I was saddened and appalled, but not surprised, by the vindictive and mean-spirited language Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori used in her Jan. 26 sermon in Charleston. Alluding to Bishop Mark Lawrence as a “tyrant” and comparing him to “citizens’ militias deciding to patrol the Mexican border for unwelcome visitors” was unconscionable. Going on to equate his actions with “school shootings, or those who want to arm school children or the terrorism that takes oil workers hostage” was despicable.
That any Christian, much less a presiding bishop, would use such invective and incendiary words says more about the speaker than the person she is attempting to vilify. However, she is the same person who has spent over $22 million to sue churches and steal their property, who refused to sell a church back to its congregation and instead sold it to a Muslim organization, and who sued beloved retired bishops because they challenged her authority
It is not surprising that the fruits of Bishop Jefferts Schori’s leadership of the Episcopal Church are a significant decline in members, controversy and confrontation with the majority of the Anglican Communion, and financial problems resulting in the need to sell prized land in Manhattan.
“They will know we are Christians by our love” has been a favorite hymn of mine for over 50 years. It is also a good barometer of a person’s Christian character. The language used by Jefferts Schori from the pulpit is unloving and unchristian. Still as one who believes in a forgiving God and in spiritual transformation, I will continue to pray that the Episcopal Church and Jefferts Schori may be inspired and imbued with the Holy Spirit and in the process may rise above petty name calling and invective rhetoric and embrace the love of Christ in what they say and do.
The writer lives in Georgetown.