We play a game in my family called Blame It on W. At first, we were a little slow to understand the rules, but, living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, we pretty soon got the hang of it. To take an obvious example, even if Bush didn’t actually fly the planes into the Twin Towers (and the jury’s still out on that one,) he certainly was responsible for getting the guys so worked up in the first place. Or here’s another one: It wasn’t immediately clear to us that W had caused Hurricane Katrina. But then we remembered that he had refused to sign that Kyoto thing and was, ipso fipso, responsible for global warming and hence Katrina. You see how this is played? Turns out he really is The Decider. About everything.
For instance, if my local grocery store runs out of duck confit, there is no doubt in my mind that this is because Bush has allowed the store’s employees to live in deplorable conditions without universal health care¯thereby causing them all to call in sick last Wednesday. Do I even need to mention the effects of global warming on ducks?
Call me naïve, but it hadn’t immediately occurred to me that the dissolution of the Anglican Communion should also be laid directly at the feet of George Bush. Imagine my surprise, that overwhelming "Aha," when I opened the August issue of the Episcopal New Yorker . The cover story, in uncharacteristically bold letters, is "Turmoil in the Anglican Communion." Inside we are told there will be an "overview" with differing opinions. In a relatively calm and measured description of the issues by the Rev. Titus Presler, we eventually come to these words:
Finally, some leaders and groups in the Anglican South¯Africa, Asia and Latin America¯are flexing their muscles against the Anglican North ¯ Europe and North America¯whom they perceive as controlling by historic entitlement and financial power the discourse about Anglican life . . . . It is also common to hear the unilateral actions of the Episcopal Church compared with the U.S. Government’s unilateralism in global politics, especially Iraq. Indignant resistance is the response to both.
In case you missed the point, on the next page we are treated to "A Discussion with Bishop Catherine Roskam." Asked what the origins of the controversy are, she replies:
The tensions have a long history, but the immediate controversy around homosexuality has been driven by the dissidents in this country. The deeper causes have to do with the wealth and power of the United States and the disregard in the past for the voices from the developing world. These causes have been exacerbated by our country’s recent aggression in the Middle East. In many places in the world, The Episcopal Church is synonymous with the power of the United States. This is ironic as The Episcopal Church has opposed many of the policies that have alienated us from the rest of the world.
Finally, Bishop Roskam adds this, "The preoccupation with male homosexuality has to do with issues of maleness . . . . The undergirding issue is patriarchy."
Now do you get it? "Our country’s recent aggression in the Middle East," and "issues of maleness" (W, Cheney, Rummey, et al.) are the real causes of the turmoil in the Anglican Communion. George W. Bush¯J’accuse!
So have a good time playing the game. At least enjoy it while you can: You only have one and a half years left. And that’s his fault too.
Kari Jenson Gold has written for First Things , and her most recent article appears in the June issue of Touchstone magazine .