I’ve seen this issue debated many, many times (coming from a Presbyterian Church U.S.A. background as I do) and I still feel as strongly as ever: in no way, shape, or form should a practicing homosexual person be put in a position of ministry in a Christian church. If the church insists on ordaining such people, they ought to quit labeling themselves as Christians.
That said, John Derbyshire has had a very interesting discussion with his readers over at the Corner today, most of which was prompted by the following statement:
This is a dreadful event, a triumph for the forces of death over the forces of life. Robinson cheerfully acknowledges that he is an active homosexual. The Bible is perfectly clear that homosexual acts are sinful. Our Lord gave sinners strict and clear instructions: stop sinning, and repent your past sins. Robinson is in brazen violation of fundamental Christian doctrine. Nobody has to be a Christian; but if you are going to call yourself one, you should follow the rules. Further, Robinson abandoned two little girls in order to indulge his sexual urges. (His supporters are glossing this like crazy. They tell you–they are telling me–that his wife was entirely on board with it, and the whole family get together once a year and dance round a maypole together singing “Kumbaya,” or some damn thing. Well, if his wife was agreeable, she is as big a moral criminal as he is. Little girls need their Daddy around. If Robinson doesn’t know that, he is not fit for any position of responsibility, anywhere. If his wife didn’t fight tooth and nail against his abandonment, she is no Christian woman. What did Mrs Robinson say when the tots asked: “Mommy, why has Daddy gone away?” Millions of ordinary Americans struggle through worse crises every day, and come down at last on the side of social responsibility and Christian duty. Robinson came down on the side of Woody Allen: “The heart wants what it wants.” Feu!) That he could become a bishop in my church sickens and disgusts me. We can show tolerance and Christian obligation towards deviant minorities without handing them the keys to the house, can’t we? Apparently not, not today, not in America. For shame! For shame!
A woman reader followed up with this letter. Money quote:
Dear Mr. Derbyshire,
I am not Episcopalian, but as a Christian who was victimized by a “gay” ex-husband, I commend you on your insight that this “bishop’s” real crime was what he did to his children.
After 16 years of marriage, my husband abandoned me with 3 children, the oldest severely disabled, the youngest 3 weeks old, to run off with a food editor in what he said was a “lifetime commitment.” That one lasted a couple months.
Followed shortly by this missive. The whole thing:
In the New Testament, Jesus quite plainly chose his servants. He told them that he had chosen them, not they him. Christ’s church has always been a kindgom, not a democracy. As I read the Bible, it is clear that it is a top-down management style. Christ calls apostles, they call bishops, they call elders, etc. (this is the way my church functions, so perhaps this makes sense to me because it is what I am used to–I don’t mean be offensive). This pattern is of course, completely contrary to today’s hyper-egalitarianism. I believe democracy (well, I prefer a democracy modified by aspects of republic) is ideal for a civil government, but not for Christ’s church, where it is, in my opinion, incredibly arrogant for men and women to decide what they want as opposed to learning what God wants. At any rate, it seems to me that this incident with Bishop Robinson is really a symptom of the larger problem that as a culture, we have allowed the idea of hierarchy, authority and obedience to become synonymous with oppression and have allowed cherished, traditional institutions (other than government which should be democratic) to be run like clubs where everyone has a vote. After all, if the people in Robinson’s episcopate had not elected him, none of this would have happened. What if Christ had allowed his disciples to vote on whether Peter would be the chief apostle? An unlettered fisherman?
I have to say, those are two very good points that I’ve never even considered. They only serve to further my view that this step by the Episcopals is an abomination.