Debunking fringe media: the fiction of Virtue

I don’t usually pay much attention to David Virtue. When I finish reading his ranting, I’m often not in a good mood. However, he is well connected to the conservative machine, so I check him out for the news that he often manages to offer before others. I was surprised by some of his “reporting” from the Lambeth Conference. Even by his standards, he’s really started to go overboard.

I’ll take just one posting, as an example, and do some fact-checking.

These 600 bishops represent only 15 million Anglicans, while the 303 GAFCON bishops represented 40 million church-going Anglicans around the globe.

First, there are, I believe, 650 bishops here. Second, I don’t think 303 bishops went to GAFCON, but perhaps I’m wrong about that. Maybe a commenter will help me with that. One thing of which I am certain is that Virtue is trying to have it both ways. His “15 million” number is an attempt, I gather, to capture church attendance, not membership. So he will have counted England as something less than one million, while there are 26 million Anglicans here. Fine, let’s talk about church attendance. You don’t get to count Nigeria as 17 million then. Not everyone goes to church every week, and there are lots of questions about that 17 million number. If you are going to play a numbers game, you have to get them right. More to the point, if you are going to play a numbers game, you should go join either the Roman Catholic Church (they have the most Christians) or one of the Pentecostal churches (they are growing quite rapidly).

…the Lambeth Conference is just one of several networks in the Anglican Communion which could include GAFCON and Common Cause Partnership.

Well, no. The Lambeth Conference is one of the four Instruments of Communion, enshrined in Anglican tradition. These other groups are secessionist enterprises, engaged in a program of radical revision of authentic Anglicanism. Many of them include bishops who have not been recognized by Canterbury for decades.

Bishops and their spouses (we don’t call them wives)…

Right on, David! Some bishops — difficult for you to accept, I know — are women. Since you don’t approve of lesbian clergy, you shouldn’t be surprised that there are male spouses. And we can’t confuse gender identity by calling men “wives,” can we?

Yes, there is an 8-10 foot fence around the Big Tent that is guarded by university guards and local police.

Um, no, there is no such thing. Check out my expose on this fiction perpetrated by right-wing “media” types. The fence is hardly six feet high. I have not once seen a police guard. The fence is guarded by university security and college students. Not exactly the menacing presence that some would like us to believe.

Of the Big Top, Virtue says, “…there are no crosses and no visible Eucharistic symbols.”

Wrong again on both counts. The first thing you see when you enter the tent as a large Altar. The Altar most certainly counts as a Eucharistic symbol. And on the front of the Altar is a large Canterbury Cross.

Speaking of the opening Eucharist, we read, “There were no great hymns of the church…”

Hmm. What about, “O for the thousand tongues to sing?”

He didn’t like the opening hymn either, saying, “Listen, any Hindu or Unitarian could sing this rubbish.”

What about this verse, David? “We sing a burning, fiery, Holy Ghost / that seeks out shades of ancient bitterness, / transfiguring these, as Christ in every heart: / come joyful love, live in our hearts today.” You didn’t quite mention that one in your rant, conveniently.

It was pretty well downhill from there, with the preacher doing a Buddhist chant as a bridge from his dreadful sermon into the Eucharist.

Check the facts. That chant, sung in the style of Buddhist chant, was an invocation of the Trinity.

I wouldn’t waste my time on this drivel, were it not for the fact that this stuff is repeated ad nauseam by other right-leaning bloggers. Sure, this Conference isn’t perfect. But if you’re going to criticize, at least get the facts correct.

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6 Responses

  1. Catherine says:

    Thank you.

  2. Lee says:

    You’re a brave soul to read that tripe. When he finally decides to call the presiding bishop by her appropriate title and not ‘Mrs’, perhaps I will read a bit further.

  3. BillyDinPVD says:

    David Virtue’s poisonous writing gives the lie to the “orthodox Anglican” movement’s being Christian in any meaningful way.

  4. Rather as when George Conger referred to the conference meeting on the campus “to the south” of Canterbury. If he can’t get geography right, then what else of his writing am I to disbelieve?

  5. Malcolm says:

    If the “conservatives” really believed they had God on their side, they probably wouldn’t have to lie quite so often.

  6. Mark says:

    Thanks for clearing up the “Buddhist chant” thingy – that’s been going round certain blogs like wildfire…

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