Reprinted from NewsMax.com
Liberal Bishop Takes Ill-Advised
Thursday, October 11, 2007 9:54 AM
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
Ken Timmerman’s Dispatches
By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
(Amman, Jordan) - A leading liberal U.S. Episcopal bishop, John Bryson
Chane, is in Iran today against the advice of the State Department,
where he is meeting with leading officials of the Islamic Republic,
NewsMax has learned from Iranian sources.
Bishop Chane’s entourage has withheld news of the impending trip from
reporters, and even today refused to officially confirm that the bishop
was in Tehran.
“Can’t help you. Don’t have his sked,” Bishop Chane’s spokesman, Jim
Naughton, related to NewsMax regarding Chane's schedule. Chane made the
reply overnight via e-mail from Washington. But in Tehran, three news
agencies affiliated with the Iranian government touted the bishop’s
participation in a conference hosted by a radical Shiite ayatollah that
was aimed at “defeating the designs of the Zionists.”
After meeting in Qom with Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi, Bishop
Chane was quoted by the Mehr News Agency as saying that while war and
politics separated him from his Iranian hosts, “we share common goals
and targets, to spread the message of peace and brotherhood among all
Shirazi didn’t see things the same way.
He told the Islamic Students News Agency (ISNA), that the “Zionist
media are waging a negative propaganda campaign” against Iran and
against Islam, and that Bishop Chane’s visit was part of Iran’s efforts
to counter it.
“The Zionists spread a negative picture of Islam among the Christians,
and a negative picture of Christians among Muslims,” he added. “We
should have more meetings [such as this] to neutralize this negative
campaign by the Zionists.”
Chane was accompanied by the Rev. Canon John Peterson of the National
Cathedral in Washington. The two men hosted former President Mohammad
Khatami at the National Cathedral last year, where he gave a
highly-publicized speech that was widely protested by Iranian-American
groups and by Orthodox Anglicans in the United States.
Khatami issued a return invitation to Chane to visit Iran after that
trip, the Bishop’s spokesman stated.
NewsMax contacted Chane’s office three weeks ago when rumors began
circulating about an upcoming trip to Iran.
While denying any knowledge of an impending trip, spokesman Jim
Naughton issued a stark warning to critics of Chane’s political
activism on behalf of Iran.
“The Bishop took grief from people on the right for inviting Khatami to
Washington, and then Khatami went and met with evangelical leaders
while in the United States,” Naughton asserted. “So people should watch
out for the name-calling,”
Naughton also pointed out that Michael Nazir Ali, “a leading
conservative Bishop” of the Anglican church, “has also met with Iranian
But Orthodox Anglicans told NewsMax that Bishop Ali’s visit to Iran
took place during the installation of the new Anglican bishop of Tehran
and was in no way a legitimization of the Tehran regime, as Chane’s
visit is being painted in Iran.
During his sermon to install the new Bishop of Tehran on Aug. 7, Ali
pointed out that his colleague’s name meant “free” in Persian. “My hope
is that Bishop Azad (whose name means free) will free you to be
followers of the risen Christ and help you to know what you have to put
off and what to put on,” he said.
Iranians frequently demonstrate against the regime holding banners with
the word “Azadi” — freedom — so the implications of Ali’s statement
The Rev. Canon James J. Doust, an Anglican cleric currently posted to
the Middle East, told NewsMax this morning in Amman, Jordan that
Chane’s Iran trip was “a very ill-advised move without sensitivity to
the local situation or to the church in the local situation.”
“This is an unbelievably stupid move,” a U.S. clergyman who has worked
extensively in the Middle East told NewsMax separately. “It makes the
work of the new Anglican bishop in Tehran, Azad Marshall, much more
By meeting with Iranian officials, even under the guise of a religious
gathering, Bishop Chane was “allowing himself to be manipulated for
political purposes,” a third Anglican official stated.
Bishop Chane and Canon Peterson have also announced that they will host
a conference in Washington on U.S.-Iran political dialogue on Oct. 29,
to which they have invited Trita Parsi, a noted apologist for the
Iranian regime who was widely seen with President Ahmadinejad during
Ahmadinejad's recent U.S. visit.
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