Kenyan bishop, Texas church attacked, apparently by gay activists
Conservative Anglican and Episcopalian bloggers are abuzz this week over two apparent hate crimes against orthodox opponents of gay bishops in the church. The two stories are unrelated and separated by 4,811 miles, but distressing nonetheless.
The first story comes from London, where two Church of England clergymen assaulted Anglican Church of Kenya Bishop Simon Oketch in London for opposing Gene Robinson, according to the East African Standard of Nairobi.
While he was walking down the street toward a church conference he was attending, Oketch told the newspaper, the two clergymen approached him and asked him where he was from.
"When I said I was from Kenya, they expressed anger and asked me to discuss an issue with them before I could continue with my journey," Oketch said. "One of them said they were saddened by the stand taken by the Anglican Church in Kenya and other countries over the appointment of the gay bishop. I told them we could not budge on the issue and that we will oppose it to the end because it is un-Christian."
It was then that the men grabbed him, verbally abused him, and threatened to beat him up when onlookers pulled them off of him.
"I did not have any fear being in the United Kingdom because Anglican clergymen in this country have never indicated their support for this kind of behavior," Oketch said.
The confrontation was condemned in the Kenyan church by bishops Beneah Salalah, who called for an apology from the British government, and by Thomas Kogo, who reiterated the Kenyan church's solidarity on the issue of homosexual bishops.
Two days before the assault on Bishop Oketch, vandals attacked and set fire to the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit in Graham, Texas.
"The main church was littered with food from the kitchen and candle wax from the altar," says a letter from pastor Scott Wooten, who also pastors two other Episcopal congregations in the area. "The parish hall received the same treatment. The office area was set on fire. The only lead the police have is writing on the wall: 'God and Jesus love Homosexuals.'"
Wooten calls the incident a probable hate crime against orthodox Episcopalians. "The thought of an active persecution crossed my mind when I decided to take a stand against Biblical revisionists, but it turned very personal when it hit my church," he said. "My small mission congregation has been shaken; this type of hate and violence are not common in small towns. The politics of hate became very real to me this week."
Louisiana Rep. to head Family Research Council
The Family Research Council has named Louisiana State Rep. Tony Perkins as its new president, effective September 1, calling him "the leading opponent of Louisiana's gambling industry and one of the state's most vocal prolife advocates."
"The very bedrock of our society and nation, the institution of marriage, is under attack," Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, an FRC board member, said in a press release. "I can't think of anyone more prepared to lead FRC and to promote and defend the sanctity of marriage and the family at this time than Tony Perkins."
Plus, you know, he was so good in Psycho. (Just kidding. That's a different Tony Perkins.)
A developing story, noted by several bloggers already: Prophecy teacher Jack Van Impe says he's been invited to the White House to brief staffers on what's to come in the Middle East. "I am not sure whether [President Bush] knows all of the prophecies and how deep of a student he has been in God's Word, but I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Office of Public Liaison for the White House and by the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to make an outline," Van Impe says on his website. "And I've spent hours preparing it. I will release this information to the public in September, but it's in his hands. He will know exactly what is going to happen in the Middle East and what part he will have under the leading of the Holy Spirit of God."
