Episcopal Schism Escalates

NATIONAL CHURCH’S WAR WITH SOUTH CAROLINA IS CRANKING UP The national Episcopal Church has announced the renunciation of a “rogue Bishop” in South Carolina – the latest skirmish in its war with the Palmetto State’s conservative Lower Episcopal Diocese. According to a press release posted on the national church’s website,…


The national Episcopal Church has announced the renunciation of a “rogue Bishop” in South Carolina – the latest skirmish in its war with the Palmetto State’s conservative Lower Episcopal Diocese.

According to a press release posted on the national church’s website, presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori “accepted the renunciation of the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church of Mark Lawrence.”

As reported exclusively by FITS two months ago, Lawrence was accused by the national church of abandoning its teachings because he refused to adopt its views on gay marriage and the ordination of gay and female clergy.  As a result of the church’s action against him, Lawrence announced his intention to disassociate the Lower Diocese from the national church – a threat he made good on last month.

Mark Lawrence

As a result of this action, Lawrence has been “removed from the Ordained Ministry of (the national church) and released from the obligations of all Ministerial offices, and is deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority as a Minister of God’s Word and Sacraments conferred on him in Ordinations.”

In an email sent to church members, Lawrence disputed the semantics of the church’s statement.

“I have not renounced my orders as a deacon, priest or bishop any more than I have abandoned the Church of Jesus Christ,” he wrote.  “But as I am sure you are aware, the Diocese of South Carolina has canonically and legally disassociated from The Episcopal Church.”

The Episcopal Church began ordaining gay ministers in 2003 – and earlier this year approved an official liturgy to bless same sex couples.  These practices have created a rift between socially liberal and socially conservative congregations in the church – similar to rifts that have developed in other protestant faiths.

As we’ve said from the beginning, we don’t care if churches sanction gay marriage – or if they let homosexuals preach.  We don’t support either practice – but we believe such decisions should be left to individual congregations.

What happens next in this religious drama?

A protracted legal battle, naturally …

There’s also the possibility that some congregations in South Carolina’s Upper Diocese – which includes the Midlands and Upstate regions of the state – might also split from the national church and join Lawrence.


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TheFunkyMonkey December 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

I just don’t understand why so much energy, debate, hate, etc. is dedicated to gay marriage and homosexuality. Someone needs to enlighten to what the issue is because I don’t see it. Obviously I don’t have any issue with it as a happily married straight make. FITS? Since you specifically make a point of your lack of support… (and I should say I usually side with you on most issues this one being an exception…)

Call me crazy but we have bigger issues to worry about like our economy, jobs, deficit, ongoing wars around the world, BigT, Dabo the Douche, etc.

toyota kawaski December 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

well said

Jan December 6, 2012 at 10:23 am


Smirks December 6, 2012 at 8:39 am

Oh boy, a bunch of church drama. Yawn.

toyota kawaski December 6, 2012 at 8:41 am

as a Wiskeypalan please get your facts correct before Man-d inks another one. It’s the Diocess of South Carolina that covers from Barnwell to the Low Country then we have the Diocess of Upper South Carolina that runs from wonderful Aiken up to where they are still crying from that 27-17 beat down the Up State. No such thing as the Lower Diocese of South Carolina. Details ya know the small stuff!!!

Oskar December 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

The two “names” of the two dioceses in South Carolina, and their jurisdictions, have always been confusing to me. Just another complication making this schism more difficult to follow. So now there is the “new conservative” branch of the church that isn’t part of the mother church. . . . I’ve got to write all these names down to keep track. And with all the church property involved I suppose many lawyers are going to get very rich sorting it out, and that’s is a sin.

shifty henry December 6, 2012 at 9:19 am

Here a few quick jokes on a serious subject……….

1) My girlfriend belongs to a new church – she’s a Seventh Day Absentist.

2) My church accepts all denominations – tens, twenties, fifties …

3) A minister was called to a meeting of the elders and told that his contract wouldn’t be renewed. Surprised almost beyond belief, the minister asked, “Didn’t I glorify? Didn’t I magnify? Didn’t I speechify?”

The elder said, “You didn’t ‘wherein’ and we need a minister who can ‘wherin.’

