Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Best property fight blog

I’ve recently come across the Anglican Curmudgeon blog by A.S. Haley, which is running the most thoughtful and detailed discussions of the current TEC vs. former TEC lawsuits over church property.

He is following litigation in California (the St. James case) as well as the looming lawsuits over the four departed dioceses (San Joaquin, Quincy, Ft. Worth, Pittsburgh). For example, he has two detailed postings earlier this month (on May 3 and May 5) on the arguments in the San Joaquin case. He argues that the the plaintiffs (new diocese of SJ) should have to prove they are who they say they are, despite the extra-ordinary way that the new "bishop" was selected.

In his posting Saturday about the Pittsburgh lawsuit, he notes inconsistencies about the claims of hierarchical authority in the TEC, themes that he also picked up in April 21 and April 23 postings.

Haley is clearly a well-trained attorney. I am not an attorney — nor do I play one on TV — but Haley appears very knowledgeable in the law. However, I am not clear about his ability as a prognosticator. He seems to analyze the law the way the judge should rule, not the way the judge is likely to rule, which in this era of judges as super-legislators, is not a very reliable to predict the results.

Not all posts are about litigation. He also has a discussion of how the left wing of the TEC has been running a stealth campaign to pick favored candidates for General Convention 2009. His posting on TEC governance comes back to the "Is TEC hierarchical?" theme:
What if, like Dorothy, the Episcoleft finds that there is no omnipotent Wizard on the throne, but just a little man pulling levers and throwing switches behind a curtain? What if the LGBTs manage finally to take over the governing levers of ECUSA only to find out that ECUSA is not hierarchical after all? Ay, that would indeed be tragic, if such years of effort proved to be ultimately in vain.

Therein lies, I think, the source of the ferocity summoned to defend the proposition that the Episcopal Church (USA) is hierarchical. And therein lies also the explanation for the Presiding Bishop's campaign to become a metropolitan in deed, if not in word. For those on the left, authority is useless if it cannot be exercised to further the agenda, and to increase one's hold on power. (This is why their ultimate authority is the Holy Spirit---no one can say for certain what He does and does not approve, and so He can be cited as in support of anything. Power without accountability is to those on the left as catnip is to a cat.)
To sum up his argument:
Viewed as a political prize, however, the Church ceases to be a Church. Its mission is being determined by politics rather than under the governance of the Holy Spirit. So long as the battle rages for the prize, the fiction that it is a Church has to be maintained at all costs, because no one who could affect the outcome must realize what is at stake. And with the publicizing of views like those expressed in the Bishops' Statement, the risk is now great that the momentum so carefully accumulated over the years will be seen for what it is: nothing more (or less) than a political attempt to take over a money machine.

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