God Bless The New York Times

The good, grey old lady of comprehensive journalism, the New York “All the News That Fits” Times has once again gladdened the hearts of reasonable, fair-minded, and moderate persons all over the Eastern Establishment and everywhere else that it is read. I refer, of course, to its recent editorial on the civil suit being brought by Episcopal women, claiming admission to that church’s priesthood, and demanding that the courts give them redress for denial of what they consider to be a “property right,” namely, admission to that sacerdotal collegium.

The Times stated, in a burst of rare common sense (we scruple to call it a rare burst of common sense), that whatever one’s views about ordination, the Episcopal priesthood, and the like, it really is something to be decided by the Episcopal Church, not by the civil courts, or even by the New York Times. It certainly is a reactionary move on the part of those women to ask the government to determine a matter of ecclesiastical polity or even doctrine. After all, the Constantinian age—when the emperor began to tell the church how to run itself—is supposed to be behind us. And if the courts are going to tell the churches what they can do in matters of internal policy, then the least they can do is follow the examples of Constantine by painting the first two letters of the name of Christ on their shields and running the pagans off the field.

No doubt many Bible students will warn the Episcopal women that they are transgressing the Pauline warning against taking their quarrels before a godless magistrate (1 Cor. 6:1–7). Of course, if the plaintiffs are hard-line feminists, then they will have a limited appreciation of St. Paul. And likewise if the courts follow ...

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