More of Radner on Rwanda

Ephraim Radner’s article in First Things is not the first time he has looked at Rwandan Anglicans. Writing for the Anglican Communion Institute in 2009 Radner did an excellent job of laying out the background of conflicts in the DRC and Rwandan problems. He turned to Anglican related issues and said:

The current and often antagonistic disagreements among Anglican churches within the world-wide Anglican Communion has added another layer of confusion into this already difficult field of witness.  Concerns about the character of our various churches’ attachments to players in the eastern Congo tragedy are generally suppressed through a desire to maintain ecclesial alliances;  or, conversely, when such concerns are raised, they are dismissed and assigned to the motives of ecclesial politics.  But we must not fool ourselves:  the demise of truly catholic order and responsibility in something like the Anglican Communion mirrors the failures of global accountability in the secular world. […]

Let me re-emphasize this sentence:  Concerns about the character of our various churches’ attachments to players in the eastern Congo tragedy are generally suppressed through a desire to maintain ecclesial alliances;  or, conversely, when such concerns are raised, they are dismissed and assigned to the motives of ecclesial politics. This, in a nutshell, is what PEAR USA is doing, suppressing critical thinking due to ecclesial alliances which allow American bishops and clergy to carry on with whatever Reformation they think they are enacting here in the States, all the while ignoring evil. Radner says:

If Christian churches, like those of the Anglican Communion, cannot get beyond the politics of their own conflicted life, what is left is a church, just like the civil societies in which she moves, that is picked apart, manipulated, ordered by competing personal interests, and drawn ever more deeply into to the pit of complicity with evil. We have seen this happen.

Perhaps – indeed, surely, as the Psalmist writes – one must eventually fall into the pit one digs for another (cf. Ps. 7:15; cf. Prov. 26:27). But in the meantime, others have fallen in as well – too many others; millions of others. The Gospel promises us, through the prophet, a leveling out of the land – a filling in of rough places and of the pits themselves (Is. 40:4; Lk. 3:5), so that, at least, what the evil man contemplates cannot catch another on his or her way. The tentative pause in the eastern Congo’s holocaust can be extended, surely, through the corporate and cooperative determinations of participants. But the Christian churches must get involved in this as well. And to do that, they will need to extricate themselves from the expectations of and collaborations with governments that have already proven they cannot be trusted, and can only be pressured into acts of ostensive justice at best. Writing as an Anglican, this will require a conversion on the part of all of us that goes far beyond the local ecclesial feuds that have ruined our ability to hear the voice of the Lord calling us into His light.

Given what we have seen to date, PEAR USA and GAFCON more broadly will not confront evil until it is much too late. The lesson learned from Thad Barnum’s book “Never Silent” is not applied to contemporary circumstances.


8 thoughts on “More of Radner on Rwanda”

