Comments: ECUSA: the Sunday programme reports

These dissidents in TEC want to create a Roman Catholic type hierarchy preaching U.S. southern fundamentalist creeds.

This backwards looking organization, I do not call it a church because it would not be that, would be built around the single issue of denying any reality to lesbigay people. They dress this up in any way they can but this is all they amount to. Everything they want is built up on denying other people their lives.

If you are lesbigay, then these people insist you have no right to exist, but if you must continue to do so, do not say a word about yourself, and do not even consider having a loving intimacy in your life. And they want the Episcopal Church and the entire Communion to promote this.

The Episcopal Church must not base what we do on what these groups or their allies would like us to do. They would love to have the buildings and networks of the Church at their disposal to turn into their own fundamentalist confessing organization.

I await the day when we let these groups go. We are better off without them. I await the day any U.S. bishop participates in these consecrations, for shortly thereafter we should have presentments against them. I suppose this will only be possible after the Church speaks at GC, which is fine.

Posted by RMF at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 1:37pm BST

++Akinola makes it clear that he is not in commmunion with TEC & that any Nigerian priest who recognizes TEC will be excommunicated -- logically, if the ABC continues to recognize TEC as part of the WWAC, Akinola would no longer be in communion with him (although logic has not always come into play in church matter)

Should ++Akinola consecrate bishops for a rival church in the course of the General Convention, that should make the schism about as official as it can get -- especially if US bishops assist (presentments would indeed seem to be in order in that case)

Posted by Prior Aelred at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 3:56pm BST

"I await the day when we let these groups go." RMF

I await the day when we let these groups go too.

I've listened to "these groups" and "these individuals" my entire life (mostly in silence from the pews until my partner was murdered by the likes of these religious thugs)...they promote difference and hate...they smugly/sweetly/righteously preach Christian love while arrogantly whispering/plotting against and demeaning LGBT fellow Christians.

The facts are and the truth is that LGBT people are/can be bonafide Christians too...however, "they" won't LISTEN now as they wouldn't LISTEN before...these are feardriven (mostly) dangerous opportunists and bigots who promote harm to *other* human beings in a especially sneaky way...Akinola is amongst the most dangerous with his "mission of difference" and quest for the destuction of the ECUSA.

This very second a loud PALM SUNDAY procession is passing by my house here in Central America on the Calle Real...there is singing and playing of musical instruments and "REJOICING" and being "GLAD for the LOVE OF GOD!" Those are the actual words they are singing (in Spanish). The drums are beating, the cymbols clashing and here I sit typing defending myself and *others* against the grim prospect of Akinola and more of his un-Godly ugliness as he plots for discrimination and demoralization of my brothers and sisters in OUR Anglican church.

No way Jose (er, Pete)!

Posted by Leonardo Ricardo at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 4:34pm BST

I would say that it looks the other way around from what RMF thinks.

Human sexuality is just the pretext for a bid to take over the ECUSA and the Anglican Communion, by what seems to be a rather small group, bent on sectarian theology and sectarian mores.

Power, persecution. No matter who gets in the way.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 6:54pm BST

What Goran said--these groups' desire and thirst for power is clear.

This is a small group of people, and TEC has made many attempts to accomodate them by alternative oversight and this or that, but in the end the ones who just want power find every reason to say no. That is fine. I say again, let them go, and if they persist after GC, we must prepare to bring presentments against the clerics who though still calling themselves Episcopalians, say TEC is pagan, antiChristian, and all the rest of their nonsense.

They want TEC to be a flavor of U.S. southern confessing fundamentalism dressed up in robes and candles. They want TEC to state that lesbigays are objectively disordered. They want a laundry list of things that we in the church can and cannot do. They want this list to govern membership and they want to be the ones writing the list and checking it. And some would very much like it to stop being the 21st century. Preferably if the 20th century never happened that would be grand as well.

Most Episcopalians, the great majority, have nothing to do with this sort of thing and don't want anything to do with it.

