Sunday, July 23, 2006

A lovely delusion?

Meanwhile, in answer to Hans Johnson's missive on the defeat of Ralph Reed in the Georgia GOP primary for lieutenant governor, one of your blogstress's favorite writers reached out with this eruption:

Only the most delusional liberal could see Ralph Reed’s glorious defeat as anything other than Republicans cutting their losses. These people will chew off a foot to avoid losing the Senate or House in November, and they don’t need another high-profile grifter in the mix, even if he’s not running for Congress himself. The GOP threw Reed in front of the train, not the progressives.

--Yellowboat
Okay, Y, but what do you really think?

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Spirit
Mea culpa (but not for everything)

When your blogstress wrote, for The American Prospect Online, an essay in which she threw up her hands at the notion of a cohesive, politically effective religious left, she knew not what she had done. Somehow, she managed to anger religious people on both the left and the right, and places in between.

Your Ă©crivaine based her conclusion on the latest turmoil in the Episcopal Church over the place of lesbians and gay people in church life, deducing that while all the mainline Protestant churches in the US remain engaged in similar internal battles, there is no hope for producing a religious left movement that is up to doing full-scale battle with the forces of the religious right.

It is your cyberscribe's description of the Episcopalians' travails that rankled the Rev. Glynn C. Harper of Christ Church in San Augustine, Texas, who writes:

Dear Ms. Stan:

I am writing to tell you that I have seldom read as misinformed and misleading an article on any subject as your article "A Schismatic Canterbury Tale," which appeared as an opinion on the CBS News web site.

Not only were your statements evidence of a basic ignorance of the issues involving gays and lesbians in the church, but the entire thrust of the article was not merely misleading but, in fact, untrue. It would be difficult to point out all your errors of fact in the time I want to waste on refuting the article, but first of all the Archbishop of Canterbury has not even come close to "put[ing] forward a proposal for the schism of his own church." In fact, in an address he made to the synod of the Church of England, he has specifically rejected such an interpretation of his remarks.

Secondly, the statement that "half of the church’s 38 provinces to break with the its U.S. governing body, [has deprived] the latter of financial support" is either a complete fabrication on your part or evidence of the most profound ignorance.

The Episcopal Church is totally self-supporting and in fact is a major provider of funds for poorer provinces in other parts of the world, including the Anglican Church in Nigeria, whose archbishop Akinol is one of the Episcopal Church's major critics for its actions regarding the place of gay people and women in the body of Christ. The Anglican Church in Nigeria, may be the largest province in the communion in terms of membership, but it is also one of the poorest in terms of resources.

The greatest falsehood in your article, however it to suggest that the Episcopal Church is in any way near collapse. While it is true that the diocesan bishops of seven of the over 100 independent dioceses of the Episcopal Church have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to provide "alternative oversight," which would remove them as part of the Episcopal Church, there is no indication whatever that the Archbishop of Canterbury will do so or, in fact, that he has the authority to do so. His position in the Anglican Communion while influential is without authority over any of the autonomous provinces of the Communion. It is extremely unlikely that he would jeopardize his position of influence by undertaking an action that would not only offend the Episcopal Church, but the Anglican provinces in Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and South Africa as well as other moderate and progressive Anglican provinces who in some cases have been even more progressive than the Episcopal Church.

To place the problems in the Episcopal Church and other Protestant denominations in the United States as being central to a collapse of liberal Christian sentiment is to grossly misrepresent the facts and to indulge in pure fantasy. I hope you will belatedly research the subject you have written about so incorrectly and write an article apologizing for your ignorance and misinformed assertions.

Sincerely,

The Reverend Glynn C. Harper
Vicar, Christ Church, Episcopal
San Augustine, Texas
Your blogstress does concede that she got the issue regarding the Episcopal Church's funding apparatus wrong, the result of haste and attendant sloppiness on her part. She is most sorry about this, both for having misinformed her readers and for the resulting impression that she is something less than impeccable in her journalistic habits. On the rest of her assertions, however, your net-tĂȘte is far less yielding.

MORE TO COME

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