Monday, April 06, 2009

AAC Slip is Showing

[6 April note: I cranked out the initial post fairly quickly. I have made significant edits, revisions, and additions below.]

Doug LeBlanc, who persists in considering himself a journalist, has penned a delicious piece about the American Anglican Council (AAC), the North American schismatics, and their relationship to the Anglican Communion. [Edit/Addendum on 6 April: In the comments below, Jeffri Harre made me realize I confused the journalist Doug LeBlanc with the lackey George Conger. I offer my apologies to Mr. LeBlanc, who is indeed a credible journalist. In fact, the fact that this unflattering article was written by Mr. LeBlanc and published in TLC raises many questions about what's going on. See comments below, with thanks to Jeffri and to Elizabeth Kaeton.]

You'll remember the AAC. They're a nearly-wholly-owned subsidiary of the IRD, which is committed to making our nation over in its dominionist/theocratic image. [If you're just now plugging in, check Jim Naughton's "Follow the Money" for the background on these sleazy organizations.]

LeBlanc's article is here, in The Living Church. It's based on comments made by the Rev. J. Philip Ashey, the AAC’s chief operating officer and chaplain, in a brief speech in the suburbs of Richmond, Va. He spoke in Richmond, and had a crowd of about 70 people present.

Let's start by acknowledging that The Living Church has ceased entirely to be a journalistic publication. It is the yang to ENS's yin. Nothing but propaganda.

Here are some items of particular note in LeBlanc's article.

Catch this:
Fr. Ashey compared the AAC to the Special Forces of the U.S. military.
“Like Special Forces, we go behind the scenes and we blow up things,” he said, adding quickly that what the AAC blows up is principalities and powers.
Are you believing this? He compares the AAC to U.S. covert operatives and brags that the AAC enjoys blowing up things. Is the AAC remotely connected to anything we would recognize as a church?? Is Father Ashey proud that the AAC's mission is to blow up things?

This reminds me of Father Mark's sad commentary at Preludium. and Elizabeth Kaeton's self-professed "rant" at Telling Secrets. The violent language from "the right" is indeed disturbing.

LeBlanc begins his story with this lead:
The Anglican Church in North America is unlikely to be recognized by the See of Canterbury, a leader of the American Anglican Council said on April 1.
“We do not believe that Canterbury will recognize us, at least while the current archbishop is still in office,” said the Rev. J. Philip Ashey, the AAC’s chief operating officer and chaplain, in a brief speech in the suburbs of Richmond, Va.
That's a leading figure of the schismatics acknowledging that Canterbury likely will not recognize the North American schismatics as legitimate members of the Anglican Communion. Bye-bye, FOCAs. Bye-bye, GAFCON. Bye-bye, Really Truly Pure Anglicans in North America. I am astonished that a leader of the schismatics is already acknowledging that their movement likely will fail to be recognized by the leader of the Anglican Communion.

It gets worse for them:
Asked during a discussion period about the AAC’s relationship to Anglican Communion Partners, Fr. Ashey said the AAC had proposed collaboration more than once.
“We have been politely turned down,” he said. “We are two very different organizations.”
Turned down. Turned down flat. [6 April addition: As far as I can tell, the "Anglican Communion Partners" are the group previously called "the Camp Allen bishops." They are the bishops who have determined to remain within the Episcopal Church, though they support the Windsor Report and the move to develop an Anglican Covenant. They're on the conservative side of the Episcopal Church, but they have now flatly rejected the AAC's offer of support. Does that not speak volumes?]

And this is rich:

Fr. Ashey suggested that Canterbury’s recognition will be less important as various provinces in the Global South recognize the ACNA. He said representatives from Kenya, Rwanda, the Southern Cone of South America, and Uganda are expected to attend a provincial assembly in Texas in June . . . .
Yeah, it doesn't matter that the Archbishop of Canterbury withholds recognition, as long as a few African primates and one English guy in a tiny Latin American province gives you their blessing. LOL!

Finally, catch this:
Fr. Ashey said he was part of a panel of bishops and lawyers who have drafted canons for the ACNA, which plans to release the proposed canons within a few weeks. He said the canons will make clear that all property belongs to congregations rather than dioceses; that bishops will be nominated by dioceses on a slate of three and chosen by a College of Bishops; and that all bishops must warn each other when a transferring priest has engaged in misconduct.
Look again. Among the Really Truly Pure Anglicans in North America, bishops will be chosen by bishops. No clergy or lay people will be involved in the discernment process for the episcopacy. I wonder how this will play among the schismatics in North America.

