Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Have You No Shame, IRD?

File this under: I know I shouldn't, but...

http://spectator.org/archives/2011/09/21/end-of-the-mainline

Apparently the Institute on Religion and Democracy can't pass up an opportunity to keep repeating their particular narrative: liberal=decline. Never mind growth is stagnant, if not falling, in some conservative Protestant denominations and many of the "orthodox" Episcopal dioceses also experienced flat if not stagnant growth. That doesn't matter, because in efforts to instill this narrative, whenever decline occurs in a "mainline" church is it inexorably linked to supposed liberal revisions, whereas declined in "orthodox" institutions always has some kind of secondary reason.

What causes me to bother with IRD are two things:

1) one is the numerous historical errors in this piece, which Crusty Old Dean would gladly enumerate should the demand emerge -- it's OK because I know nobody will ask for them, I have no illusions that anybody reads this. I blog mainly to spare my wife my rantings. OK, one example: the diocese of Pittsburgh was not always an arch-conservative enclave; the diocese of PIttsburgh of Walter Righter's early years was, jn many ways, different from its current incarnation; the author simplistically and glibly draws direct parallels to it as a bastion of conservatism).

2) the fact that they are using someone's death as yet another platform in their endless efforts to repeat their version of history so many times we'll eventually assume it's historical fact because it comes up on google?

I don't deny the essential issues at stake -- that many religious institutions have huge challenges in terms of membership issues. The dynamics of growth & decline are, however, far more complex than the claptrap IRD peddles. And Walter Righter's life was complex as well, and he deserves more than this.

1 comment:

  1. Nice use of third-person pseudonym! Tell it like it is, Crusty Old Dean!
    Pete

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