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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Killing Them with Kindness

Update: A commenter points out I was wrong with my facts on Gene Robinson. The following is the Wikipedia entry on +Robinson and I assume it is correct:

He moved to New Hampshire in 1975 and became Canon to the Ordinary in 1988. While attending the Seminary, he sought counseling to rid himself of homosexual thoughts. The counseling did not change his sexual orientation, and in 1972 he married despite these feelings about his sexuality, of which he had informed his fiancée. After having two daughters (Jamee and Ella), Robinson publicly acknowledged his homosexuality. He and his wife divorced in 1986, but remain friends. Around 1989, Robinson met his current partner, Mark Andrews, who currently works in the New Hampshire state government. Robinson has one granddaughter, Morgan Isabella. [2]

Please accept my sincere apologies. The posting below has been corrected.

This past Thursday at the Primates Meeting in Dar es Salaam, the Report of the Communion Sub-Group was released. The Sub-Group, an assemblage of high-ranking officials in the Anglican Communion, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, was assigned the task of determining whether the Episcopal Church responded sufficiently to the Windsor Report 2004. The Windsor Report came about as a result of the installation of Gene Robinson, a gay non-celibate who lives with his partner, as Bishop of New Hampshire. The Report called on the Episcopal Church to apologize for his installation, to cease consecrating bishops in same-sex unions and refrain from "Rites of Blessing of same-sex unions." At the very end of the 2006 General Convention last summer ECUSA finally got around to responding to the Windsor Report. To most people of an orthodox bent, the response was hardly adequate (indeed it was almost Clintonian in its evasiveness, even containing one those "if anybody can somehow possibly construe what we did was offensive, we're sorry" apologies). It didn't help matters at all that several bishops announced immediately afterwords they would pay no attention to ECUSA's tepid response.

Despite the weak response, the Sub-Group pretty much gave ECUSA a pass, stating it was sufficient for the most part. The reaction of the orthodox was immediate and harsh, with much upbraiding of the Archbishop and the others for their lack of spine. However, after mulling it over a few days, I think the Archbishop and his colleagues are considerably spinier than their critics suppose and pretty crafty as well. By being so kind and forgiving they may actually be making future life quite difficult for ECUSA revisionists.

What the very carefully written report of the Sub-Group in essence says is: "Thank you, ECUSA for acknowledging our concerns and agreeing to our requests." This puts ECUSA in a bit of a bind because revisionists, from Katharine Jefforts Schori on down, have done neither of those things. Indeed, KJS said just the other day she would not back down a bit on the gay matter (and we can be confident she will won't back down on weighty matters like Scriptural relevancy and the uniqueness of Christ as means to salvation).

The revisionists will gleefully wave the Sub-Group's exoneration but unless they change their ways that report could prove their undoing. If another gay non-celibate is installed as bishop, as seems likely, ECUSA's leadership, by going against that to which the Sub-Group claims they agreed, will be in a much tighter spot than before and will have far greater difficulty wiggling out of it (not that they won't try). So while we orthodox were hoping for quicker action against apostasy at the Primates meeting and have so far been disappointed (mind you, it isn't over till Monday and a surprise could still be in store), the Sub-Group's report, with its lawyerly, mild and oh-so-British understatement, might prove to be the very instrument by which the revisionists will get their comeuppance.

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