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When does an influence become a bribe?



>From QUEST COFFEE HOUR Note 24897 by BARBARA LIOTSCOS:
> While I have appreciated so many of your notes, and am delighted with the
> news of additions to the growing list of signers of the Pastoral Statement,
> I found other parts of this note extremely distasteful.  I gather that one
> of the really painful experiences of Lambeth for some was the perceived
> corruption and graft in the church - what appeared to be the buying of
> support or votes.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed, not
> encouraged by asking us to reward with discretionary funds those who sign
> the statement.  I think that we do need to mobilize support - but not this
> way.
> 
> Barbara

Thanks for the caveat.  I proposed a thank offering after the fact, not an
investment with strings attached.  I did not intend to suggest the use of
discretionary funds:  those have been donated by someone else, and most
lay persons don't have discretionary funds.  I urge people to give out of
the generosity of their own pocketbooks, not stinting on any of their
other commitments. 

Several in the Islamic community sent generous offerings to the victims of
the Oklahoma City bombing in the days before we discovered that the
terrorists were good ole boys, home-grown.  While they were obviously
trying to erase some of the fierce stereotypes that oppress them, the
Islamic community was as genuinely concerned about the Oklahoma victims as
any of the rest of us. I do not equate their gifts with gifts that others
might have given to McVeigh & his friends.

I concur that we should be especially attentive to the risks of graft, but
I am not yet aware that graft occurred at Lambeth.  The conservatives
spent their money well at Lambeth to serve their agenda. They did not buy
votes: instead, they organized coalitions and taught those who already
agreed with them how to make the system work for their advantage.  That's
a big part, though not the whole part, of what systems are for.

I see no problem with persons of any side training folks to understand the
system and to use the system to support what they feel to be the right
course of action so long as the money they use to do this educations is
raised fair and square. Some have suggested that diocesan funds in Dallas
were diverted to serve these partisan interests at Lambeth;  others have
denied that or said that those funds were repayed.  That is an issue that
I am sure the conservatives in Dallas will themselves want to clarify.

People are wrong to suggest that the African votes were bought at Lambeth. 
Anyone who did not already know Africans' stated views about homosexuality
simply had not paid much attention to them.  Also, anyone who concludes
that the African Christians practice Western sexual mores also has little
knowledge of actual sexual practice in Africa.  The one thing that you
definitely did not get at Lambeth was a candid discussion of such matters.
The conservatives used their parliamentary savvy and newly forged alliances
to assure minimum candor.  Sexuality was a smoke screen for issues of
hegemony.  Lesbigays were the scapegoats, Dis-invited. 

The archbishop and others pointed to the strong unity that the vote
brought to the communion, enhancing welcome with orthodox communities. 
They are right.  Antisemitism unified the Third Reich, as racism unified
the forces of apartheid and segregation.

I have few problems with the ways that conservatives organized to support
their goals.  I have major problems with the goals.  They smack of
genocide of lesbigay persons.  Much of the rhetoric insists that we don't
even exist and that if we do, we should cease.  If we insist on revisiting
such patriarchy, Lot's daughters best be preparing their hope chests.

Lutibelle of the Lambeth Lepers Belles/Louie






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