On Saturday afternoon in Synod, we were time-tabled to debate 'Possible Military Action in Iran' (GS Misc 855a & GS Misc 855b). Political debates are often delicate, and church issues can be misconstrued in reporting sometimes, so I was encouraged that here was an attempt to deal with a world issue that was so potentially volatile.
Saturday, 7 July 2007
However, soon after the debate was introduced by an excellent and sensitive speech, someone from the floor asked to 'move next business'. It was done so by a synod member who had contact with the church in Iran, and wanted to make sure that sensitivities were not damaged just before a new bishop started ministry in that part of the world.
The motion as put was actually trying to prevent possible military action - a concept that few in Iran would have objection too.
The presenter of the motion maintained that synod should be mature enough to have such a debate, with tempered and measured language, and sensitivity to views other than those of members of the synod. There was also an issue with the quashing of a Private Members Motion that had risen by popular demand as subject for debate - how appropriate is it to prevent such an issue being debated?
A vote was taken as to whether the 'next business' should be moved to. A show of hands was too close to call - a count of the full house denied by a very small majority the issue being debated.
I trust that friends of all faiths in Iran will know that this does not mean that the General Synod of the CofE does not support them; far from it. It was through not wishing to offend any that the debate was withdrawn.
Personally, I wish we could have said something that was a bit mire positive, rather than just not saying anything negative.