pageok
pageok
pageok
American Episcopalians and Secession Towards Uganda:

That's all I know to say on this confusing topic -- readers who understand what's going on here, please enlighten me. (I have a purely academic curiosity about this; perhaps some of our other non-Episcopalian readers will, too.)

Mr L:
From what I understand, the American church has made some ideological decisions that aren't palatable to the world audience, notably the promotion of openly gay and noncelibate (and, according to recent reports, chronically alcoholic) Rev. Gene Robinson. I assume any talk of secession is related to that problem.
2.22.2006 2:30am
qroncy (mail):
Lots of individual American churches are also uncomfortable with the direction of the national denomination. I have heard that some churches have put themselves under the care of a/some Bishop(s) in Africa - - I think "whiskeypalians" (as we say down south) believe that the chain-of-command must properly attach to a real bishop. (EpiscopHs?) So "secession towards Uganda might mean seceding from the american hierarchy towards Ugandan bishops.

But, continuing my uninformed late-night blather -- Uganda isn't the most "progressive" developing nation. Maybe there is a perjorative sense?
2.22.2006 2:42am
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
As I further understand, there are two things going on simultaneously, and the phenomenon is not limited to the Episcopal church. First, the Christian church in the "third world" -- and particularly Africa, is much more conservative than the church in America. The cutting issue right now is gay rights -- i.e., religious recognition of gay marriage, religious recognition of gay "partnership" unions of various stripes as a compromise, and gay clergy.

The second critical factor is that the church is growing in Africa and the third world, while it is stagnant (if not shrinking as a percentage of the total population) in the U.S. Because christian churches don't have a Pope, but rather somewhat democratic structures, this has caused a power shift from the U.S. (or more generally, the West) to Africa.

Basically, as I recall, African Espiscopal churches have threatened to split away from the world-wide organization over the issue of gay clergy and perhaps gay marriage or unions.

Interesting issue. I know some Christians in the U.S. who believe that, at least when it comes to liberal denominations in the U.S., the African church is more authentically Christian than its American counterpart.
2.22.2006 2:44am
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
qroncy, what you said first is right. I had forgotten that. It is not meant in a perjorative sense at all. The churches that are "seceding twords Uganda" are trying avoid have "progressive" doctrine forced upon them and are attempting to maintain a more authentic Christianity.
2.22.2006 2:48am
Otto:
I've been watching the Episcopal Church break apart for 30 years now. It started in the mid 70's with the "new" Book of Common Prayer and the ordination of women. Now, as mentioned, it's the ordination of gay clergy and various social issues.

My mother's church in Florida is now a mission of the Anglican Church of Rawanda. Go figure...
2.22.2006 3:55am
Otto:
that's "Rwanda", of course
2.22.2006 4:00am
therut:
A house divided can not stand.
2.22.2006 4:54am
Hoosier:
As I understand it, it will be problematic for individual American Episcopal congregations to seceed from the American Episcopal communion, since their buildings and ground belong to their bishopric. If they align with and African bishop, they may be evicted. Odd.
2.22.2006 6:10am
kristine (mail) (www):
Hoosier is right; the national church's ownership of their phsyical plants is the only thing keeping many Episcopal churches from splitting off right now.

There is an organization called the Anglican Mission in America which is sending "missionaries" from Africa (and, to a lesser extent, Southeast Asia) to parishes and dioceses in the US who feel they are no longer represented by the national church. Many of these parishes would like to realign themselves with the African church, but the logistical details frustrate them from doing so. However, I've heard tell of some parishes striking deals with their bishops, whom they disagree with, so that that bishop won't come to their parish to perform confirmations, etc., and they can have an AMiA bishop come, or a retired bishop from somewhere else who matches their ideology.

Ever since Gene Robinson was elected (and then consecrated) bishop, there have been churches muttering about splitting off. I think the national church has done an admirable job in holding things together for the time being. I think the sense is that, if some parishes want to secede, then they eventually will, but it would be better if that secession occured only after a period of dialogue. That is what is supposed to be going on right now.
2.22.2006 8:21am
Public_Defender:
Hoosier hits on the key legal issue--property. When a church leaves its religious organization, sometimes courts must decide whether the church or the organization owns the property. There was a big dispute outside of DC a few years ago (there, the conservative parish couldn't tolerate being led by a woman). As I remember it, the diocese won.

