How do you get people to vote for something they don’t want?
In the Church of England, it’s easy. You employ the domino effect.
Take the Anglican Covenant, for instance. It is clear that many people in the Church of England are deeply suspicious of it. In the debate in General Synod last November many voices raised deep misgivings about it, even among the House of Bishops. In fact, enough people were sufficiently concerned to mean that if the vote was taken purely on what people thought, it would probably have been chucked out there and then.
But a clever ploy was used. People who were inclined to vote against it were told that it would be wrong to do that because, after all they were only voting to pass it on to Dioceses for consideration. If they voted against it, therefore, they would actually be voting against the democratic process of the Church of England, by denying Diocesan Synods the opportunity to have their say. What was the result? The vote was overwhelmingly in favour, despite the misgivings of the many. The first domino was set.
The second domino is being set up now, because as the Covenant is taken round the Dioceses, they are being told a different story. They are being told that the Covenant must be a good thing because, after all, General Synod voted for it by such a large majority! Hence, obedient Diocesan Synods do not need to question the Covenant too closely before voting in favour.
If this strategy succeeds, then the third and final domino will take the Covenant all the way to ratification. Because when it returns to General Synod for a final vote, it will be pointed out to members that Diocesan Synods have voted in favour, so how could they possibly vote against?
All because of the domino effect… Set them up and knock the first one over – the rest will simply follow.
So the next time you need someone to vote for something they don’t want and don’t agree with, take some advice from the Church of England, because where there’s a will, there’s always a way. The real beauty is that it doesn’t require a single lie – just masterful misdirection.
There are 2 further, recent, comments on the Covenant Process on ‘Thinking Anglicans‘ U.K. web-site – one from our very own Fr. Bosco Peters; and the other, quoted above, from the web-site ‘The Satirical Christian’
The latter article (shown above) outlines the steps taken to obfuscate the process of delivering a ‘preferred result’ (acceptance of the Covenant in the C.of E.) by the suggestion that – a vote against at the last General Synod would have denied the dioceses the chance to consider the Covenant for themselves!!!
That domino having fallen; the dioceses are being told a different story – that if they vote against the Covenant, they would be gain-saying what had already been ‘decided’ in General Synod – to allow the idea of a Covenant to go forward!!!
This process of managed messages of process is hardly the democratic way to go – especially when the imposition of the Covenant could dis-possess the likes of The Episcopal Church in America and the Anglican Church of Canada from joining up; because of their innovative actions – in their own Provinces – towards inclusion of LGBTs in the ministry and witness of the local Church.
If only out of a sense of justice and fairness, the dioceses of England and Wales should be made aware of what the process of referral to them has involved – a clever mis-representation of the real facts regarding the initial process of voting in General Synod. In encouraging G.S. members to affirm the right of dioceses to take part in the process of debate; the outcome of G.S. voting was to appear as if the membership was actually unanimously ‘in favour’ of the Covenant, when manifestly that was not the case.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch