Readers may not know, but back-in-the-day, I had been a bit more accepting of my education as an attorney. Now, with that profession in such low regard, it is something I try not emphasize. (Except how do explain three or four years on a resume?)
And I happen to be one who had the distinct “honor” of coming across one Valerie Munson. Who is Valerie Munson? In recent years, she is being billed as one of the premiere experts in religious society law in America.
My own contact with her, however, was when she was shilling and billing for right-winger and somewhat thieving elements of the Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.
If you follow things religious and things Episcopalian, you should know this:
For at least the last twenty years, the Episcopal Church has been immersed in a “culture war” over what the proper religious practices and beliefs are going to be.
Episcopalianism is an offshoot of the Roman Catholic Church, where in the 1500’s the King of England decided that he would be the head of the church instead of the Pope.
Shortly thereafter, was a 16th century “Vatican II” of sorts, where the Mass was put into the people’s own language, and other modern reforms made. For example, the priests could get married, which helps a lot against the clergy abuses we see going on in the Roman Catholics’ these days.
Additionally, the notion that people entrusted with power need to be constrained by written rule, determined by an elected body, was put into the religion. This idea was very popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, so it is no surprise that it made its way into the religious sphere in Europe.
In America, in 1789, this was further followed by saying that the King of England was NOT the head of Episcopalianism in America. But rather, a General Convention would govern the church. A group of people would make the rules, and then the whole denomination would follow would the group had said. Even the bishops.
What has happened is that the majority in Episcopalianism has moved away from the more “traditional” practices into such so-called radical things as having woman priests. And woman bishops. Usually, this means that a handful of parishes will make a property grab for several million (maybe 10 million) dollars, on the excuse that they disagree with the newer practice.
Fact is, the rule everyone agreed to was that the greater governing body would set the rules! Not some pope. And so invariably, the rules will change if the higher-up governing body votes something different. It’s common sense in democracy!
Valerie Munson well knew that this was how things went in Episcopalianism, even though she apparently was not one. But she didn’t let that get in the way of business (a/k/a “Mammon” in the Bible.)
For those that don’t know, Munson is kind-of the “quote slut” these days for disputes involving property and corporations dedicated to religion. This is as part of the University of St. Thomas (Roman Catholic) in Minnesota. Here is the link!
But before, she had been doing a clean up business in Philadelphia, arguing whatever needed to be argued in Philadelphia Orphans’ Court, so that her client would win. No matter what religion. And no matter what was really right.
You know the score:
If the wind is blowing from the West, explain that the source must obviously be in the East. If the wind is blowing in the East, say that the source must indeed be coming from the West. East is West. West is East. Whatever wins the day.
An attorney like that.
From an internet search, it looks like after private practice, Ms. Munson associated herself with a Pittsburgh based firm. Again, doing these sort of religion gun-for-hire cases. Obviously, you can’t make a lot of money at that in the long term, so she then moved to academia. And is associated with a Roman Catholic college in Minnesota, St Thomas University. Ironically, I think St. Thomas was the one that said “make me holy, but not yet”.
I was so surprised on an unrelated internet search to find this piece in someone else’s blog:
I assume that this is the same Valerie Munson that was billing various Episcopal Church parishes for whatever internal issues were arising in Philadelphia.
For example, if a wayward parish was diverting trust fund money to its parishoner’s use, Ms. Munson would defend the vestry (the board of the local parish) AGAINST anyone who would point out that the trust fund diversion was against the terms of the trust!!!
And it didn’t really matter what the internal organization of the religion actually was. For Munson, it was simply a matter of making sure that the client won.
So in later years, when the Philadelphia Orphans’ Court started imposing Roman Catholic hierarchical practices on the local Episcopal Church (basically giving the Episcopal Bishop these extraordinary powers that were never intended), Valerie Munson was not there saying “yes that’s my baby”. That she argued the same error years before–for money. Only to have it backfire against someone else years later.
Ho ho! How holy and upright!
It simply astounds—astounds!—that this woman is now posting on the internet about the pain that has been caused along the way! Oh really?? The Episcopal Bishops have TOO MUCH POWER in civil courts?? Oh, the Episcopal Church is NOT set up the exact same way as the ROMAN CATHOLICS??
Oh really? Newsflash!
In this woman’s younger days, she was making money spreading around disinformation about how denominations were governed. For pay.
(And now apparently has a change of heart.)
Man, what a loser. Ehem.