The issue can get touchy for local law enforcement. If the bishop bars the priest from a church and the local priest bars the bishop, can anyone be convicted of trespessing?

Another more practical issue for clergy is who becomes responsible for pensions. Do the departing clergy expect the Ugandans to subsidize their American-level retirement benefits?

If it weren't for the gay issue, the conservatives would be whining about women in leadership roles. If it weren't for women in leadership roles, the conservatives would be looking for some other reason to divide from liberals.
2.22.2006 8:30am
BSA:
Normally, an Episcopal parish is under the authority of their bishop, who, in turn, is under the authority of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA).

American Episcopalians and African Anglicans are both members of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, under the loose spirtual leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Each individual national church also recognizes the 39 Articles as the foundation of the faith.

All American Episcopalians may fully participate in the Sacraments of other affiliated churches. I, for example, was baptized in the US as an Episcopalian but was confirmed in the (functional equivalent) Church of England.

As such, there is nothing which prevents an American (or American parish) from placing himself under the authority of another prelate of the Anglican communion. The other posters have correctly identified this accelerating trend, which began probably 30 years ago. The first church that I know of to take the step was one a major parish in one of the Main Line suburbs of Philly (Bryn Mawr, I think). It is becoming increasingly popular with those who do not wish to leave the Anglican Communion but are dis-satisfied by the increasingly controversial positions of ECUSA.

The other popular step, of course, has been to simply join the Roman Catholic church. Forward in Faith, a conservative group of British Anglicans, crossed the Tiber en masse in the mid 90s. There are quite a few RC priests who were formely Episcoplians - they have the disctinciton of being married RC priests.

The legal (property) implications are beyond the grasp of this future securities lawyer.
2.22.2006 8:37am
TC (mail):

If it weren't for the gay issue, the conservatives would be whining about women in leadership roles. If it weren't for women in leadership roles, the conservatives would be looking for some other reason to divide from liberals.

Women have been Episcopal priests for almost 30 years now, and, while some Anglican churches were started back then in response to this and the new prayer book, there hasn't been any move toward secession until the election of Bishop Robinson.

If it weren't for this thread, liberals here would be whining about conservatives' defense of the NSA. If it weren't for conservatives defending the NSA, the liberals would be looking for some other reason to make unprovoked attacks on conservatives.
2.22.2006 8:38am
Nobody Special:
I'm amused that people who are members of a religion (Episcopalians/Anglicans) founded as a result of the desire of Henry VIII to do something immoral (obtain yet another divorce) that the Pope said "no way" to are now complaining about morality.
2.22.2006 8:51am
kristine (mail) (www):
Note that Henry VIII's own troubles with the Catholic Church had more to do with property and power than with his desire to do something "immoral." As far as I know, Henry died considering himself to be a good Catholic.
2.22.2006 9:03am
TJIC (www):
therut wrote:

<blockquote>
A house divided can not stand.
</blockquote>

Yes, but isn't it a bit late to reverse the Reformation now?
2.22.2006 9:14am
David Hecht (mail):
The more biblically-oriented and doctrinally orthodox among American Episcopalians are seeking "alternative episcopal oversight" (a bishop's supervision other than that of their own geographical diocese) for the same reason that a Jew might leave a congregation that (for example) allowed pork or shellfish on the premises: they don't consider the practices of their leadership to be consistent with their understanding of the faith, or indeed with the established faith tradition of millenia.

As I understand it, the Jewish Reform leadership have now sanctioned same-sex "marriage": my guess is that this will provoke (you'll pardon the expression) an exodus of Jews from the denomination, for whom this will be the tipping point in an increasingly latitudinarian interpretation of scripture.

The property issue is a thorny one, but far from straightforward: a judge in California has ruled in favor of three churches that seceded and against the diocese, and other such cases are pending. I myself am a communicant of a church (Truro Episcopalian, Fairfax, Virginia) whose existence predates that of the diocese of Virginia: it is not clear that the bylaws of the Episcopalian Church can trump that (see, e.g., _Dartmouth College v. Woodward_ [1819]).
2.22.2006 9:29am
Public_Defender:
I spoke with an American Baptist minister who said that some of the secession movement in that denomination stalled when the anti-gay people started to talk about enforcing the conservative view of divorce. The "conservatives" who wanted to enforce their "conservative" views about divorce ran into opposition from their anti-gay divorced colleagues who wanted to serve in leadership positions. Oops.

