December 26th — if you have the day off —is the one day in the calendar when there is nothing you are obliged to do. It's a delightful switch-off from the outside world—Ireland's unofficial mental health day. In the dark week between Christmas and New Year, all of Ireland catches its breath. You don't have to be Christian to enjoy the mood.Good King Wenceslas went out apparently, on the feast of Stephen; but he is supposed to have been a saint (a C10th Duke of Bohemia, actually). So where have I been this St Stephen's Day? At home. And glad of it. I'll skip the fire though.
In the past, we used to feel so sorry for the gardaí, fireman and nurses who worked that day. There was always a newspaper article interviewing them about what it was like.
They're not alone any more. Now the 26th is just another day.
While I've worked my share of St Stephen's Days, since we publish on the 27th if it isn't a Sunday, I still think that the only paid work on Christmas Day and St Stephen's Day should be absolutely necessary work. While I've heard it said that the shops opening on the 26th is yet further encroachment of godless UK and US values, that's not what makes me disapprove. My reason is that we need a rest this year more than ever, and on top of that we're learning to live within our means.
[Some] may still be getting a kick out of shopping, but the rest of us have reassessed our priorities and found better things to do.
The traffic jams of yore are gone, and you can nearly see the tumbleweed blowing down the thoroughfares and through the huge open-plan retail spaces of the nougthies' temples, while bored shop assistants practically beg to be of assistance and even the mannequins look disgruntled.
On St Stephen's Day, the shops will be trying to lure us in with what they promise will be extravagant discounts, but if the item that is on sale on St Stephen's Day for half the price it was fewer than 48 hours before, then why wasn't the shop selling it for 50 per cent less in the first place if it could still make a profit? . . .
"Save 50 per cent!" You're not saving anything. The only way to save money is to keep it in your wallet.
So on St Stephen's Day, let's stay home by the fire. There can hardly be anything so life-enhancing on sale on St Stephen's Day that it can't be bought on the 27th or the 28th, if it is to be bought at all.
My solution to winter travel chaos? Don't travel. Stay indoors. Build a fire. Live and shop within walking distance of civilisation. Associate with neighbours. See distant relatives some other time of the year.In geographically large countries like Australia, Canada, the US and China, moving across country is not just a local move, it's a migration. When my forebears migrated from the UK to Australia and New Zealand, they expected never to return. The most recent such migrant was grandmother in 1921. She visited England just once, by sea, of course. The journey was expensive and took months. Most long distance journeys now take mere hours and are more affordable. But they remain costly.
Above all, do not complain if you insist on laying siege to motorways, stations and airports and the weather or the labour force let you down, as they do every year. It is not their fault, it is yours for being there.Now is only the second time in my life where I have been within walking distance of my 'local' church, and of shops, markets and services adequate to my needs. It's the first time in my life when I have had a bus service that could take me directly to my workplace.
Of all human activities that bring out the selfish in mankind, nothing compares with travel. [. . .] I am a free and independent spirit innocently enjoying the right to roam; you are a travel-mad lemming who thinks he has a God-given right to tarmac, train or plane just when I am there. Get out of my way.
[The Copenhagen Conference] illustrates the problem rather than the solution. The craving to move and to congregate [. . .] has been the greatest contributor to CO2 emissions over the past half century, above all from the internal combustion of carbon. [. . .] Traveling does as much damage to the earth's atmosphere as all other domestic activities put together. Yet powered movement is a craving no government is willing to curb. Hypermobility is the totem of personal liberty. [. . .]
Meanwhile the government pursues a policy of closing such local institutions as primary schools, cottage hospitals and post offices and encouraging out of town shopping and rural housing estates. All lead to an increase in the need for motor travel. If a hospital visit requires a drive of 50 rather than five miles, the NHS does not pay but someone does; indeed everyone does.
As the geographer, John Adams, points out, mobility may seem "liberating and empowering for individuals", but it also destroys the propinquity essential to more efficient living and to community and civic cohesion. Like the internet, which paradoxically appears to boost travel by making it more efficient, hypermobility has replaced real neighbourhoods with pseudo ones.Yes and no. Some 'pseudo' neighbourhoods are real communities. The members of our small church members come from an area about 60km across, yet they are very much a family.
People rush anywhere that delivers a new experience, from a weekend break to a global warming conference. Hypermobility is the opium of the people. It panders to instant gratification while dulling a sense of community.
