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Friday, October 24, 2003

Despite reactionaries, Robinson will be bishop.

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, the [Rt.] Rev. Frank T. Griswold, is planning to preside at [the Rev. Canon V. Gene] Robinson's Nov. 2 consecration; yesterday he sent a letter to his fellow Anglican primates around the world, informing them that the ceremony will go forward. . . .

"I am not the devil one side paints me to be, nor am I the savior the other side paints me to be," [Robinson] said. "I'm just trying to hold on to who I am: Just a follower of Christ trying to discern the will of God for me. . . . While it's intense, and it's a little nerve-racking, inside I'm pretty calm."

("Robinson vows to press on: Planned ceremony draws controversy," Michael Paulson, Boston Globe 10.24.03)

And where does the money come from to paint Robinson as a devil? The Washington Post reports that Robinson believes what many observers have been saying for some time: that a handful of conservative philanthropists are bankrolling the American Anglican Council and its office-mate, the anti-liberal Institute for Religion and Democracy. "Of course it worries me that a few extremely conservative individuals, for political reasons of their own, are trying to manipulate the people of the Episcopal Church," Robinson said in an interview.

According to public tax filings, the IRD received $3.8 million in grants from conservative foundations from 1985 to 2002, including $1.7 million from the Carthage, Scaife Family and Sarah Scaife foundations. All three are run by Richard Mellon Scaife of Pittsburgh, who is also a major funder of the Heritage Foundation and who bankrolled American Spectator magazine's $2.4 million "Arkansas Project" to investigate President Bill Clinton.

The AAC's tax filings do not disclose the names of its donors. But a spokesman, Bruce Mason, said that it receives at least $200,000 annually from Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., much of it in matching grants to encourage other contributors. Ahmanson, who lives in Newport Beach, Calif., has been among the largest donors to California Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom McClintock and to the Chalcedon Foundation, a California-based religious movement that calls for a theocratic state enforcing biblical law.

("Conservatives funding opposition, priest says: Groups insist donors don't set agenda," Alan Cooperman, Washington Post 10.24.03)

And while we're on the subject, be sure to read this past week's Anglicans Online essay. The primates' statement, the editors write, isn't just "a remarkable example of Anglican fudge." The conservatives aren't just lobbying to keep faithful gays and lesbians from full participation in the church; they're pressing for a much more radical transformation of the Anglican Communion.

Update 9:15 pm: Conservative Anglicans are getting vindictive toward the Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, who has been an outspoken supporter of Gene Robinson — and openly gay priests in his country. Thanks, Religious Liberal (third item)!

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 24 October 2003 at 9:02 AM

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