Cultural Revolutions

The Bishop Takes a Stand

In recent years America has seemed to lack the sort of bold churchman who is willing to put his penny-loafered foot down and say enough is enough.  But according to recent press reports, the shoe has dropped.  Even in these degraded times, there is a limit—a line you just can’t cross.

What is that line?

It’s the border between Jerusalem and Mecca.  A March 15 headline in USA Today breathlessly introduces this tale of clerical intolerance: “Bishop orders Episcopal priest to renounce Islamic faith.”

The priest in question is The Rev. Ann Holmes Redding, the dreadlocked daughter of Louis L. Redding, who helped to argue on behalf of Brown against the Board of Education before the Supreme Court.  In June 2007, Miss Redding, then-director of “faith formation” at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle, announced that she had converted to Islam.

“It’s still a mystery as to why, on March 25, 2006, which happens to be my ordination date and the annunciation, I felt called to say the Shahadah with the intention of becoming a Muslim,” she admitted.

But don’t worry—she insists she’s still a Christian.  “I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I’m both an American of African descent and a woman.  I’m 100 percent both.”

Now, I am both white and male,...

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