"A faith rooted in the denial of papal authority and kingly authority, a faith that in the United States has increasingly championed egalitarian principles, should hardly be cowed by contingent bigotries masquerading as universal truths."
By Harold Meyerson [source link] --December 15, 2009
Those Angeleno Anglicans are at it again.
For decades, the Episcopal Church in Los Angeles has been home to some of the most liberal pulpits and congregations in town -- and in the worldwide Anglican Communion. A few years back, Pasadena's venerable All Saints Church was investigated by President George W. Bush's Internal Revenue Service after its former rector delivered a vehement antiwar sermon shortly before the 2004 election. Local Episcopal priests have marched for striking janitors and helped organize the poor.
So it should have come as no great surprise when the L.A. diocesan convention recently elected as its new assistant bishop the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool -- the senior assistant to the bishops of the Maryland diocese, the daughter of an Episcopal priest, and an open lesbian. Her ordination must now be confirmed by the U.S. bishops, who have already been told in no uncertain terms by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself to back off.
"The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect," wrote Archbishop Rowan Williams, "raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole."
The archbishop can hardly be blamed if he sometimes shudders at the thought of pesky American progressives. In 2003, the U.S. bishops ordained a gay bishop for their New Hampshire diocese. In 2006, they elevated the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori to the post of presiding U.S. bishop, the first woman to head a national branch of Anglicanism -- and not just a woman but a woman who allowed the blessing of same-sex couples within her diocese.
Within months of Schori's elevation, a number of more traditionalist Episcopal dioceses around the nation announced that they were leaving the U.S. church and affiliating with more conservative dioceses -- in some cases, with African dioceses where the thought of a woman priest, let alone a gay or lesbian bishop, had yet to cross many minds.
The conservative Anglicans, chiefly in Latin America and Africa, vastly outnumber the American Episcopalians -- there are more than 80 million members of the worldwide Anglican Church, while the American Episcopal Church is home to about 2 million members, including the secessionists. And because the conservative wing has made it clear that there's no place for gay bishops and the like in its vision of Anglicanism, a formal schism is at least a possibility.
Even as the archbishop gazes in dismay at the Episco-libs to his left, a meddlesome pope has now popped up on his right. Without any advance notice to his Anglican brother, Pope Benedict XVI recently announced that the Roman Catholic Church would take to its bosom any Anglican clergy or congregations that want to affiliate with a reliably orthodox church in which the pope's word is law. The congregations could keep their liturgy; the priests (the male priests, that is), their wives.
What the archbishop is really up against is the relativism, the historic particularism, of religion itself. It is sheer folly to expect traditionalist African Anglicans and progressive Pasadena Episcopalians to adhere to the same norms of gender equality, absent either a stunning cross-cultural agreement or a top-down Roman Catholic-style structure. Conservative Episcopalians, who decry the increasing egalitarianism of the American church, want traditionalist transnational norms in every Anglican diocese.
But a common complaint of American and European conservatives against Muslims is that Islam itself is a monolithic faith unsuitable for the pluralistic West. We don't have to accept this characterization of Islam to recognize that it is close to what Anglican traditionalists are advocating for their own church.
Besides, if ever a church were rooted less in timeless truths than in historic particularities, it is Anglicanism, and the Episcopal wing of Anglicanism most of all. Anglicanism began, after all, because the pope would not sanctify Henry VIII's divorce, and Henry used the opportunity to seize the church and all its properties. Episcopalianism began when the leaders of the American Revolution (two-thirds of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were active or, like George Washington, nominal Anglicans) realized they could hardly stay religiously affiliated with a church headed by the very king against whom they were rebelling secularly.
Given the schismatic and distinctly secular nature of Anglicanism's and Episcopalianism's origins, the pending ordination of L.A.'s lesbian bishop seems well within the church tradition. A faith rooted in the denial of papal authority and kingly authority, a faith that in the United States has increasingly championed egalitarian principles, should hardly be cowed by contingent bigotries masquerading as universal truths.
Harold Meyerson is editor at large of the American Prospect and an Op-Ed columnist for the Washington Post.
"contingent bigotries masquerading as universal truths."
Meanwhile Mimi cites an interview that ex-Bp Iker is leaving ACNA over women. How 1970s!
Nice---except for the fact that those who opine on the Episcopal Church from outside it ALWAYS seem to leave out the role of the laity (and the clergy too, I guess) in choosing bishops and consenting to their elections.
Is it REALLY all that much to ask to have them state the facts correctly?
Anglicanism is basically the Shinto of the English-speaking world.
Doxy ... of course you're right -- and at this point I'm just grateful when they get that its The Episcopal (not "Episcopalian") Church and that we're Episcopalians (not "Episcopals.")
But a common complaint of American and European conservatives against Muslims is that Islam itself is a monolithic faith unsuitable for the pluralistic West.