Since hypermobility both dilutes a sense of place and (mostly) increases carbon emissions, governments should be charged with curbing or at least not promoting it. This means planning the town and country so as to minimise the need for ever longer journeys. It means rationing travel capacity by congestion or by price. Since governments are scared of price, most choose to ration by congestion. Summer and winter "road and rail chaos" is the result, with blame conveniently attaching to operators. Everybody thinks it is cars, trains and planes that cause gridlock—when in reality it is people.Just so. For Australians, and many others, Christmas celebrates family, friendship and 'domestic space' as Jenkins calls it. But with families separated by oceans and continents, we recreate that space in our minds and hearts, close in thought and affection, though not in body.
There is no absolute right to roam. There is no free trip. We must initiate the rebirth of domestic space.
A friend of mine taught me that rather than "giving up" things for Lent, it is better to add something—more quiet time, more prayer. Similarly, I suggest that Christmas be a time not for getting more and doing more, but a time to get rid of some unwanted stuff. For instance . . .
In its series The Question The Guardian asks "What would you get rid of for Christmas?" Anglican clergyman Peter Bolton responds 23 Dec 2009 that he would get rid of churchmen who denounce sexual sins with a fervour they never apply to any other sin.
This is like writing a letter to Santa! Resisting with all my might the temptation to ask for the extermination of certain people who get on my nerves my mind wonders around to the big and worthy issues. Should I ask for the end of war or global warming or poverty or homelessness or child abuse? Well, yes, I should [. . .]
I am going to ask for the end of something that is making me really angry right now. Like most Guardian readers (I hope), I am very angry and upset about Uganda's proposed anti-homosexuality legislation. But my wrath is not directed at Uganda or even its government especially. A little knowledge of the history of Uganda helps one realise that this is too complicated just to be angry with the people who will pass this law.
No, my anger is directed at those Western Christians who feed the bigotry. I can just about understand that Christians might regard homosexual acts as sinful but what I completely fail to understand is why they get so worked up about it. I just wish that churchmen (yes, I do mean that) who get so upset about what they regard as sexual sins would get just as worked up about illegal wars, the greed that leads to global warming, or the violence done to women in the name of Christian marriage. I wish were as vociferous in their campaigning against world poverty, against nuclear weapons or the appalling treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. Why do they seem to get more upset about people trying to love than they do about poverty, the penal system, or the exploitation of women?
So, dear Santa, please get rid of all talk from churchmen about sex unless it is a celebration of God's wonderful gift. [. . .] Come to think about it, though, it might be more realistic to hope for the end of poverty.
|It's hard to believe that I have experienced more than sixty Christmases. Many were at home with my parents, brother and sister—and good fun too. More recently there have my nieces, and James too. But the Christmases are blurred together in my memory so that I can't distinguish one from another.|
One I do remember was spent here, on the platform of the Yass Junction Railway station.
I was travelling by special train as part of large group of YFC teenagers from Melbourne to Brisbane; we planned to be on the Gold Coast for Christmas. A train ahead of us was derailed and we spent many hours on this platform, with a Christmas service in the hot sun, meals of sandwiches sent from Canberra—60 km or so distant—and slept on the floor of the train.
Christmas wasn't really derailed; there was worship, there was fellowship, there was even food (in Sydney the next day).
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4.7.
This year we have again been reminded of the fragility of life. Natural disasters and conflicts around the world, including the Victorian bushfires which caused such destruction and loss of life, show all too clearly that life cannot be taken for granted. The global economy continues to stagger, and although there are signs of recovery interest rates are now rising and many families remain uncertain about the future. Hope seems hard to come by.I'm sure Dr Aspinall must be aware of the irony, for the land of Palestine is still, today, "a place of war, of occupation, of hardship and uncertainty" where hope remains "hard to come by".
The Palestine of Jesus' day was also a place of war, of occupation, of hardship and uncertainty. Hope was hard to come by then, too. It was in this setting that the Christmas events occurred.
God came among us as a vulnerable child. Christmas speaks of a God who does not abandon us, even in the dark times. We celebrate Christmas, not just to remember an event which occurred 2000 years ago. The annual celebration reminds us that the God who came among us then remains among us now. So we continue to hope even when hope seems foolish.
Each Christmas we celebrate not just the birth of a child but the birth of hope.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the people of Bethlehem. Pray for the peoples of Palestine and Israel, and "continue to hope even when hope seems foolish."
