Tommyrot from the English right

Andrew Carey writes about the Episcopal Church over at Anglican Mainstream in an article titled, "A Church under judgement." That AM would post this article is bad enough. That Andrew Carey would write it is worse. He has put together an account of various charges mostly without names and with no note as to the disposition of the cases and stirred them and declared the Episcopal Church as a whole a devastated area.

In many cases it is possible to guess the cases he is referencing and I have done so here. But the charges are made without reference so that we are saved the trouble of having to look up the facts. This rehash makes good reading for those who are ready to leave the Episcopal Church, but it is for the rest of us a pathetic bit of mudslinging.

Here is some of what he said. I offer several opinions (in red).

"Close watchers of the US, and readers of this newspaper, will be more aware than most of the state of that Church. Heterodoxy is never punished"
Rot! I suppose suspending or otherwise inhibiting the priest who professed to be Muslim or priests who take to Wicca doesn't count. ... "whereas orthodox impatience is the subject of lawsuits all over the country." Impatience? Walking away with the keys, changing the locks and then claiming to be willing to negotiate after the fact of taking the goods...that's not impatience. I'm sure they have a name for that in England. "And the amount of heterodoxy uttered in The Episcopal Church is truly astonishing. Even leaving aside the virtual atheism of Bishop Spong’s ‘Twelve Theses’," The 12 Theses keep being resurrected for more lashings. Some of us whacked away at them at the time, others ignored them, others went, "Ah, Bishop Spong." That was eleven years ago. Give it a rest. "...we’ve had bishops claim that the church can ‘re-write the Bible’" I believe that's Bennison who said that. He has been convicted on other matters and is not likely to ever act as bishop again ", ... others make sweeping apologies for Christian mission to those of other faiths," Who was that? "while the Presiding Bishop views Jesus as just one way among many." Ah yes, the famous PB Jesus statements. Rehashed old second rate mudslinging.

Furthermore, they’ve had scandals the likes of which would destroy the Church of England in the eyes of the world, with our much more effective national press conducting the funeral rites. They’ve had thrice-divorced bishops (that would be the bishop of Northern California, whose case was reviewed with great care at the last General Convention), a child-abusing bishop (that would be Bishop Stephen Plummer I suppose. He was suspended, given counseling and was later re-instated, and has since died.) , as well as one who’s covered up sex abuse by his brother, a priest. (That's Bishop Bennison again, who has been convicted in ecclesiastical court.) There’s been a drug-dealing priest, (No kidding! There are a lot of Episcopal clergy. One drug-dealing priest is not the end of the world. Has there never been a drug dealing priest in England?) others who’ve been exposed in a pornographic magazine for engaging in bizarre sex with Brazilians. (Brazilians, yet. Penthouse Magazine, on the basis of further investigation retracted the article. See The whole set of materials on Louie Crew's Anglican Pages HERE). This is truly only the tip of the iceberg. Any one or two of these cases would have been a national scandal in Britain, in the US it’s only a few column inches. (In almost all the cases mentioned there has been considerable coverage in the US.)

With whole parishes and dioceses deserting the national Church amid such widespread heterodoxy and scandal, followed by a wave of litigation and squabbling over property, it’s impossible to see The Episcopal Church as anything other than a disaster area. If there ever was a Church under the judgment of God, it is this one." (One assumes that every church is under the judgement of God. As to so called journalists who builds an argument from this mishmash of misery a case for the Episcopal Church being a disaster area, I would suppose that there is ample judgement possible as well.)

Well to be honest God's judgment of the Episcopal Church may indeed come. Still, we have not had a church that regularly found it in order to burn dissenters at the stake, fight religious wars among ourselves or stand with those who thought executing the King was a good thing. There is plenty of judgement to go around.


  1. Over and over again I am disappointed and dismayed when members of the clergy like Andrew Carey show that they do not care about the truth. If your cause is real and just, you will not complain and condemm with innuendo and half truths. And then there is sarcasm. I am actually sick of it. If there are those who will say the "liberals" do it; (or whatever we are called these days), I can say honestly that I do not do this. How can members of the Body of Christ belittle the Body??? Does anyone ever talk to Andrew Carey or others like him and say, we need to be fair, honest, and respectful in these battles? Doesn't righteousness include integrity and honesty?

