Friday, May 12, 2006

From the mouths of babes ... and journalists!

Observations on the current state of ECUSA affairs from Dallas Morning News journalist Jeffrey Weiss:

Horse apples happen
May 12, 2006

When I came onto the religion beat more than 10 years ago, I was hoping for a bit less spin and fewer horse apples than I had to deal with when covering secular politics and stuff. My naive hope was dashed pretty quickly, as I recall. But I’m not so jaded that I can’t still be disappointed.

Here’s the set-up: Last weekend, the Episcopal Diocese of California elected a new bishop.

It says something about the state of that denomination and American culture that the big headline out of the election was something like “Californians elect openly heterosexual male bishop.” But that’s not my point.

A minority of American Episcopalians have been loudly viewing with alarm decisions made by the national body over the past several years. Top of that list of decisions is the ratification at the last General Assembly of the denomination’s first openly gay bishop, the Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. (Much of the leadership of the Anglican world ain’t happy with that idea, neither.)

It’s just another argument about who is accurately discerning God’s will.

Fast forward to last week. Three of the candidates for the California post were openly gay. The Viewers With Alarm viewed that with, well, alarm. Warning in the weeks before the vote that California’s decision could further rupture the ECUSA and the Anglican Communion.

So the Californians overwhelmingly approve Rev. Mark Andrus. How did the conservative American Anglican Council respond? Would you guess that the group’s statement:

A) Graciously congratulated the Californians on a wise selection, suggesting it might indicate a way to bring the various factions together.

B) Gloated a bit about how the Californians took the conservatives’ advice and offered some additional pointed suggestions.

C) Condemned the Californians for not being conservative enough and hinted that this election could result in further splintering.

Exactly. Here are some key quotes:

"How will activists respond to the fact that a diocese which has for years been a bastion of amorphous Christianity and aggressive revisionism chose a white, heterosexual, Southern male as bishop? Did the diocese succumb to reported pressure from the national Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), including Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, to avoid electing a partnered homosexual? Is such pressure in fact part of a coordinated strategy intended to mislead the Communion?"

"…Moving slowly with caution is not stopping, and ECUSA is practicing a theology contrary to Scripture, Anglican doctrine, and 2,000 years of Christian teaching. The life and practice of ECUSA clearly illustrates its commitment to a new gospel despite claims and protestations to the contrary.”

Sez I: The only thing worse than a bad loser is a bad winner.

I’ll grant that the California election was hardly a slam-dunk for the conservatives. The Rev. Andrus agreed with the consecration of Bishop Robinson. But surely there was way for the AAC to find a hint of graciousness? Whether or not it’s good theology, it’s good manners.

I’m not saying, by the way, that the spin-and-horse-apples phenomenon is linked only to religious conservatives. This was just the example in my e-box this week.

Yr hmbl srvnt,
Jeffrey Weiss


Beyond Reconciliation said...

Great article...pointing out the modus operandi of the fringe. Glad to see someone calling them on their "horse apples." And I was bemused by this reporter remarks on the "lack of graciousness" on the part of the AAC. To say they lack graciousness is an understatement. Check them out on Titusonenine. Yesterday, for example, was a good one to sample their typical hateful anti-gay posts (one guy named "Loving"...of all things...leads the pack.) They not only lack graciousness, they lack many other Christian qualities: compassion and tolerance at the top of the list. They, who boldly brag about their biblical orthodoxy, ignore the greatest commandment to love (God and to love)thy neighbor. They have no neigbors except those small, narrow-minded bigots like themselves. Spend a day at T19 and you'll begin to question what is even Christian about this bunch.

Lizz said...

Reverend Russell,

Thank you for posting the article. Very enlightening. As a transgendered Episcopalian in New England, I watched and waited (im)patiently for the results of the election in California. I also viewed the results with a certain sense of unease:

Did the 'system' work? Did the best Reverend get elected? Did the ECUSA bow down to pressure exerted by the AAC and others?

I have come to the conclusion that the system did work, and to proceed progressively forward, we must make use of our straight allies as well.

Thank you again for the wonderful post. I'll be sure to check back in with you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I like Jeffrey Weiss' work a lot. I just wish he'd begun the fourth paragraph, 'viewing with loud alarm' instead of 'loudly viewing with alarm' - I was distracted for several minutes wonderfing what 'loudly viewing' would look like ... My old English teacher would be proud of me!

Anonymous said...

Beyond reconciliation,
I've engaged in dialogue on T19 for over a year, in an effort to better understand the conservative point of view. I was out to the T19 folks, and some, of course, chastised and harassed me. But some really cared and were willing to enter into sensitive conversations. It doesn't behoove us to characterize all T19 types as "narrow-minded bigots." Some are sincere, caring individuals who just hold a different point of view on scriptural interpretation. We in the GLBT community have plenty of horse apple distributors among our ranks. We're better off not calling the kettle black.

overtheline said...

To Anonymous (1:38 PM):


Beyond Reconciliation said...

Anon - A naive comment like that just goes to show you're not paying attention. They have no desire to sensitively converse with you. Correct you? Maybe. Change you? Yes. Condemn you? Definitely. The majority of them don't want you in their pews. They don't want you ordained. They don't want you as their bishops. They are laying the blame of the whole schism of this church on your back and you think they are sensitive and caring? Think again!

Anonymous said...

If we as GLBT Christians don't hold ourselves to the same standard [i.e., don't judge us (that's for God alone); include us; behave toward us as your brothers and sisters in Christ, etc.], as we seem to hold T19'ers, we compromise our witness -- the witness so eloquently put forth by the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston. And if that's naieve, well, I've been called worse.