Conflicts Galore on the Kangaroo Court

Bishop Mark LawrenceBy A S Haley

In a series of five posts earlier this month (links to the first, second, third, fourth and fifth), I have examined the patent procedural irregularities and bias which attend the deliberations of the Disciplinary Board for Bishops as it looks into vague and vacuous claims that Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina has “abandoned the Episcopal Church” — by refusing to go along with the latter’s theological and canonical excursions into a metaphysical Wonderland. In particular, we saw first how the Board’s original “Church Attorney”, and then its Chair and one other member, were hopelessly conflicted by the public stances they had taken earlier on issues which are in total disagreement with — indeed, are the exact opposite of — the stances of Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese on those issues.

This is not a recipe for impartiality, or for cool and calm judgments at the highest level. Like the Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Wonderland, the people who are sitting in judgment on Mark Lawrencehave already announced their predilections well beforehand. That they have not yet voluntarily recused themselves from these proceedings is a scandal. Indeed: their failure to do so is what allows the resulting proceedings to be dubbed, in the provincial vernacular, “a kangaroo court.”

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