On an ordinary news day, the flag-in-the-lapel commentariat would know just what to call unhappy campers like Yates, who led his disaffected flock out of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. on Saturday and into the Nigerian Anglican church: Cosmopolitan elitists, fuzzy-headed dreamers, and whiny losers who, if they love Nigeria so much, should just move there (never mind that Nigerians would kill for American visas!). Particularly outspoken figures–such as the Reverend Martyn Minns, a fellow dissident who spoke of “an equal partnership with our friends in the Global South”–might be invited onto Bill O’Reilly’s show to be smacked around for failing to line up behind our universal Western values. As any number of disaffected idealists could tell you, it’s only a short hop from singing Kumbaya with the Global South to coddling Castro or lionizing Mugabe.
But, apparently, it’s a different story when the dissidents come from the far right and their quarrel isn’t with capitalism or imperialism or other bugbears of touchy-feely idealists. Thus, the absence of any reaction from the love-it-or-leave-it set to the odd spectacle of several Virginia Episcopal congregations, including Minns’s, declaring that the Anglican church’s American branch isn’t good enough for them: No O’Reilly smackdown, no dismissal by Joe Scarborough, no thundering Wall Street Journal editorial.
Indeed. My favorite quote from the Schaeffer piece was supplied by the previously mentioned right-wing and suddenly Afrocentric Yates.
All the signs are around. Take, for instance, the hyperbolic language: “We’re climbing over the rails down to various little lifeboats,” the Reverend John Yates, rector of The Falls Church in Virginia, declared over the weekend. “There’s a lifeboat from Bolivia, one from Rwanda, another from Nigeria. Their desire is to help us build a new ship in North America, and design it and get it sailing.”
Boy, does this bring back memories! Yates sounds exactly like the lefty composers of the Woodstock-era Jefferson Airplane/Crosby, Stills and Nash classic Wooden Ships.