Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Druidic Past

Remember the Melnyks? Well, for some reason, the matter is back. I'm not sure why bringing up a two year old book is timely, but perhaps it is to get in the following paragraph:

Melnyk’s problems within the Episcopal Church began when he was ‘exposed’ by a conservative Christian website seeking more ammunition for attacking the Episcopal Church’s consecration of a gay priest as Bishop. They accused Melnyk of taking part in rituals celebrating the Divine Feminine. Although he never practised anything but orthodox rites in his church, steadfastly maintained that he was not “in conflict with the Baptismal Covenant and the historical Creeds of the Church,” and had the support of the majority of his parishioners, he felt he had no option but to resign his ministry. ”I was told I could stay if I agreed to sever ties with my friends and never again write about Druidry,” Melnyk said. “But I knew The Apple and the Thorn was on the way, and I would not agree to being silenced.”

Not top put too fine a point on it, but this a misrepresentation to the point of being an outright lie. To recap:

  • Melnyk was not initially implicated; nor for that matter was his wife. The incident began when Christianity Today wrote up an anonymous rite on the pages of the Episcopal Church Office of Womens Ministry. The story may have started at IRD< but it was the CT version that got things rolling. In any case, no names were given.

  • The Melnyks entered the picture when the rite was traced back to another on-line copy with Ms. Rev. Melnyk's name on it. William Melnyk wasn't immediately implicated by this.

  • Mr. Melnyk was found out when various people poking around on the web found a lot of material identifying him as a Druidic priest doing business as "Oakwyse".

What is particularly offensive about the, well, lies about the history of the incident is that it's pathetically easy, even with the failure of the blog archives on the CANN website, to track down the truth about this. Try this GetReligion search, for starters. With the proliferation of blogs and other independent records, it is not almost impossible to make such a controversy permanently fade into the past. Anyone with Google can pull it back readily, even in the face of the many deletions and bad links. It's yet another example of a web post which in effect counts on people not exercising the research power which the net itself makes so readily available.