Speaking of religion...
January 16, 2008 11:33 PMHere we have the deposition testimony of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, being questioned under oath by attorneys for the 11 churches in Virginia who chose to decamp for more hospitable climes last year--and who were promptly sued by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, and the national Episcopal Church, at the instruction of the deponent you see before you. In this clip, the Presiding Bishop is being asked about the Dar es Salaam Communique, which was the document in which the leaders of the Anglican Communion ordered the Episcopal Church into a form of ecclesiastical bankruptcy receivership. And in particular, here the Presiding Bishop is being asked about this language from the Communique (which she assented to, before she returned to the U.S. and promptly rejected it):
The reason this is important is because in the Virginia litigation, the 11 parishes have a strong upper hand if they can show that there was a division in the Church, because Virginia state law comes down in favor of local congregations retaining ownership of their property if there has been a "division". So she doesn't want to admit to the language that she agreed to, because "estrangement" strongly suggests division. Which as anyone can see, there clearly has been. But she doesn't want to admit it. And, she doesn't want to admit that she agreed with what she said, at the time she said it:
It's a study in evasive dishonesty. My kudos go out to the lawyer for the parishes, who kept pressing. It is very typical for deponents to give a long winded response when they don't want to answer the question before them, and it is really, really hard to remember the exact question that was asked, and make sure you ask it again exactly the same way. Here the attorney keeps pushing. There's a minute there when I thought "uh oh, they're about to let her get away with it." But he brought it back home. And got the answer he wanted. Remember, she had agreed with the statement that they are asking her about--and told everyone present, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the other Anglican primates that she agreed with the statement. And here, she admits that she did not agree with what she agreed to in Dar es Salaam. It's rather astounding to be able to confront a clerical witness with a "so were you lying then, or are you lying now?" kind of question. I mean really, was she lying to the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the other Anglican primates? Or is she lying now, under oath in civil litigation in the United States. It's one or the other. Lying then, or lying now?
It reminds me of my first trial, where I got to ask the "so were you lying then, or are you lying now" question to great effect, and much to the appreciation of the reporter from the Dayton Daily News, who was bored to tears. During the next break, the witness who I had been questioning resigned from his position as C.E.O. for the opposing party.
Would that Presiding Bishop Schori have the integrity to do the same.
More video exerpts from the Presiding Bishop's deposition are available here. She looks more and more dishonest in each one.