My guess is that the anti-gay divorced Baptists still argue that they are somehow pro-marriage.

The minister also said that some conservative ministers decided not to leave after learning that they would no longer accrue benefits under the denomination retirement plan.

One or two conservative American Baptist regional organizations kicked liberal churches out of their regions. The conservatives thought that would effectively kick the churches out of the denomination, but other regional leaders read the by-laws. They figured out that there the rules did not limit regions geographically, so the expelled churches were quickly accepted into other regions. For example, an American Baptist Church in Berkely is now part of the Wisconsin region.

As I understand it, local property disputes would not exist because, generally speaking, church property belongs to individual Baptist churches, not to the denomination.
2.22.2006 10:10am
ruidh (www):
The potential Anglican realignment is larger than just the US Episcopal Church. The Anglican Church of Canada (smaller than the Episcopal Church in numbers, but a larger percentage of population) is in trouble for approving rites to bless same sex unions. The Church of England herself is uder criticism from the same African archbishops over their response to the UK Civil Partnership Law. In all cases, well funded, conservative mionorities are loking to carve out a sphere of influence for themselves seperate from their more numerous moderate and liberal co-religionists.

It's likely that over the next two years that the Anglican Churches of Africa will form some kind of an organization with perhaps 5-10% of the US Episcopal Church. The EC, The AC of Canada and the CofE are likely to remain in a suddenly smaller Anglican Communion with the other European and Westernized members (like the Japanese Anglican Church and Brazil).
2.22.2006 11:00am
SeaDrive (mail):
A general source of information: http://anglicansonline.org/

The majority of the commenters seem to be those who deem the anti-gay stand to be "orthodox". The other side chooses to be considered "inclusive." I've heard that some parishes that have pursued orthodoxy by getting alternative episcopal oversight by an African bishop have found them more orthodox than they bargained for with respect to marriage of divorced persons and ordination of women. The orthodox stand is based basically in church tradition; the scriptural support is too tenuous to stand alone. The inclusive case is, in my view, that prejudice against gays derives from the traditional forces of oppression (the anti-black, anti-jew, anti-female, anti-gay) that they oppose.

I find the flight to African (or Korean) supervision to be symbolic of an un-American point of view. It is apparently unorthodox to hold it to be self-evident that all men are created equal, with equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the property issues rest on the canons of the particular diocese, most of which probably read nearly identically. In Connecticut, I believe it was held that since the canons give the property to the bishop, the state has no place to disagree.
2.22.2006 11:33am
Gordo:
Nobody Special:
Many years ago I became an Episcopalian and went to confirmation classes. I asked an elderly English (married) priest "when did the Episcopal Church start allowing priests to be married." His response? "The English Church has always allowed priests to be married. It's the Roman Catholic Church that changed!"
2.22.2006 11:56am
Gordo:
Mr. L:

Please back up your statement that Gene Robinson is "chronically alcoholic."
2.22.2006 11:56am
MikeTheActuary (www):
For detailed information you might also check out the blog, <a rel="nofollow" href="http://frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com/">Father Jake Stops the World</a>, which is run by a liberal Episcopal priest.

As others have already mentioned, conservative ECUSA parishes have sought to secede for the past 30 years over contemporary wording in the liturgy, the ordination of women, and gay rights.

ECUSA has responded by pointing out that Episcopal/Anglican tradition is that dioceses (collection of churches, chapels, missions, etc. headed by a bishop) are geographically defined, and that allying a parish with a foreign bishop goes against canon law and tradition.

In the wake of the fuss over the election and consecration of Bishop Robinson, conservative members threatened schism within the Anglican Communion (the loose affiliation of descendants of the Church of England and other friendly groups like the "Old Catholic Church" of Germany and the Netherlands).

