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Friday, September 9, 2011

Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith ... What Does It Mean? 4th and Final Part Once - "All Negotiations Have Been Frozen"

I vowed on 8/26 not to opine on the negotiations again. I wrote "the notion of negotiating in good faith, or not, is in the eyes of the beholder. If TEC-Pgh’s idea of negotiating in good faith means setting in stone pre-conditions which are non-starters for the ACNA parishes, that is their prerogative. There just won't be any negotiations.

TEC-Pgh blogger Lionel Deimel has said: 'we [the TEC-Pgh Diocese] hold most of the cards so this is more like a plea bargain than a negotiation between equals'. From the TEC perspective, they probably think we should be grateful that they are even willing to offer negotiations to us. They don’t have to --which is true?"

I guess I am a prophet. I predicted that unless the TEC-Pgh dropped their draconian demands, (which by the way are a violation of the 1st amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of association), there would be no negotiations. Guess what, TEC-Pgh apparently has ended the negotiations --- at least for now.

At Jamie Forrest’s funeral service on Saturday I had an interesting conversation with a friend about the so-called negotiations that have yet to take place between the TEC-Pgh diocese and our parishes, or shall I say, their “non-participating” parishes. Other than St. Philip’s, none of our parishes have embraced their generous offer of disaffiliation and fair market value. And the negative publicity, I am told, following the St. James and All Saints’ debacles apparently isn’t sitting well with the Monroeville think tank either. My friend stated that as a result, at a meeting last week between three TEC-Pgh diocesan leaders and two clergy of our diocese, it was stated that [all] negotiations have been frozen and TEC-Pgh will await the final ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and then most likely unroll a different approach. After all, TEC can wait us out, given Judge James ruling, time is on their side --not ours.

It is however, difficult, if not impossible for TEC-Pgh to impose a Carthaginian peace settlement and also claim the moral high ground in this. But I guess they are going to pause, reload and retry. The prospect of twenty some parishes being served eviction notices by armed deputy sheriffs in six different counties in Western Pennsylvania is not a pretty one, especially with the TV news cameras rolling.


  1. David,

    I think you misread the First Amendment, but I agree with you that a failure to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution regarding these issues of property would represent a failure in our call to serve as witnesses of our Lord and Savior to the world around us. Our division is already scandal enough.



  2. Bruce:

    I stand to be enlightened how a disaffiliation requirement doesn't violate freedom of association. As for the rest of your comment I would agree.

  3. 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'

    It's about what Congress may or may not do, not about what the Diocese of Pittsburgh may or may not do. Anyone may voluntarily agree to limit his freedom of religion if he sees a personal advantage in doing so. St Philip's thought the advantage worth the cost, and freely limited their own right to associate.

    Please note this is not an argument in support of the policy of disaffiliation. I have made my opposition to that policy known to those who have the ability to change it. The policy is wrong, in my opinion, but the first amendment is not violated.

  4. I disagree Philip. We are being offered the choice to voluntarily limit our freedom of association. We are being told it is a condition we must accept.

  5. I left out a key word -- NOT

    I disagree Philip. We are NOT being offered the choice to voluntarily limit our freedom of association. We are being told it is a condition we must accept.

  6. I am posting this for Philip Wainwright as he had trouble getting ti to post:

    “You must accept it if you want the deal offered, of course. My only point was that the first amendment is not violated by the deal. The first amendment doesn't declare a right, the way the second amendment does. If second amendment wording was used, 'the right of the people to associate for religious purposes shall not be infringed', the court could not (or should not) have approved the deal between St Philip's and the EC diocese.

    ”Can we agree that the policy of disaffiliation is wrong, and agree to differ about how to interpret the first amendment?”

    My answer two both premises is "yes"

  7. Bruce - Always good to hear you. "scandal" is an understatement. In a recent conversation with a one-time conservative-now Tec officer, my plea for unity in the gospel was glibly dismissed in subjection to the legal ruling by the secular courts that seems to be the basis for all Tec decisions as of yet. It's more than scandalous, it's anti-Christian and in a sense, demonic. It has to stop or I'm afraid the All Saint's press release is just the beginning. May God save his church.