The Connection between the Crucifixion and the Passover, Part IV

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 23 February 2005 0 Comments
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I have a real concern when it comes to categorizing people into groups and then labeling them. Are all heterosexuals good and all homosexuals bad? I have known several homosexual priests in my 52 years of priesthood who were good men and did fine work in the Church. Is Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected by people who knew him well as a priest, guilty of any sin now more than before? If so, his only guilt that I see is honesty about his life. I thought honesty to be a Christian virtue!!! How do you feel about this?


Of course there are good and bad people who are homosexual. There are also good and bad people who are heterosexual. That is not what the struggle for justice is all about. Discrimination is about judging a person on the basis of his or her being, not his or her doing. Discrimination is about forcing a definition on all members of a rejected minority. People always use irrational conclusions to justify their prejudices.

One of the signs of prejudice is to lump a whole group of people together in the same conclusion. Statements that begin with the words, "women are," or "Jews all do" or "all homosexuals act this way" or "all black people act that way" are inevitably false distortions. People are people. They come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, colors, religions, genders and sexual orientations. The sooner we begin to counter the "lumping tendencies" of our prejudice, the better off our world will be.

Gene Robinson is a friend of mine. He is a gifted, honorable, bright, articulate priest who was judged by those who knew him best to be their choice to be their bishop. His election was confirmed by the highest decision making body of my church. No one acted illegally or immorally. The idea that we should apologize for allowing our homophobic prejudice to die is ludicrous. I honor Gene Robinson and the choice his colleagues made in electing him. He will bring great credit to our Church. Those who try to diminish him because of his sexual orientation do not and will not.

-- John Shelby Spong




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