We are not an evangelical confessing church with a Roman Catholic hierarchy. And we are never going to be.

If this is too much for the Communion to bear, then it is a sad day for the Communion and an indictment on Rowan Williams. He may just be remembered as the good theologian who as archbishop felt compelled to make Canon Jeffrey stand down because the fact that he did not lie about himself was just too intolerable, then shepherded civil partnerships through Synod with statements that it was amazing, amazing, that anybody could construe these to be civil partnerships for gay partnered clergy, then became upset that TEC did not become an evangelical confessing church with a Covenant.

If Rowan Williams is pinning his hopes on TEC becoming a sort of evangelical confessing church where lesbigays and others TBD at a later date are not fit to be in the church or lead it, then I give it 70-30 odds that TEC will distance itself from the Communion. And I think that the great majority of Episcopalians will not notice or care.

Posted by RMF at Sunday, 9 April 2006 at 8:13pm BST

Wonder where the money is coming from for Akinola to fly all over the US causing trouble.

Posted by Jimmy at Monday, 10 April 2006 at 8:14am BST

Having listened to the interview, it seems to me that neither the interviewer nor Stephen Bates has a clear understanding of the American scene. Granted, Bates is well educated, but he has heard too much, I think, from the conservatives in the debate.

Will Akinola and others come to the United States, during the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and celebrate ordinations? Perhaps. If he ordains clergy who are not in orders in the Episcopal Church for his CANA churches, it is a confrontation but little more. If, on the other hand, current bishops of ECUSA take part, or if Akinola ordains persons who already have orders in the Episcopal Church, there are actions that can be taken. Arguably, some actions could have been taken earlier; but to participate in that way in the face of the General Convention would be a more meaningful act of violation of orders.

That, of course, has been one of the problems all along. If Akinola comes here and violates boundaries (and, incidentally, Lambeth resolutions), there is no recourse. The autonomy we prize means there is no one to bring discipline, unless there are Anglicans in Nigeria brave enough to attempt it. On the other hand, bishops and priests of the Episcopal Church who violate boundaries can be subject to discipline in the Church in which they are ordained.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Monday, 10 April 2006 at 7:18pm BST

Will Akinola and others come to the United States, during the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and celebrate ordinations?

Marshall I am saddened by your answer to this question which I read to be "perhaps." The answer is no.

Look, we all have feet of clay and there is certainly legitimate criticism to be levelled. If it is to be done it needs to be based on good evidence. There is none. Good for Simon Sarmiento for being skeptical.

The central question has always been the same--will the Episcopal Church do what the Anglican Communion has asked and allow for the creation of space in a communion where relationships have been so badly torn. The onus is on ECUSA.

Posted by Kendall Harmon at Monday, 10 April 2006 at 11:29pm BST

Isn't it grand that Kendall Harmon says we all have feet of clay but yet he spends the greatest portion of his ministry attacking other people in his own church and encouraging others to do the same.

Posted by RMF at Tuesday, 11 April 2006 at 1:08pm BST

Kendall--Thank you for posting on this.

You say all that's wanted is "space"--created (I'm reading between the lines) by moratoria on consecrations and blessings.

But lesbians and gay men in "northern" Anglican provinces are not stupid. We see such "space" as a fatal accomodation to the likes of Akinola. We would have *no* hope in such an arrangement.

And I believe you know that.

Posted by Frances Collier at Tuesday, 11 April 2006 at 2:27pm BST

But Kendall, the Akinola rumour - which I said in my BBC interview was unsubstantiated - was posted on your website by several of your bloggers. I think you ought to be more careful before you publish things you now say you know are untrue.
It would be nice if just occasionally conservative evangelicals would admit that Akinola regularly says some disgraceful, unChristian, things, instead of invariably making excuses for him. Perhaps it would not matter if he resided in obscurity but he revels in leading the largest church in the communion and his conceit is constantly fed by those in the western church who fawn on him and praise his every utterance.

