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gene robinson

‘I think a lot of them have never felt what it felt like to be in the minority. A bunch of straight white guys are now sitting there and having that experience, which is something I think could be valuable for anyone to experience’

SOUNDBITES — “Progressives stayed around and in the Episcopal Church for 30, 40 years when we were the minority, and our voices weren’t heard, and we were pushed out. I think a lot of them have never felt what it felt like to be in the minority. A bunch of straight white guys are now sitting there and having that experience, which is something I think could be valuable for anyone to experience.” —Gay bishop Gene Robinson on the Episcopal Church last week moving to allow gay bishops and blessing gay marriage [NYT]

On:           Jul 19, 2009
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    • galefan2004

      Is this statement meant to say that the homophobes are now the minority in the Episcopalian church? I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that. I mean, it is totally a good thing that the minority is the homophobes, but it kind of requires me to think that its absolute crap that all the open minded people have the ability to think but still claim to their religion.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 1:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      Fuck this fairytale teller. And he’s full of shit about the majority of episcopals being gay friendly and “progressive”. Look, this schmuck picks and chooses like every christian (and jew) picks and chooses which lines of the bible to follow and which not to. The bible justifies slavery, for example, and stoning to death of unruly children. His very characterization of them as “straight white guys” is entirely inspired by the terminology of oppression theory (not the bible). So this prick can stop with the pretense, and start acting like a grownup who doesn’t require faith in the incoherent ravings of madmen to do good things.

      How do people pick and choose? It’s certainly not coming from the bible (old and new testament–for people pick and choose from both), or from “faith”; there’s no mechanism to pick and choose from within those beliefs or books. It’s coming from secularism and secular values–that explains entirely how and why people are so selective about which bible they endorse and which they don’t. So sure, there have been “progressives” who happened to be religious, and were part of secular movements like abolitionism and civil rights, but they were picking and choosing not for any religious reason, but for entirely secular ones.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew

      I agree GALE –

      Religion is what has made gay wrong – ALL of them. Anglicans and Episcopals still make homosexuality wrong. The only difference is that the Gene Robinson Episcopals “welcome” the gays to the Church. They even let some of them wear robes. But, a careful read of their formal beliefs and you learn homosexuality is still a major sin for both factions.

      So, it’s a religious con job.

      It is amazing that anyone gay and thoughtful (thinking) could even be religious. They must have inherited it before they could think.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Will

      Are you folks saying that atheists can’t be homophobic? Do you know anything about the mistreatment of GLBT people under the Soviets, Communist Cubans, and Communist Chinese?

      Jul 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      Are you seriously going to bring up the ridiculous hitler stalin/ soviet union and communism canard? Of course atheists can be homophobic, but it’s not because of their atheism that they are homophobic. Atheists simply can’t justify their prejudice with reference to homophobia, and atheism is not sexism, homophobia or any political or economic ideology it is not communism, nor stalinism, nor a philosophy nor even a belief about the world. Stalin was guilty of creating his own social religion (cult of stalin–stalin replaced god with himself), and Hitler was by no means an atheist (he created his own religion full of mystical symbolism and worship of pagan gods), and on several occasions avowed his christianity in public. But of course one can be a sexist and an atheist, but one cannot justify ones sexism with atheism given that atheism is not an ideology or philosophy about the world. Religion can and DOES justify sexist beliefs and horrendous practices of human injustice all over the world. There is a clear logical trajectory from one’s religious beliefs and acts of terrorism, and homophobia. You see, despicable human rights violations don’t seem that bad when you truly believe that god commands them vs. an eternity of suffering (re: immortality of the soul).

