High cost of litigating TEC

Dear Editor:

In light of your diocesan litigation with The Episcopal Church, we thought this letter might be of interest to your readers. This is what we sent March 5 to the deputies of the 2015 General Convention.

We were among the 5,000 signatories of an unanswered petition requesting an accounting and transparency from the church in spending more than $20 million dollars of church funds for litigation in 94 civil lawsuits. Five dioceses and hundreds of parishes wished to depart the Episcopal Church with their property but the Presiding Bishop and her chancellor abruptly ended peaceful negotiations for departure and filed civil lawsuits to seize those properties. More than 40 of the lawsuits involved actions against parishioners who voluntarily served as vestry members or other leadership positions. In several cases, the Presiding Bishop was reportedly seeking the personal assets of these parishioners for monetary punitive damages causing undue and unjust personal financial hardship and mental suffering to them. In the past two decades, an estimated 1.5 million Episcopalians transferred to another Anglican church, left for another denomination, or left the Christian faith altogether and more than 500 Episcopal churches have closed.

Further, an estimated 700 former clergy and 12 bishops were defrocked or suspended from their ordained ministry when they sought transfer to another Anglican church. By misuse of the canons without a hearing or trial, the Presiding Bishop extinguished the right of those clergy to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority conferred in ordination at the Anglican church body where they have transferred. Countless lives were shattered and relationships destroyed by these actions, for these good men and women did not take their solemn vows of ordination lightly and they were unjustly defrocked for it.

Two dioceses, the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Diocese of South Carolina, saw the harshness of the Presiding Bishop’s action against her Brothers and Sisters in Christ and lessened the Abandonment charge to “restrict [the] exercise of ministry” only within TEC.

We seek an end to these unprecedented unjust acts by an appropriate resolve and executed by this 2015 General Convention committing The Episcopal Church to make full restitution for these actions, with the 94 lawsuits withdrawn from secular courts and all associated court costs paid for by TEC. We call for the convention to support those dioceses and parishes wishing to depart from TEC, to go with your blessing, recognizing that the departing are members in good standing and the convention supports their quest to transfer and/or become recognized members of the Anglican Communion, if they so desire.

To our 700 clergy brothers and sisters, realizing the church can never make amends for what the church has done, we call for TEC to begin a process of healing and conciliation for all concerned at the diocesan level and the church begin with all rights and privileges of ordination totally restored.

Finally, to all members of the church, we call for TEC to communicate an apology for misleading your members and for lack of transparency in your leadership roles and to hold yourselves accountable for all these actions, with the assurance this will never happen again.

Bradley Hutt

Former Senior Warden

Christ Episcopal Church

Clinton, MD.

(This letter was also signed by Bill Boniface, Nancy Virts and Bob McCarthy — all former senior wardens of Episcopal parishes in Maryland.)

 

McIntosh wrong

Dear Editor:

As a contributor to the Mercury, I am fully cognizant of the fact that whatever I write is subject to the critical scrutiny of every reader who picks it up. Lachlan McIntosh should be equally prepared. Consequently, I write this letter in response to the column written by Mr. McIntosh, entitled “Obama Is Correct: Terror, not Islam, is the enemy,” published in the March 2015 edition of the Charleston Mercury. Mr. McIntosh’s claim is absurd on its face.

The problem for his conclusion is that just about every act of terror that has been committed in recent years has been done in the name of Islam. To claim that we are in a war against terror not Islam is identical to saying that in World War II we were in a war against evil, not Germany, because not all Germans were Nazis. To make that claim is revelatory of absolutely nothing. Patton killed German soldiers, not some inchoate, impersonal vapor. Furthermore, although not every German was a Nazi, a substantial number of them approved of them. Similarly, opinion polls indicate that many Muslims, though not terrorists themselves, agree with and support those who wage jihad as terrorists. It is Sharia law that informs the doctrine of Islamist terrorists. To refuse to recognize that fact is to be full of sound and fury, but signify nothing. Instead of recognizing the basic facts, Mr. McIntosh makes childish accusations.

