Over on the CANA website we find the following statement from Bishop Martyn Minns. It is titled, " STATEMENT: Bishop Minns on Court's Decision for Religious Freedom." Religious Freedom sounds good doesn't it? A lot better than a decision for property claims. Here is the statement with commentary in red.
HERNDON, Va. (December 19, 2008) – The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns issued the following statement in response to the Fairfax County Circuit Court ruling in the church property trial between The Episcopal Church and eleven former congregations, now affiliated with the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) and CANA, today:
“The Court’s decision is a great victory for religious freedom. It makes it clear that we cannot be forced to leave our churches and our foundational Christian beliefs because of the decision by the leadership of The Episcopal Church (TEC) to change the core components of our faith.”
This is rot: the decision is a great (or maybe not so great) victory for congregational rights, not religious freedom. There is no effort by anyone to force these people "to leave... our foundational Christian beliefs."
“While on paper this has been a battle about property, the division within our church has been caused by TEC’s decision to walk away from the teaching of the Bible and the unique role of Jesus Christ. They are forging a prodigal path – reinventing Christianity as they go – which takes them away from the values and beliefs of the historical church here in the United States and the worldwide Anglican Communion as a whole."
This is vintage Minns, the lingo so close to GAFCON lingo as to lead us to assume that he is the primary writer of GAFCON materials as well. It is the same tactic as always - to say that TEC has "walked away" from the church and the communion. I suppose if he continually points out the door and town the street he believes people will not notice that he and his congregations are occupying buildings and asserting their rights to do with the property as they please without reference to the canons under which those churches were formed or sustained, and under canons their clergy pledged to uphold.
“Our position has always been that we have a right to continue to hold dear the same things that our parents and most of the leaders of the Anglican Communion have always believed. The Bible is the authoritative word of God and is wholly relevant to all Christians today and for generations to come."
Absolutely! CANA has every right to do so. What does that have to do with the property dispute?
“We hope and pray that TEC will refrain from causing all of our congregations to spend more money on further appeals. The money could be used instead to provide more help to the least, the last, and the left out in our communities.”
Right. Call off appeals to the state or even federal supreme court that might have to determine if the law under which the rulings are made is constitutional. To oppose making those appeals on the grounds that they cost money the congregation would be using on the poor is odd. Why didn't they decide not to contest the matter in the first place if they were so all fired worried about the poor.
This is about property and CANA is spending money to prove it. They wish they did not have to spend more. Neither do I. But we will, and they will. Nice of them to suggest that if TEC backed out everyone could go home. Oh, now I remember, except for the folk having to worship down the street.