I don’t know whether this is simply spin in order to rile the “faithful” to action, or whether it is simply ignorance by a group of American Evangelicals/Fundamentalists commenting on the actions of a Church Catholic (meaning the ecclesiastical structures and workings of the Episcopal Church USA). My better side wants to believe that it is ignorance of the how and the why we do things, but I have too much experience with the distortion and misrepresentation of facts dished out by this and other politicized Religious Right groups in order to attempt to prove or bolster their arguments to think that it is purely ignorance.
Anyway, from Focus-on-the_Family’s daily e-mail update, CitizenLink, this comment on the dismissal of 20 Episcopal priests in the Diocese of Virginia by Bishop Peter Lee. The article refers to Lee as a “liberal revisionist bishop.” Anyone who knows Peter Lee knows he is not a “liberal revisionist,” so is the statement spin, intentional misinformation, ignorance, blatant lie, or what?
Plus, the priests were not inhibited and deposed because they are against homosexuals being bishops (or priests or deacons or even lay-leaders of the Church for that matter), they were deposed because the “abandoned communion with this Church.” They could have asked Lee for Letters Dismissory (the canonical way to do rightly what they attempted to do rebelliously) and joined the Nigerian Church, but they didn’t. They chose to follow a certain path and this is the result. Plain and simply. Again, lies, misunderstanding of the workings of an episcopal church, spin, or what?
It sure sounds good, doesn’t it? It sure makes their followers all the more fearful of the evil they perceive as attaching them, the true holders and defenders of the Gospel of Christ, and the Gospel itself, doesn’t it? It sure makes the leadership of these organizations all the more powerful – send more money, do what we tell you to do, and all will be well, doesn’t it?
I don’t know. I am immensely frustrated with what passes for Christianity in this country, particularly as presented and lived-out by those who have a high responsibility to the non-Christian world due to their visibility – they are examples and prophets of a very deficient kind of Kingdom of God.
Anyway, here is the short comment from Focus-on-the-Family:
Twenty Priests Defrocked over Opposition to Homosexuality (8-30-2007)
Virginia Episcopal Bishop Peter J. Lee ejected 20 of his former clergy from the priesthood this week after they quit the denomination in December over the 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who is openly homosexual.
The Washington Times reports that the move comes seven months after 11 churches â€” along with their clergy â€” voted to leave the diocese and the denomination. The departing churches have formed the Anglican District of Virginia.
Most mainline Protestant denominations, including the United Methodist Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, take the opposite tack by defrocking sexually active homosexual clergy.
“The action by Bishop Lee comes as no surprise,” said Caleb H. Price, research analyst for Focus on the Family. “In diocese after diocese throughout the United States, liberal revisionist bishops like Lee are persecuting priests, vestry members and the laity for seeking to faithfully adhere to the historic and apostolic faith once delivered.
“The fact of the matter is that it’s not these priests who have abandoned the church, it’s Lee and the hierarchy of the Episcopal Church USA who have abandoned the faith.”
It makes me think of –
Micah 6:7-12 (New International Version)
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.