Sydney's religious leaders flame new Anglican leader for saying Christ is only way
"Do not be surprised if [the media] hate me," Phillip Jensen said as he was installed as the Anglican Dean of Sydney Friday night. "I am expecting it."

With an invitation like that, it was inevitable that there would be some media backlash to his speech. And indeed there is, mainly focusing on his "attack" against other religions.

"There are many lovely, wonderful Hindus, Muslims, Jews and atheists in our city. Good citizens who have every right to expect to have all the same rights and responsibilities as citizens as anybody else," he said. "But their different religions cannot all be right. Some, or all of them, are wrong, and if wrong are the monstrous lies and deceits of Satan, devised to destroy the life of the believers, to capture them into the cosmic rebellion against God and to destroy the freedom they should have in Christ. Christians in Sydney are being pressured to preach at best a muted message of Christianity. Certainly not one that will ever deny falsehood."

Shortly after the speech, the Sydney Morning Herald asked Jensen (who is the brother of the city's Anglican archbishop and a longtime controversial religious figure in the city) if he thought his speech would "inflame religious intolerance." He said no. "All I'm saying is that both [Christianity and Islam] cannot be right. That's not attacking Islam, that's just saying the truth."

Still, the following day, the Herald quoted plenty of critics who said he was inflaming them. Senior Sydney rabbi Raymond Apple used precisely that word. "The last thing we need at this stage is someone inflaming passions against any religious group," he said.  "Obviously he is entitled to his view that his particular brand of religion is the correct one. But in the same way he would wish the rest of Australia to respect his convictions he should reciprocate by recognizing and respecting the genuine conscience and convictions of others."

"He is totally out of tune in today's era of reconciliation between different religions," said Marianne Dacy, a Roman Catholic nun who heads the Australian Council of Christians and Jews. "It is quite upsetting to hear a view like that expressed by such a prominent churchman."

"It is understood the Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Peter Carnley, was taken aback by Mr Jensen's comments, but he preferred not to comment," reports the Herald's religion writer, Kelly Burke. Sydney is one of the more conservative and orthodox areas in Australia's Anglican church, which is generally liberal elsewhere in the country.

Article continues below

Christian leaders push plan "to defeat Saddam Hussein without war"
Leaders of Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches, as well as Sojourners head Jim Wallis, say the U.S. shouldn't go to war against Iraq. No news there. But what is news is that they're pushing a six-point plan to remove Hussein from power without war.

"We're not just saying 'No' to war. We're not just saying, 'Do nothing.' We're saying, 'Here's a third way,'" Wallis told The Washington Post (in what is the 42,434,329th time he's used the phrase "third way").

The plan calls for the U.N. Security Council to establish an international tribunal to indict Saddam and his top officials for war crimes and crimes against humanity, more aggressive inspections backed by military enforcement, a strengthening of the arms embargo, a UN-directed democracy, humanitarian relief, and increased efforts to bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and international terrorists to justice. The plan is not pacifist, and calls for military force in several places. But such force, it says, should come from the U.N., not the U.S.

But though the group has met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, chances don't look good that they'll get in to see President Bush, let alone their chances that they'll convince him to use their plan, reports The New York Times.

Related Elsewhere

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to

What is Weblog?

See our past Weblog updates:

March 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3
February 28 | 27 | 26 | 25 | 24
February 21 | 20 | 19 | 18 | 17
February 14 | 13 | 12 | 11 | 10
February 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3
January 31 | 30 | 29 | 28 | 27
and more, back to November 1999