      Jul 19, 2009 at 5:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @TANK: They pick and choose based on their own thoughts and desires. They don’t want to stone their children so they ignore that one; however, they do want to be homophobic assholes so they choose to go along with that one. Pick and choose christians (which is what every single christian is) are people that design their religion for themselves but claim strict interpretation as an excuse.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      But that implies that morality and religion are separate, and that no one bases their moral beliefs off of religion, for clearly there’s a higher authority than their religion which dictates it.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 6:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Will: If you want to get all into the Hitler thing lets be honest. The reason that Jewish people were hated in that area of the world dated back to the crusades. The crusades were led by the Roman Catholic church. The Roman Catholic church led directly to the Holocaust. Hell, the Roman Catholic church even gave its blessing to Hitler at one point.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      However, they use religion to justify those beliefs, however baseless, and also, act on those religious beliefs (for even if they pick and choose, they are religious values that they claim to be upholding and truly believe them).

      Jul 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve

      @TANK: Morality and religion are separate. Morality is about discerning right from wrong. Religion is about power and authority. Two different things. At one time, religion may have had something to do with morality. But that was at least fifteen centuries ago.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 6:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      Of course they’re different–but this line of reasoning sends it home for those who don’t believe that their morality is derived from nonreligious sources (divine command theory people); or that they don’t affirm any moral principle that is separable from their religious faith. Morality has existed for thousands of years before religion emerged some six thousand or so years ago.

      But the fact is that people who are religious act atrociously for explicitly religious reasons. Religion DOES cause a great deal of harm, because people DO believe that religious propositions are true (e.g., homosexuality is wrong because god said so). The wouldn’t be a debate about same sex marriage if not for religion, and prop 8 would not have passed if not for the religious campaign (funded largely by religious groups) that tipped the balance.

      I’m confident that there’d be a lot less aggregate suffering (and esp. needless suffering) in the world without religion. Of course, religion isn’t the sole cause, but it is arguably the largest–or at least tied.

      Jul 19, 2009 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RainaWeather

      Religion doesn’t make people homophobic, it just enables them. These people already feel that way and would find any excuse to justify their bigotry. Religion is just a fucking easy excuse.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 12:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      That’s not true. Religion does make people homophobic. Countless people who are told from cradle to grave that superstition makes homosexuality wrong. They are socialized (otherwise good people) to believe and do bad things–e.g., if they don’t condemn homosexuality, they will go to hell and are complicit in defying god’s law.

      Giving religion cover only strengthens it, and makes it a bigger problem. Many, many people would not be homophobic if not for religion; not all, of course, but many of them. Many Iranians would not be dead right now if not for the religious theocracy they are oppressed by. SO don’t pretend that religion doesn’t make people homophobic–not for a fucking minute.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 12:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jennifer

      You know, what has just happened in the Episcopal Church is a small revolution. As much as you may hate organized religion (for all the best reasons and not just as a general, kneejerk reaction, I’m sure), you cannot deny that this is a fact.

      Gene Robinson is just one of many gay clergy in the Anglican Church. There are many people in a lot of churches that have stood shoulder to shoulder with LGBT people in the struggle. Maybe take a moment and a deep breath and ask yourselves if you couldn’t be just a little less reactionary when it comes to these people.

      All of the above spoken by someone who left the Church because of the homophobic old men who were ruining it for people like me. I don’t have Bp. Robinson’s guts, you see.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @TANK: I’ll straight out state that. No one bases their morals off of religion. They base their religion off of their morals. I was an idiot when I said otherwise in other arguments. The truth is that I had seen what friends of mine did in the name of the church as worthwhile. However, in deeper consideration, if the name of the church wasn’t there then my friends would have still done the same things because they are good people not because religion told them to.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @RainaWeather: I do not agree at all. Religion creates an inherited tendency to believe that gay is wrong. If you are raised by your parents and your community to believe that something is wrong you will most likely believe that that something is wrong unless you are presented with a very powerful reason to change that belief. Hell, there are still lgbt that are homophobic because of their upbringing in the church. Most lgbt that are raised in the church are much more conflicted with their coming out than those that are not. Most lgbt that believe in christianity have much more of a problem accepting themselves. Eventually you get to chose between the christianity and living your life the way you were intended to. Even then its not that easy to strike down the christianity.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • galefan2004

      @Jennifer: They stood with us not because of their religion but in spite of it. They did it because it was the right thing to do and they knew it. They don’t need to carry dead weight like religion around while doing so.

