- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The battle of the blogs is in full swing at the Episcopal General Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

Dozens of deputies, at least 11 bishops and a multitude of other hangers-on are using the Internet to slug it out over the same issues that the convention is considering through its conclusion Wednesday.

“It’s a whole different game now,” said a Canadian clergyman operating one of the sites. “It’s ‘The people’s revolution hits the ground.’ ”

Local blogs include Daily Episcopalian (blogofdaniel.com), operated by Diocese of Washington spokesman Jim Naughton, and Baby Blue Online (babybluecafe.blogspot.com), written by Mary Ailes, a vestrywoman at Truro Episcopal Church in Fairfax.

The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia is maintaining centeraisle.net, which, although not a blog, posts daily commentaries, one of which jabs the Rev. Martyn Minns, Truro’s rector, for calling on the Episcopal Church to “repent.”

Mr. Naughton’s posts include references to Harry Potter, blasts at conservatives and gibes about the convention center.

“I’ve been closer to Bruce Springsteen at the Meadowlands and Carrier Dome than I was to [Presiding] Bishop [Frank] Griswold yesterday during his opening remarks,” he wrote Tuesday. “Banners bearing lilies of the valley would look lovely someplace else, I think, but here the industrial quality of the surroundings overwhelms them.”

Some bloggers do a little bit of boasting.

“A bishop just stopped by to say that he or she enjoys my site more than just about any site in the Episcopal Church. Really,” the Rev. Kendall Harmon wrote on titusonenine.classicalanglican.net.

There’s also Preludium, posted on anglicanfuture.blogspot.com by the Rev. Mark Harris, an Episcopal priest from Delaware; In a Godward Direction, posted at jintoku.blogspot.com by Bronx cleric Rev. Tobias Haller; and An Inch at a Time, posted at inchatatime.blogspot.com by the Rev. Susan Russell, president of the homosexual caucus Integrity.

Gencon06.classicalanglican.net posts dozens of links to news outlets and blogs such as “Fear and Loathing in Columbus” by Spokane, Wash., deputy Kristi Philip. Yesterday afternoon, it noted that hackers had just attacked the site, which includes a photo of a porcupine alongside a speech by Mr. Griswold plus “fudge alerts” — Episcopalspeak for intentionally confusing rhetoric.

“Everybody is watching,” said the Canadian cleric — who asked to remain anonymous — operating the site, “even those considering ditching the Episcopal Church. This convention is the canary in the coal mine in the clash between our culture and the church.”

Things got so heated in cyberspace last week that the Very Rev. Paul Zahl, dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, criticized the “character assassination” by liberal and conservative blogs in an essay on the titusonenine site.

“People are saying and implying things, without substantiation or information, about personalities,” he wrote, “and this comes under an old category: libel.”

That entry was shot down by one “Father Jake,” a New Jersey priest who posts at Frjakestopstheworld.blogspot.com. Pointing out that the dean recently linked the prospect of Episcopalians electing a second homosexual bishop to a terrorist bomb, “I think he needs to begin by cleaning up his own house,” wrote the priest, who does not give his full name.

Even among bloggers, the Canadian cleric said, there should be a professional courtesy.

“If you can’t beat each other up without respect,” he said, “then you’re doing something wrong.”

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