Resist linguistic traps that label any side in debate

Published June 1, 2004

The letters below refer to stories featured on the Anglican Journal Web site during General Synod. Dear editor,

“…the Canada General Synod portal,” is produced by orthodox Anglican laypeople and clergy opposed to same-sex blessings, who also run the Classical Anglican Net News (CANN) ..” (Who owns the name ‘Anglican’?, Web site, May 26)

I am uncomfortable with the implication that Anglicans who support same-sex blessings are somehow less than orthodox.

There is a great deal of pre-emptive use of vocabulary in political, social and moral debate. Several groups have labeled themselves “pro-something.” This leaves the implication that anyone disagreeing with their point of view is necessarily “anti-something.” This is often misleading and frequently hurtful. I hope we can resist falling into such linguistic traps. The Body of Christ has many different members but we are still one body.

Richard Birney-Smith

Dundas, Ont.

Human right

Dear editor,

By the next General Synod perhaps the church will have realized that marriage is a human right not a heterosexual privilege and that, in obedience to the commandment to love one another as we love ourselves, the church can extend the full privileges and responsibilities of marriage to gays and lesbians – with pleasure (Synod defers decision on blessings, Web site, June 2).

Joanna M. Weston

Shawnigan Lake, B.C.

Cause of division

Dear editor,

Regarding your article, Nine bishops ‘express sorrow’ at synod’s actions ( Web site, June 3), I find it interesting that Archbishop Andrew Hutchison is disappointed that the bishops’ statement “speaks of division.” In fact, it was the same-sex motions, both the one deferred and the one passed, that are the cause of division. It is the move toward same-sex blessings that has succeeded, in splitting our church. Don’t try to blame it on those hold to historical and foundational doctrine and teachings.

John Kivell

Edson, Alta.

Who is divisive?

Dear editor,

I was surprised to read of Archbishop Andrew Hutchison’s characterization of the actions of the nine bishops who dissented from the actions of General Synod as “speaking of division” Surely the shoe is on the other foot?

To affirm the sanctity of same-sex relationships is a hugely divisive move. The word “sanctity” is a theological word, referring to something which is holy, separated from evil, in line with God’s revealed will. The use of this word in Canon Garth Bulmer’s amendment ought to have ensured that the motion be considered as a matter of doctrine, needing to be passed by a majority in all three houses at two successive General Synods. However, the chair chose not to require this. This was done despite warnings from around the world about how divisive this would be. And Archbishop Hutchison describes the nine bishops who spoke up for biblical Anglicanism as “divisive”? Their action pales into insignificance beside Canon Bulmer’s amendment.

Tim Chesterton


Selective blessing

Dear editor,

As a gay man, I find it passing strange that the church will bless my dog but not a committed same-sex relationship. Message received and understood.

Brian Webb



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