In their typical fashion, some of the extreme conservatives have decided that since they could not kill the message contained in these essays, they would kill the messenger.
Greg Griffith, who has apparently appointed himself as Grand Inquisitor, launched the attack. Brad Drell soon followed with his own bit of character assasination, which first appeared on the House of Bishops and House of Deputies email list. Brad was so proud of himself that he just had to put it up on his own site.
What do Greg and Brad claim to be so upset about? Some years ago, Maury was a practicing Wiccan "priest". This bit of his past was discovered by the extremists through a google search. Some of you may recall that Maury mentioned this in passing in a comment not long ago. Maury made no attempt to hide his past. Why should he? If having a colorful past disqualified any of us from professing to be Christians, I doubt if many of us would be in the Church today. I know I wouldn't be.
Did Greg and Brad allow Maury to respond before publically denouncing him? No, they did not. How do I know? Because I have been corresponding with Maury. I know his story. And I know he is deeply hurt by these ugly attacks by those who, by their profession to be Christians, must claim Maury as their brother in Christ.
You see, to Greg and Brad, Maury is not a person who is being redeemed by God. He is a means to end; he is a tool, to be used and then discarded (or more likely burned). And what is this end? Greg tells us pretty clearly:
...It is time for Episcopalians everywhere - especially those in the "middle" who may just now be waking up to the crisis in their church - to know that there are more than a few pagans among the left, and that they are uniformly in support of the gay/lesbian/transgender agenda...Maury is being used, in political language, as a "wedge issue." With General Convention coming up, this is an attempt to scare the undecided middle with the assertion that the Episcopal Church is being infiltrated by pagans. Les Fairfield said as much in his rant on that video they are so proud of. And now, here comes a perfect opportunity to prove that Fairfield was right; liberals are pagans in disguise, who, of course, all support the dreaded gay agenda (whatever THAT means). It's a scare tactic, folks, put into play in the name of God. Never mind that they may destroy a brother in Christ in the process.
If I know Maury, and in the course of our many conversations I think I have gotten to know him fairly well, I doubt very much if such attacks will destroy him. And you know what they say, "If it doesn't destroy you..." If, at some later date, Maury feels inclined to respond to the Inquisitors, I'll certainly give him space here at Jake's place to do so. Regarding his spiritual story, it is not my place to say more than I already have; that decision must also rest with Maury.
Moving on to the realm of my personal outrage; who exactly do Greg and Brad think they are demanding that I remove Maury's essays and disassociate myself from him??? Gentlemen, I do not recognize your authority to demand that I do anything. Your behavior is beyond contempt, as far as I'm concerned.
I could continue with a lengthy essay regarding the need for the extremists to take the plank out of their own eye before shouting about the speck. Such an essay would touch on the close association the American Anglican Council and the Institute on Religion and Democracy have with disciples of Rushdoony (the father of reconstructionism who advocated for the execution of all gays) and a certain archbishop whose response to gays and lesbians is to throw them all in prison. But, I think I've already said enough on this topic.
Greg and Brad owe Maury Johnston an apology. But I won't be holding my breath. In the meantime, to the mobs with burning torches arriving to burn the witch, I'll be using a little 21st century magic of my own to extinguish your flames. Just a click of my finger, and POOF! you're gone.
So, liberals are pagans, eh? Hmmm. Feels like a good night to dance skyclad in the moonlight, doesn't it?