Reporting 101 at The Nation

BluePencil.jpgYes, it's easy to criticize the work of an editorial intern, even one who is a Fulbright scholar and has a master's degree. Still, where was a decent copy editor at The Nation when Drew Haxby wrote about the sexuality debate within Anglicanism? For that matter, why should any copy editor have to deal with so much stilted writing? Consider:

In the past five 30 years, the Episcopal Church has found itself pushed to stood at the forefront of the culture wars. [One could write "positioned itself at the forefront," but then one might sound right wing, so we'll stand on the side of caution.] After Gene Robinson, an openly gay man with a longterm long-term partner, was elected Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, Anglican bishops from all over the world quickly decried the move. Conservative congregations in the US United States and Canada left the national churches various dioceses. Some aligned themselves with the Anglican Church of Nigeria and its outspoken homophobic [Needs quotes.] leader, Archbishop Peter Akinola. On December 3 of this year, [Evident in your dateline.] these conservatives announced the creation of a new denomination would-be Anglican province, one that will compete openly with the Episcopalians for congregations and tithes. [If this movement is but a fraction of Episcopalians, as your story argues further along, where's the competition?] While not recognized by the Anglican Communion, the [Dangling modifier and irrelevant, considering that the four instruments of the Anglican Communion have not addressed the question of a new province.] The New York Times described this latest move as "the biggest challenge yet to the authority of the Episcopal Church," which "threatens the fragile unity of the Anglican Communion."

The Anglican conservatives have argued that the Episcopal Church acted too rashly in its acceptance of gays and lesbians into the leadership of the church. Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America, America called Gene Robinson's election "a slap in the face of the Anglican Church around the world." Reverend The Rev. John [See AP Stylebook.] Nyhan of St. James the Just described it as "hubris of Biblical biblical [See AP Stylebook.] proportions, and that's a polite way of saying diabolical." [Nyhan left St. James the Just Episcopal Church in Franklin Square, N.Y., a few years ago. Did you interview him before he left that parish? If not, credit the reporter who did.]

... One rare moment of drama came in 1995, [If this story is so lacking in drama, why is it worth reporting?] when the assisting bishop Bishop of Newark, N.J., was put on faced possible trial within the church for his ordination of an openly gay priest deacon. [A church court dropped charges against the Rt. Rev. Walter Righter after two pretrial hearings.] Again, the Episcopal leadership looked to find Episcopal bishops sought a middle way: while "not giving an opinion on the morality of same-gender relationships," it refused to convict they dismissed the case on the grounds that "there is no core doctrine prohibiting the ordination of a non-celibate homosexual person living in a faithful and committed sexual relationship," and that "the Anglican tradition has encouraged theological diversity."

... Roughly 100,000 Anglicans in the United States and Canada have left their respective national churches, less than five percent of the 2.3 million members. [The Episcopal Church Center now places this figure at just over 2.1 million members in the United States. The Anglican Church of Canada claims about 800,000 members. This decreases the percentage to 3.4 -- if your figure of 100,000 is accurate.] "It's a tiny fraction of the church," said Jim Naughton, of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington. "Yet it's being played as if the church is splitting." As many Episcopalians have pointed out, [Be specific or don't bother with this.] the conservatives did not have the internal backing to overturn Robinson's election -- even with the efforts of the African Churches [No Anglican council has voted on a motion, so far as their records indicate, to "overturn Robinson's election." Some African provinces, such as Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda, did repudiate it.] and several fundamentalist [See AP Stylebook.] lobbies. [Cite examples.] Their recent decision to disaffiliate is a last ditch gamble to assert their preeminence in North America. [What preeminence? Remember, this is a story about The Episcopal Church.] How it will play out remains to be seen, but in the meantime the Episcopal Church might finally start to move on. [Cliche-ridden, dull and -- most remarkably -- condescending!]

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