A compromise was struck in which schism was avoided, but ECUSA was pushed a bit to the side for its unorthodoxy, and conservative bishops agreed to not extend their diocese to North American parishes.

The latter part of the compromise hasn't exactly held up too well.
2.22.2006 12:03pm
Ned Pike:
Gordo:

This good enough for you?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060214/ap_on_re_us/bishop_rehab
2.22.2006 12:10pm
Hoosier:
On the (irrelevant but fun) historical debate loosed above: Henry had St. John Fisher killed. He had St. Thomas More killed, based on perjured testimony. This doesn't seem like something a "good Catholic" would do. (Or at least a good Catholic would have to feel really, really guilty for ordering hagiocide.)

I'm still waiting for an apology from Canterbury.

And reparations.
2.22.2006 12:13pm
Oh my word (mail):
Father Neuhaus has some recent stuff on his blog about Bishop Robinson, including a parody letter sent to him by a reader:

www.firstthings.com
2.22.2006 12:30pm
Public_Defender:
The off-topic cheap shots at Robinson are misplaced, especially from a Catholic priest like Neuhaus. I have seen no evidence that Robinson hurt anyone or committed any crime. He admitted to alcoholism and sought treatment. That sounds like a stand-up guy to me.

By contrast, if Robinson had been a bishop who molested a child in the not-so-distant past in Neuhaus's church, the church would have merely reassigned him to another diocese (assuming the church could keep the victim away from law enforcement).

Let he who is without sin. . . .
2.22.2006 12:56pm
Gordo:
Well, I hadn't heard about Robinson's alcohol problem. Thank you for the link.
2.22.2006 1:16pm
Gordo:
As an Episcopalian, I would have no problem being led by a non-celibate gay bishop if he had other bishop-ly qualities. In other words, the sexual orientation of my bishop is irrelevant to the performance of his duties. Perhaps the outraged conservative Episcopals should let the New Hampshire diocese deal with this issue - they chose him, after all.

By the way, Bishop Robinson counters criticism of him on biblical grounds as follows:
-Condemnations of homosexuality in the old testimony tend to be in the same books that advocate stoning of adulterers, enslaving of war captives, shunnning of menstruating women, and all sorts of other prohibitions that Jews and Christians have been ignoring for quite a while now.
-Condemnations of homosexuality by St. Paul in the New Testament were targeted at the Greek practice of homosexuality, which involved the corruption of underage males, which is a different kettle of fish from the consensual union of two adults.
2.22.2006 1:21pm
Gordo:
er, that should be "Old Testament."
2.22.2006 1:23pm
Defending the Indefensible:
David,

I don't think you comprehend Reform Judaism. It is not scripturally based, but a synthesis of traditions and modern secularism.
2.22.2006 1:59pm
ruidh (www):
The property issues may be of more interest to the readership here than the theological and ecclesatical ones. In 1979, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (which was modeled on the US Congress) added the Dennis canon which declares that all properties held by parishes are held in trust for the diocese and national church. Since the Episcopal Church is a hierarchial church in the technical legal sense that SCOTUS uses the term, the courts may not judge the rules that such churches devise for themselves.

But since trust law involves the laws of the 50 states, there are likely to be many individual challanges to the applicability of the canon under state laws. Most of them will rely on general principles of trust law and whether the parishes, having formally submitted to the authority of the national and diocesan canons, have created a trust relationship under applicable state law. Some of these cases, such as one potentially involving Truro Church mentioned above, will rely on the churchhaving preceeded the formal incorporation of the Episcopal Church after the Revolutionary War.

From my point of view, the canons are even more binding on these colonial churches because they incorporated the Episcopal Church and designed the ecclesastical structures underwhich the EC has operated for over 300 years.
2.22.2006 2:02pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Gordo,

Leviticus was written specifically and exclusively to the Levites, the Jewish priesthood.
2.22.2006 2:04pm
Robert Schwartz (mail):
"As I understand it, the Jewish Reform leadership have now sanctioned same-sex "marriage": my guess is that this will provoke (you'll pardon the expression) an exodus of Jews from the denomination, for whom this will be the tipping point in an increasingly latitudinarian interpretation of scripture."

