Monday, September 28, 2009

Stand Firm at it again

The following is posted with permission of the author as you will see in the body of his letter. It was originally posted to the email list House of Bishops and Deputies of the Episcopal Church on Set 28, 2009:

This morning Stand Firm posted an article by Susan Hey in which she reflects on an article from a spurious "Episcopal Majority" which references a number of derogatory pieces on me, Lisa Fox and several Episcopal Majority writers.

The site from which Sarah got the article is a sham site which was set up to malign the Episcopal Majority site (with our writers which included Ernest Cockrell, Mark Harris, Bill Coats, David Fly, Christopher Webber and a host of prominent lay people, clergy and bishops (and one primate)). Apparently, when some extreme dissidents saw that a broad range of people were forming "The Episcopal Majority," they quickly paid for the domain "" so most early searches would send people to their defamatory articles. We were left with ""

Since I and others from the real Episcopal Majority have been blocked from responding to this kind of article - or anything casting aspersions on us, I hope someone with posting privileges there will forward this to Sarah, Greg or Matthew there. On the other hand, they regularly read things here. I hereby grant them permission to reprint this post.

SFIF - ordinary courtesy requires that when you provide links to defamatory articles about someone, you need to provide those defamed sufficient access to correct the defaming remarks.

Tom Woodward

This is my reply:

Did Stand Firm request permission to use this material elsewhere, I wonder? I have been thinking about their habit of lifting material without permission to post on their website. Have they ever heard of the copyright laws? Not only is it discourteous and disrespectful to quote someone's stuff without permission, it is also illegal as it violated the original author's copyright. Is Stand Firm above the laws of the land?

Someone on HoB/D said a while back that he thought it was "silly" to have to ask permission to quote material from this list. It's really immaterial whether or not a law is silly. Is it silly to have to stop at a stop sign when no one is coming the other way? Is it silly to wait for a red light to change to green when there is no one else on the street? Do we really have the authority to decide which laws we will obey and which we will not?

As for your own point quoted above, Tom. I would interpret the block to mean they don't want to hear from those with whom they disagree. It's a pity because sociologists have demonstrated many times that when a group of people eliminate those other voices with whom they disagree, that group only closes in upon itself and becomes more and more extreme until they are fanatics.

Religious fanatics who are extremely to the right, no matter what religion, have more in common with all other religious fanatics of other religions than they have with their own religion. We see commonalities between those Christians who kill those who perform or assist in abortions, bomb clinics and those who have attacked our nation. In both cases, their extreme religious right views lead them to believe they serve a higher purpose and the laws don't apply to them. We call such people terrorists.

It is because of this sociological truth that it is imperative that we Anglicans learn to agree to disagree. It is crucial that we continue to listen to each other with mutual respect and validation. Humility is vital in that all of us need to remember that any of us could be mistaken about anything. No matter how clearly we think we read Scripture, hear the voice of our beloved Lord in prayer, we are but human and we might be wrong. None of us are God and none of us can know the mind of God. Thank God we have Jesus, that's as close as we will ever get to knowing the mind of God and in 2000 years we haven't gotten that perfect.

I don't know why there is such a fuss about allowing every single baptized and confirmed Episcopalian to the full life of the church. I really don't. I do, however, accept that there are those who disagree. As long as the conversation demonstrates mutual respect and validation, I'll talk to anyone. But as soon as someone, no matter which "side" of any debate falls into insult, no matter how clever, my side of the conversation is over.


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