More on Outing Bishops
I would normally try not to say anything about the Anglican Communion-rending dispute over Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, on account of manners in speaking about the internal affairs of one of the Protestant churches, or to put it more snarkily: "Robinson is just as much a bishop as the rest of them." But the Big Cheese of the Episcopal Church has engaged in the ultimate in pro-gay smarm — outing, which is one theme of this blog.
No, actually Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori doesn’t even rise to the level of an "outer" (and no gay man would ever tolerate her taste in robes either, as this Jackson-Pollock-worthy ensemble proves). But at least Signorile, Rogers, Ehrenstein and the rest of that despicable gossiping lot would have the stones to say "Bishop So-and-So is a homo." They might use anonymous or unreliable sources, but they at least say who they’re talking about.
Bishop Schori? No such honor. Why out "Bishop X" and risk being rebutted or having to offer proof. She simply does a Clintonian drive-by smear-by-implication, with the slushy slide already set up, the escape hatch already well-greased. She tells the BBC:
"[Bishop Robinson] is certainly not alone in being a gay bishop, he’s certainly not alone in being a gay partnered bishop," she said.
"He is alone in being the only gay partnered bishop who’s open about that status."
She said other Anglican churches also have gay bishops in committed partnerships and should be open about it.
"There’s certainly a double standard," she told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.
This self-righteous pro-gay ideologue, working in the guise of a shepherd of Christ, has sinned through her own fault, in her thoughts and in (especially) in her words, in what she did and what she failed to do.
(1) She has made an impossible-to-rebut implication against every unmarried bishop in the rest of the Anglican Communion. And put them all on the spot without their having done anything to warrant or deserve it. I realize the good bishopess does not herself think sodomy is wrong, but this is an act of pure contempt against those who do, some of whom she is still supposed to in communion (as in Anglican ——) with.
(2) She has put without reason journalists in an awkward quandary — how does one report "an outing" without giving it credit (like with the false "Obama is a Muslim" smears, which caused much more consternation). Her statement is, as made, uncheckable, and she offered no proof of it. But it is made by a prominent-enough person that it has to get reported. She thus gets journalists to make the charge for her if they dig for details. Orwell talked about the morality of those who always managed to be elsewhere when the trigger was pulled.
(3) Does Bishopess OutersRUs really think that she will change the mind on this issue of any closeted-gay bishop by threatening, however sotto voce, his public humiliation? Does she think they’re either so spineless (exposure to the bishops in her own ECUSA may have encouraged this perception) or so ruled by their dicks (exposure to gay groups in her own ECUSA may have encouraged this perception) that they will not take such a threat as an affront worthy of digging in their heels (even if those heels be Prada-clad). But regardless of anything, on absolute principle, it’s a call she has no right to make (see Gay Patriot and Andrew Sullivan on that principle, called "playing God").
Strange, isn’t it? I’m old enough to remember that Archbishop Donald Coggan raised an absolute furore decades ago when he very sensibly conceded on a radio programme that there were gay clergy in the Church of England. Now everyone accepts that of course there are. But gay bishops? No, never – except, that is, for that dreadful Gene Robinson over in America!
Although I don’t belong to the Anglican Communion and don’t therefore have much occasion to come into contact with its bishops, I did actually once know an Anglican bishop who was certainly homosexual (I’m not sure whether or not he’s still alive) and who was in a partnership, but I’d hesitate to describe it as a “committed” partnership, since he ditched his partner when it transpired that the latter had AIDS.
If you insist on staying in the closet, then you’ll treat yourself badly and you’ll treat others badly. Let’s turn on the lights and live in the real world – it’s so much more healthy and wholesome.
The issue isn’t people’s sexual orientation, it’s their sexual practice. Of course there are gay priests, straight priests (if you want to use that kind of language) and every range inbetween, but that’s neither here nor there.
Which bishop are you thinking of? I think we either need to name names and have the courage of our convictions to back up our allegations with some facts, or not say them in the first place. At the moment your “side-swipe” is exactly what the article I quoted is going on about.
I’m afraid therefore that if you can’t substantiate your allegation I will have to remove it.
Then go ahead and remove it. You know perfectly well that I can’t name someone else without his prior permission; that would be grossly unethical, and that’s presumably why Bishop Schori didn’t do it. But if you’re going to remove it in order to preserve the illusion that Gene Robinson is the only non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Anglican Communion, then I don’t think much of it.
What is grossly unethical is making an unsubstantiated claim.
Thanks for linking, Mr. Ould.
