Once again ACNA Bishop Stewart Ruch has signed a World Relief statement on the politics of immigration. Once again “Anglican Church in North America” is under his signature. I’ll be charitable and say the statement leans towards amnesty instead of enforcement. Trust me, I could say worse. “In the literal and grammatical sense,” it is not terribly objectionable (although yes, I do object).
But look at the fight it has provoked on ACNA’s Facebook page.
This illustrates that bishops and other clergy must show great restraint in commenting on political issues, especially when they drag the name of their church into it. And that goes double for controversial issues such as immigration.
It goes double again for the Anglican Church in North America. Many/most of us fled denominations in which the laity were abused by church authorities presuming to take Leftist political stands in the name of the church. Many continue to flee such denominations and look for new church homes. It harms the mission, unity, and growth of the Anglican Church in North America if such people look at us and say, “That sort of Lib/Left political pontification again? No thanks. Been there. Done that.”
ACNA leaders have rightly placed a great emphasis on unity and on church growth. If they do not put a stop to clergy presuming to use ACNA to push controversial political (usually left-of-center) agendas, they will undermine that good emphasis.
NOTE: This does not apply to abortion or to marriage, issues on which there is a right consensus among catholic Christians. There is no such consensus on immigration policy.