Blogroll Category: Current Affairs
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Andrea Williams, lay General Synod member in the Church of England and chief executive of Christian Concern comments on yesterday’s statement from Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop John Sentamu:
It amazes me that I continue to be surprised by the Church of England. This week it is astonishing that the Archbishops have issued an apology for the pastoral statement issued by the House of Bishops last week. The pastoral statement merely reiterated church teaching that marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman and that sexual intercourse is reserved for marriage.
An apology should only be made when you have done something wrong. This apology does not regret anything that was said in the pastoral statement. It is therefore a non-apology. Of course, there are people who disagree with church teaching; there always have been. This is no reason for the Archbishops to apologise for church teaching.
We are left with the appearance that the Archbishops are sorry for the offence caused by proclaiming the doctrine of marriage! This is a ridiculous position for them to be in.
Marriage is a beautiful gift of God for the benefit of society and for the raising of families. It is the bishops’ job to discipline clergy who deliberately and openly promote and practise sex outside marriage. To instead apologise for jeopardising trust and the ‘hurt’ this caused is to fail to give broken people the liberating hope they need – found only in Jesus and his truth.
Marriage is not something to be apologised for, it is something to be celebrated and upheld by our Bishops. It is tragic that the Archbishops are apologising for clearly stating the doctrine of marriage. They should be clear and unashamed about what marriage is and how it is the best foundation for a vibrant and flourishing society. Marriage is good for men, women and children and exactly what the House of Bishops should be championing.
The post Andrea Williams responds to Archbishops’ apology for marriage statement appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.
In December 2019, the House of Bishops of the Church of England published a “Pastoral Statement” regarding same-sex and opposite-sex civil partnerships. Many conservatives rejoiced, and many progressives snarled, at what appeared to be a reaffirmation of the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage.
As I read the statement, I found myself thinking: “This is the sound of one hand clapping.” Let me explain.
On the one hand, the bishops wish to reaffirm the Prayer Book teaching on the divine purposes of marriage, that “marriage is a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace,” which is ordained for the procreation of children, for a remedy against sin, and for the mutual society of husband and wife (§§7-8).
So far, so good, but that’s “on the one hand.” As they continue, they focus on only one of these purposes, sexual intimacy: “sexual intercourse, as an expression of faithful intimacy, properly belongs within marriage exclusively,” according to a 1999 teaching document. In the light of this teaching on sexual intimacy, other sexual relationships “fall short” of God’s purposes for human beings (§9).
By shifting the focus to sexual intercourse and “intimacy,” the bishops have divided the baby from the matrimonial act and can only critique other sexual relationships as “falling short.” Falling short of a good thing is not the same as violating it or perverting it, which is what the Prayer Book means in seeing marriage as a “remedy against sin and to avoid fornication.”
If sexual intimacy is a good thing in itself, perhaps it can simply be broadened to include other configurations. This is precisely what they hint at in the next section (§10): the forthcoming study of “other areas of human sexuality is underway (the Living in Love and Faith project)” and will inform further deliberations of the bishops, including the propriety of opposite- and same-sex civil partnerships.
In the next sections (§§11-21) the bishops seek to salvage civil partnerships from falling outside the church’s teaching. The main move in this salvage operation is to claim, contrary to the shape and public perception of the Civil Partnership Act, that “there is likely to be a range of circumstances in which people…choose to register a partnership where there is no intention for the relationship to be expressed through sexual activity.” For this reason, they come up with a “via media” solution, that while the church cannot bless civil partnerships as a whole, clergy can “pray for” individual civil partners “in the light of the circumstances of each case.”
The church has historically provided an avenue for those called to the intentional single life. It is called monasticism, and it provides a brotherly and sisterly fellowship of those devoted to Christ and His work. If, as some argue today, there is a place for consecrated friendships, it is for the church and not the state to design and regulate such friendships outside of civil partnerships that are intended to be sexual in nature.
One way to test my thesis that this pastoral statement is one hand clapping is to look for the other hand, which is church discipline, which the bishops address next (§§22-34). The current discipline requires clergy in civil partnerships, because of the “ambiguity” involved, to assure their bishop that their relationship is not sexual. In addition, clergy are not to perform public liturgies of blessing, but they are to teach about the positive value of committed friendships, which presumably would include encouraging some people to enter into a civil partnership.
The pastoral statement sets a lower standard for laity: “The House considers that lay people who have registered civil partnerships ought not to be asked to give assurances about the nature of their relationship before being admitted to baptism, confirmation and communion” (§29). So if a couple comes to the Communion rail holding hands with stars in their eyes, the pastor is required to avert his gaze (for the priest as “watchman,” see the Ordinal and Ezekiel 33:1-7). One wonders why, since the church admits same-sex married persons to the sacraments on the same basis, the bishops don’t simply ask sexually active couples to get a civil marriage.
So if the disciplinary hand allows for other sexual relationships while the doctrinal hand remains opposed, are they simply passing each other by in mid-air? That may be convenient politically in the short term, but it cannot stand. I have heard this kind of bishopspeak before. Over forty years I have watched the bishops of the Episcopal Church USA claim they were upholding the traditional teaching of the church on sexuality – until they were not. Now the only bishop left in that church who is trying to stand fast is being tried for violating his ordination vow.
In their conclusion (§35), the bishops seek to have it every which way: to maintain the church’s traditional teaching regarding marriage (defined down in terms of intimacy), “to affirm the value of committed sexually abstinent friendships” in civil partnerships, and “to minister sensitively and pastorally to those Christians who conscientiously decide to order their lives differently,” which presumably refers to sexually active civil partners and cohabiting couples, the latter being the fastest growing group in the population.
The conclusion confirms my opinion that the entire Statement is the sound of one hand clapping, and one hand clapping is worse than no hands clapping at all.
The post The sound of one hand clapping: the English bishops on marriage appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.
Following the Trump administration’s decision to assassinate General Soleimani earlier this month, many Americans began to fear that war between the United States and Iran was imminent. Tensions rose as the president and the Iranians rattled their sabers and taunted each other on social media.
Google searches for "Is there going to be a draft?" shot up 900 percent in just one day. The official website of the Selective Service—the federal agency tasked with carrying out the draft—received so much traffic that it eventually crashed.
Thankfully, the risk of impending war seems to have largely abated. But the short-lived crisis poses two interesting questions—questions we ought to answer before another potential war appears on the horizon: would the government consider imposing conscription and, if it did, would it be morally justifiable?Prospects for the Draft
There is little doubt that, should the opportunity arise, major politicians from both parties would happily bring back the military draft. As recently as 2003, Democratic congressman Charlie Rangel introduced legislation to reinstate the draft. Indeed, many would like to bring it back right now. President Trump, for example, on the campaign trail in 2016 promised to restore conscription as a way to "make the military great again."
Some would like to conscript the youth not just for war, but also for domestic purposes such as cleaning up the environment and assisting the elderly. Once again Congressman Rangel led the charge, proposing legislation in 2013 to require all persons living in the United States "between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform a 2-year period of national service, unless exempted, either through military service or through civilian service." The bill died before it could be voted on, but the movement for mandatory service lives on.
Just last year, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg introduced a plan to massively expand the number of positions for national service programs as well as increase their funding. For the moment, Buttigieg says that the government would only recruit volunteers, but he has admitted that he’s open to making national service "legally obligatory."Justifiable Slavery?
Whether the argument is utilitarian or made as an appeal to some vague notion of "patriotic duty," all arguments in favor of mandatory service rest on the idea that an individual's life belongs not to him- or herself, but to the state. And the state may at its leisure order millions of people, under threat of violence, to carry out virtually any task, whether it be taking up arms against total strangers or picking up trash at the local park. That such tasks may be good and necessary does not logically entail that enslaving people to perform them is morally justifiable.
Modern proponents of conscription seldom address this moral quandary (they would not dare openly admit to wanting to be slave drivers). They prefer instead to scorn those opposed to the draft as outrageously selfish. In a piece defending the merits of a draft, author and former Marine Jeff Groom asks rhetorically, "Do people today no longer need to give up anything for their country?" It is a strange question, given that the military draft literally asks people to give up everything, i.e., their freedom and quite possibly their lives. But Groom asserts that those darned kids today would not be willing to sacrifice so much as their smartphones if their country required it. The youth are just too entitled. (One genuinely wonders if today’s youth actually have any greater sense of entitlement than the generations who supported FDR's New Deal in the 1930s and ushered in the Great Society massive welfare programs in the '60s.)
Generational squabbling aside, Groom does bring up an interesting point—albeit one that proponents of the draft have brought up many times before. He argues that the government would show more restraint in choosing when to initiate military action if politicians and voters knew that their children—or even themselves—might be called into service.
But even if the draft was effective at discouraging reckless warmongering, it would leave the fundamental moral question unanswered: does the government have the right to temporarily enslave its citizens, however important or advantageous the purpose may be? It is not a question that Groom, or most other conscription supporters, for that matter, have come close to addressing.
That’s unfortunate, because it may very well be true that military service and volunteer work offer many valuable benefits, both to the individuals who take part in them and to the nation at large. However, supporters of the draft routinely make the logical leap from recognizing the collective benefits of national service to asserting a moral authority to use force without ever demonstrating how it is that the government came to possess such an authority.
Rather than attempt to persuade people that they ought to join the military or sign up for community service, the first instinct of draft supporters is to use coercion. Instead of treating their fellow citizens with respect and dignity, they would prefer to direct their lives at the point of a gun.
In the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed implementing a peacetime draft in order to shore up America’s military readiness. He declared that “a soldier’s pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner’s chains.” Eisenhower apparently did not consider that they might be one and the same.
