Three Letters to
Episcopal Presiding Bishop,
Frank Griswold

[Below are three letters.  The first was sent urging Frank Griswold, Episcopal Presiding Bishop, to clarify a statement that he has allegedly made.   We want to know whether he actually made the statement, and if so, would he respond to our queries on it.  Two more letters followed which are self-explanatory.

Then follows the article from the Boston Globe which inspired these responses to Griswold. ?

And finally, belatedly, Griswold's response with comment by myself.   E. Fox]
 

********* Original Letter **********

March 30, 1998

The Rt. Rev. Frank Griswold
Episcopal Church Center
815 2nd Ave.
New York, NY

Dear Bishop Griswold,

We wish to support you in bringing people candidly and respectfully together in the midst of seriously divisive issues.

We are concerned, however, about something you reportedly said. The Boston Globe of February 21st quoted you as stating that a large body of scientific evidence has concluded that sexual orientation is innate. We ask if that is indeed what you said.

The p.r. campaign by gay activists in recent years has convinced many Christians to believe in scientific evidence that, in fact, does not exist. Perhaps they have convinced you also. Such false information places millions of people at increased risk for moral and spiritual compromise as well as for major disease and significantly shortened life span.

Attached to this letter is a summary of the evidence as it currently stands. There is today no verifiable, replicated scientific research showing genetic or other innate causation for homosexual orientation. Studies claiming even a biological correlate for homosexuality have not survived peer review. No scientist is claiming a large body of evidence.

If the Globe quotation was accurate, we ask you to show us the alleged body of scientific evidence by which the innateness of sexual orientation has been conclusively shown. We would then, with you, affirm that evidence. If it is not possible to produce the evidence, then we respectfully request that you make known to your flock, the Episcopal Church, and to the press, that no such body of evidence exists. We hope to hear from you by April 25.

Again, we stand in support of your efforts toward graceful and candid discussion of current issues.

Faithfully,

(The Rev.) F. Earle Fox, D. Phil., Oxon.
(The Rt. Rev.) William C. Wantland, J. D., D. D.
Joseph R. Cockrell, M. D.

******** 2nd letter ********

May 24, 1998

Dear Bishop Griswold,

About March 30, Bishop Wantland, Joseph Cockrell, MD., and I sent a letter requesting information on a comment you had apparently made, and reported in the Boston Globe, to the effect that homosexuality was scientifically proven to have a genetic or biological cause.

We had not heard from you, which is perhaps understandable, given your recent travel schedule. The matter of accurate information in discussion of public policy, however, as you know, is of paramount importance in such issues as we face today, involving the future of the whole Anglican Communion. We would appreciate it if you would let us know immediately whether you received the letter (a copy is enclosed), and give us your response to our query.

I would also appreciate a chance to have a brief word with you on the matter, and would fly to New York at your convenience. I understand that your schedule is extremely busy, among other things, getting ready for the Lambeth Conference. But I would urge that the issue of honest, candid, and respectful conversation on these issues is more important than anything else that can happen at Lambeth. Until we come to a common understanding on how to converse with each other, to hold each other accountable to honesty, integrity, and to mutual love and respect, Lambeth can accomplish little of significance.

Our prayers are with you as you try to lead the Episcopal Church to serve God and His Kingdom.

Faithfully,

(The Rev.) F. Earle Fox

.

******* Third and "Open" Letter ********

June 6, 1998

Dear Bishop Griswold,

Bishop Wantland, Joseph Cockrell, MD, and I continue to support your task of bringing Godly unity to the Episcopal Church.

As you will recall, we have made two written inquiries concerning your statement as reported in the Boston Globe article on 2/21/98, entitled, "Episcopal Bishop Listens to All Sides", by Diego Ribadeneira.

You were represented as saying that there was a large body of evidence supporting the notion that homosexuality was innate, when in fact no such body of evidence exists. (Copies of our previous letters and enclosures are included.)

Our first letter was sent March 30. When we learned that you had been out of the country for a period of time, we sent our second letter, dated May 24th, by overnight mail after we were informed that you were back in your office at "815". We have still received no response from you as of June 5.

We stand ready to support your task as Presiding Bishop to establish unity on truth and righteousness, and therefore request again by means of this open letter that you set the situation aright with a public statement.

(The Rev.) F. Earle Fox 


From the Boston Globe 21 February 1998:

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

EPISCOPAL BISHOP LISTENS TO ALL SIDES

By Diego Ribadeneira, Globe Staff, 02/21/98

NOTE: Further commentary by Earle Fox included [in brackets] below.

-----------------

The Episcopal Church, whose political and social influence among American denominations has always exceeded its relatively small size, has been torn apart by fractious debates about the ordination of women and the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

But Bishop Frank T. Griswold, who was installed last month as the church's presiding bishop, says it is too easy to dwell on the negatives and lose sight of hopeful signs for the church.

