Section One: Diverse themes shape ethical behaviour
by Margaret Rodgers
The diverse themes of Section One are linked because they cover areas that Anglicans must reflect on in forming their ethical and moral beliefs and their consequent actions. Human Rights and Human Dignity: Section One lists immediate worldwide concerns under eight broad headings: the widening gap between rich and poor; the violation of women and children; the effect of the global economy; war, guns and landmines; racial and caste discrimination; fundamentalism and nationalism; refugee migration, asylum seekers and uprooted and displaced people; and indigenous peoples. It challenges the Church to be a model community, a moral community and a learning community; and to encourage the establishment of peacemaking agencies to promote reconciliation and justice, most particularly for women and children. The Environment: Creation is an act of Divine love, though it is disordered as humans experience it. A great challenge and opportunity confronts the Church.There is an urgent need for the Church to reflect on scripture and Christian tradition in the light of the ecological crisis and to effectively engage with the pursuit of a more sustainable life.
Biblical insights provide a firm foundation for a contemporary ecologytheology. The Sabbath must be reinvigorated as a feast of redemption and anticipation of the ecological harmony and sustainable equilibrium of Christ's Kingdom.
Human Sexuality: Human sexuality, gift of a loving God, is to be honoured and cherished by all people. Human sexuality is intended by God to find its rightful and full expression between a man and woman in the covenant of marriage, understood to be a life-long, monogamous and unconditional commitment, yet singleness and dedicated celibacy are Christ-like ways of living. Some persons experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. They are loved by God, and all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ. The Church and all its members must work to end any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and to oppose homophobia. The section group was not of one mind about homosexuality and listed its variety of understandings.
Modern Technology: Everyone wants technology because it brings the promise of a better life. But it is also fed by a particular world view and is sustained by market forces. It brings not just the surface enhancement of life, for it moves inward and shapes our understanding of ourselves, our relationships and our world. Some of the poorest parts of the Communion are concerned about the harmful effects of modern technology. The primary challenge is the responsible appropriation of technology. The section group is concerned about the varieties of genetic engineering and their effect, and also about the technology of war. It calls for the establishment of a commission through the ACC to track technological developments, to reflect on them theologically and ethically, and to keep bishops and other leaders informed of new developments.
Euthanasia: Five principles must be kept in constructive tension in this discussion. Life is God-given;humans are in relationship with the created order; while flawed by sin they have the capacity to make free and responsible moral choices; purpose and meaning are found in relationship with God;and this life is not the sum total of human existence. Euthanasia is the act by which one person intentionally causes or assists in causing the death of another who is terminally or seriously ill in order to end the other's pain and suffering. Proper decisions must be made to ensure respect for human rights and human dignity throughout the world, and those who are terminally or seriously ill must receive the best possible pastoral and medical care, including palliative care.
International Debt and Economic Justice: The same generosity of God that was manifested in Jesus Christ is apparent in the liberation of the world. It affects all aspects of our humanity; it brings freedom from all that destroys healthy human life.
stand by while developing nations represented among us pay up to 10 times as much
each year in debt repayments as they receive in aid from wealthier nations, and while
up to 40 percent of a nation's income is spent on debt servicing instead of basic
needs such as food, health and education. ``This is a scandal, a grave moral wrong.
Hearing one another's stories, we are deeply affected by the enormous weight of human
suffering, seriously compounded in many countries by the burden of debt. ``We feel
compelled to speak out against this suffering.When one member of the body suffers,