washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Wooden Ships

This is a good week for the New Republic Online. Yesterday they posted the excellent Andrew Sullivan piece about the conservative crisis over homosexuality. And today, Michael Currie Schaffer of the Philly Inquirer posts a tart and pertinent article about the anti-American strain in conservatism, as revealed most recently by the defection of conservative Episcopal parishes in Virginia, who seek instead pastoral guidance from Nigeria.
Schaeffer has lots of fun with the we-hate-America implications of the Virginia Episcopal schism. Commenting on the particularly abrasive comments of Falls Church rector John Yates, Schaeffer notes:

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.

Remember this?
Go and take a sister by her hand
Lead her far from this foreign land
Somewhere where we might laugh again
We are leaving
You don’t need us
Wooden ships on the water very free and easy
You know the way it’s supposed to be
Silver people on the shoreline leave us be
Very free and gone
It’s real tempting to say to the Virginia schismatics: “Love it or leave it, folks!”
But I won’t, out of Christian charity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.