Now I know why I abhor organized religion, while clinging to personal belief–because organized religion is just a bunch of narrow-minded idiots with the organizing philosophy of street gangs. I guess I’m more interested in moral philosophy and consequent political/cultural behavior than in the trappings of church-dom.
Progressives within churches are doomed to defeat at the hands of the conservative, corporate, institutional politics crowd. We shouldn’t attempt to fight on their turf. The progressive American Episcopals are learning this the hard way–being attacked on several fronts, largely because of their liberal political and cultural views.
I was raised an Episcopalian, the American version of the world-wide Anglican Communion–the local branch of the Church of England. Episcopals in America have gone from being the establishment WASP church of my youth to being a fairly progressive group–ordaining women and gays as priests, even ordaining an openly gay man as a Bishop. One big happy liberal family.
But, in culture war America, the gay thing sent conservatives around the bend. Some parishes have tried to set up their own Episcopal Church and others sought to move their franchise from the American Church to one of the more conservative branches, one even based in Africa. The Anglican church leaders have fretted and prayed and equivocated–but have done nothing to support the progressive Episcopal leaders.
Now, a new wrinkle has been added to put pressure on the progressive Episcopals. The Catholic Church has for years allowed disaffected Anglican individuals and priests convert–even allowing Episcopal ministers to remain married and serve as Catholic priests! Now, the Catholics will allow entire congregations to convert, keeping some aspects of the Anglican liturgy intact.
Does the Anglican hierarchy oppose this? No, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Church, embraces this as historical inevitability. This is viewed as a rapprochement with the Catholic Church from which the Episcopals emerged in schism over Henry the Eighth’s need to marry and divorce at will.
The Anglican Communion has become the third largest organized religion in the world–evangelizing large swaths of Africa and Asia. The dirty little secret about the church is that no one respects the gay-loving, liberal Americans, but it’s our money that allows most of the impoverished missions across the world to do its work.
A pox on all their houses.