All entries for March 2005

March 24, 2005

Homosexuality in the Christian Church.

This is a draft (that may be revised) of the final article I am going to hand in for my non-fiction assessment. Please let me know what you think!

Homosexuality and God; really an open door?

Homosexuality has recently become an increasingly important issue in the Christian world today, brought to the fore by the appointment of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop, to the diocese of New Hampshire in 2003. This tore the international Christian community apart, with potentially devastating effects. But the problems can be seen closer to home, in the breach existing between the University of Warwick’s Christian Union and the Student Union. In 2002, the Student’s Union issued a ban on the Christian Union following accusations that the President of the CU had made homophobic comments to a gay student, therefore standing in breach of the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy. Whilst this breach seems like it may slowly be on the way to being healed, there are controversies world-wide regarding Christianity and homosexuality that raise issues of understanding, acceptance and hypocrisy within the Christian Church, as well as issues of scripture.
Mark Bratton, Anglican Chaplin at Warwick University, outlines the events of 2002 in his article written regarding the Christian Union’s disaffiliation. It is claimed, that in 2002, a student sent an email to the president of the Christian Union, saying he though he was homosexual, and asked for his advice. The president replied with a tow page long email, explaining that as a Christian homosexuality was wrong and unclean, as specified in the bible, and told the student to turn to prayer for guidance and forgiveness. This advice was sent to the Student’s Union, who ruled it could be seen as offensive, and bid the Christian Union apologise to the student in question. The Christian Union refused to do so, and so were ruled as standing in breach of the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy, and were subsequently banned from the union. This, as well as having the practical implications of meaning that the Christian Union could not hold any meetings in Student Union buildings, also meant that the Christian community of the university was divided, between the “Christian Focus”, the more liberal, and union-based Christian society, and the Christian Union which was now viewed by many with great scepticism. Many tend now to see the Christian Union as an extremist, elitist and old-fashioned Christian community, which acted wrongly and in a discriminating manner. It is interesting however, to look at the views of the likes of the Anglican Chaplain, Mark Bratton, who, although he does not approve of the Christian Union’s stance on homosexuality, he does not condemn them, pointing out the advise given to the student (whose name has not been revealed), was exactly that – advise, that stated a certain Christian point of view. He argues that where the Christian Union went wrong was when they refused to apologise to the student who found the advise offensive; he says “the Christian Union’s problem tends to be that they like to make a stand, and can often be too self – sacrificing. They have a principle, and are prepared to fight for that, even at the risk of a loss of unity.” He also says, that although homosexuality should maybe be acceptable within the church, it does raise questions of what is a suitable “code of behaviour” for Christians in the modern world, and how far this “code” should stray, or expand, from the directions given in the Bible.
Many cite the Christian code of behaviour as existing in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament, which says, specifically on the subject of homosexuality, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Many Christians, the CU included, quote this as the reason why in God’s eyes homosexuality is unlawful and sinful. Christian belief in the sanctity of the scripture is central to many denominations’s worship, and therefore this law must be obeyed. However, there are some Christians who believe that the Bible is there to be interpreted as the situation demands, and that as a document written thousands of centuries ago, the modern world demands that it be adapted to suite the issues of today. Leviticus is a prime example of this; a Baptist minister, known only as “Real Live Preacher”, has written an article in which he claims “the code of rules and behaviours in Leviticus does not apply to Christians. No Christian group I know demands full compliance… If we did, we would allow polygamy, which is lawful in Leviticus.” We also would not allow anyone to wear clothes of a mixed cloth, and makers of nylon and lycra would be out of business. This code of behaviour therefore is seen by many Christians to be outdated, old-fashioned, and in many ways redundant. We may agree with the Reverend Mark Bratton in agreeing that Christians do need a code of behaviour, but surely it need to be one that takes into account the world we live in today? Homosexuality is factor in society now, whereas it was not in the time of Jesus, and therefore perhaps the Leviticus code should not rule against gay behaviour, but simply against violent and degrading sexual nature of any kind? Indeed, this is what the Real Live Preacher claims is what is being taught in the stories of Sodom, in Genesis, and then a similar one is told later, in Judges. Here, we see two examples of sodomy committed through rape, which is brutal and violent. Christians who do not oppose homosexuality are quick to point out that these passages also are not condemning homosexuality, rather they are condemning rape, and are showing “the need for God’s love in a brutal world… both of these stories condemn ignorance and sexual brutality, but not homosexuality.” The same goes for Corinthians, where Paul says, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral not idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders.” This is not saying that homosexuals are damned, but that men that sell themselves for sex, and use their sexuality to defile themselves will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. This cannot apply to those who live as homosexuals in a monogamous, faithful, committed and loving relationship.
