The Christians are angry again. The
consecration of Rev. V. Gene Robinson as the next bishop of New
Hampshire makes him the first openly gay prelate in the Episcopal
Church U.S.A. This action, a surprise to no one, set the foundation
for a split within the American church as well as Anglican churches
abroad. International bishops have declared a state of
“impaired communion” with the Episcopal Church, but
stopped short of declaring a full schism. Well that’s good to
know, because it’s more like an official angry period, akin
to a “time-out,” whereas the African archbishops have
gone absolutely ape shit and threatened to sever all ties. With
such declarations as “The devil has clearly entered the
church,” and “It comes directly from the pit of
hell,” it is safe to assume that these individuals are not
terribly fond of gays. To understand this reaction, it should be
known that homosexuality is regarded as an imported evil from the
west and everyone from religious leaders to the local villagers
share this view.

Kate Green

The Anglican Church in the global south is a little more
unlikely to cut all ties with the Anglican Communion due to the
fact that its connection with the American Episcopalians gives it a
good deal of its legitimacy and financial backing. The power of the
bottom line is pretty clear here.

What I’m trying to figure is what Robinson should have
done. He is someone who has an obvious love of God and his
religion, so I could only imagine that he would put himself through
this out of intense devotion to his cause. What seems apparent to
me is that his comfort and ease with himself and his lifestyle
serve as the antithesis to the tenets of deep repression and guilt
that are dear to organized religion. Would it be better if
homosexuals declared themselves as evil and stayed away from the
Anglican Church, or are they to curl an aspect of their being into
a knot, pack it away and skip through life to keep in line with
what engenders mainstream acceptance? It seems to me that if he
said nothing, acknowledged his lover as his roommate and vowed
celibacy, there would no threat of the fragmentation of the
Episcopal Church. And what confuses me even more is the notion of
people being so attracted to groups that don’t want them. I
couldn’t help but to think of a great line from Groucho Marx,
“I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people
like me as members.” It never rang more true.

The firm adherence to the catechism of the Anglican beliefs by
the African laity, or any intense declarations of black
Christianity always cause me to muse over the origin of the
introductions of blacks and Christianity. Slavery. All
imperialistic, all forced and all unnatural yet they stand as its
most literal interpreters and staunch advocates. I see a lot of the
same things in the Asian Christian community. A similar pattern
applies in the divergent identity combinations of gay Republicans
or women attempting to join country clubs.

There must be something inherently endearing and polarizing
about group exclusion. It often increases the frequency and
intensity of displays of unwavering belief in an attempt to prove
worthiness to the status quo by those very groups that are
excluded. A woman from Robinson’s own state was quoted as
saying, “We must not proceed with this terrible and
unbiblical mistake … it will break God’s heart.”
And you just wouldn’t want to do that now, would you? The
desire to participate in such a group will remain unfathomable to
me.

The only positive I can possibly muster from all this is that
throughout history, forced entry and assimilation into any
historically prejudiced institution help serve as the catalyst for
social change and the advancement of progressive ideals in society.
I just have too much pride to try. It all just looks like the
backyard treehouse with the sign saying “No Girls
Allowed” with a backward G. So what do you do if you’re
a girl? Frequently they’ll try like hell to get in instead of
making their own club, while everyone exchanges the secret
password. Me? I don’t want to play, I’ll be by the
swings.

Rahim can be reached at
“mailto:hrahim@umich.edu”>hrahim@umich.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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