Barton Gingerich, Church, culture, Episcopal, Gene Robinson, General Assembly, General Assembly 2012, homosexuality, Institute on Religion and Democracy, IRD Blog, LGBT, PCUSA, permissive, Presbyterian
More Light Presbyterians, radical LGBT caucus for the PCUSA, welcomed homosexual Episcopal bishop and Center for American Progress fellow Gene Robinson to address their General Assembly dinner in Pittsburgh. MLP Executive Director and Field Organizer Michael Adee introduced Robinson as “one of the great innovators of Christianity” (after which he shared pro-LGBT slogans such as “Jesus had two dads, and He turned out okay”).
After receiving his standing ovation, Bishop Robinson chirped, “The work I think you have done creates much confusion in the Presbyterian church. And let me tell you that confusion is a huge step forward from certainty.” He complained of his supposed sufferings from his ordination, i.e. Biblical and orthodox Anglicans across the world thrown into outrage, causing a rift not only with Global South dioceses but also a split within the Episcopal Church (USA). Now the Anglican Communion faces what to do with the EPUSA as a result of its abandonment of sexuality standards. Robinson likened the Archbishop of Canterbury to a father and the EPUSA as a son coming out to his parents. “It is in those moments that the father has to ask how deep and how wide is his love for his son,” the bishop mused.
Robinson’s main purpose at the dinner was to encourage the MLP’s in their crusade for further progress in pro-LGBT measures. The revisionist caucuses were obviously receptive, especially in light of General Assembly’s decision to drop its clergy standards from celibacy in singleness and monogamous heterosexual relationships in marriage. “How many times does Jesus say when we stand on the side of history and for a loving God, we’ll be persecuted?” he inquired, “If you’re not getting in trouble for the Gospel you preach, you don’t have much of a Gospel at all.” He deemed pushing for the elimination of traditional sexuality standards “is worthy work and it is godly work.” Nevertheless, he did warn his audience about the importance of image and PR: “The thing that keep me sympathizing with my opponents is that they believe what we taught them not long ago.”
The bishop reinforced his point with a sense of inevitability: “We will see the church repent of what the church has done with LGBT issues the same way it repented of slavery.” “We know how this is going to end…and the conservatives know it too,” he audaciously claimed, “If the church doesn’t do this work, God’ll do this work without the church.”
Robinson continued, “God is revealing ‘Godself’ today…God just didn’t stop talking when the canon was closed and take a vacation to the Bahamas.” Robinson then envisaged the larger narrative at work: “What we’re seeing here is the beginning—just the beginning—to see an end to patriarchy.” He thought patriarchy as the grounds for “heterosexism.” In a gay relationship, a man must give up the privilege of manhood to receive the treatment of a woman while, in a lesbian relationship, a woman assumes the role of a man. According to Robinson, the disestablishment of patriarchy is why the repeal of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) remains “so important.”
Rhetorically waggling his finger at traditional Christians, the CAP fellow contended, “Your church and my church aren’t on the selection committee. God is on the selection committee…We’re on the welcoming committee.” “You are leaven in the loaf,” he told his audience, “and you will change the rest of the church whether it likes it or not.” With increased schisms, an abandonment of morality, and (as one of my friends put it) the enshrinement of selfishness; one has to wonder about the nature of this leaven.