      Also, my problems with the church started way before I even knew I was gay. When the church started telling me that my father should be lord and master and that my mother should bow down and worship him I got tired of religion. When the church started telling me that my mother was unclean because she was divorced and living with a man that she wasn’t married to and was going to hell because of it I got fed up with religion. When the church started telling me that I was going to hell because I love the man I’m with I said FUCK YOU to religion.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      I tend to look at this in a simpler more human nature type of way. These guys hoping to keep gays out of their church aren’t REALLY that in to their religeon, if they were then we wouldn’t CONSTANTLY be seeing ultra religeous folks sleeping around on their wives. It’s as simple as this. They want to keep somebody out of their club. They legally can’t do it to people by race anymore, so lets attack the queers.

      i’m sure they’re in shock that the Episcopalians voting for gay ordinations outvoted them, but this just means that they’ll break off into a smaller church so they can still feel like big shots keeping people out of their little club. Have fun dicks.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 10:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ajax

      @ all of you:
      My, my! Reading comprehension is certainly going down the tubes. Rev. Robinson’s point is this: The Episcopal Church is largely a church of white members. The leadership of the Episcopal Church was, traditionally, more established and moneied than its parishoners.

      Some of these established, moneied leaders are now finding themselves a minority within their own church. This is a new experience for people who have, traditionally, never been in a minority.

      I cannot abide the abject stupidity of those of you who call Rev. Robinson names. Grow up.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 10:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw

      Thanks Ajax, I was going to comment about reading comprehension, but you worded it better than I did.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 11:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      Fuck you and Gene Robinson. You both promote lies and fairytales. I will use this as an opportunity to slam his fairytale and the suffering it promotes by relegating lgbt equality to a scriptural spat. FUCK YOU.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Confused


      A little faith may do you some good. People find solace it in. They find solidarity. It’s calming, and it provides some explanation to an otherwise meaningless existence. While, yes, you are right that lots of nefarious shite has arisen from religion (yes, I chose that word purposefully) but so have countless good acts.

      Take a breather, my friend, and don’t condemn people for their beliefs–change their minds. Otherwise, you’re just as bad.

      –Your friendly neighborhood areligious fag.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      Unbelievable! our experiences with religion are very similar.

      I began being anti-religious because I would regularly see members of the church that I grew up in (with my aunt and uncle) kinda sorta shun some of my family members including my Mom.

      The homophobic part was the last straw, really. (I wasn’t around the church all that much when I was in the process of finding that out but once I put a name to it, saying fuck you was rather easy).

      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      I agree, it does bring solace to people. But you know what else it brings? Suffering of all kinds. From child abuse (telling kids that if they don’t believe in god they’ll burn in hell for eternity scars children into adulthood to this day–have you seen the hell houses that tour the midwest? Mental illness), to stoning women who don’t marry the right man that papa chooses for them, to persecuting women and minorities, etc, etc, etc. Solace is not worth the cost–it can’t possibly justify it. Anyone who would make such an argument is a sociopath.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      Happy feelings aren’t worth the lives of many people murdered because they didn’t believe in the right fairytale….and they’re certainly not worth the lives of family planning doctors and the suffering and discrimination inflicted upon the lgbt community in the united states and world because of it.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      And if you think that life is meaningless without religion, then you need some serious help…that it’s somehow pointless without religion–no one believes that (not even the most fervent pick and choose religionists). I suggest an education in secular ethics, or just a reflection of what you like to do in life; what’s enjoyable to you. There’s no one purpose (that’s what religion asserts without argument or literally, without propositional content)–we define our own purpose/meaning in an attempt to achieve happiness.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      See, “spiriuality” on an individual basis, I get. It’s that community shit when it comes with “religion” that bugs the hell out of me.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      @Chitown Kev:

      It really doesn’t matter to me what one believes in so long as that belief does not cause harm. I’ll never come down on the jains other than that their beliefs are senseless nonsense just like scientologists and christians–because they don’t cause harm to others whereas scientologists and baptists do. Dogma of any kind doesn’t have a good track record in that area (and it’s extremely clear why it can’t), so I’m antidogma. It’s highly irrational and antithetical to acquiring knowledge and understanding what is the case.