Remember, you got a break from all this homosexual clergy news yesterday …
Reaction to the confirmation of Gene Robinson:
- What can I do? | I just learned that the Episcopal Church confirmed its first homosexual bishop. How can I voice my concerns about this? (Focus on the Family)
- Episcopal church plays Russian Roulette on the gay issue | During these 30-odd years of early adoption of whatever mores the avant-garde of secular society has embraced, there has been only one snag: The Episcopal Church has declined precipitously in both membership and influence (Charlotte Allen, Los Angeles Times)
- Lead us not … ! | The West today is following a secular-materialist philosophy, which it imposes on all other human beings — whether they like it or not (Amr Mohammed Al-Faisal, Arab News)
- Fight homosexuality, says bishop | Anglican Church of Kenya Bishop Beneah Salalah said the vice was a big scandal that must be prevented from taking root in the country and the African continent (East African Standard, Nairobi)
- Two worlds collide in Anglican Church | By confirming an openly gay priest as a bishop for the first time last week, the Episcopal Church set off shock waves of discord that are being felt as far away as Africa (Los Angeles Times)
- Church of Uganda axes U.S. diocese | The Church of Uganda has said it is cutting off relations with the New Hampshire Diocese and its gay bishop-elect, the Rev. Gene Robinson, if he is consecrated (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)
- A priest speaks his mind | When the Rev. Steven R. Randall learned that his denomination had consented to the first openly homosexual bishop in mainline Protestantism, he decided he could no longer trust the Episcopal Church and its leaders (The Washington Times)
- Local churches say no to gay bishop | Christian churches here have collectively stated that they would not condone the appointment of homosexuals as church leaders following the ascension of an openly gay bishop in America (The Star, Malaysia)
- Homosexuals: In deference to God or mammon? | The world is currently enmeshed in the controversy of the elevation of one of them to a top religious order. Is it a sign that homosexuality is being accepted as normal practice in the society? Most religious leaders rage against it with all the armories in their arsenal. (This Day, Nigeria)
More reaction within the Episcopal Church:
- Gays in church and state | The Episcopal Church names its first openly gay bishop as a Massachusetts court considers legalizing same-sex marriage (Newsweek)
- The gay guessing game | Manchester Cathedral chiefs have NOT agreed to let gay American bishop-elect Canon Gene Robinson preach there in October (Manchester Online)
- Episcopalians' opinions on bishop clash | Clergy and their congregants in two parishes illustrate the church's division over a gay prelate (Los Angeles Times)
- Episcopal priest pops up in a new pulpit | Over the past week, the Rev. Jack Potter has found himself thrust into a role he never asked for—TV talk show pundit (Woonsocket Call, R.I.)
- WWJD on gay bishop issue? | Regardless of whether any one individual, or group, believes that the American Episcopal Church made the right choice, the members must be tolerant, and call upon their faith to keep them together (Stuart F. James, The Chattanoogan)
- Gay bishop is grist for sermons | Regardless of whether they favor the Episcopal Church's confirmation of the Rev. Gene Robinson, most local ministers embrace dialogue about the issue (The Wichita Eagle)
- S. Africa's Tutu dismisses gay bishop 'fuss' | But archbishop urges gay clergy to be celibate (Reuters)
- Crisis in the Communion | American Episcopalians appoint a gay bishop—and touch off a global religious firestorm. Anglicans talk ominously of schism, pitting liberals against tradition (Newsweek International)
- San Antonio Episcopalians aren't expecting major change | Even as conservative Episcopalians plan an October meeting in Plano to look at breaking away, local Episcopal clergy and laity as well as other mainline Protestants say they don't believe there will be dramatic changes (San Antonio Express-News)
- Church leaders urge patience during crisis | Gay rights decisions rattle Episcopalians (Florida Today)
- Gay bishop's selection under watch | Local Christians want to see how Episcopals react (The News-Press, Ft. Myers, Fla.)
- Devout follow daily duties | Gay Episcopalian as bishop doesn't cause disruption (News-Leader, Springfield, Mo.)
- Church vote hits home | Gay issue divides state Episcopalians (The Hartford Courant, Conn.)
- Gay issue is strain on local churches | The confirmation of an openly gay man as an Episcopal bishop was a hot topic on Sunday (Press Journal, Vero Beach, Fla.)
- Episcopalians urged to focus on local church (TCPalm.com, Fla.)
Reaction from other churches:
- Gays gain ground | Here in Jamaica the Anglican Church has been quick to dissociate itself from its liberal sisters and brothers in Europe and America who are more "broad-minded" and "inclusive" than the Jamaican church can afford to be in a society which is literally violently opposed to homosexuality (Ian Boyne, Jamaica Gleaner)
- Gay dispute rocks faithful institutions | Propelled by the momentum of the gay-rights movement and a growing acceptance of homosexuality in American culture, the debate over gays in religion is proving vexing and divisive for the nation's churches and their faithful (The Orlando Sentinel)
- Episcopalian vote puts other churches in hot seat | Churches across America anticipate a heightened debate over homosexuals and their role in religion after the Episcopal Church's decision to confirm the election of its first openly gay bishop (Chicago Tribune)
- Lutherans avoid controversy over gay sex | Report due next year is expected to address whether to allow or forbid sexually active gay clergy and same-sex blessings (Associated Press)
- Earlier: Lutherans 'mindful' of Episcopal bishop | Meanwhile, a leading Roman Catholic clergyman said the Episcopal vote had "serious implications in the search for Christian unity." (Associated Press)
- Hoping openness will draw members | In uproar over gay bishop, Episcopal Church shows difference from Catholics (The Baltimore Sun)
Commentary on the church and gays by the media:
- Episcopal Church endorses narcissism | Having lost the masses, the church has found a niche demographic, and it's desperately trying to re-package its old inventory (Mark Steyn, Chicago Sun-Times)
- The eternal heresy | The Episcopal Church enters Joachim's Third Age (John Derbyshire, National Review Online)
- Catechism or schism? | God's laws sometimes seem harsh. But they are God's laws. (Jack Kelly, The Washington Times)
- Clerical errors | Why should we believe a clergy that says one thing and does another? (Richard Ingram, The Guardian, London)
- A media morality play | Despite the emphasis on sensitivity and fairness in today's newsrooms, many in the media have failed to uphold their standards of equity and reliability in their coverage of the recent controversy in the Episcopal Church (Lila Arzua, The Washington Post)
- 'It is not supposed to feel natural' | A roundup of newspaper opinion on the Gene Robinson vote (The Guardian, London)
- World of sin takes cover in gay debate | If homosexuality would have been a huge deal, surely one of the Gospels would have noted it (Don Hudson, The Charlotte Observer)
- A way out of the gay controversy | The clergy is supposed to be discreet, not perfect (Peter Mullen. The Wall Street Journal)
- God save the nation | Gay bishops, dwindling congregations: the Anglican crisis continues, and some are calling for disestablishment. But the link between Church and State is vital for our wellbeing (Peter Hitchens, The Spectator, U.K.)
