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Our Worthy Opponents: Learning from the Best
Stand Firm ^ | 1/01/2007 | Sarah Hey

Posted on 01/01/2007 4:58:35 PM PST by sionnsar

For the past six months of 2006 I have attempted to articulate how laity and clergy can work hard for renewal and reform within limited "territories" through the Strategery 101 series. I plan to continue that series in 2007 as well.

But let's see how gay activists in the Episcopal church used some of the strategies and tactics that we have all learned about this past year -- only they were using them more than 30 years ago.

It's always a good idea to begin the New Year recognizing where we went So So Wrong!
; > )

It's Sackcloth and Ashes Day for me -- and I hope to spread the joy as we take a look at this article by Louie Crew titled "Changing the Church: Lessons Learned in the Struggle to Reduce Institutional Heterosexism in the Episcopal Church".

This "brief history" of gay activism in the Episcopal church is so helpful and I encourage you to read the whole thing to gain just a part of an understanding of how the Episcopal church got to this painful and heretical place.

[You also might want to check out his history of Integrity as well.]

For the past six months of 2006 I have attempted to articulate how laity and clergy can work hard for renewal and reform within limited "territories" through the Strategery 101 series. I plan to continue that series in 2007 as well.

But let's see how gay activists in the Episcopal church used some of the strategies and tactics that we have all learned about this past year -- only they were using them more than 30 years ago.

I've highlighted a dozen snippets from the article -- although again, I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Note the Flagplanting & Networking here:

I founded Integrity in October 1974, out of tiny Fort Valley, Georgia, as a newsletter, Integrity: Gay Episcopal Forum. Almost immediately two called from Chicago, one a priest named Tyndale the other a lay person named Wickliff (historic names in the British reformation). I introduced these two to each other and to others who had written from Chicago. About a dozen met in Wickliff's apartment in December and formed the first chapter.

Chicago as the site was likely not an accident. A joke popular in the Episcopal Church at that time asked: "How many straight priests in the diocese of Chicago does it take to put in a light bulb? Answer: Both of them." Whatever the joke lacks in scientific accuracy it makes up by identifying a place known to have accumulated gay clergy, in this case, a critical mass ready to nurture a movement, a group with strategies for organizing.

Events are also a great way to flagplant and connect with others:
Within only six months, Integrity held its first national convention at the Cathedral of St. James in Chicago--a product of good strategies by leaders well connected in the diocese. Many of the members of the Chicago chapter were close to the Suffragan Bishop Quintin Primo, one of the first African American bishops, who presided over the main Eucharist. The dean of the Cathedral was extremely supportive. Several clergy members were close to prominent theologian Norman Pittenger, and they persuaded him to be the principal speaker. Dr. Pittenger, after retirement as a professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York, had identified himself as gay in a statement widely published in England, where he lived in at Cambridge University. Dr. Pittenger's decision to take this risk led many of his former students to join us.

Interesting -- here Dr. Crew and his ally decide to "go camo" in order to not hinder revisionist activism:
More "irregular" ordinations of women took place in Washington, DC, in September 1975, after our convention. In Washington at the time, on a missionary journey to our new chapters in the east, Jim Wickliff and I yielded to the counsel of friends who advised that our visibility at the ordination might put in jeopardy lesbians among all early ordinands.

A good use of "social butterfly" networking & all the usual tools of political lobbying:
In 1976, General Convention passed a resolution "Homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church." Integrity members had proposed this specific wording a year earlier when we met with The Standing Commission on Human Affairs. Bishop George Murray, chair of the Commission, was not known for liberalism: he was one of the clergy persons whom Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. scolded by name in his "Letter from the Birmingham Jail." Yet Bishop Murray had grown through that earlier confrontation. We got to meet with the Commission because I wrote to him as my former bishop, while I was a professor at the University of Alabama (1966-70). Others wrote to those whom they knew on the Commission. Constantly we knocked on doors, wrote letters, and made our presence known as lesbigay.

Sadly, the orthodox leaders in the 1970s and 80s were politically clueless. This year I had a fascinating conversation with a diocesan bishop of that period and one of his comments [roughly quoted here] was telling: "We were not at all interested in engaging in political activity or that sort of thing -- we were 'gentlemen' and gentlemen didn't behave that way. Of course, the other side was engaging in all sorts of political maneuvering and they cleaned our clocks. We just had no idea."

