Thursday, January 10, 2008

Father Jake Swings, Misses

Terry Martin has written a post about how hard the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali is making evangelism by being so narrow and homophobic. The concluding sentence is "And we wonder why some of our younger generations consider Christians to be homophobic, judgmental and hypocritical."


Let's look at what the Bishop of Rochester has said according to Terry Martin:

1. Couples who are deliberately childless are being self-indulgent.
2. Just war theory may allow a pre-emptive attack.
3. If the TEC bishops who consecrated Gene Robinson get Lambeth invites, he might not attend.
4. Muslims have created no-go areas in certain large British cities.

Let's discuss them one by one. Number one, the selfishness of not having children is in agreement with the theology of the Catholic church. Protestant theologians can and do disagree with that position, but it is a legitimate position. It all boils down to what you believe marriage is for. Unfortunately for Terry Martin, the historical Anglican position on marriage is found in the 1928 BCP enumeration for the reasons to get married, one of which is children.

But more to the point, such a view is not homophobic, and I'm not sure that calling it hypocritical is fair. So that leaves judgmental. Well it could be, but what was the context of the remark? Terry+ links to this BBC article. Here's the money quote: "Writing in a diocesan newspaper, Rochester Link, the bishop advised priests to look kindly on those whose marriages broke down because of the refusal of one partner to have a child. He said that such people should be treated with the same sympathy as victims of 'infidelity, desertion or cruelty'." So he was calling for compassion when couples divorce over the issue. I'm sorry, but how is that judgmental?

The second idea is about attacking Iraq. A lot of people were against the idea. I'm quite convinced that going in was a mistake. The money quote for the article Terry links to is "
If the Government's promised intelligence dossier on Saddam's weapons stockpile proved convincing, then military action would be legitimate self-defence." Note the use of "If...then". What the Bishop states is a version of the 'Just War Theory'. Just War Theory attempts to answer the question "When may Christians go to war?". I'm not a fan of Just War Theory, but there you are. Again, I'm not seeing homophobia, hypocrisy or judgmentalism here.

What about the third point? Here's the quote: "The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, said he would find it difficult to attend a Church council alongside those who consecrated or approved the appointment of Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop." Well, the consecration of Bishop Robinson was characterized by the Archbishop of Canterbury as straining the fabric of the Anglican Communion. It was in deliberate violation of commitments made by the Episcopal Church. It went against millennia of Church teaching and practice. Further, an absolute majority of the Anglican Communion is no longer in communion with the Episcopal Church as a result of that act.

And I think this is what has gotten Terry's goat. It isn't the couples without children or Just War Theory. It's that Terry Martin thinks that the Episcopal Church is right and the rest of the world, except maybe Canada, is wrong.

But let's get to cases. I think Terry Martin would say that here we see homophobia and judgmentalism and probably hypocrisy. Perhaps someone can explain how it's hypocritical, because I'm not seeing it. Apparently following Church tradition is homophobic, and judgmental. Can someone explain that one to me as well?

Now to point four, Terry Martin objects to the Bishop of Rochester's statement about 'no go areas'. Unfortunately for Father Martin, the Bishop appears to be right.

What is really going on here? Terry Martin doesn't like Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. And instead of saying so and then explaining why, he resorts to the epithets of the Left, terming him homophobic, judgmental and a hypocrite. He would have called the Right Reverend a racist, but for the happy chance that the good bishop is a person of colour. I am startled that Terry Martin left off a reference to the patriarchy. The sad thing is not that it is invective, but that it is invective poorly done.

What is the Bishop of Rochester's sin? He dares to disagree with a priest on another continent. He dares to express concern about issues that Terry Martin doesn't think are important. He has forgotten that he is a second class Christian from a third world country. He needs reminding that the liberal white elite know best, and he should keep his mouth shut, unless it is to express agreement with his betters. I've seen this sort of reaction before. It's what also happens to Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas, among others.

Instead of explaining why the good Bishop is in error, Father Terry simply resorts to a few epithets. He mis-uses some news articles to provide support for a predetermined and poorly thought out conclusion.

This is why the country and the Episcopal Church are divided. Pompous pusillanimous prating priests such as Terry Martin attack their opponents without ever using the Divinely given gift of Reason. He doesn't just attack, he smears, he labels and he doesn't think. Not ever. His conduct in that one post is reprehensible. Unfortunately, his entire website is replete of examples of how narrow minded, bigoted and self-righteous he really is. If just once he would justify his use of the hackneyed labels of the whitebread Left, I could respect him, maybe.

Conclusion: Father Jake is a jerk.


Jake said...

Are you repeating "Terry Martin" over and over again because you think that will somehow cause me harm?

Think again. I quit being anonymous some time ago, as you can see on my "about" page.

But, you got the link right to Jake's place. I do appreciate that.

"Jake the Jerk" does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? My fav is still "Jake the Snake" though.

Matthew said...

No, sorry. I don't mock names or out people. I know you're public. Terry Martin is a lot easier for me to type than Father Jake.

And once again, we see deflection. You maligned a decent man. You may happen to disagree with him, but nonetheless your attack was vicious and grounded upon nothing but malevolence.

Feel free to visit any time. You might actually learn something about fact based argumentation. And bad typing. And praying for one's opponents.

You have been in my prayers since I discovered your website over a year ago.

Tim Black said...

youre a jerk

Matthew said...

Well, that is one opinion.

Anonymous said...

what a twat!

heartafire said...

Outstanding, balanced and fair commentary on Martin's piece. Thank you!

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