- Stand by your man | The media regularly describe Archbishop Williams as "head" of the Church of England, and even of something called the Anglican communion. He is not, of course. (Patrick Collinson, The Guardian, London)
- Episcopalians, as Christians, ought to be able to accept homosexuals | There may be deeper reasons for the antipathy toward homosexuals, reasons that exist deep in our subconscious beyond our direct control (Joe Crankshaw, Stuart News, Fla.)
- Appointment of gay bishop reflects Christianity's compassion | The angry reaction to the Episcopal Church's recent brave decision to appoint an openly gay man as a bishop shows again how often religion follows when it should lead (Bill Tammeus, The Kansas City Star)
- Why, after 20 years as a priest, I am leaving the Church of England | The Pharisees are running the asylum because they are rich and the Church of England is bankrupt (Simon Parke, The London Independent
- A message of inclusiveness | Once the furor dies down, the confirmation of the Reverend Robinson could attract more people to the church, gay and straight, because it will be seen as open and inclusive (Editorial, The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Mass.)
- Churches lack vision when they avert their gays | How sad to watch the churches tearing themselves apart over the issue of homosexuality (Editorial, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
- The same God wears different hats | Anyone who says that the Lord definitely says this or that has not looked out the window and seen the many churches and their different theological points of view (Reg Henry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Split in the Episcopal Church?:
- A divided Episcopal church? | Conservative faction opposed to decisions on gays seeks own province (The Washington Post)
- Wide gulf for Episcopalians | Gay bishop's election splits sermons, raises doubt for church (Chicago Tribune)
- Episcopalians face tough choices | For those who do consider breaking away, there are many potential dangers, but also lessons to be learned from local congregations (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Episcopalians ponder new gay bishop | Episcopalians across the nation struggled to comprehend what the vote meant for them and whether it would lead to a split in the church (The New York Times)
- Episcopalian leaders see an altered future | Confirmation of openly gay bishop puts talk of schism, challenges in air (Peoria Journal-Star, Ill.)
- Ex-prelate: Don't let squabbles alter focus | "The kingdom of God is far greater than the church. … Direct your energies there," said Archbishop George Carey, who served as leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion from 1991-2002 (The Tennessean, Nashville)
- Ministers urge tolerance, unity | Episcopalian parishioners asked to keep the faith after gay bishop's confirmation (The State, Columbia, S.C.)
- A house divided | Will the Episcopal Church find a way to survive the controversial election of its first openly gay bishop? (Time)
- Malawi could sever ties over gay bishop | Archbishop Bernard Malango calls Robinson vote "odd and unnatural" (Associated Press)
- A schism deepens in the U.S. church | As convention delegates headed home to dioceses and parishes around the country, many expressed concern after their tumultuous week about what they might find there (The New York Times)
- A schism averted? | Once again the Episcopal Church diffuses a major crisis, for now. (Harvey Cox, The Wall Street Journal)
- For Episcopalians, the price of divorce may be too high | Several obstacles — legal, structural and financial — lie in the way, not to mention the Episcopal distaste for indecorous behavior (Deborah Caldwell, The New York Times)
- Why the conservatives won't schism | The women's ordination battles of the '70s will determine their next step (Deborah Caldwell, Beliefnet)
- The evil ham and cheese sandwich | The suggestion that our Constitution should be amended to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman because it is a sacrament, as Bill Frist has said, would be another horrendous mistake (Rob Meltzer, The Daily News Tribune, Waltham, Mass.)
