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Episcopal clergywomen rebuke statements "antithetical to the Episcopal Church's expectations of clergy"

Episcopal clergywomen rebuke statements "antithetical to the Episcopal Church's expectations of clergy"

By Rosalind Hughes
EPISCOPAL CAFE
Sept. 25, 2018

The New York Times has published a letter signed by 328 Episcopal clergywomen criticizing comments made last week by the Rev. Canon John C. Danforth, Episcopal priest and former US Senator, regarding allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. In a story comparing Anita F. Hill's accusations of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas in 1991 to Christine Blasey Ford's current allegations of sexual assault by Brett M. Kavanaugh, Danforth is reported to have told the NYT

"I just feel so terribly sorry for Kavanaugh and what he's going through," he said. "Here's a man who's had just a marvelous reputation as a human being and now it's just being trashed. I felt the same way about Clarence."

He added that the presumption of guilt has only grown since 1991. "With the #MeToo movement, it makes it even harder for him," Mr. Danforth said. "It was bad enough for Clarence, but this is really going to be difficult."

The Revd Teresa K.M. Danieley organized the clergywomen's response, published today, which argues,
No one, not least a priest of the church, should publicly shame, blame or question the motives of women who step forward to report instances of sexual abuse; Mr. Danforth should instead be calling for an in-depth examination of Dr. Blasey's allegations.

Those in ordained ministry are called to display Christ's love for both accuser and accused, fulfilling the baptismal promise to strive for justice and peace and to respect the dignity of every human being.

Mr. Danforth's statements are deeply offensive to all victims of sexual harassment and assault and to their loved ones. Sexual assault is damaging to society, destroying lives and relationships. Mr. Danforth's statements are antithetical to the Episcopal Church's expectations of clergy, who are called to offer justice and grace to those in need.

*****

FULL LETTER: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/opinion/letters/danforth-kavanaugh.html
328 Clergywomen Criticize Danforth Over a Kavanaugh Comment
The women criticize the former senator and Episcopal priest's remarks about Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas's accusers.

Sept. 25, 2018
To the Editor:

Re "Echoes of Anita Hill, but in a Different Era for Women" (front page, Sept. 18):

We, clergywomen in the Episcopal Church, object to the comments by John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri and a priest in the Episcopal Church, regarding the accusation of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

In your article, Mr. Danforth said he feels "terribly sorry for Kavanaugh" and considers Dr. Blasey's allegations against Judge Kavanaugh to be a tragic repeat of the damage to Justice Clarence Thomas's reputation after Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Thomas.

No one, not least a priest of the church, should publicly shame, blame or question the motives of women who step forward to report instances of sexual abuse; Mr. Danforth should instead be calling for an in-depth examination of Dr. Blasey's allegations.

Those in ordained ministry are called to display Christ's love for both accuser and accused, fulfilling the baptismal promise to strive for justice and peace and to respect the dignity of every human being.

Mr. Danforth's statements are deeply offensive to all victims of sexual harassment and assault and to their loved ones. Sexual assault is damaging to society, destroying lives and relationships. Mr. Danforth's statements are antithetical to the Episcopal Church's expectations of clergy, who are called to offer justice and grace to those in need.

People who courageously step forward with allegations of sexual harassment or assault deserve to be heard and respected. We can and must demand better from our clergy, even if we cannot expect better from secular authorities.

Teresa K.M. Danieley, St. Louis the writer is an Episcopal priest. The letter was signed by 327 other clergywomen in the Episcopal Church.

SIGNATORIES: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1D31FznBOj70bFj0yTiPifYjc4LNs_qiasXjEsmVlKuk/edit?ts=5baa7441#gid=1730887828

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