Gene Robinson's Gay Rite

Controversial gay bishop Gene Robinson has responded to my post about him being a June Bride, in his new book, of which The Times has published an extract. Well, he hasn’t responded explicitly to me, but he has referred to how, after he said “I always wanted to be a June bride”,

Within hours, those eight words had made it around the world, thanks to conservative bloggers and the magic of the internet. …

I’ll be the first to admit that it would have been better if I’d never uttered those eight words – not because they aren’t true, but simply because they gave the conservative forces something else to use against me.

I was one of those bloggers who reacted quickly to those words, and I admit that I used them against him. But I also wrote at the time:

if he will not give up his gay union, it is best that he formally acknowledges it and pledges himself to being faithful to his partner.

And I reiterated this as a general principle earlier today. So I agreed then and still agree with Robinson’s main point in this article in The Times, that it is a positive step for him and Mark to contract a civil union, now that this option is available to them

But I am concerned that Bishop Robinson sees his intended union as an example to

a gay boy or a lesbian girl who will read about it and know that they, too, can aspire to a healthy, whole life with a person of the same sex – and that they don’t have to give up their faith along the way.

It is one thing for Gene and Mark to do what they do between consenting adults. It is quite another for them to promote their practices among impressionable boys and girls whose sexual orientation is still in flux.

My attitude to this of course shows there is still a huge gulf between Robinson’s position, apparently that homosexual relationships are morally equivalent to heterosexual ones, and mine, which is that homosexual practice within a committed relationship should be tolerated only as “the lesser of two evils”, that is as preferable to the greater evil of homosexual or heterosexual promiscuity.

0 thoughts on “Gene Robinson's Gay Rite

  1. I’m sorry but I fail to see how one can condone any of those scenarios. I don’t see it as a lesser of two evils, as it seems pretty black and white to me.

    I think it is one thing to struggle with homosexuality on a personal level. But indulging in activity or any sort of public or legal union completely crosses the line. Basically I think all sexual sins are simply that. The gradation you are suggesting seems wholly inappropriate to me.

  2. “sexual orientation is still in flux”

    Are you aware of issues of developmental psychology that allow you to claim such is possible?

    Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and its desires. There is no ‘natural’ in Christ – only supernatural. Why do you think your interpretation is the only one that is right?

  3. Bob, I am aware that many adolescents go through a phase of homosexual attraction. Most of them will pass through that and become fully heterosexual. But if at that stage they become convinced that they are in fact permanently gay or lesbian, they will continue to believe that and act as if it is true. But no, I haven’t seen formal studies of this.

    I don’t think my interpretation is the only one that is right. I put it forward as a possibility to be considered.

  4. My thought on reading this post is that “lesser of two evils” can mean two things. One thing people mean by it is that we have only two choices, and we have to pick one, so we go with the one that’s less bad. That, therefore, is the right decision, since it’s the best that can be had. The other thing people mean by that term is that of two choices one is worse, but they’re both wrong and thus must be avoided if we are going to seek to do what’s right. I’m happy if you describe gay unions as the lesser of two evils if you mean it the second way. I’m not happy with describing it that way if you mean it the first way.

  5. Jeremy, I think we can agree here. The only real good is for Gene and Mark to separate completely. But it is less bad for them to have a committed and publicly recognised relationship than for them to indulge in homosexual activity on a casual and uncommitted basis. A formal ceremony helps to cement that less bad, but it is not truly good.

  6. Back to this one too after ignoring posts I’d bookmarked.

    I’d want to insist that there’s one sense in which it’s better for them and another in which it’s worse for them. It’s better for them in some of its consequences. It prevents disease and provides for stability in the aspects of their relationship that are mere friendship and thus not sin. It prevents some harm.

    On the other hand, it cements something that’s also negative in that it provides public acceptance of sin and recognition of a sinful relationship as if it’s morally legitimate. It’s a matter of debate which of those two concerns is more important, but I think the second one is more important in the long run even if the first is in some ways more immediately important when it comes to concerns that are less heavenly-minded.

  7. So let me get this straight. Homosexuality is a sin, but being in a commited homosexual relationship is better than casual gay sex?
    So being a habitual sinner who is committed to carrying on sinning indefinitely is better than indulging in casual sin?
    A bit like saying a serial killer is better than a hit and run driver.
    I think the bible describes homosexuality as an abomination, whether casual or committed.
    I agree with you that adolescents go through a period of confusion, I did myself at an all male boarding school.
    However I am very glad that I am now married to a woman (I am a man), and not ‘married’ to a man, which I would consider far worse than had I indulged in casual gay sex in the past.
    One could be considered an accident, the other is a life style choice.
    Being committed to a good thing is good, being committed to a bad thing is… bad. ‘Commitment’ is neutral.
    Hitler was commited to the destruction of the Jews. Should we admire him for the dedication and efficiency with which he ruthlessly persued this, and be grateful that he didnt just recklessly stagger about murdering Jews at random?
    Giving respectability to gay marriage, which you are hereby subtly doing, is doing the devil’s work for him.
    I’m sorry, I grew up in the anglican church, and this is anglicanism at its best, imagining that compromise is a solution to sin.
    If I have cancer, I want it destroyed, I dont want to hear the doctor saying ‘but it’s such a good, committed cancer’ – those ones are called malignant tumours, they will certainly cause death in the long term.
    If we are encouraging ‘committed’ homosexual relationships rather than casual ones, we are encouraging sinners to continue to sin. And encouraging a bishop to model this to the church is a disaster. The church of england deserves to fall apart if this is how it solves its problems. Rowan Williams should do to Gene Robinson what Peniel church has just done to Michael Reid – throw him out. If Peniel had not taken this bold step, the church would be destroyed by the massive exodus of the flock. Perhaps this explains why the C of E, with all its compromise, has seen a massive exodus of the flock in recent years – it lacks leadership prepared to take strong action according to the bible.

  8. Jacob, I don’t think it helps anyone to compare Gene Robinson to Hitler. I agree that it would be better if Robinson left the Anglican church. You as a former Anglican should know that Rowan Williams has no power to throw him out. Anyway that would not solve the problem unless he also threw out those who consecrated him and want to consecrate more like him. I don’t think there is any long term solution while these people are in the Anglican Communion. But I don’t know what the way ahead is.

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