He labels as “mindless conspiracy theories” the obvious fact that these killers are Muslims. His statement that “far too many critics of the president … feel an overwhelming need to attack his character and his motivation” is nothing short of hilarious in view of the fact that it appears immediately following Mr. McIntosh’s labeling as “paranoid, unhinged nonsense” the inconvenient truth that political Islam IS the enemy. Mr. McIntosh’s listing of the “major successes” of Obama’s presidency is sufficient unto itself to impeach his opinion as having any value whatsoever.

Stuart Kaufman

Mount Pleasant, S.C.

 

More on McIntosh

Dear Editor:

One of the major attacks on the Republican Party, both in office and those running for president, is how disjointed they appear. They can’t seem to agree on much, but unlike the lemming Democrats who blindly follow the party leaders over any cliff, they actually think for themselves. Mr. Lachlan McIntosh lists his profession as being a political consultant for Democrats and independents. I am sure he is quite good at this since his most recent column certainly highlights his blind but 100 percent faithfulness to the absolutely barren Obama administration.

The majority of his current column was dedicated to the defense of the morally indefendable atrocities committed by Muslim terrorists. President Obama has tried to offset their wickedness by making vague comparisons to the crusades and inquisitions as though that could justify the current behavior. Mr. McIntosh concurs. Unfortunately lecturing us that ISIS has killed more Muslims than Christians provides little comfort to anyone. Incredibly Mr. McIntosh wants the media to down play the horror so as not to provoke the Muslims further. His memory is short however. In the 1930s, the world ignored the Nazi threat and England's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain did exactly what President Obama suggests, appeasement. Eventually more than six million Jews were murdered in the concentrations camps and many more in isolated incidents similar to what ISIS is doing today.

It is sleazy politics when you trade human lives for political expediency and legacy building. It is ugly business to defend the policies of such immoral politicians.

Larry Wiessmann

John’s Island, S.C.

 

Rebuttal on McIntosh

Dear Editor:

I would like to respond to Lachlan McIntosh’s op-ed in March’s issue, titled “Obama is correct.” McIntosh is critical of Mayor Giuliani’s belief that Obama doesn’t love his country, believes Obama is responsible for a growing economy and strongly supports Obama’s position regarding ISIS.

Obama has stated he wants to “fundamentally transform America.” Do you believe that anyone who wants to fundamentally transform his spouse is in love with him or her? Normally, this is a case for divorce. Could that be true for Obama? Let’s examine the record.

Obama’s father abandoned his family. Frank Marshall Davis, a close friend of his grandparents, was later enlisted to be a black role model to replace Obama’s father. Davis was a card-carrying Communist (#47544). As a community organizer, Obama taught and practiced the works of Saul Alinsky. Alinsky, the father of community organizing, was an amoral revolutionary who hated capitalism and America. Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor and a prominent liberal, has testified before Congress that Obama continues to violate the Constitution.

To move America away from its free market roots, Obama has aggressively promoted government intrusion into the economy, thereby stifling economic growth and individual initiative. Despite low interest rates and a bullish stock market, the economy as a whole has been anemic; welfare and dependency have flourished. Because of inferior job creation, wages and the labor participation are still below pre-recession levels. Not because of Obama but in spite of him, the economy now shows signs of improving. The private sector, via fracking, has sharply reduced energy prices. Cheaper fuel has given consumers and businesses more money to spend on other goods and services that are driving economic growth.

It’s true that deficits are in decline. However, federal spending is still out of control; last year the government spent $483 billion more than it took in. Economists are predicting that the decline in deficits will be short-lived; since Obama took office, the national debt has increased by $8 trillion and will double under his watch; that’s more than any president in history and almost as much as all presidents put together.

ISIS may represent only a minority of Muslins, but it’s nothing if not Islamic in its beliefs. It’s true we are not at war with Islam, but a war cannot be won against an undefined enemy.

Obama creates a serious problem for the United States, moderate Islam and our Arab allies by not describing the evil we see and by not defending the superiority of our own way of life. He should also recognize that ISIS’s success is directly related to its battlefield success. The perception of the “strong horse” can’t be ignored. Leadership without some use of American combat troops is a half measure that isn’t serious or credible. The first step to win the war of ideas against ISIS must be military; the U.S., not Iran, must provide the military leadership that defeats ISIS on the battlefield.

 

Bill Bissette

Charleston, S.C.

 

 

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