November 25, 2020

Riffs: 04:02:09: The Episcopal Church Persecutes The Oppressed Muslim-Christian Minority

UPDATE II: Creech has sold over $220 of beads, string and trinkets since I lost my salvation. You people are awesome. His kids may be able to have shoes for Easter.

UPDATE: Humor on board. Beware if not using proper gear.

In a shocking demonstration of intolerance toward those whom God has just made differently, the Episcopal diocese of Rhode Island has defrocked a minister who is both a Muslim and a Christian. You can read the shocking story for yourself .

The Episcopal church continues the persecution of those invisible minorities in its midst; those who find the doors of ministry closed to them simply because they affirm both Allah and the Holy Trinity as being one and the same.

Protests outside TEC headquarters seemed to bring no reaction. The church turned a dull, deaf ear to a pastor who wanted to do nothing more than affirm that both the Nicene Creed and the Koran were her true guides for life.

In this time of division and disagreement, we need to affirm those who are different. We need to embrace our diversity. Jesus and Mohammed would have embraced the courage of this young woman who refused to see differences when there were so many similarities. Now she will be unable to go to Mecca and pray the “Our Father.”

Rejecting those who call upon Yahweh and Allah, Jesus and Mohammad is an example of the small-minded bigotry that continues to grip the Episcopal church. Recent news reports indicate that the church may be refusing to allow the recently defrocked pastor to have a Muslim-Christian wedding ceremony as well.

How long will it be before we come out of the night and embrace one another as this woman has? How long till we see that Mohammed and Jesus were, after all, both against kicking puppies? Both had mothers who were women? Both liked hot sauce on their boneless wings.

By the way, a CNN reporter who covered this story was fired when it was discovered he was also working for Fox News.

Comments

  1. Both wore sandals. Both had navels . . . thus almost the exact same!

    Being in the Seattle area, I saw this story on the local market yesterday (CBS reporter . . . who also worked for ABC, wink, wink). As open minded as I am . . . this one was a no-brainer. Relativism taken to the extreme . . . seated on the throne in Notre Dame as the new goddess of religion.

  2. Jeremiah Lawson says

    Wow, I come from a church background where this sort of decision would have been made a lot faster than it seems to have happened in the TEC. Since I’m in Seattle I saw the initial local coverage about this and totally forgot about it.

  3. From the article:

    “Both religions say there’s only one God,” Redding said, “and that God is the same God. It’s very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven’t shifted my allegiance.”

    Yep, I don’t see any contradiction in the following two statements. Do you?

    “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

    “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

  4. John from Down Under says

    The gospel taken to a new low! Bunch of bigots, what were they thinking? Why not celebrate our similarities rather than split hairs about our differences?

    When will we stop being so critical? If you’re an aesthetically challenged young male, you might be tempted to blow yourself up on a crowded bus to rest in the bosom of the eternally promised 70 virgins in paradise.

  5. Just for Quix says

    Afterall, if we discarded all theology and just focused on a religion of good behavior (or there were no religion at all) we would obviously all believe and act by the same moral and ethical standard and the earth could finally have peace. Foolish tribal Episcopalians.

  6. “In this time of division and disagreement, we need to affirm those who are different. We need to embrace our diversity. Jesus and Mohammed would have embraced the courage of this young woman who refused to see differences when there were so many similarities.”

    How long before someone fails to get the humor?

  7. Bill Pfister says

    I’d like to see the ex-priestess in question visit Saudi Arabia and proclaim her message there in a local mosque. I wonder if they’d take as long to handle this issue as the Episcopal church took?

    At least the Muslims don’t have to worry about a faction in their camp wanting to believe all religions are the same.

  8. I am SO glad the bishop did not allow this “priest” to continue in nonsense.

  9. Clearly, the woman’s interpretation of doctrine was incompatible with her position as a minister. However, I wonder of the moderator would be so tolerant of sarcasm if it were directed at his beliefs.

    @Bill Pfister, google the word ‘Sufi’

  10. Isn’t a Jehovah/Allah combination a hypocrite?

    “Love YOUR enemies” but “Strike fear into the hearts of mine.”

    Just quoting him directly.

    I’m glad TEC had the ganas to finally stand up to something. I have hope for them…

    I once knew a Methodist and a Presbyterian church that combined to build a larger building and one congregation. They didn’t become Methaterians, though. When questioned how she reconciles the two theologies, the pastor replied: “Oh we don’t worry to much about that around here.”