Very unlikely. There are almost no conservative reform Jews. Nor are entire congegastions likely to split. Conservative Jews have alternatives in the Conservative and Orthodox movements. Further some concepts, such as communion are not really relevant, and each congregation is a free standing entity, there is no episcopal heirarchy.
2.22.2006 2:09pm
Houston Lawyer:
There are 76 million Anglicans worldwide. One-third are members of the Church of England, the original and still the largest single province, with 26 million members. After explosive growth in the last two decades, the 11 provinces in Africa now count 36.7 million members--more Anglicans than there are in England. The North American provinces--the Episcopal Church in the U.S. with 2.4 million members, and the Anglican Church of Canada with 740,000 members--represent just 4% of Anglicans worldwide.

My understanding is that the Africans, who hold very orthodox views of all things Anglican, are threatening to kick the United States Episcopal Church out of the Anglican Union. I couldn't even begin to speculate about how this might affect the property issues which seem to be all that is holding the conservatives in the church here at home.
2.22.2006 2:17pm
kristine (mail) (www):
OK, I'll bite (on the irrelevant but fun historical debate).

Henry had St. John Fisher killed. He had St. Thomas More killed, based on perjured testimony. This doesn't seem like something a "good Catholic" would do. (Or at least a good Catholic would have to feel really, really guilty for ordering hagiocide.)


Fair enough. Murder aside, though, my point was that Henry didn't break from the Catholic Church because he wanted a divorce, he broke because he wanted an heir, and he wasn't getting one with the wife he had. Given that the Pope had granted divorces in such situations before, but that he denied Henry's request, Henry was understandably p.o.'d and concerned that the Pope really just wanted to (a) stick a Spanish monarch on the English throne and (b) grab some more power in a part of Europe that had been somewhat more independent.

So yeah, Henry was probably not a "good Catholic" in the way we use that term today. Though, he almost certainly wasn't the first Catholic monarch (and that would include Popes, I'd imagine) to order an assassination for political purposes.
2.22.2006 3:52pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The Piskies are battling more than the gay issue.

There is a website called, "Midwest Conservative Journal" which keeps a running commentary on the issue. However, if you go to it, you'll be starting in the middle and may have trouble separating the names and sides and so forth referred to cryptically.

One of the secrets of the gay issue is that, dragging along in its wake, living in open adultery, for example, is a no longer a disqualification for ordination. Straight or not. There will be little difference between the proposed rules and Hefner's Playboy Philosophy which the author John MacDonald characterized as it's alright for everybody to screw everybody as long as they're sincere about it.

Robinson left his wife and kids to take up with a guy. Whether it was a guy or another woman, he's not much of an example. Just to make it stink, he hauled his boyfriend to be in the middle of the ordination ceremony. This guy could offend thousands in an empty room.
2.22.2006 3:54pm
ruidh (www):

Robinson left his wife and kids to take up with a guy. Whether it was a guy or another woman, he's not much of an example.


I see this old canard has raised its head gain. Robinson's wife wanted the divorce. She was remarried before Robinson had even met his partner. Forcing a woman to stay married to a gay partner "for the sake of the kids" is a long discredited expectation.


Just to make it stink, he hauled his boyfriend to be in the middle of the ordination ceremony.


Ordinations these days quite frequently include a spouse in some role. There's nothing unusual about involving a partner. It should be noted that Robinson's daughters were present, supportive and also involved in the ordination.
2.22.2006 4:52pm
Catholic Christian:
I wish to address the following comment by Mr. Chapman:

"Because christian churches don't have a Pope, . . ."

I trust that this was an inadvertent turn of phrase, and not the "Catholics aren't Christian" canard? Perhaps you meant "most" Christian churches? (And n.b., the Coptic Orthodox call their patriarch "pope" as well.)
2.22.2006 7:22pm
Eastern Catholic:
In response to therut's comment that


A house divided can not stand.


TJIC added the question


Yes, but isn't it a bit late to reverse the Reformation now?


I note that the Great Schism between the Western and Eastern churches happened centuries before the Reformation. Though most historians see it as a gradual process, the East-West split is typically dated as 1054.

