RELIGIONrnDescent into thernEpiscopal Churchrnby The Rev. FT.rnGene GeromelrnEffective January 1, 1994, the rightrnReverend Clarence Pope, EpiscopalrnBishop of Fort Worth, not only retiredrnbut left the Episcopal Church for Rome.rnHe is the highest-ranking Episcopalianrnto leave the denomination. Bishop Popernwas one of a handful of bishops willing tornstand against a liberal hierarchy. As isrntrue of many Episcopalians, he saw thernchurch he knew and loved change itsrncore beliefs in a quest to follow a leftwingrnagenda. And he is not alone. Arnmajority of members of another parishrntransferred to the Antiochian OrthodoxrnArchdiocese.rnFor vears the Episcopal Church wasrnknown as the Republican Party at prayer.rnIts members were perceived to be partrnof the powerful elite, the rich and thernfamous. Whether this perception wasrnever true, it certainly is no longer accuraterntoday. Yes, some members may bernrich, powerful, and even famous. Somernmay even be Republicans. But not herrnleadership. The “Sandinistas in SensitivityrnGroups,” “Marxists at EST,” “Nihilistsrnin Nirvana,” but never the RepublicanrnParty at prayer. For the last tworndecades, the gospel of the 60’s has prevailed,rnand for the institution and thosernparishioners who remain, the cost hasrnbeen financial ruin, moral bankruptcy,rnand intolerance. Even more frighteningrnfor me is the fact that every time I watchrnan interview of the President, or one ofrnhis deputies, I feel as if I am sitting at arndiocesan meeting. Shades of an age ofrndemonstrations, SDS, and free love. Ifrnyou wonder where the age of Clinton willrntake us, just look at the EpiscopalrnChurch.rnDuring the Reagan years, the clergyrnof my diocese received a letter. It wasrna tirade against Reaganomics, underrnwhich the poor suffered unendurablernhardships, welfare mothers were ignored.rnand unemployment was rampant. In it,rnour Bishop commiserated with us overrnhow difficult it must now be to afford arnvacation. In the final paragraph, he toldrnus all about his extended vacation inrnSwitzerland.rnIn the entranceway to the diocesan office,rna large sign lamented that the averagernwelfare mother was only given 25rncents per meal per person by the government.rnAt that point in my life, our familyrnwas spending an average of 11 centsrnper person per meal. The priest whorncame with me spent even less than thatrnper meal. At that time, my childrenrnqualified for free lunches at school.rnWhile Reagan was portrayed by the bishoprnas the great Satan of those on welfare,rnno mention was ever made of the standardrnof living of his own priests! Thernwelfare of priests was not part of thernagenda.rnToday, one of the great concerns ofrnour President and his Lady is health care.rnSome 37 million (or 58 million, dependingrnon the source) are without it, we arerntold. The rest of us are condemned tornpay for those without. More importantly,rnour standard of care will be lessened,rnif not destroyed. Yet, like the vacationingrnbishop, Clinton and Congress shall neverrnbe forced to live with the same system.rn”Limousine Bishops” speak eloquentlyrnabout the suffering of the poor, demandrnredress for perceived wrongs, yetrnlive in the best neighborhoods, travel tornthe nicest places, and attend the hottestrnparties. It is reported that the PresidingrnBishop of the Episcopal Church makesrnneariy as much money as the Presidentrnof the United States. (His office refusesrnto divulge any information on hisrnsalary—yet a published report contendsrnthat it is $166,000 with a housing allowancernof $48,000, making him thernhighest paid leader of any mainlinernchurch. It is reported that his retirementrnpay will be $ 13 2,000.) The median budgetrnfor a parish in the Diocese of Michiganrnis $86,000. The median incomernincluding housing for 1992 of EpiscopalrnClergy in the United States was $38,750.rnThis is not to say that there aren’t finernbishops who are paid a pittance. Therernis, however, a direct relationship betweenrnsalary and “advocacy of the poor” (asrnlong as they fit the politically correct definition).rnLittle concern is expressed forrnthe soldiers who need Food Stamps tornfeed their families.rnConferences are frequently held onrnministering to the poor. If one were tornclose his eyes, one could imagine hearingrnthe very same exhortations at any liberalrnthink-tank. A fellow priest attended onernsuch conference. All day he heard howrnone must be sensitive to the poor andrnoppressed. He endured the guilt trip ofrnbeing white and middle-class. At thernend of the day, he drove home tired andrndepressed in his ten-year-old Toyota. Hernwas passed by both “facilitators,” eachrndriving his own Mercedes. It is not onlyrnliberal politicians whose lifestyle beliesrntheir words. The church too has itsrnpoverty pimps.rnFor decades, if not since the foundingrnof this nation, the Episcopal Church hadrna special relationship with the military.rnFrom his years as a cadet or midshipmanrnuntil retirement, an officer could bernministered to by an Episcopal Chaplain.rnThose who opposed the war in Vietnamrnhave since risen to prominence in thernEpiscopal Church. One former officer,rnnow a parish priest, tells the story of onernless-than-pleasant demonstration inrnOkinawa. One of the demonstrators wasrnthe then Bishop of Okinawa, who is nowrnthe Presiding Bishop of the EpiscopalrnChurch. During the Gulf War, an EpiscopalrnPresident sought comfort andrnspiritual direction from Billy Graham.rnfiis own Presiding Bishop denounced hisrn”imperialism.” A recent conference inrnDetroit was entitled “Making the ConnectionsrnBetween U.S. Militarism andrnUrban Violence.”rnThe agenda of the Episcopal hierarchyrnseems little concerned with thernspiritual well-being of servicemen andrnwomen. It is no secret that words such asrn”souls,” “eternal salvation,” and “holiness”rnare absent from the lexicon of liberalrnclergy. While Episcopal elites snubrntheir noses at the military, numerousrnnews sources report that First DaughterrnChelsea refused to enter a military vehiclernthat was to take her to school, saying:rn”My mother and father don’t like thernmilitary.”rnThe military (for the Episcopal leftrnand apparently for our President) isrnmerely a laboratory for social experimentation.rnThe only time they take an interestrnin the well-being of soldiers is whenrnthey have the opportunity to speak ofrn”gender-neutral” policies, or of the admittance,rnretention, and promotion ofrngays. The same Presiding Bishop whorncondemned the Gulf War applauded thernDemocratic President’s initial policy towardrngays, sending a memo to EpiscopalrnChaplains encouraging them to supportrnJUNE 1995/47rnrnrn