  2. That is truly a horrible and depressing article. It's the same tired 4 or 5 incidents that have been repeated endlessly for the past 5 years in an attempt to justify what the right-wingers are doing. One wonders why, if "this is just the tip of the iceberg," nobody ever seems to get to the iceberg itself.

    I'm embarrassed for Andrew Carey and have lost whatever respect I might have had for him, forever. I'll now never believe anything he says again.

    It's all been endless smears in the service of an agenda. Very, very sad, and very pathetic.

  3. You err, my friend, in calling Andrew Carey a journalist. A more appropriate turn would be "hack," or possibly "muckraker." Of course, "liar" would be more concise.

  4. A couple of years ago, after receiving one more forward of Virtue's page from a friend, I said "enough". I am not the person they describe. No, "liberal" Episcopalian that I know is the person they describe. There is no room for discussion with these people, and there is too much work to be done in this world to waste my energy on it. We've got to let go of these folks and get on with real Christian work: feeding the hungry, healing the sick....


  5. It's Andrew. You expect anything different? The man is in need of a surgical cranial-rectal inversion, because his head's so far up his bum only a proctologist can help.

    And I say that in all Christian Love, a'course. He and I have gotten into it a couple dozen times on the Ship.

  6. It's Andrew. You expect anything different? The man is in need of a surgical cranial-rectal inversion, because his head's so far up his bum only a proctologist can help.

    And I say that in all Christian Love, a'course. He and I have gotten into it a couple dozen times on the Ship.

  7. Andrew Carey has posted for years on the discussion boards at Ship of Fools, under the name "Spawn." (I'll make no comment about that...). His comments are public---and he is quite open about who he is there---so I feel no qualms about mentioning his postings here.

    He has been told repeatedly, by more posters there than I care to count, that his statements about the Episcopal Church are inaccurate. He does not care.

    AFAICT, his major goals in life are to defend every decision his father ever made and to kick TEC out of the Communion. He is no "journalist," if, by that term, you mean an independent observer. He has an axe to grind, and he wants to cut off TEC's head. I wouldn't believe him if he told me the sky was blue...


  8. "... thrice-divorced bishops" is pretty ripe, coming from one who is himself divorced and remarried - remarried, what is more, with the blessing of his Evangelical, former ABC father. I won't go, yet again, into the divorce & remarriage/gay relationships double standard of these people, other than to note once more that Jesus had a great deal to say on the topic of divorce. As did St. Paul.

  9. Andrew Carey simply lies. He knows that most of the crud he continually rehashes is either old and outdated, or has been dealt with appropriately. Even Bp. Bennison, arguably not a brilliant example of a bishop, dealt with the two priests in his diocese who decided to become Wiccans. And in all fairness he was quick and decisive about it.

    The lie, that TEC tolerates all manor of heretical actions by clergy gets told over and over again by the same few who know they are lying. At least they have mostly given up on the canard that Bp. Robinson left his wife for a man. Of course the one dishonest reporter who continues to say that is, you guessed it!


  10. WD is correct. I have encountered Spawn numerous times on the Ship of Fools board. Many of these charges have been debated and clarified by others on the SOF board. He knows that how they were disposed. It really doesn't matter.

    Secondly, none of this is unique to the Episcopal Church. Every large religious body is going to have people who get things wrong or sin.

    Finally Article 26 of the 39 Articles addresses this matter, does it not?

  11. WOW!
    Today is Confirmation Day. Once again this blog has proven that venom is OK so long as it's directed towards the orthodox majority.

    Where's that high-mindedness that simply doesn't tolerate this kind of discourse?

    Oh well. Back to the real world.

  12. Tell you what, Allen. If Andrew Carey stops lying, I'll stop calling him a liar.

    BTW, the other lie that Mark failed to mention is Andrew's fatuous assertion that Mother Church in England has no taint of sexual scandal and no trace of heretical opinion.