4) A minister was preparing a sermon on sex. His wife said, “Dear, I’m not sure you should discuss that subject. Sex is so private. Speak about something else like sailing.”

That night the minister’s wife became ill and was still in bed on Sunday morning. Her absence freed him to speak about sex. After church was out, two of the women of the congregation visited the wife. They praised her husband about his sermon. He had spoken with such gusto and vigor.

The minister’s wife said, “How could he sound so smart? He only did it twice – once in the harbor and once just past the breakwater. And both times he threw up”

5) Some people don’t realize that the Ten Commandments aren’t multiple-choice.

6) Once there was a bishop who labeled his files “Sacred” and “Top Sacred”.

… have a nice day

Lance Riprock December 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

Marriage is a civil contract enforcable through civil courts (think alimony, equitable division of property, child custody and support, etc.). Anything this church or the Church of Jesus Christ of What’s Happening Now or any other cult does is just irrelevant window dressing. For Heaven’s sake, let the gays get married; why shouldn’t they have to suffer like the rest of us?

Thomas December 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

Let me get this straight. For the last 500 years, this subject NEVER came up? Then all of a sudden, gay marriage takes precedent over 500 years of Episcopal history? Are we saying that out of all the people for the last 500 years, gay marriage was not discussed? Or needed to be discussed? Seems to me that gay bishops are out of step with Episcopal church history, and the bigoted insistence on their part to demand allegiance or else is not about same sex attraction disorders, rather this is a protracted position to destroy the Episcopal church.

Smirks December 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

Who gives a shit about 500 years of history? 500 years of being wrong might be a tradition, but it is still fucking wrong. Besides that, didn’t protestants break away from the “tradition” of another church they didn’t agree with? What’s up with that?

What about churches that practiced segregation? All those years it wasn’t an issue, and then suddenly it was! Why are we breaking tradition? Those bigots, wanting to allow blacks to sit where the whites can! BJU needs to go back to banning interracial dating!

Protip: If the church you go to suddenly takes on a belief that you don’t agree with, you are more than welcome to change churches. That’s why there’s so many damn denominations in the Christian religion, because so many people pick and choose what is important, shape their religion on their own personal beliefs, and insert their own interpretation into their religious text.

Jan December 6, 2012 at 10:47 am

Actually Thomas, I don’t even think you are an Episcopalian, because if you were you would not be so uninformed on this dispute. By the way the Episcopal Church was formed at the time of the American Revolution, it has not even existed for 500 years. The Church of England, from which the Episcopal Church split at the time of the Revolution and which is just over 500 years old is also struggling with the same issues.

Much of this stems from science indicating that being gay is almost certainly biological and not a matter of choice. The problem is, as with global warming, the far right denies the existence of science.

By the way 500 years of Church of England history would tell you you god has put Queen Elizabeth over you as your one true earthly sovereign. What have you done to support your Queen today.

Thomas December 6, 2012 at 10:56 am

I thought the Episcopals were Anglicans before the Monarchy was not so cool anymore. They split then, they will split today,they will split again, makes no difference to me. I think anything British is a cluster anyways. I hate the British and their monarchy. Please do not get me started.

Jan December 6, 2012 at 11:28 am

Thomas, I am not even sure what your point is. The Anglican Communion, is a group of churches who can trace their lineage to the schism between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church under Henry VIII. Queen Elizabeth remains the head of the Church of England which is run by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

cl December 6, 2012 at 11:49 am

The right is anti-science on sexual issues? That is hilarious. It is the left that claims gender is just a construct, a product of environment, on one hand while claiming sexual preference is inescapable biological destiny on the other.

As to the larger smear of being anti-science, it is just another of the Left’s logical fallacies. Anything you can do to delegitimize the opposition means never actually having to win an argument.

scsince60 December 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

That’s right Thomas, you sad ignoramus. The world is surely a better place since FDR and Stalin put an end to the Empire.

Thomas December 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

1)Luther had valid complaints. The protest went beyond a protest into flagrant disobedience, in that he translated the Bible from Latin into German, a very ambiguous language which brings in bad interpretations etc. Latin is the most precise language we have today. This language was chosen for a reason when translating from the cidices. When Luther died, many others took over and started their own churches, I guess for money and power. The protest went beyond a protest into flagrant disobedience, the then the charlatans took over. Forget the chains on the bible as a common misperception, I mean it took years to copy by hand those books, very valuable, very rare until the printing press. In fact, Latin is used in modern science defacto.

