I keep coming across prominent anti-gay Episcopalians in the neo-Confederate movement. Also, when the Sons of Confederate Veterans have their national conventions it is often Episcopal churches that host their Confederate religious services.
In one issue of the neo-Confederate Southern Partisan magazine, Vol. 24 No. 2, publication date Feb. 2005, nominal date March/April 2004, (Southern Partisan has a confusing system), there was a full page advertisement for the Anglican Church of Virginia and Anglican Seminary of Virginia.
In November 2003, I had published at a gay South African website the following article which had spellings changed to British ones. It documented how prominent anti-gay Episcopalians were also involved in the neo-Confederate church.
I think it would be a good idea for the LGBT movement to track the neo-Confederate involvement of the anti-gay Anglican movement. It would reveal their true bigoted face.
I don't know if the links still work. Some do, I know, but I don't if all of them do.
The November 2003 article published in South Africa follows.
African clergy and their racist American friends
by Ed Sebesta
November 2003: Recently in Dallas, where I live, the conservative and anti-gay Episcopalians met denouncing the election in New Hampshire of an openly gay bishop. This has meant press coverage and commentary in the local daily paper, the Dallas Morning News (DMN). I am not surprised they have met here; Dallas is notorious for its reactionary politics.
On the editorial page, Wednesday, 10/15/03, the DMN has a pro and con pair of columns on the question, "Has Anglican Church become too tolerant?" The "Yes" column is by William Murchison, who condemns the "tyranny of the 'tolerant,'" along with the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire. The next day, Thursday, 10/16/03, the DMN has a guest column by Philip Jenkins on Pope John Paul II, where he explains that the pope, as a conservative, represents the non-Western Catholics who are a two-thirds majority of the church against the liberal Western Catholics. The DMN lists William Murchison as a Viewpoints contributor. Philip Jenkins is listed a "distinguished" professor of history and religion at Pennsylvania State University and an author of a new book
However, I know them both as something else. William Murchison is listed at the League of the South (LOS) website http://www.dixienet.org as a member of the board for the Texas division of the LOS, a Neo-Confederate (Confederates supported slavery – Ed.) organisation listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC is the leading organisation in the United States which tracks hate groups. William Murchison also writes a column for the Southern Partisan (SP), a notorious Neo-Confederate publication. Finally William Murchison writes for Chronicles magazine of the Rockford Institute http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org. Interestingly enough Philip Jenkins is a regular contributor to this racist magazine also. In advertising in the Southern Patriot, the official publication of the League of the South (LOS), Chronicles magazine declared that all of its editors were members of the LOS, encouraging all LOS members to subscribe.
Jamie Doward, had an article, "US Millionaire Bankrolls crusade against gay Anglican priests," October 12, 2003, The Observer, (Guardian, UK) as well as Alan Cooperman, "Conservatives Funding Opposition, Priest Says: Groups Insist Donors Don't Set Agenda," October 24, 2003, Washington Post, (US). The millionaire is Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr., who funds the publication Chalcedon Report, out of California. This is the publication of the Chalcedon Institute http://www.chalcedon.edu. It was founded by R.J. Rushdooney, founder of the Christian Reconstructionist movement in the United States. He has recently died and it is run by his son. What is their perspective on America? One indication is the December 2000 issue of the Chalcedon Report with its cover theme of "The Civil War Revived: Secularism vs. the South" draped with a Confederate Battle flag. http://www.chalcedon.edu/report/2000dec/index.shtml. More significant is their republication of two books by R.J. Rushdooney, "This Independent Republic," and "The Nature of the American System." The books argue against the idea of equality and put forth the idea of the Civil War being essentially a theological war of a herectical North against an orthodox Christian South. "The Nature of the American System," has an entire chapter, "Alexander H. Stephens: Constitutionalism versus Centralism," in which he is praised as a great Constitutional thinker. Stephens was the Vice-President of the Confederacy. R.J. Rushdooney's books were critical in reviving Confederate Christian Nationalism in the United States.