Hm. That's a novel formulation. I've seen complaints - by most people, not "liberals" or "conservatives" - that Islam does not recognize a separation between church and state, that it is intolerant of other religions, that it's holy texts explictly call for war against those of other faiths and that it's more moderate adherents fail to lend the State any assistance when it's more extermist factions take violent action based on that.
But I have never heard anyone say that it's a monolithic faith, never mind that such a (non-existent) status makes it unsuitable for the West. Just get a Shia and a Sunni in a room and ask them if Islam is monolithic. I'm curious as to where this author gets his information about conservative thought. Doesn't sound too reliable.
Wormwood's Doxy, the author seems even less informed about conservatives than he is about Episcopalians. I wonder if he's ever spoken to any of either?
It has been documented that George W. Bush, as late as January of 2003, did not know there was a difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. John McCain was infamously confused by the difference between the two on the campaign trail. No, Islam is not a monolithic faith, but the United States acted as if it was. “Conservative thought” told us to invade the wrong country, declare “Mission Accomplished” and claim that we would be “greeted as liberators.” Conservative voters bought into all of this.
Anglican conservatives in Uganda appear to be even less informed about LBGT persons than American conservatives. We know that some of the prime movers behind the Ugandan legislation are members of the C Street Family, so we know that they are influenced by “conservative thought.” I wonder how many of them have ever spoken to any LGBT persons.
The facts you describe do not mean that Sen. McCain did not know there were differences, anymore that people who cannot explain the differences between Anglicans and Roman Catholics don't realize they are not one monolithic faith. And in any case, their misinformation != "a common complaint of American and European conservatives." Not to mention the fact that Pres. Bush and Sen. McCain are Republicans, not conservatives.
Who's the "C Street family"?
AKA "The Family" ...
Ronf, it was Vice-President Cheney and the neocons (I believe the “con” in neocon stands for conservative) who sold Bush on the idea of two never-ending wars in the middle east, with religious “crusade” overtones, with very little understanding of the region, the people who live there, and of Islam. McCain and Palin supported this policy. That’s all I’m saying.
Ironically, many of our Arabic-speaking servicemen and women, at a time when the need for them has never been greater, have been dismissed from the military for being gay. The views of American conservatives, Anglican conservatives, and Muslim conservatives towards the LGBT community are pretty similar.
The views of American conservatives, Anglican conservatives, and Muslim conservatives towards the LGBT community are pretty similar.
The views of American conservatives, as near as I am able to determine from the conversations I've had, is that homosexual behavior is to be tolerated in the civic world but is nothing to be encouraged or given privileges or approval by the state.
Given the international presence of the Anglican church I'm not sure I can assign a value to the phrase "Anglican conservative". From a theological viewpoint I'd have to say that Anglicans who hold to the traditional Christian faith believe homosexual behavior (as opposed to unexpressed homosexual desires) to be sinful and that they should cease and repent.
The phrase "Islamic conservative" is not one I've heard used. Since Islam doesn't recognize a separation between church and state I'm not sure it has any meaning. The closest thing to that might be "Islamist" or "Islamic fundamentalist". Their attitude towards homosexuals seems to be that they should be rounded up and either tortured or beheaded, as opposed to moderates who would merely lock them up. On that basis I'd have to say that their views are quite dissimilar and your comparison in my opinion is invalid.
Is it REALLY all that much to ask to have them state the facts correctly?
Apparently. It's by no means confined to reporting about TEC. I once wrote a letter to my local paper about an article they wrote about Scouting correcting errors and misstatements of facts that was as long as the original article. All of which could have been avoided if someone had picked up the phone and talked to any of the principals in the story for 5 minutes.
Susan, you seem to make the papers a certain amount. I presume you have some experience with the media. In those articles where you are not being directly quoted or interviewed, does anyone ever contact you to do fact checking?
RonF:The views of American conservatives, as near as I am able to determine from the conversations I've had, is that homosexual behavior is to be tolerated in the civic world but is nothing to be encouraged or given privileges or approval by the state.
Not true. Not true at all. There is a strongly conservative case to be made for marriage equality, for example, and not surprisingly, a number of conservatives have made it.
RonF, the third item (of 8,570,000) in my google search for “Islamic conservative” found this story, from October of this year:
“Beyonce Postpones Concert In Malaysia After Islamic Conservative Criticism.”
If you had searched for “The Family + C Street” you would have found 148,000,000 entries. The Family has been deeply involved in American and international politics for decades. I can’t help but wonder where you’ve been getting your news.
Thanks for carefully parsing the differences between American conservative bigots (Yes on Prop 8), Anglican bigots (love the sinner, hate the sin), and Islamic bigots
(state-sanctioned executions), as though they’re not all part of the same disease. Harold Meyerson got it right.
We already know you don’t consider opinions expressed here to be valid. We know that you don’t consider George W. Bush and John McCain to be conservatives. I can only speculate about who meets your criteria for conservatism. I doubt that your views will ever change and that it’s worth the effort for anyone to try.
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