On 19 Dec Jimmy Carter wrote that although the Middle East peace process is "in the doldrums, almost moribund" the human suffering of Gaza demands urgent relief." In summary, he says"UN resolutions, Geneva conventions, previous agreements between Israelis and Palestinians, the Arab peace initiative, and official policies of the US and other nations are all being ignored. In the meantime, the demolition of Arab houses, expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Palestinian recalcitrance threaten any real prospect for peace."
Of more immediate concern, those under siege in Gaza face another winter of intense personal suffering. I visited Gaza after the devastating January war and observed homeless people huddling in makeshift tents, under plastic sheets, or in caves dug into the debris of their former homes. Despite offers by Palestinian leaders and international agencies to guarantee no use of imported materials for even defensive military purposes, cement, lumber, and panes of glass are not being permitted to pass entry points into Gaza. The US and other nations have accepted this abhorrent situation without forceful corrective action.Mr Carter says President Obama was right to insist on a two-state solution and a complete settlement freeze as the basis for negotiations and urges the US, EU, Russia to declare any further expansion of settlements illegal and to not veto UN security council decisions that condemn the settlements.
I have discussed ways to assist the citizens of Gaza with a number of Arab and European leaders and their common response is that the Israeli blockade makes any assistance impossible. Donors point out that they have provided enormous aid funds to build schools, hospitals and factories, only to see them destroyed in a few hours by precision bombs and missiles. Without international guarantees, why risk similar losses in the future?
It is time to face the fact that, for the past 30 years, no one nation has been able or willing to break the impasse and induce the disputing parties to comply with international law. We cannot wait any longer. Israel has long argued that it cannot negotiate with terrorists, yet has had an entire year without terrorism and still could not negotiate. President Obama has promised active involvement of the US government, but no formal peace talks have begun and no comprehensive framework for peace has been proposed. Individually and collectively, the world powers must act.
Regardless of all this, there must be rebuilding of Gaza and relief for its people. "The cries of homeless and freezing people demand immediate relief. This is a time for bold action, and the season for forgiveness, reconciliation and peace."
For almost 20 years, from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen, we've been wasting time, pursuing the failed strategy of cutting carbon-dioxide emissions. Promises of short-term carbon cuts haven't worked because implementing them is extremely expensive and ineffective: alternative energy technologies are far from ready to take over. To ensure that they are ready, we should instead invest 0.2% of GDP in green research and development . . . which is far smarter option.So argues Bjørn Lomborg, adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and of its Copenhagen Consensus on Climate project. He writes that to set of carbon emission targets is futile as a response to climate change. "We should be negotiating an international agreement" he says " to increase radically spending on green-energy research and development to a total of 0.2 per cent of global GDP, or $US100 billion a year. Without this kind of concerted effort, alternative technologies simply will not be ready to take up the slack from fossil fuels."
The solution is not to make fossil fuels more expensive; the solution is to make alternative energy cheaper.
[L]et's say we index 1990 global emissions at 100. If there were no Kyoto at all, the 2010 level would have been 142.7. With full Kyoto implementation, it would have been 133. In fact, the actual outcome of Kyoto is likely to be a 2010 level of 142.2—virtually the same as if we had done nothing at all. Given 12 years of continuous talks and praise for Kyoto, this is not much of an accomplishment. The Kyoto Protocol did not fail because any one nation let the rest of the world down. It failed because making quick, drastic cuts in carbon emissions is extremely expensive. Whether or not Copenhagen is declared a political victory, that inescapable fact of economic life will once again prevail and grand promises will once again go unfulfilled. This is why I advocate abandoning the pointless strategy of trying to make governments promise to cut carbon emissions. Instead, the world should be focusing its efforts on making non-polluting energy sources cheaper than fossil fuels.Most of the promises are empty, with targets unachievable or the numbers fudged, Lomborg says.
Instead of papering over the flaws in the Kyoto approach and pretending that grand promises translate into real action, we need to acknowledge that saving the world requires a smarter strategy than the one being pursued so dogmatically in Copenhagen.Makes sense. It will be tricky to spend up big on alternative energy without some kind of 'tax' on consumers. But Australia could begin by using the money Labors failed ETS would give as compensation to the big polluters.
We affirm that sexuality is a divine gift, and hence God intends us to celebrate this divine gift in committed, consensual, and monogamous relationships. It is in such celebrations of our sexuality that we grow into the fullness of our humanity, and experience God in a special way.