Also, one could cite the various splits before then, though most were healed/conquered/papered over.
2.22.2006 7:28pm
ivy (mail):
It is a complicated issue. ECUSA is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion (it's the name used by the American Anglican church.) Certain Anglican churches in America have decided to change their oversight from ECUSA to another region within that Communion, such as Uganda (there are others.) It's not that different from my own church, which is Anglican, but we have oversight from a (orthodox) Bishop in a different region of the U.S. rather than locally. So, we have a formal relationship with ECUSA but are not officially ECUSA.

Ultimately, I believe there will be schism in the Anglican Communion. The shape is yet to be determined -- will other regions declare themselves no longer in communion with ECUSA? Orthodox churches, such as those in Africa, have made that decision and the answer is no. I've listened to these men (the primates/Archbishops from those regions) speak on the issue, and they are firm. (As I believe ECUSA will stand firm.) They will break with Canterbury if it comes down to it. (Nigeria has already changed language in anticipation of that happening.) So, ultimately, you could end up with two global "Anglican" churches. Or, one global church that doesn't include ECUSA, in which case another American version would replace it. On the property, I would assume that depends upon applicable local law -- case by case. But I will say that for those who feel strongly, they will give up the property. The church isn't property.

This isn't, by the way, only about Robinson and homosexuality. It's much deeper theologically, and that was just the proverbial straw.
2.22.2006 8:00pm
Jam (mail):

A house divided can not stand


Yes it can. It is called a duplex.
2.22.2006 8:33pm
Jam (mail):
Or just neighbors ... to the North, or South.
2.22.2006 8:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ruidh. I must be getting old profitably. I can predict so much.
Somebody was going to put Robinson's boyfriend in the place of the spouse in the bishing ceremony. Yup. Somebody did.

Point is, Robinson was saying to the church, in effect, we're here, we're queer, get used to it. In your face. Up your nose. Got any objections? There's the door.

So people are hitting the road. SURprise.

One of the functions of a clergyman is to be a help to those whose lives are in difficulty. One pastor I know said he'd lived a thousand lives in his study, over his lifetime. One would think the individual would inspire some confidence rather than simply pleasing the PC police as a credential for pastor.
Now, we have the possibility of somebody preaching a wedding, presuming the thingy about cleaving only to each other was allowed in, with the entire congregation either blushing or snickering.

But this is a free country. Robinson can get elected, he can get bished, and those he offends--see his other antics--are leaving.

I don't see the fuss, unless you happen to be in that denomination. As some have mentioned, a couple of cases in California give hope to the congregations thinking of leaving that they can indeed take their property with them.

Some of these hierarchs seemed to think they'd have thousands of prime real estate sites for sale, no congregants, and a fat pension scheme for those who stuck it out. Not so fast.
2.22.2006 11:30pm
spectator:
kristine: Given that the Pope had granted divorces in such situations before, but that he denied Henry's request, Henry was understandably p.o.'d and concerned that the Pope really just wanted to (a) stick a Spanish monarch on the English throne and (b) grab some more power in a part of Europe that had been somewhat more independent.

That is totally incorrect, for a reason strangely relevant to this law blog: The Pope was bound by precedent, and Henry was too arrogant to listen to his lawyers, opting for a legal reasoning that was as innovative as it was far-reaching.

First, just to be clear, Henry wanted to get an annulment for his marriage with Catherine, not a divorce. And even if we pretend that Pope Clement VII had been politically free to grant it at that time, he couldn't have done it, because Henry based his request for the annulment on the unprecedented argument that Lev 18,16 was to be understood as a divine law against marrying the wife of one's deceased brother, which would have rendered the Pope incompetent to grant the original annulment that made Henry's marriage with Catherine possible. That would have toppled centuries of case law, and the Pope could never have done such a thing.
2.23.2006 3:50am
Married into Reform Judiaism:
Defending the Indefensible writes:
I don't think you comprehend Reform Judaism. It is not scripturally based, but a synthesis of traditions and modern secularism.
This is an Orthodox mischaracterization of Reform Judaism.

The Reform Rabbi who presided at the ceremony where my wife and I married based his opinions on scripture. He differed with many Orthodox interpretations of the Torah, but his arguments were strongly Torah based.

