Comments: Developments in South Carolina

"I tell you that story because it’s indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places. Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge. It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage."

Is this statement directed to the local Judge or to +Mark Lawrence?

Whew...

Posted by cseitz at Wednesday, 30 January 2013 at 5:21pm GMT

I assume the schismatic diocese will continue to use the 1979 Episcopal Church Prayer Book. When they do, I hope they appreciate that they are using it because The Episcopal Church has freely given up its copyright to all its official prayer books on the ground that there should be no restrictions using the prayer book for those who use it to seek a closer relationship with God and the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact this is required by TEC Canon II.3.6(b)(ii). The lack of reciprocal openness and generosity by the schismatics speaks for itself.

Posted by dr.primrose at Wednesday, 30 January 2013 at 6:56pm GMT

cseitz, I think she was saying that decisions are best made in community. In community, listening to a broad range of view from MANY people, TEC came to it's conclusions on the liberation of women and LGBT persons. The SC schismatics is a pretty narrow and insular group.

The legal judgement is not a big deal. It's a hold pending a larger review of the issues. When that happens, chances are that Lawrence will not get to keep all the property and he will have paid $x million in legal fees. What a fraud.

Posted by Cynthia at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 12:59am GMT

cseitz: Had you read to the end of the PB’s speech, you'd see that the story was directed at her flock, not Lawrence: "What are those of you in this Diocese going to do in your interactions with those who’ve departed? Are they law-breakers who should be shot down or thrown in jail? Do we see them as vigilantes? Neither is going to produce more abundant life, my friends."
The fact that you read it as being directed at “those who’ve departed” speaks volumes, however. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.”

Posted by Steve Lusk at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 1:29am GMT

What, Dr. Primrose? It's not enough that the schismatics (as you call them) allow the remnant Jefferts-Schorians (as I call them) to keep all of their own real and personal property? And in your view, they should also generously hand over, as soon as the remnant group files its lawsuit against them, all of their real and personal property as well? And that should include, to boot, their own identity -- meaning the name and seal by which they have been known for 200+ years?

You appear to have a different understanding of "openness and generosity." I would call it "surrender." But feel free to promulgate your version; it's no worse (or better) than many others.

Posted by A. S. Haley at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 2:06am GMT

"I tell you that story because it’s indicative of attitudes we’ve seen here and in many other places. Somebody decides he knows the law, and oversteps whatever authority he may have to dictate the fate of others who may in fact be obeying the law, and often a law for which this local tyrant is not the judge. It’s not too far from that kind of attitude to citizens’ militias deciding to patrol their towns or the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors. It’s not terribly far from the state of mind evidenced in school shootings, or in those who want to arm school children, or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage."

As long as this type of deplorable and bizarre speak from the top of the church continues, you will continue to see large groups of Episcopalians leave TEC. While I do not agree with this renegade Bishop and diocese, this type of comparison is filth beyond belief.

Posted by Josh L. at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 4:13am GMT

The schismatic lawrence grouping are just as liberal as TEC when it comes to pre gay developments...the diocese is riddled with divorce and re-marriage.Such is the stock that guards marriage for Anglicanism in the US!

They think that their quit claim scam will save the property, but they are in for a shock.

As with the Civil war, South Carolina fired the first shot..but ultimately they will be defeated.

" the union forever.. down with the traitors!" will yet resound again.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 6:36am GMT

A.S. Haley,

Well, TEC's enactment of the Dennis Canon followed the form prescribed by the Supreme Court of the U.S. in Jones v. Wolf, and, according to the SC Supreme Court decision in the Pawlenty's Island case, SC specifically ratified the Dennis Canon in 1987. So, yes, I think there's a pretty serious likelihood that the Breakaway Diocese and its leadership (I'm trying to use a non-pejorative term) face, at a minimum, liability for breach of the fiduciary duties imposed by that trust. (The parish at Pawlenty's Island had received its quitclaim deed decades before either event, so no interest in the property existed in the Diocese to create a trust existed, the Court found.)

I'll pause to agree with you that Mark Lawrence does deserve credit for not trying to drag the unwilling with him. His ability to do so was impaired by his own issuance quitclaim deeds to try to avoid the trust in the national church, but still, credit where due.

As to the name and identity question, isn't the Breakaway Diocese keeping the name, insignia, and symbols associated with TEC a classic instance of trademark confusion, making the unwary believe that the Breakaway Diocese is that in communion with TEC? Even if I could accept free roaming dioceses as an Anglican "thing", it's rather ludicrous for the non-TEC-affiliated entity to use the name that denotes affiliation with TEC, and to seek to bar the affiliated entity from using names that would accurately convey the actual state of affairs.

Posted by John Wirenius at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 12:54pm GMT

It's all horribly messy, but it certainly looks to me as if the Presiding Bishop had +Mark Lawrence in mind with "Somebody decides he knows the law" - the third person singular means it cannot be directed at the congregation at this point. And making a decision about the law is precisely one of the things +Lawrence did (and as far as I can tell was correct to do so, even if one might think his actual decision mistaken). If she really was comparing a bishop to a mass-murderer or terrorist, then that's at best ill-considered.

We'll wait and see what the court decides tomorrow - as far as I can see precedent in South Carolina is firmly on the side of the Diocese, so then TEC will have to decide whether to try and take it to a Federal Court - no small undertaking.

There has to be a better way.