- Marital essence isn't plumbing | Marriage is a lot more like visiting a post office than St. Peter's Basilica (Ross Werland, Chicago Tribune)
- Same-sex marriage | A new Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for The Globe and Mail and CTV suggests national support for same-sex marriage has dropped, with Canadians evenly split at 49 percent for and 49 percent against allowing homosexuals to wed and register their union with their provincial government (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
- Church controversy infiltrates same-sex union blessing | The blessing ceremony, presided over by two same-sex couples, one male and one female, capped a four-day conference for about 300 members of DignityUSA, a national gay and lesbian Catholic organization that has found itself at the center of controversies in the two years since the last such gathering (Chicago Tribune)
- Gay marriage: Playing with political fire | Opposing gay marriage is the easy part. As gay rights issues bubble up in courts and state legislatures, polls reflect an ambivalence in the nation that puts both parties in a bind (Lorraine Woellert, BusinessWeek)
- Don't wed rite to Constitution | If atheists can marry in this country, why not gays? (Cynthia Tucker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- The Vatican's blunt instrument | Last week the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a harshly worded document describing the state recognition of same-sex unions as the "legalisation of evil". A Boston theologian reads between its lines (Stephen Pope, The Tablet, U.K.)
- And now, the queer eye for straight marriage | So much marital sanctity to protect, so little time (Frank Rich, The New York Times)
- Canada's push to legalize gay marriages draws bishops' ire | Controversy is emerging as the sleeper issue in next year's elections (The New York Times)
- Why America has gay marriage jitters | Pollsters say most Americans consider marriage essentially a religious institution intended explicitly for a man and a woman (Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times)
- 48 liberals line up against same-sex marriage | The most opposition Jean Chrétien has faced from his own caucus to one of his laws since coming into office 10 years ago (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
- In gay-union debate, religious influence hard to measure | The question remains whether the religious community has the clout, especially when it is sending such mixed messages, to influence the civil debate over gay rights (The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y.)
- Group co-founded by gay bishop helps teens | Gene Robinson's Concord Outright says kids can be gay and Christian (Associated Press)
- 'This could be your kid' | Law enforcement is on alert: teen prostitution is flourishing nationwide. The girls are younger, the trade is more violent—and, increasingly, the teenagers come from middle-class homes (Newsweek)
- Many religious faiths still struggle with issue of gay clergy | Most religious faiths and movements in the United States ban clergy who engage in same-sex sexual behavior (Voice of America)
- Uniting we stand, say 300 churchgoers | Evangelical opponents of gay ordination yesterday vowed to reclaim the Uniting Church from within (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
- Another ex-gay leader suffers 'moral fall' | Michael Johnston, founder of Kerusso Ministries, is accused of exposing male sex partners to HIV; others faulted for concealing scandal (Dallas Voice)
- Gay fixation sidelines churches | Orthodox Christianity is under threat from radical apologists who transform the elements of faith to a less heroic agenda (James Murray, The Australian)
- Homosexuality, in the biblical sense | New gay theology challenges traditional views of scripture and intimacy (The Washington Post)
- Poison-pen police hunt | A Police investigation has started to track down the authors of homophobic letters posted nationwide in a hate campaign against a North Staffordshire clergyman (The Sentinel, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England)
- Also: Police called in as poison pen tirade intensifies | Police are hunting the authors of "homophobic" letters distributed in an anti-gay hate campaign against a Methodist church minister (The Sentinel, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England)
Sex and marriage:
- Wedding-day kiss will be couple's first | For the couple, who met at a Southern Baptist evangelical church in Renton, not kissing, not hugging and not having sex before they are married is an avowal of purity (The Seattle Times)
- The marriage amendment | Americans use written constitutions to hamstring the government and permanently fence off matters about which it can't be trusted (L. Lynn Hogue, The Washington Times)
Clergy sex abuse:
- Boston's exemplary friar | Archbishop Sean O'Malley is providing enlightened leadership for Boston Catholics bedeviled by the cover-up of priests who sexually abused innocent children (Editorial, The New York Times)
- The real perpetrators of priestly sex abuse | The Massachusetts attorney general's report is one of the most revolting documents you will ever read (Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune)
- Boston church settled suits from 1994-'01 | Paid at least $21.2 million (Associated Press)
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