I just love "Father Jake" ... not only because he CLEARLY stops the world with his kick-butt blog but because he consistently finds answers to the very questions I find myself asking.
Case in point was the media flurry around the recent defection of a couple of parishes in Viriginia. "What's up with that?" I wondered.
OK ... they're historic churches and all but come on, I thought as I was fielding media calls for comment on a Sunday night and the local news folks wanted to send the news van over NOW to get a live stand up for the 11:00 news ... I mean, really -- with Darfur, Iraq and Global Warming in the queue FALLS CHURCH deciding to enmasse to sign up for a Berlitz course in Nigerian is actually big news? Two parishes out of 195 in a diocese defect and it's "breaking news?" What about the other 2.3 million of us getting ready for the good news of great joy that will be to all people?
But life moves on ... Christmas happened and New Year's looms and my pondering turned away from things media strategy to things, well, if not more heavenly at least more churchy! And then today's post over at Fr. Jake: FOX News, the Falls Church and the IRD ...
Some of you may have been wondering why there was so much press generated by two previously unknown Episcopal congregations voting to align with Nigeria. In the big picture, it is hardly a newsworthy event.Beth Adams of The Cassandra Pages suggests at least one reason for the big media splash:
The announcement about the Virginia parishes has been directed by the skillful spokespeople at the Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD), a neo-conservative Washington think-tank that has innumerable connections, through its board of directors and officers, to the conservative Washington area parishes that have recently left the Episcopal Church. These parishes have been home to prominent conservatives such as Oliver North and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as well as top-level IRD Episcopalians. For instance, Fox News commentator Fred Barnes is a member of the Falls Church congregation, and serves on the Board of the IRD; Fox has covered this story extensively and sympathetically, interviewing Barnes as part of a roundtable discussion, but never mentioning his IRD connection...
What do Fox News, The Falls Church and the IRD have in common? None other than our old friend Fred Barnes, who launched the smear campaign against Bp. Robinson the day before the House of Bishops was to vote on giving consent to his election at GC 2003. Imagine that.
Imagine that, indeed. And now, inquiring minds want to know now that we know about it, what are we going to do about it?