On Sunday at the beginning of the Convention in 1979, one of our strong local leaders in Denver, a priest named Ric Kerr, was host to the Presiding Bishop John Allin who came to see the marvelous work that Ric and his parish had done to reclaim a depressed neighborhood and create a multicultural congregation. Along with Bishop Allin came a large entourage to witness this "success story." In his sermon, Ric came out, gently claiming gays' place at God's table. At the reception, Bishop Allin, with whom I had met several times earlier, said, "I knew you'd be here for this. You're everywhere!"

Note that when a group wishes to influence an organization hostile to that group's goals, that group decides to downplay "publicity". "Publicity" is used -- or *not* used -- as it is helpful to our Worthy Opponents.
Throughout the period from 1979 onward, many bishops have more actively ordained lesbians and gays who are open throughout the ordination process--to their sponsoring congregations, to diocesan commissions on ministry, to diocesan standing committees, and to their ordaining bishops. Few of these ordinations come to the attention of the press, nor do those in the process seek to publicize them as such. Integrity leaders now cite over 100 such ordinations, most of whom are members of Integrity.

Political influence and strategy -- a cornerstone:
The secondary, but always present goal, is to affect the preaching and teaching of the Episcopal Church on the parish, diocesan, and national levels. In this, Integrity is probably unique among lesbigay ministries. For example, many members of Dignity, the organization of lesbigay Catholics, use the Dignity mass as their only church attendance. Dignity, too, has had little or no influence on the policies of the Roman Catholic Church; nor are they likely have much chance to do so in a non-democratic environment. On the other hand, most of the Protestant groups (Affirmation, Presbyterians for Lesbians and Gay Concerns, etc.), work as hard on the "political" front as the environment of their denominations permit, but they rarely have regular worship services outside a parish environment.

We really cannot underestimate the importance of Every Single Blessed Committee, Vestry, Commission, and Convention Out There -- and the vast amount of time and effort it takes to participate and connect with allies:
From the beginning, Integrity has been blessed with numerous leaders who know how the Episcopal Church works, persons willing to invest the enormous amount of time and effort to connect. One of the reasons lesbians and gays have succeeded in the Episcopal Church is that we spend time learning how it operates, and then we teach one another. Almost every one of our leaders knows who's who in the Church in her diocese, in her parish, and in the Episcopal Church Center. We know how to serve these people.

Note that they came with a list of actions -- and requested specific further contacts in upper leadership:
Our board complained, and thereafter began a regular process of meeting with the Presiding Bishop. The board always brought a list of specific actions and asked him to connect board members personally to the persons at the Church Center responsible for actions of each type we brought.

How many of you are able to use just a quarter of these tactics in conventions and other venues?
Integrity began to wield real influence at the 1988 General Convention. Friends and foes alike credited us as having the best network at the convention, designed by Kim Byham, a brilliant New York attorney who served as our president at that time. He has coordinated our presence at all subsequent conventions, and he has also been extremely effective in getting Integrity's message to the media.

For General Conventions since 1988, we have selected approximately 40 persons to represent Integrity from a pool of 80 or so volunteers. Integrity spends about $40,000, which goes to housing for the volunteers (transportation and food are dutch treats), a booth, a nerve center, a hospitality suite, publications, and other expenses. We divide the volunteers into a variety of task forces. Legislative volunteers, for example, monitor sessions of each House. Committee meetings begin at 7 a.m. Volunteers then report to our nerve center on the progress of all legislation, noting the dates of hearings at which our volunteers might testify. With computers, we generate reports far more accurately and faster than most official avenues of information. We do not limit our interests narrowly to lesbigay legislation, but put our people into the full range of venues where they may share expertise. For example, at all conventions, women of Integrity have served on the women's caucus, as did its first male member, Integrity legislative leader Pat Waddell from California.

In 1991, enough people had infiltrated the upper echelons of deputies and committees that the activists could afford to go "non-Camo" and become "flag planters":
For the first time [at the 1991 General Convention] openly gay and lesbian Integrity members serving as deputies identified themselves as such on the floor of the House of Deputies.