    If that were true (it ain't) one is moved to wonder why the naughty vicar and the atheist bishop are well established props in English comedy.

  13. I would be able to take your criticisms of AC's article and your defense of ECUSA more seriously, when Spong is finally deposed for being a heretic by the PB and HoB of ECUSA. So far that has not happened, so Spong will continue to be a prime example of ECUSA's tolerance and even acceptance of all manner of strange beliefs. If only ECUSA had been as quick to deal with bishops like Spong and Bennison and Robinson as it was with Cox and Schofield. I remind you that Bennison is only being brought to account over his failure to discipline his brother, not over his failure to defend the fundamentals of the faith against false teaching. Instead they have promoted heresy - Jesus was a sinner, Jesus was possibly even homosexual, "the church wrote the Bible so the church can change the Bible" (which is just historically false) and Spong's 12 theses.

    And the PB's "Jesus statements" which you write off as being of no consequence are indeed the worst kind of heresy - she denies the reality of the person of Jesus as being God incarnate when she writes him off as being a box too small to confine God to - when God was pleased to have the fulness of his deity dwelling in him; and the centrality of Jesus in God's plan for the salvation of the whole world as the apostle Peter proclaimed to the Jews and other God fearers in the temple at Pentecost, and as the apostle Paul took the gospel message to the pagan polytheistic world of the 1C.

    Oh well, just press on with the litigation and neglect evangelism (true evangelism, not the MDG's or Reiki healing sessions). ECUSA is surely headed downhill.

  14. Brian F, perhaps you could explain why no "orthodox" bishop ever brought formal charges against +Spong. Surely the bishops of Quincy, Fort Worth, and the ex-bishop of San Joaquin (inter alia) are familiar with the process of bringing a bishop to trial -- why didn't they ever try? The only time I've heard of a bishop being brought up on charges of heresy was for ordaining a gay deacon. If PECUSA's discipline has been slack, it got that way with the help of conservative bishops.

    And why do the MDGs get such a bad rap from the Right? AFAICT, promoting them would seem to be in line with the words of St. Francis: "Preach the Gospel at all times -- if necessary, use words." Surely providing for the least of Christ's brethren, which is what the MDGs are about, are part of that.

    BTW, the first time I ever heard the "The Church wrote the Bible" line was back in the 1970's, from an Orthodox (as in Eastern Orthodox) priest. I don't think it's quite as shocking or outrageous as it's been made out to be.

  15. the PB ... denies the reality of the person of Jesus as being God incarnate when she writes him off as being a box too small to confine God to

    Another BLATANT LIE. ++KJS didn't "write [Jesus] off", she merely question the claims of Some Christians, who say God can't save anyone who doesn't profess Christ. It's these Christians (so-called) whose faith is "too small", not Our PB's!

    Uphill, downhill, left or right: TEC is merely following where the Spirit of Christ leads. If that's not your cuppa, BrianF, see ya!

  16. I think brian f you should look at the heresies of gnosticism and donatism in your own bishop before criticising those of others

  17. Brian F---you are no better than Andrew Carey. You've been interacting here long enough to know that we dispute EVERYTHING you say about TEC. But you never listen---just keep spouting the same tired lies and hoping people are stupid enough to fall for them...

    Brian F, perhaps you could explain why no "orthodox" bishop ever brought formal charges against +Spong.

    Yes, that *is* the question, isn't it? As I said in the comments of one of Mark's earlier posts, the conservatives never did that because +Spong made too good of a foil for them. Why get rid of your favorite whipping boy?

    +Spong is RETIRED, by the way---and has been since 2000. People talk as if he's still an active bishop. I suspect that's because he's as good a fund-raising tool for the whacked-out religious right as Hillary Clinton is for the same political demographic.

    The only time I've heard of a bishop being brought up on charges of heresy was for ordaining a gay deacon.

    Interesting, that. And it sums up what really drives these folks---it isn't "heresy" that drives the conservatives. It's hatred/fear of gays and lesbians.

