Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Can't Quite Believe My Eyes

From the AP and currently appearing on the NYT front page: Church of Scotland Votes to Appoint Gay Minister

The Church of Scotland has voted in favor of appointing an openly gay minister -- the latest case involving sexuality to create a division in the Anglican Communion.


The case has divided Scottish religious leaders and follows tensions within the worldwide 77 million-member Anglican Communion. About 900 elders and ministers took part in a debate on Rennie's case, but many chose to abstain from casting a vote.

Anglicans have conducted lengthy debate over sexuality issues since the Episcopal Church -- the Anglican body in the U.S. -- consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003.

Emphasis added.

It is a matter of some considerable historical importance that the Church of Scotland is not an Anglican church or part of the Anglican Communion. There is a church in Scotland that is part of the Communion, the Scottish Episcopal Church, but this is not that; this is the much larger, and official, Church of Scotland. A reporter who lacked any knowledge of the history, or of Scotland, but who knew a little bit about religion, might have noticed that the decisionmaking structure involving "about 900 elders and ministers" judging a minister didn't seem very much like that involved in confirming Robinson's appointment as bishop, insofar as it lacked a House of Bishops. Decisionmaking by "ministers and elders" is an institutional form distinctively associated with Presbyterianism ("presbyter" = "elder"). Episcopal churches have bishops ("episcopos" = "bishop.") The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian. Anglican Churches are Episcopal.


X. Trapnel said...

Did you email either the AP or the NYT about the mistake? It's still uncorrected on the Times' site.

Jacob T. Levy said...

I have.