I agree with Dr. Crew that politics has not "driven" his "work in the church". His need for social acceptance and his ideology has driven it -- and politics was but the tool that he used to achieve power, at least in the Episcopal church.
I realize that for many I am giving merely a political report; but politics have not driven my work in the church, nor I believe, have politics driven the work of most lesbians and gays in the Church. Why should they? The Church is not a significant political force today. The Church that codified heteroprivilege and heterocentric morality for the United States no longer exists as that powerful an institution.

Enough sackcloth for now.

Happy New Year! It will probably get better, friends. ; > )

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 01/01/2007 4:58:37 PM PST by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; piperpilot; ex-Texan; ableLight; rogue yam; neodad; Tribemike; rabscuttle385; ...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:
More Anglican articles here.

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 01/01/2007 4:59:26 PM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Na)
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To: All
New Year's Resolution for Traditional ECUSAns: Learn from the Best -- the 2002 Integrity Handbook
Sarah Hey, Stand Firm, 1/01/2007

It's always helpful to be reminded of the calculated, methodical, long-term political strategy that has gone into the takeover of the Episcopal church by revisionist activists.

I have written before that I do not reject political activism as a helpful tool, nor do I believe that it is wrong to engage in political action within an organization. "Politics" is nothing more than engaging in the *ordering* of human organizations, and if one is a member of such an organization, one should engage in politics as a responsible member. Otherwise, of course, one leaves a vacuum that other members fill with their own action.

But many traditionalists have been compliant, passive, lazy, and cowardly over the years, with the result that we have "lost our knowledge" and while we were at it, lost a denomination. Hence the need to learn from the best! ; > )

Are you an active member of a parish or diocese and wondering what and how to learn? There are plenty of places to pick up strategy and tactics.

Take, for instance, this 2002 Integrity Handbook for Diocesan Networks

I encourage any traditionalist still within ECUSA to peruse this helpful handbook to 1) learn more about political strategy, 2) recognize our Worthy Opponents' tactics, and 3) acknowledge one area among many where we got snookered and outplayed.

A good third of the document is titled "FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT: A Combat Manual for Diocesan Convention.

And it opens with this "pre-convention" advice:

Gain Political Power
For too long gay and lesbian Episcopalians have depended on supportive straight folks to fight our battles. Although their support is much appreciated and will hopefully continue, we must be directly involved and secure political power for ourselves at all levels of the church. For instance:
• Are there any gay and lesbian people on your vestry? If not, volunteer for a spot and serve with diligence.
• Run for election as a diocesan convention delegate from your parish. If delegates are appointed rather than elected, let the parish decisionmakers know you want the job.
• Run for diocesan standing committee or diocesan counsel of your diocese. If the bishop appoints members, your chapter should nominate a gay or lesbian person for a seat.
• Provincial synod is an often overlooked level of the church. Since the province is largely apolitical, it is easier to get elected as a deputy. (Running as an openly gay candidate, I was elected as a lay deputy to Province III last year.) One elected to provincial synod, it is easier to get elected to General Convention.
• Run as a General Convention deputy. Even if you are chosen as an alternate, this will probably give you a voice at your diocesan convention and allow you to attend the meetings of your deputation before General Convention.

Build Coalitions
Your Integrity chapter should network with other progressive groups in your diocese. For instance, you might seek the support of the Union of Black Episcopalians, the Episcopal Women’s Caucus, your diocesan racism or women’s commission, and other diocesan groups and commissions concerned with justice, peace, and the environment. If we support their issues, they will support ours.

While most of my articles on strategy focus on those still within ECUSA, it is my hope that those who have left will also recognize our past mistakes and will work within their own new organizations to guard their unity and truth.

Stay or leave, we need to learn our lessons and learn it well.
3 posted on 01/01/2007 5:09:38 PM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Na)
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To: sionnsar


4 posted on 01/02/2007 4:04:52 AM PST by ken5050
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To: sionnsar

It was well mapped out in "After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90's" (M. Kirk).

5 posted on 01/02/2007 9:50:01 AM PST by polymuser (There is one war and one enemy.)
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