The election of Charlie Holt as Bishop of Florida has been nullified, after Holt failed to get the needed canonical consents, either from a majority of standing committees or bishops. Both Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Diocese acknowledge that the election is null and void.
The failure to obtain the needed consents is due to concerns about the election process, as well as Holt’s track record on race and LGBTQ issues.
Additionally, Anglican Watch raised concerns about the diocese’s use of racist tropes to try to push the process forward. And given the relatively conservative nature of the diocese, we do not believe use of racist dog whistles was accidental.
Nor were we reassured by the rhetoric coming out of the diocese comparing the election to that of Gene Robinson. That was a facially faulty comparison, as the latter’s election did not involve irregularities, nor allegations of past discrimination.
Moreover, we were profoundly uncomfortable when clergy on the Diocese of Florida standing committee falsely stated that the Provincial Court had no obligation to report misconduct. That is facially untrue, as all clergy are required under Title IV to report possible misconduct—including their own.
And Howard’s efforts to push Holt forward by adding him to diocese staff was foolish and politically flatfooted. No one — bishop or standing committee — wants to feel like their hand is being forced.
None of these were, to our mind, issues that couldn’t be overcome. Yet when Florida was called out on these issues, the diocese simply ignored the underlying concerns. And the fabrication about the obligation to report misconduct left us aghast at the lack of Title IV training in the diocese.
The diocese states that it will use visiting bishops for liturgical requirements. Per church canons, the Florida standing committee will become the acting ecclesiastical authority once John Howard retires.