In travels to several dioceses around the country, Griswold, 60, said he has been impressed by ''how healthy the church is, how very much alive it is, and how much is going on in ministry and in witness.''

Griswold, a priest educated at Harvard and Oxford who was the spiritual leader of the Diocese of Chicago, has taken over the Episcopal Church at a time when its unity is being seriously challenged by strong ideological differences.

He was in Boston late last week to speak at a conference on racism sponsored by the Episcopal Urban Caucus. The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, along with several other dioceses nationwide, has made the improvement of race relations inside and outside the church a top priority.

Griswold reminded conference attendees that racism and Christianity can never coexist. ''Racism is the denial of Christ who is present in all people and in all cultures,'' Griswold said.

Griswold was installed as the Episcopal Church's 25th presiding bishop last month at a ceremony inside the Washington National Cathedral.

A great admirer of the Benedictine monastic order with a keen interest in spirituality, Griswold was elected presiding bishop last July. Widely perceived as a centrist, he was chosen over four other candidates who were considered either more liberal or more conservative.

In his sermon at his installation, Griswold called on Episcopalians to be better listeners, to treat each other with respect, and to have a ''compassionate heart ... capable of rebuilding the church in the service of the Gospel for the sake of the world.''

[Griswold may be calling on us to listen to each other, but he has not yet listened to our query with a sufficiently compassionate heart to respond.]

Griswold will be well-served by one quality often cited by those who know him - an ability to listen to all points of view. Some traditionalists resent the church's decision to open up the pulpit to women, a move that Griswold strongly supports.

[Griswold says that truth can be ambiguous -- which is nonsense.  Anyone who believes that truth can be ambiguous has left the Christian faith.  He may be able to look like he is listening to all points of view.  But he has his own point of view, and he is pursuing it with vigor.  His claim to be a "centrist" is also nonsense, and a deceitful way of speaking.  Anyone with his eyes open knows that he is not a centrist.]

Griswold was one of about 80 bishops who signed a 1994 statement arguing that sexual orientation is ''morally neutral'' and that ''faithful, monogamous, committed'' gay relationships should be accepted.

[This is "centrist"?]

Whether non-celibate homosexuals should be ordained and whether the church should bless gay and lesbian relationships are questions behind an issue that has emerged as one of the biggest controversies in the Episcopal Church. Traditionalists argue that homosexuality violates Biblical standards and church teaching.

[It is not clear whether this is Grisworld or the reporter speaking.  But it is unfortunate that we have let the issue be framed in this manner. ?The issue at stake is NOT between "traditionalists" and the more enlightened and scientific folks who understand all about scientific evidence.  It is between those who are honestly seeking the truth (who discipline themselves to fact and logic) and those who have no interest in truth, only in getting their way -- and who therefore learn how to throw dust into the air to keep people from seeing the issues clearly.]

Griswold acknowledged the seriousness of the debate, saying he understood why passions run so high on both sides of the issue.

Those who believe that gays and lesbians should be ordained and have their relationships blessed by the church, Griswold said, believe the ''gifts of the spirit are present in the lives of many homosexuals.''

[Indeed?  Is dying early a gift of the Spirit?  Is compulsive and lethal behavior a gift of the Spirit?  Is massive promiscuity and being obsessed with sex a gift of the Spirit?  Just where is this gift of the Spirit and what does it have to do with being homosexual?  The true gift of the Spirit would lead to three things:  1. being a truth-seeker; 2. being obedient to the Lord of truth; and, 3. being a genuine lover of souls, not a luster after pleasure.]

Traditionalists, on the other hand, lean on certain parts of the Bible that clearly seem to condemn homosexual activity, Griswold said.

[Again, the issue is framed so that Griswold's side comes out looking good. ?]

But it is important to realize, Griswold argued, that contemporary understanding of human sexuality is much more advanced than it was in Biblical times. A large body of scientific evidence has concluded that sexual orientation is innate, he said, not chosen. ''Scripture has to be put in its own historical, social context,'' Griswold said.

Diego Ribadeneira The Boston Globe 21 February 1998

[Note: underline added to indicate the quote in question.]

[Griswold is either dishonest or inexcuseably ignorant if he made the above claim -- a fool or a knave.  There is no such evidence. He either knows that or he does not know it. If the latter, he is willfully ignorant because many of us have been widely disseminating the documented evidence.  If Griswold was at the 1994 General Convention in Indianapolis, then he (along with every other bishop) was sent a copy of the "Summary of Evidence" which Dennis and Elizabeth Kelly (of the Christian Community of Family Ministry in Vista, CA) and myself passed out.  He cannot claim to not know the truth. ?So he is willfully ignoring the truth, which is the same as lying. ?The same evidence was mailed in a booklet entitled, "Good and Right in the Eyes of God?" by myself and David Virtue to each bishop at the Lambeth Conference (a summary of the evidence in chapter V of Homosexuality: Good & Right in the Eyes of God?).  