2) Racial segregation in America is not a good example of not discussing homosexuality in the Middle ages. I mean, if King James was bisexual, and Alexander the Great was a homosexual, evidently the topic was around. Why not bishops then?

3) Most churches have laws and bylaws granting real canonical authority to members as they progress up the ladder. All it would take is a few non-believers pulling real canonical rank to bring about change not for the better, rather for the alternative, destruction. On the other hand, the French Revolution, I thought, once and for all separated church and state politics or church and whatever is popular in pop culture at the time.

Unless I am missing large facets of human history and science regarding homosexuality, please enlighten us.

Todd December 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

I guess if you are a believer you have to follow the rules 100% or 0%, there can be no compromise.

TheFunkyMonkey December 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

Compromise? Religion? I just fell out of my chair laughing so hard…

Jan December 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

If you believe that man can learn nothing new, that statement would be true.

hack December 6, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Is it not insanity to the human species to promote degenerative behavior that will result in the spread of disease? Butt sex causes Aids.

Resignation December 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

“Lawrence was accused by the national church of abandoning its teachings because he refused to adopt its views on gay marriage and the ordination of gay and female clergy.” This statement is, simply put, not even remotely true.

The charges leveled against Lawrence (by Episcopalians in South Carolina, not the national church, please note) relate to his participation in and encouragement of others with respect to efforts to sever relationships between the national church and the diocese.

BigT December 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Why don’t the national Episcopals just turn the church into a gay bathhouse???

Very Couage Bishop in SC…I support your stand for God…and the rejection of pop culture and immoraility….

FITS (media) and pop culture may HATE you…but God is watching…and you are Right…

mph December 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Hey C – a Republican talking about logical fallacies? Here’s one:

“It is the left that claims gender is just a construct, a product of environment, on one hand while claiming sexual preference is inescapable biological destiny on the other.”

Can you please explain to me who on the left that has ever suggested that gender is a construct, a product of environment? Give me a fucking break. And I don’t give a good damn if somebody is gay because of biology or preference. It’s a matter of civil rights. You wanna be gay, this is America, go for it. But to be fair I have my prejudices. I hate lawyers.

And I especially love you linked to a Jonah Goldberg article to carry your argument that the left smears and denigrates their opposition. This is the same guy that wrote a book called “Liberal Fascism.” Awesome. Do you know what irony means? How about cognitive dissonance?

As for the scientific credentials of the Republican Party. You have none. See the universal dismissal of the right over climate change, which is an accepted to be real by 97 percent to 98 percent of researchers in the field and by the National Academy of Sciences. But for the repubs it’s voodoo science, or a conspiracy to destroy capitalism. Look at your own platform. You have Senate candidates talking about a woman’s innate ability to not become pregnant in the event of “legitimate rape.” By the way, he was a member of the Committee on Science. You have state legislatures run by Republicans across the country pushing creationism into the school curriculum. You have Republicans everywhere, including one, Rubio, that will almost certainly be running for president in four years, that believe that people and dinosaurs lived at the same time. Yes, the world is only 6,000 years old. You can’t even accept polling as legit. When the polls all showed Obama was leading, Fox News and the Right-wing media circus created ‘’ to prove that the polling data was purposely being manipulated in a conspiracy to make Obama look stronger. Turns out that was bullshit. Here’s another of my favorites – just this week, polling revealed that 49% of Republicans believed that ACORN stole the election for Obama. Sadly, for the party of dumbasses, ACORN disbanded in 2010.

Ha, they even called Elizabeth Warren “Professor Warren” in the campaign, you know, because being smart is lame.

Anti-science, anti-intellectualism is one the defining features of right-wing ideology.

cl December 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I am tempted to respond to this incoherent nonsense with “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul,” but I’ll bite.

Are you really so ignorant of social science that you are not familiar with the gender construct theory? It is a significant part of feminist thought. Gloria Steinem has said masculinity is “a social construct that makes men shorten their own lives, distance themselves from children, punish women in their headlong effort to be not-women, and try to defeat each other”. I gather from the ignorance demonstrated throughout your post you may not know who Steinem is, but I assure you that you will not find her as a speaker at CPAC any time soon.

