject the core values of Liberalism and are fed up with being patronized.

When I was an undergraduate, most of the rich kids I knew wanted desperately to be poor (while, of course, virtually all poor people desperately wanted to be rich). We wore denim work shirts to express solidarity with the Proletariat. It came as quite a shock to the system when the proletarian Chicago cops, on whose behalf we were fighting the Revolution, bashed our heads in when we demonstrated at the Democratic Convention. It never really sunk in though until CNN colored the map red and blue and people started worrying what the matter with Kansas was. We discovered that the proles weren't harmless specimens: they disliked us, disagreed with us and wielded real political power.

Now the boom has fallen on Liberal clergy in the Episcopal Church, with the same resounding thump that the first Chicago cop's baton made when it fell on the first student head in 1968. Liberal clergy have discovered that African Anglicans are not harmless specimens, grateful for their tutelage and the contents of ECW mite boxes, but religiously committed adults who disagree with them and, at least within the Church, wield real political power. It was especially entertaining when the most liberal clergy, so shaken that they let their guard down, publicly opined that that the African bishops who objected to their agenda were ignoramuses "just up from animism" who didn't understand what Christianity was all about, conjectured that they had been "bought off" by American conservatives with "chicken dinners," and expressed outrage that after decades of financial support they had the nerve to get uppity. I am sure that the African bishops knew they felt this way all along and were amused to hear them express these sentiments publicly.

I disagree with Archbishop Akinola. But I disagree with lots of people, many of whom are smart and educated. I don't think that Archbishop Akinola is a crypto-animist who just doesn't understand what Christianity is all about or that he's been bought off by American conservatives. I would rather be disagreed with, and even hated, than patronized and I assume that Archbishop Akinola and his colleagues feel the same way.

1 comment:

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