The right wing is seizing on the tragedy of Bp Heather Cook and the hit-and-run death of TOm Palermo and it is very unseemly. And as JCF said in an earlier comment, it all comes down to liberals, gays, women, and bishops.
Item: An article in Religion Dispatches rather incoherently wanders around quoting anti-TEC voices and somehow using this tragedy as evidence of a church that is "reeling".
For decades, right wing Anglicans in the U.S. and elsewhere have blamed the Episcopal Church’s precipitous slide in membership on its captivity to liberalism and liberation theology, and especially to the “agendas” of sexual dissidents and radical women. There’s no credible evidence linking the Church’s alarming stats to its embrace of liberal policies, but that hasn’t stopped the right from relentlessly hammering the claim.
The most spectacular flare-ups in this war have also been about bishops: the consecration of the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2004, and the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori to a 9-year term as the Church’s Presiding Bishop in 2006, the first woman to hold that post. ....
The right has folded the story of vehicular manslaughter into this narrative of left-wing captivity and declension–sometimes subtly, at other times blatantly.Well, of course they have. You'd think that they had better things to do, now that they left, but not so much.
But it's hard to take that gloom-and-doom about the future of TEC as anything other than sloppy journalism. We know that all denominations are losing membership overall, and all , being huma institutions, have proven to have feet of clay. The Episcopal Church will be what it is.
Item: SOuthern Baptist convention leader also attacks TEC.
A Southern Baptist Convention leader says that rather than representing two points on a spectrum of Christianity, evangelical Christianity and liberal Protestantism are different and competing religions.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said in a podcast briefing Jan. 13 that two recent scandals in the news demonstrate “the depth of the chasm that separates evangelical Christianity from more liberal Protestant denominations, in particular the Episcopal Church."The Southern Baptists aren't exactly holding on to their membership either. And while there are clearly some different values at play, they have nothing to do with hit and runs.
“When you’re dealing with orthodox Christianity and Protestant liberalism, we are not dealing with two variants of the same religion,” Mohler said. “As Machen correctly said, judged by orthodox Christianity, we’re actually looking in this case at two rival religions, and these headlines, not to mention the stories behind them, make that point all too evident.”
Indeed, there are some notable Evangelicals (Rachel Held Evans, Ben Irwin, Jonathan Martin, Lindsey Herts) who have blogged on why they headed over the Thames to worship with the Episcopalians. It's the attraction of the liturgy, the silence, and the acceptance, it seems....You should go read their reflections, when these sorts of news articles make you frustrated.
The Episocpal church will be what it is.
THe waters ebb and they flow.