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August 5, 2003 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Rev. Gene Robinson's controversial aspirations to be the first gay bishop in the Episcopal church have been put on hold over accusations regarding allegedly inappropriate touching in public conversation and an indirect hyperlink to pornography via a group called Outright that says its mission is "to create safe, positive, and affirming environments for young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and questioning people ages 22 and under." They also say that the would-be bishop is not affiliated with the group in any way. The church's investigation into the matter, CNN has just reported, is now complete and the vote will soon be rescheduled.
posted by Hammerikaner (40 comments total)

 
My prediction: they will have found that the accusations were completely groundless. Whether or not he is made bishop... we'll have to wait and see.

I question why this story was so widely reported, because the accusations seem to be so incredibly flaky. Touching on the bicep, shoulder, and upper back? Why, that's tantamount to sexual assault! Linking to a site that links to another site that links to another site that links to pornography? Now you've done it!
posted by Hammerikaner at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2003


The charges were blatantly trumped-up, and I'm glad they seem to have been quickly dismissed.
posted by BigPicnic at 10:41 AM on August 5, 2003


Smear Campaign, press laps it up.
posted by troutfishing at 10:50 AM on August 5, 2003


So typical. Attack a gay person by alleging outrageous sexual behavior and innappropriateness. Instead of just standing up and saying "I hate gay people and feel they are inferior." The hypocrisy. The only thing that makes me feel better about this kind of stuff is knowing how their god feels about hypocrites. Oh, when judgement day comes . . .

I may start going into churches and standing up and yelling "Shame on You" when the clergy attempts to demonize gays.
posted by archimago at 10:51 AM on August 5, 2003


Well, maybe it can't be proved by those charges, but obviously the guy's a pervert. I mean, he's a butt-fucker, come on!

Seriously, though, the inability of the catholic church to differentiate between child molesters and homosexuals is so disturbing.

Bishops and cardinals cover up child molestation and rape:
   The Pope says: Hmmmmm, I'll think about that one.


A gay man wants to become a bishop:
    The Pope says: No butt-fuckers! He's going to hell, and so will anyone who listens to him!
posted by zekinskia at 10:51 AM on August 5, 2003


What is with prosecuting people for linking to "bad" sites? That's fucking creepy, ya know.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:56 AM on August 5, 2003


a group called Outright that says its mission is "to create safe, positive, and affirming environments for young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and questioning people ages 22 and under."

That IS their mission. I've gone to Outright meetings in Portsmouth, NH for three years, one summer it was practically every Friday night. You cannot over-emphasize the positive impact this group has on the community and on the youth (gay, questioning, allies, whoever!) that chose to attend.

It's pathetic that people would try so hard to ruin a man's reputation by saying he might be involved with a youth support group whose website might, if you were determined enough, let you follow a six degrees of seperation path to pornography, although they host none such material on their own servers. They are however, sex-positive, heaven forbid we actually enourage healthy perception and integration of our sexual selves.

UGH!
posted by nelleish at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2003


zekinskia -- I may be wrong, but I don't think the Episcopalians are beholden to the pope, and hasn't it been the RC priests that have had all the child raping that has been in the news?

I understand your point, but I think we shouldn't cast undue aspersions.
posted by archimago at 10:58 AM on August 5, 2003


...the inability of the catholic church to differentiate between child molesters and homosexuals is so disturbing

Just to clarify, the Catholic Church is not the same organization as the Episcopal Church. Often people have a tendency to lump "all Christians" or "all churches" together, when there is (honestly!) a tremendous difference in the level of progressiveness and tolerance between, say, Southern Baptists and Methodists, or Catholics and...well, most other churches. Even within denominations there are some churches that are MUCH more liberal on a variety of issues than others. Some churches even try to follow the teachings of the Bible and help the poor, reach out to those in need, etc. without being judgmental. Not all churches do that, mind you, but all Christians, and all churches, are by no means the same.

Carry on.

posted by arco at 11:00 AM on August 5, 2003


Interesting side note: the Archbishop of Canterbury mentioned something, almost in passing, that may be a way to get around the schism problem. He used the word "provinces", an odd ecclesiastical term full of meaning
(link is to the Catholic Encyclopedia, whose definition would be very similar to the Episcopalian.)