    I think she left there to work for TEC.

  11. They didn’t become Methaterians

    Good thing. I’ve heard you can get addicted after one time!

  12. RC: Since you cornered me, I left your post. But it’s neither funny nor on topic, so you don’t get a prize.

    All: Now this….this is funny. (8th post in a row, if you’re counting.)

  13. Yep, I don’t see any contradiction in the following two statements. Do you?

    “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

    “Before Abraham was, I AM.”

    I know most of these comments are sarcasm but I honestly don’t see any contradiction between those statements. Christians don’t accept the first one, but Muslims accept both. Right?

  14. Muslims don’t believe Jesus was Yahweh.

  15. Ohhhh… I’ve been lost in ecumenicism too long to remember that the “I” in that statement is supposed to be Jesus and not just a clever turn of phrase.

    But I’m surprised at you, iMonk… I thought you hated theologians. 😉

  16. RC

    You can be sure that iMonk has never experienced sarcasm directed at him, his beliefs, his writings, his choice of ads on his blog page, his choice of blog photo, or . . . . 🙂

    I personally liked this from the linked article:

    “Coming from an example of wanting to be Christ-like and coming from the perspective of wanting to follow the best example — the example of our prophet Mohammed — it all makes sense then,” Benjamin Shabazz said.”

    You learn that:

    Mohammed the prophet was the best example of wanting to be Christ-like!

    It all makes sense now.

    Wow

  17. I like this blog for a lot of reasons, and one of them is this:

    iMonk 3/15/09 (Riffs – How the Left Perceives Evangelicals)
    “I am prepared to appreciate those aspects of a person that I deeply disagree with, if their views are an expression of integrity. The most important aspect of any competition is the handshake before the game, and the civil acceptance of the results of each play.”

    In some sense, I view and appreciate this blog more for a role model than for a source of content. One of the reasons I don’t like sarcasm is that it leaves nothing to discuss. There are no direct statements made, only expressions of disapproval, and the conversation is at a dead-end.

    Anyhoo, feel free to delete.

    And if I’d known there would be prizes, I would have posted more often. 😀

  18. RC:

    After 8 years, every comment could come with two contradictions and various hypocrisies. The search engine is our friend.

    The humor in this situation is not particularly high octane. The woman is ridiculous. I’m sure she’s a wonderful person, but her Holy Trinity/Allah/Jesus/Mohammad salad is not only a bad recipe, it ruins all its ingredients.

    BTW, the last sentence in the post is the funniest. The only thing funnier would have been to ask the current bishop of the TEC if one could believe all the postions of both herself and Sarah Palin.

    Badda bing.

    peace

    ms

  19. Michael, I’m feeling the ecumenical love.

    Did you know that was Mommy’s 1,666th post?

  20. Agent 99 says

    I happen to know that at least several Witches (Wiccans and Neo-Pagans) are studying in Episcopal seminaries, with the intention of seeking ordination. Since they tend to be more secretive than the Muslims, it may be some time before anyone catches on. That is, assuming that their bishop is opposed.

    For that matter, San Francisco used to have (and maybe still has) a “Taoist-Episcopal” church.

  21. Let’s all just join hands….

  22. Agent 99 says

    P.S. Here’s a story about an Episcopal bishop who was also a Zen Buddhist (and got accepted anyway):

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=70,7816,0,0,1,0

  23. I understand the beauty that this woman saw in the islamic cleric whose faith inspired her to become a muslim. There is a richness and humility associated with islamic worship that I wish more christians would see and appreciate. But, as far as whether or not one can be both a christian and a muslim, there is much more to the issue. While I see no problem in calling on both Allah and Yahweh, viewing them as two different names for the same God (and this *is* debatable, but I can suspend that debate for the sake of this post) the real problem with being a Muslim Christian has to do with the Koran vs. the Bible’s testimony of Jesus/Isa.

    If you are a Muslim Christian, what do you do with this?

    “…Allah forbid that He should have a son.” (Qur’an 4:171)

    “It is not meet for God to have children.” (Qur’an 19:92)

    “He begets not, nor he is begotten, and there is none like unto him.” (Qur’an 112:3)

    And what do you do with this? –

    “They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” ….
    They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy) verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them.” (Qur’an 5:72-74)

    And most importantly, Islam denies that Jesus ever died on a cross, but rather that it was only made to LOOK like Jesus died on a cross when Judas took his place:

    ” That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not” (An-Nisa 4:157)

    How can one proclaim that Muhammed (pbuh) is God’s prophet when Muhammed (pbuh) denies the Son of God? How can one make such a profession and still be a follower of Christ?