        1. So you are aware that Kagame slaughtered Hutus starting immediately after the genocide? And you are OK with Anglican bishops applauding him? Gersony had concluded that the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA – the military wing of the RPF) had killed between 25,000 and 45,000 people from April to August of 1994. An excerpt from the report follows:
          These activities are reported to have begun, depending on location, between April and July 1994, immediately following the expulsion from each area of former Government military, militia and surrogate forces. These RPA actions were consistently reported to be conducted in areas where opposition forces of any kind – armed or unarmed – or resistance of any kind – other than atempts by the victims of these actions to escape — were absent. Large-scale indiscriminate killings of men, women, children, including the sick and the elderly, were consistently reported. The reported violence includes:
          – Mass killings at meetings. Local residents, including entire families, were called to community meetings, invited to receive information about “peace,” “security” or “food distribution” issues. Once a crowd had assembled, it was assaulted through sudden sustained gunfre; or locked in buildings into which hand-grenades were thrown; systematically killed with manual instruments; or killed in large numbers by other means. Large-scale killings which did not involve such “meetings” were also reported. House-to-house killings, and attacks on villages and displaced populations.
          – Pursuit of hidden populations. In response to the above actions, significant segments of the population fee into hiding in swamps, bush areas, banana plantations and other areas of difficult access to RPA soldiers. In many cases, they remain in hiding for extended periods of time. RPA soldiers’, in a few more recent cases accompanied by civilian Tutsi surrogates armed with spears and other manual weapons, were reported to actively pursue the hidden population through:
          – Sudden, apparently well-coordinated attacks with gunfire;
          – Silent attacks in which hidden groups are killed with manual weapons;
          – Burning of swamp areas to prompt movement by civilians who are then killed;
          – Periods in which operations are suspended, followed by invitations to the hidden families to
          return home in peace. Shortly thereafter the villages are attacked and returnees are killed.
          – Killing of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers – particularly those feeing from Rwanda in a southerly direction towards Burundi are reportedly systematically intercepted, ambushed and killed in significant numbers. These actions are reported with particular frequency in the commonly-used routes via road and through the countryside which pass through Matongo and Musenyi in southern Birenga Commune, and in areas close to the river which defines the Rwanda/Burundi border.
          – Killing of returnees. Hundreds of Rwandan refugees in Burundi have heard Government of
          Rwanda radio broadcasts inviting and calling on the refugees to return home, and some of the refugees tried to do so. Some attempted to return to Rwanda with their entire families; others sent one or two individuals as “advance scouts” to confirm that conditions are peaceful. Still others traveled to their home areas to find and/or bring their relatives back to Burundi, or to harvest food to bring back to Burundi for their own consumption or for sale. Regardless of the motivation for their return, those who attempted to return and who were able to fee back to Burundi report consistently eye-witnessing killings and seeing the relatively fresh bodies of their Hutu neighbors and relatives.
          – Killing of sick and elderly. Some individuals who are too old or too sick to fee to a neighboring country or to hide in the swamps, remain at their homes. Reports indicate that at least some of these are killed by RPA soldiers.
          Culpability of victims. It appeared that the vast majority of men, women and children killed in these actions were targeted through the pure chance of being caught by RPA. No vetting process or attempt to establish the complicity of the victims in the April 1994 massacres of the Tutsis was reported.
          Number of deaths. It is estimated that from late April/May through July, more than 5,000, and perhaps as many as 10,000 persons per month may have been killed in the manner described above. During August, while some 60,000 new refugees were arriving in Burundi and Tanzania, the number killed may have been somewhat less than in previous months, but probably at least 5,000. By that time, the people in many cases no longer responded to calls to attend RPA meetings and fed their homes when RPA soldiers approached. Also by then, many were dead or in exile in Burundi and Tanzania. (Gersony 4-8)

        2. Robert Cordorve,

          Are you acquainted with the logical fallacy of the non sequitur? An example would be posting accusations published in 2008 by Dr Radner+ with praises to God for those organizations (unless of course you are agreeing with such accused actions and you are praising God for this witness [even if it’s contrary to Scripture]), then when ask if you are familiar with the President of Rwanda or a report generated for the United Nations, you respond that you’ve travelled to Rwanda several times. I am kind of hoping that PEAR USA has “an enemies list” and has folks trolling this blog to post comments whenever JM posts something on Rwanda, because honestly that’s the better of the two reasons I’ve come up with why you’d respond as you have, for to me this kind of reads like an Anglicanized version of Hare Krishna responses to when that groups premises are challenge. Honestly, this is really cultish way to handle criticism and I find it pretty freaky.

  1. God bless you Joel
    Curious as to why you remain in a PEAR church? Maybe that’s old information re: Ascension, Fairfax, VA


  2. re: Ascension, Fairfax, VA?

    That’s a Continuing Church parish:

    (Unless you meant Holy Ascension the Russian Orthodox one).

    Okay, I’m fooling around, but kind of curious why Robert is going on a fishing expedition, to what ends? Also begining to suspect “he’s not from around here.”

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