Right now, conservative congregations, different from the Catholics in that they own their church, not their (liberal, in these cases) bishop, are voting to become "missions" to African-Anglican Archdioceses. Ironic, I suppose, that a wealthy white American church would become a mission to a poor black African Archdiocese.

But the biggest struggle, the main thing keeping schism from happening right now, is that the "Episcopal Church, USA" is recipient of a whole bunch of HUGE endowments, but if you schism off, you don't get squat.

But creating "ecclesiastical Provinces" would allow conservative and liberal congregations to live side-by-side, but be under a different bishop. The money issue would almost certainly have to be settled in court, though.
posted by kablam at 11:03 AM on August 5, 2003


Those charges are just ludicrous. I'm so sick of this homosexuality = pedophilia bullshit and I'm glad it's getting exposed for the fraud it is. "Inappropriate" touching of an adult's shoulders in a room of 300 = molestation? Fuck you. That's an insult to anyone who has been a victim of actual, real molestation.
posted by widdershins at 11:06 AM on August 5, 2003


News note: the "investigation", as expected/mentioned here and elsewhere, took less than 24 hours to end on the grounds of being complete and utter bullshit. The vote is currently scheduled for 3:30 PM EST.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:20 AM on August 5, 2003


Yeah, so I admit my complete ignorance about the differences between baptists, catholics, episcopalians, whatever.

But tell me this: if the pope walked into an episcopalian church, what kind of reception would he receive? That's what makes catholics so easy to lump together: they all kiss each others' asses, and essentially avoid confronting their differences by "branching off." So now we've got a million different fucking churches, some handling snakes and speaking in tongues, some tripping on peyote and speaking to God.

But all of them would give their left arm for a chance to kiss the pope's ring, would they not?

P.S. Can I just say that I think the Pope has died and been plastinated for at least a few years now?
posted by zekinskia at 11:23 AM on August 5, 2003


Also noteworthy: there is also supposed to be another major divisive issue voted on after this, that conservatives were bitterly objecting to. Has this bought them enough time to table that vote?
Maybe this was a strategic delay.
posted by kablam at 11:24 AM on August 5, 2003


But tell me this: if the pope walked into an episcopalian church, what kind of reception would he receive?

Some sort of respectful big deal. Same thing that would happen if Billy Graham walked in, or an Orthodox patriarch, or an AME Zion pastor, or a rabbi or imam.

Episcopalians are good at being polite to people.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:40 AM on August 5, 2003


Yeah, so I admit my complete ignorance about the differences between baptists, catholics, episcopalians, whatever.

Episcopalian=Catholic Lite: Same Religion-Half The Guilt!
posted by jonmc at 11:41 AM on August 5, 2003


Next thing you know they'll out him as a smoker.
posted by samuelad at 11:41 AM on August 5, 2003


>>But all of them would give their left arm for a chance to kiss the pope's ring, would they not?<<

Uh, no. They emphatically would not. The Lutherans and Episcopalians fought several extremely bloody wars in order to win their independence from the pope. Several of the more recent evangelical Protestant denominations consider the Catholics to be just as "heathen" as the various non-Christian denominations. The pope might be welcomed into some of these churches in the spirit of "Christian brotherhood," but his welcome would turn very cold very quickly if he tried to exert any doctrinal authority.

Try to have some hint of a clue what you're talking about, okay?
posted by kewms at 11:44 AM on August 5, 2003


The Anglican Church, otherwise known as the Church of England, split off from the Catholics in the time of Henry VIII. Instead of the Pope, the official leader of the CofE is the English Monarch.

However, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is seen as the "first among equals" in the "Anglican Communion."
The Anglican Communion is the international assembly of all Anglicans, since most are not British and thus do not recognize the English monarch in any way.
The American Anglicans are called "Episcopalians".

Most of the doctrines of faith are shared between the Catholics and Anglicans, except the latter are "Protestant", do not recognize the supremacy of the Pope or his bishops, allow priestly marriage and a few other things. But in past, the ecumenism and similarities between the two are so great that the Anglicans have come close to rejoining the Catholic church.

