On this day in which we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.–a true civil rights hero–FIC’s prayers are with the Rev. Mark Hansen and all other victims of the self-professed champions of tolerance. From today’s Courant:

Hansen and five other Episcopal priests broke with the diocese last year over Smith’s support for the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the church’s first openly gay bishop. The priests stopped paying their dues to the Hartford Diocese.

In July, Smith put Hansen under inhibition, a six-month suspension, claiming the priest took an unauthorized sabbatical and had stopped making payments on a loan for the church’s building.

Hansen, who resigned in September, has maintained that he notified Smith about his plans.

In an e-mail to The Courant Sunday, Hansen responded to a request for comment, saying he made a good-faith denial to Smith that he had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

Hanson said the canons of the church call for the bishop to withdraw the notice of inhibition once a good faith denial has been received.

“Obviously, the Bishop did not follow the canons,” Hansen said.

The diocese’s treatment of Hansen has divided St. John’s parish. Some members believe Hansen’s opposition to Robinson’s consecration in 2003 led to his being defrocked. The action, the final step that an Episcopal bishop can take toward a priest, effectively ends Hansen’s priesthood.

Click here and here to follow pro-family Episcopal reactions to the events in Connecticut.

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