Monday, October 16, 2006

Our Church is in an Abusive Relationship

Katie Sherrod, drawing on her many years of writing about domestic violence, suggests that the Episcopal Church is in an abusive relationship. After listing the "warning signs" of such a relationship, she begins pointing out how these same symptoms are evident in TEC:

...This list could well be a strategy memo for those conservatives who are determined to wreck the Episcopal Church and/or to replace it with their own “purified” NeoPuritan version.

One can go down the list and check it off.

Uses emotional abuse and calls you names? Try “pagan” and “revisionist” and “heretic.”

Tries to make you feel guilty? Try claiming that Christians are being killed in majority Muslim countries because TEC elected and confirmed an honestly gay man.

Plays mind games? Try claiming that Lambeth resolutions have the power of laws, or that TEC has been “kicked out of” the Anglican Communion, or that the Windsor Report is some kind of judgment from on high against us.

Uses coercion and threats? Try threats of leaving, again and again and again and again.

Uses economic abuse. Try withholding money from the national church.

Uses gender privilege. Surely I don’t have to explain this one.

You do it. Go down the list and see what you come up with.

So. Once it is determined someone is in an abusive relationship, what happens next?

The number one thing to do is GET AWAY FROM YOUR ABUSER...

...It’s time to name the abuse, use the laws to contain or punish the abusers, and to help those suffering under the abuse.

To do less is to become complicit in your own abuse.
I think this diagnosis is pretty accurate. The recent temper tantrums of Bp. Beckwith are just the latest examples of abusive behavior that has been allowed to continue for much too long.


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