You know perfectly well that I canâ€™t name someone else without his prior permission; that would be grossly unethical, and thatâ€™s presumably why Bishop Schori didnâ€™t do it.
That is exactly why it is even worse to make the sideways implication. Doing it while seeming not to — gutless, smarmy, waterproof, gutless, cheap, gossipy, gutless and less-than-manly.
if youâ€™re going to remove it in order to preserve the illusion that Gene Robinson is the only non-celibate homosexual bishop in the Anglican Communion
I don’t know that anybody is under that illusion.
There are lots of things one can know about a general populace, include the prevalence and/or existence of a sin, without there being any imperative to impute against individuals.
O.K., so we’ve agreed that there are non-celibate gay bishops (apart from Gene Robinson) in the Anglican Communion. I’ve said that I happened to know one some years ago. I mentioned the fact, not to “impute against individuals”, but simply to illustrate my general point. Who he is/was is neither here nor there, and I would not dream of violating his privacy by naming him without his prior and explicit consent.
Is the real problem this: that we want to keep up this silly game of “yeah, we all know, but let’s all pretend that nobody knows”?
But what of people who create anonymous transitory blogger weblogs to make anonymous arguments on other weblogs?
I don’t allow anonymous comments on this blog for that very reason. If you make a claim about someone you need to have the courage of your convictions to do it publicly.
OK, the problem I have now is that we have a whole comment thread about the allegation. If I remove William’s post I have to remove all the others.
I think the real problem is that things are moving rapidly towards a “crunch point” and that will cause these issues, and others, to come to the surface.
There is also the fact that KJS has as good as declared open season on clergy and especially bishops who have same-sex attraction. I don’t think the allegations we saw this weekend are the last to come.
Quite frankly â€“ leaving aside the matter of Bishop Schoriâ€™s questionable taste in vestments, which will hardly keep me from getting to sleep tonight â€“ I fully concur with a former Anglican clergyman who compared the ongoing, neurotic preoccupation of the Anglican churches with homosexuality to continually picking away at a scab. As my granny used to threaten us, â€œIf you keep on picking at that, youâ€™ll get a pigâ€™s foot on it.â€
What a pity that the Anglicans canâ€™t (or wonâ€™t) adopt the same healthy and sane attitude as many of the Protestant churches in northern Europe, who fully accept both gay clergy and gay laity without trying to saddle them with the superfluous burden of mandatory and perpetual sexual continence.
In relation to the above discussion, this is an interesting link:
I find it particularly interesting in its comments about Bishop Andrew Burnham. These could be repeatedly endlessly by those of us in the more Catholic wing of the church. Time after time, supposedly ‘orthodox’ bishops say one thing in private and do another thing in public.
The London diocese is a perfect example of this. The majority of its bishops would, if they were pushed, state their total support for ‘Issues in Human Sexuality’ and then institute into parishes time after time men and women who are or have been in same-sex relationships. The Bishop of London would have to be an idiot to not know this.
Again, take a visit to Edmonton area in the diocese of London. It has had a succession of bishops who have been gay – no secret at all to anyone who knows the area. The Times newspaper even stated as such a number of years ago about the present bishop. The area is full of Anglo-Catholics, many of whom are in relationships.
It seems to me that it is the interest of all those who want to halt what they see as the ‘liberal agenda’ to realise who they might be getting into bed with. Many of those who for the sake of expediency and sometimes an easy life who purport to be their supporters do and say totally the opposite in private.
Sounds like there needs to be a healthy old round of dismissals then. If the terms of employment state one thing, it’s not up to the employees to choose to openly flout those – at least, in the company I work for and in virtually every well-ordered organisation in existence, this premise is upheld. Why is that people working in a church-based context seem to think that they are an exception and can do as they please? Sack them. Sack the Bishops. Sack the parish clergy. Sack anyone in between and above who isn’t able to hold to the discipline of the Church as required of them.
I’m starting to get very tired of people who have such scant regard for the mission of the Church (that is, God’s Church, instituted by Him to serve Him in worship and witness) and have so taken their eyes off Jesus and the call to holy living as they go after Him that they waste so much time and resource in this endless merry-go-round of self-worshipping that’s excused on grounds of being honest about one’s identity. Let’s be clear about identity – we’re all sinners in need of grace. And there’s a whole load of sinners needing to hear about the grace of God in Jesus that are being put off venturing anywhere near a church to find out about it because all they hear is a load of self-affirming shouting from people who’ve clearly missed the point about being set free from sin by the power of Jesus’ blood and have granted themselves permission to live as they want in a wholly distracting-from-holiness-through-Jesus sin-sure way.
