Where’s the outrage?
The Anglican Communion is in crisis over who has sex with whom. Sexual orientation can get you killed, but it’s not the death that seems to upset folks in the right. It’s the sexuality. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, the Anglican Church is under great threat — including loss of life. From today’s NY Times:
The parishioners were lined up for Holy Communion on Sunday when the riot police stormed the stately St. Francis Anglican Church in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital. Helmeted, black-booted officers banged on the pews with their batons as terrified members of the congregation stampeded for the doors, witnesses said.
A policeman swung his stick in vicious arcs, striking matrons, a girl and a grandmother who had bent over to pick up a Bible dropped in the melee. A lone housewife began singing from a hymn in Shona, “We will keep worshiping no matter the trials!” Hundreds of women, many dressed in the Anglican Mothers’ Union uniform of black skirt, white shirt and blue headdress, lifted their voices to join hers.
Beneath their defiance, though, lay raw fear as the country’s ruling party stepped up its campaign of intimidation ahead of a presidential runoff. In a conflict that has penetrated ever deeper into Zimbabwe’s social fabric, the party has focused on a growing roster of groups that elude its direct control — a list that includes the Anglican diocese of Harare, as well as charitable and civic organizations, trade unions, teachers, independent election monitors and the political opposition.
Where’s the outrage? In the hierarchy of moral evils, murder would seem to be near the top. And, yet, the Anglican right is strangely quiet on this one. The Anglican left has issued statements, but little else seems to have been done.
We had all better wake up quickly. The situation in Zimbabwe seems to get worse by the day and by the week. Prayer is a good start. What else might we do, as Anglicans? It’s frustrating to watch disaster from a distance and to feel powerless.
The US government is unlikely to get involved, since Zimbabwe isn’t a key petroleum producer. Christians only seem to attend to potential genocide when it’s non-Christians killing Christians. Christians killing other Christians (or others) doesn’t often get onto our radar screen. The Anglicans who could apply the most direct pressure — powerful archbishops in Africa — seem more concerned with whether the Bishop of New Hampshire will fly to England this summer.
Who will defend the people of Zimbabwe? Lord, have mercy upon us for our silence. Lord, deliver them from violence, degradation, and danger.
Photo of the Anglican cathedral in Harare is from AFP.