As to Jonah Goldberg, as an initial matter I would ask what the hell Liberal Fascism has to do with the post I linked? This is nothing more than an ad hominem attack, which is what I have come to expect from the left. As to LF itself, have you read the book? It is obvious from your post that you have not (speaking of irony, it is fun when the self-proclaimed guardians of knowledge trash materials they have not read and have made no effort to understand). Since I have actually read the book, I can relate that it is a serious history of the fascist movement, even if it does have a rather silly cover. Moreover, Goldberg stops on about every other page to note that saying that fascism was a liberal movement does not make modern liberals Nazis. Fun fact, you think the book is a partisan polemic, but did you know there was an entire chapter on how compassionate conservatism has fascist overtones? Of course not, because for you ignorance is bliss.

Congrats on squeezing in another logical fallacy with the appeal to authority in the climate change paragraph, followed by a whole new sequence of ad hominems. And again speaking of irony, I love how liberals have conflated science with the idea of consensus.

mph December 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Hilarious, you accuse me of an ad hominem attack. I’m struggling to understand how you would mistake a series of examples of how Republicans are anti-science, which you have denied, as a personal attack that doesn’t address the subject. Perhaps you struggle with the precise definition.

Gloria Steinem as a standard bearer of “left” notions of gender. This has to be about the saddest strawman argument I’ve seen in years. Nobody cares about some feminist activist that faded into obscurity about 35 years ago. The notion she speaks for the Democratic Party or left in general is absurd. Nobody thinks that way, especially the rank and file “left.” Feminazis! Weak sauce.

You linked to a Goldberg article to prove some point about liberals and their anti-science smears against Republicans. I thought it ironic considering he wrote a book that paints the entire liberal movement from Wilson to the present as a fascist movement. The book is full of ridiculous conflations, partisan rants, baseless attacks and the sort of things that his readers (you) love. A work of history it is not. The fact you don’t recognize it as a partisan polemic says volumes about your lack of self-awareness.

Finally, I haven’t conflated science with consensus. I do, however, generally accept that the National Academy of Sciences is a better source for scientific theory than wherever the Republican Party is getting their information. Exxon? Chamber of Commerce? Bible?

Glad, to see basically avoided all my examples of the Republican Party’s anti-science bias and went straight on the attack and insults, starting with the opening line. Try looking up ad hominem. You need help with the definition. Try irony, too.

cl December 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Saying you discredit an article because of a separate thing written by the author is the very definition of ad hominem. Then you sprinkle in some other lame lefty staples like calling anyone who disagrees with you a young earth creationist. Of course, the only people I ever hear talking about dinosaurs being tricks or the Earth being 6000 years old are liberals insulting those who disagree with them.

And you asked me to identify someone on the left that has claimed gender is a social construct. I identified one of the most well known liberal feminists in the country. You now want to move the goalposts by demanding someone more current. Well, go to any college campus and you will find what you are looking for, since every one who subscribes to this theory is a liberal.

I asked if you have actually read Liberal Fascism, and you seem to be dodging the question. Not that you need to answer, since your summary is so wide of the mark. If you want to keep parading your ignorance then more power to you, but it is hilarious to watch. I know this must be confusing to you, since I am sure everyone on the DailyKos or whatever other lefty source you were getting your talking points from(who probably also did not read the book) would agree with your summary.

LOL on avoiding anything you have to say. Todd Akin is an idiot and was immediately denounced by everyone in the Rep. Party. You want to conflate anything stupid any Republican ever said with the entire party. Well that game works both directions. How about the alarming number of liberals that believe 9/11 was an inside job? Or the science lesson from Rosie O’Donnell on how fire can’t melt steel? Or the Democratic congressman that was concerned Guam would capsize if too many troops were stationed there? The left is also rather soft on the science on the inheritability of intelligence. There is at least a question as to whether economics is properly considered a science, but I could also mention the ongoing war against economic reality being waged by the Democrats as well. Paul Krugman just wrote that countries with fiat money cannot go broke. Unfortunately no one from the Soviet Union could be reached for comment.

mph December 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Hey Big T, you’re not an Episcopalian so mind your own business.

