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By David W. Virtue, DD
June 4, 2020

Ultra-liberal, progressive bishops in The Episcopal Church have been silent in the face of antifa and others who have burned properties and businesses to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, looting and destroying stores across the nation over the death of one black man in Minneapolis.

In Santa Monica, a number of business owners lost everything in 10 minutes, with an estimated damage of up to $6 million! There was no public outrage from local Episcopal bishops over this.

When Presiding Bishop Michael Curry railed against president Donald Trump clasping a Bible using St. John's Episcopal church as a backdrop, declaring himself "the president of law and order" threatening to deploy the United States military to American cities to quell a rise of violent protests, Curry said only that the bible teaches us that "God is love" and Jesus of Nazareth taught, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Curry mentioned George Floyd, but he had nothing to say about tens of thousands of big and small businesses (many of them black owned) hurt by the rioting and looting in some 140 cities across the nation. Nothing.

The same goes for some 13 bishops (to date) who have failed to condemn looters, but were happy to rail against racism, white supremacy and Trump's actions at St. John's Episcopal Church. Below is the list.

New York Bishops on President Trump's use of St. John's Lafayette Square as a political prop
Maryland Bishop's statement on the current crisis
New England Bishops respond to President Donald Trump's photo op
Western North Carolina Bishop's letter on deep-seated racism
Episcopal Urban Caucus decries the sin of white supremacy in the age of COVID-19
Atlanta Bishop's statement on the killing of George Floyd and the resulting demonstrations in Atlanta and..
Diocese of Maryland Truth and Reconciliation Commission statement
Episcopal Peace Fellowship statement on George Floyd
Long Island Bishop Provenzano's statement on the sin of white supremacy
Presiding Bishop's Word to the Church: When the Cameras are Gone, We Will Still Be Here
Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Massachusetts Bishop Suffragan Gayle E. Harris on the continuing power of racism and xenophobia
A Letter from the Downtown Interfaith Senior Clergy in Minneapolis
Minnesota Bishop, Bishop-elect issue letter on the death of George Floyd

Why? Many of those businesses looted were small black businesses desperately needed in poor communities to help poor black families with everyday needs. Why was this unimportant? White middle-class bishops never venture into these areas and so would not know how important these businesses are. Better to sit in their ivory towers and rage against the night while blaming Trump, racism, white privilege and a black man who tragically lost his life by an overzealous cop.

The twilight zone of hypocrisy cannot be emphasized enough.

While the bible the President held up is a book he has never, if ever read and whose precepts he does not follow, the same could be said for the Episcopal Church and what it selectively takes from the Bible to support its post-Christian worldview.

The Bible upholds life as sacred; the Episcopal church embraces abortion. When she was Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori denied the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Most TEC bishops do not believe in substitutionary atonement, the authority of Scripture, plenary inspiration and they can barely say the creed without crossing their fingers behinds their backs. The Episcopal Church has embraced a plethora of sexualities that find no sanctuary in scripture.

"There were many in the media and American Christian life, and in particular in the Episcopal church who said that they did not like the picture of the president holding the Bible in front of St. John's Episcopal church. But those who know the Bible as the inerrant and infallible, verbally inspired Word of God will profoundly also not like what is done to the Bible inside the St. John's Episcopal Church. And furthermore, you could extend that through the Episcopal Church in the United States, generalized as a denomination. It just adds to the pain and the consternation of this unique moment in American public life," wrote Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler.

The Episcopal Church claims to represent the values of love, of justice, of compassion, and of a way to heal our hurts, said Curry. Really.

So where was the "compassion" when the Episcopal Bishop of New York threw Samaritan's Purse out of its cathedral in New York City, when that ministry was meeting the needs of COVID-19 patients. Where will be the "justice" when the Episcopal Church throws out the godly bishop of Albany because he refuses to embrace homosexual marriage. And what about 12 years of "love" spending millions of dollars litigating for properties they never built in the diocese of Ft. Worth, yet claimed they were theirs.

"We need our President, and all who hold office, to be moral leaders who help us to be a people and nation living these values. For the sake of George Floyd, for all who have wrongly suffered, and for the sake of us all, we need leaders to help us to be "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all," railed Curry.

Fair enough. Using or trying to use the military police and law enforcement against peaceful protestors using smoke bombs and rubber bullets, was an over reach by his secret service. Hiding in a bunker in the White House while yelling at governors to do more to quell the riots is more cowardice than heroism. But progressive Episcopal bishops don't have much of a leg to stand on when they fail in their central mission to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to lost sinners and fail to urge their clergy to do the same. This is a pot and kettle situation.

If Trump needs saving, and of that there is little doubt, so apparently do Episcopal bishops.

Theologian Robert Gagnon, who was in Pittsburgh, observed that two days of protests had left scores of injured police and protesters and over a hundred businesses looted or destroyed. For what? Justice for George Floyd, they chanted. What do they think is happening? Has the city of Minneapolis or the state of Minnesota been deficient in firing and prosecuting Chauvin for murder? What do you want them to do? Flay him alive before a trial? Hang him on a pole and have the public hurl rocks at him? It is we, the taxpaying citizens of Pittsburgh who have to pay for all this damage, these injuries, and the round-the-clock police presence.

"These protests may be making a lot of people feel good about themselves ("Look at me: I protested for civil rights and laws that are already in place!") but they are doing plenty of concrete harm. Bottom line: The protesters are protesting what no person publicly promotes and what no major policy furthers. Their protests have become vehicles for criminal elements to endanger lives and inflict massive destruction on property that in the end are hurting far more people than these protests are helping (if indeed they are even helping anyone), blacks as well as whites, poor as well as rich."

My next-door neighbor walked through the streets of Philadelphia and saw the damage to dozens of small businesses and restaurants and just cried. "What has this got to do with the death of one man. Tell me."

In general, Catholic officials do better with such statements about public events than do Protestants. Catholics often have a wider appreciation of historic Christian teaching about civil life and the public good. Protestants also should be able to call upon this teaching but typically instead select Bible verses making laudable but more narrowly moralistic pronouncements, said Gagnon.


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