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WASHINGTON: Orthodox Accuse Bishop Chane of Media Bias in Diocesan Publications

WASHINGTON: Orthodox Episcopalians Accuse Bishop Chane of Media Bias in Diocesan Publications

From AAC-Washington Chapter

February 19, 2007

Dear Bishop Chane,

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, as we enter the Lenten Season.

We write to you with our concerns about the role of the diocese media relative to your moving 2007 convention address.

Your words were:

"Help us we pray to once again reclaim the truth that our identity as Christians is defined by living into community where each of our congregations is an integral part of all our congregations. Help us to live into the words of your servant Paul who said; 'Indeed the body does not consist of one member but of many. But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them as he chose. The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."

The Board of American Anglican Council of Washington fervently prays for this also, and this letter is written in that light of mutual understanding and agreement. As you know, the diocesan media plays a vital role in communicating that message to all in the diocese. What immediately concerns us is there is substantial evidence that our Diocesan Newspaper, The Washington Window, and the Daily Episcopalian, the Diocesan Internet blog site, consistently fail to recognize "the body does not consist of one member but of many."

An example of this in The Washington Window was its recent Special Report "Following the Money-Donors on the Anglican Right." The report condemns traditional organizations such as the AAC, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, the Ekklesia Society and their financial supporters in their efforts in Affirming Biblical Authority and Christian Orthodoxy in the Anglican Communion. We would have no objection if these comments were made privately or by an organization representing a particular point of view. But, as the diocesan newspaper is an official publication of the Diocese of Washington for all its members, a higher standard is expected.

The Washington Diocese Internet blog site, the Daily Episcopalian, posts biased articles that use hateful, divisive language that tears the body of Christ. In addition, it continually insists that principled disagreement is prejudice, and traditionalists are falsely accused of being homophobic, bigoted and divisive, an attitude that principled disagreement rules out. Here are examples of the pattern of inflammatory language from one single posting of February 7, 2007:

1."These folks [traditionalists] don't just want to disassociate from us, they want to destroy us."

2."My point is that our Church has numerous opponents, and some of them don't regard us as friends from whom they must regrettably estrange themselves, but as enemies who, in the words of one pugnacious right winger must be 'be taken down'"

3. "Indeed, the scheme may indicate certain desperation on [Bishop] Wright's part. He may realize that the covenant isn't going to be the instrument for the advancement of homophobic bigotry that he hoped it would be."

We assure you these are not isolated instances; there are many more. Rhetoric like this on Washington Diocesan media serves no Christian purpose, and actually demeans and ridicules traditionalist members of this diocese.

We have requested a cessation of such divisive rhetoric via the Internet to diocesan staff to no avail, and now we ask you to intervene to end the inflammatory, divisive language that harms the body of Christ. We also ask you to call upon all members of this diocese to live the words of Paul, "If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is there are many members, yet one body." We must all recognize, understand and agree that we are all members of one body, all Children of God.

In closing, we would be remiss if we did not tell you how pleased we are for your initiative in reaching a pastoral oversight agreement with the All Saint's Chevy Chase Parish. We commend you for displaying leadership and compassion in this regard and say to you we believe this is can be a model for all parties to come to a satisfactory arrangement, even if temporary, not only in this diocese but beyond.

Faithfully,

AAC-W Officers and Trustees

Bradley Hutt
David Bickel
Robert England
Mary Bowen
John McKendrew
Robert McCarthy
Emily Volz
James Brown
Nancy Virts
Wes Courtney
Rufus Peckham

END

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