Monday, August 06, 2007

Conservative Blog Tricks

If you're addicted to the Anglican/Episcopalian blogosphere, you're aware that South Carolina has once again elected Mark Lawrence to be its next bishop. South Carolina's selection worried me the first time, for all the reasons I and many others covered when he was elected, before he failed to gain the necessary consents in his first election.

The blogger who calls herself BabyBlue is not at all happy with the Episcopal News Service. She complains that "ENS - the communications office of 815, actively promoted rejecting Mark Lawrence as bishop." You can read her post here.

Be aware that BabyBlue apparently belongs to one of the Virginia parishes that are no longer in the Episcopal Church. Why she continues to obsess about a church she has left is a puzzle to me. (After all, I do not harangue the Southern Baptists, whom I left 3 decades ago.) But I digress … as I am wont to do.

As "evidence," BabyBlue selectively trots out some news stories from ENS. In her mind, when ENS reported "Episcopal Forum calls for caution in consent process" or "Via Media group asks bishops, standing committees to refuse consent to South Carolina bishop-elect," the Episcopal Church was engaging in "active promotion."

How very, very silly! If you follow that twisted logic, a New York Times article titled "Bin Laden calls for jihad against U.S." would mean that the Times was calling for a jihad. Ridiculous!

Let us look at recent ENS stories that report on news of the Network and their sympathizers. I just went to the ENS site and clicked on the "News" button. Click here to see the current "top stories" from ENS.

The front-and-center headline is "South Carolina re-elects Mark Lawrence as bishop." That's as it should be, is it not? Nor does that strike me as an inflammatory headline.

Also on that page is Evidence presented against former Colorado Springs rector. That's nothing like the inflammatory headlines many on the left and right used to report that high-profile ecclesiastical trial in Colorado.

And there is LOS ANGELES: Appeals court will not reconsider property ruling, which fell far short of the triumphal headline I would have been tempted to pen.

Then there is Network delegates seek end to property litigation. To tell the truth, that headline (and the article) ticked me off, for the headline and story reported "just the facts" and failed to highlight what I believe are the duplicitous and nefarious goals of the Network in that action and in just about everything they have done.

Some of these headlines ticked me off personally because they are so darned even-handed. But they reinforce my respect for the good people who work at ENS. They are behaving as reasonable journalists. Me, I'm an immoderate liberal. Surely anyone who goes to work for the Episcopal Church is a real Episcopalian, and I would imagine they must be personally dismayed by the groups within TEC and in the Anglican Communion that are trying to destroy our church. Frankly, it seems to me they are bending over backwards to exercise their journalistic skills and ethics. They deserve much better than being derided as "Pravda." (And, yes, that accusation is hurled out all too often among the right-wingers.)

If you want to compare apples to apples, then compare the journalism coming out of ENS with the propaganda coming out of the Network and the American Anglican Council. And let us not forget the Choose This Day video that the Network markets. Who are the journalists in that competition? The good folks at ENS win hands-down.

BabyBlue and the People Who Wallow in Persecution need to do a better job, if they want to pretend the Episcopal Church has "actively promoted rejecting Mark Lawrence." The record makes clear that TEC bent over backwards to let South Carolina gain consents.

Let us be clear.

Mark Lawrence's election failed because his supporters couldn't manage to sign the consent forms and transmit them to South Carolina in the one hundred twenty days allowed under the canons, and the Diocese of South Carolina couldn't manage to transmit those forms to Church Center on time – even when our Presiding Bishop generously gave them extra days beyond what is allowed in the canons of our church.

It's as simple as that. Maybe this time the folks in South Carolina will manage the consent process better – as the other 110 diocese of the Episcopal Church have managed to do about a gazillion times.

But blaming the Episcopal News Service is just bunk!

BabyBlue – like many of the parishes in her state and many others of her political persuasion – is wallowing in an orgy of persecution. She has done better. She should do better this time.


Anonymous Linda McMillan said...

Reason will get you nowhere with these people.

I really do think that something has happened to their brains and they are now incapable of thinking in any terms that do not cast themselves as somehow persecuted by heretics and lesbians. The convolutedness, the shear twistedness of it, boggles the reasonable mind.


Rowan says WOOF!

8/06/2007 12:49 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I suspect you are correct, Lindy. But I just can't help trying to inject some reason and analysis into these conversations.

And Scotty & Shug say MEOW to your Rowan.

8/06/2007 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Pedro Concepcion said...

Lisa, did you actually read the article Baby Blue cited?

I was with you, until I read the first article. Quote after quote are from people who want Father Lawrence rejected. Not one quote in the article is from a supporter.

I appreciate the effort Lisa, but I think BabyBlue is right on this one. The headlines might be balanced but the stories certainly aren't. In your argument you just examined the headlines.

Mr. P.C.

8/06/2007 9:08 AM  
Blogger Padre Mickey said...

Great post, Lisa!

8/06/2007 1:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yes, Pedro Concepcion, I read the articles she linked, and your correct. Those stories whose headlines are critcal of the Lawrence election contain quotes critical of his election.

Now ... turn-about's fair play. Did you read the articles I linked? Those whose headlines are generally critical of TEC or sympathetic to the conservatives tend to contain quotes that are sympathetic to the conservatives.

No big surprise there.

So what's the point?

To me, it appears that sometimes ENS runs articles that are supportive of, and some that are critical of the majority position in the Episcopal Church.

I challenge you: Can you find me any "news" article coming out of the AAC, the "Network," or even sites like StandFirm that give anything like even-handed treatment toward the Episcopal Church? Perhaps there have been some. If so, I have missed them.

My hunch is that AAC/ACN and their allies are engaged in "advocacy" "journalism." So are groups like Integrity and Claiming the Blessing. I expect them to uphold their perspective.

By contrast, it seems to me that ENS is doing its best to report the news, not make the news. And that's journalism, not propaganda.

Thus, I return to my critique that BabyBlue's argument is baseless.

8/06/2007 7:59 PM  

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