These few pieces of scripture therefore, which are hardly substantial, are what Christians like those in the Christian Union, and those condemning Gene Robinson, use in their defence, claiming God is on their side. Many of these passages, especially Leviticus, actually backfire on such Christians, as the question is raised, as to if we have to follow the laws on homosexuality outlined in the bible, should we not follow all the other laws as well? “If Christians were honest, they would admit they do not abide by all the commandments of scripture themselves. I don’t mean we try and fail. I mean we deliberately choose to ignore scriptures that are not convenient for our lifestyle”, and as the Guardian reporter, Harry Bingham comments, “Jesus never once spoke about homosexuality. Funnily enough, though, he did have a thing or two to say about hypocrites.”
Traditionalist Christians are quick to condemn homosexuals as sinful and unclean because they do not fall into step with the word of God as documented in the Bible, and yet does every Christian ensure that they wear only clothes made of one hundred percent cotton? Is bigamy allowed? Why did the church manage to stay reunited when the first female bishop was appointed, and yet is threatening to split because a gay bishop has been appointed? Why do Christians not condemn the use of nuclear weapons, if they are so against the relatively small matter of a man's sexual orientation? The very argument of the Christians against homosexuality is deeply hypocritical, something Jesus was undoubtedly, and fervently against. Harry Bingham makes this point humorous in his article “Thou shalt not wear nylon”, suggesting that the major concern for Christians today is not homosexuality, but the “mixed fibre pandemic”, which is the “pivotal moral issue of contemporary Christians”. This is a very effective piece, playing on sarcasm and cynicism to get his point across, and can be seen in an example of what he is saying can be seen in the Christian Union itself. The same Christian Union that discriminated against a homosexual student is the Christian Union that issued all it’s members with sweatshirts made from seventy percent cotton, and thirty percent polyester – a perfect example of a mixed cloth! The Real Live Preacher takes a more serious, concerned approach, using the metaphor of a furnace in which Christians burn every scripture they ever choose to ignore to make his argument; “feed these flames with the bible, with every book, chapter and verse, that… Christians must burn to support our bloated lifestyles, our selfishness, our materialism…” He effectively uses an image of hell, an image feared by all Christians as the ultimate punishment, to demonstrate the way ordinary followers of Jesus live their lives as hypocrites, and to use a commonly quoted parody, they have a tendency to let the pot call the kettle black. Christianity is centred on love, something that is preached about time and time again, and something that Jesus said was the most important thing for his followers to do. This love cannot exist in a hypocritical society that excludes certain people and accepts others, on the basis of sexuality, race, nationality and so on. Christians should look further into a person, beyond the labels attached to them, and see into the people they are, the values they hold.
The Christian church is frequently said to have an “open door”, welcoming all those that wish to enter, and seeing all as equal in the eyes of Christ, and in the eyes of God. The central event in the Bible, that is the pivotal moment in the Christian belief, is an act of love, when Jesus died on the cross for his people. I think nearly all Christians would disagree with the Reverend Fred Phelps, a minister famously very anti “fags”, when he says, “Love? That’s a story that ‘kissy-poo ministers’ tell misguided parishioners… You’re not going to get nowhere with that slop that ‘God loves you’… that’s a diabolical lie from hell without biblical warrant.” I don’t know which Bible Phelps was referring to, but it certainly wasn’t the one I read. He would therefore be able to excuse the British Anglican who sent Gene Robinson, the caring, compassionate, loving man, who just happens to be a homosexual in a committed long-term relationship, a postcard saying he was a “fornicating, lecherous pig”, as he himself told Robinson that he was “a disgusting, detestable, loathsome, filthy abomination – the great whoremonger”. And yet, these words came from the mouths of those who follow the path of Christ, the man who told them to “love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you.” There are thousands of references to love in the bible, and one of the most famous passages is from Corinthians 13 tells us “love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not boast, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up the wrongs that have been done.” This is the love that should exist within the Christian community, but which in issues such as this, we sadly see very little of. The idea of the community within the church is the theory that a group of people can work together in order to follow God and create a better, more compassionate and equal world. Therefore, it should be argued that a community cannot exclude certain people because of their race, or their gender, or because of their sexual orientation.
Some Christians who oppose homosexuality, claim that they do so not because of the nature of it, but because it means that a sexual relationship is entered into, outside marriage, and this is expressly forbidden in the Bible. One American minister said that he believes it “is wrong to be in a sexual relationship outside marriage and I’d say that to a heterosexual as well.” Undoubtedly, and rightly so, the sanctity of marriage is a state that has been very important in the Christian faith, for centuries, although some would argue that this is outdated now, when we live in a modern world of free sexuality, and independence. Therefore, if indeed such critic’s objections are that homosexuals are not married, a sceptical onlooker cannot help but wonder what the likes of Harmon would think if they undertook a gay marriage. I think the Archbishop of Canterbury, who condemned the Canadian churches that gave blessings to same sex marriages, asking them to “consider their place within the Anglican Communion”, probably answered this question last week, an answer the Christian Union have agreed with. Therefore, it can be safely assumed that even if the likes of Gene Robinson and his partner Mark Andrew had a gay wedding, the church would not recognise it, and the problem would still exist.