There are many reasons why one might choose to avoid the voting booth. This often stems from ethical dilemmas over the state’s monopoly on force. Some may emphasize their right not to vote, a right undervalued in undeveloped political systems with transparently corrupt regimes (making the “Vote or Die” tagline somewhat ironic). Others may view popular forms of democracy as opaquely crooked, and consider voting a signal of participation that perpetuates the system. Celebrity Russell Brand, for example, has publicly held this view (although he has distanced himself from this position more recently).
One may sympathize with this form of reasoning, but disagree regarding the importance assigned to such values. It follows that value-based decisions, while valid, are unlikely to be persuasive to anyone who doesn’t already hold the same values.
Thus, I hope to challenge the altruistic stigma associated with voting by presenting perspective grounded in more objective principles. My goal is not to attack democracy proper, but to illuminate how many obstacles there really are between the vote one casts and the abstract greater good they hope to reach.Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem
First, let’s consider the domain of achievable outcomes for a voting system. How good can the best voting system get? Kenneth Arrow provided important insight in his seminal doctoral thesis of 1950 (updated in 1963). Arrow’s theorem illustrates a paradox of choice, revealing flaws in ordinal voting systems. Broadly speaking, if a group of two or more voters is faced with more than two options, a ranked voting system cannot aggregate the ranked preferences of voters into a single ordered list of preferences for the group without violating at least one of the following conditions:
1. Nondictatorship – the preferences of a single voter should not be decisive.
2. Pareto efficiency – if all individuals prefer A over B, the group should prefer A over B.
3. Independence of irrelevant alternatives – the removal of irrelevant choices should not change the preference ordering for the remaining ones. For example, if every voter prefers A to B and B to C, removing C should not change the fact that A is preferred to B.
4. Unrestricted domain – all possible preference orderings can be aggregated.
Although Arrow tediously proves this mathematically with a series of proofs by contradiction, the interpretation is straightforward. No voting system can establish social preferences by aggregating individual preferences. Condition 3 is most often violated by majoritarian electoral voting systems, leading to cycling group preferences (intransitivity of preferences after aggregation, loosely speaking). Enforcing transitivity after aggregation must imply a dictatorship.
Local voting for ballot measures (propositions) most obviously struggles to meet condition 4, but problems here may even transcend Arrow’s theorem. Voting only provides a binary signal of demand, not a magnitude of demand. Hence there is no economizing signal (i.e., people don’t express preferences for one thing relative to another in a comparable way). As a result, public real resource allocation is still difficult to prioritize following a local vote.
I don’t want to overstate the importance of Arrow’s theorem. This argument does not conclude that democracy is a lost cause. Rather, it demonstrates that there are limitations with all types of voting systems, and that getting more people to the polls won’t overcome them.Political Scale Dependence
There is an additional issue complicating expected voting outcomes: scale. In 2019, Nassim Taleb drafted a paper arguing the importance of scale-free politics. He argues that democracy (or any political system) is not scale invariant.
As a societal unit grows larger, the coupling among agents becomes weaker and weaker, nearing independence. Local signals become subordinated by more dominant, concentrated signals at the federal level. As such, there is both less accountability behind political decision-making and a more uncertain impact.
This stands in contrast to strong reductionism, which suggests that we can understand intricate systems by summing up the effects of its constituents. In a world ruled by strong reductionism, the appropriateness of a political system for the entire planet could be induced by observing a single individual. Such a view leads people to confusingly treat politics as a top-down engineering project rather than a complex, adaptive, bottom-up system. In the face of complex interactions and nonlinear relations, properties can emerge under aggregation that are absent at the component level.
To better illustrate this concept, consider decision-making at the family level. One may agree that a pure democracy is of limited use for the family unit beyond settling dining or television disputes, lest a Lord of the Flies scenario transpire. Does this alone mean democracy is bunk? Of course not; it is simply being implemented on an inappropriate scale.
Consider further the unification of the United States and China into a single democratic nation. In such a scenario, majority voting may lead to policies that disproportionately favor the more populous culture. At the very least, outcomes are likely to deviate significantly from those that follow from two separate democracies.
The same concept applies at levels between these extremes. Political systems work differently at the various possible levels of population aggregation (i.e., town, city, state, etc.).
Accordingly, economic dynamics must be matched to the proper scale. This is naively existent in modern political systems, but is by no means ubiquitous. Consequently, people can rationally have different political stances at different levels of aggregation (e.g., Democrat at the local level, libertarian at the federal level, etc.).
When faced with a set of scale-ignorant options at a fixed level of aggregation (e.g., federal), intensions become moot, as voters are faced with insurmountably uncertain outcomes. Through this lens, one can’t blame the citizen who finds voting versus abstention a matter of indifference.Independence
Let’s now assume that a severe lack of votes resulted in a deeply negative outcome. Under such an assumption, the decision not to vote would indeed be a fallacy of composition. Although the individual may get no marginal benefit from voting, the system as a whole would suffer.
This criticism is fair, but insufficient at the level of the individual. Following a discussion about scale, it’s fitting to point out that the decision of the individual is not the decision of the collective. This is because my decision to vote is independent from others’ decisions to vote. Even if I felt that political outcomes would improve if everyone who thought like me would change their tune and vote, I can’t personally vote for them, nor can I force another to abstain.
As a result, in a large enough democracy, the impact of an individual vote is statistically zero on the margin. No single person’s vote will ever impact an election in a democracy of even modest size (electoral college, popular, or any other), and since their decision is independent from other voters, the decision to vote is itself irrelevant. So the criticism can be both correct and immaterial.Conclusion
A somewhat famous theorem of public choice theory states that in a voting system driven by majority rule, the median voter’s most preferred outcome will be selected. Such an idea casts voting in a comforting light. Each vote pulls the median closer to the voter’s preferences by a tiny margin.
Unfortunately, the median voter theorem has too many unrealistic assumptions to apply in practice. Not only does it fail in the face of Arrow’s theorem, it requires a separate vote for each issue, no more than two options, and an unbiased voter turnout, none of which are commonplace in a political election.
Voters are also assumed to be fully informed in the median voter theorem. In reality, although voters are often informed on particular topics, none are fully informed. This allows politicians to tailor their positions to what each group of donors or electorate is likely to be informed about. Election results end up molded by lobbyist and donor preferences rather than those of the median voter.
With the median voter theorem of little use outside the halls of academia, there is no marginal benefit for a single voter to hold on to. This leaves emotional stimulus, feelings of inclusion, and a vague sense of acting for the greater good as the chief motivators for being a proud and active voter.
I’ve attempted to elucidate the complexity and limitations accompanying the last motivation, purposely highlighting the prior two as the primary impetus behind castigation of nonvoters.
Polly Toynbee on the iniquity of turning the current tax based system of financing the BBC into something voluntary like a subscription:
The latest anti-BBC argument is that with binge-watching Netflix, Amazon and the rest, who needs an outdated national broadcaster? The answer is: because most people want British-produced programming.
If this is true, if there is this appetite, hunger, for British made programmes for British people, then the British will, in their droves, pay the subscription fee, make the donations, watch the advertisements, whatever the funding system is that replaces the taxation.
The very insistence being made is the proof that the new system would work.
The only argument in favour of tax funding, this legal insistence that everyone has to cough up at pain of jail time, is that people won’t voluntarily pay up. But if people won’t pay voluntarily then that’s proof perfect that there isn’t that hunger for those British programmes for British people.
Even if we accept that most people do want such then the answer is that most people should pay for it, rather than all having to.
Logic is a terrible thing which is presumably why Polly has spent so many decades avoiding it.
Lahore (AsiaNews) The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) in Lahore acquitted 42 people, 41 Christians and one Muslim, in connection with the killing of two Muslims mistaken for terrorists after two Christian churches were hit by suicide bombers in Youhanabad in March 2015.
The court gave the accused the benefit of the doubt over the riot that took place in a highly charged atmosphere in which they saw friends and relatives blown to pieces.
Forty defendants were freed today and went home; the other two will follow shortly.
On 15 March 2015, two Taliban terrorists blew themselves up at the entrance of St John’s Catholic Church and the Anglican Christ Church killing 27 people and wounding more than 70.
The death toll would have been much higher had some Christians not stopped the attackers from entering the churches, dying themselves in the blast.
The bombings sparked a riot that led to the lynching of the two Muslims mistaken for the terrorists by a frightened and angry crowd.
Whilst the police failed to arrest the people behind the attacks, scores of Christians ended up in jail on charges of arson, rioting, and damaging state property.
Out of 200 people arrested, charges were laid against 47 people. Since 2015, two Christian defendants have died in prison and four more went on the run.
The National Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Bishops’ Conference took on the legal costs of 12 accused, including the one Muslim, and financially helped all 42 prisoners.
Christian organisations are grateful to Punjab’s Minister for Human Right and Minority Affairs Ejaz Alam for his efforts in solving the case. Thanks to his support, the court acquitted 47 defendants, including the four who escaped.
“It is really difficult for ordinary people to have justice in Pakistan,” activist Nadeem Anthony told AsiaNews. “They don’t’ have access to justice because the system is deficient. The defendants spent five years behind bars, and no one has ever spoken of the 27 Christians killed in the explosive attacks.”
“I welcome the decision of the ATC to acquit innocent people,” he added. “I really appreciate the decision of Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta. However, families still receive threats. The state must guarantee their protection; the security of these people is at risk.”
by Shafique Khokhar
The post Youhanabad church attack: 41 Christians and one Muslim acquitted appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.
Christmas and New Year’s message from the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of the Congo and Congo-Brazzaville
To their excellencies, the bishops, and to all faithful Anglicans. I send my Christmas wishes to all and to the people who are dear to you, who support you in your mission. I also wish you a happiness inspired by Jesus who came to save the world without any distinction between tribes.
Christmas party is the incarnation of God in man.
The Heavenly God that makes earth humanity.
