The so-called Anglican Communion exemplifies a religious version of Anderson’s “imagined community.” At its most banal, the Communion exists to justify bishops traveling about the world on funds contributed by the baptized. At its worst, it has come to represent an imagined community several of whose Episcopal spokespeople now seek to persecute and degrade or relegate into a second track churches who have opened themselves, their process of ordination, and their episcopate to gay and lesbian people. In this respect, it this ecclesiastical imagined community replicates in its drive to exclusion the persecution that ethnic minorities have experienced at the hands of dominant nationalist groups from the early nineteenth century to the present day.
The good that the Archbishop of Canterbury seeks to achieve is the unity of an imagined Anglican Communion that has virtually no existence in reality. In support of that unity he willingly sacrifices the ordination of women in some dioceses, the appointment of women to the episcopate in some churches, and the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from ordination and the episcopate. For the sake of unity of a communion that does not really exist, he has (perhaps unwittingly) fostered turmoil, dissension, and schism. He has urged the adoption of an ill-conceived covenant for the purposes today of excluding those churches who would embrace as part of the divine creation gay and lesbian people. But whom will the covenant exclude next year? The precedent for exclusion and persecution will have been established, and on the pretext of unity future dissidents and yet to be designated minorities could be targeted.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Imperial Purple
The historian Frank M. Turner has written an excellent essay on hierarchical over-reach and imperial hubris behind the efforts to transform Anglicanism into an international Anglican church. Hat tip to Simon at Thinking Anglicans. Here are a couple of samples.
Posted by Counterlight at Wednesday, September 09, 2009