Friday, February 06, 2015

A.S. Haley: South Carolina Decision Is Full Vindication for the Victims of ECUSA’s Oppression

February 5, 2015

Circuit Judge Diane S. Goodstein’s carefully crafted 46-page decision in the case brought by Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (along with 35 of its parishes, plus St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant) against the Episcopal Church (USA) and its rump group (ECSC, or “Episcopal Church in South Carolina”) is a complete vindication of the positions taken and arguments advanced for so long, by so many, inside and outside the Church.

It is a vindication first, for the Right Reverend Mark Lawrence and his legal team, who conceived the winning strategy, assembled and put on all the evidence, wrote all the briefs, argued all the appeals, fought back in the federal courts, and at last brought ECUSA to its day of reckoning.
It is a vindication, as well, of Bishop Lawrence’s pastoral strategies, by which he showed how spiritual leaders can follow and submit themselves to the civil law, while in doing so remain faithful and Biblical counselors and guides for those in their spiritual care. It was Bishop Lawrence who decided on behalf of his Diocese not to appeal the All Saints Waccamaw decision to the U.S.

Supreme Court and run the risk of dividing his parishes still further. It was Bishop Lawrence who accepted responsibility for giving each parish in his Diocese a quitclaim deed in compliance with the holding in All Saints Waccamaw that the Dennis Canon could on its own not create a trust in any property in South Carolina. These decisions led to the accusations of “abandonment” brought against Bishop Lawrence by his detractors, but they were pastorally the right decisions to make under the circumstances. Had ECUSA’s leaders shown a comparable willingness to submit to the everyday requirements of the civil law, the Church would not be where it is today: millions and millions of dollars poorer, with absolutely nothing to show from the squandering of all its trust funds.

It is a vindication of all of the faithful parishioners and clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina who remained by their Bishop, and provided much-needed financial support, as ECUSA and its minions sought to bring him down by the sheer weight of all the forces they could bring to bear against him and his Diocese...     the rest
As has long been argued on this blog, any restriction which ECUSA tried to put upon the ability of its member dioceses to withdraw would be in violation of the First Amendment, and unenforceable in any civil court in the land.


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