Episcopalian lemmings ask to be thrown into the sea

The leaders of The Episcopal Church (TEC – the historic Anglican church in the USA) may seem to be rushing headlong, like the proverbial lemmings, into self-destruction, as a church and as a part of the Anglican Communion. See what I wrote about them in my posts The end of the Anglican Communion as we know it? and Anglicans and Anglican’ts. But now, it seems, not content with this, they are asking to be thrown quite literally into the sea – at least, to be expelled from North America as stateless refugees.

How so? George Conger (as linked to by Ruth Gledhill) reports:

The Queen must apologize for the wrongs committed by Henry VII and repudiate the “Christian Doctrine of Discovery,” the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church has declared.

What this means is that our monarch is supposed to repudiate the claims made by her ancestors to dominion and title over much of North America, and recognise instead that these lands remain the possession of the native Americans from whom they were grabbed.

But did the bishops and delegates who adopted this resolution understand its further implications? If, as they seem to demand, the whole of North America is returned to its rightful owners, the native Americans, what place is there for that huge majority of modern North Americans who have European, African or Asian ancestry? What would their new native American rulers want to do with these invaders who illegally dominated their lands for nearly four centuries? While they might allow to stay those who could prove some native American ancestry, they might very reasonably require the others to leave and return to their countries of origin.

Some of the countries of origin of today’s US and Canadian citizens might be happy to have them back, at least if they were able to bring their wealth with them. But I suspect that the majority of Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans would trace much of their ancestry back here to the UK. After all, why else would they be Anglicans? The Canadians might be welcome here. But would we welcome back to these shores tens of millions of the descendants of those who rebelled against our Crown in 1776? I suspect not.

At the very least our Queen would be entitled to demand an apology from these people in return for the one they demanded from her – an apology for their unilateral and illegal assertion of dominion and title over lands claimed by her ancestor George III. These lands might have rightfully belonged to the native Americans, but they never legally belonged to the rebellious immigrants who set up their own laws to further dispossess the rightful owners.

So, if the apology demanded from the Queen is actually put into practice, the majority of TEC members might find themselves literally afloat in mid-Atlantic, turned back from any ports their ships try to dock at. Is that what they really want? With TEC, who knows!

12 thoughts on “Episcopalian lemmings ask to be thrown into the sea

  1. The Canadians might be welcome here. But would we welcome back to these shores tens of millions of the descendants of those who rebelled against our Crown in 1776? I suspect not.

    Peter, I’m not sure if all the Episcopalians and Anglicans from North America could fit into the UK? 😉

    Political correctness gone awry. How frustrating!

  2. Well, how many of them are there actually these days? I thought TEC was in serious decline. But we certainly couldn’t accept the entire US population, or even just those who claim British descent. Maybe the new First Nation owners could create a few reservations for them up in northern Saskatchewan?

  3. I recently blogged about this “Doctrine of Discovery” half tongue in cheek, having never heard of it before, but now I think there is more to it than meets the eye, and there’s possibly a serious bit of historical revisionism going on.

  4. Steve, thanks for the mention. Your post on this is interesting, especially how it points out the continuity and contrast with more modern racism. I think it’s the English king’s doctrine rather than the pope’s which TEC has rejected, but presumably they would offer no more deference to the pope.

    Of course TEC also needs to call for the US government to repent of its grabbing of Native American lands. Or perhaps it already has. But how many TEC members, and churches, are located on lands unjustly grabbed from Native Americans? If they don’t want to be seen as hypocrites they should unilaterally give them back.

  5. I can’t say too much more without having read the book Pagans in paradise. But it seems to me that there is something important here that is in danger of being missed by people with other “agenda”.

    1. The law fundis who commented on my blog should be looking at the way in which this “Doctrine of Discovery” still influences US law, especially in relation to Indian rights etc, and come up with proposals for dealing with it.

    2. They also need to revisit their own historical revisionism (if that is what it is) and be careful of interpreting the history of the rest of the world through purely American spectacles.

    3. They appear (from comments in my blog) to be using papal bulls to try to create the impression that the Christian faith is intrisically and inherently genocidal, and using the papal bulls to cover their own sacred cows of capitalism. Even if they don’t intend to do Christian bashing themselves, they seem to be providing ammunition for those who do, using material that appears, at first sight, to be dangerously one-sided.

    I realise that in your own post you are taking the mickey, as I did to some extent in my first post on it, but it may be more serious than that.

  6. Thank you, Steve. I haven’t looked into it in detail. The irony here is that the ones pushing what you suggest is an anti-Christian agenda are the leaders of a major Christian denomination. But they are probably more strongly opposed to conservative Christianity even than the secular establishment is.

    Yes, there certainly are serious issues here, including to do with the effect on US law. But I am not qualified to go into them in depth.

  7. I must say I can’t help wondering if the Gadarene swine might have been a better analogy here than lemmings. Both of course are known for drowning themselves in the sea. But I’m sure I would get into trouble for seeming to suggest that TEC or its leadership had been taken over by evil spirits.

  8. Also I can’t help wondering, and hoping a bit, that TEC’s repudiation of the doctrine of discovery will impede their lawsuits against breakaway congregations and dioceses. In many of these TEC is trying to claim that land and the buildings on it belongs to them as a denomination and not to an individual congregation or diocese. But, although I am no lawyer, it seems to me that TEC’s title to this land is derived from the very “Christian Doctrine of Discovery” that they have officially repudiated. I can imagine that if the breakaway group does a deal with the local native American representatives they could present a claim to the land which the TEC lawyers could respond to only by explicitly invoking the Doctrine of Discovery. That would put them in a rather embarrassing position, and not win them the sympathies of a judge.

  9. No, the ones pushing an anti-Christian “agenda”
    are not, as far as I know, the leaders of a major Christian denomination. I don’t know that Steven Newcomb is a leader of such a denomination, nor that Christian-bashing is on his own agenda, though there were implications of that in a comment he left on my blog. The danger I see is that others will pick up what he had written and use it for Christian bashing.

  10. Steve, the people I had in mind were the leaders of TEC mentioned in my post, who are opposing an allegedly Christian doctrine. You obviously have someone else in mind, who I don’t know much about.

  11. Peter, I think the Episcopalians are quite right to oppose this allegedly Christian doctrine, qhich is quite gortesquely unChristian.

    What I am concerned about is the allegation that this doctrine is Christian, with the resulting implication that the Christian faith is intrinsically genocidal, as I pointed out in my blog post on the topic.

  12. Steve, I agree that this doctrine is unChristian. But the implications of rejecting it are worrying for anyone of European descent living in a former colony. I suppose at least your South Africa is back in the hands of its original inhabitants and they haven’t kicked you out yet, so you don’t have to worry even if you can find evidence that the Doctrine of Discovery was used there.

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