Saturday, September 13, 2008

What is the difference between a Kangaroo Court and the upcoming Episcopal House of Bishops Meeting in Utah?

Apparently, nothing.

UPDATE: Anglican Curmudgeon blows it all out of the water here.

I keep wondering if there are those American bishops out there who love liberty and justice for all and who recognize the intentions to walk away from those ideals at the next meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops in Salt Lake City, Utah. Are there bishops out there who are not blind to the ramifications of the hatched up plan to charge the Bishop of Pittsburgh with what amounts to be an ecclesiastical accusation of sedition? Will they remain silent or will they speak? Just how deep does their love of justice go?

Does it go only as deep as the insiders-wink of an ally?

Do they really believe in free speech? Do they really believe in freedom of assembly? Is this outburst of accusing opponents for their lack of suitable loyalty sound remarkably like other examples in history when a minority comes up before the majority in opposition? Instead of robustly making the case to the people, they draw the shades and charge opponents with sedition. Rather than sending their opponents to the gallows, they will chop up their collars and send them into exile. There is no Anglican Communion. There is only the Episcopal Communion and if you dare speak out against such a development, then, well, it's all over now.

It's been a long, long time since the United States charged one of its own citizens with acts of sedition. Guess the Episcopal Church has forgotten that justice is not just expecting everyone to agree with you. Civility isn't civil when it accounts to forcing everyone to agree, when it punishes those who disagree and removes leaders when the laity begin to catch on and use the power of the ballot box. Unable to punish the laity (the court rejected their attempts to sue the laity) Katharine Jefferts Schori turns her sights on creating a scapegoat all our own.

But as Bishop Duncan points out, it is his Diocesan Convention that makes the decision - to charge him ahead of time is to charge him with what are basically acts of sedition. Just exactly what do Episcopal bishops believe freedom and liberty mean? What does conscience mean? And has Schori's and her lawyers redefined the canons to mean that the Episcopal Church is now the Episcopal Communion?

Is this how dissent is handled, through draconian actions such as these now planned by Katharine Jefferts Schori and her lawyers and those bishops that elected her?

All we know is that kangaroos belong in Australia, not in Utah.


Rick Arllen said...

BB, I take strong exception to your assertion that there is no difference between a Kangaroo Court and the upcoming TEC HoB Meeting. You must be taken to task for your scandalous assumption of equivalence between the too. This is highly offensive given the much higher standard of justice exercised by all Kangaroo Courts everywhere.

Karen said...

Mary - before I saw your post here, I just left the following comment over at SF. It fits here too. There will be much pressure on remaining orthodox bishops to take a stand in the days ahead. And any failure on their part to stand publicly would be a clear choice and stand, no matter how they might try to spin it. Here's what I wrote at SF. There are a bunch of bishops needing our prayers this week...

I note, as several other commenters already have done, that the combination of Schori’s memo being made public, and Bp. Duncan’s letter to the HoB will put enormous pressure the remaining orthodox bishops in the HoB for whom working from “inside” has been important.

Even though I will be traveling, and thus not able to join my colleagues in posting prayers at Lent & Beyond this week, I will be praying specifically for a number of orthodox bishops, including +Bruce MacPherson, +Mark Lawrence, +Bill Love, and as well as +John Howe, +James Adams and +Jim Stanton.

All of these bishops to some degree or another have been committed to staying within and working for reform from inside TEC. That choice becomes more and more difficult when faced with a situation like this.

I truly hope and pray the Lord will strengthen these bishops and that they will be bold in standing clearly for the Lord and His Word. In the past, the “Windsor Bishops” claim to have been “surprised” or caught off guard” by various parliamentary procedures with no time to respond or organize. This time, they no longer have that excuse. The PB’s tactics and plans have been made public. Even if she were somehow to back down, I believe the public disclosure of her plans, along with the call for integrity and justice from Bp. Duncan will demand a clear response from each and all of the orthodox bishops who claim to stand for the faith once delivered. The gauntlet has been thrown down. I don’t presume to claim that the inside strategy is no longer an option nor do I believe that staying inside is denying Christ. But I do believe those planning to stay inside TEC need to stand boldly and publicly for Christ, His Truth, justice and sound doctrine. That is likely to be VERY costly. May the Lord help them, and each of us to be faithful in counting the cost and taking up our cross daily and following our Lord.

BabyBlue said...

Great points, Karen. As someone who has had some political experience - both in the Church and on the Hill - political and parliamentary procedures can be like fighting a battle. KJS gets to have her chancellor - but do the Dioceses get to bring their chancellors as well? One wonders about the equality of the bishops if KJS has her personal lawyer (which is who David Booth Beers is - he's her personal lawyer) and the Diocesans in particular do not have their own counsel with them. That in itself is unadvised, especially when the stakes are as high as this.

