Saturday, July 19, 2014

Muriel Porter complains about representative democracy in the Australian Anglican church

Notwithstanding my support for women being ordained priests and bishops as well as deacons, I can see a silly complaint when I see one.

Muriel Porter, doyen of all things liberal in Oz Anglicanism, is now grizzling at the most liberal step any church can take, to allow itself to have representative democracy!

If only our ACANZP General Synod has similar representative democracy I wonder how voting on the likes of Motion 30 would go!?


John sandeman said...

Evangelicals did do well, but there was a broad range elected with varying views on women's ministry. One delegate told me that the Evangelicals worked well together while the Liberal catholic ticket was narrow.

Jean said...

Guess it does seem an assumption that all Evangelicals view women's ministry in the same light. An article in Christianity today re the younger generation training to be ministers pastors in the US revealed evangelical young people who were evangelicals were the most likely to support women in ministry.....

Father Ron Smith said...

Well, Peter, I guess that with a few more imports into our diocese from Sydney, you might get your heart's desire in Christchurch - but I think that your hope of an overturning of Motion 30 at our G.S. is still doomed. Not enough con-evos in ACANZP.

However, I suggest that former Nelson academic (now Bishop) Tim, in Australia, is showing a bit of independence from the Moore College by-line on women in ministry.

MichaelA said...

Peter, I suggest you need to work on your headlines. I am struggling to see any sense in which Muriel Porter "complained about representative democracy".

Yes, she complained that there is little support around for the ordination of women to the priesthood, and she indicated her fear that if the 1992 vote were held now it may not go through. But I read that as a call to arms, to galvanise liberals to take action to change Synod voting. Where does she complain about the system itself?

Muriel writes:

"But it is now clear that legislation for women priests would not have been passed even in Adelaide this month. It is as well it was passed back in 1992, when it was difficult enough. It barely reached the requisite two-thirds majorities then in the face of the conservative opposition."

Muriel's point is not mere history of psephology, but to underline her fear that the ordination of women priests may be revoked in Australia in the future. She writes:

"So could we see the unthinkable happen in this country, the legislation for women priests repealed? It happened in the Presbyterian Church. Could it happen here, even though there are now close to 500 women priests in Australia? It is believed some conservatives have a repeal in their sights."

Her actual complaint about "democracy" is not a complaint about the system, but about how liberals are succeeding in it (or not). Its the same as if the leader of a political party laments that his party is not reaching the voters and is therefore not polling well. It doesn't mean that that political leader has a problem with the democratic system itself.