Saturday, July 12, 2008

General Convention 2009 -- a transcript

In the wake of the illegal depositions of +Cox and +Schofield, and with Dr. Schori making noises about deposing +Duncan, we sent one of our time-traveling agents into the future to check out what might be coming down the "Bishop Pike" Pike at PEcUSA's GC next year. Here is a transcript of the recording with which our agent returned....

THE TRANSCRIPT from a closed-session H.O.B. meeting at General Convention, 2009.

Schori: Before finishing the session, we are required to take motions from the floor. Are there any motions?

Iker: Yes, I have one.

Schori: Any motions? Anyone?

Iker: Yes, I have a motion.

Schori: No motions?

Price (quietly): Um, ma'am, we're required by the rules of order to notice his motion.

Schori (quietly): Are you sure?

Price (quietly): Yes ma'am.

Schori (quietly): Even from someone like him?

Price (quietly): I'm afraid so ma'am.

Schori (quietly): Damn. Get that fixed before the next convention. (aloud) Why, Jack, I'm so sorry... I didn't see you there. Did you have something you wished to say?

Iker: I wish to move for consideration of the Title IV matter I submitted yesterday which we deferred to today's meeting.

Schori: Oh, come on now, Jack. Surely we can deal with that some other time. There's an exhibition at the museum across the street on native South Pacific goddess cults I really wanted to see -- I think it could give us some truly inspirational ideas for future prayer book revisions, not to mention new designs to put on my mitres.

Iker: I'm sorry, but I really must insist.

Schori (disgusted): Oh, very well. Is there a second?

Duncan: I second it.

Schori: No second?

Ducan: Second!

Schori: Bob? What the hell are you doing here? We already gave you the boot... you can't second a motion...

Price (quietly): Um, ma'am?

Schori (quietly): Damn it, what is it now Ken?

Price (quietly): Um, I'm afraid that, technically, he isn't inhibited yet.

Schori (quietly): What do you mean? I thought we had that all worked out! The money I distributed for bribes and retirement packages was nearly as much as we pay Beers each month! Don't tell me we couldn't get enough votes this time?

Price (quietly): Um, well, no, we got the votes, but the paperwork hasn't been fully processed yet, so it hasn't gone into effect.

Schori (quietly): What do you mean hasn't gone into effect?

Price (quietly): Well, after the National Church ran out of money a few weeks ago, we had to let all our secretaries go. You and Beers are the only ones left on the payroll, plus the funding to Integrity of course, and you're going on half-pay next week.

Schori: WHAT?!! (quietly) Er, I mean, what?! I thought we were getting income from the Jihadist party we're renting office space to in 815.

Price (quietly): Well, yes, but the check hasn't cleared yet. So all the paperwork is in your inbox still.

Schori (quietly): I have an "in box"?!

Price (quietly): Yes ma'am. It's been there for 3 weeks now.

Schori (quietly): Damn it, Ken, you know I don't have time for that sort of stuff! I've been out doing God's work -- you know, photo-ops in fields of organic grain and guest speaking at "Just Let Gene Robinson Be The Bishop Of New Hampsire" tours and exhibitions. I don't have time for paperwork... that's what we have secretaries for!

Price (quietly): Um, we had to let them go, remember?

Schori (quietly): Damn! (aloud) Um, ah, well folks, Ken tells me I have to accept Bob's second after all... (quietly) that worthless Bible-believing piece of.... [inaudible on transcript]

Duncan: Thank you.

Iker: I would like to draw the House's attention to the items in Appendix C from yesterday's agenda, pages 126-134.

Waynick: Objection! Out of order!

Schori: Aha! Can we dismiss the motion?

Iker: What do you mean, out of order, Cate?

Waynick: My pages are out of order. I've got page 132 before page 131!

Schori (quietly): Does that count?

Price (quietly): I'm afraid not.

Schori (quietly): Damn!

Iker: Um, riiiiight. Sorry about that. I guess the staff reductions have led to some inefficiency. Or maybe page 132 was feeling liberated. Anyway, I bring again before the House the matter of illegal and unauthorized diocesean boundary crossings last year by Elizabeth Kaeton and the other five individuals, documented in those papers.

Robinson: Objection!

Schori: Yes Gene?

Robinson: No one has mentioned my name or sympathized with my pain for almost ten minutes now. I just want to be the bishop of New Hampshire!

Schori: I'm so sorry, Gene. We feel your pain. Really, we do. (quietly) Ken, could you get security to slip him another sedative please?

Price (quietly): Yes ma'am.

Iker: Right. Um, where was I? Oh yes. The individuals mentioned in the brief entered several dioceses, including my own, and performed pastoral acts without the permission of the local bishops. Accordingly...

Schori: NO they didn't!

Iker: Um, yes they did. We have signed statements, newspaper reports, and videotapes from over 30 incidents in five dioceses...

Schori: Oh, facts... those don't matter. I'm talking about the higher spirit and deeper truth of the matter! And in that sense they didn't cross diocesean boundaries because we are all one without boundaries or divisions... well, except for you Bob.

Ackerman: Hang on, these are exactly the same charges on which Bishop Cox was deposed last year... except in that case, he was visiting parishes in a different jurisdiction and with the express permission of the local bishop. Here it was crossing boundaries in the same jurisdiction and without such permission. How is this not even worse?

Duncan (quietly): If the canon fits, you can't acquit?


Schori: Look, Keith, that's a totally different situation!

Ackerman: How is it different?

Schori: Bill was going off to minister to a congregation and jurisdiction which doesn't like the Episcopal Church. So they're the bad guys. We can't have our membership giving aid and comfort to the enemy...

