Notes of secret panel selection leaked to Episcopal Café

The notes of a meeting at which the House of Bishops' Theology Committee discussed nominations to the secretive committee currently preparing a report on same-sex relationships have been leaked to Episcopal Café. While the list is partial and the members of the panel remain unknown, the document may offer insight into the bishops' thinking.


Dick Cheney, former vice president, United States

Pros: experience with secret panels/ task forces; demonstrated ability to work in undisclosed locations; perspective as parent of a lesbian.
Cons: his unorthodox methods of eliciting information might compromise our ability to attract other members.

Katie Perry, songstess

Pros: personal examination of same-sex relationships yielded hit record.
Cons: kisses and tells.

C. S. Lewis, author

Pros: wrote The Lion, The Witch and the Closet, which established sacred nature of secretive endeavors.
Con: "Closet" rendered as “Wardrobe,” in some translations.

Marcel Marceau, mime

Pros: doesn't mind keeping quiet.
Cons: always clowning around.

Brett Favre, retired (or is he?) quarterback

Pros: demonstrated ability to prolong decision making process.
Cons: prone to interceptions (see Anglican Communion Institute).

Jesus of Nazareth, Lord, Savior

Pros: Son of God.
Cons: said nothing on the subject.


Pros: lacks courage.
Cons: none.


If you, too, have received notes from this meeting, please include them in our comments section.

Comments (22)

Thank God ... finally some transparency in the church!

Susan Russell

PS -- Looks like a great committee!!

In related news, Mad Priest has outed the lion, based on the transcript of a 1951 interview with Judy Garland. David Virtue is complaining that this compromises the panel in a story whose title I can't repeat on a family friendly website.

What a hoot. When I first started reading, I thought you were serious. Then, I nearly splattered my iced tea all over the keyboard! Haha.

Jay Voss

What? This isn´t serious?

I was just about to submit to you (a huge secret) that I was contacted (last night during a very heavy rain/lightening storm) by Amy Semple McPherson+++ who clearly said she was on the ¨continuing¨ Lgbt study/listening committee (and she only demanded that it would be most ¨prudent¨ if nobody named her or Liberace...silence is best, it´s for OUR OWN GOOD).

I deplore the fact that conditions for conversation in the Episcopal Church have fallen to the point that a group of theologians and bishops feel they need this veil to be able to do their work.

I'm not sure that this choice is going to be helpful.

But I'm pretty sure that this sort of ridicule isn't going to cause them to change their minds any time soon.

I've convened a secret panel to study the secret panel and I'd tell you who is on it but...oh yeah, it's SECRET!!!!

(Editor's note: Thanks, Fred. We need your full name next time.)

At least, we have a balance of good and evil -- Cheney and Jesus.

(Editor's note: Thanks, BJ. Next time we need your full name.)

Nick, I would hate to think that in addition to being secretive, they are also humorless.

Who are the gay and lesbian members of the committee? No! Don't tell me! Cheney came out of the closet. And didn't we all know that Lion was gay?

You laugh, or you cry.

I'm June Butler, and I approve this message.

You guys keep this up and you'll coax me out of retirement.

Sorry, Jim. And believe it or not, my last name is Hyde (Frederick J.).

Yeah, if the Cowardly Lion isn't a "Friend of Dorothy", I don't know who is. ;-)

JC Fisher

Nick wrote, "I deplore the fact that conditions for conversation in the Episcopal Church have fallen to the point that a group of theologians and bishops feel they need this veil to be able to do their work."

The intensity of the reaction is a case in point. Evidently they believe that they will not be able to do their work unless they cut themselves off from efforts to influence the outcome of their deliberations.

If you've ever had a hard time getting a meeting (lobbying opportunity?) with a decision maker whose decision effects you, you'll realize this isn't all that uncommon. It happens in business, government, academia, and -- the church.

What would be appalling is if some affected parties know who the members are, and others do not.

JCF--will you break the news gently when you call Akinola?

I knew Cheney had to be in on this. So glad to have the Cowardly Lion as our token Friend of Dorothy! What a well-rounded, thoughtful group. I'm sure they'll be able to delay justice very well.

Susan Gage

Again, I would point out that if the Constitutional Convention had not been held in secret (meaning no coverae or outside comment) we would not have the US Constitution today. When dealing with such politically sensitive topics, sometimes doing this prayerfully and in private makes sense.

Ellen Lincourt

And again, I would point out that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were well known. Do you have any idea how insulting it is to GLBT people to promote the idea that their relationships are such an explosive topic that they can only be discussed in private by a Church that boasts about the transparency of its governance on its Web site?

Surely Anita Bryant and Roy Cohn have to be in there somewhere.

Bishops talk amongst themselves all the time. If they couldn't they couldn't be ineffective in their ministry to the church. Transparency is not all it's cracked up to be. For one thing, in just about any situation it's easy for decisionmakers to arrange private conversations. At least in this situation the HoB made it common knowledge they are taking place and there is a charge to the committee, and a timeline.

The topic is explosive. Assertive voices have been heard -- from all sides. It's not as if debate is being shut down. As to the writing of US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence the relevant parallel might be not that the delegates were known but that it was difficult to lobby them in that day before instant communication. And the constitution had to be ratified by the states.

This controversy has drawn attention to something more important and for that it has been useful. But that "something" is in danger of being forgotten. That is, will it make it more likely that a majority of the HoB will be convinced that decisions on issues affecting GLBT people can be put off to another day?

The real question to me is why the HoB is looking at a timeline for the committee's deliberations that doesn't produce a conclusion prior to GC2009? Is this a tactic to cram down a delay? It sure looks like it.

An errant email -- evidently intended for Henry Parsley but somehow sent to someone named Harry Parsnip and forwarded to members of the LGBT leadership caucus -- indicates that at one point Harry Potter was considered for a spot on the committee.

Whether he made the final cut is -- as yet -- unknown, as the panel members remain closeted. But the notes on Potter include:

Pro: comes with his own invisibility cloak so secrecy will not be a problem and being a warlock will add diversity

Con: rumors that he might have connections with some who practice Buddhist meditation could be problematic

More news as it comes in!
Susan Russell

Ann, you and the Cafe folks have your great sources; I have a few humble ones of my own. And there's now been another leak about the composition of the double-secret committee. I've revealed it at my blog. It's Gene Hackman. My blog reveals his credentials, with photographic evidence.

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