Saturday, March 15, 2008

The expected spin from 815 on the deposition votes

From BabyBlueOnline, more on the major problems with the depositions (or non-depositions) of Bishops Schofield and Cox at the just-ended HOB meeting [boldface mine]:

. . . Here's David Booth Beer's defense:
"In consultation with the House of Bishops' parliamentarian prior to the vote, we both agreed that the canon meant a majority of all those present and entitled to vote, because it is clear from the canon that the vote had to be taken at a meeting, unlike the situation where you poll the whole House of Bishops by mail. Therefore, it is our position that the vote was in order."

Now let's get this straight. When Bishop Righter was brought up on heresy charges twelve years ago in the House of Bishops, the entire House had to vote. That was for a trial. This is even more serious - a deposition - to remove a Diocesan Bishop with Jurisdiction from ministry, to strip him of his authority as a bishop of the church, an action that is akin to the ecclesiastical equivalent of the death penalty for a bishop's ministry and they just got together enough for a quorum and thought that satisfied the canons? What did they do afterwards, vote on whether they wanted pepperoni or Hawaiian pizza for lunch? This is not the actions of a free democracy, this is autocracy - this is why the founders sought to have a separation of powers in the federal government, an action mirrored on the state level as well - to stop this kind of jury-rigging. It is shocking - it shows that duplicitousness was present in the actions taken by the House of Bishops at Camp Allen. . .

Read it all.

And from Brad Drell, a lawyerly take:
. . . Frankly, the Episcopal Church has lost all credibility in its democratic processes. This deal is rigged because they aren’t going to follow their own rules. Beers needs to go and the PB needs to get better legal advice.

But, of course, the final word, as it always should, goes to Christopher Johnson at MCJ:
. . . Not that any of this should have surprised anyone. If the Episcopal Organization can, under the heading "interpretation," decide that it's own rules don't say what they clearly say, then no one's position is safe. Therefore, no one who cares about the Gospel of Jesus Christ should keep too tight a grip on their association with these unprincipled people. . .

To put it another way, Living Church reports that 131 bishops registered for the meeting, less than half of those entitled to vote, and at least 15 left before the deposition votes. We'll be exceedingly generous and say that there were 120 pointy hats around. Which means that in the best possible scenario for the EO, it would have taken a minimum of 61 votes to oust Schofield and Cox. Which also means that in the Episcopal Organization, a little less than 5% of the total eligible voters constitutes a majority.

Check it out!

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