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Monday, January 30, 2012

Sundance Film Festival and Bishop Gene Robinson

I see that a documentary film about Bishop Gene Robinson has won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Grace Under Pressure. The film is about what happened after Robinson was elected as the first openly gay bishop in Christendom.

I remember when I first heard of Gene Robinson - I saw an interview with him on an episode of 60 Minutes years ago. and was really impressed with his honesty and his courage. You can watch the first few minutes of the 60 Minutes episode here. And here's just the beginning of the transcript of the whole 60 Minutes interview ....

Correspondent Ed Bradley reports on this story that first aired last spring. Robinson has been called the most dangerous man in the Anglican Church. Does he think it's true?

"As an openly gay man, I'm not way out there. I'm not something odd and unusual. I think I'm probably dangerous because I'm pretty mainstream," says Robinson. "I've got a mainstream family. I believe in the church. I believe in God, and I'm only dangerous because I'm not weird."

Why does he consider his family mainstream? "I would call it mainstream because we care deeply about each other," says Robinson. "And if you come into our home, you see a Christian family-valued household."

For 16 years, Robinson has lived with his partner, Mark Andrew, a state health official. "Our relationship is one of mutual support, love, care -- making a place for another person in your heart, the way a marriage ought to be," says Robinson.

And he sees no contradiction between being a bishop and being a practicing homosexual in a committed relationship. In fact, he is open about his lifestyle.

On a recent trip to New York, he stopped at a gay bar with his daughter and a friend for after-theater drinks. "I'm not embarrassed about being a gay man. I'm not embarrassed about being in a place with other gay folk," says Robinson.

He believes God is doing something new – leading the Church and society to a greater acceptance of homosexuals. "I think God is meaning for gay and lesbian folk to have a full, whole, and complete life - both as citizens of this country and as members of the church," says Robinson. But a lot of Episcopalians don't agree with Robinson. When his election was submitted for confirmation at their national convention last summer, it touched off a civil war.

But when the votes were counted, Robinson had the majority, and that triggered a walkout by conservatives.

How does he respond to those who say that what he openly practices, homosexuality, is a sin?

"Well, in the eyes of some in my church, it's a sin. And in the eyes of others in my church, it's not," says Robinson. "And one of the great things about the Anglican tradition and the Episcopal church in particular is that we have always disagreed about various and sundry issues, and yet come together around the altar rail." ....


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