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How to lose a donor, or, the Church does it again

11 May 2012

We often don’t think about the strings that come with our giving. With so many charitable relief and welfare organisations having a religious foundation, we may be giving to the charitable agency of an organisation with whose policies and pronouncements we disagree. Major agencies here are the Salvos (Salvation Army) and Vinnies (the St Vincent de Paul Society). Both the Salvation Army and the Roman Catholic Church have recently joined in declaring their opposition to granting equality in marriage under civil law to lesbian and gay people, and they’re off my Christmas gift list.

I have been an Anglican for most of my life. I feel part of the global Anglican Communion, despite the ongoing turmoil over the role that lesbians and gays may, or may not, play in the life of the church. I have made changes in my church attendance including frequency and location, but I am at least trying to maintain a level of attendance somewhere. I have already corresponded with the Primate expressing dismay at a media release opposing gay marriage.  Through this, in recent years my partner and I have maintained a regular donation to the humanitarian work of the Anglican Board of Mission Australia.

I learned that, back in March 2012, the Australian Anglican Bishops held their annual meeting. And they have seen fit to make yet another declaration in relation to lesbians and gays in the life of the church. You can read the resulting protocol, a press report over the appointment that prompted the declaration and the gloating report of the declaration from our favourite Sydney Anglicans.

I accept that there was a trigger for the consideration, but it is a blatant move to tighten a perceived loophole so that lesbians and gays may be further prevented from taking their place in the life of the church. I am angered by the fact that the protocol affirms, in this context, resolution 33 from the 2004 General Synod; this motion deals substantially with Child Protection and it adds nothing to the protocol save to make lazy and incorrect associations between homosexuality and paedophilia.

The time has clearly come to reassess support for the Anglican Church and its agencies, so today I sent the following by email:

For attention of the Communication and Fundraising Department
Anglican Board of Mission Australia

I am writing to confirm phone conversations this afternoon in which I requested that our regular donation to Anglican Board of Mission projects be cancelled with immediate effect.  I also wanted to write to explain why.

We have a quarterly payment that is deducted on 14 of May, August, November and February.  I understand that the process to deduct this month’s payment may have been put in place and if that is the case I would like to request a refund.

It only came to my attention today that the Australian Anglican Bishops have seen fit to make another resolution and declaration on the matter of ‘human sexuality’, specifically the role that lesbian and gay people can, or cannot, play in the life of the church.  I am finding it increasingly difficult to feel part of a church that expresses such hatred of lesbians and gays, despite platitudes and protests to the contrary; we can hardly be expected to feel comfortable donating to the mission agency of the same church.

The drive to make a so-called ‘orthodox’ view of human sexuality to be a core aspect of Anglican doctrine is diverting the church from its mission and alienating many faithful members.  When the Anglican Church is promoting hatred and injustice through its interventions in the political sphere on civil rights and its denial of dignity to lesbian and gay people, then it is hypocritical for its mission agency to declare that it is “Working for Love, Hope and Justice” and impossible for us to continue to support such a contradictory position.

Please send us no further fundraising communication.  We will redirect our giving to a secular agency where this unfortunate clash of purposes does not arise.

It hurts me to be stepping further and further from a body in which, for so much of my life, I have felt at home. But the church cannot preach love while acting in hate and still expect support for itself and its agencies.

Not in my name.

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2 Comments
  1. 14 May 2012 9:07 am

    It’s sad that it came to this, but I think you have put it well. Hopefully your email will be read and not just filed.

    Speaking of falling on deaf ears, when I was a child the church (same one) sent two guys around for the annual donation and mum quietly explained that her marriange had broken down and she had to return to work to make ends meet and at no stage had anyone from the church approached us to find out how we were were coping. One of the honchos was married to my sister’s teacher so it wasn’t like they didn’t know. They still insisted on the donation, so mum insisted on their departure. We never set foot in that church again.

    Hmmm….

  2. Jenny Chisholm permalink
    31 August 2012 8:29 pm

    You are in the good company of Richard Holloway, former Primus of the Church of Scotland, whose memoir, ‘Leaving Alexandria’, I have just finished reading.
    After the 1998 Lambeth Conference, he spoke of ‘my sense that there was a profound sickness at the heart of so-called Biblical morality, if it could lead to such hatred and cruelty.’ So he threw his mitre into the Thames and subsequently resigned.

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