      Spirituality (individual spirituality) isn’t always very healthy, especially if it is inflicted upon one’s spawn (indoctrinating them). The difference between spirituality and theism is agency. Theism will always assert a conscious creator who acted intentionally. Spirituality is just a vaguer theology/religion. Neither provide any good reason to believe that they’re true.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sam

      Wow. What a shitshow. (The comments, not the article.)

      Jul 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      I think I mentioned once already that you and DuttyBarb have virtually the same literalist fundamentalist view of Christianity:


      Never mind that every church has changed radically in the last 2000 years, and never mind how people define themselves and their interpretations of scripture. You and DuttyBarb both seem to have set yourselves up as the final arbiters of what the Bible says. Too bad you’re stuck 500 years behind many of the people you pretend to be experts about.

      Strange bedfellows you two.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 6:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      Your apologism knows no bounds. It is sad and disgraceful, and yes, you have blood on your hands. You haven’t read a single thing I’ve written, and haven’t a single intelligent comment to make about any of the arguments I’ve made here or anywhere else. You are a cancer…and you’re very common. An apologist for bad reasoning that is directly implicated in unimaginable human suffering (recently). Do you know how many people worldwide have been slaughtered because they didn’t believe in the right fairytale in the past fifteen years? Millions. You need to disappear.

      Of course religion evolves like any other natural phenomenon (like viruses)…I’ve never denied that, you complete old fool.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      ANd it’s always cancers like you who equate (and you have on several occasions) atheism with stalinism, communism nazism and socialism…and a bunch of other things that aren’t atheism. You’ve even gone so far as to call atheism a religion…you’re embarrassingly stupid. You get your religious apologism greatest hits from the likes of rush limbaugh and dinesh d’sleaza…how dare you try to discredit me by comparing me to this idiotic bigot when you use tactics by leading right wing homophobes in the united states and world.

      And then you deliberately skew the arguments with strawmen by saying things like I’ve said that only religious ideology is responsible for human suffering when I’VE NEVER made this claim. You just aide and abet cowardly vacuous harmful ideologies…and you’ve got nothing but the minority of christian churches which are allegedly gay friendly going for you…you make my skin crawl.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      We almost agree (esp. about the Jains)

      Where we differ is that I do know people who practice spirituality more or less according to one of the Buddha’s dictim’s that they should investigate everything for themselves and not rely on what any book or person says.

      I do know people who practice a genuine sense of spirituality who are better off for it for themselves. Myself, I practice (rather imperfectly) some of the more philosophical aspects of Taoism but I do stay away from the more esoteric stuff (I have a great amount of reverence for nature, I do not worship nature for example and let’s not get into the demons, internal alchemy, Taoist magic, etc.)

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      @Chitown Kev:


      Yeah, spinoza didn’t worship nature, either. Spinoza’s god was einstein’s (and they were both atheists).

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      Ah, Spinoza. I still have to pinch myself that I actually got an A out of my Spinoza class.

      That was about “god” being in any and everything, what many criticized as pantheism. (I’ve never been too sure whether they were right or wrong about Spinoza and pantheism)

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      @Chitown Kev:

      He was a smart guy. The ethics never gelled for me (too many premises). Died of silicosis (lens grinder). It’s a good link that explains his so-called religious views (he was an atheist–pantheism is, basically, atheism).

