Friday, December 05, 2014

A.S. Haley: Is a Church that Sues Itself a Church?

December 5, 2014

The highly litigious Episcopal Church in the United States of America (“ECUSA”) has settled a lawsuit with itself, according to a press release from its rump group (which cannot legally be called a “diocese”) in South Carolina.

Shall we run that one by our eyes again? ECUSA has settled a lawsuit which it brought against itself.
OK, technically I should say: one arm of ECUSA has agreed to take money from another arm of ECUSA in settlement of a dispute the two arms had with each other, and that went to court. Is that clearer?

No? My, but you are being picky. Let me try one more time, in a bit more detail.

ECUSA is this epiphenomenon that is rather like the village of Brigadoon. One day or so you suddenly see it (if you’re lucky enough), and then for a very long time, you don’t. It arises (when it does), not out of its own doings, but of those of its constituent members.

Oh, you may think you see ECUSA far oftener than that, for if you follow lawsuits, ECUSA is perpetually in the news. Every time you see or hear of ECUSA in that sense, it is as the plaintiff in yet another lawsuit against one of its own churches, or diocesesthe rest
But stop and think for a moment: in the world of ECUSA, it is nothing for one arm of the Church to sue another arm of the same Church, and claim that it is a victim of bad-faith dealings by its fellow member -- entitling it to wipe out that member's entire net worth! I suppose that all the vestries and rectors whom ECUSA has sued personally for punitive damages and bad faith should take some small amount of consolation from the realization that for ECUSA, it's nothing personal, and nothing that ECUSA wouldn't hesitate to use against its own.

What a Church! What a Christian example to fellow Christians!


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