Posted by stephen bates at Tuesday, 11 April 2006 at 5:15pm BST


For my part, my only point in saying "Perhaps" is that any action on Archbishop Akinola's part is beyond the direct control of the Episcopal Church. Indeed, in our focus on the importance of autonomy in our interdependence (and the two need not be mutually exclusive),we can't claim jurisdiction in any sense over actions he takes in relation to CANA churches.

Also, in saying "Perhaps" I was acknowledging that I had read the rumor but did not have knowledge. I can respect that you may in fact have knowledge on this.

As to whether the Episcopal Church will act in a way that will impress Akinola and those in agreement with him: I find it unlikely that any action that's really probable from this General Convention would impress him sufficiently. I imagine you have read the new Report and the proposed Resolutions. They may not come through the General Convention process exactly as proposed (although I expect most are really not controversial), but I would be really surprised if changes that occurred were sufficient for the loudest "reasserters." Archbishop Akinola seems to cherish his autonomy as much as the most populist of Episcopalians.

This is not to suggest I am happy at all of this. You and I have exchanged before thoughts on reconciliation. However, from the rhetoric there seem to be those out there who have already decided to separate; and I fear Akinola is among them.

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 11 April 2006 at 7:10pm BST

"The onus is on ECUSA."

Ah yes: more reasserter *framing*.

Look, we ALL stand accused, before the Judgment Seat of God ("all have fallen short---all have strayed"). We ALL must rely *totally* on the mercy of Christ. (That's what *this week* is all about!)

...but the *presumption* of one group of sinners, to put all the guilt onto another group of sinners, is galling in the EXTREME.

Doctor Harmon: physician heal thyself!

I know that my Redeemer liveth... :-)

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Tuesday, 11 April 2006 at 10:41pm BST

Dear Stephen: Thank you for the response, but I am afraid it reflects an ignorance about the nature of some blogging.

I did not publish the comments, they appeared in the comments on the blog. Also, they are therefore not technically from bloggers but then from blog commenters.

If you choose to have an open comments policy, as I have done and Simon Sarmiento has not, then you are going to have comments that appear like this. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. I know I certainly do not have the comments on my blog yet working the way I want them to.

But I do think the distinctions I made are vital, Stephen, and you did not make them.

Posted by Kendall Harmon at Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 1:06pm BST

RMF, thanks for your comment, which appears to come from some degree of hurt. You will not be surprised that I do not think it a fair characterization. I would appreciate it if you could email me off thread and substantiate your charge with numerous specific examples.

Posted by Kendall Harmon at Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 1:10pm BST

J.C. Fisher I am sorry but it is NOT more reasserter *framing* to say that the onus is on the North American churches and ECUSA in particular. That is the view of the Communion. The Bishop of Exeter was sent by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the ECUSA House of Bishops meeting. I do not recall this happening in other Provinces. The Windsor Report clearly singles ECUSA out above all.

Stephen Sykes put it well:

"As things stand, the onus in this matter is plainly on the North American Churches to take steps to re-establish trust. Indirect actions will be as important as direct ones. To continue energetically to address the enormous issues that confront so many parts of the Communion - in health, poverty, education, environment, and trade - will be vital evidence of a willingness to stay in partnership. Co-operation in theological study is also a pressing need, but one constantly sabotaged by disparity of access to resources.

Not to accept any kind of inter-national jurisdictional authority is to place additional weight on inter-provincial admonition. The Windsor report addressed such a message to the North American Churches. We are told that there is a high measure of support for its conclusions from around the Anglican Communion. The Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury have added their voices. Is "autonomy-in-communion" to mean simply "autonomy"?"

