Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Robinson Ambush

In the Star Tribune:

That was before Robinson was ambushed, hours before the House of Bishops was to take the final vote on his nomination, by the most scurrilous smear: He was accused of linkage to a porn Web site and of inappropriately touching another man. The church investigated both charges and cleared Robinson. The House of Bishops then voted to accept his elevation to Bishop of New Hampshire. End of story? Not quite.

The Every Voice Network Web site, a liberal Anglican site, reported Tuesday that the alleged inappropriate behavior "occurred when Robinson touched a married man in his 40s on his bicep, shoulder and upper back in the process of a public conversation at a province meeting around two years ago." Oh, please.

The phony accusation that Robinson was linked somehow to porn on the Web was easy to track down. It was a deliberate, calculated lie, apparently held in reserve until the last minute in case the first vote, in the House of Deputies, went against those opposed to Robinson's elevation to bishop -- which it did on Sunday.


The Weekly Standard is important in this. Executive Editor Fred Barnes gave the Robinson story a major boost -- after it was shopped to other news outlets that refused to bite -- when he posted information about the controversy on the magazine's Web site Monday. Barnes asserted that, "Episcopalian bishop-elect Gene Robinson has some curious affiliations," meaning the porn Web site.

No he doesn't, but Barnes does. He's not simply a journalist in this; he's a conservative Episcopalian of outspoken views who sits on the board of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. It's a conservative group which believes that mainline Protestant churches "have thrown themselves into multiple, often leftist crusades -- radical forms of feminism, environmentalism, pacifism, multi-culturalism, revolutionary socialism, sexual liberation and so forth." The group vigorously opposes gay rights within the church.

Also fascinating is who funds the institute. The most prominent names on the list of contributors are Olin, Scaife and Bradley, the same folks who bankrolled the Clinton wars.