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This page last updated 24 January 2005
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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 We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters.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 respond to a letter whose author does not list an email, you can send your response to Anglicans Online and we'll forward it to the writer.

Letters from 10 to 16 January 2005

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the letter writers and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

Slaughter of the innocent

In your home-page letter this week (January 9, 2005), you offer your view that the response to the tsunami disaster in South Asia has been overwhelmingly generous, compared to other tragedies of equal or greater scope (the crisis in Darfur, the AIDS pandemic, etc.) because the tsunami disaster is both transient and amenable to monetary solutions. While I agree with your analysis, I would like to offer an additional reason that may be equally or perhaps even more on-target: the victims of the tsunami disaster in South Asia are clearly all entirely innocent.

The dubious reasoning of Sydney church officials notwithstanding, nobody is guilty; nobody is to blame. While we can debate the moral necessity of, say, warning systems, there is no cause of this disaster that requires anyone to reconsider, say, their lifestyle or their political/economic system. There are no issues of justice involved; no moral finger-pointing or hand-wringing is required. Governments can easily take the moral high road, can garner free PR, free brownie points, if you will, without taking sides in intellectually demanding debate, without the need to grapple with thorny ethical questions, without very much risk of alienating a cherished power base or influential constituency, and without engaging in any delicate calculus in which their policies or convictions might have to be examined.

The tsunami disaster is a motherhood-and-apple-pie disaster. No controversies are involved, and that is how we like our problems: not just transient and amenable to monetary solutions. AIDS, Darfur, and the others call for uncomfortable and (guaranteed, with at least some part of the world's population) unpopular moral decisiveness. I believe the common denominator in your analysis and mine is simplicity, be it of cause or response. We like our problems and their solutions not to be controversial, and not to have far-ranging ramifications that might imply conversion, that might push us to admit guilt or complicity, and confront us with any need to repent. Even vast sums of money are a cheap price to pay for feeling good and above reproach.

Tom Malionek
Saint Matthew's
Hyattsville, Maryland, USA
10 January 2005

Aiding and abetting

I noticed this morning that the Vacancies Centre has postings from the Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry listed there.

As an alumnus of the School I am disturbed at the direction the school has taken over the past decade. It seems to me that it is directly involved in trying to destroy the Episcopal Church in the United States with its homophobic and literalist tendencies. It actively supports those who are promoting schism and regularly welcomes "bishops" of the Anglican Mission in America. I spoke at length with Peter Moore about these concerns and he dismissed them.

I think that Anglicans Online should not be a partner in TESM's attempts to destroy the Episcopal Church. TESM claims to represent "authentic Anglicanism" but that is a dodge to keep their seditious activities under the radar in America and enable them to extract money from Episcopalians across the nation.

The Rev. Canon David C James, Ph.D.
St. John's Episcopal Church
Olympia, Washington, USA
10 January 2005

[Ed: Certainly this is something for us to think about. Probably we have an obligation to treat TESM just like any other seminary as long as it is accredited by the national church. TESM is listed on page 46 of our Red Book.]

Looking for youth mission opportunity

Help! I am a youth group leader in our parish and we are looking for an out of town mission opportunity for 8-12 teens (16-18 years old) this coming summer. Ideally, we would like to partner with another parish or other community. If anyone out there has any ideas, invitations or experiences they'd like to share we would greatly appreciate it. We are open to travelling overseas, but cost will be a significant factor for us. Thanks so much

Jon White
St Michael and All angels
Portland, Oregon, USA
10 January 2005

Appalled by the Dean

I am appalled that the Dean of Sydney sees the tsunami of Boxing Day as a message from God. I don't think that God acts that way. I see it as the result of natural forces that are part of God's creation.

As for what to do? The Primate's World Relief & Development Fund of the Anglican Church of Canada is putting designate monies to action in the area through the related churches. I would also suggest that donations to the Red Cross/Red Crescent organization, Doctors Without Borders and other similar groups would be a good thing.

Paul Willson
Anglican Church of Canada
Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA
11 January 2005

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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