It’s not like I come to your work and tell you how to suck dick.

Just kidding, I know you’re a sock puppet.

Paul December 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Hey, try to keep this particular post clean from obscenities. A lot of my parents friends who are in their 70s and 80s are reading these comments, and I don’t want them to be subjected to “toilet talk.” Just for this one post, okay guys?

mph December 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Do they realize the nature of this blog?

Toilet talk is pretty much it.

Benjamin Uchytil December 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Lawrence wasn’t ousted for his refusal to accept the GLBT community.

He was ordained and then consecrated bishop in the Episcopal Church. His ability to minister as both a priest and bishop was totally based upon his association with the National Church. Once he actively dissociated himself from the National Church, he effectively renounced his vows.

mph December 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Um, I’ve read exactly two chapters of Liberal Fascism and only because I had a student that did a book review on it. In any event, I have a PhD in history and the notion that it’s a piece of carefully research scholarship is laughable. Woodrow Wilson’s war time overreach, Medicare, Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village” and Nationalism Socialism are all incoherently lumped together into some polemic masquerading as scholarship. If you left the comfortable confines of the Right-Wing echo chamber and read the reviews of the book by actual historians, you might be surprised to find we think it’s a joke. Actually, I think all grownups should roll their eyes when they hear someone use the fascist label when describing their political rivals. Apparently you don’t.

Next, again, you’re struggling with the definition of ad hominem. I’ll leave that for you to deal with.

And I bring up creationism not as a gratuitous attack, but because your party is currently inserting it into school curriculum across the country. (The dinosaur reference is to our good friends at the Creationist Museum in Kentucky. I’d be willing to bet you would find those fine folks on the local school boards with an R beside their names) As a matter of fact, the slate of candidates running for the Republican Primary were all proponents of “Creative Design,” a thinly veiled form of creationism. I rest my case – science is subordinated to either political expediency (Romney) or religious dogmatism (the rest). Similarly, they all dismissed the science of climate change as phony science or worse. Facts be damned, ideology on the right brooked no dissent and Mitt fell right in line.

The Gloria Steinem thing is a ridiculous canard. You originally wrote: “It is the left that claims gender is just a construct, a product of environment, on one hand while claiming sexual preference is inescapable biological destiny on the other.” The left claims, um, really? Your evidence that this all encompassing “the left” subscribed to this notion is a feminist activist that faded from the scene 40 years ago. I personally know not a single person, in the rank and file “left,” or even universities (and I know plenty of annoying feminists) that subscribes to that nonsense. Again, weak sauce, brother.

The Aiken thing was purely an anecdote, but let’s not forget that this was a man that his colleagues found fit to put on the Science Committee.

Rosie O – really? Who cares? What are you talking about? Should I bring up Pat Robertson and Ted Nugent? How about Ted Steven, a man in a position to affect real policy, describing the internet as a series of tubes. Individual cranks or morons is proof of nothing. We’re talking about public policy and ideology. Sure there are silly, conspiracy cranks on the left. But let’s not forget that a full quarter of Republicans believe the the President is a secret Muslim and another 50% that think that the election was stolen by a group that disbanded in 2010.

As for economics, which is not a science, let’s not forget that after an extended period of Republican rule, the current resident of 1600 Penn Avenue was faced with a financial system in worse shape than 1929 and a job market purging 800k jobs a month. That’s the reality. And by the way, Paul Krugman has a Noble Prize in economics.

Finally, I find it hilarious that you accuse me of marinating in liberal blogs like Daily Kos, which I loath as reflexively whiny, while I’m currently on a right-wing/libertarian blog. Again, irony. Look it up.

cl December 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm

As smart as you fancy yourself, you think you could learn to reply in line to a post.

“Actual” historians like Daniel Pipes and Paul Johnson certainly took it seriously, as did the Claremont Review of Books. So your statement is more assertion dressed up as fact. But you read 2 whole chapters, so who am I to argue?

The best you can say is a number of liberal historians did not like it (although amazing how many logically inconsistent statements they contain like saying it is nonsense, but everyone knew it anyway).

The rest of this tendentious nonsense does not necessitate a response, so I will fall back to my initial inclination to cite Billy Madison instead.


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