Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Susan Russell on Nigerian Bishop's Rhetorical Violence

In response to the disturbing words of Bp. Orama of Nigeria, Susan Russell offers some thoughts at An Inch at a Time:


Not fit to live.

This is what we're up against, people. If anybody out there is deluding themselves that this is just a "gentleman's disagreement" about polity or theology or hermeneutics then here's your wake-up call:


Not fit to live.

The Episcopal Church is standing firm on the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ calling us to manifest our love of God by loving our neighbors as ourselves as we do unto the least of these in His name. We are the leaven in the loaf of an Anglican Communion where the Bishop of Uyo can make these kinds of pronouncements in the church's name ... putting the lives of gay and lesbian people in jeopardy by dehumanizing them and naming them "not fit to live."

And here's OUR wake up call: We're done playing defense.

Our call is not to "defend" our commitment to the core values of the Christian Gospel and the basic tenets of Human Rights to the rest of the Anglican Communion. We've been there and we've done that.

Our call is to challenge the Archbishop of Canterbury to censure those whose denial of the very humanity of gay and lesbian people denies the imageo Deo that actually IS a core doctrine of the faith received from the apostles.

And that's the conversation we should be calling our bishops to have with His Grace in New Orleans. And at Lambeth. And until the cows come home if necessary. Because this isn't about "the church" anymore. It's about lives on the line. "Inasmuch as you've preserved the unity of the Anglican Communion" doesn't seem to be on Jesus' list -- but "inasmuch as you've done it unto the least of these" certainly is.

We've had our wake up call so let's get on it with it -- get on with this Gospel we've been given to proclaim. And let's "just say no" to those insisting that "these issues" are distracting us from our mission and ministry because including all the baptized in the Body of Christ IS the mission and ministry of the church.

Because no child of God is inhuman.

And every single one of us is fit to live.

And the Lord who died that we might not JUST live but have life abundant calls us to be his Body in the world to bring that Good News to all.

Are you awake yet?

Davis Mac-Iyalla of Changing Attitude Nigeria has also challenged Bp. Orama's attack.


UPDATE: Kendall Harmon has now condemned Bp. Orama's statement.

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