Letters from 22 to 28
Like all letters
to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the writers
and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be
of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If
you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.
More than just Nokia are excellent communicators in Finland
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for the referrals to the Fabulous
Finns - especially during this Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity!
As always, you have my prayers for the great work you do for us each week.
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
Davenport, Iowa, USA
22 January 2007
Time for another Reformation?
The Inquisition revisited, recently revived by Bishop Miller in
Wisconsin, has achieved what the good Bishop wished. With unending church funds, along with whatever his true reasons were,the
Bishop saw fit to ruin a wonderful human being and crack a church asunder.
I know Rev. Martha Ann Englert to be a person who lived true to
her vows. A large number of us know her as kind, compassionate, highly intelligent woman dedicated to helping people. She was
described to me personally by her former Bishop as "a holy woman".
Miller and his Star Chamber associate Mr. Srivner sought and dug
up "witnesses" that would best be called questionable in the quest to rid himself of Englert. What have we come to when a conservative
male Bishop brings out of gossip his ammunition funded by the Church, some of it highly questionable, some of it bordering
on slander, to destroy a liberal female priest in a liberal church?
Grace Church is a wreck. Englert, whose home had to be sold, whose
retirement funds had to be cashed, and who had to borrow money to defend herself against this charade, has been reduced to
hopelessness. Undoubtedly the good old boy duo of Miller and Scrivner had some chortles amidst the back slapping when they
heard Englert resigned. Who in their right mind would want to go on and on and on in the delay game the Bishop has ordered?
As a faithful Episcopalian, I have serious doubts about the upper
level management of our Church when I see the travesty ordered by Bishop Miller. It was interesting to see that the presentment
against him by a large group of people was tossed aside.
There was once a Reformation due to this type of thing. Maybe it
is time for a repeat.
Episcopal Cathedral of St. Luke
Cumberland Foreside, Maine, USA
24 January 2007
Whom are you calling a Trollope?
Kudos for using the
political style buttons with the names from Barchester Towers. I find that a real laugh, which is something we need
to have. Thank you.
Victoria, BC, CANADA
25 January 2007
Ideology creating blindness
As we read the news of Archbishop Williams’ declaration of
support for the Catholic Church’s “conscience based” refusal to place children with gay parents for adoption,
I was struck by the quasi-Aristotelian thought that while sincerity and courage may be virtues, it is their application in
practice that matters.
I have no doubt that many conservative Catholics are sincere in
their beliefs that (1) homosexuality is an “objective disorder,” and that therefore (2) persons suffering from
that “disorder” are unfit to be adoptive parents. I also have no doubt that Archbishop Williams believes that his
stand against the tenor of majority UK belief, in this instance, was a courageous one. Unfortunately neither sincerity nor
courage alone are sufficient bases for making sound moral judgments.
Sincerity is often contrasted with hypocrisy, since in both cases
the issue is coherence between motive and expression. A hypocrite professes a given belief but acts or speaks in ways that
contradict that belief. In a sincere individual, there is consistency between belief or motive on the one hand, and action
and expression on the other. The problem is that one may sincerely believe and/or act upon beliefs that are either false or
incoherent. A racist upholds the false belief that one “race” is inferior to another but is rarely willing to accept
the treatment justified by that belief, in his own case (as when an individual raised to believe that she is a member of one ‘superior’ racial
group discovers that she ‘really’ belongs to a group she had called ‘inferior’) . Those who believe
homosexuality to be an “objective disorder” often do so on the basis of category confusions; either about links
between statistical generalization and moral norms, or about the defining qualities of natural and cultural phenomena.
The same points can be made about courage. Archbishop Williams is
undoubtedly a man with the courage of his convictions; although what those convictions are is sometimes difficult to ascertain.
Given widespread public support for gay and lesbian couples as adoptive parents in the UK, opposing this position clearly requires
courage; especially in a climate where "vox populi, vox Dei" has become the norm. But practical wisdom suggests that one should
think carefully before selecting a specific popular belief for challenge. Failure to exercise that ability makes one likely
to be seen, not as courageous, principled, or forthright, but as reactionary; an anti-egalitarian crank.
There is much to challenge among popular, contemporary beliefs.
Blind faith in quick technological solutions to extensive environmental deterioration, rather than dedicated environmental
stewardship, is certainly a belief worth questioning. Blind faith in profit maximization as the sole valid goal of public policy
In both cases, ideology creates blindness to empirical reality.
If revelation provides believers with anything, it is not a basis for blind confidence in simplistic propositions, but a way
of seeing through ideological confusion - thanks to trust in God’s compassionate, creative and redemptive work. It is
unfortunate that out of all of the possible places from which to confront unjustified confidence in majority wisdom, Archbishop
Williams has selected one which is confused and, in the end, based on fear and hatred, rather than on faithful trust and compassion.
The Rev. David H Fisher
Naperville, Illinois, USA
27 January 2007
We launched our 'Letters
to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our