Friday, August 24, 2007

Why the Fuss Over a Ghost Writer?

I really didn't think it would be necessary to explain to some folks why it is worth noting that a statement to the Church of Nigeria was authored by a bishop sitting in Virginia. Apparently, the implications are not as obvious as I assumed they would be.

What this reveals is what many have suspected for some time; that it is Western conservatives who are behind the extreme positions that are being presented as the position of the Global South.

Let me allow Colin Coward to spell it out for you:

Changing Attitude is not surprised by today’s revelation that Archbishop Peter Akinola’s letter to the Nigerian Synods was in fact mostly re-written by Bishop Martyn Minns.

Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said: “This confirms our suspicion that the agenda of the Global South is to defeat any attempt to overcome prejudice against LGBT people and accept our full inclusion in the church. This agenda is driven by conservative Americans. The American authorship of Nigerian documents which we had long suspected to be the case is now shown to be true. The tragedy is that conservative campaign against LGBT inclusion drives their determination to split the Anglican Communion. Their strategy is to destroy, not to build up the Communion, to evict LGBT people from the Kingdom of God, not to welcome us in...
Regarding yesterday's Church Times story:

...It confirms the suspicion Changing Attitude has long held, that many of the documents and press releases issued by the Church of Nigeria and Archbishop Peter Akinola have their origin in or are heavily edited by Bishop Martyn Minns, Canon Chris Sugden, Canon David Anderson and other conservative secessionists...
Which leads to further implications:

...Today’s report confirms the deep suspicions we developed as we observed the visits by Archbishop Peter Akinola to the first floor room where Martyn Minns, Chris Sugden, David Anderson and others met every day, all day. We speculated on what they were they doing which could possibly occupy so much time. One possibility was that they were waiting patiently for Archbishop Akinola to come and report to them (quite improperly) what had been taking place in the Primates Meeting next door. We suspect that this is indeed what the Archbishop did.

Today’s report reveals that they were clearly doing more than this. They were drafting material for Archbishop Akinola to take back to the Primates’ Meeting. They prepared an alternative text for the final Communique which Archbishop Akinola was given to present to the Primates. The final press conference on the Monday evening was delayed until nearly midnight, almost certainly because Akinola was arguing at length with the other Primates, desperately trying to force the Minns/Sugden/Anderson agenda on the other, mostly unwilling, Primates...
Which brings us back to the conclusion that this is about much more than just a ghost writer:

...Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said today, 24 August:

“The analysis of Archbishop Akinola’s letter reveals and confirms much more than the information about the complex authorship of the letter.

“The majority of the letter was written or redrafted by Bishop Martyn Minns. This demonstrates that the most extreme demands being made of the Anglican Communion by the secessionists originate not with Archbishop Akinola in Nigeria but from Bishop Minns and other extreme conservatives associated with CANA...
Mark Harris offers a good summary paragraph as well:

...The Archbishop is down on the North and West (meaning England, the US, Canada) and speaks as an African and a member of the Global South community (whatever that is.) If his letter is written in large part by people not African, not Global South (except by adoption and grace) where is the "authentic" voice of the Global South in all this? It is common scuttlebutt that Bishop Minns in his former capacity as general managerial lackey for the Archbishop was in constant contact with him throughout the Dar Es Salaam meeting. Some thought Minns put the words in the Archbishop's mouth. Well, perhaps he was not lackey but more like the party whip. Now perhaps he is more than whip. Now he appears as the voice behind the throne...
How's that for clarity?


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