The immensity that is humility.
The one that the universe could not contain, could have been put in a nursery.
God has been man, without stopping being God
The Christmas party presents itself to us as the mystery of God’s birth.
God is the creator of the world, the creator of the universe.
Our Creator becomes one of us,
With modesty, he is part of the history of man, humanity.
The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of the good news.
The birth of the Savior, the son of man came to save the world.
Believing in Christ brings a real change in his way of life.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the announcement of eternal life.
No man, no woman will be reduced to his mistakes, sins or flaws.
By Faith in our Lord, we are all and all saved!
May the blessing of God be upon you and protect your family.
May the Christmas party be lived in our homes as the announcement of good news:
Christ Savior was born more than 2000 years ago and with him we are saved.
May your prayers in this Christmas time be answered.
May Your Christmas wishes find their way.
Merry Christmas to all!
Monseigneur Masimango Katanda Zacharie, Primat de la RDC et Congo Brazzaville,
A leurs Excellences Evêques, aux Fidèles Anglicans
J’adresse mes vœux de Noël à tous ainsi qu’aux personnes qui vous sont chères, qui vous appuient dans la Mission. Je vous souhaite aussi un bonheur inspiré par Jésus qui est venu sauver le monde sans aucune distinction des tribus.
La fête de Noël, c’est l’incarnation de Dieu en l’homme.
La divinité céleste qui se fait humanité terrestre.
L’immensité qui se fait humilité.
Celui que l’univers n’a pas pu contenir, a pu être mis dans une crèche.
Dieu s’est fait homme, sans cesser d’être Dieu
La fête de Noël se présente à nous comme le mystère de la naissance de Dieu.
Dieu est le créateur du monde, le créateur de l’univers.
Notre créateur devient l’un de nous,
Avec modestie, il s’est inscrit dans l’histoire de l’homme, de l’humanité.
Le vrai sens de Noël est la fête de l’Annonce de La Bonne Nouvelle.
La naissance du Sauveur, le Fils de l’Homme est venu sauver le monde.
Croire au Christ apporte un véritable changement dans son mode de vie.
La résurrection de Jésus-Christ, c’est l’annonce de la vie éternelle.
Aucun homme, aucune femme ne sera plus réduite à ses erreurs, péchés ou défauts.
Par la foi en notre Seigneur, nous sommes toutes et tous sauvés!
Que la bénédiction de Dieu soit sur vous et protège votre famille.
Que la fête de Noël soit vécue en nos demeures comme l’annonce d’une bonne nouvelle:
Le Christ Sauveur est né il y a plus de 2000 ans et avec lui nous sommes sauvés.
Que vos prières en ce temps de Noël soient exaucées.
Que vos vœux de Noël trouvent leur chemin.
Joyeux Noël à tous !
The post Christmas and New Year’s message from the Archbishop of the Congo appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.
The first partnered lesbian Anglican bishop in Britain has told BBC-Wales that she will not be an aggressive campaigner for same-sex marriage in the Church in Wales, but hopes her election will be greeted with joy by the LGBT community.
The Rt. Rev. Cherry Vann was consecrated Bishop of Monmouth on 27 Jan 2020 and will be enthroned at Newport Cathedral on 1 Feb 2020. She said she wished her election to be a “a sign of hope. There are a lot of gay people in our schools, in our colleges and universities, out there in society who think that the church is against them, that they don’t have a place in the church.”
“I hope that being here as a gay person, in a same-sex relationship, will give those people hope and help them to see that this is something that the church embraces and is able to celebrate along with any other faithful committed relationship.”
“I hope that people are not disappointed… I can see that some might be hoping that I might be more of a campaigner for the cause, but I am here as a bishop with a job to do,” she said.
Originally from Leicestershire, Bishop Vann has served as Archdeacon of Rochdale, in the Diocese of Manchester, for the past 11 years. She trained for ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, and was ordained as a deacon in 1989. Among the first women to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England in 1994, she spent her entire ministry in the Diocese of Manchester. She is also an honorary canon of Manchester Cathedral and a former chaplain to deaf people.
She was Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of York from 2013 to her election last September and was an ex-officio member of the Archbishops’ Council.
Following her election in September, Anglican Ink asked the Church in Wales press office if they had any comment about Bishop Vann being the church’s first partnered lesbian bishop. They declined to comment. Bishop Vann and her partner, Wendy, are in a domestic partnership. While the Church of England requires such arrangements to be celibate, the Church in Wales does not.
The post Partnered lesbian bishop says she will not be an activist for same-sex marriage appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.
We send to you all greetings and blessings for a joyous Christmas celebrations and a happy and prosperous New Year 2020. (Greetings to you all!)
We celebrate Christmas and New Year to mark the closure of year 2019. Looking back into year 2019, we can only marvel with thanksgiving for the great mystery of God’s presence guiding us through the many challenges and opportunities of the year to enable us reach this transition point into another year of service in 2020.
Through the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day God had pitched into our human flesh making “God Emmanuel – God with us in Jesus Christ (Mt.1:18). Through this birth God had acted to reach out to touch and to heal our sinful humanity and to re-anoint and empower us to carry out the ordained purpose for His church in the new season called 2020.This Emmanuel Community ought to live in UNITY, LOVE, JOY and PEACE; respecting and valuing all members of our families, communities, Churches and nation regardless of our diversity.
This makes Christmas an important historical point marking the beginning of a new destiny for God’s Church in our nation Solomon Islands. For everything we will do in the New Year 2020 must draw their meaning and purpose from our encounter with the God Emmanuel – God with us in Christ on Christmas day. This divine encounter brings upon us a blessing and commission to rise up and build this new “Emmanuel Community – God with us in Jesus Christ in our families, in our churches and communities, in the leadership and governance of our nation Solomon Islands in the New Year 2020. This is the message of hope given to our families, the church, and our nation Solomon Islands through the Christmas and New Year festive season celebrations! This is the message of hope that we must carry with us into the New Year 2020. Indeed, this message of hope makes the New Year 2020 a truly happy New Year indeed!
We send you our love and our best wishes and our unceasing prayers for a prosperous New Year 2020.
The post Christmas and New Years greetings from the bishops of Melanesia appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.
Geoffrey Rose published The Strategy of Preventive Medicine in 1992, and thus gave birth to the “Population Health” movement. In this podcast episode, Dr. Michel Accad critically examines Rose’s influential ideas.
Last week, I talked about Hegel’s odd view that freedom consists of service to the state, and an earlier column discussed a problem with the use of behavioral economics to support “libertarian paternalism.” Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, the main libertarian paternalists, get into difficulties that Hegel would enable them to avoid. As we’ll see, though, if they were to accept Hegel’s help, they would pay a heavy price.
Thaler and Sunstein think that measures like high taxes on cigarettes and restrictions on the size of soda cans don’t restrict your freedom. They aren’t interfering with what you want to do. You might think at first that they are interfering. You want to smoke, and the high taxes make it more difficult than before to do so. It is more inconvenient now to drink large amounts of soda, because you have to buy more cans than you did before the ban.
Thaler and Sunstein say that appearances are deceiving. You also want good health. Smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases, and drinking large amounts of soda can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Part of what they are saying seems reasonable. Probably almost no smokers or soda drinkers want poor health. Controversies about the medical effects of consuming these products we can ignore.
Now comes the crucial step in their argument, which is a cruder version of the principle Kant advanced: "Whoever wills the end also wills (in so far as reason has decisive influence on his actions) the indispensably necessary means to it that is in his control." The authors reason in this way: because you don’t want lung cancer and not smoking is a way of avoiding lung cancer, you don’t want to smoke. Thus, making it difficult for you to smoke isn’t making you do something you don’t want to do.
There is a problem with this argument that I’ll set aside. Kant’s principle says that if you are rational and you will a certain end, you will also will the “indispensably necessary means” to that end. In other words, if you don’t want to get lung cancer and smoking will always give you cancer, then you won’t smoke. In that case, not smoking would be an indispensable means to not getting cancer, and a rational person who didn’t want cancer wouldn’t smoke. It would not be relevant to note that avoiding smoking does not guarantee that you won’t get cancer. It is irrelevant, because although not smoking is not sufficient to avoid cancer, it is on our supposition a necessary condition. If you smoke, you will get cancer, even if other things cause cancer as well.
But in the actual world, smoking does not guarantee that you will get cancer. Many smokers don’t get it. You can’t invoke Kant’s principle that it is irrational to smoke. It is safe to predict that if smoking did guarantee that you will get cancer, there would be many fewer smokers than there are today.
But this point, as I say, I will set aside. Thaler and Sunstein argue that if you don’t want cancer and you are rational, then you won’t smoke. But you do smoke, so therefore you are not rational. How can they go on to say that when they make it more difficult for you to smoke they aren’t interfering with your freedom? They are only entitled to say that if you were rational, you wouldn’t smoke.
They are able to get to their conclusion by adding this premise: you are (or have—I won’t distinguish between the two) a rational self. With that premise added, their conclusion follows. The rational self doesn’t smoke, so the higher taxes don’t interfere with the rational self’s freedom. You might think this is obviously silly. Our starting point is that you do smoke and are irrational. How could Thaler and Sunstein say at the same time that you are rational and don’t smoke? Isn’t this a blatant contradiction?
Matters are not so simple. They aren't claiming that you are a rational self and nothing else. On the contrary, in this view you are two selves, a rational and an irrational one, and that view, however bizarre, is not a contradiction. Thus, the high taxes interfere with the freedom of one of your selves, but not the other.
By the way, there is another complication that I want to set aside. (Isn’t this fun?) If we accept Kant’s principle and also that you are a rational self, it doesn’t follow that the taxes don’t interfere with what you want to do. Kant’s principle says that someone who is rational wills an indispensably necessary means to what he wants. It doesn’t require him to have no conflicting wants. It wouldn’t say that it is irrational to want to smoke, as long as you don’t smoke. (We’re assuming here that the end of avoiding cancer outranks the end of smoking.)