    Like I said at the beginning of this, I have a deep appreciation of many muslims that I know and the deep reverence and beauty of many aspects of their faith. But for all that beauty, I know one whose face outshines it all… and could never deny Him by making a profession in Muhammed (pbuh.)

  24. I’m fine with those of you who want to have a serious discussion of this post, just be aware that I didn’t start a serious discussion, but a bit of a lark.

    peace on ya

    ms

  25. Bruce Meyer says

    How can an Episcopal diocese in Rhode Island defrock anybody for anything?

    I mean, if doctrine means anything, one cannot affirm Muhammed as the Prophet and Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, God Incarnate and raised from the dead.

    But the Episcopal church (except for the African group) is not know for doctrinal purity–to say the least.

  26. Ah, wait, you were being sarcastic. Sorry, I was a bit late to catch on 🙂

  27. aliasmoi says

    Wait? You mean that’s a real news article and not a joke? *shakes head* I’m surprised the EC had the backbone to defrock her.

  28. Which group will, or should be, the first to stone this apostate, heretic from the standpoint of both religions?

  29. Bruce,
    It is a sign of the breakdown of episcopal doctrine that one of their own leaders can’t even see the ridiculousness of this. Maybe it is a sign of hope that one of their leaders, the bishop, actually COULD…
    Either way, this is material for a media feeding frenzy. Interesting things will come as a result, no doubt.
    As a Messianic Jew, I’m waiting for the Jewish crowd to ride the wave saying, “See? Christians realize you can’t be a muslim and a christian at the same time – now if only those Messianics would get a clue too..”

  30. Everyday Mommy and the formerly Rev. Ann Holmes Redding are like two sides of the same stupid coin: Mommy’s an anti-ecumenical crow, and Redding’s a religion-equivocating loon.

    I do like that she’s completely obsessed with you though, Michael. 8 posts on her blog, including a COMMISSIONED CARTOON, and she’s still hovering around you, shrieking about ‘beads’ for attention? That’s some INTENSE envy you’ve inspired, brother; make no mistake, that kind of raving is other than a deadly sin, folks.

    As for Redding, I do think there’s something curiously self-indulgent about claiming to be a member of two religions – after all, when most of us can barely figure out how to follow ONE Jesus, she’s sort of making herself the ‘star of the show’ in a weird way, and making that kind pretense to enlightenment is odious. I believe some people are spiritual virtuosos, but it strikes me as twisted but altogether expected that the people who are ‘famous’ for this kind of ecumenism tend to be flighty and attention-whorish when you get close enough to peel away their rhetoric.

    Common theme here: sad, fallen people, clamoring for a certain kind of recognition.

  31. About once a year, someone in the TR academy goes completely haywire over me. It’s been going on since 2006. Trust me, those of you who want an audience, the evangelical world is never boring.

    It also has no qualms with women teaching men, as long as its on the internet and I’m involved.

  32. the misunderstandings of Anglicanism, and even The Episcopal Church, on this blog are sometimes astounding.

  33. Agent 99 says

    Correction: The Zen Buddhist has not yet been formerly elected bishop. This is expected to happen in the summer. And he now denies that he is Buddhist.

    The “Taoist-Episcopal Church” in San Francisco that I mentioned was *probably* St. Thomas’s. (Memory hazy.) They don’t seem to have a website, unfortunately.

  34. Christopher K says

    adhunt, enlighten us. Honestly, I’m not as familiar with either of those. What is it we do not know that we should?

  35. Michael, it’s even worse than you think.

    Not alone have the Druid-Episcopalians been persecuted (one priest left altogether though I am unsure if his wife, also an Episcopal priest, is still in ministry) but they are now moving on to the Buddhist-Episcopalians.

    The Bishop-Elect of Northern Michigan went through a perfectly normal selection process (he had been running for years the ‘Mutual Ministry’ model they decided to use in order to select the next bishop, trained and/or knew all the folks on the Discernment team, was a member of that team, and the team finally decided that his and his alone would be the only name put forward at the diocesan convention for the ‘election’ – nothing untoward at all there!) and now, simply because he is walking the path of Zen Buddhism and Christianity simultaneously, simply because he re-wrote a Eucharistic liturgy or two, simply because he dumped the Creed in the services he presides over, the bigots are out to get him and already ten bishops have said they will not consent to his election!

