Not that there's anything wrong with that!

OK, so maybe you’re not a Seinfeld fan, but this quote comes from that show’s humorous take on cultural prejudices. In the episode, “The Outing,” Jerry Seinfeld denies rumors that he is gay … “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” As friends and family respond with alarm to the rumors of Jerry’s homosexuality, they all end their shocked statements by saying, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

Why am I bringing this up? Because I think this line needs to be adopted by many of the angry purple shirts who are distressed by the consecration of a gay bishop (and, let’s face it, women’s ordination). The Presiding Bishop has offered to appoint an acceptable bishop to provide alternate primatial oversight for American Bishops. (Apparently some men just can’t stomach dealing with a woman in authority). Bishop Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth has responded by saying that any plan that gives ultimate authority to Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori is a “non-starter.” Apparently a woman has no place issuing “unilateral dictates.” (As if any PB ever had that sort of authority!)

Of course, this is nothing new from Fort Worth's pointy hat. One can almost hear +Iker saying, "It's not because she's a woman--not that there's anything wrong with that!" Adding the Seinfeld disclaimer to misogynist sentiments simply gives credence to the fallacy that such sentiments should be mainstream.

If you visit the website for the Diocese of Fort Worth, you can read a detailed view of their position on women’s ordination. The multi-part essay is written by 4 guys. As you can probably guess, they don’t like women’s ordination. Using a generous amount of proof-texting and specious argument, these four men commence a heavily-biased reading of Holy Scripture, Church tradition, and even reason. Yes, the decline in the moral and ethical standards of the church since 1976 is directly due to the ordination of women. So is the decline in membership and stewardship, and just about every other ill that has befallen the Episcopal Church. I wonder how these gentlemen would explain the vast abuses of children by the Catholic Church, which does not ordain women. Blame that on the Philadelphia 11 too? And to what idealized vision of the pre-1976 church are they subscribing? Was it the “church triumphant” before the Philadelphia 11? Were our pre-1976 ethical and moral standards any higher before we started ordaining women? Was +Iker rendered so helpless by the presence of a woman with holy orders that he was powerless to halt their mission to destroy the church? I can’t help but think that +Iker would be better served by singing a little Jimmy Buffet:

“Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know it’s my own damn fault.”

Here is what part of the article would look like if the authors used Jerry Seinfeld’s line:

“It is reasonable then to hope that women’s ordination may likewise come to be viewed as an experiment that failed, a concept that seemed rational enough at first, but eventually was recognized by more thoughtful generations as hollow and counter-productive—not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Here is what recent statements attributed to Bishop Orama (Nigeria) would sound like:

“Homosexuality and lesbianism are inhuman. Those who practice them are insane, satanic, and are not fit to live because they are rebels to God’s purpose for man. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Sounds almost ... acceptable, doesn't it?

(Yes, +Orama has denied making this statement, and the reporter involved has retracted, but mere denials are not sufficient. Enough homophobia has come out of ++Akinola’s camp; these statements are consistent with the party line--which, in Nigeria, includes jail for homosexuals. In other words, gays shouldn't be killed, just jailed. Until +Orama can make a statement affirming the rights and dignity of gay men and women, he has not truly retracted anything. It’s like punching someone in the face and saying, “I did not just hit you.” Or worse: “Open-handed hitting doesn’t count!”).

+Iker and other Network bishops have hidden their bigotry behind a reading of Scripture, sacred tradition, and reason—a reading that, surprise, favors men! Behind their stated good intentions lie the actions of angry, straight, male bishops. They are acting like homophobes and misogynists.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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