Putting these complications aside, we can thus make sense of how Thaler and Sunstein arrive at their conclusion: the smoking regulations don’t interfere with the freedom of one of your selves. Actually, Thaler and Sunstein don’t in fact get to their conclusion in the way I’ve suggested they might. They just assume without argument that you want what they think you would want if you were rational and fully informed. If I attributed to them the premise that I claim would make sense of their view, because it would be rational for them to do, I would be making an unjustified assumption similar to their own.
But let’s leave the extra premise in. We now get to two additional problems, and this is where Hegel comes in. First, why should we accept that people have rational selves of the sort needed to make sense of Thaler and Sunstein’s argument? Second, even you have a rational self as well as an irrational self, how does it follow that higher taxes don’t interfere with your freedom? They do interfere with the freedom of your irrational self. Why should this be disregarded?
If we bring in Hegel, these questions can be answered. According to Hegel, in what I think is the most plausible interpretation of him, your irrational self is a mere appearance. Only the rational self is real. As he famously said,
What is rational is actual; and what is actual is rational.
In that case, all conflict disappears. High taxes become just another way to enable your rational self to obey the state in perfect freedom. What could be simpler?
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Albert Lu: I’m joined today by Nomi Prins, the author of Collusion and former managing director of Goldman Sachs. Nomi thanks for joining me again. How are you?
Nomi Prins: I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me on.
AL: It’s great to have you on again and, you know, I really enjoyed your recent article "The Soaring Twenties" to start the new year. I think it was a great way to kick off this new year—Ten Economic and Market Trends to Consider for 2020. So, let’s start with just an overview. What do you think the overall backdrop for 2020 is going to be? We had a tremendous 2019. Is it going to be more of that?
NP: I actually think of myself, generally, as a fairly skeptical person, but I also like to look at the data. And what we saw towards the end of last year and, actually, throughout most of last year, was the Fed retreating from its hawkish stance in 2018 and moving very quickly to a more accommodative stance, with three rate cuts. But it wasn’t just the Fed doing rate cuts. The Fed also opened up its balance sheet a little bit more through a little bit more money. Actually, when I say a little bit more, half-a-trillion dollars’ worth more money into the markets through repo operations—meaning short-term loans to the banking community and to the communities they service.
From a corporate standpoint, all of that helps, not just [to] lift the markets, because the extra money was coming in—which we’ve seen in some of the years in the past decade as well—but also because of the confidence that the markets then could have that the Fed would be there. That, if the Fed needed to, it would find ways. They might not be rate cuts; they might not be conventional QE; but they’d be this sort of back and backhanded QE through the repo markets. And not just the Fed, but central banks around the world—and not just the main central banks, but a lot of the emerging market central banks and the sort of medium to smaller form of economies throughout the world—switch to their own accommodative states for their own reasons. And that’s something relatively new.
So, we have almost a three-to-one number of central banks and emerging markets find some form of either rate reduction or other accommodative way to alter their money cost in their own countries throughout the world. All of that culminates into a generally bullish backdrop, I think, going forward into this year.
AL: You know, I couldn’t agree with you more. That reversal was key last year and that, you know, strong double-digit return. Powell talked a tough game but when it came down to it he really gave in.
What do you think, if anything, could make him retreat, yet again, and reverse direction in 2020?
NP: In terms of becoming hawkish again, I think it would take an amount of inflation in real prices that I don’t think we’re going to see. And even if we see it, I think it’s going to be difficult for him to act on it, because there’s a lot of chatter within the Fed, and there has been, actually, [in the] last few years, about whether their inflation targets even make sense and whether or not the 2 percent level is the right level to even start to worry about. So before we would even get to a 2 percent level, which we don’t have, in terms of real price appreciation, but even if we do get there, I think would be more talks within the Fed as to whether that was meaningful.
And so I think that’s going to keep the Fed pretty much in limbo. And also again, we have US elections coming up towards the end of the year. There’s going to be a lot of focus on that, and plus other emerging markets and other types of economies have their central banks also on a neutral-to-accommodative stance. So I think they would have to overcome a lot of data to get back to a particularly hawkish stance, or even to raise rates this year.
AL: I find myself in this strange position not of just agreeing with you—we agree quite often—but also coming around and, sort of, seeing it the way that the consensus is looking at it—that is, all the things are lined up for another good year. I say that reluctantly, because of the underlying problems we have in the economy. But I really think you’re right and they’ve already sort of left the door open, or cracked the door open, to sort of reconsidering that 2 percent threshold by saying they want a symmetric 2 percent, which means they can overshoot. So, you know, I totally agree with you in that. Now, another point you made was about emerging markets, and this also came up in your article. Emerging markets and gold will beat the dollar.
So, you seem to think that our easing is going to beat their easing. Is that a correct way of looking at it?
NP: There’s a couple of different things going on. I think our easing will actually beat their easing, in terms of the fact that we’re not, actually, going to be doing anything. But, we are adding money into the markets. They will potentially be reducing their rates more, but I think [that] net-net that additive inflow into the markets of money from the Fed will be like an ease, right? So, not to get complicated on that, emerging markets have less tools because they have less balance sheet capabilities to take on the sort of debt, or other things, in their own country. So it’ll be two different kinds of easing. So yes, we will be, because we’re opening the Fed’s balance sheet and it’s growing easing by more than emerging markets will. But emerging markets will be easing and that’s going to stimulate their markets and potentially their economies.
Although, I generally don’t believe there’s a real relationship between economic growth and market growth, but it will provide a perception throughout the world of market growth, which will bring in capital in emerging market countries. So it’s sort of like there’s two different reasons but, together, it means the dollar should weaken relative to emerging market currencies. Emerging markets, in general, on a stock basis, should outperform the US, and gold should outperform, potentially, both.
AL: That’s interesting. So, I was going to ask you about that. Gold, I mean. The dollar has been strong for quite some time now. It’s reasonable to expect that that would turn around.
But you think gold relative to other currencies would be a good bet this year?
NP: Yes, because of that implicit, and explicit, easing that will be happening with respect to all these other currencies. The Fed opened the door for these other emerging markets to ease their monetary policies. And as such, relative to those currencies, gold will also be able to outperform as they outperform the dollar.
So the relationships, I think, into this year are going to be really interesting from that perspective. It’s not a hundred percent intuitive, but that’s what I see.
AL: Okay, another point you make here: corporate bond markets will expand. You think that the environment is going to be ripe for continued issuance?
NP: These lower rates, I think that’s going to be a pretty much global type of thing. That’s going to happen. It’s going to be more corporate debt issuance in the US, in the major economies as well as in the emerging market economies, because, again, they’re reducing the cost of their money. So their corporate issuance is going to basically increase. The corporate issuance in general has been in an upward trend in the US and other major economies. That’s going to continue because rates themselves are not going to be moving up.
So, in general, the overhang of debt that we have globally, which will ultimately be a problem, this is still ultimately a crisis that’s being pushed off—all this debt—but I believe this year we’re going to hit more record debt on an absolute global basis. And then, also, in all the individual economies relative to their GDP, relative to their growth.
AL: You highlight a very, I guess, critical problem, and that is the amount of corporate issuance we’ve had. You started the article with a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife pertaining to the 1920s, “We couldn’t go on indefinitely being swept off our feet.” And that’s what’s been happening now. We’ve been swept off our feet for many years in a row, and it’s been a great environment to issue debt. But more and more this is becoming a problem. We can’t have levering up forever, corporate buybacks forever.
And, what I’m wondering is, how is this going to play out? Because, on the one hand, we can’t keep doing this and there’s going to be some type of crisis in that market. On the other hand, the government sort of needs negative real interest rates forever so that they can keep borrowing. So how is this going to play out?
Are these spreads going to just blow out spectacularly, or what’s going to happen?
NP: Ultimately, that’s what will happen. So the question is: when will that happen? And what will be the cause of that happening? You and I have talked for years about the fact that there’s too much debt in the world as it continues to increase. And what we saw last year is that the ability for debt to increase [with] what is now a more accommodative interest rate pattern globally than it was in 2018 or 2017 just has made it increase by more. And because there’s no real impetus to raise rates at this point, this is going to be again a year of increasing of debt.
But at what point does the fact that companies, and countries, are not growing as fast as their debt is growing come to a head? I think that will happen through more extraneous circumstances, like when we saw the assassination of the Iranian general by the US and then the world was waiting [to see] whether Iran would retaliate—how would they retaliate? And then, Iran, yes, sent a bunch of missiles to attack some Iraqi bases with US personnel there. Nobody was hurt, but all of those kinds of unforeseeable, yet actually potential if you think about it, phenomenon [sic] could be the things that actually come in and make countries a little more tense in terms of their debt versus their growth scenarios, and investors more tense and money retreat and, therefore, spread blowout. But I think it’s very periodic. The market really digested that whole event really, really quickly.
Another market, a year ago or a year and a bit ago, when the Fed was still in raising-rates mode, would have had a 500–600-point drop on the Dow, just with that activity. And it had a few hundred points, but most of them popped right back up. And so there’s a resilience there. At some point, though, those activities with that much debt will cause the crisis and, I think, it’s going to be when we finally get to leaving this current accommodative period into more tension.
Will there be raising rates? I don’t think, again, [that] it’ll be this year, but let’s say it’s next year, the year after. And then you have those factors. And then, let’s say the trade agreement that was just signed, the “phase one” of the agreement between the US and China which was just signed, is digested. And then, concern, say, grows for “phase two.”
When will that happen? Will that happen?
Will that happen before the election? If it does happen, will it mean anything?