We believe that our negative attitudes towards sexuality and our body-denying spirituality stem from our distorted understanding of God's purpose for us. The embodied God who embraced flesh in Jesus Christ is the ground for us to love our bodies and to celebrate life and sexuality without abuse and misuse. So God invites us to experience sexual fulfillment in our committed relationships of justice-love with the commitment to be vulnerable, compassionate, and responsible.
We recognize that there are people with different sexual orientations. The very faith affirmation that the whole human community is created in the image of God irrespective of our sexual orientations makes it imperative on us to reject systemic and personal attitudes of homophobia and discrimination against sexual minorities. We consider the Delhi High Court verdict to "decriminalize consensual sexual acts of adults in private" upholding the fundamental constitutional and human rights to privacy and the life of dignity and non-discrimination of all citizens as a positive step.
We believe that the Church as 'Just and Inclusive Community' is called to become a community without walls to reach out to people who are stigmatized and demonized, and be a listening community to understand their pains, desires, and hopes.
We envision Church as a sanctuary to the ostracized who thirst for understanding, friendship, love, compassion and solidarity, and to join in their struggles to live out their God given lives. So we appeal to the Christian communities to sojourn with sexual minorities and their families without prejudice and discrimination, to provide them ministries of love, compassionate care, and justice.
We request the National Council of Churches in India and its members to initiate an in-depth theological study on Human Sexuality for better discernment of God's purpose for us. This involves a deeper engagement with Bible, traditions, and other disciplines such as social theories, psychology, and medical science. This process should be an inclusive one where people with different sexual orientations can learn from each other and contribute to this process without prejudice and fear. We also request the Theological Fraternities in India to help this process through integrating issues related to Human Sexuality into the process of theological and ministerial formation.
We hope and pray that the embodied God will bless our endeavors to grow into the fullness of life, and to transform our faith communities into rainbow communities of the beloved and equals.
It's the wrap-up to Mr Carey's piece that caught my attention:
The problem that the Archbishop of Canterbury faces is that the Anglican Communion will continue to fragment. The Covenant which he believes is a centre of unity around which the vast majority of provinces can coalesce is not even yet in its final form. Such is the polarisation of the Church of England, as a result of the Anglican Communion crisis, that there is now no guarantee that it can pass in the General Synod let alone in other more liberal western provinces.With that conclusion I wholeheartedly agree.
It seems likely that any Anglican future worth having will be radically different from the current shape of things. The so-called instruments and international meetings will become largely a thing of the past, replaced by networks, regional conferences and some tangential relationships to the Canterbury primate. It is a fragmented and difficult future, but one preferable to a constant state of hysteria and schism.
Information released by the World Meteorological Organization on 8 December showed that the last 10 years are the warmest decade in 160 years of record taking.
"A central plank of the climate skeptics' creed has been that the Earth has been cooling since 1998. They have misled many, and damaged public policy as a result. Here is the definitive proof that they are wrong," said Tim Flannery, professor of environmental and life sciences at Macquarie University in Australia and the chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an advocacy group made up of scientists and business leaders. "Unfortunately the warming trend continues, and will continue as long as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to grow," he said.
The new data shows that average combined air and sea surface temperatures for 2009 were 14.44°C, which is 0.44°C above the average of 14°C documented between 1961 and 1990 used as a baseline to measure warming by WMO. The data is collected in all 189 countries that are members of WMO; from the oceans, using climate stations on both buoys and ships, and also with satellites. "We are in a warming trend—we have no doubt about that," said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO.
The Liberals' new emperor has no clothes for the warming climate.
The exhibition's website explains that the Mansudae Art Studio
is an official artist studio (changjaksa) in Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK), which employs over 1000 artists across the disciplines of painting, drawing, embroidery and mosaics. There is a rich cultural heritage associated with artistic production in North Korea (DPRK), and ink painting in particular is a revered practice. Artistic themes vary and may be revolutionary, social, political and historical in content, or purely aesthetic, and are expressed in different media such as sculpture, poster art, ceramics and painting. Installed in streets, schools, cinemas and official buildings, they function as a form of public art. These works are created with virtuosic technical skill by groups of artists, reflecting the states collective ethos. This new body of work, created specifically for APT6, addresses the nature of work and collectivism, the process of collaboration and the fundamental role played by the studio in artistic practice in North Korea. This important project, developed in collaboration with Nicholas Bonner, will be the first presentation in Australia of contemporary art from North Korea (DPRK).Australian Immigration officials say the studio produces propaganda artworks that glorify the North Korean government. North Korean nationals are forbidden from visiting Australia because of their country's missile and nuclear weapons programs. To make an exception for these artists "would have sent an inappropriate message to the North Korean regime", says the official statement by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "'The artists concerned are from a studio that operates under the guidance of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-Il. The studio reportedly produces almost all of the official artworks in North Korea, including works that clearly constitute propaganda," the statement says.
