Outside group trying to influence Chicago election

Ever been concerned about the influence of big-bucks donors from outside your area in the election of your political representatives? Consider the situation faced by Episcopalians, who have big-bucks donors from outside their church meddling in the election of their bishops.

The Institute for Religion and Democracy (IRD), a conservative lobbying group funded primarily by non-Episcopalians has inserted itself into the Episcopal election in the Diocese of Chicago. Ralph Webb, Director of Anglican Action at IRD, writes in his blog about the Very Rev. Tracey Lind, an openly gay woman who is one of five priests nominated to succeed Bishop William Persell.

Read his post here.

The IRD says it aims to “restructure” the governance of mainline Protestant churches who do not espouse its conservative political agenda. Webb and several other members of its relatively small staff are members of Archbishop Peter Akinola’s Church of Nigeria. Learn more about the IRD and its financial supporters here.

Comments (6)

Is this the best the IRD intern could dig up on Lind? Go read the Lind essay. There's nothing there. Nothing.

I do wish Lawrence smooth sailing this time around.

The link to Ralph Webb's blog doesn't seem to be working. Any chance the political pressure from Episcopal Cafe got him to take it down?

The article seems to have dropped the link to Lind's sermon. Here it is again.

Good catch, Chris. The Café's post had had a link to Lind's essay.

My response to Webb's post, posted at Webb's blog:

To answer two of your questions:

Is that any more radical a statement of potential leave-taking than what Lind said? More radical? Well, it is qualitatively different. Lind's statement spoke of individuals exercising their individual consciences. Lawrence spoke of how a diocese might act, and how he might lead it.

If Lind made her comments today, would they lead to strong opposition to her candidacy -- or election, if Chicago chooses her -- the way that Lawrence's statements did? Well, they would certainly be matters of consideration.

Would they result in her not receiving sufficient consents for the election? Perhaps; perhaps not. Remember that Lawrence's statements did not prevent him receiving suffient consents for election. There was never question that he received sufficient consents from the bishops. When procedural issues prevented recognition of consents from some Standing Committees, it was not because there was doubt that those consents could be authentic; but in troublesome times, we are better served by following the official procedures for our actions. (Yes, there have been exceptions in the past, and at this point it doesn't look like they've served us that well.) I certainly expect Lawrence to receive sufficient consents in the second election (a bit anomolous in itself in offering only one candidate).

Please note the conclusions of Dean Lind's sermon: an ecclesial conclusion that we all need to do our best to stay in conversation and in communion; and her personal conclusion that she will do so. And should she decide she needs to leave, she has no expectation of taking the authority, license, or property of the Episcopal Church with her. There are too many at the other pole of the discussion who simply can't say as much.

Marshall Scott

I had to hop in, too, Marshall. I'm from Chicagoland, so it's highly annoying to me to see the IRD involve itself.

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