Saturday, March 23, 2013

Fearless Ephraim Radner+ Brings ECUSA's Ham-handedness to Court's Attention

My hat goes off to the Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner. He has done what ECUSA's thought police never expected anyone to do -- he has called them on their crass witness-intimidation scheme, by writing directly to the justices of the Texas Supreme Court in the pending Ft. Worth case (click to enlarge):

 On first learning of this letter, and seeing that it was stamped "Received" -- but not "Filed" (and it looks as though the clerk doing the stamping forgot to set the proper month on the stamp, since it obviously should read "MAR 11 2013") -- I was afraid that the Court clerk would treat it as an ex parte communication, in this case from a non-party. (Any communication to a court -- written or oral -- made by a party without involving or notifying the other parties to a case is deemed "ex parte" and hence improper; judges are not allowed to receive such communications.)

However, I am reliably informed by counsel in the case that the Court has treated the letter as a supplemental amicus filing, so that it is now an official part of the record in the case. That means that the justice who is currently writing the Court's opinion in the case will have seen it, as will all the other justices on the Court. And your Curmudgeon (for one) fervently hopes it stirs up their ire against ECUSA! Ham-handed attempts to intimidate and punish testimony in court should always get the treatment they deserve.

ECUSA will now have to respond to the letter, in some fashion. Actually -- not in just any old fashion; I can predict what they will say. Indeed, I know their brazenness so well by now that I could almost write the letter for them:

"To the Justices of the Supreme Court of Texas:

"The letter you received from the Rev. Ephraim Radner, an ordained priest in The Episcopal Church, was not sent under the authority of the Bishop of Colorado, the Diocese in which the Rev. Radner is canonically resident. It constitutes yet another lapse on his part from the clerical discipline of the Church which he has made his vocation, and as such may be the subject of further disciplinary proceedings under Title IV of the Canons of The Episcopal Church -- to which all clergy bind themselves to obey upon their ordination.

"As this Court is well aware, matters of internal Church discipline are not cognizable in civil courts of law. (Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the United States v. Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 696, 713-17  [1976], and cases cited.) Moreover, the Church's own Canons prohibit anyone who is subject to them from having 'resort to the secular courts for the purpose of interpreting the Constitution and Canons, or for the purpose of resolving any dispute arising thereunder, or for the purpose of delaying, hindering or reviewing or affecting in any way any proceeding under this Title.' (Canon IV.14.2, a true copy of which is enclosed with this letter.)

"Indeed, Section 1 of that same Canon provides:

Disciplinary proceedings under this Title are neither civil nor criminal, but ecclesiastical in nature and represent determinations by this Church of who shall serve as Members of the Clergy of this Church and further represent the polity and order of this hierarchical Church. Clergy who have voluntarily sought and accepted ordination in this Church have given their express consent and subjected themselves to the discipline of this Church and may not claim in proceedings under this Title constitutional guarantees afforded to citizens in other contexts.
"Accordingly, the actions which this Church saw fit to take in response to the civil court filings by the Rev. Radner and others 'represent the polity and order of this hierarchical Church', and may not be the subject of any kind of review by this Court, in this particular case or in any other. We respectfully suggest that this Court ignore the content of the Rev. Radner's unauthorized communication to it, and proceed to decide this matter as though the same had never been sent."

We shall see just how ECUSA chooses to respond, but I can predict that it will be along the lines just given. Whatever they do, they will brazen it out, and not back down in the slightest -- which is why one would like to see a court, for just once, give them their comeuppance!

Once again, kudos to Father Radner for being the forthright and courageous person that he is. (But I would also suggest that he consult with a canon law attorney at his earliest convenience.)


  1. Justice has become very expensive, and many cannot afford even a fair hearing.
    I don't expect Fr. Radner to get a "fair hearing" with TEC disciplinary process, with or without a Canon Lawyer.

  2. Sister Maxine beat me to the keyboard. And, as usual, says it better in fewer words.
    Fair hearing within the choir of secular humanist, progressive cantors is impossible. Brazen is also a very good label to hang on them.

    "Since they have no scruples they can violate them very easily," said Yogi.

    But, was good to read such a pointed letter, and know that it went to the correct in-box.
    El Gringo Viejo

  3. Point of clarification: under Rule 11 of the Texas Rules of Appelate Procedure, amicus briefs are always "received," not filed.

  4. I'm not sure I understand why you recommend consulting with a canon lawyer; canon law doesn't seem relevant to anything that's likely to happen to him because of this filing.

  5. Paul Powers, thank you for clarifying. Here in California (and elsewhere that I've practiced), "received" is for ex parte communications which the judge will not look at, because they have not been properly filed after service on all parties.

    chrylis, Fr. Radner currently has charges pending against him under Title IV, and I would not be surprised if the same Ft. Worth complainants try to double down with more charges. Or are you just saying that a canon lawyer could do him no good, because ECUSA is not following the canons anyway? If the latter, then touché.

  6. Good for Fr. Radner! May God bless him and raise up a hundred more like him.

  7. Sorry, I forget that I don't comment enough here (because of a limitation in the Blogger identity setup) for my style to be known. I try to ask specific questions if I'm looking for information--otherwise, I'm usually being cynical.

  8. ISN'T IT A VIOLATION of their own canons to take the Texans to court in the first place...they should have (Ecusa leadership) been excommunicated for their heresy long ago...oh yeah they are above the law...