The Church needs to be “inclusive.” This was the refrain of the liberal delegates (an overwhelming majority) to the convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Minneapolis as they considered the controversial nomination of Gene Robinson as coadjutor bishop of New Hampshire. Robinson had been selected in New Hampshire over a field of candidates that included a Pamela and a Roberta and a token Robert. Robinson is not only a divorced husband and father (which would be enough for any Christian church) but an open and flaunting homosexual who promotes homosexuality among adolescents. This should have been an easy decision, even for Anglicans who have mostly given up the pretense that they believe in anything that is not preached on NPR, but the liberals are determined to rip the last scrap of decency from Anglicanism, and the delegates would have rubber-stamped Robinson’s nomination, had it not been for 11th-hour allegations that his website Outright has links to homosexual pornography sites and that the would-be bishop could not avoid playing “grab-ass” with young males who visited him.
Historically, Anglicans have more often debated the size of the chasuble than the iota in homoiousios or the fine points of the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed, and, since the 1920’s, most Anglican communions have relegated every significant clause of the creeds to the metaphorical limbo so dear to agnostics. In my Anglican days, I never heard a minister actually deny the Creation, the resurrection of the body, or the Real Presence. They were content to trivialize all Christian doctrines with the phrase “in a sense.” There is a sense, they would intone, in which Christ’s love for humanity triumphs over the grave. Such equivocation was taken for good manners (I assume) by the dwindling number of believers in the church, but, to anyone else, it is an unmistakable sign of cowardice and dishonesty.
In recent years, inclusive has become one of the more popular code words of such dishonesty. By applying inclusive to homosexuality, divorce, fornication, paganism, and atheism, the liberals can have their cake (a sheet cake made from a box) and eat it, too. Of course, they cannot actually say, “I approve of sodomy, fellatio, golden showers, child-molesting, and the insertion of live animals into the anal cavity.” As Episcopalians, they dare not even pronounce any of the whole new set of pathological names provided by the love that dares not speak its name—those were the days!—much less describe in detail the acts that are indicated by these phrases.
So they take refuge in inclusive. Like most weasel words, inclusive has, in acquiring political significance, radically changed its meaning. An adjective formed from Latin includere (to close in, enclose), it referred originally to a fence or crown that actually enclosed. Later, it came to mean “comprehensive” and to indicate that something was to be included in a list or series of dates. As recently as the late 60’s, dictionaries did not include the current political sense of “open to all minorities and alternative lifestyles.” In its most pernicious usage, the term inclusive language is used to justify the barbaric bowdlerizations of the Scriptures, hymns, and liturgies of historic Christian churches.
Like every other weasel word, inclusive means something quite different from—often the opposite of—what it is meant to suggest. Every experiment in inclusion begins by excluding something that already exists, such as the word man from hymnals and liturgies. At the very least, what they mean is to substitute one word—and one concept—for another. Man is replaced by person and may soon be replaced by being or creature—so as to be more inclusive toward our little animal friends. The day is coming soon, when the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) will include everyone and everything but Christians.
As used by liberal Christians, inclusive includes all those things that are excluded by Christian doctrine and tradition and excludes all those that are included. The Christian view of sex roles, marriage, and morality was taught in the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, affirmed by councils and encyclicals, and endorsed (even strengthened) by Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and the other leaders of the Reformation. But now, as one liberal sheep was heard to bleat at the convention, “God is working a change through us.” Right. The “Great I Am,” the Creator of all that is and can be, Who laid the foundation of the earth, to Whom Anglicans used to pray as “the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom standeth our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom,” has waited until now to grow up and accept the profound wisdom of the Playboy Philosophy.
George Homans, the nonbelieving social scientist, once suggested that modern man would be better off if he would recite daily the General Confession of the Anglican Church. Few Anglicans under 50 can probably remember it, but here it is for the “gay”-rights bishop and the lost sheep of ECUSA to ponder:
ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; according to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of thy holy name. Amen.