"That's just the most stupid thing I have ever heard," counters Beijing-based British filmmaker Nicholas Bonner, who for the past five years, alongside curators from the Queensland gallery, worked on the exhibition with eight North Korean artists from the Mansudae Art Studio and now accuses Australian authorities of censoring free debate.
This is the first time anyone has ever seen this style of art in the Australia and it is a pity its creators cannot tell us about it. Trouble is, employees in North Korea are all 'government officials' and all are under the 'guidance' of Kim Jong-Il.
Pictured: Choe Yong Sun | North Korea (DPRK) b.1958 | The construction site 2005 | Linocut on paper | 65.5 x 52.5cm | Collection: Nicholas Bonner, Beijing
Im Hyok with his work "Break Time" at the Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang.
The most significant recent climate change findings are:Especially troubling is the liklihood of tipping points, beyond which there will be accelaring change with no possibility of reversal.
- Surging greenhouse gas emissions: Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in 2008 were nearly 40% higher than those in 1990. Even if global emission rates are stabilized at present-day levels, just 20 more years of emissions would give a 25% probability that warming exceeds 2°C, even with zero emissions after 2030. Every year of delayed action increases the chances of exceeding 2°C warming.
- Recent global temperatures demonstrate human-induced warming: Over the past 25 years temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.19°C per decade, in very good agreement with predictions based on greenhouse gas increases. Even over the past ten years, despite a decrease in solar forcing, the trend continues to be one of warming. Natural, short-term fluctuations are occurring as usual, but there have been no significant changes in the underlying warming trend.
- Acceleration of melting of ice-sheets, glaciers and ice-caps: A wide array of satellite and ice measurements now demonstrate beyond doubt that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets are losing mass at an increasing rate. Melting of glaciers and ice-caps in other parts of the world has also accelerated since 1990.
- Rapid Arctic sea-ice decline: Summer-time melting of Arctic sea-ice has accelerated far beyond the expectations of climate models. The area of sea-ice melt during 2007-2009 was about 40% greater than the average prediction from IPCC AR4 climate models.
- Current sea-level rise underestimated: Satellites show recent global average sea-level rise (3.4 mm/yr over the past 15 years) to be ˜80% above past IPCC predictions. This acceleration in sea-level rise is consistent with a doubling in contribution from melting of glaciers, ice caps, and the Greenland and West-Antarctic ice-sheets.
- Sea-level predictions revised: By 2100, global sea-level is likely to rise at least twice as much as projected by Working Group 1 of the IPCC AR4; for unmitigated emissions it may well exceed 1 meter. The upper limit has been estimated as ˜ 2 meters sea level rise by 2100. Sea level will continue to rise for centuries after global temperatures have been stabilized, and several meters of sea level rise must be expected over the next few centuries.
- Delay in action risks irreversible damage: Several vulnerable elements in the climate system (e.g. continental ice-sheets, Amazon rainforest, West African monsoon and others) could be pushed towards abrupt or irreversible change if warming continues in a business-as-usual way throughout this century. The risk of transgressing critical thresholds ("tipping points") increases strongly with ongoing climate change. Thus waiting for higher levels of scientific certainty could mean that some tipping points will be crossed before they are recognized.
- The turning point must come soon: If global warming is to be limited to a maximum of 2 °C above pre-industrial values, global emissions need to peak between 2015 and 2020 and then decline rapidly. To stabilize climate, a decarbonized global society—with near-zero emissions of CO2 and other long-lived greenhouse gases—needs to be reached well within this century. More specifically, the average annual per-capita emissions will have to shrink to well under 1 metric ton CO2 by 2050. This is 80-95% below the per-capita emissions in developed nations in 2000.
