General Synod is the Church of England’s highest decision-making body. It holds congress twice a year—in Westminster and in York. It is copulating (in the original Latin sense) this weekend in York. Over 400 bishops, clergy and laity will attend its sessions. Members may propose motions, ask questions, discuss positions and raise issues for debate. It is their chance to table the most serious issues facing Christianity and therefore society today.
What are they? The list surely is long from a catastrophically declining church membership and the concomitant collapse of Christian marriage (the very building block of Christian culture) to the sanctity of life (threatened by the normalisation of abortion) to pressure for euthanasia. But of the greatest urgency, surely, is the genocide of Christians in the Islamic world and the persecution of Christians in countries like India, which is ruled by a fascistic Hindu government.
Two months ago, in Civilisation sleeps while a Christian Holocaust takes shape, a response to A Manifesto for Persecuted Christians launched by Barnabas Fund, I set out how Christians today are the world’s most persecuted religious group. The statistics are truly shocking: A Christian is killed every six minutes and 500,000 Christians around the globe are unable to practice their faith freely. No, these are not alarmist statistics provided by advocacy groups. These are understated figures supplied by The Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) an independent international network that engages in scholarly research and provides accurate information to the public on new religious movements. That is the considered assessment of the liberal Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
In the book of Revelation the great enemy of the church is personified as the Whore of Babylon. This is the whore who seeks to destroy the church. She is portrayed as ‘drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs’ (Revelation 17:6). Does this knowledge make the slightest difference to General Synod? Do Archbishops Welby and Sentamu, the over 80 bishops and bishopettes, the archdeacons and deans, priests and priestesses, and the laity at the heart of the 80 million strong Anglican Communion attending this bi-annual shindig, even raise an eyebrow over the genocide of their fellow-Christians?
The nitpicking left-wing hierarchy of the British church even seems to have difficulty when it comes to using the word ‘genocide’ to describe the persecution of Christians. Last year, neither the Church of England nor the Catholic Church in the UK were willing to openly advocate for the use of the word. Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, said it was ‘complicated as many Muslims had been killed too.’ Welby was willing to concede the reality of Christians facing ‘elimination’ at the hands of ISIS but refused to use the word ‘genocide.’
Yet when it come to defending Muslims in a BBC Radio 4 response to the London Bridge terror attack, Welby was quick to highlight the massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica as evidence for the Christian equivalent of Islamic terrorism. Although the Genocide Convention came into force in 1948, this was the first-ever conviction by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for genocide. The massacre was designated as ‘genocide’. It was a contested and controversial decision even though the numbers killed amounted to between 7,000 to 8,000 military-aged Bosnian Muslim men. By comparison to this, the ‘shy’ Archbishop might note, some 90,000 Christians were murdered for their faith in 2016.
The British House of Commons does not share his reticence. They voted unanimously (278-0) in favour of declaring the attacks against Christians as genocide. Similarly the US House of Representatives made a unanimous declaration in March, and likewise the European Parliament did so in February 2016. The Church of Ireland also unanimously adopted a motion at its General Synod in Dublin expressing solidarity with persecuted Christians across the world.
What has the Church of England done? Nothing.
While their Christian brethren— bishops, priests, nuns, evangelists and congregation members - are raped, stoned, crucified or machine-gunned to death, while their churches are bombed or burned down, while modern day Neros are throwing Christians to the lions, what the members of General Synod are suffering from is a preoccupation with sex.
As the veteran conservative blogger Adrian Hilton observed earlier this week regarding this week’s Synod: ‘Of the 85 listed Synod questions, not one – not one – is concerned with the plight of the persecuted church worldwide. There are questions about sex, sexuality, sex, LGBT, sex, LGTBQIA (what?), sex, LGBTI, sex, same-sex marriage, sex, “gay cure” conversion therapy, sex, sex, and sex. Oh, there’s a question on ‘Monitoring air quality’, too. That’s diversity of obsession. Welcome to the General Sex Synod of the Church of England.’
‘Sex’ is to General Synod what the ‘bell’ was to the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov’s salivating dogs. The Church of England has sex on the brain. Four African nations face one of the worst famine crises since World War II yet all the Church of England can obsess about is what lies below, not above, the belt.
So why this fixation on sex? And at a time that Justin Welby is facing serious questions regarding two of the most significant sexual abuse scandals in recent archiepiscopal memory? Could this be another diversionary virtue-signalling media tactic as was scapegoating the former conservative ABC George Carey, while letting the former liberal ABC Rowan Williams get away with a rap on the knuckles?
Last week, another skeleton came tumbling out of the C of E closet when ‘Michael,’ a victim of sexual abuse shed his anonymity and revealed his identity as Fr Matthew Ineson. Fr Ineson says he was molested, raped, and tortured by an Anglican priest, that he complained to a whole platoon of bishops, including Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft, Bishop of Leicester Martyn Snow and Archbishop of York John Sentamu, and finally that. he wrote to Archbishop Justin Welby 12 times in 2016, all ignored,’ he states. Fr Ineson will make his protest in full view of General Synod this weekend. The media will be agog - but not perhaps if Welby feeds them a diversionary sex agenda.
There is perhaps another more disturbing reason. The Church of England in recent years has begun to worship at another altar - the Unholy Trinity of Nietzsche, Marx and Freud. ‘It’s all about power,’ said Friedrich Nietzsche. ‘It’s all about sex,’ said Sigmund Freud. ‘It’s all about class warfare,’ said Karl Marx. General Synod is all about power politics.
Discussing pansexuality in a manner that would frazzle even Freud, the mania with sex keeps General Synod stimulated. The Marxian thesis of class warfare has morphed into a cultural Marxism of identity politics where the division is not so much between bourgeois and proletariat but between pansexualists and those who prefer the traditional position on sex.
Instead of having Bibles in the pew, it is likely members of General Synod will be given an illustrated copy of the Kama Sutra! Watching the antics of the General Synod Sex Circus, the Hungarian-born British journalist George Mikes, would have to rewrite the chapter on sex in his very funny book How to be an Alien. ‘European men and women have sex-lives; English men and women have hot-water bottles,’ he wrote in 1946. Not any more! And certainly not if you are on General Synod! You are more likely to get a sex therapy session.