Ackerman: Bad guys? The Province of Uganda is still a member of the Anglican Communion...

Schori: Nonsense! They's not the real church in Uganda!

Iker, Ackerman, Duncan: Excuse me?!!

Schori: They don't approve of homosexual activity, so last year we secretly sent over several bishops to start up several "bath-house churches" to be the real Anglican...

Price (quietly): Shhhh!

Schori (quietly): What?

Price (quietly): We're not supposed to say anything about that until Integrity's announcement in September!

Schori (quietly): Oh, right. Damn. (aloud) Um, scratch that. Um... I meant to say, um... ah! That the dioceses Elizabeth visited were violating the civil rights of women by not adequately celebrating women's ordination, and so boundary-crossing actions were true to the spirit of the Gospel as we've defined it and so they can't be criticized for it.

Iker: That's not what the canons say.


[conflicting voices... general noise. 30 seconds before order is restored and the recording becomes clear again.]

Schori: Um, yes. Er, what I meant to say was that the foolish "respect" for the "minority position"...

Ackerman: You mean the clear sense of Scripture and 1900 years of explicit Christian teaching and practice... that minority position?

Schori (louder): ... the minority position opposing women's ordination for which we promised toleration as part of the "listening process" to con the traditionalist into tolerating innovation was, as you know, revoked in 1995 because by then we had the votes to force the revisionism on everyone. So your refusal to accept this new teaching of the church means that it is, in fact, you, not Elizabeth, who should be brought up on charges and...

Duncan: Objection!

Schori: What? I thought you supported that particular abandonment of orthodoxy with us, Bob?

Duncan: The issue at hand is not about Keith or Jack's theological beliefs, but about whether or not Elizabeth Keaton's illegal boundary-crossing should get her deposed.

Iker: Right. So I call for a vote on my motion.

Ackermann: Second!

Schori (quietly): Damn! (aloud) Oh, okay, okay. All in favor of censuring or deposing our good and visionary friend Elizabeth?

[Several calls of "aye"]

Schori: All opposed?

[Many calls of "nay"]

Schori: The nays have it. Motion defeated. Now, can we please...

Ackermann: I call for a roll-call vote!

Iker: Second!

Schori: A what?

Price (quietly): Um, they want to get everyone's votes on record.

Schori (quietly): Can they do that?!

Price (quietly): I'm afraid so.

Schori (quietly): Damn. (aloud) Um, it's obvious that the majority opposed it, Keith, do we really need...

Ackerman: I'm afraid I must insist. I would like everyone's votes on record.

Schori: Oh, alright al...

Price (quietly): Ma'am?

Schori (quietly): Now what?

Price (quietly): Um, this could be bad. I mean, if we actually get something on record, it could make it harder for some bishops to continue to con money out of their wealthy, elderly head-in-the-sand parishoners by pretending it's "all happening somewhere else"... and you know how tight money is getting...

Schori (quietly): Damn it. (aloud) One moment, gentlemen. (quietly) Get me David on the phone. He'll get us out of this!

Price (quietly): Okay, one sec... good thing he's on speed dial.... [on phone] Yes, hi, is David in? ... No, just for a minute... Thanks... Hi, Dave? This is Ken.... Yeah, fine, thanks. Listen, real quick: we're trying to avoid a roll-call vote and... oh, you have? ... You're sure? ... Great, thanks! -click-

Schori (quietly): Well?

Price (quietly): We're in luck. He said he keeps a copy of the canons and procedures in the bathroom and just happened to be looking over them yesterday.

Schori (quietly): Really? In his bathroom? Why?

Price (quietly): He said something about being out of toilet paper... I dunno, I didn't quite follow. Anyway, he said we can check ensure we have a quorum before doing the roll-call vote.

Schori (quietly): Will that work?

Price (quietly): I dunno. Worth a shot.

Schori (quietly): Great, let's...

Price (quietly): Oh, and we owe Dave another $159,400 for his time.

Schori (quietly): No problem... make a note to close down and sell off another parish property. Something from Illinois this time, I think.

Price (quietly): right.

Schori (aloud): Sorry about that delay. Um, right, so we'd be glad to do a roll-call vote...

Ackerman, Duncan, Iker: Really?!!!

Schori: ... but first we have to ensure we have a quorum for the roll-call vote to be valid.

Duncan: Didn't we last determine that a quorum is 13 bishops? Or was that a majority? I think there are more than 13 of us here...

Schori: No, I'm sorry, for something this serious we have to have a quorum of all members entitled to vote. This isn't something obvious like kicking anglocatholics and other traditionalists out. We have to do this one by the numbers.... Ken, do you have a headcount yet?

Price (quietly): Um, I'm afraid we're in trouble. We have exactly enough people here... we may have to do the roll call. Which means these votes could go on record, and that would be bad for some of...

Dixon: Um, excuse me...

Schori: Yes, Jane?

Dixon: Um, Gene appears to have passed out over here!

Schori (quietly): I guess those seditives finally kicked in...

Price (quietly): Um, ma'am... this means...

Schori (quietly): Got it! (aloud) Um, sorry folks, I'm afraid with Gene inexplicably incapacitated, we no longer have the necessary quorum for Jack's roll-call vote. The voice vote will just have to stand. No censuring of Elizabeth for her visionary and courageous witness against the voices of oppression. Now, can I have a motion to adjourn?

Dixon: Let's adjourn!

Harris: Second!

Schori: Meeting adjourned! (quietly) Thank Gaia! Well, I'm off to see that exhibit. Some of the photos have already given me some great ideas about new vestments...

First posted on the MCJ blog.