Just a few days later, he failed to condemn openly the new law to be enacted in Uganda that will condemn a large number of homosexuals to death. Yet when it came to the election as a bishop of a monogamous woman who has been in the same relationship for 21 years he was quick to judge. The problem was that this woman's relationship is with another woman.Quite, but not for any reason the Pope might propose. A supra-national/international church such as the Anglican Communmion is organisation is simply unnecessary for the cause of the Gospel. In the Anglican scheme of things, the Diocese is the essential unit of organisation. As in Australia, structures above this should be absolutely minimal or non-existent.
It is well known in church circles that Dr Williams, once barred from becoming Bishop of Southwark because of his liberal views, was the favoured choice of Tony Blair's Government and the mostly liberal Church of England bishops to lead them because of what they believed to be his fearless advocacy for gay rights.
The dreams of these liberals, and the oppressed minorities they speak out in support of, are almost dead. One blog commenter yesterday suggested that the Archbishop, instead of asking "serious questions" about the election of Mary Glasspool, might like instead to appoint her as his representative to go and lobby the Ugandan Government. What a thrilling spectacle that would be to behold.
Otherwise, frankly, there seems little point in the Anglican Communion bothering to exist any more. Maybe that is what the Pope has realised.
To many Anglicans, embarrassed and ashamed by a Church that knows not which minority it stands up for or which tradition it is prepared or not to breach, the Catholic option must seem increasingly attractive.On the contrary. The failure of the Anglican international church is a reason to avoid the Roman substitute, which would serve only to further quench the Spirit of liberty and grace.
The only person who needs to make Canon Glasspool's selection for leadership is the Holy Spirit. The only people who need to confirm that selection are the people of the Diocese who elected her.
Andrew Brown says (6 Dec 09) that Rowan Williams has been forced into an impossible corner by his own diplomacy.
Rowan Williams has found himself in some difficult and undignified places as Archbishop of Canterbury, but it looks as if the Ugandan church is going to land him in the hardest and most uncomfortable early next year. But his difficulties have been greatly aggravated by his own diplomatic ineptitude. He has got himself into a position where he thinks that he can tell liberal Americans what to do, but dare not tell conservative Africans. He's certainly wrong about the Americans; the Ugandans may leave him with no choice but to speak out.
If he speaks out against the homophobic Ugandan law now, he may make it more likely that the bill will pass. One Ugandan prelate, Bishop Joseph Abura of Karamoja Diocese, has already written a blood-curdling denunciation of the protesting West. Gays, he says, are in the power of Satan.
[. . .]
There is perhaps something that could be said about a Bishop who wants to put men to death for loving other men, and accuses his opponents of "being inhumane, looking at own self, own feelings, and not the feelings of others" But this is no time for irony. Let's cut to the message.
Africa, run away from gays, let us save our continent by refuting the vice; practice, and preserve our heritage, that is our traditions and culture believing and trusting in the Almighty God ... Christ is the answer, feelings or sympathies, especially on evil, are not! Ugandan Parliament, the watch dog of our laws, please go ahead and put the anti-gay laws in place. It is then that we become truly accountable to our young and to this country, not to Canada or England. We are in charge!
Perhaps it is the Church of Uganda that's in charge here; perhaps it's the devil that the church so firmly believes in. But it certainly isn't the Archbishop of Canterbury. Williams's office has let it be known that he is appalled by the proposed bill, and doing everything he can behind the scenes to scupper it. You can see the problem. Having his press secretary tell people he is exerting covert pressure isn't the most covert way possible to pressurise the Ugandans. But the bill is now widely known and condemned among his natural sympathisers. He can no longer be seen to be doing nothing, any more than he can be seen to be acting against it.
What makes his difficulty darkly comic rather than tragic is the speed with which he has reacted to the election of a lesbian assistant bishop in Los Angeles. A statement came out of his office less than 12 hours later urging the Americans not to proceed.
Consider the case of two Anglicans of the same gender who love one another. If they are in the USA, the Anglican church will marry them and may elect one of them to office. If they are in Uganda, the Anglican church will have try to have them jailed for life, and ensure that any priest who did not report them to the authorities within 24 hours would be jailed for three years; anyone who spoke out in their defence might be jailed for seven.
Under Williams, the church that marries two women who love each other is to be thrown out of the Anglican Communion. The church that would jail them both for life, and would revile and persecute their defenders, stays snugly in his bosom. Not even the Archbishop's remarkable gift for obfuscation can conceal these facts forever.