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The First Openly Gay Divorced Bishop

V. Gene Robinson continues to break new ground in episcopal narcissism:

Recently, my partner and husband of 25-plus years and I decided to get divorced. While the details of our situation will remain appropriately private, I am seeking to be as open and honest in the midst of this decision as I have been in other dramatic moments of my life—coming out in 1986, falling in love, and accepting the challenge of becoming Christendom’s first openly gay priest to be elected a Bishop in the historic succession of bishops stretching back to the apostles.

As my marriage to Mark ends, I believe him to be one of the kindest, most generous and loyal human beings on earth. There is no way I could ever repay the debt I owe him for his standing by me through the challenges of the last decade. I will be forever grateful to him, and as I tell couples in pre-marital counseling, “Marriage is forever, and your relationship will endure—whether positively or negatively—even if the marriage formally ends.”

Marriage is forever, said the twice-divorced bishop. What a sad joke.

Look, I take no pleasure in the man’s sorrows, and yes, it is true, even good Christians who mean well get divorced. That’s part of our broken human condition. I hope he can find some kind of peace and order in his life. But Robinson’s personal dramas — his coming out as gay, his confession of alcoholism, and now, at a ripe old age of 66, having his second divorce — show him to be someone rather less stable than what you’d look for in a bishop. With that guy, it’s always one damn thing after another.

UPDATE: Turmarion writes:

As to Robinson himself, whether one agrees or disagrees with his life choices, and no matter what one thinks about gay clergy, the tragedy is that he allowed his life choices to become a wrecking ball for the church he was ordained to serve. Gay or straight, it’s narcissistic and self-centered to put one’s own interests above those of the one’s religion. There may be an argument to be made for gay clergy, or fill-in-the-blank clergy. However, one should make that argument, not allow oneself to become a vehicle of divisiveness by promoting one’s own cause as the “first gay [or whatever] bishop.”

To me, if a cleric has integrity and really takes his/her dedication to the Church seriously, then if they’re in some irregular situation (gay, divorced, polygamous, whatever), they should say, “Look, I think the Church needs to find a way to allow for [fill-in-the-blank] in the clergy; but I see that by pushing this for myself I am giving rise to division in the Body of Christ; therefore I am stepping down, since the needs of the Church are greater than my own personal needs.” God forbid anyone should actually do that, though….

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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