Thursday, January 18, 2007

Duckworth: "Sexism Flushed from its Cover"

The Rev. John Yates and Os Guinness of Falls Church wrote an editorial earlier this month describing their supposed reasons for leaving the Episcopal Church and placing themselves under the authority of the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola. Their claim is that the Episcopal Church abandons the fidelity, negates the authority, severs the continuity, destroys the credibility and obliterates the very identity of faith.

The Rev. Penelope Duckworth, vicar of Christ Episcopal Church, Sei Ko Kai, in San Francisco, has responded to their accusations:

...Yates and Guinness began by stating that the issue is not women's leadership, rather it is the ``intellectual integrity of faith in the modern world.'' They say that the Episcopal Church has revised the orthodox faith, and they give examples. However, in more than 20 years of ministry, I know of no Episcopalians who would say the incarnation is ``nonsense,'' the resurrection ``a fiction,'' or the Bible ``pure propaganda''...
Duckworth continues with a meticulous dissection of their five charges against the Episcopal Church, revealing that they are all completely illusionary. This leads to the following conclusion:

...But there are really no points to be made, no actual discussion, no debating of the issues. The reasons stated cannot be genuine. They are a smoke screen.

And so what is the real reason? It is notable that the authors did not leave after the approval and consecration of the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson (the first openly gay bishop) in 2003. The schism occurred in 2006 and followed the election of the first female presiding bishop. Up until then, those who opposed women's leadership were cushioned by allowances which permitted male episcopal authority if requested. With the consecration of The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, there was suddenly no man who had more authority, and so sexism was flushed from its cover. Like many schismatics, the authors claim to represent the true church. But, in fact, they are objecting to decisions made democratically by duly elected representatives...
This should not be surprising of those who make common cause with the likes of bishops Iker and Schofield. At least those bishops own up to their sexism. Hiding it behind a list of poorly articulated false accusations tells us more about the accusers than it does about the accused. They are acting out of either cowardice or malice. To be generous, I'm inclined to assume the former is the most accurate.


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