Abandoned?

January 22, 2007

It is interesting how some “Christian” organizations exist for no other reason than to attack other Christians. It is one thing to offer constructive criticism. But it is another thing to be so focused on attacking that one even twists the facts around just to make an attack. The latter seems to be the model that the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) follows.

Consider, for instance, comments by IRD Anglican Action Director Ralph Webb. Addressing the recent conflict in Virginia where several churches voted to leave the diocese, he attacked the diocese. He stated:

It is tragic to see that the diocese has so quickly concluded that it cannot negotiate with the Virginia parishes. The diocese is using the term ‘abandoned’ with certain canonical connotations in an attempt to bolster its case against the parishes. But who has done the abandoning here?
That question is an easy question to answer—it was the churches who left (also known as “abandoning”). The fact that the diocese has made this decision after the churches voted to leave cannot be considered that they “so quickly concluded.” The title of the press release claimed, “‘Abandoned’ Is in the Eye of the Beholder.” While Webb has the right to behold things however he wants, he is playing some odd word games here just so he can attack the diocese.

The whole case is very sad as much energy and resources will be wasted in the growing conflict. Additionally, it has resulted in a lot of bad press as Christians attack each other. But regardless of how one feels about this conflict, it should be clear that the IRD is only adding fuel to the fire. I pray that the churches and diocese can work out a peaceful resolution and begin to work together in order to share the love of Jesus with everyone in Virginia. But this will be hard with the IRD intentionally trying to pick a fight and attacking the diocese regardless what happens or who is really in the wrong.

By the way, to learn more about the IRD, check out an exposé on their funding by Jim Naughton, the director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the blogger at the Daily Episcopalian.

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