Friday, April 18, 2008

The Privileged Oppressed Are Heard From Again

Back in December, it was the gay black Harvard theologian. This time (courtesy of TitusOneNine) it's the female Maori dean of a college in New Zealand. Back when KJS was elevated to presiding bishop, I wrote that "[a]t least one of those symbols is positive by anyone's standards: no longer need I suffer self-indulgent hand-wringing about the need for further empowerment of women in the church." And here we have a powerful female officially-certified member of the establishment wringing her hands about female empowerment. When are these people going to catch on to the irony (not to say self-parody) of their situations?

Which leads immediately to the other irony: that the communion-level flap and the resistance to covenanting is manifestly about making sure that those third world bishops in Africa, South America, and East Asia do not get any power over the rich, self-satisfied, enlightened first world. In an earlier decade, this would have been called "racist". Whether it is truly thus is for others to debate, but the elitism is unmistakable and blatant.

In saying this, I would not belittle the real suffering of any particular woman-- or man, for that matter. Real oppression, real privation, real suffering are all easy to find, in past or present. But university professors and college deans are not oppressed, and do not suffer desperate want, and do not risk bodily harm simply by showing up for work. It is unseemly that they summon up those grim prospects in defense of their own license and power.

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