Ross Douthat’s controversial column on the Episcopal Church (and liberal Christianity in general) has inspired reflection, criticism (more criticism), and a call for unity. Now, RNS’ Daniel Burke adds another log to the fire: correction. In a post titled “Bad Journalism,” he makes the following point:
Douthat writes the Episcopal Church is “flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.”
To underscore his point, Douthat links to a Christianity Today piece about a former Episcopal priest who also embraces Islam and a one-time candidate for bishop who practices Zen meditation.
But Douthat doesn’t tell his readers that the former priest, Ann Holmes Redding, was defrocked by her bishop; and Kevin Thew Forrester’s election as bishop was by nullified by a majority of Episcopal dioceses.
And, quite apart from whatever more nuanced responses managed to make their way in, the following passage in particular inspired some untoward thoughts in this observer:
…today the Episcopal Church looks roughly how Roman Catholicism would look if Pope Benedict XVI suddenly adopted every reform ever urged on the Vatican by liberal pundits and theologians.
One is tempted to point out that yes, it is true that had it adopted reforms urged on it by liberal theologians and pundits the institutional Catholic Church would look different: it might see greater equality among women and LGBT members, have avoided or at least minimized a tragic and crippling (not to mention ongoing) pedophilia scandal, and most likely prevented God knows how many deaths associated with AIDS—to mention just a few.