Posted by Kendall Harmon at Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 1:17pm BST

Dear Kendall,
As your blog appears in the UK you, as publisher, are legally liable for its contents. It does not apply in this case of course but if someone on your blog libelled another person, technically you could be sued in the British courts, under British law, difficult though it might be.
(David Virtue might have more of a problem with this, of course...though some of the remarks about Frank Griswold or Gene Robinson on your site from time to time might be quite hard to defend: British law defines libel as remarks which bring someone into ridicule, hatred or contempt and the defence that the words complained of are truthful has to be proved by the defendant).
British law is tougher on libel than US law, which is why increasing numbers of wealthy people are using the British courts to sue in, if the words complained about could be said to have circulated here. It's also jolly expensive, unless you win. Of course, the blogosphere is new territory so far as the law is concerned, so you could end up being a test case! Or, as so far, getting away with it...
Thus the distinction you make is irrelevant in this context. And, in my radio interviews at the weekend, I made the clear point that the rumours about Akinola's appearance at Columbus (which I agree would be madly counter-productive, though that has not stopped him before) were unsubstantiated. In other words, I was doing what your bloggers were doing...

Posted by stephen bates at Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 5:52pm BST

Kendal Harmon asked for examples. Here is one from Titusonenine 6th of April:

Greg Griffith: The Weird and Relentless Creep of Paganism into the Thinking of Some ECUSA reappraisers

April 6th, 2006 posted by kendall at 4:28 pm

Read it all and note the role of a commenter on this blog.

Posted in ECUSA | 69 Comments »

And this was my comment:
I don’t know how you look upon this in America, but I am sure in Sweden someone in Holy Orders who abused his position to publicly attack a lay person in this manner would loose his/her collar in no time.
And his/her Bishop would have a few things to say between 4 eyes about the contrast with the Gospel and with the Mission of the Church.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 6:30pm BST

Here's another one, posted as "Raymond Dague: The Theology of Heresy in Central New York (With permission–KSH)"

It is called "The Theology of heresy in Central New York." It is from June 3rd, 2005, and Mr. Harmon posted it "with permission."

The main post includes things like The Episcopal Church is "lost in sin" and also attacks Bishop Griswold for supposedly encouraging apostasy.

The 75+ comments in that thread malign specific bishops and priests and repeat many times that The Episcopal Church has "slid into sin" and is unChristian.

Not once is any one attacked in that piece or comments, afforded the opportunity to respond, reply, rebut, elaborate, or explain.

Not once does the site administrator, Kendall Harmon, a clergyman, encourage such dialogue or communication.

Nor at any time, does he post to suggest moderation or prayer.

Not once, in posting activity spanning 5 days.

Posted by RMF at Wednesday, 12 April 2006 at 7:38pm BST

How in the world can you all hold Kendall responsible for what someone has written on his blog, under a false name no less.

I also read the comment to which you all are referring--distinguishing what Kendall has posted, articles of interest from reasonable sources, from responses by anonymous persons and understanding what is truth and what is conjecture or spoof is something mature and responsible people ought to easily be able to do.

This stream is a witch hunt around a fine and intelligent man who offers at no cost to the rest of us the only respectable source of thoughtful reflection and news we have.

Come on guys...

Posted by Don Armstrong at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 4:44am BST

As a fairly regular particpant on Kendall's blog and observing others daily--I can attest that his elves constantly patrol, edit and censor postings--this above comment is simply a distortion.

Posted by Don Armstrong at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 4:55am BST

I am sorry to learn that Don Armstrong considers any other blog than this one to be:

"the only respectable source of thoughtful reflection and news we have"

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 7:16am BST

So the question is:

Why didn't these very active Elves have anything to say in these two very upsetting cases?

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 7:29am BST

I'm not quite sure what the issue here is. Some commenter in a thread underneath a blog entry posits some hearsay that Akinola might do some ordinations in the USA. How is THAT a news story?

Look, here's the scenario as it might play out. Let's say GC2006 rejects the Windsor Process as clarified at Dromantine. It does not retract its 2003 motion on same-sex blessings. It affirms the election of a homosexually active bishop. At that point ECUSA has placed itself outside the bounds of the Communion so therefore the diocesan and provincial boundaries no longer count. That's the stage that Akinola does some ordinations to prove the point. The bottom line is that, given the actions of GC2006 in the above scenario, I'm not sure it would be in any sense illegal.

