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This page last updated 25 September 2003
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Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

Alas, we cannot publish every letter we receive. And we won't publish letters that are anonymous, hateful, illiterate, or otherwise in our judgment do not benefit the readers of Anglicans Online. We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.

We edit letters to conform with standard AO house style for punctuation, but we do not change, for example, American spelling to conform to English orthography. On occasion we'll gently edit letters that are too verbose in their original form. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

Letters received during the week of 14 September 2003

Silence out of Africa?

I WAS FASCINATED BY THE GUARDIAN'S INTERVIEW with the Archbishop of Cape Town, Winston Njongonkulu Ndungane, cited in your weekly news summary. The Guardian described the archbishop as "[breaking] ranks with fellow African and developing world archbishops yesterday to denounce their arrogance and intolerance over homosexuality."

I was particularly struck by one quote from Archbishop Ndungane: 'There is a woman waiting to be stoned to death for adultery in Nigeria and yet we are not hearing any fuss from the leadership of the church there about that'. That quote deserves world-wide prominence. I'll be very interested to see how the traditionalists attempt to respond to it — if they do at all.

D. C. Toedt
Houston, Texas, USA
15 September 2003

Silence from the southern US?

I HAVE READ WITH INTEREST each week your letters concerning Gene Robinson. I have yet to see one which represents the southern US. (By the way, our Episcopal membership was increasing in the South before this). We are very upset in this region of the country about his approval, and look forward to the meeting of the American Anglican Council in Texas to provide some hope.

St Luke's Episcopal Church
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
19 September 2003

Strange bedfellows in the States

I RECENTLY CAME ACROSS AN ARTICLE concerning Howard Ahmanson. Using Google, I found some information about Mr. Ahmanson and his affiliation with the American Anglican Council. What I found was quite troubling. I wanted to ask if anyone else has been aware of any of this.

Howard Ahmanson was a board member of the Chalcedon Institute for 23 years. This organization wants the government to adhere to biblical law, which, includes among other things, the killing of all gays and lesbians. Ahmanson has publically stated his agenda is 'the integration of biblical law' into government. He supports many right-wing groups; most recently the AAC. His support is substantial enough for the AAC to consider adding his name to their letterhead. Mr. Ahmanson claims to be worshipping at St. James Episcopal Church, Newport Beach. Until just recently, the rector of St. James was Canon David Andersen, who is the current President and CEO of the AAC.

Another organization’s name also kept popping up in my research: The Institute on Religion and Democracy. The IRD also has its agenda: to challenge the authority of legitimate denominational leaders, promote schism, and replace the existing structures with their own brand of right-wing thinking. The President of the IRD, Diane Knippers, is one of the founding board members of the AAC. Mrs. Howard (Roberta) Ahmanson has recently been appointed to the board of the IRD. The AAC and the IRD have the same identical mailing address.

Here are the sites where you may read more about this: [Note: This is a PDF file.]

There are two conclusions I have come to based on this information;

1. The AAC inadvertently has formed an alliance with individuals and organizations whose agenda is a theocratic society in which the citizens are put to death for "sins." Not aware of the extent of this agenda, the AAC is only at fault in regard to the lack of sufficient background checks of their donor base and the organizations with which they choose to affiliate.

2. The AAC is fully aware of the agendas of Ahmanson and the IRD, and supports this agenda, and desires to partnership with them to form a society in which biblical law becomes the law of the land. This would make the AAC an arm of the "Christian Taliban" in the USA.

I hope the first conclusion is the correct one.

The Reverend Terry L. Martin
St. Mary's by the Sea, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
Hammonton, New Jersey, USA
21 September 2003

Inappropriate Australian link—or perhaps not

AS A CHRISTIAN AND A GAY MAN I'm shocked to see that you present as a good web site with 'a good portion of its material written by Anglicans'.

Among others examples: 'The Bible has nothing positive to say about homosexuality. There are no positive examples of practising homosexuals and there is no teaching that homosexual acts or lifestyles are acceptable to God. There is nothing to suggest or imply that God approves of it'.

And 'So, irrespective of the social climate, the Bible clearly teaches that homosexual lifestyles and acts are condemned by God and that people who practice them will be judged by God'.

And 'This will mean that Christians should seek to persuade homosexuals, and everyone else who is not a follower of Christ, to change and become one. (Have a look at 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.) It will also mean that where a homosexual (like anyone else) claims to be a follower of Christ but lives in a way that denies this, Christians will have to act in a way that doesn't allow the person to continue to be mistaken regarding their true position'.

I think this kind of web site is inappropriate especially for Episcopalian Christians, and I hope also for other Christians.

What do you think about this?

Paris, France
20 September 2003

Editor's note: At Anglicans Online we endeavour to provide links to sites with all manner of views and perspectives, as long as there is an Anglican-component and the sites do not advocate violence and hatred. The quotes excerpted above certainly represent a traditional position within the Church and do not, in our view, promote violence or hatred against gay and lesbian people.

'Called by God'

I HAVE SPENT MY LIFE IN CANONCIAL STUDIES AND THEOLOGY and now at age 54 I have been given a great opportunity to be a witness to several events in my lifetime.

When I was in high school, my aunt was in an auto accident involving a drunk driver in Nevada. It was reported that the head-on impact was 120 miles per hour. The doctor who operated on her said it was God's hands that did the work; he only watched. She is alive today because this doctor knew when to stand aside and let God bring the good from this tragedy.

From childhood to manhood I lived under the fear of the cold war. I was told that at any time we could all be wiped away by an atomic war. Communism was the great evil in this war. Most of my life was shaped by this fear, until one day two men decided to lay aside their differences and seek to find a better and new way for their children and grandchildren to live. The great Berlin Wall finally fell because God worked for the good in this small inch they had given to God in history.

I have watched human and civil rights make great strides in our world because of the good God has brought out of our fallen humanity. I have suffered in this struggle because I have been black, I have been white, I have been woman, I have been man, I have been straight, I have been gay, I have been all things to all persons so that the Gospel of God might be seen in my life.

Now my church, our church, the Episcopal Church in the United States, is being called by God to let the Holy Spirit bring the good forth from the General Convention of 2003, reminding us that God is not a respecter of persons. Can we be all things to all persons so that some might know God in Jesus, the Christ?

William A. Flint, PhD
St Columb's Episcopal Church (Ridgeland, Mississippi)
Jackson, Mississippi, USA
16 September 2003

Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All of our letters are in our archives.


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