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The 'Soft Totalitarianism' of the Episcopal Church

The 'Soft Totalitarianism' of the Episcopal Church

COMMENTARY

By David Virtue, DD
www.virtueonline.org
December 10, 2020

In his book Live not by Lies, author and columnist Rod Dreher makes the following observation about the contemporary cultural situation; "Today's totalitarianism demands allegiance to a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incompatible with logic--and certainly with Christianity. Compliance is forced less by the state than by elites who form public opinion, and by private corporations that, thanks to technology, control our lives far more than we would like to admit."

Mainline denominations, particularly The Episcopal Church, have completely embraced a set of progressive beliefs, many of which are incompatible not only with logic but with orthodox faith, or 'the faith once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 1:3). They demand compliance, that clearly violates both conscience and scripture on those who disagree.

Soft totalitarianism, as I now understand it, has been going on for the past forty years in The Episcopal Church, first in the use and misuse of language, then imbibing homosexuality. In time it became a plethora of sexualities that finally decoupled a bishop from his diocese because of his refusal to bow the knee to the Moloch, god of homosexual marriage.

The surprise is why we should be surprised; those with eyes to see could see it all coming. A few voices were raised like the Communion Partner bishops, but they fell silent in the wake of woke revisionism, offering milquetoast responses to heretical acts.

Take the language of 'generous orthodoxy' first coined by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. The word 'generous' subtly implies to the reader the notion that the word can be expanded on so the word would no longer mean what it originally meant. Griswold coined the term first and sold it to Archbishop George Carey when the AMIA came on the scene. In truth, 'generous orthodoxy' meant expanding the strict absolute boundaries of Scripture on sexuality to accommodate a handful of strident homosexualist voices demanding the Church change its thinking on human sexual behavior. Griswold was successful.

The expansion and devaluation of language was just the beginning. Over time, other words came into play. Words like 'hate', 'diversity', 'inclusion' became the buzz words of progressivism and the flash points of woke awareness.

Over time these words became the driving force for the rise of soft totalitarianism that would forever change The Episcopal Church and threaten all the mainline denominations.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry coined the term 'beloved community' in order to sanitize and whitewash The Episcopal Church; at the same time strangulating any opposition to pansexuality. When one bishop rose up and said no, he was silenced and in gulag fashion, frog marched out the church door. His exit was softened, no doubt, by a generous package and pension. It was yet another example of soft totalitarianism. After all, what's the loss of one bishop, when 99 go along with the zeitgeist. It's a reverse lesson/parable of the lost sheep Jesus taught about.

Looking back, I can see how Louie Crew, the academic, homosexual lay Episcopalian seduced an entire Church. He was the master of soft totalitarianism. His mantra, 'God loves absolutely everybody,' in fact, excluded those who disagreed with him. They would, in time, be forced out of the church...with an unctuous smile. Sodomy brooks no opposition.

The latest iteration of soft totalitarianism can now be seen in the Church of England.

The Mother Church is spending inordinate amounts of money parsing homosexuality and ultimately, homosexual marriage into the church. We are told this will be a reality by 2022, but getting there has not been a straight line.

It has to be finagled by a stream of theologically weak, moderately educated bishops, a compliant house of bishops, and, hopefully, 'go along to get along' laity. The latter, to date, have been the most resistant. But in time, the Anglican Borg will triumph and they will be absorbed. It is written.

The 'Living in Love and Faith' (LLF) report is the perfect example of soft totalitarianism. It is the best of Anglican fudge. It neither condemns homosexuality nor upholds strict biblical prohibitions against such behavior, but argues for big tent Anglicanism to accommodate all. Of course, the GAFCON bishops are not buying it and so they become the outliers in the chess game of Anglicanism.

But then along comes Jayne Ozanne, a lesbian, Anglican activist blasting the LLF report, condemning those who dare to forbid homosexual practice as Holocaust deniers and rapists. In one short sentence, she ripped off the mask of soft totalitarianism to reveal a hard authoritarianism that must have shocked even the weak, wobbly Welby behind the walls of Lambeth Palace. One cannot pray this away. To date not a word of rebuke has been voiced against her public outrage.

She specifically condemned those who 'teach that LGBT lifestyles are sinful', affirming the biblical teaching on singleness and celibacy.

Any ordinand affirming such views would not be ordained in the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Church of Canada even if they did, they would find it almost impossible to find a bishop or parish who would accept them.

It is profoundly ironic that the Living in Love and Faith report which encourages people of differing views to "listen and learn" from each other, will because of soft totalitarianism, listen only to those voices that affirm pansexuality. In time, orthodox views will be banned.

On Twitter, Ozanne added: "Homophobic teaching, no matter how civilly expressed, is both dangerous & harmful. Full stop!" She also called for a ban on what she called "gender identity 'conversion therapy'" even though those seeking to change, do so as their choice.

Ozanne ratcheted up her anger by saying that churches or individuals that engage in prayer, private conversation and teaching which does not affirm homosexual or transgender lifestyles" should be held to account and face the full force of the law". So, no more soft totalitarianism, she now advocates trials and jail. Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn has written extensively about his time in the Gulag. What she advocates parallels his experience.

Philip Rieff, author of The Triumph of the Therapeutic noted that if there is no sacred order, then the original promise of the serpent in the Garden of Eden -- "[Y]e shall be as gods" -- is the foundational principle of the new culture. Without a shared belief in and submission to a sacred order, what you [ultimately] get is an "anti-culture." The Episcopal Church has listened to the serpent, eaten of the forbidden fruit and for its sins it will die.

END

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