He did gently poked fun at some Orthodox interpretations, saying that they gave non-scriptural and arguably incorrect rabbinical writings pretty much the same status as Torah. The Reform Rabbi still looked to the rabbinical texts for guidance, but, to use a lawyer's term, the non-scriptural writings were persuasive, not binding, authority.

Defending the Indefensible, "I don't think you comprehend Reform Judaism."
2.23.2006 7:46am
ruidh (www):
Richard, why do you take offense? The people and clergy of the Diocese of New Hampshire elected him and his election was confirmed by the General Convention. Why *shouldn't* his partner have a role in the ordination? No one was required to attend who didn't wish to attend. I fail to see the grounds for anyone to take offense.
2.23.2006 8:01am
ruidh (www):
Regarding the historical context surrounding the seperation of the Church of England from Rome, the seperation caused by Henry III was repaired when his daughter, Mary, took the crown. The final seperation came when the Pope excommunicated Elizabeth I. All of these events were politically motivated rather than theologically motivated. The Pope, who was being "guarded" by Philip of Spain, the father of Henry's first wife, was interfering in the political life of England and the sucession. The seperation was a political act to save the independance of England.
2.23.2006 8:06am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ruidh.
You are free to not see grounds for offense. Episcopalians are free to see them.
They did.
Many are leaving.
Your views are irrelevant to them. You need to tell the folks leaving that you see no reason for them to be offended. Let me know how it goes.

I do not, personally, take offense. I merely mention the deliberate offensiveness of Robinson's ordination ceremony. Yeah, SPARE ME!!!!, I know about the spouse thing already. But the boyfriend was not a spouse and his inclusion could not not (deliberate double negative) have been seen as offensive to many.

The Episcopalian church does not promote itself as a secular organization. It has rules regarding conduct which a certain school seek to overturn. Robinson went well ahead of the curve, and shoved it into people's faces. In effect, he changed the rules and did it without the usual compromise and negotiation and persuasion.

People disliked it.
2.23.2006 9:50am
Public_Defender:
Richard Aubrey's point shows why there's a schism. Some on the Right get the vapors from the mere presence of a gay man. They knew they were getting an openly gay bishop, so what part of "openly gay" didn't they understand?

Once you start from the view that it's OK to be in an openly gay relationship (which is the view of the people who selected Robinson), then it's perfectly natural for his significant other to appear at an important ceremony.

The Right's reaction to the ceremony also shows that the "I'm Offended" industry is not exclusive to the Left.
2.23.2006 10:43am
SeaDrive (mail):
Richard Aubrey seems disingenuous to me when he says he did not personally take offense and then uses anti-gay language, and parrots the anti-gay point of view. He certainly misses one point: you can not accept Gene Robinson and deny his relationship.

To read Aubrey's posts, one would think that getting ordained a bishop was something Gene Roinson did on his own. In fact, he was the protege of his predecessor, and is the elected leader of his disocese.

Yeah, some people have left, but then some people are still stuck two revisions back in the Book of Common Prayer. It's a very conservative crowd. That does not mean that leaders should not look to the present and the future.
2.23.2006 11:54am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Public.
I may have been unclear. Robinson's act was offensive in the context of how these things are supposed to go in a church. The concern, from my viewpoint in the PCUSA and reading the Episcalopians' stuff, is not solely a matter of gayness. It's a matter of sex outside of marriage, which gay sex must be until the churches change their view of marriage. As I mentioned, hiding in the shadow of the gay issue, which the Right Sort of People all think should be allowed, is the complete removal of all restrictions on sex, including adultery as either bad things or obstacles to ordination.

You don't have to be very bright to understand the maxim that the people most concerned to convince you there is no slippery slope are the ones standing behind you shifting their feet for a good stance.
2.23.2006 12:01pm
Public_Defender:
Robinson's actions were only "offensive in the context of how these things are supposed to go in a church" if you accept the premise that an openly gay man in a committed relationship should not be bishop. Given that conservatives lost that argument in Vermont when Robinson was elevated, I see no reason why the partner should have been excluded.

Arguing that the partner should have been excluded is just a rehash of the argument over Robinson's elevation. As far as I can tell, the only way you can "win" the argument about the partner's attendance is to also "win" the argument that Robinson should not have been made a Bishop.