Either Beers stays out of the House, or the Diocesans bring their Chancellors with them. This is not a time to passive and play the fake "civility" game that 815 put in the Washington Post. Civility is what opponents cry when they are losing. Jesus wasn't "civl" when he called the Pharisees "Blind Guides" now was he?

The "group think" that happens in the House of Bishops is very strong. I know - I witnessed it when I attended the House of Bishops meeting a year ago. The room is setup, the agenda is set to avoid confrontation. In order to resist the power-play in the room, a bishop will have to take an adversarial position.

This can be done with great charm - it doesn't have to be done aggressively. Lots of polite language can be used, as we see all the time (or at least used to) in the U.S. Senate. One of the greatest debates I ever witnessed was between the former Bishop of Colorado and the former Bishop of Oregon debate the issues of pro-life. They were on polar opposites and they debated forcefully, intensely, and with great affect. They used plenty of "my esteemed colleague" and language such as that - sometimes that can even be very effective in disarming an opponent, especially if you happen to carry a wit.

It means walking in unafraid and having a plan if things - or when thing - go badly. One of the hardest things for the orthodox and moderate bishops who would oppose this imperial grab for power is for them to work together as a team. The revisionists have succeeded over the years in planting wedged between the orthodox bishops and no doubt they have been lobbying all ready during the Lambeth Conference.

This isn't child's play. What ever happens on Thursday, each of those bishops will have to present an account of their actions to the Lord Himself one day. And that is a fact I hope they remember now.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Baby Blue - I don't get it.

I don't get the apoplexy over Bishop Duncan's inevitable deposition. If not in September then, surely, after his diocese votes the second time to leave TEC in October. There is already abundant evidence, amply provided by Bishop Duncan himself, that this is what will, in fact happen. It's just a matter of time.

And, if he leads his diocese in this vote, it will mean his deposition. It has to. Surely, as someone who follows "the letter of the law" of scripture, you understand the "letter of the law" of the church.

So, help me understand, please, as your sister in Christ, why the wailing and gnashing of teeth and renting of garments?

I'm really trying to understand.

JamesW. said...


Okay, its called "due process". A murder happens in a town. Everyone is pretty sure who did it, and finally a police officer finds the guy. The guy is unarmed with his hands up and says "I didn't do it." The cop thinks to himself "yeah, right, you didn't do it."

So the cop shoots and kills the suspect. When he is asked why he killed the unarmed suspect, the cop says "I don't get the apoplexy over this shooting. If he didn't die now, it would surely have happened after the trial. There is abundant evidence that this guy was guilty. Surely as someone who follows the law, you understand this guy has to die. So help me understand, why the wailing and gnashing of teeth and renting of garments. I;m really trying to understand."

And now, Elizabeth, how would you reply to the cop?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, jamesw. This is not about murder. This is about theft. Big difference. Huge.

I take the chancellor at his word that it is legally prudent for TEC to formally act before the final diocesan vote in terms of property issues.

++KJS has not "targeted" +Duncan. This is a tawdry, sad ecclesiastical drama of his own making and design.

If the sacristy slipper were on the other foot, y'all would be loudly applauding +Duncan for his "foresight" and "wisdom" and "bold, decisive, courageous action."

But, since it's not (which, I suppose, is the point), y'all get apoplectic and farklempt about that which +Duncan obviously wants anyway - except, he'd like to leave with the diocesan endowment, property, etc.

Well, he can't. Sorry.

Not to worry. As soon as this is over, the third act will be ready to unfold on a stage in Fort Worth, TX. It will be "all drama, all the time" for yet a little bit longer, then things will settle down and, please God, we can all get back to the Mission and Ministry of Christ, Jesus instead of insisting on sinking to the lower eschelons of the church's cesspool.

Hening said...


The ministry and mission of Christ sadly includes dealing with hypocrites and vipers that would destroy His church. It would be more fun if everyone could just buy a Jesus doll and spend their time down in the spiritual bomb shelter as the thunder that roars when ecclesiastical meets secular booms overhead as if nothing is really happening, but that's how we got here in the first place.

Tyrants don't know when to stop pushing their own agenda, this we learn through history and the Bible. It ultimately leads to their downfall here on earth, and even in heaven according to Genesis. Ignoring the law in order to facilitate your agenda is sin, and if you are trying to facilitate sin; as in abortion, homosexuality and the division of Christ's bride, you only facilitate your own spiritual death.

Anonymous said...

RE: "then things will settle down . . . "

Heh. According to the TEC apparatchiks this was all going to settle down 12 to 16 months after August of 2003 too.

Nope -- this'll be going on for another decade or so, is my guess.