Will China then do something to really annoy the United States?
Will Trump get reelected and react accordingly?
Then all of that stuff can be a part of a debt crisis.
AL: I guess this is a good thing, but I think I was surprised with, I guess, how confident the market was that nothing really bad was going to come of that. Like you mentioned, the Dow did dip but not nearly as much as you’d think. If you look at oil and gold, which are, sort of, war futures—they didn’t really react very much. So the market took it really well. In fact, the market is more concerned about things like China tariffs and other things, like, you know, the way Jerome Powell is leaning much more so than the prospect of war. How do you interpret that? Is that a good thing?
NP: Talking about the, sort of, bullish tone we’re in right now does not mean that this is like a natural period of time. We have a tremendous amount of support for the markets coming from central banks. That’s just weird, historically. But it is the case, and that’s why markets care more about money, and the cost of money, that’s coming into them. And if you have enough money, markets feel that they can overcome things like, you know, missile strikes. And obviously, if there is an outbreak of a real wartime situation, the markets would digest that.
But what they’re doing is thinking—all right, well that was a thing. We were worried for a minute. But you know what? It didn’t really get too awful. At that moment, oil prices spiked; they came back down. Everything’s sort of okay and the money is flowing. I think [it] will be more of an issue if Jerome Powell were to turn around [and] be like, “You know what? We’re done with repo operations.” I think that would make the markets upset, as opposed to missile attacks in Iraq, which is a little scary, actually, for the world, because what it means is that the markets kind of don’t care as much as maybe markets should if they were really reflective of opinion and reflective of economies and geopolitics. But they’re more reflective of monetary policy and they’re getting that gift right now.
And so it’s kind of like, you know, sort of placebo in terms of any types of nerves that will come in—just sort of take this, be calm, handle it, and don’t worry too much. That’s how they’re feeling at the moment.
AL: You mentioned Jerome Powell and his repo operations—hundreds of billions of dollars. They’ve made a point of saying that, explicitly, this is not the same as QE. And, you know, maybe technically they’re correct. The markets, certainly, if you look at their enthusiasm, are not buying that. And at the end of the day, dollars and credit are to a great extent fungible. And so, that credit is going somewhere, to purchase something. It certainly does look like QE in terms of the end result.
What do you think is coming in the next quarter? Are we going to get a standing repo facility? If we don’t get something like that, is the market going to have a tantrum? What do you see coming?
NP: Those things, I think. But I think the markets would have a tantrum if it didn’t continue. And I think it’s going to continue, because right now, I think, Jerome Powell has positioned, and the Fed has positioned itself, to give a certain amount of money to the markets on a monthly basis. That’s what the markets are expecting. The Fed knows the markets are expecting that. And I think it’s going to continue, which is one of the reasons why, throughout the latter part of last year, actually, they were increasing their repo operations above, effectively, the $60 billion per month that they had said they would be injecting into the markets.
And so, net–net, when you look at what’s completely been injected on their balance sheet, it’s gone from $3.7 trillion in the end of August, beginning of September, before they started the Fed the repo operations, and now it’s up at $4.1 trillion. And they’ve also completely stopped talking about any type of quantitative tightening on the longer end of the curve. So the only thing that’s happened, whatever you call it, I call it quantitative easing at the lower end of the curve, because that’s what’s happening, money is coming into the markets in return for short-term securities. That is quantitative easing at the low end of the curve.
And, the reason why the market, and banks, and so forth understand it that way is because they’re just getting the money. And whether that money gets used to back longer-term debt or longer-term issuance or an IPO (initial public offering), or some part of another transaction, an M&A (merger and acquisition), or anything else, that short-term money is still there to provide the funding.
So I don’t see the Fed changing that, certainly [not] in the first quarter, because there’s no real point and they’re not seeing any inflationary data that would warrant them to do that. I think the market and the banks would get very upset.
I think it’s hard in these markets to project too far ahead. If we have sort of extraneous circumstances, but if we do I think they would be more negative than positive—like [a] potential increase in tension in the Middle East or a screw up with “phase two” of the US-China trade negotiations, or something like that—which would actually cause the Fed to not discontinue repo operations. So I just see them continuing.
If I had to put a number [on it] I would say at least through the first half of the year. And what’s to say [it] can’t go on longer than that?
AL: I mean, these guys never cease to amaze me.
NP: The only thing that could make it not go on more than that, or at least not have the experiments or to stop at that time, is that if you look at the trajectory of how much money has been going into the markets through these repo operations since September—they would be back above their highest height of a balance sheet since the financial crisis if they actually continued more than, sort of, July-August. So we’ll see what happens. But I think there might be a natural, psychological Fed boundary of: “There is no actual crisis now. So if our balance sheet actually looks like it’s bigger than an actual crisis, that’s kind of an odd thing.”
So I think there might be that natural stop, but I think they can go to that point. I just think someone in there would be like, “Hey, wait a minute, we’re getting to that point. Should we just stop?” So that time horizon kind of matches that value.
AL: Finally, you talk about inequality, wealth inequality. And we’re in an election year. I expect this will be talked about frequently. So what do you think the issue there is in terms of markets and how the markets are going to react or be impacted by this?
NP: From a market standpoint, as long as the money is coming in, they’ll continue to inhale it. Banks will inhale it. It’ll transfer itself into debt, but what happens on the ground? I mean, why inequality continues to grow is that, on a percentage basis, there are fewer participants in the market than the value of the market is increasing.
So, most citizens in most countries have zero positive outcome from the market going up, and they know this. As debt increases, and as public debt increases—as Treasury debt and Japanese government debt, the European Union, debt in emerging markets increases—it means there’s less money left to go into infrastructure growth and into cultural programs, into education, and to health and to things that governments would otherwise potentially fund, which means that for people living on the margin, their ability to get things without having to pay more for them, when they’re not making more on the margin, is that much harder.
And so that tends to result in some of the things that we’re seeing, in civil unrest around the world because of that economic inequality, because of austerity programs, because of just money being used for financial assets and not for citizen assets. And that’s one of the reasons that led to what is going on in Hong Kong, Venezuela, the Middle East, potentially in the US into the election—probably in a more subdued manner because we tend to be more subdued—and in some of the demonstrations that have the United States on a relative global basis. But I think that inequality growth does manifest in the civil unrest and in how people vote as well.
We saw that, in general, with the UK voting very strongly for Boris Johnson’s party, the Conservative Party, because they did not believe that the Labour Party was offering them a way out of inequality. So why not just—I’m oversimplifying; it’s a major, larger conversation, but—stick with what we have, you know, decrease uncertainty going into Brexit and let’s just move on. But that’s not necessarily good for them economically. So I just think there’s going to be more instability throughout people at the middle and lower echelons of money and society as the markets go up.
AL: So we’ve heard some of that in the early phases of the Democratic primary. How much traction do you think they’ll get on that in the election? And then I guess I’ll ask you to predict now where you think the election is going.
NP: So, I think that, from the standpoint of inequality, the Trump administration is going to obviously downplay that, because there is a certain number that looked good on the surface, like the level of stock market being high, like unemployment, right? Average wage is going up even though that doesn’t mean people aren’t working multiple jobs and don’t have higher costs in their own households.
So I think from the perspective of how that story plays out, the Republican Party and the Trump administration will do everything they can to underscore that the positive elements of a general economic health, whereas, the Democrats are going to continue to highlight what their constituents are saying and what the rest of the numbers bear out—that even if on average certain things look good, like the market or unemployment, the struggle is still there and the, sort of, inequality just deepens that struggle. And how do we understand that that’s what citizens are, actually, sort of thinking about on a regular basis. And then the extent to which they can talk to people and give them real solutions and real platforms, that will be something else. I do think it resonates with a lot of voters, not just Democrats, but I think even on middle Republicans who have problems making their bills or meeting their bills on a monthly basis, that things are more expensive than the overall markets and the overall economic health rhetoric might indicate.
So, I mean, we’re going to find out in the next month or so. I think what’s going to happen on the Democratic side, I think if Biden continues to be the front-runner and becomes the ultimate candidate, he will talk about inequality. I think he’ll more talk about the sort of problems of what has been happening in the last couple of years with respect to trade, with respect to war, etc. I think if Bernie Sanders becomes the candidate, he’s going to continue to talk about who’s getting the money, you know? That it is Wall Street relative to main street, and resonate with people who are feeling that in their own lives in that manner.
In terms of who wins in November, it’s hard to say. I mean, there’s a strong tendency to vote for an incumbent president or for an incumbent president to win in the second term unless there’s a major economic downfall going on. For example, George Bush did not win a second term, because there was a major recession going on as he was working towards being reelected.
So given that on the outside the economy still has a lot of positive numbers that are played repeatedly, that could move the line over to reelecting President Trump. But I think we have yet to see the story of how people in the swing states resonate with the candidate when there’s only one candidate on the Democratic side and, you know, six or seven that are still running. I think it will become a lot clearer as to what people are going to support.
Will they support [a] healthcare for all type of thing—where they can actually have that comfort on the healthcare side and that comfort on [the] student loan side? I mean, there are debt problems, there are cost problems that do need to be resolved, whoever is going to run the country come next year. I do think voters on both sides of the equation want to know what those solutions really are.
AL: Nomi, thank you very much for joining me on the show. I really appreciate all of your insights and I’m really looking forward to speaking with you again. Please visit Nomi on Twitter @NomiPrins.
This article originally appeared on Sprottmedia.com.
In Bob Murphy’s interview of Bryan Caplan, they briefly discussed Bryan’s essay criticizing Austrian economics. At listener request, in this episode, Bob presents a more comprehensive analysis of why he remains an Austrian economist, even after seeing top-notch neoclassicals in action during his own time in grad school.
