Monday, June 19, 2006

NEWS FLASH: Episcopal General Convention, A.D. 2021

LAS VEGAS, June 18, 2021: Holding its 80th General Convention in Las Vegas this week, The Episcopal Church broke new ground by naming as its new Presiding Bishop Muffin, a 26-year old Rhesus Macaque from the Diocese of Los Angeles. Muffin, who holds an honorary Ph.D. in Theology from Yale Divinity School, had previously served as the Bishop of West Hollywood. Muffin is the first non-human primate to be elected as a Primate in the Anglican Communion, which faces schism over the appointment.

In a break with tradition, the installation mass was held immediately following the election in the Madonna Room of Circus Circus. The service featured a magnificent new organ-grinder concerto commissioned especially for the event, as well as a moving liturgical dance by the Folies Bergere showgirls. An ecumenical sermon was delivered by Sri Svanapanda Prabhubada of The Society for Krishna Consciousness, entitled “Jesus Schmesus – The Many Paths to Niceness.” During the offertory, the new bishop herself went up and down the aisles collecting donations in a tin cup. Communion was given using banana slices and mango juice instead of the traditional bread and wine.

Integrity, a group of moderate laity and clergy within The Episcopal Church, released a statement praising the selection of Muffy as a “bold move forward which demonstrates The Episcopal Church’s commitment to inclusivity for all living things.” Integrity spokescreature Shamu expressed hope that a future convention would go beyond “animal chauvinism” to elevate a being from one of the other kingdoms of life to the primacy. Bishop Phyllis Creeper of South Florida, a split-leaf philodendron, is considered a leading candidate for the next Episcopal convention in 2024. One delegate, who asked to remain unnamed, said that he saw no objections to a photosynthesizing leader. “Most of our bishops are vegetation as it is. Putting a plant in the PB’s chair just seems like a logical next step.”

Conservative groups within the church were generally displeased. A number of archconservatives opposed the elevation of a simian to the highest position in the church, claiming that it was in direct opposition to the criteria for bishops established in the so-called “pastoral letters” ostensibly written by Saul of Tarsus. A spokesman for the new bishop dismissed the objections as “the literalistic scriptural interpretations of a fundamentalist fringe.” The American Anglican Council released a statement predicting that the election of Bishop Muffy would likely cause dissension within the greater Anglican Communion. They did note, however, the fact that the new primate, being a vertebrate, actually did have a spine. They expressed hope that this shared anatomical feature between the bishop and conservatives might be the basis for conversations that would prevent schism in the Church, but warned that – if current trends continued – they might eventually be forced to split.

In other Episcopal news, the convention approved a change to church laws removing “Trinity Sunday” from the liturgical calendar as being “too controversial and divisive,” and substituted the feast of St. Darwin. Delegates also approved a resolution to offer monetary reparations for the Church’s complicity in the extinction of a prior species of humans, describing the crime as “genocide against our Neanderthal brothers and sisters.”

The church’s Committee on Evangelization, recognizing the fact that the growing number of ordained Episcopal clergy had now exceeded the average Sunday attendance for the church as a whole, proposed a plan to evangelize robots in hopes of filling the pews sufficiently to give each clergycreature a pulpit in which to preach.

The convention will continue for three more days, or until the majority of deputies lose it all at the craps table.