Thursday, March 14, 2013

Eerie Parallels

It is now virtually a cliché to write: "As California goes, so goes the nation."

We all know that California is also the outpost of extreme progressivism (pace, Mayor Bloomberg), which seeks to protect you from (1) cigarette smoking -- even if conducted outdoors; (2) foie gras of any kind, since it can be made only by "torturing" geese; (3) plastic shopping bags; and (4) numerous other shibboleths too idiotic to relate in any detail.

Should it come as any surprise, therefore, that San Francisco (if California leads the nation, then San Francisco leads California) now wants to ban the actual words of militant Hamas jihadists from being reproduced in public, on the ground that the act of reproduction (and not the words themselves) constitutes a form of "hate speech" against Islam? Rather than admit that the words are hate speech against Jews and Israel?

No? It's no surprise? Well, I thought so -- apparently California now lacks the ability to surprise any of us. So are the nannies firmly ensconced in our political arena.

However, now comes proof as well that the speech-nannies are in full charge also of our Episcopal Church (USA). The proof is in the form of the gloriously mis-monikered "Accord" published by ECUSA late last Friday -- after the main news cycle -- and thus guaranteed to escape the notice of most Episcopalians. (It was also announced on the eve of the spring meeting of the House of Bishops, where the episcopal complainants were face-to-face with the four diocesan bishops who signed the Accord.)

The Accord has been the subject of many comments on blogs, and of one piece by the Anglican Communion Institute, but to my knowledge no one has thus far looked at its implications. Its long gestation period (the settlement of the Title IV charges against the nine bishops was announced in early January) bespeaks a protracted negotiation over its details -- or perhaps over just who would agree to sign it.

Eventually, of course, all nine bishops who were charged signed it. One of the five retired bishops explained that they agreed to sign in order to allow the charges to be dropped against the four diocesan  bishops, who had a lot more to lose. None of the clergy (affiliated with the ACI) either participated in the conciliation (which was solely at the episcopal level), or entered into any accord -- the ACI reports that disciplinary proceedings are still pending against two of their number.

The Accord is remarkably one-sided, both in tone and substance ("derisive and hostile", as one of the signers put it). As the outcome of a thoroughly flawed and conflict-riven disciplinary process, one could not have expected anything else. It will long remain a mystery why the accused did not turn the tables on their accusers, and complain that their conduct -- in filing disciplinary charges against witnesses who testified against them in court -- was itself unethical, improper and "conduct unbecoming members of the clergy."

Indeed, both the charges and the process were nothing less than overt intimidation of witnesses, and an attempt to interfere with the integrity of the judicial process. It yet remains to be seen whether the courts in question (the Texas Supreme Court and the trial court in Quincy) will be advised of what has occurred, in order that they may take proper disciplinary measures against the accusers -- who sought by bringing the charges to gain an unfair advantage in their respective civil proceedings.

It also will remain a mystery why the accused bishops did not challenge for cause the three-person reference panel who decided that the charges would go forward. Each of those members was hopelessly conflicted, as I explained in this post, and should have had nothing whatsoever to do with the process. Their very refusal to recuse themselves should itself be the subject of disciplinary charges.

So we now have a Church-sanctioned, official policy of witness intimidation in any civil case to which ECUSA is a party. The precedent has been established; the double standard announced. The nannies in charge will see to it that any speech directed against their official party line will be treated as hate speech, and render the speaker subject to Title IV discipline. But bishops who testify outside their dioceses in support of the party line -- such as the Presiding Bishop herself, who signed an amicus brief in the Dixon v. Edwards case when she was the diocesan of Nevada, and those bishops who recently signed a brief in the gay marriage case before the Supreme Court -- will suffer no prosecution whatsoever, because they are running the kangaroo court.

It comes, I say, as no surprise. This is what the left always does: employs a double standard, protects its own at all costs and shows no mercy to opponents. Alinsky rules (and does he ever!), as anyone who is not blind may see.

San Francisco has nothing on the Episcopal Church (USA) -- the nanny Church that welcomes you! (If you're on the right side, that is. All others -- just shut up and keep your heads low.)

What a despicable state of affairs. The Roman Catholic Church has a marvelously spiritual new leader, while ECUSA's leader is mired in spite and revenge. While no church is completely perfect, ours is such a contrast in desultory decrepitude as to make one ashamed.


  1. This one (of many) reasons why I left the Episcopal Church. With the election of Gene Robinson, it was crystal clear that the inmates had taken over running the asylum. Subsequent events have more than verified my conclusions then.

    As to why no protests or counter-moves; we are talking about Episcopal bishops here. I hate to say it, but they don't have the courage to fight back.

  2. When I read this article, the first thought that came to my mind was Deus vult perdere, prius emittit iratus, a Christianized version of an ancient adage. Ancient or not, it would appear to apply quite aptly.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

    P.S. I would have posted a comment sooner, but I am unable to do so from my current place of employment (blogger is not accessible from there).

  3. As a lawyer, Paul Ambos should face disciplinary proceedings from the New Jersey bar for intimidation of a party to a judicial proceeding.

  4. There may well be little that can be done effectively within the Episcopal Church to advance the cause of fairness towards those in the denomination who believe in their duty and their right to express and advocate beliefs and opinions, whether or not such are opposed and resisted by official actions of the leadership of the denomination. Regardless of tactics that are under the control of the denomination's leadership, what prevents clergy and others associated with the Episcopal Church from forming a group whose particular purpose is to seek to appeal to the "court of public opinion" in bringing particular actions of the denomination to scrutiny by a variety of public media? The Episcopal Church is well-known to many journalists and individuals associated with the broadcast media as a denomination that's historically occupied a prominent position in American society. When made aware of relevant facts associated with some actions of the denomination's leadership, it would be no surprise if many in the public would find themselves clearly opposed to these actions. Although efforts to shine a light of scrutiny upon certain undertakings don't occur without effort and financial cost, such effort and cost wouldn't seem to be unreasonable in view of what's at stake.

  5. Mr Haley, plastic shopping bags are really stupid things, when you have enough of the canvas ones that last for more than 20. I still have one from Trader Joe's from when I lived in Altadena, back around 1986! and fortunately I moved from there to Washington state in 1991 and glad of it!