As we celebrate the UK regaining its independence today, we think back to the time when the seeds of that event were sown. In 1975 people voted eagerly to remain part of the European Economic Community we had joined in January 1972. The accession of Jacques Delors in 1985 to be President of the European Commission made it clear that the real agenda was the creation of a United States of Europe. Delors, an unelected civil servant, demanded to be treated as a head of state when he visited foreign countries.
Speaking at the UK’s Trade Union Congress in 1988, he in effect bid for the support of fellow Socialists by promising that the leftwing policies the UK people would not vote for could be imposed from a European level. Regulations and controls would come from afar to foster centralization and collectivism. What had been hailed as an economic alliance was now morphing into a super-state, a European Union with its own flag and national anthem, and with ambitions to acquire its own currency and its own army.
The UK never wanted to be part of a United States of Europe, or to surrender its ability to make its own laws to a Brussels-based bureaucracy, but the elite of the political bubble class joined with Brussels in thwarting that desire. Even when the 2016 referendum gave the largest democratic vote in UK history to exit the EU, its acolytes used every piece of legal and political chicanery to prevent that vote from taking effect. Last December UK voters sent another clear message, “Get Brexit done.”
Today is an historic day as the UK steps out from being a peripheral player on the Northwest corner of Europe, always outvoted when it tried to curb the grandiose plans of the Eurocrats. Now we step boldly and confidently into a wider world, one in which we can work for free trade and free peoples. We can now allow UK society to evolve and change as people choose to make it do so, instead of being made constantly to conform to limiting rules made from afar.
The UK faces a bright future as an independent nation, freely choosing with whom it wishes to ally, and freely choosing the rules and conventions that will allow innovation and invention to flourish at home. We are moving out of a restrictive and protectionist trading bloc, and into a world in which we can trade and prosper with like-minded peoples.
The decision that takes effect today will change the future of the EU as well as our own. The myth of constant progress towards ever closer union has been undermined by our departure, and the EU will now have to face the prospect that other members might follow the UK’s lead as they see us prosper.
This is a good day for liberty, for free trade, and for the future of the UK and the world we intend to influence. We celebrate it as we step out into that wider world.
Happy Brexit Day.
At the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Bob Prince, co-chief investment officer at Bridgewater Associates, attracted attention when he suggested in a news interview that the boom and bust cycle as we have come to know it in the last decades may have ended. This viewpoint may well have been encouraged by the fact that the latest economic upswing ("boom") has been going for around a decade and that an end is not in sight as suggested by incoming macro- and microeconomic data.
But would that not reject the key insight of the Austrian business cycle theory (ABCT), which says that a boom, brought about by artificially lowered market interest rates and injections of new credit and money produced "out of thin air," must eventually end in a bust? In what follows, I will remind us of the key message of the ABCT and outline the "special conditions" which must be taken into account if the ABCT is applied to real-world developments. Against this backdrop, we can then form a view about how the next crisis might look.What the ABCT Says
The ABCT is actually a "theory of crisis," and it explains the broader consequences if and when central banks, in close cooperation with commercial banks, increase the amount of money in the economy through credit expansion—that is, an increase in bank lending that is not backed by real savings. The increase in the circulation of credit supply initially lowers the market interest rate below its "natural level," or, "the originary interest rate level," to use the Austrian school's term.
The artificially lowered market interest rate discourages savings and encourages consumption and investment expansion. The economy enters a boom. However, after the initial injection of new credit and money has had its impact on prices and wages, people start realizing that the economic expansion was a one-off. People return to their pre-boom savings-consumption-investment ratio, which means that the market interest rate finally returns to the higher originary interest rate level. This is the very process that makes the boom turn to bust.
To prevent the boom from turning to bust, central banks take action to bring down market interest rates even further. For if the market interest rate drops even more, the production and employment structure can be upheld and the boom can continue. In other words: the trajectory of market interest rates—which are actually expressive of how people allocate their incomes to savings, consumption, and investment—is the crucial issue in the boom-and-bust cycle. And this is where central banks have increasingly taken control.Controlling Interest Rates
Since the financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009, central banks have more than ever before taken control of market interest rates. They no longer limit themselves to setting short-term interest rates, but hope also to control interest rates with longer maturities. In fact, central banks have started to set long-term interest rates as well, through purchasing, say, government bonds, mortgage bonds, corporate bonds, and bank bonds. In this way, they directly influence bond prices and thus their yields. Market interest rates are no longer determined in a "free market."
Not only have market interest rates been distorted and set at too low a level through central bank policies, they are also kept from returning to economically sensible levels. At least this is what financial market agents seem to think: they assume that central banks will continue to take care of the credit market—they know that if and when market interest rates rise, the boom will undoubtedly turn into a bust, something central banks wish to prevent at all costs.
And given the basically unlimited power of central banks in the determination of bond prices and thus bond yields, no investor (in his right mind) will want to bet against the monetary authority. In fact, investors have a great incentive to trade bond prices toward the level they think the central bank would like to establish in the marketplace. In other words: if the market thinks that the central bank does not want higher interest rates, interest rates will remain artificially low.Mind the "Safety Net"
By controlling market interest rates, central banks have in fact put a "safety net" under the economies and financial markets. As central banks have signaled to the public that they feel responsible for a healthy economy, and, in particular, for ensuring that "financial market stability" prevails, investors can put two and two together: should the economies or financial markets get to the verge of collapse, investors can expect central banks to step in, fighting the impending crisis. This understanding encourages investors to take additional risks, step up their investments, and disregard and underestimate risk.
Central banks' "safety net" is not only a powerful tool to sustain the boom, it is also a rather subtle, stealthy intervention in capital markets. It effectively brings about an entirely rigged financial market: prices are higher and yields are lower than unhampered market forces justify. The central banks' safety net policies amount to a manipulation of the market system on the greatest scale possible. With basically all prices and all market yields distorted, the economy and financial markets enter a "hall of mirrors" regime, where consumers and firms must inevitably get disoriented and make wrong decisions.
However, under such conditions the boom can be kept going much longer compared to a scenario in which free market forces are allowed to do their job—that is, establishing financial asset prices as well as inflation, credit, and liquidity premia according to real-world realities. However, today’s environment is rather different: central banks, in their attempt to prevent the current boom turning into another bust, have effectively corrupted the vital roles that financial markets and market interest rates play in a free market system.The Role of the Originary Interest Rate
It would be a mistake to conclude that a boom can be upheld indefinitely if central banks beat down the market interest rate to zero, or even push it into negative territory. In fact, without a positive market interest rate (in real terms), the modern economy, which rests on the division of labor and complex "roundabout production" processes, could not exist. This is an insight derived from the Austrian time preference theory of the interest rate. In a nutshell, time preference means that acting man values earlier satisfaction of a want more highly than the satisfaction of the same want at a later time.
The manifestation of time preference in the market is the "originary interest rate." It denotes the value discount that a good that is available in the future suffers compared to the same good that is currently available. Acting man’s time preference and thus his originary interest rate are, for logical reasons, always and everywhere positive. They may well approach zero, but they can never hit zero, let alone become negative. This is a significant insight, as it tells us what would happen if the market interest rate were to drop to zero: the modern market economy would disintegrate. This is why:
Every acting man carries, so to speak, a positive originary interest rate in himself. So if the market interest rate is zero, no one would put their savings in time-consuming production processes any longer. People would not be willing to offer their savings for replacement investments or new investments. They would simply hoard them "under their mattresses."Capital consumption would set in. In other words: by bringing the market interest rate down to zero, central banks would destroy the market economy with its division of labor as we know it today.The End Game
In recent years, most central banks have concentrated on policies that push down selected types of market yields, in particular those in the funding markets for government debt, mortgage debt, and bank debt. However, the consequences of such actions are increasingly felt in other asset markets. In a search for yields, investors increasingly use their funds to purchase, say, stocks and real estate. As a result, these asset prices rise, thereby lowering their future returns. In other words: the zero interest rate policy of the central banks drags down basically all kinds of yields with it. This may go on for quite a while.
But once all market interest rates hit zero, the real trouble starts: the boom turns to bust. Credit markets shut down, borrowers can no longer roll over their maturing debt, and no investor is willing to lend new funds. To prevent credit defaults and the collapse of the debt pyramid, central banks would presumably step in as "lenders of last resort," refinancing basically all kinds of borrowers in need. An outright inflation policy would begin. Nevertheless, capital consumption and economic regression would set in. People's living standards would nosedive; many would be thrown into outright misery.
Applying the ABCT to real-world developments yields the following insights: Central banks have done nothing to put an end to the boom-and-bust cycle. Instead, their unscrupulous interventions in credit markets just prolong the boom. However, it would be mistaken to assume that by bringing market interest rates to zero, a perpetual boom could be created. Such a policy is self-defeating: once all market interest rates have been dragged down to zero, the capitalistic economic system will collapse. Then—at the latest—the boom will definitely turn into bust.
What strikes us as a strange complaint:
Tate Britain has defended advertising for a head of coffee with a salary of nearly £40,000 – more than the average wage of a London-based curator – after critics said the role highlights how low museum professionals’ wages are.
The wage comparison site Glassdoor states that the average annual wage for a curator based in London is £37,300. The Prospect union said the pay discrepancy was a reminder of how badly paid museum professionals are in comparison with other jobs in the arts sector.
Alan Leighton, Prospect’s national secretary, told the Guardian that heritage-specific roles were paid “appallingly”, despite the fact that without qualified specialist workers there would be no galleries or museums. “It’s time that was recognised and those roles rewarded accordingly,” he said.
As we have pointed out before all jobs pay the same. Not wholly and entirely of course, but the desirability of a job in its non-cash elements will reduce the cash on offer, the undesirability of a job in its non-cash increase.
