by: P. Joshua Griffin on July 28th, 2012 | 8 Comments »
In the wake of General Convention’s adaptation of liturgy for same-sex blessings, electronland has been abuzz with opinion pieces about the future of mainline Christianity in the United States. The New York Times, in particular, provoked some controversy July 14 with Ross Douthat’s piece “Can Liberal Christianity Be Saved?” in which he ties declining Sunday attendance in the Episcopal Church to the erosion of “traditional” Christianity, as apparently evidenced by our continued recognition of gay and lesbian people as people.
Showing little understanding of historical Anglicanism, Douthat writes that the Episcopal Church “still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.” The problems with Douthat’s analysis, as put forth here by Diana Butler Bass, range from false causal assumptions and factual inaccuracies, to a lack of understanding about just what Anglicanism is—a nondogmatic tradition of common prayer.