WashPost Highlights 'Conservative' Episcopal Split From (Unlabeled) Liberal Bishops

The front page of Monday’s Washington Post is a topped with a local religion story, as seven Episcopal parishes voted to break with the Episcopal Church USA over the church’s tilt away from the Bible and toward a "progressive" future with gay bishops and gay "marriage" ceremonies. Reporters Michelle Boorstein and Bill Turque describe these dissidents as "conservative" four times in the story (and once in the headline), but there are no "liberals" in the piece, not gay Bishop Gene Robinson and not the top Presiding Bishop, Kathleen Jefferts Schori. In paragraph 17, the reporters do attribute talk of a "leftward drift" to a disgruntled parishioner.

(Perhaps most surprising is the picture: conservative opponents of homosexuality embracing after the decision to split away. Nearly every national newspaper story on gay issues is illustrated by gay plaintiffs, gay protesters, gay parents – and social conservatives go for years without being pictured.)

The headline was "7 Va. Episcopal Parishes Vote to Sever Ties: Same-Sex Unions, Choice of Gay Bishop Spark Conservatives’ Break From Church." Turque and Boorstein note two of the congregations are "among the state’s largest and most historic," Truro Episcopal in Fairfax and the Falls Church in, well, Falls Church: "Their leaders have been in the vanguard to establish a conservative alternative" to the ECUSA. They will "form the core of what is envisioned as a Fairfax-based mission of the conservative Episcopal Church of Nigeria."

In paragraph 17, Vicki Robb of Alexandria "said the church’s leftward drift was becoming intolerable," and three paragraphs later, "Other Episcopal leaders said yesterday’s vote was not surprising, givin the increasingly conservative tilt of the parishes involved," according to Joan Gundersen, president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh.

Two paragraphs after that, the reporters note "Conservative congregations have left the church in the past, including in the 1970s, when ordinations of women began, and a number have done so since Robinson’s election."

UPDATE: The Washington Post free "Express" newspaper for commuters carries an AP dispatch with the headline "Va. Episcopalians Join Revolt." It also has a mention of "Anglican conservatives" and no "liberals." But this line stood out: "Under Anglican tradition, Akinola's move into Episcopalian territory amounts to an invasion, since archbishops agree not to start churches outside their own regions." The author, not listed in the free paper, but bylined on the Post website, is Matthew Barakat.

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