Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Accepting Responsibility Beyond Our Borders

A couple of items have given me cause to rethink some of my previous positions. The first one is from an interview of Davis Mac-Iyalla by John Johnson. The section that caught my eye was this:

...Q: What do you think is most important for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgenerdered community here in the United States to know about the lives of gay and lesbian Nigerians?

A: We have no access to information about gays worldwide. Most of the gays and lesbians in Nigeria have no idea about the lives of the GLBT community in the U.S. and no ability to share ideas and information. A gay American is no different than a gay Nigerian. And we need to know more about each other.

Q: How would that communication help gay Nigerians?

A: In many ways…One of the connections I have made with the GLBT community in the U.S. is your vocal efforts to secure your own rights. You have the freedom of speech here and I think you should use it to fight oppression in Nigeria and not just with your members of Congress but your bishops and priests and members [of your churches] too...
Do we have a responsibility to fight oppression in Nigeria? Or to broaden that question; what is our responsibility when it comes to standing against oppression around the world?

I must admit to an inclination at times to see our primary responsibility as ending at the borders of the US. This is partially derived from a dated understanding of global politics. I still consider Teddy Roosevelt's approach as the most effective; no foreign powers in our hemisphere, speak softly but carry a big stick, the golden bridge, etc. The reality is that the world today is quite different from his era. We are more connected globally than ever before in history. What happens across the globe does effect us. And, more to the point, our actions will impact those in Nigeria.

Mad Priest, speaking from an English perspective, makes this point quite clear in a comment he left on Chuck Blanchard's blog. MP reposted his response at OCICBW. I'm also going to repost it, because I think we need to hear it, even if it makes us squirm a bit:

A disciplined TEC will gain more support and the schismatics will lose support because Americans will see any such move as an attack on America and will side with those being attacked. Other than the loss of status abroad and a few freebie trips that TEC's higher officials enjoy at present there will be little noticeable change in the American Church.

As I keep saying. The primary concern of TEC should not be itself, which is strong enough to weather this storm, but their weaker brethren abroad whose forseeable future is very bleak as they will have to make the decision of leaving the church they love, without any other home to go to, or living a lie.

The truth is, although I am 100% behind TEC's recent policies, their unilateralist decisions are not a sacrifice for Americans but a sacrifice for their supporters throughout the world who had no say in the decisions. That is why I believe TEC has a primary duty to the spiritual welfare of those fellow travelers outside of the States.
In case we still don't get it, MP added a comment that cuts away any last shred of bs:

Too damn right you should come to the rescue and with no feelings of righteousness. America started all this, and with their usual isolationist view of the world, have not thought through the effect their actions will have on progressives elsewhere in the world. Your actions are in serious danger of putting gays and their straight supporters, elsewhere in the world, in an even worse position than they were in before. Therefore, TEC has a responsibility that extends beyond its borders.
Does saying it so bluntly make me wince? Sure. But I think the wincing is the result of hearing a truth that I'd rather not face.

I think some of you have attempted to make this point before, but I couldn't, or wouldn't, hear it. Saying to hell with the rest of the Communion and just breaking off to do our own thing is not an option. We have a responsibility to stay at the table, even if it is in some diminished capacity. Boycotting Lambeth is not really an option, as we would be abandoning our brothers and sisters around the globe.

It's not just about us. It really never was. But now that we've started this thing, we have a duty to see it through to the end, even if it means having to take a few lumps along the way.

The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ. That mission does not end at the US border. We do not exist for our own benefit alone. We exist for the sake of the world.


No comments:

Post a Comment