This draws us back to the idea of a “code of behaviour” for Christians, and the idea of a Christian morality being more important than labels that are associated with us. Christian behaviour should be judged by our devotion to God, our treatment of fellow human beings, as people who were all made in God’s image, and who we have been commanded to love as we do ourselves. A situation needs to be looked at in context in order for us to reach a valuable conclusion. An example of this can be seen in Gene Robinson, who is labelled as a homosexual divorcee. But if we look beyond this, we see a loving, family man, who agree with his wife, who knew he was gay when she married him, that divorce was the best option, that “we were honouring each other by letting each other go… we were honouring our marriage by getting a divorce”. Afterwards, they held a ceremony asking for each other’s forgiveness, and are now still friends, and at Robinson’s ordination, appeared to be “a most wholesome example of a family”. Therefore, yes their divorce may have broken a bond made in the sight of god, but it enabled them to find a lasting, prosperous love elsewhere, whilst maintaining their platonic bond, and is this therefore not a blessing from God in itself? Does it really matter therefore that this love for Gene was found in another man? Surely that is a small, insignificant detail, compared to his loving nature, and devotion to God? Similarly, the incident with the Christian Union must also be put into context; it is important to remember here, that the student only said that he thought he was having homosexual feelings, not that he had acted on them in any way, or that he would use his sexuality to cause abuse to himself or anyone else. We cannot condemn a man for something he has not done, and may never do.
We can see therefore, that objections to homosexual relationships are obscure, and to a certain degree, unfounded, in many Christians eyes, whereas for the like of Fred Phelps, it is the central issue of Christianity in the contemporary world. This debate is described as the contention over whether homosexuality is an “indifferent”, or “inessential” subject, or as the Windsor report, a report commissioned to investigate whether the Church had the authority to rule on homosexuality, phrases it, “what are the limits in diversity of Anglican belief and practise?” An inessential, or indifferent topic in the Anglican Church is a topic on which there is little or no scriptural ruling, and therefore a decision must be made according to moral conscience and what is considered to be acceptable behaviour. It is also described as defining the difference between what is essential in a Christian, and what is simply a “flaw” of character. Many Christians believe that it is “inessential”, that compared to examples of a loving, caring life doing the work of the Lord is much more important. Clearly some Christians disagree, and it is this that led to the breach in the Christian Union and the reaction against Gene Robinson’s ordination.
Christians spout scripture in situations such as this, typically quoting Genesis, Corinthians, Leviticus, and Romans. We argue against each side, saying that love is most important, and it is not the homosexuals that are in the wrong, but those who are unable to love them as God’s children. On the other side of the fence, we have Christians saying that homosexuality is a sin, a sign of the devil, that means those unfortunate people are damned for eternity. But amidst all this bible – bashing, and with all these accusations, we fail to remember a small piece of teaching given to us by Jesus in Matthew, chapter seven, saying, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” We, as Christians were made in God’s image, to serve him and live in the world he created. But we do not have the god-given right to judge our fellow Christians, as you they are, or how they live their lives. We can advise them against doing something, as the Christian Union warned against homosexuality, but we do not have the right to condemn someone; this can only be done by God on Judgement day.
Homosexuality is clearly a contentious issue in our world today, which is sadly, and in my eyes, wrongly, tearing our church apart. It is time for the Christian church to grow up, wake up, and see the twenty-first century for what it is; a world where liberalism is embraced, where people attempt to look beyond labels, and to see the person inside. Hypocrites are not welcome here. If you discriminate against a group of people, do so only with firm doctrinal evidence behind you. In the case of homosexuality, I believe that this does not exist. In his ordination sermon, Gene Robinson told his parishioners a parable: Four American soldiers become best friends in the trenches of France during World War I. When one of them is killed, the others vow to give him a proper burial. But when they ask a priest to allow them to bury their comrade in the parish cemetery, the priest denies their request because the men can’t guarantee that their dead friend was baptized. Instead, the men bury the soldier just outside the graveyard. After the war, when they return to visit the grave, they can’t find it. When they ask the priest what happened, he explains, “I felt bad about my decision. Why should this man not deserve the same status before God as all these others who have gone before him? Who am I to judge him? So I moved the fence.” It is time we moved the fence, and made our church a truly open door, welcome to all those who wish to enter. We are told repeatedly to open our hearts to God, well maybe first, we should be prepared to open our hearts to other human beings.


