Kendall Harmon’s Radical Solution

Kendall Harmon’s radical solution for the Episcopal Church, i.e., the bishops absent themselves from Lambeth, is an interesting proposal.  But it’s unlikely to get much traction where it counts.  Let me look at this from a more political standpoint.

First, any kind of withdrawal from Lambeth–voluntary and temporary though it might be–would be interpreted as a de facto withdrawal from the Communion.  And the TEC does not want to withdraw (or be expelled) from the Anglican Communion.  Too much of TEC’s "brand identity" is tied up in being a part of the Communion, and that connexion gets mentioned repeatedly in the litigation to hold onto the property.

Second, such a withdrawal would also be an admission of guilt, that TEC’s action in ordaining Gene Robinson just might not have been a good thing to do (you can fill in the blank as to why.)  And that is something that TEC just will not admit, even if they believed it.  It is typical in our society to take strong positions and then spend all of our time concealing them in order to show how much comity we have.  Such is what I call "fanaticism without conviction," and one of these days I’ll get into this in more detail.

Finally, it would take the Americans "out of the loop."  And if there’s one place Americans hate to be, it’s out of the loop, irrespective of whether that loop is where they’re supposed to be or not.

Kendall Harmon’s idea presupposes a reasoned, Christian approach to the problem.  What it would do, however, is induce shame in TEC’s "reappraisers."  As any observer of the Middle East knows, shame leads to a shame-honour reaction.  Even with liberals.  That’s why this proposal is like a Republican President’s budget is with a Democratic Congress: dead on arrival.

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