The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Vigilantism and Violence

According to Bishop Jack Iker, the Steering Committee North Texas Episcopalians, who wish to remain within the Episcopal Church, and not join in Iker's effort to lead Fort Worth Diocese out of the national church are "a self-selected vigilante group whose only stated purpose is 'to remain in The Episcopal Church' no matter what -- and regardless of what TEC believes or practices. They espouse a blind institutional loyalty that borders on institutional idolatry."

OK, let me see if I have this right. For Iker to scheme and take concrete steps in November 2007 to secede from the Union--oh, sorry, TEC--is perfectly appropriate behavior. Those of his flock who disagree (and whose consciences Iker has professed he would respect) and who prepare for the Diocese's attempted "departure", are to be derogatorily termed "vigilantes"--lawless actors who implement their own ideals by force--while he is a model of Christian rectitude?

Bishop? Mote-beam?

As for the ever-more-revolting comments at SF, I too am beginning to think that it is a toxic site. The splenetic condemnation of those who wish to remain with the Church, and who value diversity of views (remember when TEC was the "Bridge Church"?) as "idolators" is simply incomprehensible. It's not enough that they believe in the rectitude of their actions, the commenters assert, no real Christian could disagree with them.

Update, May 3, 2008: And they keep bringing the offensive, as shown here.

To take a more pointed and equaly noisome example, the jocular and vindictive responses--from clergy, such as Don Armstrong, among others--to threats against Bishop Gene Robinson have ratcheted up the level of hatred to a level that I cannot identify with Anglicanism--it's redolent of Fred "God hates fags" Phelps. Here's Rev. Armstrong:
What goes around comes around Gene...and you set about destroying the church our families have worshipped in for generations and it is bound to be costly...I know defending it from you has been costly for me…
Id. (ellipses in original).

Very Christian, Father Armstrong. In my Bible, Jesus used slightly different words on the Cross--"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." But, perhaps you have a new translation. Or are following a different Lord.


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

How brilliant of Bishop "I" to recognize that the vigilantes are only interested in taking seriously the vows made by ordinands -- to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship -- not of some imaginary church in which one writes ones own rules -- but of The Episcopal Church.

Anglocat said...

And how Kewis Carroll-ian to define obedience to the oaths they took as vigilantism.

I'd say "O tempra! O mores!" but Iker'd probably think I was ordering seconds at a Japanese restaurant.

Anglocat said...

Er, Lewis, I mean. Not the ideal time for a typo, really.