Reports came in from Lambeth that a number of TEC revisionist bishops were spreading misinformation in their Indaba groups about the state of litigation in the United States. Their claim was that the orthodox churches and dioceses “were suing them,” and the blame was really to be put on the orthodox. This is untrue, but it has been proven that if a lie is told often enough, people begin to believe there is something to it. Let us look at a few examples of lawsuits in the US.
In California, the bishop of Los Angeles is suing the orthodox churches, as is also the case in the diocese of San Diego. The Los Angeles orthodox churches won in the lower court and were reversed in a Court of Appeals, and the case is now before the California Supreme Court. The point to take away is that Bishop J. Jon Bruno initiated the lawsuit, demanding even the children’s Sunday School crayons (no, I am not joking, you can read it in the public record), and for anyone, especially a California bishop, to assert that they were sued first is a deliberate untruth.
In Virginia, Bishop Peter Lee had worked out an arbitration procedure that would have allowed the churches and the diocese to negotiate an agreed-upon settlement and avoid litigation. The churches proceeded with their parish votes and the registration of the vote tallies with the local Court Houses, as per the 1867 Virginia law that applied to church splits. When the TEC Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori heard about it, she advised Bishop Lee that “there is a new sheriff in town.” Lee was told that if he didn’t sue the churches, TEC would sue him. Bishop Lee uncharacteristically buckled under the pressure, and without advance notice, launched the lawsuits. For him to say that the Virginia churches sued him would be a gross violation of the truth also.
Somewhere in the United States, a parish may have asked for a declaratory judgment to settle issues of property title, or may have, once they were sued, filed a counter suit in defense, but it has been the model of the orthodox churches not to use the courts to attack bishops, dioceses, or TEC. The very aggressive stance that TEC has taken was first formulated by leadership within the Presbyterian Church in the US, and it appears that TEC Chancellor David Booth Beers is following the Presbyterian game plan to a “P.”
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