RE: " . . . we can all get back to the Mission and Ministry of Christ" . . .

Certainly all those who believe whatever gospel they believe are capable of continuing with that gospel. Nothing's preventing that.

I for one am not gnashing -- I'm delighted to see the curtains continue to be pulled back on the rhetorical facades of "justice" and "inclusion" for the Anglican world to see. "Justice" -- but "let's go ahead and hang 'em before the trial to save time -- and let's violate our precious canons to do it, since it's just so much more convenient to do so."

"Inclusion" -- except of course for those whose gospel we don't like.

No -- having observed the moderates at Lambeth, I'm quite confident that all of this needs to continue to be exposed so that moderate Anglican Communion bishops may continue to see what the leaders of the national entities of our church -- the HOB, the Executive Committee, and especially 815 -- actually practice. From a public relations standpoint, all of this just continues to mount up -- as indeed several revisionists have recently noted in some articles.

Good times. ; > )

This is a fantastic time to be an Anglican -- we are watching church history in the making, and an epic decline and fall as well, judging by the numbers. 2007 will be out sometime in October I believe.


BabyBlue said...

Minneapolis tore the Anglican Communion asunder. Period. Having been warned by all the instruments of unity to not go forward with the actions at Minneapolis, the General Convention went ahead and did it anyway.

The Episcopal Church believes that it is taking historic and prophetic action and nothing, no nothing is going to stop the current leadership from their course. They have heard from God - nothing is going to take them off course.

That was abundantly evident at Lambeth - so much so, that Rowan Williams left Katharine Jefferts Schori at the bitter end out in the cold. And she was not happy. Nor were the Episcopal bishops who walked out in protest at the very end. They don't care.

There are signs right now that it would be better for 815 to negotiate then to continue on this punitive path. But they are not listening.

The point remains - Bishop Duncan has exercised his freedoms as an American to speak his mind publicly, to assemble freely. No church can take away that freedom - not in this country. When they do, they are called a CULT.

This is America, for God's sake. To accuse him of sedition - which is what Katharine Jefferts Schori and her handlers are doing - is simply outrageous. And even those who are opposed to his proposed actions should shiver at the power grab underway by this current regime.

These documents KJS has endorsed (don't think for a minute she actually wrote them herself while on holiday) indicate a massive power grab away from the diocesan bishops that should cause any diocesan bishop in TEC to pause. She is accusing Bishop Duncan of crimes of thought, speech, and assembly. Unbelievable.

If this is what the Episcopal Church is - if this is what the House of Bishops do to Bishop Duncan, to depose him for his freedom of speech and assembly, then what else are they capable of? Who can trust them?

Believe me - this meeting on Thursday is being watched not only here, but abroad (as if TEC cares, by the way). The ramifications of the TEC House of Bishops to remove a sitting bishop for exercising his American freedom of speech and assembly - that is called sedition and it is despots and tyrants who are threatened by liberty that jail and exile their opponents for sedition. For God's sake - we're talking about a Church!

Where are those who love justice today? Apparently there is justice for some, but not justice for all.

You see - KJS's handlers are threatened. Apparently there are consequences for the actions taken in 2003 and that movement is being led by the laity. They cannot arrest all the laity and clergy of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and lock them up until the Convention date passes. The Episcopal Church cannot control laity and 815 cannot control clergy.

So since they cannot lock up the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, they are going to exile their leader.

They must think that the clergy and laity in Pittsburgh are so stupid that they can't do a thing without their leader, that if Bob Duncan is taken out they will cut off the head of the diocese.

But the head of the diocese is not Bob Duncan, oh no it is not. The head of that diocese is Jesus Christ. And that diocese is so on fire for God, so equipped by the scriptures, so filled with love for His mission and for the lost - by exiling their bishop only inflames the passions deeper.

What a stupid, stupid, stupid thing to do.

Will KJS's handlers then come swooping in as they did in San Joaquin and remove the Standing Committee? I wonder. It appears they have an organization now in place on the ground to do just that.


Andy said...

Outside of the presence of a multi-hued cope and mitre, there seems to be little difference.

JamesW said...

Elizabeth: So due process counts for nothing for you, does it? That sort of eviscerates any credibility TEC has on speaking out on "justice" issues, if TEC's HOB and PB can't even follow the most basic "due process" principles in their own internal proceedings.

Basically, if Bob Duncan played by the same rulebook KJS played by, Harold Lewis and any other priest who agreed with him in Pittsburgh would be deposed right now. But Lewis isn't, because Bob Duncan doesn't play by KJS's "the ends justify the means" rulebook.

Try and justify it all you like Elizabeth, but there is no excuse for this blatant violation of canonical procedure and the flagrant denial of due process it entails.