Monday, May 01, 2006

If you are Anglican, you need to read this 

If you are Anglican, and you wondering why your church leaders are ripping your church apart over gay issues instead of helping people work together toward a more inclusive doctrine, you need to read this expose from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington:
When the General Convention of the Episcopal [AKA Anglican] Church meets next month in Columbus, Ohio, a small network of theologically conservative organizations will be on hand to warn deputies that they must repent of their liberal attitudes on homosexuality or face serious consequences. The groups represent a small minority of church members, but relationships with wealthy American donors and powerful African bishops have made them key players in the fight for the future of the Anglican Communion.
Two articles titled "Following the Money" provide the details -- Part 1 and Part 2:
Millions of dollars contributed by a handful of donors have allowed a small network of theologically conservative individuals and organizations to mount a global campaign that has destabilized the Episcopal Church and may break up the Anglican Communion.
A few years ago, the American Episcopal church ordained Bishop Robinson, who is gay, and several Canadian Anglican bishops have supported gay marriage. Now, church rules are supposed to prevent one bishop from taking over another bishop's churches, but the articles describe how a few American conservatives arranged for bishops in Africa and Asia to take over not only the congregations but also the church property of break-away American and Canadian churches whose congregations did not support gay-friendly policies.
The articles also show how this same small group also manipulated the result of last year's Anglican conference -- I wrote about that here and here -- to make sure the conference would freeze out the Canadian and American bishops who supported gay-friendly policies. I had no idea there could be such an organized campaign to break up the Anglican Church -- which apparently, and merely as a happy byproduct of course, would also allow the break-away leaders to take over the weekly offerings and the property of those break-away congregations.
Thanks to pastordan for the link. Pastordan writes:
The goal of this movement is not theological realignment, but political, to weaken the organization of the ECUSA in order to make it more pliable before a radical Religious Right agenda. Robinson's consecration is the wedge to an eventual takeover of the denomination, much like ultra-conservatives wrested control of the Southern Baptist Conference from moderates and transformed it into a platform for Republican moralism. . . . Say what you will about "left-leaning" churches like the UCC: we at least chose our path in open discourse, and the national church takes its lumps for doing so . . . I don't believe there's any sugar-daddies secretly funding our stands.

UPDATE: The Green Knight is on this too.

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