Monday, March 30, 2009

The 2009 Church Follies (II): How to Feel Good Spending $1,300,000 per Day

Yesterday I put up an introductory post to explain this new series, which I am calling "the 2009 Church Follies." In that post, which I shall reference in each subsequent installment of the series, I explained and documented the enormous sums of money consumed by the Episcopal Church (USA) to stage, once every three years for just ten days, and for $13 million total (heck, that's just $1.3 million per day!), a spectacle of "peace and justice" activism that only incidentally manages to make a few necessary revisions in the canons, updates the liturgical calendar, and fine-tunes another bloated budget for the next triennium along the way. In short, General Convention does not restrain itself. What is worse, there is no one else to restrain General Convention. (Jim Naughton spares no detail in telling us how the activists pull it off.) Nothing will happen until there is a general revolt in the pews against such a sustained and wasteful exercise in political autolatry.

I promised a few sterling examples to prove my point, and so I give you my first one. This is really too easy, like shooting ducks in a barrel. Draft Resolution 2009-A038, proposed by the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns (I kid you not; check the link for yourself) reads in its self-mocking entirety as follows (I have added the emphasis at the end, just in case you might otherwise be lulled into missing the point---and remember: the 76th General Convention is the upcoming GC 2009, in Anaheim; the 70th General Convention took place eighteen years ago, in 1991):

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring,  

That the 76th General Convention reaffirm Resolution 1991-A149:

"Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That this 70th General Convention of The Episcopal Church calls on the United States government to render a full accounting of all military assistance and sales of military equipment to all nations in the Middle East, and to develop a plan for reducing the amount of military arms in the entire region, and be it further

"Resolved, That this General Convention urges the President of the United States and the Members of Congress, during this period of de facto annexation of Palestinian land, to develop a policy which requires the State of Israel to account to the Government of the United States for the use of all aid in whatever form that the United States grants to the State of Israel and its instrumentalities, in full compliance with all sections of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961; and be it further

"Resolved, That this General Convention requests the President of the United States and the Members of Congress to take appropriate steps to ensure that no assistance provided the State of Israel shall be used to cause the relocation of Palestinian people from their homes, nor for new settlements to be located in the occupied areas of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem; with further relocations and new settlements to result in the immediate curtailment of aid from the United States."

and to note that the situation of the people living in these lands has tragically deteriorated since its enactment 18 years ago.

[Editors' note: If you do not see both the unintentional humor and the outlandish self-righteousness in this proposed, utterly futile re-enactment of an equally futile and vainglorious resolution of eighteen years ago, then I pronounce you a member of the Church's progressive wing, and as such sentenced to write on the blackboard at least 100 times:

"Abolish the Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns."

Explanation (if any is needed): If enactment of the resolution in 1991 hasn't had any influence on the situation in eighteen years, there is zero rational expectation that re-enactment of this resolution will have any influence on it now. Remember that insanity may be defined as "repeating exactly the same action over again in the hope of getting a different result." Moreover, the reappearance of the resolution in question proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the Standing Commission in question is unable to read its own mandate.]   

1 comment:

  1. Stephen Sondheim would be proud.

    Wikipedia, that ever reliable collection, suggests that Sondheim's work may have some interesting parallels to GC 2009 .

    "Originally entitled The Girls Upstairs, Follies is set in a crumbling Broadway theatre, scheduled for demolition, during a reunion for all the past members of the "Weismann's Follies," a musical revue (based on the Ziegfeld Follies) which played in that theatre between the World Wars. The musical focuses on two couples, Buddy and Sally Durant Plummer and Ben and Phyllis Rogers Stone, who are attending the reunion. Sally and Phyllis were both showgirls in the Follies as were many of the other guests. Both marriages are having problems because Buddy, a traveling salesman, is having an affair with a girl on the road, Sally is still in love with Ben as she was years ago, and Ben is so self-absorbed that Phyllis feels emotionally abandoned."