The Voice of God and the Archbishop
by Joy Tomme
The latest message from Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, is that he has decided to be a follower not a leader of the Anglican Church.
Welby is in hot water over remarks he has recently made about same-sex marriages. On that subject in Oklahoma this past December he said, “I think we need to be aware of the realities on the ground, in our own countries and around the world, and to take those into account when we’re moving forward…we never speak exclusively to ourselves, but we speak in a way which is heard widely around the world. ” Last week on a radio show in Britain, Welby said, “I have stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened in America. We have to listen to that.” In explaining this remark, Welby said the massacre in Africa was influenced by western acceptance of same-sex marriage.
The Archbishop says the Church of England is in a two-year process of talking about same-sex marriage. “We are not going simply to jump to a conclusion,” Welby said, “we have to make sure that we hear the voice of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay. Bisexual, Transgender) communities, which themselves in many parts of the world, including our own countries, suffer a great deal, and we also need to hear very carefully the voices of other members of the church, of other faiths, of ecumenical partners, so that it is a genuine process of listening, and in listening to each other, to listen to the voice of God.”
In other words, for the next two years, Welby intends to do nothing and to listen to what the world and God says about same-sex marriage.
I have no doubt that voices about same-sex marriage from groups around the world will be quite clear. I also have no doubt that Welby is hopeful that these voices will say what Welby is being very careful not to say, and that is that same-sex marriage is an abomination. By doing nothing and by saying that he is “listening”, Welby has effectively passed the buck to anti-gay ranters around the globe.
But Welby says he’s also going to listen to the voice of God. What will Welby hear?
Anti-abortion zealots listen to the voice of God. He tells them that killing zygotes is wrong but killing people that kill zygotes is right. Tea Party right-wingers listen to the voice of God. He tells them that poor people are poor by their own fault. Born-again Christians listen to the voice of God. He tells them that only Christians will go to heaven, everyone else will go to hell.
Old Testament patriarchs listened to the voice of God. He told them to kill anyone who didn’t believe in their one God. Old Testament women listened to the voice of God. He told one to murder a man in his bed; he told two sisters to have sex with their father.
The members of the Roman Catholic Church listen to the voice of God. He tells them that only men can be priests, sex should lead to pregnancy or not be indulged in, abortion and contraception are sins, homosexuality is a sin and when communion is received the bread actually becomes the body of Christ and the wine actually becomes the blood of Christ.
What will Archbishop Justin Welby hear when he listens to the voice of God? Justin Welby will hear exactly what he wants to hear…just as the human race has done for as long as the human race has believed in God.