Bob Ripley, a retired, non-believing United Church of Canada minister, has a guest post on Rational Doubt where he examines his “mixed and strong feelings about the efforts of his former colleague, Gretta Vosper, to remain in the church as an open atheist.” In his post entitled “Atheist Clergy Colleagues Agree on Many Things, but…,” Ripley says,
I agree that how you behave trumps what you believe. I agree that religion is a human construct and a source of horrific violence. I agree that God and Jesus, along with the hundreds of deities humans have worshipped, are the products of mythology.
However, Ripley does not agree with “Gretta’s insistence on continuing to serve a Christian congregation under those vows” because although
Gretta sees herself as a catalyst for changing the church into something that jettisons a theistic god in the absence of doctrine [,] . . . the church is a community of believers in a supernatural deity.
Ripley would like to see Vosper leave her congregation and the United Church. He does not support the fact that
Gretta’s friends are raising money to support
her legal costs in a potential “heresy trial.” There will be no heresy trial. Whatever happens, she will not be tried for heresy. She is not being persecuted. The church may conclude, after due process, that she is no longer faithful to her ordination vows. It is the church’s right and duty.
Ripley would like Vosper to go quietly; however, he does provide a link in his post to the Friends of Gretta Vosper Association’s GoFundMe page.