Thoughts on why American bishops are defrocking Anglican clergy and suing the laity

The American bishops have reached a crossroads – either they are going to fight their battles in the American courts or they are going to make their plea to the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is obvious that property means more to many of them then polity. In other words, the Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes that the American Church belongs inside the Anglican Communion – he is from what we would call here the High Church tradition, he sees the Church Catholic. He also has publicly called for an end to the lawsuits.

That the American bishops who engage in these practices fail to see that fact shows us that they are more interested in suing (or threatening to sue) their laity (and defrocking the laity’s clergy) then they are at remaining in the Anglican Communion – or that they even grasp the Catholic view of the Church. They are driven by the unilateral American self-interests of capital (which is not going over well with those who come from a combined Catholic view of the Church and a Leftwing view of politics, like, say the Archbishop of Canterbury).

The American bishops are Low Church in their polity but Capitalists in their politics (they really are not Left Wing, only bohemian in their cultural identity, but they are Capitalists – shocking isn’t it?). In fact, the infusion of imperial power in 815 it not a theological shift (as we see in the Bishop of Georgia’s Protestant Denominational View of the Clergy), but rather is a sign that 815 is centralizing the power to wage litigation to keep their assets and their power base found in those assets. It’s pure Capitalism.

Our Archbishop of Canterbury is in many ways a Christian Socialist in politics but Catholic in his church polity. We Americans – especially in the Episcopal Church – have no frame of reference to this particular brand. We are trendy in our culture, but not in our pocketbook. Our Democrats and Republicans are all Capitalists. We have to go into the Fringe Parties to find the Anti-Capitalists.

The Bishop of Georgia appears to be attempting to solidify his power base by protecting what he sees as his assets, his capital. Wealth is what gives Americans power, including the Episcopal Church. His mind is on litigation of the assets.

That has got to be appalling to Christian Socialists who find the flagrant waving of wealth as power to be on the edge of evil (whether or not they actually practice it in their private life is something else, but it is a tenet of the faith). The Episcopal Church tries to hide its obsession with wealth, prestige and power by hiding behind the United Nation’s MDGs – but of course they can’t stand all the Anglicans or their leaders who actually live in the countries the MDGs seek to assist (we saw this quite plainly on the floor of the House of Bishops in New Orleans when bishop after bishop ridiculed the Anglican primates that have come to offer refuge to Episcopalian exiles).

For years I thought the Episcopal progressives were really left wing, but they are not. They are David Brooks’ Bobos – they are entirely bourgeois when it comes to their power (including their identity in their assets, their wealth, and their position – picture the little Monopoly Man with a Miter). They are bohemian in their view of the spirit of the age, in the trendy American culture that they seek to impose on the polity of the Anglican Communion.

But this is not the European way – especially a Europe that has been bohemian a long, long time before we were and appears to be tiring of the whole thing. America is a generation behind Europe in its sink into bohemia. Watch Germany and France, for example – and Italy as well. The rise of the European Union, for its capacity to compete in global markets means it must re-evaluate its social experiments in bohemian lifestyles. They are just too expensive to maintain for the long term.

The rise of the Islamic extremism is also in reaction to the bohemian culture (or what we might call “post-Christian” culture) in Europe and to attempt modify the cultural disparity by mollifying those radical elements has had an effect on bohemian social experiments (i.e. living in a post-9/11 world).

The Episcopal Church has high overhead and is losing investing partners by the boatload. The bishops are seeking to protect their power base since it is found in assets and all this talk of “community” is a smokescreen, it’s public relations, it’s a marketing scheme. Then we see things like what happened in Virginia or now in Georgia and the true nature of the Episcopal Church’s strategic scheme becomes clear.

It is about wealth and power – and the accumulation of more and more of it. That’s why TEC is such a grand prize for those who are working at social engineering, it comes with a pretty package good for marketing, but inside its hollow, not hallow.

In England, the Anglo Catholics are most often politically Socialists (evangelicals are socialists too but there seems to be a real history of Anglican Catholicism and Socialist politics). This American grab for power through litigation leaves a very bad taste because it reminds the British that we are American Capitalists first and foremost and the British Stereotype of American Capitalists is still very strong. Not even World War II could fix that stereotype.

The British are between a rock and hard place. They need American money to run their Anglican Communion Office, but at what price are they willing to pay for it? If they give in to the Money Question then they forsake their principles for the power – and thus, are no different than their American cousins.


This was written in response to this posting by Sarah Hey at Stand Firm. Your thoughts are very welcome – and please pass the Butterbeer. Here’s an interesting “family tree” to check out.