Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bishop Ingham: "Institutional Inertia Rooted in Homophobia"

From the Globe and Mail:

...Bishop Michael Ingham of the Vancouver-area diocese of New Westminster said homophobia, hiding behind interpretations of scripture, remains an acceptable prejudice in Canadian Anglicanism.

"There are members of our church who staunchly defend that. In my view, [it] is a total misreading of scripture and a misuse of the Bible to oppress people. But they clearly want to continue to do that...To say that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with doctrine is a hugely significant thing," Bishop Ingham said. "But to say at the same time there's no doctrinal conflict but we're not going to [do] anything about it is inertia - it's institutional inertia rooted in homophobia."

The two bishops who voted for the no-conflict resolution but against the blessings were David Torraville of the diocese of Central Newfoundland and James Cowan of the Vancouver Island diocese.

Bishop Cowan said after the vote that, while he favoured same-sex unions, he was still "asking for the theological rationale." Bishop Torraville is known to have faced strong opposition from among his clergy to the blessings...
It may be helpful to remind readers of the definition of "homphobia," as that term is used here. It is drawn from an essay by Andrew Linzey, a member of the Faculty of Theology in the University of Oxford, and Senior Research Fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, which appeared in Gays and the Future of Anglicanism: Responses to the Windsor Report:

...But by "phobia", I mean simply "fear", "dread", or, better still, "an aversion" - and in that limited sense, it seems to me that many Christians can, and do, experience that kind of phobia about homosexuals largely unconsciously. That doesn't mean that they wish to harm gays, or persecute them, and they would certainly not want anything to do with the kind of outrageous cruelty exhibited by Nazis during the Third Reich. They just have a residual sense that homosexuality is not natural, and that individual gays, while often pleasant and acceptable as individuals, are in some sense "not quite right"...

...Some people say they are not "homophobic", using the word in its etymological sense. Perhaps they are right - they don't fear gay people. Gay people do, however, turn their stomachs. That's the point. It isn't just being frightened. It's loathing, disgust, an aversion. Persons so inclined want to get away from gay people, not (or not simply) because gay people might harm them (maybe that's "fear"), but because gay people might pollute them...
What Andrew has described is sometimes referred to as "The Ick Factor."

Using the above definition, I find Bp. Ingham's comments to be quite accurate.


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