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      I called you on your claim that only religion can make a good person do bad things. I don’t think I ever accused you of saying that religion was repsonsible for ALL suffering, but if you can find a quote of me saying that, it’s probably because that’s exactly what you said in the first place.

      I just find it odd that you’re attacking someone who is actually working to reform his religion, not just bitch about badly he is treated by it.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chitown Kev


      “pantheism is, basically, atheism”

      I always kind of leaned in that direction with Spinoza, although there are some tenets of Hinduism that would essentially agree with Spinoza. Thing is, I have always doubted that Spinoza had significant exposure to hinduism (unlike the German romantics that criticized him, although Goethe approaches Spinoza at times and even Heiddeger (I am not spelling that right, I know) admired him. Which is strange in itself.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      @Chitown Kev:

      Damasio has some interesting stuff to say about spinoza and recent neuroscience that vindicate a number of his claims in looking for spinoza.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 8:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      I called you on your claim that only religion can make a good person do bad things.

      I don’t see where. You deny that people do bad things because of their religious faith. I don’t. I think there are horrible things people to do every day that they would not do if not for their religious beliefs. The evidence supports me. End of discussion.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      and this isn’t my claim:

      “With or without religion you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”

      That’s steven weinberg’s quote…he won the nobel prize for physics.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 8:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • strumpetwindsock


      Very handy. When you get called on something you wash your hands of it and blame it on the guy whose thoughts you borrowed.

      Well you served it up in here last week without giving him credit… but I’ll give you a pass on plagiarism, and just call it another example of you letting other people do your thinking for you.

      Winning a big prize does not automatically make one correct. As I said before, there are plenty of systems other than religion which make so-called good people commit evil acts – nationalism and capitalism are two very big ones. But ALL authoritarian systems do it just the same.

      But back to our topic. I think you don’t want to recognize the work of reformers because the notion that organized religion DOES change would leave you without a boogeyman to blame everything on.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK


      It’s not plagiarism as I didn’t quote him exactly, and it didn’t originat with him. And you’re right, winning the nobel prize doesn’t translate into the fact of the claim…for that, we need to look at what does like suicide bombing, honor killings, homophobic attacks, and the passage of prop 8. The rest is just hot air, of which you’re inflated with.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      I think you don’t want to recognize the work of reformers because the notion that organized religion DOES change would leave you without a boogeyman to blame everything on.

      Nope, millions of people die because of religion…and I never said nationalism was good, or that religion is the only cause of violence (there you go again, as I predicted, insinuating that that’s my claim) so that’s a nonsequitur…. Go away, idiot. You’re out of your league.

      I don’t care about reformers. Martin LUther and Jim JOnes were reformers… and people like gene robinson are nothing in the global christian community…and unheard voice like they’ve always been. They get in the way of real change. Like doing away with baseless superstition and fairytales to guide our lives.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TANK

      and blame everything on? You little man…you sad, desperate, religious little man. Did I not say that that’s what you’ve accused me of? Blaming all the world’s ills on religion? Nope, I never said that…but religion poisons everything it touches, and is a large contributor to misery. We’re done now. You’re dishonest and stupid.

      Jul 20, 2009 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew

      I don’t think that was the meaning of his statement. I suspect he meant that they (the white straight male priests in the Episcopal Church) are now in the minority among either the entire Anglican Church or among Protestant denominations as a whole. (the vast majority do not yet ordain openly gay priests/ministers) I might be wrong, but I think that’s what he’s referring to.

      Jul 21, 2009 at 9:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt

      Anyone have a spare bathtub Tank can borrow?

      Jul 22, 2009 at 5:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz

      ‘I think a lot of them have never felt what it felt like to be in the minority. A bunch of straight white guys are now sitting there and having that experience, which is something I think could be valuable for anyone to experience’

      Ah yes. The old adage about walking a mile in another man’s moccasins comes to mind.

      Jul 23, 2009 at 1:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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