Cultural Revolutions

Offering Religion on a Silver Platter

The Episcopal Church used to offer salvation—on the inevitable silver filigreed platter from Tiffany's, served up with a spot of sherry and proffered with immaculate taste and manners.

A rougher-hewn brand of salvation—for the church itself, or failing that, a viable form of traditional Anglicanism—is now on offer in the United States. No silver platters, but lots of old-style religion. And its most incongruous, yet heartening, feature: African and Asian oversight.

Yes, the churches of Rwanda—of all seemingly God-forsaken places—and Southeast Asia, are running to the rescue of traditional Episcopalians bereft of reliable spiritual leadership and confronted with the likelihood that their church this summer, at General Convention, will validate the whole gay rights agenda.

On January 30, in Singapore, Rwandan and Singaporean archbishops, assisted by retired bishops from South Carolina and Tennessee as well as a Chilean prelate, consecrated two stoutly orthodox American priests as bishops. Bishops of what? Of no necessary place—and of any that might become necessary. The two—John Rodgers and Charles H. Murphy, III—are missionary bishops to the United States.

To the United States? What about all the good old ivy-covered Episcopal churches to be found in this country? Ah, that's just it. Episcopalians have the churches without the tough, uncompromising...

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