Forced Orthodoxy

As a thirteenth generation North American, I always enjoy being asked by Europeans "what I am". It is such a pleasure saying "a Native American, of course!" (I am - supposedly - related to a young Indian girl who ran off with an older English sailor, but that's another story.)

In point of fact, I don't feel any particular affinity toward any "old country", particularly the one that gives me my native tongue. It is true that upon my first landing in London it reminded me of "a big, dirty Boston." But other than that, musty carpets and bad teeth have never made me feel much at home.

The one and only thing that has compelled some connection to England is my religion. Born, christened and educated in the Episcopal Church, it would appear that I have a connection with the Anglican Church, the Church of England. The religious boarding school I attended was a cheap knock off of the Harrow School and the ceremony in the chapel would have been familiar to any "public school" boy.

But as the years have passed, both the Anglican and American Episcopal churches have become increasingly radicalized. The situation has gotten so bad that American Episcopalians are now splitting from the established diocese and aligning with the African Episcopal Church. I find it somewhat delightful that conservative (now more formally known as "Orthodox Episcopalians") find more comfort in association with Africans than the English. Frankly, so do I.

Statements this weekend by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, are just the latest in the idiocy that passes for religious leadership in the Anglican Church. But this time, speaking to a Muslim publication, Williams tried to use the Raj as a shining example of enlightened imperialism in contrast to the efforts of the US in Iraq. Victor Davis Hanson takes him to task, although I'm not sure why he wastes his time. Williams and the rest of the Anglican Church hierarchy are hardly worth addressing. They are the veritable definition of a lost cause.

It is somewhat embarrassing to be even remotely associated with the Church of England. But as Tom Barnett has said in his various writings, modern Americans have more in common with high growth, emerging nations than with Old Europe. Thankfully, the biggest mark European post-modernism has made on the American landscape is limited to bad architecture. And the only effect it has had on me personally has been to force me to call myself an "Orthodox Episcopalian", despite how little I find "orthodoxies" appealing.