The General Convention of the Episcopal Church convenes in about two weeks, where they will consider an amendment to the canons smoothing out a discrepancy between the Book of Common Prayer and the canons and the “pastoral response” to gay couples; a liturgy in use since 2012 which clearly violated them. The Anglican Curmudgeon has a useful post on the problem. Others include a BDS resolution, fossil fuels divestment, and a quasi-presbyterian restructuring,
With this in mind, I was doing my normal blog reading yesterday afternoon, between publishing Daily Caller op-eds, and came across this post at Anglican Samizdat, claiming that the gay marriage blessing was more for the benefit of clergy than the laity, which tracks with how it passed in the U.S.; overwhelmingly supported by the bishops, opposed by much of the laity. Never expecting him to respond, I asked what the Center for American Progress’s resident gay “bishop” Gene Robinson thought of it.
To my great surprise, he hit me back:
I asked whether the current blessing goes far enough:
What I should have said at that point is that all sacraments are for everyone, but that the Church has no right to redefine them. Alas:
And that was the end of that:
I guess it’s an unfair question, but come on! After he was consecrated, half the Anglican Communion didn’t recognize him, the Russian Orthodox immediately cut ties, and Archbishop Rowan Williams obliquely referred to “decisions which appear to go against Catholic order or biblical teaching.” Ironically, seceding bishops have been sued by the Episcopal Church in part for abdicating their duties. To my knowledge Robinson has never been asked, let alone answered, whether he thinks all this division was worth it, now that his second marriage is over. This is a reasonable question to ask a “bishop,” especially one whose personal life is so tied to changes in religious practices. Though he’s retired now — or “nonpracticing,” you might say — were he to be judged to have, say, put his own satisfaction before the health and unity of the church, should he be sued too?
Robinson would no doubt respond with some kind of vanguardist notion that the rest of the Church will eventually catch up to them; what it really is is a lonely pride parade to nowhere.
Also still waiting on a hard target for the property confiscation budget.
Enter Jim Naughton, founder of Episcopal Cafe, who agrees with Robinson:
Naughton is a man who unironically calls the ones who have left the Episcopal Church over this “schismatics.”He was a proponent of the vaguely racist conspiracy theory about how Williams was in thrall to an unholy alliance of African prelates and the American evangelical right, and thinks Jim Wallis isn’t progressive enough. You can read the whole conversation by clicking on the tweet. Again, he ended it when I suggested, gee, maybe the prioritization of LGBT issues has not been entirely a good thing for the Church.
I tweeted that Robinson’s CAP appointment was a fitting symbol of a general trend toward state churchiness. Joking about how TEC is the clerical arm of the Democratic Party is funny, but it’s also true: TEC receives about a third of its budget for the U.S. government, and the National Episcopal Health Ministries assisted in implementing Obamacare, and support for an automatic weapons bill is being considered in the General Convention. Naughton, who doesn’t see anything sinisterly Erastian about the Dennis Canon being enforced by secular courts, seems down with the program.
Which makes it especially rich that he complains about the influence of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. I too have issues with the IRD; in the run-up to the disastrous Iraq war, they were involved in silencing critics, and their ties to the Falls Church’s vestry was a factor in my leaving ACNA for the Ordinariate, and I was received into the Catholic Church in January. However, a fact Naughton deemphasizes in his report on them, and never mentions otherwise, is that the IRD has its roots in the Committee for a Democratic Majority, a Trotskyite/neoconservative organization — which is to say you could argue they aren’t really conservatives at all. They have in recent years toned down their warmongering, which is to the good, though their president thinks everyone who disagreed with FDR is bad.
And anyway, “Bishop” Robinson is now employed by the people who constructed the rhetorical and legal case for Obama’s illegal intervention in Syria. The Center for American Progress also supported the Libyan intervention, which has gone so well, and have censored and forced out critics of Israel. Mote, meet beam.
So, with Lambeth on hold indefinitely, and the Episcopal Church rapidly becoming hostile to anyone who still holds to the Christian faith, what are the people who haven’t left yet, people like the good Rev. Charles Alley of Richmond, to do when these new changes come down, and they could be asked to solemnize gay marriages?
You already know what I’m going to say. It’s time to admit that this whole 500-year schism was a huge mistake, and the Anglican experiment has run its course. Pope Benedict XVI made us an extremely generous offer — please take it.