Maybe I have an anti-establishment streak, but when an upstart conservative paper is banned by the church, I have to laugh. The Anglican Journal is the official newspaper of the Anglican Church in Canada, but many conservatives have felt the paper is too liberal. Earlier this year they responded by publishing The Anglican Planet to offer a more conservative voice within the Anglican church on issues like same-sex marriage.
The response has been more than they expected: 5,000 subscriptions instead of a few hundred, and censorship.
Bishop Jim Njegovan of the Diocese of Brandon in Manitoba said the paper is “sowing the seeds of distrust and disdain within the Church, and that the publishers have no respect for those in authority over them.”
“As bishop, I do not endorse any such material. Nor do I wish to see it distributed in, or to, our parishes,” said Njegovan, effectively banning the newspaper.
“I think he’s just going to regret it,” said Rev. David Harris, co-editor of The Anglican Planet. “You know, in the modern age the list of forbidden books and the Inquisition ended a long time ago.”
Christianity Today wonders why no one is talking about this story, but I can’t help but wonder about the marketing implications.
The furor in the church at large and the Anglican church especially over homosexuality is a marketing fiasco. Disagreement is one thing, but when a group can’t get their act together and start bickering and splintering, it’s not exactly an attractive group to join, especially for homosexuals. With love and peace and unity central to the Christian faith, you’d think we could figure out how to argue. But as history shows, we’d rather divide.
And apparently in a case like this, division isn’t enough. Now we need to silence the opposition. Yikes. I’m not sure how this comes out good for anybody.