Political Commentary from the American Anglican Council Pres...

It is hard to keep political commentary out of some civil observances, even if one is a pastor to people from across a civil spectrum.  

David Anderson, I am sure, knows this. As President and CEO of the American Anglican Council and bishop in the land of ACNA (The Anglican Church in North America), he claims to speak with a foot in two camps - the land of ACNA and the land of potential recruits for ACNA, namely The Episcopal Church.  The AAC was in the past perhaps the front line for those in TEC who were staying, but just, in TEC in spite of objections to its actions. Now it is the rear guard, making sure that those in TEC who are disgruntled remain so. 

The AAC is then mostly interested in conservative but not yet declared for ACNA Episcopalians. So it is no wonder that Anderson sometimes crosses the line from commentary about the awful Episcopal Church that is too progressive, radical, etc, to the awful administration and its "social agenda." 

Here is what Anderson has to say about such matters on this Memorial Day weekend.

"This weekend is when the United States remembers all of those in the Armed Forces who have given their life for the cause of their country since our founding as a nation. In addition to giving thanks for the price paid by those who served - those killed, wounded, or safely returned - and how they have defended our freedom and liberty, let all Americans be vigilant so that this price was not paid in vain. Since we are in difficult times and the military leaders are being pushed to accept "progressive" social viewpoints, let us pray for our military leaders, that they truly will have the brass to stand up to the social agenda many politicians are pushing, and the pressures from a President whose stand is already clear."

"let us pray...that they truly will have the brass to stand up to the social agenda many politicians are pushing, and the pressures from a President whose stand is already clear."

So, I suppose Anderson's pastoral counsel is to pray something like, 

"O Lord God of Hosts, give our military leaders the guts to stand up against the social agenda being pushed by misguided political leaders and in particular by the President of the United States of America. May they defend the traditional values of our great country even as they defend our land and people against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Well that's what he is proposing in his little message: that the military leaders enter the struggle on determining the social agenda, pressing the President, etc.  No matter that the President is the Commander in Chief, no matter that the "many politicians" dealing with this social agenda are in many cases a majority of the Congress, the body that grants commissions to the military leaders. No matter that in this country the military is a servant of the civil government.  No... Anderson believes our military leaders need to "have the brass" to take them all on.

Well, he can do as he wills.  I must say, however, if I made that prayer in the local parish this Memorial Day Sunday, I'd be looking for another altar and place of employment, and not because the parish agrees with the "social agenda" or the President, but because it conservatively believes that praying for our military (a good thing - we pray for many members of the Armed Forces every week) and praying for the end of all wars (also a good thing prayed for every week) is not an opportunity for political commentary. 

So, on this Memorial Day weekend, let us pray for those in our Armed Forces, in thanksgiving for their service, remembering those who have died, and living in the hope that the Peace of the Lord will indeed be always with them and with us all.


  1. I can think of about a dozen gay veterans that I know from World War II to Iraq/Afghanistan, including 2 decorated combat veterans, who might take issue with Mr. Anderson.

    That the political right and the religious right just might overlap?


  2. As a member of the military (once a marine always a marine), I pray for the leaders of our nations armed forces to remain as there were designed to be, non-political. We were/are a professional military and need to stay that way. We go where we are told to go and do what we are told to do and come home when we are told to come home. In the mean time we are doctors and plumbers and lawyers and masons and custodians and black and white and yellow and yes, even straight and gay. I hit my knees every night and pray for my friends and comrades both those alive and those I have sketched from the battlefield to my memory.

  3. Of course our brave military is under threat from terrorists, both Islamic and Gay. Otherwise why send the organization cash?


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  5. The current social issue that involves the military is the eradication of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. So it would appear in this that Anderson is suggesting that the military refuse to abide by the legal dictates of the US Congress, signed into law by the US President, and not enact the law that removes DADT.

    In my country he would be seen to be advocating treason.

  6. It looks to me like he's referring to the Defense of Marriage Act, which, like it or not, has been neither repealed
    by Congress nor thrown out by the courts.

