Those Wacky Episcopalians, Again

by Steven F. Hayward

Yesterday I brought news here of the Episcopal Church’s fascination with gender bending, but not content with that, today brings news that the Episcopal Church has developed an expertise in toxicology and regulatory policy, with a press release embracing an “interfaith” effort advocating heightened government regulation of synthetic chemicals. There appears the standard boilerplate:

“While everyone is exposed to some risk from toxic chemicals, communities of color and poor communities have far more toxic dump sites and toxic consumer products,” said the Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s executive director and an Episcopal priest.

As it happens, this is most likely wrong, at least as to the results of supposedly greater exposure to toxic chemicals. If you break into the data tables of the CDC’s biannual National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (which tests over 5,000 Americans for levels of over 130 heavy metals and synthetic chemicals in blood, tissue, and urine), one thing you find is that the detected levels of many toxic chemicals are often higher in whites than in minorities (though overall there is no clear racial disparity). But checking the data always makes a hash of the narrative, which is why activists never do it.

I know, the decay of the Episcopal Church is not exactly a cutting-edge, man-bites-dog story. It’s been going on at full tilt at least since the late Paul Seabury (descendent of the first American Anglican bishop Samuel Seabury) wrote about it in his famous 1978 Harper’s magazine article with the great title “Trendier than Thou,” in which he noted, among other things, that Episcopal cathedrals had seemingly become “recreation halls for the counterculture.” (And yes, that also tells you how much Harper’s has changed, too.)

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