The revisionist spin, laid down almost as soon as GAFCON was announced, has been three pronged: 1. Exaggerate every error and portray every move as an error 2. Portray difference as discord and 3. Portray the conference leaders as bent on breaking with Canterbury despite their clear words to the contrary.
Why, you might ask, do revisionists spill so much ink over what they seek to portray as an ineffectual, badly planned, narrow, schismatic conference that will have no impact and mean nothing in the end.
Why not simply ignore it and go about your business?
At least that is what it looks and smells like.
Leftist bloggers and columnists reacting to GAFCON are corporately doing their best impression of a large quivering mass of fear.
I am not sure what, exactly, they are afraid of (they’ve largely won things after-all) but when all your opponent can do is spew scorn, bitterness, and condescension, you know you’ve got them.
I hope to address, eventually, all three prongs of the leftist spin but this morning I want to concentrate on the first prong: Exaggerate every error and portray everything as error. The “Gaffe” prong is helped along by the unfortunate acronym of the conference. And there have certainly been mistakes along the way—big ones. I think that it would have been of first importance, for example, to feel out the Bishop of Jerusalem and Archbishop Mouneer Anis before announcing the decision to hold GAFCON in Jerusalem and at least have a prepared response to the inevitable public disassociations that were ultimately and dutifully published by the Episcopal Church’s bishop in Jerusalem.
I’ve been here for about three days and so far GAFCON has been nothing short of a logistical miracle. A conference of this size in this location without the support of the local bishop would normally take at least a year to organize. The GAFCON people have done it in a matter of months and thus far the meetings, talks, transportation, and tours have gone off flawlessly.
The supposed PR “gaffes” that Mark Harris discusses here are more figments of fevered leftist tripe and imagination than reality.
It is not, for example, a “gaffe” to put Susan Russell on a do-not-admit list. It’s a feature.
Secondly, the reporting of the exchange between the advocate for gay sex and Archbishops Orombi, Akinola, and Jensen has been atrocious. There is both video and audio of the exchange. It is not difficult to follow the line of inquiry.
When Archbishop Orombi asked for evidence from the advocate of gay sex that any bishop associated with GAFCON provinces advocates violence toward homosexual people, the advocate for gay sex provided none. Instead he put forward an example of people who claim to have been beaten raped in African prisons. Yes, lots of people, gay and straight, have suffered that sort of brutality in both African and American prisons. It is a terrible thing. But the Archbishop asked for evidence of any GAFCON bishop advocating violence against homosexual people, not for evidence of the violence itself. It is understandable that Archbishops Orombi and Akinola were confused at this point. The ground had shifted under their feet.
Then the New York Times reporter pipes up with the “when was the last time you beat your wife…” question. “I haven’t heard you condemn violence against homosexual people.” (paraphrase)
Of course you didn’t. Why should you?
The advocate for gay sex began with a public accusation, failed to provide any evidence, and brought up instead a horrifying example of violence.
And the New York Times slams the archbishops for not condemning the horrifying example of violence.
Me: “So Presiding Bishop Schori, why do you support the imprisonment of dissenting rectors?”
PB: “I don’t.”
Me: “Yes you do”
PB: “Can you name anyone from the Episcopal Church who supports that?”
Me: “Sure I can. Just last month in Canada a pastor was fined $7000.00 for preaching that homosexual behavior is condemned in scripture.”
PB: “But do you have any evidence that this was something the Episcopal Church advocates?”
New York Times: “I did not hear you condemn the imprisonment of dissenting rectors.”
The problem is that some of the leftist press operations have arrived with their headlines already written. “Anglican Schismatics Hate Gay People and Their Pets” and they interpret everything that happens through that lens.
This was not a “gaffe”. It was not a forced error. It was a headline grabbing accusation manufactured by the gay sex advocate and exploited by the New York Times reporter who seems unable to follow the logic of an exchange.
Finally, many revisionist sites are in mid-whine that GAFCON is a conference and not just a pilgrimage. This complaint is rather baffling. No one has ever said GAFCON was only a pilgrimage. It is, in fact, a pilgrimage, but not a mere pilgrimage. One need look no further than the acronym itself: “Global Anglican Future CONFERENCE”.
I’ve known for some time that our revisionist friends are hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with questions of logic and reason but I did assume that they could read.
Of course GAFCON is a Conference and of course things will be done and decided and acted upon. But GAFCON is also a pilgrimage. The decisions we make here will be informed by our time of prayer at the holy sites and guided by God’s Word written.