Gene Robinson 2

I've got a lot of very interesting, and very helpful comments regarding my last article, so thank you! I decided it would be best to respond to some of them like this, rather than individual replies…
Roland: Your point of view was useful, as someone who has moved from one side of the arguement to another – unfortunatly, Christians at my University are very unwilling to talk to me about this issue, as it is very contentous in our own Christian Union, and so an opinion from any Christian is very welcome! Looking at the question from the other side is something I think I touched on in my section about love in Christianity, although like you say, there is probably more to say a bout it. Unfortunatly, I'm constricted by time and a word limit, but I am going to post a follow up article (this piece will eventually be assessed), and I'd really appreciate hearing what you think!
Chris: Thank you for your opinions, and again, I shall take them into account. However, I'm afraid I disagree with you on one vital point – I do not believe that there is anywhere in the bible that condemns homosexual, consensual relations. The bible discussess rape, and situations where homosexuality disturbs both the body and spirit, but not once does it even comment on a homosexual relationship. I would also argue that the majority of the Christian Church does not even teach that homosexuality is wrong. True, it may be advised against, but it does not, it cannot – because of the lack of scriptural evidence – teach against. These are views I expolre and back up in my next article that shall be posted soon, and I'd appreciate hearing what you think!
John: Thanks as well to you. You bring up a very important point, and in my arguement, I think this is were opinion has to step in. I believe the Church needs to wake up to the 21st century in many respects, but I am well aware of the fact that many Chrisitans feel the need for a "code of behaviour" that does not stray from what the bible says, and this is a point I discuss at length in my next article. Please read it and let me know what you think! Thank you!

March 20, 2005

Poetry

Hi everybody! Just a poem I've written, that I like, and am thinking of putting in my portfolio… Let me know what you think!

The Piazza di Spagna.
A hum of noise from the street beneath,
busy people wrapped in their
cocoon of heat, and bread,
popping out from bags,
like paddles manoeuvring their way through
the crowd. And cars
and scooters hoot and rev,
and all evaporates into the white heat
of the Piazza di Spagna.

The Piazza di Spagna has a fountain,
a bucking fish, and an open shell,
liquid crystal falling in an eternal rhythm,
smooth and cool,
and cool and calm.
The steps are slightly uneven,
speaking of age and wear, and years upon years
of kings, and presidents, and ministers, and me.

Of kings, and presidents, and ministers, and me,
sitting on the steps of the great piazza,
alone in the crowd of people and cars.
The hair tickles the back of my neck still,
and the waistband of my skirt is thick,
digging into my stomach like an iron band,
keeping me in place.
But the sun beats onto my skin, and through my shirt,
and heat surrounds me, and I am free.