    And why do the MDGs get such a bad rap from the Right?

    Because Jesus surely said, "God helps those who help themselves!" Didn't he?

  18. Yes, that *is* the question, isn't it?

    No, it isn't. If ECUSA is so "orthodox," it shouldn't have required the few orthodox bishops not yet forced out of the institution to deal with someone, like Spong, who flat-out rejects the Christian Faith.

    All that question "is," is a time-honored way to avoid the reality that Spong was and is a bishop in very good standing in today's Episcopal institution, and one its members are proud to have.

  19. Actually, Phil: if you take a look at Spong's speaking schedule, you'll find that there isn't even one Episcopal Church or "Institution" on the list.

    So there's yet another inaccuracy on the part of the so-called "orthodox."

    It never seems to end, does it? But that's good, actually. Most people aren't stupid, and they recognize when people have to resort to falsehoods and inaccuracies to make their case - well, they must not have much of a case.

    And so it goes....

  20. I think executing the King (Charles I) was a great thing.
    Shoot, republics are great!
    The cult of "Blessed Charles the Martyr" is the ultimate in Anglo-Catholic nonsense.
    Bring back the Commonwealth.

  21. Another inaccuracy, bls? Where? Did I comment on Spong's speaking schedule?

    Answer me clearly: is he or is he not a retired bishop in good standing of the Episcopal Church?

    Bonus question, since you brought up speaking schedules: did he or did he not appear at a diocesan clergy workshop put on by KJS prior to her elevation to PB?

    What he have here, instead, is yet another claim of inaccuracy where there is none, as though the assertion trumps the fact.

  22. "No, it isn't. If ECUSA is so "orthodox," it shouldn't have required the few orthodox bishops not yet forced out of the institution to deal with someone, like Spong, who flat-out rejects the Christian Faith"

    What's the critical mass of "conservative bishops necessary for them to actually stand up for the Truth?
    I suspect that Doxy is right: +Spong was safe from conservative bishops because the needed a handy bogeyman. And +Spong was only too glad to oblige.

  23. Well, Phil - believe it or not, I actually read what you wrote above.

    About how proud we Episcopalians all are of Spong, that is. And one would think that tremendous "pride" would manifest in - well, something. You certainly offered no evidence of this; you just made and "assertion" about it yourself. I'm at least offering something in the way of counter-evidence. Interesting that you want to claim it goes the other way, though.

    Of course, it's all very easy make anonymous assertions of this type on weblogs, though, isn't it, Phil?

    But as I said: I do hope you keep it up. Every hollow assertion helps our case....

  24. (I mean, folks: move on, already. Spong may be a fun punching bag for you guys, but he has almost no relevance to most Episcopalians. So please stop claiming how "proud" we all are of him; it just ain't so. Hardly anybody even knows what his "12 Theses" are.

    It all just goes to prove that you don't know what you're talking about. But if that's what you want, knock yourselves out. Like I said, it helps us, not you.)

  25. There is an early West Wing episode where Josh et al sabotage the run of one uninspiring Democrat because the wingnut Republican incumbent is a valuable bogeyman for Dem fundraising. This is the episode where we meet Joey Lucas.

    The faux-orthodox don't want anything to happen to Spong. He's too valuable to them.

    Just like I'd be disappointed if the far right ever got rid of their embarrasing Akinola of Abuja.

  26. bls,

    The guy has rejected Christianity. The subject of Spong comes up from time to time; I’ve never read anybody on your side of the aisle seriously criticize him. The closest anybody will come is, “Umm, well, uh, yeah, he kind of uses a little bit of a different style than I would, but, boy, he sure makes people think!” And, the answer to the bonus question above is: “He did.” So Spong has the imprimatur of no less than the PB. Plus, did I mention, he’s a retired Episcopal bishop in good standing? Did I mention he was preaching his hate for Christianity before it was time to start attaching that word “retired” – and was an Episcopal bishop in good standing then, too?

