The Christian churches, and not least the Church of England, would shut down were it not for the ministrations of its gay members, including clergy, says Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire – interviewed by Scottish freelance journalist Andrew Collier.
Bishop Robinson, who is openly gay himself and living in a long-term committed relationship, has since his election been a focus of controversy in the 71 million strong worldwide Anglican Communion and belong.
The Times newspaper in London reports that he said: 'I think the thing that is the most mystifying to me and the most troubling about the Church of England is its refusal to be honest about just how many gay clergy it has – many of them partnered and many of them living in rectories.”
Bishop Robinson continued: “I have met so many gay partnered clergy here and it is so troubling to hear them tell me that their bishop comes to their house for dinner, knows fully about their relationship, is wonderfully supportive but has also said if this ever becomes public then I’m your worst enemy. It’s a terrible way to live your life and I think it’s a terrible way to be a church.”
He added: “I think integrity is so important. What does it mean for a clergy person to be in a pulpit calling the parishioners to a life of integrity when they can’t even live a life of integrity with their own bishop and their own church? So I would feel better about the Church of England’s stance, its reluctance to support the Episcopal Church in what it has done if it would at least admit that this not an American problem and just an American challenge.”
Concluded Robinson: “If all the gay people stayed away from church on a given Sunday the Church of England would be close to shut down between its organists, its clergy, its wardens.....it just seems less than humble not to admit that.”
The full interview, courtesy of Ruth Gledhill, can be found here: http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2007/07/cofe-would-shut.html