Heat surrounds me, and I am free,
as I lick the dripping ice cream in my hands,
tasting the tangy vanilla against my dry mouth,
to stare and watch and wait and wonder.

He turns, and sees me, and I know it is only pretence,
but I keep my secret and greet him,
and we play our charade for the cameras watching,
talking and laughing and saying we don’t know,
and he takes my hand and we walk,
down and down, the steps disappearing before us,
as we dissolve into the people.
And so I leave my secret,
on the steps of the Piazza di Spagna.


March 04, 2005

Gene Robinson.

This is an article I wrote for non – fiction as reasearch towards a piece on homosexuality and the CU. I hope no one finds it in any way offensive, it is a piece based on what I believe – but please let me know what you think!

Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, and tolerance within the Christian Church.

A few years ago, the Christian Union at Warwick University was given a two year ban from it’s affiliation with the Student’s Union, due to a homophobic remark made to one of it’s members. Since then, the university has drawn up an equal opportunities policy for all the societies included within the student’s union, and slowly but surely, the rift is being healed.
However, homophobia is at present the centre of the Christian media as a whole due to the appointment of Gene Robinson as the Bishop of New Hampshire, who, controversially, lives with his partner of thirteen years, Mark Andrew. As the church is split, this time on an international scale, we are forced to ask ourselves whether such concerns, although admittedly classed as ‘sins’ in the bible, are really an issue for the world of today. This then leads onto asking is such a relatively small aspect of a person’s life, such as their sexuality, more important than unity and love within the Christian community.
There was great opposition to Gene Robinson’s ordination in 2003, mainly because of his sexual orientation. One of the leaders in this opposition was the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams who, although the issue of Robinson’s sexuality does not appear to directly concern him, is concerned for what this will do to the church, and whether it might result in an absolute, unhealable divide. He says that the US church will “have to admit they are in the wrong over homosexuality if the unity of the Anglican Church is to be preserved”. Indeed, it is hard to deny that great controversy surrounds this issue within the church, but some Christians can’t help but ask – why the controversy? We are all taught from the beginnings of our Christian teaching that the fundamental word in our faith is love; love for each other, love for the world, and love for God. The attitudes of some who oppose Robinson’s appointment, as Bishop is less than loving however. An English Anglican sent the new bishop a postcard saying “you fornicating, lecherous pig”; Fred Phelps, a Baptist minister, describes Robinson as “a disgusting, detestable, loathsome, filthy abomination – the great whoremonger”. This is the language used by Christians to a fellow human being, a fellow follower of Christ; these are words said by people who stand in God’s presence and speak the words of John 13, verse 34 – “Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you.”
There are thousands of references to love in the bible, and one of the most famous passages is from Corinthians 13 tells us “love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not boast, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up the wrongs that have been done.” This is the love that should exist within the Christian community, but which in issues such as this, we sadly see very little of. The idea of the community within the church is the theory that a group of people can work together in order to follow God and create a better, more compassionate and equal world. Therefore, it should be argued that a community cannot exclude certain people because of their race, or their gender, or because of their sexual orientation. We are told that we are all equal in the eyes of God, and that we must not judge others for “you will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others shall be given to you” (Matthew 7). Therefore, the division and arguments that have spread, and now cause a great threat within the church, due to Gene Robinson’s appointment as bishop, could be seen as highly hypocritical as this dispute itself is going against the teachings of the Bible. Robinson has told his congregation that he hopes that engaging in “infinite respect and radical hospitality” can unite his diocese, and the greater Anglican Communion.
There are critics of Robinson’s appointment however, who that are more reasonable, and object because he is not married to his partner; one such critic is Kendall Harmon, the canon theological of South Carolina, USA, who says that “I think it is wrong to be in a sexual relationship outside marriage and I’d say that to a heterosexual as well.” Undoubtedly, and rightly so, the sanctity of marriage is a state that has been very important in the Christian faith, for centuries, although some would argue that this is outdated now, when we live in a modern world of free sexuality, and independence. Therefore, if indeed such critic’s objections are that Robinson is not married to the man he lives with, a sceptical onlooker cannot help but wonder what the likes of Harmon would think if they undertook a guy marriage. I think the Archbishop of Canterbury, who condemned the Canadian churches that gave blessings to same sex marriages, asking them to “consider their place within the Anglican Communion”, probably answered this question last week. Therefore, it can be safely assumed that even if Gene Robinson and his partner Mark Andrew had a gay wedding, the church would not recognise it, and the problem would still exist.
