Episcopal So-Called News

During General Convention 2009 everyone going in and out of the center was greeted by the usual gang of idiots. I’d say they were biker types but that would give bikers a bad name. Just big-bellied, bearded dudes in tee shirts carrying signs about hating “homos” and that anyone going into the building was going to hell.

The appearance of the Phelps Family and other hatemongers is more of a tradition at GC than the seminary cocktail parties where they try to drum up donations from alums.

So I stole an idea for an action I’d heard about. I started a Sponsor-a-Protester campaign. I asked if people wanted to pledge cash for the Protest-a-thon occurring right in front of them. With the help of Utah’s enthusiastic youth group , $120 was raised in less than 25 minutes. We had a blast. People pointed out the angriest–and by now they were angrier than hornets rousted from a nest–protesters and hand the cash over while waving to the protester. We thanked them for their work – they were raising funds for a home for LGBT teens who needed a safe haven. There were about 100 people laughing, donating, joining in.

This would have gone on for hours, but I was approached by a factotum of GC wearing collar and eye-searing shirt that really should be featured on Bad Vestments . He insisted I stop. Naively, I thought he was concerned about my personal safety.  Since I was still a Bishop’s Wife, I followed orders.Turns out I was one step ahead of the law – the protesters had called the police on me.  It’s possible the factotum with collar was trying to control the press.  A Bishop’s Wife arrested during General Convention would certainly get a squib…somewhere.  Too bad. I would have very much liked to appear before a judge in Orange County on charges of soliciting for charity.

The next day’s General Convention news had not a word about that. Outreach, mission, activism is only newsworthy if it has the corporate stamp of TEC. Individual prophetic action is not recognized.

Which brings me to an additional gift from the trial of Trinity Wall Street versus Occupy Wall Street. It confirms what most of us knew all along: That Episcopal News Service, Episcopal Cafe, and Episcopal New Yorker are simply the Pravda/Fox News of TEC. (Well, Episcopal Cafe is kind of the MSNBC wing of the church. But ye fans of MSNBC, remember it is owned by GE.)

A retired bishop and a priest recently active in the Diocese of NY are facing incarceration at Rikers at the insistence of a parish in Manhattan and there is no coverage. Two members of the clergy and there’s not a word about it. None. It’s not surprising, just affirming.

When an institution sets up a PR instrument to talk to the world, what happens is a filter of mendacity.

So what does it say about Katharine Jefferts-Schori that one of the first things she did when she moved into 815 Second Ave was have ENS on the same floor so that it sitteth at her right elbow?

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8 thoughts on “Episcopal So-Called News

  1. Episcopal Cafe was started, and its posts are largely written and moderated, by Jim Naughton, who is a PR person who represents Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies. It’s definitely one of her propaganda mouthpieces.

    • Joe – thank you for this bit of information. This kind of illusion of free speech that is more insidious and dangerous than overt censorship. No one has been able to say “Our Church!” for many, many years.

  2. You were complacent and thought that the days of Mainline influence would continue forever and ever and ever: wrong.

    • Please explain yourself, Fred Garvin. I’m a bit confused as this post is not as expressive or eloquent as your other two.

  3. And your “prophetic” action was self-congratulatory and pitiful, about as dangerous as a game of bridge. If this is the best you can do, your church deserves to wither away.

    • Thank you, Fred Garvin, for this cogent and insightful post. With the help of youth from the Diocese of Utah, we raised over $100 in 20 minutes for LGBT runaways. Alas, if we could have stayed out there longer we could have raised more.

      • Which buys, what? Your church has over $4billion in assets, apart from real estate. You’re grossly over-represented among the rich and your private schools are repulsively elitist; why not find scholarships for these kids to get an education at St. George’s or St. Paul’s and then brag about an amount that could provide toothbrushes for fifty people?

  4. Dear Turnipghost – If you read this blog, you will see that I am “de-churched”. I no longer participate in the church at all and it is in no way, shape, or form “my church” as you state. I agree that it over-represents the wealthy but wha it does that’s even worse is it provides a venue for careerist clergy under the guise of spirituality.

    Since the point of the post eludes you maybe this can clarify it for you: TEC spends millions on PR and calls it news while ignoring real news right under its nose.The example I gave was one in which I was directly involved so I know it’s true and not hearsay. That’s not bragging, that’s reporting. Because it was a grassroots action and not set up by TEC’s hierarchy, it was ignored. Why did I not post more examples? I wanted to keep that part of the post brief. As for your sneering at the paucity of the $100, you may want to check up on the story of The Widow’s Mite. $100 was the best we could do in 20 minutes. We would have continued but were stopped by members of TEC wearing collars and horrible, garish clergy shirts (my eyes still hurt from the memory).

    Episcopal “So-called” News continues to go on as a PR machine by ignoring real news in the church – for example its decline, not raising a question about the House of Bishops meeting in Quito as Troy Davis was being executed, or how many hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent in legal fees because a Diocese disagrees with Katharine Jefferts Schori.

    As for scholarships at St. George’s and St. Paul’s how the heck am I supposed to do that? And even if I could write a check beyond my living expenses why would I want to send traumatized LGBT youth to posh private schools? They would be miserable in those institutions. (Hey – how about navy blazers and red ties for all the boys in Bed Stuy so they can have dinner at The Club!) St. George’s and St. Paul’s exist to maintain an elitist class – don’t confuse expense with a good education. It’s more of an indoctrination system, feeding good boys and girls into the elitist Ivy League which in turn produces more careerists without compassion.

    The next time you go into attack mode, you may want to get some background information.

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