Friday, May 11, 2007

Pies, Commandos and Parking Tickets

I'll get back to something more serious soon, I promise. But I can't resist just one more update on the pie throwing incident at Grace Church last Sunday.

Someone just pointed me to this blog entry, which directs us to this comment thread. Here's one attempt (comment 21) to describe the incident:

The Single Pie Theory and The Attempted Assassination of The Rev. Donald Armstrong III

I don’t know if I buy this “single pie theory” put forth by the Crippen Commission on Church Assassinations. In fact, I think the lone pie thrower, Marcus, may well be a patsy to cover up the fact that this is really a conspiracy. One, I suspect, involving Episcopalians residing at First Christian Church.

I’ve even heard one eye witness testify that another pie from the grassy pew area of the nave was where the real culprit was in waiting to throw, not a banana cream pie, but in fact a cheery tartlet, with whipped cream on top.

The case evidence speaks to the contrary as well. The pie that splattered onto the floor into sacred space, no less, could not have been one pie. When the confectionary missile was weighed it, too, was over the allotted limit for a singular tart. This also suggests two pie throwers and not one as the Crippen Report would lead us to believe.

I believe the FBI needs to get involved now due to the serious nature of this assault and the possible cover-up and fraud being perpetuated on Anglicans everywhere.
A good response to street theatre, it seems to me. Unfortunately, it appears appreciation for the art of good street theatre has evaporated from our collective unconscious (we miss you, Abbie), if we are to judge from some of the other comments on that thread.

Scroll up and note comment 12, from Don Armstrong (the apparent target of this "hate crime"). From his initial response, I thought that Don shared my appreciation for good street theater. Apparently not:

...We do take security very seriously. If you saw the military precision with which all the military trained men and one female Israeli commando moved to catch this guy you would understand that we are not a community with whom one ought to consider tampering...
Are we now all appropriately intimidated? Note the reference to the "Israeli commando." I must assume that detail was added to avoid anyone asking if this security detail wears brown shirts.

Now that Don has warned everyone that he will not tolerate "tampering," he goes on to make an accusation:

...The rumor this morning is that this fellow was hired by a gay advocacy group called Newspeak to attack me. If this is true, it is due to the inability of the press to understand that the division in the church is not about gays, but scriptural authority, counciliar decision making, and membership in a world wide Communion against which TEC is asserting its doctrine of radical individualism, while eliminating most of the core teachings of classic Christian faith...
The bold-faced lie at the end, the bit about "eliminating core teachings," was enough to tick me off. But I'm 2,000 miles away, so the risk of me delivering my own banana cream pie this Sunday is minimal. Besides, I have a previous engagement. But, Don throws down a challenge to a local group, who do seem to have an appreciation for good street theatre, and most likely are not intimidated by Israeli commandos. Not a terribly wise move, Don.

So, the morning after Don makes this comment, while the folks at Newspeak are reading about it, who pulls up right in front of their office but Mr. Armstrong himself. An opportunity like that doesn't come around every day. Here's the result, which was followed up in the local paper:

First, there was a near miss with a pie. Now, surreptitious photographs of the embattled Rev. Don Armstrong are being posted, a la Candid Camera, by a self-described satire and gay-advocacy publication.

"Don Armstrong deserves it for any number of reasons," said Noel Black, publisher of Newspeak. The Colorado Springs publication has posted on its Web site nine photos that purport to show Armstrong parking his car illegally...
I think we can expect more theatrics from Newspeak. Stay tuned.

Regarding real news, pies and parking tickets are probably the least of Don's worries at the moment. The Diocese of Colorado has taken action to recover Grace Church. The court documents make a solid case for the diocese, as well as providing some new information. For instance, the existence of Grace does not predate the diocese. There are 500 members of Grace that remain loyal to TEC, but have been forced to worship elsewhere. Don and Grace both leapt to CANA the very same day as the charges in the presentment against Don for misuse of funds were revealed by the diocese.

So, forgive me for yet another post on this minor incident. But, you've got to agree that the presentment and the jump to CANA, combined with Armstrong's flamboyant rhetorical style, made this an interesting situation. But now add clowns with pies, Israeli commandos and vigilante meter maids; how could I resist?

J.

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