Got very cross today about some stuff on Anglican Mainstream encouraging people to withdraw from association with Tear Fund because they invited Archbishop Desmond Tutu to speak at arecent conference, and of course he does not have a very conservative position on gays.
Below is most of a post I put on Fulcrum in response to this
William Booth of Salvation Army fame was once challenged about accepting donations from parties trying to attach strings, in an "I'll scratch your back ... " type thing, but he replied,
"I'll take every penny and wash it clean with the tears of widows and orphans".
While we are not actually talking about money here, I feel that quotation might help the discussion, as I guess AM & reform (CT quoted someone from them saying he would be writing to Matthew Frost on this issue, straight after the conference) are wanting to imply that ++Tutu may be seeking to gain some kind of foothold in British Evangelicalism through association with TF. TF on their part have not to my knowledge said anything to indicate a shift in policy, they just want to work with anyone who shares their vision.
Presumably TF has signed the EA mission statement (or whatever) which is the same document that led to calls for Joel Edwards to stand down from the Equality commission on grounds of discrimination against gays. As the Americans say, go figure!
I think it is more likely that ++Tutu has seen the effect of TF's ministry on the ground and so responded to their invitation in good heart, because he shares their vision.
It's just modern day Donatism - not wanting to be "tainted" by association. I'm not an expert but I do recall some rather key reformers had somewhat dubious opinions of the Jews, but you don't hear about that so much. These are the same people I guess who have decided to stop reading anything at all by Steve Chalke or Roy Clements because on one issue they have divergent opinions.
If this now happens to ++Tutu it would be very sad. At New Wine last summer every toilet had a flyer put up in it inviting people to apply to go on a home-building project sponsored by ++Tutu - no one tore them down so I conclude that TF's opinion of the man is at least the prevalent one in charismatic evangelicalism.
People I have known who worked for Tear Fund on the ground were usually more concerned with avoiding getting shot or abducted than with what Bishops (or anyone else) happen to think about gays.