    These are things I’ve either observed or that actually happened, i.e., they are not simple assertions. And, yes, it is easy to convey them on the web; thank goodness. I will certainly keep it up, because every factual assertion helps my case. I’m a lifelong Episcopalian (are you?); I know what I’m talking about.

  27. Phil---I notice you do not answer BillyD's question, so I'll repost it:

    What's the critical mass of "conservative bishops necessary for them to actually stand up for the Truth?

    You won't answer though...because the only answer that makes sense is the one I've posited.

    There were plenty of conservative bishops to bring +Spong up on charges. They didn't. Which makes you look either disingenuous (best case) or dishonest (worst case) for continuing to wave that flag.

    I know which explanation I favor---Pot meet Andrew Carey...

  28. I've personally referred to John Spong as a heretic. Richard Hollowell as well. Your point, Phil?

    Of course, you can't even get in a clean punch at Spong without making stuff up, can you. His "hate for Christianity?"

    Please, Phil. Even you can do better than this desperate whinging.

  29. Malcolm, my point is just what I said. I hadn't seen that comment. I mean, I enjoy your comments (as far as an opponent would, you understand), but I can't catch everything you write.

    Next time, I'll say, "I've only seen one guy admit Spong is a heretic, but everybody else ..."

    And yes, "hate" is how I characterize it (“Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt. … The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense. … The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea …” “Nonsensical,” “nonsense,” “barbarian:” you read it benignly if you wish; I don’t.)

  30. I've personally referred to John Spong as a heretic. Richard Hollowell as well.


  31. I am glad I'm an agnostic.
    I've never had better demonstrations of what C. Hitchens called 'see how the christians love one another.'
    Your church is less than 2% of the population and you're carrying on as if any of what you do matters to anyone.
    If you weren't as rich/WASP, you would get about as much mention as the Russian orthodox.
    Sunny von Bulow is more aware of what's going on around her than you people.
    Could I use the word 'bitchy' without being accused of being sexist?
    Unitarians in drag-absolutely.
    You and the Fundies deserve each other.

  32. I haven't felt any particular need to say squat about Spong since I began blogging last fall. But he is pretty clearly outwith Anglican norms.

    But then, so are the Jensen boys.

    Peter Akinola and Greg Venables have clearly taken the Donatist heresy to new levels.

    And those five demonstrable heretics are all of far more relevance to current Anglicanism than the a) retired and b) marginal Spong.

    When are you prepared to admit the blatant heresy of these leaders of your faction?

  33. Phil--I too, think +Spong is a heretic...and I came to the Episcopal Church because of him! His books gave me hope that I had found a church where you didn't have to leave your brain at the door--and I was right.

    FWIW, I say the Nicene Creed every Sunday and mean it. No fingers crossed.

    Your church is less than 2% of the population and you're carrying on as if any of what you do matters to anyone.

    It matters to my LGBT brothers and sisters, Fred. It matters to me. It matters to my children.

    I agree with you that we don't present a very good example of God's love in this world---but those of us who are fighting for full inclusion of LGBTs in the life and ministry of the church do so because we believe that work DOES show God's love of all creation.

    I regret that you find that "bitchy" (no way to get around the sexism there, FYI), but it won't stop me from doing what I believe God is calling me to do. People said the same things about the abolitionists...I'm sure the slaves appreciated their trudging on anyway.

    Your "Unitarians in drag" comment is both deeply offensive and demonstrably wrong. Come visit my parish on any Sunday and you will hear us join in the Nicene Creed, and you will hear Jesus Christ preached as the Incarnation of the Word, the Son of the Living God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. It has been thus in every Episcopalian parish I've ever been involved with or visited.

    Bearing false witness against others is still a sin, as far as I know. Since you are a self-described agnostic, you may not care---but I care when you slander my church and my faith.


  34. Well, Phil, if we're so inconsequential, why do you hang out on Anglican sites? I'm guessing just to troll, since your comments always seem to be little jabs and needles.

  35. My bad - I addressed my last post to Phil, when it should have been to Fred Preuss.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.