Philip Jenkins has also gotten a fair amount of media attention in reviews of his new book, "The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity," Oxford University Press. David Martin reviews this book in the June/July 2002 issue of First Things, the prominent intellectual journal of the religious right, http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0206/reviews/martin.html. As Martin points out the main theme of Jenkins' book is that Christianity is becoming primarily composed of persons who are non-Westerners who have antipathy to the liberal views of the West. As an example, Martin states:
Perhaps the broadest public hint so far was provided by the 1998 Lambeth Conference (which in part stimulated Jenkins' book), where southern Christians used their numerical clout to promote opinions thoroughly unfashionable in the north.
Indeed it is in Chronicles magazine, August 1999, in Jenkins article, "That New Time Religion," that he gleefully appraises the meaning of Lambeth for fellow reactionaries:
… The 20th century was indeed characterized by an astonishing growth in the numbers and geopolitical spread of Christianity, which gained influence in Africa and Asia just as rapidly as it was losing ground in Europe and North America. Why, then, are we so blind to this historic achievement? Much of the answer seems to be that the religion currently burning its way across the globe is a traditional, enthusiastic king of Christianity, spiritually dynamic yet politically conservative, and, for many reasons, this is an anathema to Western elites. A West in spiritual decline confronts a wider world in the midst of religious revival, and neither understands nor likes what it sees.
The depth of the cultural schism was suggested last fall, when the world's Anglican bishops held one of their periodic get-togethers at Lambeth. The gathering made the news in a quite uncharacteristic way, as a public well accustomed to hearing the familiar denunciations of apartheid and colonialism was taken aback to hear a forthrightly traditional statement about the evils of homosexuality and the impossibility of reconciling homosexual conduct with Christian ministry. Western liberal churchmen of most denominations had waited for decades to hear the authentic voice of the liberated Third World, that radical prophetic voice which would challenge Western imperialism, and now that they heard it, that voice violated the most basic liberal principles. It was in fact very, very conservative.
To Jenkins the future belongs to a globally dominating homophobic Christianity. Jenkins writes again in Chronicles, December 2000, "Ethiopia Lifts Her Hands," in which he sees the non-Western world, in particular Africa, being the location of a traditional and pre-modern Christianity.
So it is not surprising that conservative anti-gay Episcopalians, a small minority in the United States, with declining influence, in 2003, seize on the idea of appealing to non-Western Anglican churches to expel the majority of the Episcopalians in America through the threats of dismembering the world wide communion of the Anglicans. No doubt other religious right groups are considering what strategic alliances might be to their advantage in their battles with liberal Christian groups.
Before these homophobic African religious leaders rush into alliances with these religious right reactionaries they might want to look a little closer at with whom they are allying themselves. It can't be said that every reactionary religious leader is an active Neo-Confederate, though Neo-Confederates are prominent in this movement and both Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have been interviewed in the Southern Partisan. It can be said that these religious right groups are composed of people who are very dubious on civil rights, if not actively opposed to them and very willing to look the other way in regard to co-religionists who are opposed to civil rights. These religious leaders, at the least, are being used as African adornments to give a multiracial cast to often predominately white groups; at the worst they empower an anti-civil rights agenda in the United States.
The other thing that homophobic African religious leaders might consider is the agenda of these US religious right organisations in regards to Islam. Reading Chronicles magazine, you can see a world viewpoint organised around the idea that the future will be global violent conflict between Christians and Muslims. The cover title for one issue is "From Kosovo to the Alamo." (The Alamo is the place of a legendary battle in the secession of Texas from Mexico to preserve slavery.) Indeed, the First Things book review, mentioned earlier in this article points out that Jenkins second major theme in his book is the potential conflict between Islam and Christianity. African religious leaders might want to consider if they want to become proxies in an anti-Islamic campaign by religious right leaders in the United States. They might want to consider whether they want to be dragged into a world wide religious conflict. Muslims in nations where African religious leaders are connected to US religious right leaders will certainly have to question the sincerity of claims of wanting peaceful co-existence.
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