|Bishop Budde: just another|
partisan political hack?
(Note: although I did like some of his policies, I have never cast a vote for former President Trump in any election.)
One year ago
, I expressed my disappointment at another Episcopal church official using a sad incident to take a partisan shot at President Trump.
Bishop Marianne Budde accused him of ordering "his officials" to use tear gas against protestors in Lafayette Park. Her outrage, even when transcribed on paper, is unmistakable: [bold added]
"Consider the context," Budde said. "After making a highly charged, emotional speech to the nation where he threatened military force, his officials cleared peaceful protests with tear gas and horses and walked on to the courtyard of St. John's Church and held up a Bible as if it were a prop or an extension of his military and authoritarian position, and stood in front of our building as if it were a backdrop for his agenda. That was the offense that I was speaking to."
It turns out that President Trump had nothing to do with clearing the park of protestors
. Yes, he did use St. John's as a backdrop for a photo-op, but that was just a picture. He didn't set the Parish Hall on fire.
Glenn Greenwald reports
on the findings of Inspector General Mark Lee Greenblatt:
“the evidence we reviewed showed that the USPP cleared the park to allow a contractor to safely install anti-scale fencing in response to destruction of Federal property and injury to officers that occurred on May 30 and May 31.” Crucially, “the evidence established that relevant USPP officials had made those decisions and had begun implementing the operational plan several hours before they knew of a potential Presidential visit to the park, which occurred later that day."
Bishop Budde readily believed the false CNN, Washington Post, and NY Times reports that President Trump was responsible for tear-gassing (there was no tear gas, btw, but less harmful pepper spray) and made a partisan political speech.
Even if the false reports were true, the Bishop could
have reflected upon the evil that men do to each other, the sin that is ingrained in the rioters as well as President Trump, and prayed for healing and reconciliation. She could
have called for the better angels of our nature.
Instead she chose
to cast all the blame upon the President, and she and St. John's rector dismissed the physical damage to the church in light of "the bigger concerns" of "systemic racism and police brutality."
We have seen this gullibility in Episcopal leadership before:
Episcopal leaders appear to be uncritical consumers of left-wing narratives. They are quick to issue proclamations without considering that there may be more to the story or even that the story is wrong. (Yes, your humble blogger is susceptible to confirmation bias, too, and makes a sincere effort to avoid snap judgments on fast-moving stories. I will wait to see if someone presents evidence to counter the Federalist counter-narrative.)
I witnessed the enthusiastic reception accorded to the widespread Ferguson narrative at the 2014 Diocesan Convention in San Francisco. Priest after priest rose to speak about racism and police brutality visited upon black Americans; some had gone to Ferguson to stand with groups outraged by the shooting of the allegedly innocent Michael Brown in 2014. Mainstream media publications, long after the fact but to their credit, debunked the entire "hands-up-don't-shoot" story. Too late for the priests to take it back, however, whose righteousness had been on proud display.
So quick to judge, so quick to agree with those who bear false witness
To my priests to whom I look for moral authority, how about being very slow to condemn, and, if you must, only after much prayerful consideration and after you are sure of the facts?
Then, perhaps, when people see that you are able to place the eternal principles that you espouse above the evanescent issues of today, you will be trusted as a person of integrity, and your congregations may begin growing again.