NBC Nightly News Blames the Schism Between Liberal and Conservative Episcopalians on Homosexuality

For NBC, the break in the Episcopal church is all about angry homophobes. 

On August 1, anchor Brian Williams reported: “Tonight the deep split in the American Episcopal Church.  It started in New Hampshire with the ordination of a gay bishop, and now some angry Episcopal congregations here have found some new allies in faraway places.”

According to NBC reporter Mike Taibbi, “mostly conservative” churches from “Africa and the Far East” are “poaching” American congregants upset over the American Episcopal Church's “liberal policies allowing for gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.”   The African congregations are members of the Anglican Communion, the parent of the American Episcopal Church.

Taibbi interviewed liberal Massachusetts Episcopal Bishop Thomas Shaw.  According to Taibbi, Shaw believes the schism is happening because the American church leadership is standing firm by its “interpretation of scripture as inclusive of gays.” Shaw puts his spin on the homosexuality issue: “We need them in the life of the church. We need their voice.” 

Taibbi also interviewed an orthodox Episcopal priest, Rev. William Murdoch, who said: “Seventy-seven million people worldwide have said to the American church, 'Stop,' and they are not stopping.”

By focusing exclusively on homosexuality, NBC paints a sympathetic picture of tolerant American bishops holding the tide against homophobic Third Worlders.  But there's more to the story.        

For example, the Episcopal Church Convention has refused to affirm basic Christian doctrines, historically recognized by the Episcopal Church, acknowledging the authority of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Katherine Jefferts Schori, the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop, has provoked outrage worldwide through her very liberal attitude toward traditional church teachings.  Schori told NPR last year: “What is truth, what is truth?... To insist that we can only read the Bible in one particular way is to ignore the multitude of ways in which God speaks to us.”

Christian believers in the Episcopal Church have discovered that they have more in common with conservative Anglicans from the developing world than they have with liberals in the United States

Who can blame them? 

David Niedrauer is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.