By the way, if it wasn’t clear, I was intending to sound very angry and annoyed. And before anyone tells me that’s not on, read your Bible and have a think about the venom of God towards sin and unrepentant sinners – I claim grounds to shout loudly about the dangers of sin and sinful living.
My point was actually directed towards an ‘Afghan’ accountant (apparently with the initials PO) with an inchoate Orwellian weblog that suddenly disappeared
Nope, I think that website you’re referring to is still there – http://ecusania.blogspot.com. Funny little place…
The following essay by Kenneth Leech is also illuminating:
William, a good link. I know Ken very well, and he knows a great deal about the nature of Anglo-Catholicism.
He is also a fine theologian, ‘subversive orthodoxy’ is his thing, and he is someone who writes very well on sexuality. I would recommend all Peter’s blog readers to read his stuff.
Tim – I have to say that your anger is misspent, and totally at odds with my understanding of the God that we see revealed in Jesus Christ.
Though you appear to have broken the link between your blogger id and that weblog. You shouldn’t accuse liberals (all of them?) of inconsistency and anonymous sniping having just had a field day yourself with the same techniques. (Though I can’t understand why you felt the need to hide your id in that fairly sensible post)
Oh no Robert, you outed me!!!
Let me get back from morning Communion and I’ll make everything totally transparent.
Peter – I’m not sure I would class this as a problem. I think that it’s a necessary part of the solution. How far does the rot really go?
Winston – Tim’s is a valid reading of New Testament discipline, and in perfect accord with Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18.
Derek – I think a more holistic reading of the Gospels is necessary than the one you imply.
I think as well if we took Jesus literally in Matthew 18, our churches would be empty. I would like to know as well which is the authentic voice of Jesus in this chapter and which is the voice of the early church.
However, I think it is better not to weigh down Peter’s blog with our differing views on biblical interpretation.
I think Elaine Storkey’s words on Ruth Gledhill’s blog are interesting in the light of the talk of ‘crunch points’:
‘I am alarmed at the belligerence of the conservative camp, where they are seemingly going out of their way to make life as difficult as possible for the Archbishop of Canterbury. I cannot imagine what the reasons are. They are being destructive rather than constructive, finding something to argue about rather than working together to find a fruitful outcome.’
‘I am bewildered as to why anyone would want to spend their energy doing this when there is a world out there we should be speaking to of the love of God. And we should not just be speaking it, we should be living it, first of all, in the way we love one another, and also in the way we love them.’
‘What is the point of going out and trying to find heretics, so we can shoot them down? It seems so unloving and so unproductive. I cannot figure it out.’
‘Never before in the history of the evangelical church have we had so many evangelicals and of such talent. The whole way we could pull together with other people and other traditions of the church, it could be fantastic. But rather than do that, we end up squabbling. It is appalling. It is ridiculous. There is no victory there. It is just daft.’
Thank you – that’s appreciated!
I thought that differing views on biblical interpretation was one of the key aspects of the whole sexuality thing being knocked around at the moment. Either we understand that the Bible is clear about sexual interaction outside the bounds of a marriage between a man and woman or we interpret the Bible so that we can have whatever kind of sexual relationship we want.
You know, far too much there’s an air of something (I changed the word I was going to use) comes across from people knocking ‘theological’ and ‘ethical’ stuff around. I find that a good way of testing it is to throw in a comment that’s basic, blunt and honest and see whether it gets much response. Something clear about Jesus, sin and how Jesus saves and changes the sinner usually does the job.
Point is, once we’ve got past actual sinful living, discussion about sinful living still serves as a distraction from Jesus if we’re not careful.
Tim, as I have said in a reply to Peter before, the sense of 100% clarity that you and others speak of with regard to Jesus, the Bible and Christian teaching is not something that I can affirm. In fact, it seems to me that clarity is often the antithesis of the faith that I see written about in what is essentially the very complex collection of religious writings that we call the Bible.
Ultimately though you are right, at the heart of the debate about sexuality are disagreements about the Bible between people like you and me. The question though, that I have asked again before, is why issues with regard to sexuality have become the test-case for these disagreements? Is sexuality important enough in the scheme of things?
This is why I think Elaine Storkey is right when she talks about her frustration that our energy is being misused. We have always disagreed about Scripture; we always will, but what we do agree on is that our society needs transformation, and I am sure that there are things that we can do together to achieve it.
If you’re looking for a unified sexual ethic running through the Bible, then I doubt that you’ll find it.