  7. And what would DOMA have to do with the military Paul? Seems a stretch.

  8. Sibling David, I think both you and Brother Powers are right. Congress has repealed, and with time the Armed Services will depart, Don't Ask/Don't Tell. However, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevents the Services from recognizing permanent relationships that various states recognize, whether civil partnerships or marriage. I can't say whether they might still designate a partner as beneficiary for life insurance, etc; but it won't allow family coverage for health insurance, or other important benefits.

  9. Section 3 of DOMA states:

    "In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."

    The Obama administration has concluded that this part of DOMA is unconstitutional, and it has instructed the Justice Dept not to defend it in court. This, by the way, is something the President has every right to do. The House of Representatives has retained counsel to argue in favor of Section 3 (which the House also has every right to do).

    In light of the admininstration's decision not to defend Section 3, the Chief of Navy Chaplains issued an advisory memo that same-sex weddings can be performed in Navy chapels on bases located in those states where same-sex marriages are legal. This advisory has since been rescinded, probably because someone pointed out to the Chief of Navy Chaplains, that allowing same-sex weddings in military facilities violates Section 3, which remains the law of the land until either Congress repeals it or the courts--not the President--determine that it is unconstitutional.

  10. There has also been some concern over whether chaplains who believe homosexual behavior is sinful will be allowed to express this opinion. My guess is that it will depend on the situation. Marshall Scott and other chaplains probably have a better idea of where the boundaries should be drawn.

  11. regarding the "religious freedom" concern, I would refer you to this statement by retired Navy Chaplain John Gundlach:

    What are ADF and these groups afraid of? They fear that their chaplains and other military members who are anti-gay because of their religious beliefs will be discriminated against. Lifting up this perceived threat serves as a rallying cry for religious conservatives and the politicians who support them, but it’s really an S.O.S. It’s the Same Old Stuff they have been saying since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” appeared to be headed for the regulatory scrap heap.

    This S.O.S. may seem real enough to them, but what are the facts? Will religious conservatives in the military no longer be able to practice their religion? Will their chaplains have to refrain from preaching against homosexuality (their term, not mine)? Not at all. Chaplains have always had the right to preach according to the tenets of the religious bodies that endorse them — and they still will. Will anti-gay chaplains be forced to conduct same-sex weddings in military chapels? Of course not. They will continue to conduct rites and sacraments as allowed by their religious bodies. And the same principle applies to conducting religious education and pastoral counseling. The one thing that every chaplain is required to do, regardless of their religious perspectives, is care for everyone. If these chaplains can’t minister to gay and lesbian service members themselves, they are obligated to refer them to another chaplain who can.

    So where is the threat to religious freedom? And where could their right to free speech be limited? It will no longer be acceptable to speak about fellow gay and lesbian service members in demeaning ways in the workplace and other public settings. The fact that this has ever been acceptable by anyone anywhere, but especially by chaplains, is regrettable. And chaplains from the religious groups who are now demanding protection from discrimination have been some of the worst offenders. They, and others who agree with them, may continue to think and believe what they want, but outside of those areas where their religious speech is protected, they may now have to keep their bigotry to themselves.

    I agree that religious freedom is a precious right that we must hold inviolate. It is a right that all service members serve to defend, and which all should be able to enjoy. By all, I mean those who are religiously liberal as well as those who are conservative, and by those who are gay as well as straight. Are ADF and the religious groups they represent as willing to defend the same rights and protections for others they claim for themselves? Are they as willing to acknowledge the right of chaplains from gay-friendly denominations to perform gay weddings in military chapels? And are they as willing to speak up for those who suffer discrimination because they are gay? If not, their pleas for special protection from discrimination for themselves are self-serving and unworthy of consideration.

  12. It is so beneath me but every time I see the name 'David Anderson' I think nothing but a hateful, angry, spiteful bigot and find it hard to give credence to anything the man has to say. After all, this is the guy that said he was staying in TEC because 'he liked a good fight' or something to that effect. Ehh.

  13. At what point does an "anti-gay" chaplain cross the line between free expression and harassment? At least initially, some commaninding officers and others may have to make this determination. Sometimes they'll get it right. Sometimes they won't.


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.