Comprehensive Unity: The No Anglican Covenant Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Challenge

Recently on this site, we advised our readers of the launch of our opposite number, the Yes to the Covenant group. According to one of the two news releases they have issued to date (but curiously do not seem to have provided online), they intend to counter the “negative campaigning by a small group of detractors,” which I presume means us.

Their spokesperson, Miss Prudence Dailey, accuses us of “spreading ill-founded fears.” The rest of their narrative is a rehash of the same tired talking points we’ve all heard before. Indeed, while their website does link to the proposed Covenant, there was not (so far as I could find on 28 February) a single analytical piece on offer which actually referred in any way to the text of the proposed Covenant – apart from a list of the section headings. They were also challenged on their use of a picture of Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu - thus implying his endorsement - given that the retired Archbishop has never taken a public position on the matter. They quickly corrected that gaffe.

But there is hope. In carefully parsed rhetoric in the news releases, Miss Dailey indicates that she and her group would like to see “a balanced view.”

Here at the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, we have no fear of “a balanced view.” In fact, we have occasionally linked to pro-Covenant pieces that we thought were worthwhile, including creating our own links page for a series of pro-Covenant articles from the American publication, The Living Church. We have also linked to Miss Dailey’s site.

We like a balanced discussion here at NACC. In fact, we have consistently called on the English Bishops to ensure that members of their synods are provided with balanced materials that set forth both the case for the Covenant and the case against. This is consistent with past practice in the Church of England on controversial issues such as the ordination of women. Two of our patrons, retired bishops Peter Selby and John Saxbee wrote personally to all 44 diocesan bishops to press the need for a full and fair debate.

Unfortunately, national Church of England officials and some bishops have chosen not to follow this reasonable precedent and have, instead, provided only one-sided pro-Covenant material. Some dioceses refused to allow critical material to be distributed to synod members. In one diocese, the first 40 minutes of a scheduled 90 minute debate was handed over to pro-Covenant speakers (including one of Yes to the Covenant’s patrons) before anyone critical of the Covenant was allowed to utter a syllable – and the remaining 50 minutes was split evenly between Covenant supporters and Covenant opponents.  (That work's out to 65 minutes of pro-Covenant speeches against 25 minutes of Covenantsceptic speeches.)

But some dioceses have allowed a fair distribution of materials and ensured a fair and balanced debate. And in virtually every one of these dioceses, the Anglican Covenant has been rejected – often by substantial margins.

We are big fans of balanced debate here at the No Anglican Covenant Coalition.

So, Miss Dailey, if you really do believe in a reasonable and balanced discussion, I challenge you to join us in calling on the remaining 27 diocesan bishops to ensure that balanced material is provided to their synods and that appropriate speakers are invited to present both sides of the question when their synods meet.

Our contact information is here on the website, Miss Dailey. We await your response.

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Blogger June Butler said...

As I understand, the Anglican Communion Office and the Anglican Communion News Service are funded by all of the churches of the communion. The churches have been tasked with deciding whether or not to adopt the proposed Anglican Covenant. One presumes a choice here, whether to adopt or not. Why then do the ACO and ACNS provide only pro-covenant material? It seems to me that the proper and fair thing to do would be to provide both pro and con information, so that the dioceses and the various churches in the communion are better able to make informed decisions.

It's not as though well-reasoned statements against adopting the covenant are non-existent. The No Anglican Covenant Coalition website offers such material from voices of members of different churches throughout the communion, and, in addition, offers pro-covenant material, including a blatantly anti-American paper by Peter Doll, Canon Librarian of Norwich Cathedral, which was sent out to all Church of England bishops by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Why can't those of us who have serious doubts that the covenant is the solution to the present troubles and disagreements in the communion have our voices heard through the ACO and ACNS? Publicizing only pro-covenant material prejudices the vote in favor of the covenant, and the actions of the ACO and ACNS are not right and not fair.


June Butler

February 28, 2012 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger JimB said...

Do you know the difference between "Fair and Balanced" on Fox News and the Anglican Communion Office outlets? Fox is fairer.


February 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM  

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