    What kind of crazy witch-hunting backwardness is this, I ask you? 😉

  36. MAJ Tony says

    This is what happens when you let people like John Shelby Spong be leaders in your Church.

  37. Christopher K,

    I appreciate the ‘genuine’ sentiment…”eh, so enlighten us” As if I can explain the glories and sins of Anglicanism in a blog comment. Steering poor Michael’s post far too off topic.

    What seems to be unbeknownst to most evangelicals, is that there are millions of orthodox Anglicans outside of Africa, and there are plenty in TEC. But that doesn’t make for good news unless it is rubbing in the current (sinful) lawsuits, or the bigoted anti-gay rhetoric of some bishops.

    All I’m sayin’ is that TEC, and the Mainline in general, is an easy target for obvious errors. But low church evangelicals could also be made a target for their obvious lack of theological credentials, which they can check at the gate as long as they check an “inerrancy” box. I’ve heard some of the most un-christ like and unregenerate attacks out of the mouths of the supposedly orthodox.

    anyway. Sorry imonk, I understand if this doesn’t make it on the site.

    tony

  38. Tony,

    I’ve been very open about my feelings about the TEC. I go there whenever I’m home. There’s much to love. But at the time I as an evangelical most need them (and several other mainlines) they are heading left with all haste, leaving many evangelicals like myself to make the choice of staying where we are in the wilderness or going to a church where we must defend Gene Robinson as a legit bishop and a lot of other nonsense.

    The via media is a great idea, but I’m starting to wonder if the reference points for the true center have gotten lost.

    peace and appreciation

    ms

  39. Martha, we have a couple in the RCC too, weirdly enough.

    From 2004, here’s a Trappist monk who’s also a Buddhist monk, for instance:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_34_40/ai_n6127448/

    An excerpt for you lazy folks:

    On April 17, at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass., Trappist priest Kevin Hunt was installed as a Zen sensei (teacher), making him the first North American Trappist to be both Catholic monk and authorized instructor of Zen. Jesuit Yr. Robert Kennedy, a Zen roshi (master) and Hunt’s most recent teacher, oversaw the installation.

    The monk’s accomplishment, after years of study, represents an intimate East-West union within one Catholic religious and drew letters of commendation from the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and Yr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, superior general of the Society of Jesus.

    Hunt’s achievement is “one that we can all celebrate in thanksgiving to God,” wrote Kolvenbach.

  40. imonk,

    Thanks for the love. And I would never defend practices that need reforming. I have made the surprising choice of joining up with TEC in the last few years, despite all the wonderous goings on, in part at least because of that fact that a lot of what they are struggling with, especially same sex relationships and interactions with other faiths, are things that evangelicals are going to have to deal with sooner or later. For instance look at how Scot McKnight’s blog is aflame with comments having just brought up the homosexuality issue. Only I have faith in the Anglican Communion (against all hope I know), at least in part because of its leaders.

    We could all due well to remember there is no such thing as a perfect church. Hell, my Assemblies of God upbringing had me believing some pretty borderline issues; it is just that evangelicals are for some hypocritical reason ok with “conservative” errors, but somehow liberal errors are just too much. For instance I think that Calvinism makes God into a tyrant, but it is an error us Weslyans tolerate.

    Food for thought. There are plenty in the Mainline who affirm the Creeds, including virgin birth and bodily resurrection; who *still* support same sex relationships. It’s confusing isn’t it?

  41. George Malin says

    Imonk,

    I know this may be kind of off topic, but didn’t Thomas Merton undergo a similar situation regarding Buddhism and Eastern Mysticism?

    **Note the “similar”, I am not saying Merton became a Buddhist.

    But really, how fine is the line between admiring the religion and becoming a part of the religion?

  42. As an Episcopalian I can say that our national church clearly has its issues. But some of the critiques here demonstrate a real lack of understanding of our polity.

    Not always done well, there is an ideal of doing things relationally…that’s part of the reason why there was a process to depose this priest.

    It gave her time to reflect and to possibly repent. she was inhibited during that time and was not allowed to exercise her ministry.

    For all our faults, some of you evangelicals would do well to learn from your anglican cousins.

    Where we drag and sometimes hem and haw, ya’ll rush in and cut people off…

    I know. I used to be a pastor in evangelical churches. The general stance of scorn and sneering isn’t very Christ like.

  43. all that being said…my comment isn’t directed at iMonk..I “get” the levity of his post.

