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Hallo again to all.

When Anglicans Online began its weekly publication, there was no such thing as a 'news search engine' and even the term 'search engine' was unusual. People found things on the internet with Lycos or Alta Vista and most everything was still offline.

Somehow we've managed to stay relevant, in part by exploring new dimensions for our surname, 'Online'. Every week in preparing our News Centre we use news search engines to find out what the world's press might be saying about Anglicans and their antics. We have through the years seen trends in the news; sometimes we ride them out, sometimes we embrace them, and sometimes we ignore them in the hopes that they will go away.

Today we were shocked when our routine submissions to news search engines turned up almost nothing beyond these alphabetized headlines:

Anglican Bishop Backs Marriage Equality
Anglican Cathedral in Orlando Becomes Catholic
Anglican archbishop backs Christian lobby's gay views
Anglican archbishop claims feminism has set men back
Anglican priests defrocked over abuse claims
Appeal filed in Ontario school abuse case
BC church gets windfall from sale of antique armchair treasures
Bishop of Chichester 'ashamed' over church abuse failings
Changes made to women bishops concessions
East Sussex council: Children 'unsafe in Chichester diocese'
Episcopal diocese investigating priest who takes erotic photos
Episcopal priest arraigned on child sex abuse charges
Melbourne Anglican women will not submit
Personal apology from Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane for forced adoption
Three Anglican priests defrocked for child sexual abuse

Child sex abuse and mistreatment of women are not at all the same crime, of course, but they are often discussed in the same paragraphs and brandished for the same political ends. Yet here we are in the third quarter of 2012 and there is almost nothing in the Anglican-related news that is not about sex or gender. We have from time to time spoken disparagingly of the disproportionate attention given by the world press to sex and gender disputes in the church, but this is the first time we can remember such news taking over. Note: that cute little story about the valuable armchairs has nothing directly to do with sex or gender, but since it did turn up in our search we felt compelled to include it lest we be guilty of manipulating the data. Indirectly it was quite on-topic, since the reason that the church was struggling is that most of its members left to join a congregation that opposed same-sex relationships.

We stopped years ago reporting as Anglican news any of the skirmishes in the women-bishops or same-sex couples wars, partly because the secular press was doing a fine job of reporting it and partly because the stories never changed. We nevertheless applaud the political workers who are still in the trenches fighting for justice.

With respect to child molesters in the church, we'll report it as news when the church establishment does the right thing quickly, bringing down the hammer on the perpetrators and their protectors, but we don't think our little voice has helped that happen. National publicity, quick prosecution, and appropriate sentences and quick remedial action are helping to solve that problem. This makes us feel good about our continuing focus on what is right with the Anglican world and not on what is wrong with it.

If you went to church this week, you were reminded of many of the things that are right about it. We really do think it is helpful to focus on those, just so long as the police are dealing properly with the child abusers and those who enabled them. Gender inequality is a more insidious thing, because fewer people are repulsed by it, but we are optimistic that progress is being made there, too, in much of the civilized world.

See you next week.

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16 September 2012

A thin blue line
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