A Tale of Two Bishops and One Bias: Reuters Skews Story on Anglican Conference
"Gay bishop snubbed by Anglican conference" reads the headline for the May 22 Reuters article by Luke Baker. But take a look at the lede and second graf and you'll see there are two bishops to be excluded from the gathering of Anglican prelates:
LONDON (Reuters) - The Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual head of 77 million Anglicans worldwide, has not invited two wayward bishops to a major conference next year, a move likely to stir controversy in the deeply divided communion.
Archbishop Rowan Williams has sent invitations to more than 800 Anglican bishops asking them to attend the Lambeth Conference in July and August 2008, but has not invited two American bishops, Gene Robinson and Martyn Minns.
The first "wayward" bishop, Gene Robinson, of course is the openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire. He's also fairly theologically liberal, although that point is not mentioned by Reuters. But who's Martyn Minns? Why, only a priest who is perhaps polar opposite theologically of Robinson. You'll notice his conservatism is played up (Emphasis mine):
Minns, a deeply conservative Episcopalian, was installed last year as the head of a new Nigerian-based church branch in the United States designed as a refuge for orthodox believers. The Anglican Communion does not recognize his position.
"This crisis in the Anglican Communion is not about a few individual bishops but about a worldwide Communion that is torn at its deepest level," Minns said.
So wait, a gay, liberal priest and a conservative priest are barred from the same conference? How does that wash? Rather than being an "anti-gay" "snub" by the Archbishop of Canterbury, it's a slap on the wrist to both men, not so much for being "wrong" in theology, but because they rocked the ecclesial boat (again, emphasis mine) in separate ways:
Williams said in his statement: "I have to reserve the right to withhold or withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment, actions or manner of life have caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the Communion."
"I do not say this lightly, but I believe that we need to know as we meet that each participant recognizes and honors the task set before us and that there is an adequate level of mutual trust between us about this."
"Exceptionally serious division or scandal," to Williams' mind, have occurred both with Robinson taking office despite grave reservations by conservative Anglicans and with Minns coming to hold his office thanks in part to some of the very same conservative Anglicans.
Reuters reporting religion news to the great unwashed is like the blind leading the blind. Both fall into the ditch.