Robinson’s supporters counter this argument by pointing out that his family life is as wholesome and loving as it could possibly be; his wife Isabella knew when they married that he was gay, and after ten years, and after they had had two daughters together, they decided it would be best for them and their children if they divorced, so that each of them would be able to pursue a relationship that would hopefully make them happy, After the divorce, they had a private service in the church and asked each others forgiveness – they have remained friends since and bring up their daughters Amy and Jamee together. Robinson met his partner three years later, and now they all work together as a family unit, and were described at the ordination by the All Saints interim rector, Bruce H. Jacobson, as “a most wholesome example of a family”. Robinson is very open in his love for his partner, saying that “I couldn’t love him more”, and is adamant that by his divorce both he and his wife felt that they “were honouring each other by letting each other go… we were honouring our marriage by getting a divorce”. Therefore it seems fair to argue that Gene Robinson is actually a perfect example of how divorce, despite being a breach of the Bible, is actually the best way for two people to be happy and more able to follow in God’s faith. In this case, it enabled both Gene and Isabella to become the people they really were, and find happiness in a relationship suited more to them as individuals, as well as allowing them to salvage their strong platonic love for each other and their daughters. It is in cases such as these that the religious conflict becomes difficult – is the maintaining of a bond made in the sight of God more important than the happiness of two people? But, if they do divorce, and find a lasting, prosperous love elsewhere, is not this a blessing from God in itself?
Clearly, in this case, there is the undeniable complication of the fact that Gene Robinson is gay, a sin as stated in the Bible itself; “you must not have sexual relations with a man as you would a woman. That is a hateful sin.” (Leviticus 18, 22) And this is a reason why the Archbishop of Canterbury is so concerned that Robinson’s appointment as bishop will result in a split in the international Anglican Church. However, as Robinson points out, “to raise the issue of homosexuality above the Nicene Creed and belief in the Trinity seems to me to border on idolatry… if this is all about the authority of scripture why haven’t people threatened to leave over the church not obeying Christ’s commandment to reach out to the poor?” This focus on the sexuality of Robinson is drowning out more important issues, such as what the church can do to help the people suffering in Iraq, or in the aftermath of the Tsunami. Also, it is choosing to ignore that despite being homosexual, Robinson is clearly an increadebly loving, caring and devout man. His faith in God is highly commendable, as he is insistent in claiming, “God seems so very close right now that prayer almost feels redundant. I feel absolutely surrounded by his love and his presence is almost palpable to me. I am calm and at peace and I am prepared to move forward.” This strength of faith is surely commendable, as is the love shown towards his family and parishioners. Should such a good example of a follower of Christ be excluded from the church ministry purely because he is a homosexual?
In his sermon at his ordination in 2003, Robinson told the congregation a parable; “Four American soldiers became best friends in the trenches of France during World War I. When one of them is killed, the others vow to give him a proper burial. But when they ask a priest to allow them to bury their comrade in the parish cemetery, the priest denies their request because the men can’t guarantee that their dead friend was baptized. Instead, the men bury the soldier just outside the graveyard. After the war, when they return to visit the grave, they can’t find it. When they ask the priest what happened, he explains, “I felt bad about my decision. Why should this man not deserve the same status before God as all these others who have gone before him? Who am I to judge him? So I moved the fence.”” Here, Robinson was talking about extending the borders, to become more open. The Christian church is an open door; it is not a door that closes to homosexuals, or women, or people in relationships out of marriage. It is open to everyone, and we do not have the god – given authority to judge a person, we can only observe the spiritual life of a person and commend them for being a true follower of Christ, and this is what those who appointed Gene Robinson to by ordained by God as a bishop believed him to be. I, for one, would be honoured to have a man who appears so devout and loving to guide me through my life as a Christian.


March 2005

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