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Monday, 21 April 2008

Filthy pervert to darken doors of fine, upstanding, faultless gathering

Gene Robinson, the American bishop who is, as most of us know, one of those, is about to put the liberal cat among the bigoted pigeons when he turns up at the Lambeth conference this year. He'll be about as welcome as a fart in a crowded lift (that's elevator to you, Gene).

The Right Reverend is the Bishop of New Hampshire, and he was elevated to that post in spite of a lot of . . . well, spite. Some of the fine, upstanding, God-fearin' folk of the Episcopalian Church (Anglicanism in America) – and many other notable Anglicans – just didn't want this man, who so clearly broke God's fine laws just by being gay and not being afraid to express his sexuality. The real fine, upstanding members of that church, though – or I assume most of us would see them as that – are the liberals who put him there in the first place, flying in the face of their swivel-eyed colleagues who have a thing about what a guy does with his bits and pieces, even if he's doing it in private, and in a committed relationship, and, what's more, not frightening the horses.

Much of the anti-Robinson camp, it has to be said, is not in the Episcopalian Church, but among the somewhat frothier bishops and archbishops in some African and South American dioceses, as well as some in the UK.

Ruth Gledhill, religious correspondent of The Times, says (and note the coy quotation marks):

The openly gay US bishop at the heart of the Anglican Church’s schismatic row over sex is to “marry” his partner in June and attend the 2008 Lambeth Conference in Canterbury this summer, despite not being invited.

Yes, Gene has been told by the Archbishop of Cant, Rowan Williams, specifally not to come to the party in his capacity as an Anglican bishop. Well, he may not be there in that capacity, but he'll be ruffling a few of the frothies' feathers, no doubt. Read more here.

Robinson will also be in Britain next week to launch his new book, In the Eye of the Storm, to be serialised by The Times. "He will also take part in a series of public events to highlight what his supporters regard as homophobic discrimination throughout the Anglican Communion," writes Gledhill, adding:

Bishop Robinson’s decision to be in England in July and August throughout the three weeks of the ten-yearly conference will put paid to any hopes that Dr Williams had of keeping away the issue of gay sex. The last event, in 1998, was dominated by the debate. This time, Dr Williams, who is in charge of the conference as the “primus inter pares” of the Anglican Communion, has scheduled an “official” agenda with the focus on Bible study, prayer and discussion.

Bishop Robinson’s decision to be active on the “outside” of the conference will add to the pressures on the Archbishop, who is struggling to keep his church united in line with the Gospel imperative of “one Church”.

Let the fireworks begin.

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