Posted by Bernard Randall at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 2:00pm GMT

The name and seal do not in fact date back 200+ years. There was no "diocese" in the colonial or post-colonial period. I believe that much of the incorporation dates to the 1970s or thereabouts. The court will take all of the facts into account.

Posted by Tobias Haller at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 2:16pm GMT

"I assume the schismatic diocese will continue to use the 1979 Episcopal Church Prayer Book." (-dr.primrose)

"The schismatic lawrence grouping are just as liberal as TEC when it comes to pre gay developments." (RIW)

Together, these quotes make what for me is the most troubling point in all this, and it is the distinction between the "Old Schism" of the 70s and the "New Schism" of our own day. Both formed in reaction to the dismantling of gendered requirements for the sacraments, but ACNA 1.0 rejected the new liturgies which reflected that dismantling and made its implementation possible. It didn't just adopt the 1979 ordinal but restrict its use to men.

In contrast, Lawrence's false witness against homosexuals and trans* people are on the public record. It is clear, inter alia, that he holds the view that the marriage of gays and lesbians violates Christian tradition. The problem is that he has voided his own grounds for holding to this view. After all, "Christian tradition" presumably means something more than "Mark Lawrence's personal ick-factor:" for Anglicans, the standard in is in the words of our worship. But the 1979 marriage service doesn't give him anything against which gay married couples can be said to violate in any obvious way. It enumerates the purposes of marriage pretty explicitly and none of them is an exclusively heterosexual purview. It may be that same-gender couples, unless they are of opposite anatomical sexes (not as uncommon as one might think) cannot procreate among themselves, but neither is this a peculiar disadvantage of gays, as evidenced by the italicizing of the reference to procreation in the BCP.

And of course, even Lawrence would probably consider those who do not ordain women "too" conservative. But they are holding the same gendered sacramental theology he does. They just do so consistently. Every homophobe imputes his prejudice to theological conviction, but as Jeffrey John notes it turns out to be simply a matter of which prejudices have fallen out of fashion and which are still gasping along. Whatever Lawrence's scruples may be, they are extrinsic to the norms established in the marriage rite itself as he receives it, so he cannot claim that those who do not share them are breaking from those norms. We are left with a boutique church for heterosexuals, happy to pay lip service to the words they pray so long as those words do not disturb their comfort.

Posted by Geoff at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 3:46pm GMT

I thought TEC would try the RICO route?

Perhaps the PB had all those "legal advisers" who have been so encouraging to the dissidents in mind when she made such a massive gaff.

My friends in a departing Pittsburgh parish were promised everything by all the enthusiasts, it seems they will actually have nothing - just good old Bob Duncan's smile!

It's a shame that all those whose advice proves false and leads people to break their hearts don't have to pay the bills!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 7:06pm GMT

So we can all be confident that the more enlightened Judge 100 miles up the road in Columbia will rule in favor of TEC? We shall see.

Yes, I think the point of the PB's pulpit illustration has nothing to do with the congregation before her. "Ill-considered" or "deplorable and bizarre speak" are within the range of descriptors.

Posted by cseitz at Thursday, 31 January 2013 at 8:44pm GMT

News at T19 is that the national church reps of TEC decided to forego a court appearance to seek to vacate the Temporary Restraining Order. So now it is in effect until a trial. Sounds like they did not feel they had a better case in Columbia SC. We can wait to see what the national litigation team says from their side.

Posted by cseitz at Friday, 1 February 2013 at 1:15am GMT

I would suggest that the supposed ad hominem of the Presiding Bishop could never measure up to what she has been called by the 'loyal opposition'. One only has to trawl the record of 'virtueonline' to find the evidence of that.

It is interesting to note that AS Haley - otherwise known as the 'Anglican Curmdgeon' is a lawyer, who has been know to vociferously criticise the P.B.

One fact that is inescapable about the conduct of the former Bishop of South Carolina. M.Lawrence, is that he formally stated - before his episcopal ordination - that he would not take the diocese out of TEC. What does that say about the present situation, and the preparations he made legally to alienate the property?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 1 February 2013 at 5:34am GMT

Are you saying that the PB is entitled to speak like this because her comments exist within a blog framework of 'loyal opposition' excesses?

Let's hope that kind of logic does not take hold.

Posted by cseitz at Sunday, 3 February 2013 at 10:57pm GMT

It was always clear that Mark Lawrence would end up in this pickle. Wasn't it ?

I had no doubts - short of an (unlikely) miracle.

The timing , however, was unclear.

But hand it to him - it came quick !

Good to see the Presiding Bishop doing her stuff and presiding with fear or favour.


Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 4 February 2013 at 3:31pm GMT

Your comment is confusing. The Episcopal Diocese of SC is just fine. As is +Mark Lawrence.

Posted by cseitz at Monday, 4 February 2013 at 5:13pm GMT

cseitz says: Your comment is confusing. The Episcopal Diocese of SC is just fine. As is +Mark Lawrence.

I don't know which comment is being referred to, but things are hardly fine in SC. Lawrence schemed and invested in legal teams to pull off a schismatic stunt. This stunt is forcing every Episcopalian to make difficult choices and many to separate from their faith communities. It certainly isn't "just fine" if you are an LGBT teen. The suicide rate amongst this group is terrible, and being told that this upheaval is because of them would be horrible to bear. it's bad enough for adults.

This stunt is being driven by hate and ignorance, by the sin of homophobia. That isn't "just fine."

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 5 February 2013 at 5:34pm GMT
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