That Catholics have even expressed a willingness for Anglican Ministers to return directly to Catholicism as Priests, assuming that they become or remain celibate first; and both churches will share clergy in a pinch. In other words, there is no ill feeling, and I'm sure any Anglican church or cathedral would be honored for the Pope to visit.

An interesting note is that, in the US, the Episcopalians have long been seen as the "middle of the road high church", for the middle class and wealthy, and taking great pains to *not* be controversial. As such, they are favored by politicians and others who do not want to religiously rock the boat. The Washington National Cathedral is nominally Episcopalian, though officially non-denominational.

Their sermons can often put wood to sleep.
posted by kablam at 11:48 AM on August 5, 2003


In addition to what kewms said, Catholicism and the Papacy are often reviled as a probable mechanism for the rise of the Antichrist by some ultra-conservatives.

Read some Jack Chick comics for a different view of Catholicism.
posted by daveadams at 11:53 AM on August 5, 2003


2.5 hours after the thread began, it looks like things are back on track...
posted by VulcanMike at 12:06 PM on August 5, 2003


I think we should clarify the FPP, the first openly gay bishop.
posted by archimago at 12:25 PM on August 5, 2003


these hyperlinks you speak of ... can i get them in my area? ;)

i seriously agree with the linking concerns. i reference a paper that i didn't even publish, and *i* can get in trouble? that's f'ed up.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:28 PM on August 5, 2003


Tapped has a good post about this character asassination attempt and Fred Barnes "leading the charge."
posted by pitchblende at 1:22 PM on August 5, 2003


The critic who leveled the Outright/linking charges against Gene Robinson is "conservative Anglican activist and writer" David Virtue. Virtue issued a warning on his Website stating "the site which [Robinson] says is geared for 12 to 22-year olds, provides Internet links that will take these vulnerable young people directly to hard core pornography."

Ridiculous. You can make this argument about virtually any Website with external links. David Virtue's own Website provides Internet links that will take vulnerable young directly to hard core pornography. Virtue links directly to a purveyor of pornographic titles such as Gay Men and Anal heartaches: Tops, Bottoms and Versatiles, Witchhunt Foiled: The FBI VS. Nambla (which appears to be a nambla publication), and, of course, The Joy of Gay Sex. Not only does Virtue provide links to these materials, he (or somebody affiliated with his site) profits every time an innocent child buys pornographic titles through his site and gets the gay.
posted by emptyage at 2:15 PM on August 5, 2003


amen, emptyage.

you forgot to mention my personal favorite, Buttmen : Erotic Stories and True Confessions by Gay Men Who Love Booty

shame on you, David Virtue! and how do i join the North American May Boy Love Association? i just love the May Boys. their last album was divine.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:46 PM on August 5, 2003


hooray! or yawn? hmmm.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:18 PM on August 5, 2003


Hey, just checked outside my front door. As of 10:45 PM EST, the earth itself has not split open. At least not in the New Jersey area.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:47 PM on August 5, 2003


So now that this is resolved, is anyone else interested in what happens to the gutless mudslingers who tried to derail this at the last minute with their ridiculous bullshit? I am. If nothing else, they should be publicly mocked, derided and shamed to the fullest extent possible. They should not be allowed to fade back into the woodwork to prepare their next craven attack.

And yes, emptyage and mrgrimm are trying to do their part, but I mean... you know... in the world beyond MetaFilter.
posted by soyjoy at 8:29 PM on August 5, 2003


So now that this is resolved, is anyone else interested in what happens to the gutless mudslingers who tried to derail this at the last minute with their ridiculous bullshit?

If their belief in their faith is as accurate as they claim, I'm pretty sure it's called "Hell."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:50 PM on August 5, 2003


>hooray! or yawn? hmmm

Definately a hooray. The larger context of this event is the religious were forced to answer this question: "Tell me how you aren't a bunch of bigots with your anti-gay rhetoric." They thought about this long and hard, quoted leviticus, etc and came to the conclusion that religion creates and feeds bigotry. This is a tiny step towards modernization and what that Jebus character preached - universal love and acceptance.
posted by skallas at 10:27 PM on August 5, 2003


Technically, "being gay" isn't a sin, sodomy is, as is fornication (sex outside of marriage). So long as he does neither, I can't see a reason he shouldn't be bishop. Since the United Church up here in Canada is leading the liberal-christian charge to design marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples, all he needs to do is remain celibate for a bit until the theology changes.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 2:31 AM on August 6, 2003


Technically, "being gay" isn't a sin, sodomy is, as is fornication (sex outside of marriage). So long as he does neither...