Now, if Akinola were to do some provocative action BEFORE GC2006 decided either way, we would be in a completely different ball-game. But, given my experience of the man, that's not a very likely scenario.

Posted by Peter O at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 8:44am BST

Don: It's not a case of any of us holding Kendall responsible for what others write on his blog: I was merely outlining what the law here is. You may not like it - our law is tougher - but there it is.
Kendall in his posting specifically said he had an open blog but that does not seem to be strictly true since he has the elves to monitor comments for him.

Posted by stephen bates at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 12:40pm BST

Frankly, Kendall could sue some of you guys for libel, if you all are correct about the legal standard for same.

Posted by Brad Drell at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 12:53pm BST

Any chance of returning this thread to a discussion of the substantive content of the article?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 1:52pm BST

Simon-sorry for being dismissive---I think Kendal's blog makes news easily accessible and is widely used as a resource for that reason. There are far fewer people who post on his blog than read the articles he presents---like most blogs, his and this one seem to be the place for an ongoing conversation among a few folks which are not very widely read by those not participating. That was the distinction I was attempting to make.

Further, the folks who post here are not the only Anglicans who are thinking--check out our ACI site.

Posted by Don Armstrong at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 3:10pm BST

No one would disagree with the statement that English libel law is tougher. The problem is not that, but the possibility of illegitimate extraterritorial applications of law as courts struggle with the Internet. But the extreme scenarios in which anyone with a blog must live in fear of getting hauled into court anywhere aren't going to be representative of reality. That's simply not going to be allowed to happen. (Sorry for one more off-topic post, Simon.)

Posted by Mike Watson at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 3:21pm BST

Stephen, if your assessment of the UK law is correct, does that mean that a radio broadcast from the US, or Iran, or Canada, or even the UK might be subject to slander law in whatever country globally might receive it. That might not be a good idea. Consider the proposed Nigerian laws; comments made anywhere in the world including UK news services might find themselves being sued or prosecuted in some distant land.

I would think that for all concerned, freedom of the press and freedom of speech need to be weighed heavily, not exclusive of other values, but heavily.

Posted by David Anderson at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 3:56pm BST

Sorry to persist Simon, but in response to David Anderson: yes, that's possible, good idea, or not. We are now getting the phenomenon of litigants picking their preferred country when they sue, where they think they will have the best chance of winning: witness the Barclay Brothers, owners of the Daily Telegraph, currently suing the Times in Paris over an article that circulated in the UK but only barely in France.
If you're beaming stuff into this country you have to abide by our laws - though, as I said earlier, it might be difficult to litigate even if Kendall's pretty easy to locate.....
Brad Dell, as far as I can see, Kendall has no grounds for suing for anything said here even if he wanted to and could afford it. What makes you think he's been slandered?
No, don't answer that - it's too far off thread. Herewith, I take a vow of silence too....

Posted by stephen bates at Thursday, 13 April 2006 at 6:23pm BST

Stephen, I have no idea whether your account of British libel law is correct, but your attempt to call Kendall to account for his open comments section displays a shocking lack of web-savvy, if not a disturbing level of acrimony as well. Anyone who has been on the blogs even occasionally knows that open comments are de rigeur on the net, and much more common than moderated comment sections.

Kendall's site A test case!!! Bwaah!! If blog owners were to be held accountable for the content of every flame war in their comments sections, there wouldn't be enough courts in Britain or the Free World to process them!!

There's nothing wrong with Kendall's site that isn't wrong with Father Jake, Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, Free Republic...if you really want to start this witch hunt in earnest, I suggest you begin with one of those. But I reckon you'll need a few new hard drives to contain all the material evidence you'll gather. Good luck with that.

Posted by Dave at Monday, 24 April 2006 at 3:38am BST
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