A friend who follows the Episcopal Church — which at this point is somewhat like watching the Titanic when it’s already a few thousand feet under water — sends the link to a story on that body’s establishment declaring that the Episcopal bishop of South Carolina has abandoned the Episcopal Church. He is a conservative bishop, and his diocese a conservative diocese, who with most of his diocese has hung on much longer than most of his conservative peers. Here is the official press release.
An outsider can’t judge the niceties of the legal question, though it does seem to me that the remaining conservatives’ attempt to be in that body but not too far in — to straddle an unsteady fence or walk across a very fine line — comes with the danger of falling on the other side, and that the establishment might have a reasonable case that the bishop and his diocese have done so. The first article linked to above attacks the Episcopal establishment for its action but the action isn’t obviously unreasonable.
But what it obviously is, I think, is foolish. Wiser people would have let the bishop and diocese well enough alone, in the hope of holding on to them (and whatever money they give) and in the hope of saving a huge amount of money in legal fees which are unlikely to be recouped. And perhaps in the charitable assumption that the body’s work will still be advanced even with the institutional anomalies. But there is something in the progressive mind that cannot tolerate dissent — how dare they resist the dawn of the New Day? — and something in the mind of most bureaucrats of whatever position that cannot tolerate others not following the rules.
People often refer to a certain kind of person rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. That’s not the problem here. The problem is that the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop and her fellows have rushed to the bridge and seized the wheel, and are yelling “Mine! Mine!” and decking anyone who comes close, even though fish are swimming past the windows. But at least they’ve forced the bishop and his diocese to get into the lifeboats.*
* Which, I know, don’t work when the ship is underwater, but let me have the metaphor, okay?