  44. Merton was interested in some aspects of monasticism and monastic practice in eastern religions, yes.

    Nathan,

    On taking time, I do agree in most instances, but not in all. The handling of leaders should show a paramount concern for the welfare of the flock. Too long delay sends the wrong message. But in general, I completely agree.

    peace

    ms

  45. Is a “watchman on the wall” something one can appoint oneself? Keith Green had a great pamphlet called something along the lines of “So You Think You’re A Prophet.”

  46. iMonk, I’m troubled by this post, for many reasons – and think Nathan (the Episcopalian who posted 2 up from me, here) has a lot of excellent points.

    I won’t go into my feelings about this post here, or now. I need to think them over a bit before I commit anything to paper – let alone a public blog.

    But I will leave you with this link to an interview with Anglican scholar Kenneth Cragg, who has written many good, thoughtful – and deeply insightful – books and articles on Islam, Christian-Muslim dialogue and much more. We sorely need voices like his in these times, here in the US.

  47. Patrick, please note that it’s Jesuits involved there 🙂

    (Though yeah – a Trappist?!)

    However, at least so far we don’t have Buddhist bishops (might be an improvement in some cases…)

    And to make things even better, the gentleman in question is an ex-Catholic and graduate student of Fr. Charles Curran. You can see where he got his robust grounding in orthodox practice, can’t you? 😉

    I once (in jest) posted on an Episcopalian blog that we Catholics should make up a form letter of apology that we could issue to the orthodox Episcopalians for the craziness that ensues when yet another ex-RC joins TEC and starts with the weirdness, but it’s looking less like a joke by the day.

  48. I will add one thing: we ignore or excoriate Islam and many of its ideas to our own hurt, because there’s lots to learn from it, and from many of its most faithful followers. I’m not talking about religious extremists here, at all, but about ordinary people who experience many – if not all – of the same temptations, difficulties and pressures that we Christians do.

    I can honestly say that I’ve known devout Muslims who were more Christlike in their attitude toward others than are many of us American Christians. There’s a lot to gain by establishing friendships and talking with (rather than at) each other…

  49. e2c, dialogue and patience is always good. But the woman cannot be both a Muslim and a Christian; she is deficient in her understanding of one or the other of the two faiths.

    If she does not believe Jesus to be, in the words of St. Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”, then she can be a faithful Muslim, but she cannot continue as a Christian cleric.

    If she accepts the claims of Christianity regarding the Trinity, then she runs up against this barrier:

    One of the 99 most beautiful names of Allah is:

    “al-Waahedu
    Meaning:
    THE UNIQUE, THE ONE
    He who is single, absolutely without partner or equal in His essence, attributes, actions, names and decrees. He who has neither a father nor a mother nor a wife nor a son; He is neither begotten nor does He beget. He is alone to be adored.

    Related Verse From The Holy Koran:
    O People of the Book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) A Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: FOR ALLAH IS ONE GOD: GLORY BE TO HIM: (FAR EXALTED IS HE) ABOVE HAVING A SON. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. (4:171)”

    Now, she can accept the view of Jesus in Islam – a prophet sent by God, greatest of all prophets save Muhammed himself, especially favoured by God, but still human alone – or she can accept the view of Jesus in Christianity – the Son of God, God made Man, the Second Person of the Trinity.

    But I don’t see any way of reconciling these two contradictory views without doing violence to one or other of them – or being false to both (Jesus was only human, but a human with such a special insight into God’s will and how life-in-God should be lived that he was filled with the Spirit so much that he became a son of God, and we can all be sons and daughters of God that same way, so that Allah can indeed be called our Father).

  50. An aside: would we react in the same way (cutting someone off) if they said they were both Jewish and Christian?

    I can see the innate problem with druids, Wiccans, et. al. But when you’re dealing with the 3 major monothestic faiths, there’s more overlap than we often like to admit, or see. (As well as major differences between all 3.)

    I think what Nathan said here is very true:

    …that’s part of the reason why there was a process to depose this priest.

    It gave her time to reflect and to possibly repent. she was inhibited during that time and was not allowed to exercise her ministry.

    For all our faults, some of you evangelicals would do well to learn from your anglican cousins.

    Where we drag and sometimes hem and haw, ya’ll rush in and cut people off…

    I know. I used to be a pastor in evangelical churches. The general stance of scorn and sneering isn’t very Christ like.

    Having been one of the “cut off” (for entirely different reasons than those cited in your post, iMonk), I think Nathan hit the proverbial nail on its head here.