One of the pieces of advice I routinely hand out in my secular work is to ensure that what you say is accurate.
Another piece of advice is this - when you make a mistake, own up to it and apologize - quickly.
One of my frequent complaints about things from the more toxic sites of the "conservative" Anglican blogosphere is a tendency to misrepresent, and to allow misrepresentations to stand.
I hate it when I forget to take my own advice or act by my own standards.
In the past few days, I have made inaccurate statements about certain events in the Diocese of Saskatoon. In doing so, I have been unfair to the Bishop of Saskatoon.
Today, I'm trying to apply my second piece of advice.
The events in question refer to the resignation of a priest of that diocese. The Anglican Journal coverage of these events can be found here (http://www.anglicanjournal.com/sexuality-debate/055/article/saskatoon-priest-resigns-over-same-sex-issue/).
My mistake was three-fold.
First, the priest in question was not deposed. He was threatened with the suspension of his license, but pre-empted that by resigning.
Second, even had he been suspended, being suspended and being deposed are two very different things.
Third, the context in which I made my comment (as part of a list of penalties against liberal clerics) made it appear that the actions of the Bishop of Saskatoon were of the same order as the other penalties mentioned, and that it was based in a similar motivation, that is, an intolerance of dissenting opinions. I don't believe that to be true and did not intend to imply it was.
So, having come clean on my three-fold error, I will contact the Bishop of Saskatoon directly with my apology. I will also go to the site where I made these comments and refer them to this correction and apology.
The larger context of my comments was a reference to the threat of sanctions against the one Nigerian bishop who registered for the Lambeth Conference and has since headed home. I was trying to contrast the real penalties that have been levied against dissenters with the constant "conservative" complaint of "persecution" by liberal bishops.
In my experience, I have yet to see a case of sanctions against a conservative or "conservative" priest which did not follow directly on some non-canonical action, such as refusing their bishop entry to their parish or declaring themselves to be out of communion with their bishop or, in one case, serious allegations of financial impropriety which the priest refused to answer.
Yet we have seen real sanctions imposed by such "conservatives" against dissenters, including the threatened sanctions against Bishop Okorocha of Nigeria, the deposition of a supposedly "pro-gay" bishop by the Primate of Uganda and the refusal of the Province of Central Africa to ratify an episcopal election because the candidate once belonged to an organization (the Modern Churchpeoples Union) described as "suspect."
These are (primae facie at least) real cases of people being sanctioned because of views they hold or are alleged to hold. Shawn Sanford Beck's case, while not completely dissimilar, is not quite the same either. The threatened sanctions were not due to his views, but due to a stated intention to act in a way that was not canonically authorized. Further, although the sanction was considered, it was not implemented.
I don't know the Bishop of Saskatoon very well, but I do know him. He is, to my experience, a reasonable man and certainly not one to crush dissent. He did not deserve to be included on that list.