There have been other signs, but this is the clearest one yet that the schismatics are floating off into oblivion -- just like all the splinter groups before them.

H/t to Ann for giving me a heads-up on this story.


Blogger Göran Koch-Swahne said...

And so they will!

4/06/2009 1:23 AM  
Blogger Grandmère Mimi said...

...for you reap whatever you sow.

The violent language is truly shocking. What are they thinking?

4/06/2009 1:10 PM  
Blogger Lauralew said...

No surprises there. The AAC tried to stage a revolution in my diocese a couple of years ago. Since we are one of the poorest diocese in TEC, we are more concerned about feeding the flock--literally--than with "purity". Only a rich white parish (we are mostly indigenous) in the eastern part of the state, with the time and money to be insular, bought into the ambush. They haven't come to convention for the last two years. They are welcome but I guess they can't dirty their hands.

And you are right about The Living Church. For some reason it is sent to me; I look at the appointments section in the back and then toss it into the recycle bin. I have it in my hands maybe 2 minutes. It starts to burn after that time.

4/06/2009 4:21 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Yes, sadly TLC is a shadow of its former self. I finally decided not to even bother renewing my subscription.

4/06/2009 5:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

They are jihadists, Grandmère. They can't help talking that way. I hope you followed my links to Mark & Elizabeth's blogs. They speak articulately to the language of the Christianists.

4/06/2009 5:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Göran, it reminds me of that Dave Walker cartoon about splitting churches leading to little piles of ashes. (I can't locate it on Dave's site now.) And of TELP's saying, "Dead wood splinters."

4/06/2009 5:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I'm glad to hear they failed in your diocese, Lauralew.

It doesn't sound like they tried very hard. Or maybe I'm just not hearing the whole story.

That leads me to an off-the-top-of-my-head thought: Does anyone know of a poor parish in which the AAC/ACN/etc. have really worked hard to pull off this kind of coup?

They went after the wealthy white parishes in Virginia, San Diego, etc. Do they go after poor parishes? Maybe they do; I'm not aware of the demographics.

There are a few very poor, rural parishes here that have been pretty discontent since 2003. To the best of my knowledge, they haven't been courted by the schismatics.

4/06/2009 6:07 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Lauralew, love your comment that you have to discard TLC within two minutes before it starts to burn. :)

Robert, I hear that from a lot of folks.

I know of a parish that was preparing to announce a rector search; they were encouraged by their bishop not to advertise the vacancy in TLC because readers would assume they were looking for an angry white male anti-TEC priest. That's pretty sad.

4/06/2009 6:12 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

There are two notable things about this article (1) It appeared in TLC and (2) It was written by Doug Le Blanc. This is not only notable, it is significant. A real message is being sent, I think, as we continue to map out and define the territory of what / who is liberal or progressive, middle ground or conservative or "orthodox." It's a fascinating dynamic - like watching a Rubric's Cube twist around on our way to Anaheim.

4/06/2009 9:14 PM  
Blogger Jeffri Harre said...

Doug LeBlanc IS a journalist. Even though he is a conservative, he is generally pretty even-handed in his reporting. I have shared meals with him and consider him an honorable and honest person. If I were having an event or a press conference, I'd want to make absolutely sure that he knew about it and got the proper credentials.

4/06/2009 9:32 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

OUCH! Jeffri, you're totally right, and I appreciate the correction. I just realized I was confusing Doug LeBlanc with the hack George Conger. My apologies to Mr. LeBlanc!

In my defense, that's the problem with knowing people only by their bylines, and not as people.

Thanks for the correction, Jeffri.

4/06/2009 9:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

You tease intriguingly, Elizabeth, though you don't quite spin it out. So let me draw inferences from you wrote here, and you tell me if I'm on the right track.

TLC has become increasingly doctrinaire and a friend of the schismatics. Now they've published an article that shows the AAC in a very unfavorable light, and which even suggests the AAC is being sidelined. And it includes that line from Ashey which must surely make any real Christian cringe. Further, it's written by a conservative journalist who is well respected. [Thanks again to Jeffri for the correction!]

So ... if watching TLC and the schismatic cottilion is like old-style watching Pravda photos ... are you suggesting that a breach is opening between AAC and some of the other groups? What do you think, Elizabeth ... and others?

Could it be that the IRD-funded AAC, which authored the infamous and nefarious Chapman memo, is finally being ostracized?

4/06/2009 9:56 PM  

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