Are bishops supposed to be entirely without sin? Becuase my rather basic understanding of christian theology is that being completely sin free is impossible for humans. He better watch his temper, what he eats, and how long he spends sleeping and grooming himself too.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 5:54 AM on August 6, 2003


Anyway, those articles mentioned his partner of 13 years, so I think it's safe to assume he isn't celibate.
posted by mdn at 6:16 AM on August 6, 2003


Celibacy is for Catholics, not Episcopalians. Ministers, Bishops, even the few Episcopalian nuns, are usually married, if heterosexual, or in monogamous relationships if homosexual.
Takes a little getting used to, to be introduced to a 'Mrs. Bishop', either the wife of a Bishop, or a Bishop herself, who is married.

One other trivia bit about all of this to be remembered: he is *not* the first openly gay Bishop, he is just the first to be openly gay *before* being confirmed as a Bishop. The others came out after. He wanted to challenge the rule, and unlike the candidate in the CofE who removed his name from consideration lest he cause a schism, this guy is willing to split his church in half for what he believes in.

And this should be part of the real discussion: is it better to stand up for your own theological beliefs, like Bishop Robinson, or say, Martin Luther, even if it divides your church? (Would Martin Luther still have done it if he knew it would cause the 30 Years War and other untold violence?)
posted by kablam at 6:55 AM on August 6, 2003


Are bishops supposed to be entirely without sin?

No. On the other hand, they are supposed to avoid it as best possible. If that means being gay but not having sex, well, that's shitty, but that's what you get for wanting to be bishop.

kablam> Episcopalian clergy had to be chaste, though, I thought. Not celibate, but so far as I knew, they weren't able to fornicate either.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 8:45 AM on August 6, 2003


No. On the other hand, they are supposed to avoid it as best possible. If that means being gay but not having sex, well, that's shitty, but that's what you get for wanting to be bishop.

Dang. I bet they can't go back for seconds on pie either.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:51 AM on August 6, 2003


... is it better to stand up for your own theological beliefs, like Bishop Robinson, or say, Martin Luther, even if it divides your church?

Of course! How is being closeted at all compatible with any religious teachings of any faith?
posted by amberglow at 9:23 AM on August 6, 2003


I've known several Episcopal Ministers, all married except for the one everybody thought was gay, but not out of the closet. One was a machine-gun-totin' retired Airborne Colonel, WWII era, who did not dilly-dally during services.
(Many were the chaplains of that period who were known for their "...forever and ever, Amen. HIT THE DIRT!" style.)

Another could have been a Catholic Priest, except he had a physical deformity that precluded him from *their* priesthood, but not the Episcopalian Ministry.

The gay one's ethics I respect, because even back in the 1970s he knew that the Catholics were heading for a major bruising from their pedophilia, and he just *knew* that homosexuals were going to be blamed and punished for it. He made it a point to avoid Catholic Priests, if for no other reason, then "guilt by association."
posted by kablam at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2003


There's been an ongoing debate about homosexuals, especially homosexual clergy, in the Episcopal Church for some time. It basically boils down to the question of "homosexuals should be chaste outside of a married relationship, marriage is for men and women, ergo homosexuals should be chaste" vs. "homosexuals (and heterosexuals, incidentally) should be chaste outside of long-term, monogamous relationships."

Many Episcopalians (including myself, but that's neither here nor there) take the latter view, believing that sexuality is a gift from God that should be celebrated, but expressed responsibly.

oh, and skallas? I agree with the main point of your comments, but "religious" does not necessarily automatically equal "bigoted." If it did, our church and many others wouldn't be struggling with this issue so much.
posted by Vidiot at 6:51 AM on August 7, 2003


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