It is true, but platitudinous and irrelevant, to say that today we know more about sex than did folks from the New Testament era.  And in any event, one of the advances is not the discovery that homosexuality is innate.  There is no evidence to say that.  None at all.  None of the studies alleging to prove that have survived peer review.  What we do know today that New Testament folks might not have known, is the massive medical problems caused by homosexual behavior -- resulting in an average lifespan shortened to well under 50 years of age -- in a culture today where people routinely live to 75. There is no more sense to recommending homosexual behavior than recommending that your child play in the toilet.  And for precisely the same reasons. ?

And, if it were shown that homosexuality was indeed genetically caused, that would prove nothing whatsoever about the moral qualities of homosexuality.  So again, Griswold's argument is fatuous.  The homosexualists must divert the argument away from the evidence, whether empirical or Biblical, and get us spinning our wheels.  For once we start looking at the facts, their case is, as we say, "history".


The following response from Griswold was received July 29 (he is known for his tardiness in replying to mail):

"I thank you for expressing your views and concerns, and apologize for not having responded more quickly to your correspondence.
"Suffice it to say that the article in the newspaper report to which you refer was an interpretation of my views emerging in a long interview. I said that the biblical passages about sexuality must be looked at from the context of what was known about human sexuality at the time of their writing. Our understanding of the complexities of the human mind and body has grown enormously over these centuries. We have learned much from science about the origins of sexuality, and I venture there is more to be discovered.
"I hope that this brief clarification will be of some help to you."
+++

Dick Kim replies:

In the Name of God, what kind of response is this??  Condescending and insulting to any intelligent reader is what my source who informed me of this letter had to say about this response.

Please share this with others, and those at Lambeth reading this, please share this with our concerned brothers from Africa, Asia and elsewhere who have spoken so eloquently and forthrightly on the subject.

Pray for healing and repentance on the part of those who continue to embrace and teach another gospel!!!

*******************

.

COMMENT by Earle Fox:

Griswold has very ineptly tried to dodge an undodgeable bullet by changing the subject and blaming the Globe for what he reportedly said. An honest man would either affirm or deny the quote from the Globe, but he does neither.

Griswold repeats his platitudinous statements with which no one can disagree, and so refuses to come to grips with the challenge addressed to him.

Of course we have more scientific evidence on sexuality than did those of Biblical times. But we do not have any evidence whatsoever that in any way contradicts the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality. When homosexualists talk about "new evidence", we must force them to specify just what "evidence" they are talking about. Force them to be concrete. You cannot argue with generalities, only with specifics, which is why they stick to generalities.

When you force them to be concrete, you quickly find that they have nothing to offer, or that what they offer is false or disproven.

They keep harping that "science" has found some "new evidence" which tells us that homosexuality is "OK". They have tried to make a case that homosexuality is biologically or genetically caused, or that 10% of the population is homosexual, or that homosexuality cannot be changed.

All those claims are proveably false. Not a single study defending homosexuality has ever stood the test of peer review, and even homosexualists are beginning to admit that the genetic theory has been a fraud.

The tide will begin to turn back to sanity when we can gracefully and persistently force the issue onto the Biblical and scientific facts of the matter. The Bible and science stand shoulder to shoulder. The Bible tells us *that* God says "no". Science tells us much of *why* He says "no". Once one reads the medical and other literature on homosexuality, one has to conclude that only a malevolent God would deliberately make persons homosexual.

Both Dr. Cockrell (signatory) and some of the 3rd World bishops have rightly reminded us of our need to repent of our sins, not explain them away. We call Frank Griswold to stand up, be the spiritual leader for the rest of us which Christ is calling him to be, and to publicly repent of his evasion of truth in this life and death matter of sexuality.

For more information, consult Homosexuality: Good & Right in the Eyes of God?, an introduction to which was passed out to all the bishops at Lambeth.

Blessings,
Earle Fox 

[COMMENT: Griswold is quoted as saying: "please pray that the spirit of truth will carry us beyond the realm of logic and of agreement and disagreement into that deeper place of love."  If he said that, and it is certainly typical of his statements, he verifies the charge that he has left the Christian faith.  One cannot believe truth to be relative, or essentially ambiguous, one cannot reject the law of non-contradiction, and remain a Biblical believer. 

It is nonsense to talk of a place beyond logic and beyond agreement and disagreement.  (What else could the word 'nonsense' mean if not 'in violation of the laws of logic and of fact"?)  No one can act that way, including Griswold.  It is precisely our personal, relating, acting nature which forces us to be logical.  The law of God is not meant to be ambiguous, any more than any other law.  Laws are about enforcement, which is one-way, either/or, not both/and.  

Griswold might make a good Hindu or Gnostic, but he is not a Christian, not in his teaching and behavior.   He cannot say that he is faithful to Christ.  The very claim is meaningful only if it has logical and factual consistency.    E. Fox]

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