No sooner had I written my little rant about the media then did I stumble upon the Rev. Susan Russell’s conversation Sunday morning on CNN. She was invited to talk about The Episcopal Church’s decision at General Convention to confirm for trial use the liturgy produced for the blessing of same-gendered unions.
Speaking opposite her is Jeff Walton from the Institute for Religion and Democracy, an organization, as Russell correctly points out, who has for decades now, attempted to undermine prominent mainline groups, including The Episcopal Church, the Methodists, and Presbyterians. He describes himself as an Anglican, which intentionally sets him as representing the “con” position to Russell’s “pro”.
I am happy to see that they actually did interview an Episcopalian about General Convention, but it is too bad that they felt the need to make it a debate, and worse, fail to recognize the imbalance in the conversation. On the one hand is an articulate, well-intentioned priest in The Episcopal Church, and on the other is a person representing an organization intent on dividing the church for political reasons. A more appropriate conversation partner might be, say, someone who isn’t interested in messing with TEC. Just a thought. I’d even welcome a former Episcopalian or one of the schismatics who wasn’t part of the IRD because then there is appropriate common ground for conversation. But allowing yet another IRD spokesperson to poison the well of public conversation is inappropriate. Then again, they are one of those favorite places journalists go to get “the conservative perspective”, rather than actually finding a conservative without an anti-church agenda.
Dare I call this progress? I’m not so sure.