You can prove me wrong by making a coherent argument that it was right to elevate Robinson knowing that he was in a long-term, committed, gay relationship, and that it was wrong to let the partner attend the ceremony.
2.23.2006 1:23pm
Jam (mail):
The ultimate arbitrer of the Christian Faith is the Bible. The Bible states that sex is only sanctioned in marriage and that marriage is between male and female.

Any so called Christian denomination is only as good as its adherence to Biblical doctrine.

As a fellow Christian, of the generic kind, it hurts to see what is going on.

It is hypocrisy to be so "biblically grounded" on the homosexual issue but "more understanding" on the divorce issue.

Contrary to popular belief it is OK to judge. But whosever judges will also be judged himself whether he judged with a right standard or judged with a bias. If we judge with a bias we will be condemned in the same way that we are condemned for using false scales. It is not in the weighting but in the way the scales are used.
2.23.2006 1:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Public. I enjoy talking to lawyers. It teaches me patience. When caught on the law, they talk morality, or vice versa, and pretend the other doesn't exist.

Robinson was not "wrong" in a sense you would accept, no matter the context because he could not be wrong no matter what. There is no profit in wasting cyberwhatsit on your challenge. Which, btw, misstates my point because you can't deal with my point so,...etc.

My point is that Robinson was needlessly offensive to a great many members of the ECUSA and if you ask around you'll find I'm right. That's one reason there are fewer of them than there used to be. Your argument is with them. Lots of luck.

Even if you stipulate that bringing your significant other(s) of whatever combination of species makes you happy to the communion table is "right" in some sense, a bishop ought to be concerned with comity, unity, and the ability to reach out to others, especially those with whom he may disagree.



Which would seem to suggest the bish in question just take it a bit easy on the appearances at first.

Oh, yeah. Prediction.
2.23.2006 2:31pm
Public_Defender:
I guess I just don't believe there are that many people who thought, "I was annoyed that they would elevate an openly gay man to be a bishop, but I could have lived with that. What made me leave the church is that the bishop's partner showed up at a ceremony."

Maybe I'm wrong and your right. But I think that anyone holding that view really doesn't take their faith all that seriously.
2.23.2006 3:04pm
Public_Defender:
I guess I just don't believe there are that many people who thought, "I was annoyed that they would elevate an openly gay man to be a bishop, but I could have lived with that. What made me leave the church is that the bishop's partner showed up at a ceremony."

Maybe I'm wrong and your right. But I think that anyone holding that view really doesn't take their faith all that seriously.
2.23.2006 3:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Public.
How on earth do you think there's any profit in misstating the point to the man who made the point/
What's in it for you?
If you were a journalist, you could do it and make sure the editorial page shredded whatever I sent in as a correction.
But in this venue?

I meant....ah, nuts.
What's the point? You got my point well enough or you wouldn't have bothered to misstate it.
2.23.2006 4:08pm
BobN (mail):
It just fills my soul with the warmth of Christian brotherhood when participants in discussions of gay relationships say things like:


Even if you stipulate that bringing your significant other(s) of whatever combination of species makes you happy to the communion table is "right" in some sense, a bishop ought to be concerned with comity, unity, and the ability to reach out to others, especially those with whom he may disagree.


Talk about comity! Can you feel the Holy Spirit at work???
2.23.2006 4:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
BobN

Did I say "prediction", or did I say "prediction"?

Damn, I'm good, although to be honest, this is kind of fishbarrelshooting.

I put the "species" issue in there for a couple of reasons. One is that no argument currently made on behalf of Robinson does not apply--will not apply--to some other number or species. Bet on it. Perhaps if PETA has blown more people up, their concerns might be prayerfully considered. But otherwise, there will be no change in the supporters of the openmarriage model.

What, by the way, is wrong with loving animals? Are you some kind of close-minded speci-ist? Are you judgmental? Blue-nosed red-stating Christer? Believe in Creationism? Jeez, I love to hand it out.

The other point is that, in consideration of the disturbance Robinson knew his accession would cause, he might have taken it a bit easy early on, considering the other requirements of good bishing. He chose not to. He could have taken a bit of a personal hit, made a bit of a temporary sacrifice for the good of the church. But it's all about Gene. Always.
2.23.2006 4:45pm