There are far more fine arts graduates than there jobs as museum curators, there are many, many, people who would love that job of scholarship and showing the tourists around than there are opportunities to do so. Therefore the cash compensation is not all that high.
True, we do have to put aside the usual jokes about all arts graduates competing for those jobs as baristas in this case. But there are fewer people who actually desire a lifetime staring into coffee cups than those lusting after one examining and curating the glories of the past. Pay is therefore lower.
More modern scholarship might call this the compensating theory of wage differentials, or perhaps the hedonic theory of wages. Whatever we call it though it is true - jobs that are inherently fun and desirable pay less money than those less so.
Given how well established - even, given the ancient nature of this wisdom - this point is we’re a little surprised that these conservators of the past don’t already know this.
The Primates of the Anglican Communion – the senior archbishops, bishops and moderators of the Churches of the Anglican Communion – have elected new regional primatial representation for the Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council.
The Primates’ Meeting and the Anglican Consultative Council are two of four “Instruments of Communion of the Anglican Communion – the other two are the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Anglican Consultative Council meets every three years and brings together bishops, clergy and laity from the Anglican Communion’s 40 member churches. It elects a standing committee which is augmented by five senior Anglican leaders chosen by and from the primates.
At their meeting today in Jordan, the primates elected the following regional primates to the Standing Committee:Africa
The Most Revd Jackson Ole Sapit,
The Anglican Church of Kenya
The Most Revd Zacharie Masimango Katanda
Province de L’Eglise Anglicane Du Congo
The Most Revd Julio Murray Thompso
Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America
The Most Revd Linda Nicholls
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Revd Humphrey Peters
The (united) Church of Pakistan
The Most Revd Michael Lewis
The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
The Most Revd John Davies
The Church in Wales
The Most Revd Philip Richardson
The Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The Most Revd Leonard Dawea
The Anglican Church of Melanesia
The Primate of Hong Kong, the Most Revd Paul Kwong, will continue as a member of the Standing Committee as he was elected by the ACC as its Chair. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, is President of the ACC and is an ex-officio member of the Standing Committee.
The Standing Committee usually meets in person once a year. Its next face-to-face meeting take place at the Anglican Communion Office in September. Following changes to the constitution agreed at ACC-16 in Lusaka, in April 2016, the Standing Committee is now able to conduct some of its meetings electronically.
From January 13-15, 2020, Primates (Archbishops, Presiding Bishops and Moderators) from 33 of the 40 Provinces of the Anglican Communion were present for a Primates Meeting convened by Abp. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in Amman Jordan. Three of the Primates missing were the Gafcon Primates from Nigeria, Uganda, and Rwanda, who properly absented themselves in protest of the false teaching and lack of discipline within the Anglican Communion. The Primates of the Anglican Church in North America and Igrejia Anglican do Brasil were not invited, even though they have been recognized and authenticated by both Gafcon and the Global South. Primates who sit on the Gafcon Primates Council and in the Global South were present at this gathering.
Many expressed dismay at the outcome of this meeting, specifically at the apparent agreement of Gafcon and Global South Primates concerning the following outcomes:
- No objection to the presence of the Primates of The Episcopal Church USA, The Anglican Church of Canada, The Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Church in New Zealand which have consecrated, are consecrating, or will consecrate bishops in same-sex unions. This is in violation of Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998), which upholds the Biblical definition of marriage and the requirement of godliness in Holy Orders.
- No mention of Lambeth Resolution1.10 (1998), a standard of Biblical and moral teaching for Anglicans which Gafcon upheld and promoted in the Jerusalem Declaration (2008) and in every subsequent Gafcon communication since;
- No mention of or concern with the results of the 2016 Primates gathering which imposed sanctions on the Episcopal Church. These sanctions were not upheld in the months that followed and were allowed to expire without any further consequence or comment. Further, they allowed the Task Force formed in 2016 to be subverted for a new purpose—exploring “how we might walk together despite the complexities we face” (para. 12);
- Affirmations of their commitment to “walk together” with these false teachers four times in paragraphs 4, 12, 13, and 15 of the Primates’ Communique;
- Shared Holy Communion “as an expression of our unity” (para. 2);
- An affirmation that the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in July 2020 is a “vital part of the journey of walking together” (para. 13); and
- A reaffirmation of their commitment to contribute financial resources from their provinces to the failed Instruments of Communion (para. 11).
During the press conference following the Primates Meeting, a question was asked about Gafcon’s formation of the new Confessing Anglican Church of New Zealand arising out of the crisis of false teaching and lack of discipline within the Province of New Zealand. Archbishop Welby stated unequivocally that “no one brought up those subjects.” Archbishop Justin Badi of South Sudan, the new Chair of the Global South, affirmed Welby’s statement: “Our coming to the meeting was not to discuss the formation of new churches [by Gafcon],” he said. “The main aim was to discuss how we move forward as an Anglican Communion and to prepare ourselves for the Lambeth Conference and our fellowship together.” Although there was “considerable discussion” around the issue of what Anglican identity means, the Primates agreed specifically that it is rooted in relationship with the See of Canterbury and “generous inclusivity towards those who use the name ‘Anglican’ within that framework.”
To whatever degree the Gafcon Primates agreed with that last statement, it is a contradiction of the Jerusalem Statement authenticating Anglicanism as rooted in the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and not necessarily as having to be in relationship with Canterbury.
Overall, the social media photos of their fellowship, the statements in their Communique, and the press conference further the narrative that all is well in the Anglican Communion, because everyone is walking together despite deep and irreconcilable differences over the authority and clarity of the Bible and Apostolic tradition.
The senior Gafcon leader present at the Primates meeting, Archbishop Greg Venables, gave his report on January 24 over a week after the Primates meeting and its Communique. During this interview, he states that at the meeting there was much discussion among the Primates, and “everyone was clear that the differences are fundamental and major, that we are in a broken state of communion and that we haven’t been able to find a way forward. We talked freely about how all attempts so far haven’t been followed through.”
This statement is impossible to reconcile with the statements of Archbishops Welby and Badi. The question remains: Whom should we believe, and on what basis?
There are other unanswered questions as well:
- Did the Gafcon Primates and Global South Primates share the sacrament of Communion and Table fellowship with false teachers?
- Why didn’t they reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) as the official teaching on human sexuality, marriage, and leadership in the Church within the Anglican Communion?
- Did they read the Communique at any time before it was issued? If not, why not—especially in view of past misleading Communiques they claimed they had not read?
- If they read the Communique and assented to it, have the Gafcon and Global South Primates concluded that the “complexities that face us” by reason of false teaching are no longer a cause for broken or impaired communion or an impediment to “walking together”?
- Where does this leave the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration (2008), the Gafcon Letter to the Churches (2018), and the Global South “Cairo Covenant” (2019)?
- Given their “considerable discussion” on Anglican identity and their conclusion that it is rooted within the framework of relationship with Canterbury, does this signify that these Gafcon and Global South Primates are moving away from recognizing the very churches they authenticated as Anglican who are not in relationship with Canterbury—namely, the Anglican Church in North America, Brazil (IAB), and New Zealand?
Unless and until these Gafcon and Global South Primates publicly differentiate themselves from the Communique and the press conference statements, we must agree with those who have concluded that this Primates Meeting is a significant setback for Gafcon’s and the Global South’s leadership.
In the past, the American Anglican Council was present at Primates Meetings and other Communion meetings to provide briefings to Gafcon and Global South Primates and Bishops. Our ministry at these meetings was to provide documentation of false teaching and the “facts on the ground,” in order to contradict the false and misleading narrative offered by the Episcopal Church and repeated by the Anglican Communion Office. We provided briefings and space for worship and prayer for Biblically-faithful leaders. There are times when our briefings have enabled Biblically-faithful Primates to stand firm in the official meetings and resist the false and misleading narratives.
One commentator and friend raised the question publicly: Was the American Anglican Council present at this 2020 meeting of the Primates ? [Watch the commentary here].
I can answer that question. No, we were not invited to be in Jordan, nor did we provide any briefings for the Gafcon and Global South Primates. Even if we had been there, however, would it have made any difference?
The twin problems of Primatial turnover and lack of discipline make it unlikely, but I do believe there is a way forward for Biblically-faithful leaders in Gafcon and the Global South to guard the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) for the sake of Gospel mission and ministry within the Anglican Communion. Let me explain.Primatial turnover
Twelve new Primates attended this Primates Meeting in Jordan—12 out of 40, almost a third. None of them have the Anglican Communion Secretariat, staff, and administrative resources at the disposal of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Many of them are coming to grips with the complexities of the Anglican Communion for the first time—including the crisis of false teaching and lack of discipline within the Communion on matters of human sexuality and church leadership. In other words, there is by definition an imbalance of power between every other Primate and the Archbishop of Canterbury and his staff the moment they walk into such a meeting.
This imbalance is aggravated by the constant turnover of Primates, virtually all of whom are “term-limited” by age and/or Constitution. The Anglican Communion Office and its strategy, however, are never term limited. As I wrote back in February 2019 (their 2019-2025 “Strategic Plan for the Anglican Communion” includes a redefinition of Anglican identity that assumes an abandonment of the Biblical confession of faith found in our Anglican formularies and that the Bible cannot be read in a plain and grammatical sense authoritative for all. There are, therefore, no limits to Anglican diversity. This is exactly what happened in Jordan, when at the press conference Anglican identity was described as a “generous inclusivity within a framework,” including the “specific requirement of relationship to Canterbury” rather than adherence to the clarity and authority of the Bible.
Unless there is a continual education of new Primates by those who can document the departures of Anglican churches from Biblical faith and practice—like TEC, Canada, Scotland, Wales and New Zealand—those new Primates will always find themselves at a disadvantage with only the narrative provided them by the Archbishop of Canterbury and his staff.Lack of Discipline
The Primates of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda, all members of the Gafcon Primates Council, properly boycotted the meeting in Jordan. They did so for all of the reasons I wrote about in these two articles that show why bishops should follow the Apostle Paul’s example and absent themselves from such meetings. This would include Lambeth 2020.
Those reasons include the unrepentant consecration and participation of bishops in same sex-unions at such meetings; the lack of any affirmation of the Bible’s clarity and authority for decision making among Anglicans; no limits to Anglican diversity, provided that a church is in relationship with Canterbury; an agenda of the meetings defined, organized, and reported on by Canterbury; no provision for Biblically-faithful Anglicans to provide a dissenting report to the Communique; and a photo-op at the end with the Archbishop of Canterbury that will be used to bolster the narrative of “walking together” in agreement. Since there is no current authority within these diminished councils of the Church at the global level that says “No” to false teaching or takes any discipline against those spreading it, the Primates of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda properly followed the Apostle Paul’s admonition with regards to meetings that welcome such false teachers: “Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Tim.3:6)
At the same time, we must acknowledge, in the words of the Cairo Covenant, section 2.1.8 (Watch the video in our series on the Cairo Covenant here), that “tensions and dislocations amongst orthodox Anglicans can arise over differences of strategy.” We recognize that there are Biblically-faithful leaders in both Gafcon and the Global South who sincerely believe that they should go to meetings like the Primates Meeting in Jordan and Lambeth 2020 in order to confront false teachers and stand up for Biblical and apostolic faith. The American Anglican Council understands that position; we held it for many years in our hope that we could reform TEC from the inside out. With great intent, discipline, resources and organization before, during, and after the Triennial meetings of TEC General Convention, we made our witness and we took our stand until there was no hope of reform.
We learned during that time that one has to show up early, be the last to leave, take control of the agenda when possible, prepare and organize ahead of time to confront false teachings with the truth, hold our own press conferences to report the truth, and issue a statement at the end, even if it is a dissenting minority report of what actually happened and its implications. It takes planning and discipline.
To all those Biblically-faithful leaders in Gafcon and the Global South, who believe in participating in the diminished and deteriorating councils of the Anglican Communion, if only to stand for Biblical and apostolic faith, please hear this: If you attend any more Anglican Communion meetings, observe the following commitments, for the sake of Christ:
- Come prepared with an agenda that you wish to address—including confronting false teaching. Be prepared to speak and enlist others to join you;
- Don’t allow Canterbury or the Anglican Communion Office (ACO) to sideline the concerns you are raising. Insist on them until Canterbury or ACO decide to remove them from the agenda. Make sure the minutes of the meeting record that decision over your objection;
- Don’t worship with representatives of TEC, Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC), Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), Church in Wales (CW) or the Anglican Province in New Zealand (APNZ);
- Don’t participate in photos at events when representatives of TEC, ACoC, SEC, CW, or ANZP are present. These photos will be used, as they have, to mislead people into believing you are “walking together” with false teachers;
- Do not participate in any ACO video projects (because in the past contributions have be spliced together with representatives of TEC, ACoC, SEC, CW, or ANZP to present the appearance of agreement.)
- Do not participate in ACO sponsored media events (interviews, press conferences, etc).
- Insist on receiving and reading any official Anglican Communion Communique from the meeting before you leave.
- Stay until the very end, and provide your own Communique and press conference to report what actually happened at the meeting.
These commitments will require a high level of collaboration, cooperation, and communication between Gafcon and Global South leaders before, during, and after such meetings. In short, they will require discipline.
Are the Gafcon and Global South leaders who wish to continue attending Communion meetings willing to take these steps?The Way Forward for Gafcon and Global South
In June 2020, Gafcon is hosting a gathering for Bishops who are choosing not to attend Lambeth 2020, and for those bishops who subscribe to the Jerusalem Declaration (2008) but are choosing to go to Lambeth 2020—for all the reasons stated above. The Gafcon Kigali Bishops Conference will be an inspiring time of worship, Biblical teaching on the office of a Bishop, prayer, and fellowship. The theme of the conference, Consecrated to Christ, promises to encourage Biblically-faithful Anglican bishops to remain steadfast in their calling to lead God’s people in proclaiming Jesus Christ faithfully to all nations.
This is a Kairos moment, an immediate and timely opportunity for those bishops gathered in Kigali to exercise their unique authority in our Communion of Anglican Churches. Bishops have the unique office and authority of not only proclaiming, but guarding the faith and order of the Church. What if the Bishops gathered in Kigali not only received wonderful teaching on their office, but exercised it by reaffirming their teaching authority as follows:
- Resoundingly reaffirm Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) as the Biblical and therefore Anglican Communion standard for teaching on human sexuality, marriage and leadership in the Church;
- Address the ecclesiological nature of Gafcon itself. Is it a prophetic movement that addresses the “Gospel deficit,” an ecclesial body that recognizes and authenticates Biblically-faithful Anglicans in heterodox Churches, or both?;
- Affirm the commitments stated above for attending any more Anglican Communion meetings as a minimum requirement for membership on the Gafcon Primates Council;
- Adopt as a requirement for membership on the Gafcon Primates Council one of the resolves from the Church of Uganda’s House of Bishops: “To only attend global Anglican meetings to which the ACNA and the new Anglican Church in Brazil have been invited. We stand in solidarity with them. If they are not invited, then we also will consider ourselves to not be invited.”
Finally, I close with a plea from an article published by the AAC in June 2019 on “Casting a Biblical Vision for Human Freedom and Dignity”. In addition to the four teaching points above, our plea is that faithful Bishops meeting in Kigali would address the underlying issue that is driving so much false teaching in the Communion about gender, sexuality, and “human flourishing,” especially in those Anglican churches gripped by the forces of secularizing cultures.
“Dear Bishops, in your determination to meet in Kigali rather than Canterbury in 2020, you have assumed the moral authority and responsibility that Bishops rightly exercise to guard the faith and order, doctrine and discipline of the Church. You can do this for the Anglican Communion in contrast to the Canterbury-led bishops who will almost surely weaken the doctrine and order of the Church when they meet at Lambeth .
Dear Bishops, would you please exercise your teaching authority in Council to articulate for Anglicans yet again the Biblical and catholic understanding of human identity, human freedom, and human flourishing? Would this not enable us as global Anglicans to address the secularizing cultures and pressures of the West with a true and alternative vision of human freedom and dignity that manifests the “truthing in love” (Ephesians 4:15) that Paul commends we do in proclaiming Christ faithfully.
And wouldn’t such a clear articulation from our Gafcon Bishops set a wonderful table for Gafcon 2023?”
Christian Association of Nigeria asks for three days of fasting & prayer in response to persecution of Christians
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on churches in Nigeria and abroad to join in three days of “Special Fasting and Prayer,” commencing on 31 January. The initiative is being launched in response to “the gruesome murder of the Chairman of CAN Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi, abduction and killings of many Christians recently and the continuous incarceration of Leah Sharibu and other prisoners of faith.”
The fasting and prayer will focus on “the gruesome killing of innocent Nigerians” and the need for the Nigerian government to “develop capacity to overcome the criminals troubling the nation.” It will culminate on 2 February, with a “Special Prayer Walk by Christians in all the States of the Federation,” involving processions led by CAN Chairmen of each of the federal states and pastors of churches across Nigeria.
Congregations have been asked to walk around areas where their churches are located, praying for divine intervention and global assistance to bring all forms of violence afflicting the nation to an end. CAN has also asked churches to engage with the media in order to guarantee coverage of the prayer walks, and to ensure effective reportage on social media.
Commenting on the upcoming fast and special prayer walk Rev Yunusa Nmadu, General Secretary of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) and Chief Executive of CSW in Nigeria, said: “The unrelenting rise in violence and insecurity since December is deeply worrying. Civilians across Nigeria are bearing the brunt of violence from multiple sources, with limited government intervention. In particular, the Christian communities in the centre and north east of the country are suffering relentless attacks and abductions by Boko Haram, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and militia of Fulani ethnicity. However, our ultimate hope is in God, and both ECWA and CSW Nigeria will be joining in the commendable action initiated by CAN to unite the Church to seek an end to the violence afflicting Nigeria and the healing of our ravaged land.”
On 29 January the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Eyinnnaya Abaribe, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign due to his government’s failure to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians. The call came a day after the president had expressed “surprise” at the rising insecurity in the country.
Elsewhere, the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation issued a joint appeal on 27 January expressing concern at “the continuing violence and targeted sectarian attacks against people, including religious leaders, in northern Nigeria,” and urging the president to do more to protect civilians.
Highlighting the murders of the Ekklisiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) leader Rev Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram, Rev Denis Bagauri of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria by unknown gunmen, and 22 year-old student Ropvil Daciya Dalep by ISWAP, the joint appeal laments the “attacks, kidnappings, extortion, sectarian killings, rapes and the abduction of young girls” by Boko Haram “and other extremist groups” which are continuing under President Buhari’s government.
The joint appeal concludes by calling on the president to “fulfil [his] duty to Nigerian citizens for their protection and security, regardless of religious affiliation or belief,” to reform the security apparatus, ensuring “officials are representative of the diversity of communities in Nigeria,” and to expedite the release of Leah Sharibu and other hostages held by Boko Haram and ISWAP.
CSW UK’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW welcomes efforts being made both inside Nigeria and internationally to hold President Buhari and his administration to account for their failure to adequately address the insecurity and violence which has cost the lives of many thousands of innocent Nigerians. The situation has reached a critical stage, and this pivotal West African nation is close to failing. We urge members of the international community to continue raising these urgent concerns with Nigeria at every opportunity, offering every necessary assistance to the government, and we encourage Christians around the world to join with CAN in praying and fasting for peace, justice and lasting change.”