WATCH: Bishop Gene Robinson on How the Church “Got It Wrong” About LGBT People

Stephen Colbert sat down with Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, to discuss that oft-cited (by overzealous, anti-gay Christians) passage in Leviticus about a man lying with another man and how the Catholic Church basically doesn’t know what it’s talking about when it comes to the LGBT community.

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  • 2eo

    The catholic church hasn’t done anything right for about 250 years. Between the helping Nazi war criminals, protecting thousands of paedophiles, hating women, unbelievable persecution of the LGBT community, outright stealing money and being responsible for more human related deaths than every war put together.

    Frankly I’ll be shocked if they ever get anything right.

  • jamesnimmo

    As a gay atheist it sickens me to hear gay and lesbian people respecting religion and especially sycophants like Gene Robinson sucking up to the myth of heavenly authority, exercising cafeteria-style religion, picking and choosing which bible verse was mis-translated.

    Anyone who has achieved adulthood and can make a living does not the need approval from a higher authority if you’re not breaking civil laws.

    Religion is a superstition invented when science was unknown, knowledge consisted of stories told around a fire passed down from equally scared and deluded relatives.

    There is no hope for humans as long as this significant demographic of flat-earthers continues to impose a way of thinking descended from the Bronze Age onto the rest of us, who out of a misplaced respect refuse to stand against it.

  • 2eo

    @jamesnimmo: Now this is what I like to see, we have too many people willing to have tea and biscuits with people who want us dead, and have made that clear for centuries.

    I hope you’ll be a regular fixture around here.

  • Charlie in Charge

    @jamesnimmo: Not all religions hate gay people and not all religions are especially interested in maintaining literal interpretations of ancient documents.

  • the other Greg

    @jamesnimmo: ??? – After clicking on your link I have to ask, do you sacrifice the occasional sheep to the god Apollo? :)

  • Homophile


    Gene Robinson is an Episcopalian bishop.

    The judgement of people here amazes me. We ask others to accept us for who we are, but we pass judgement on others.

    I’m an atheist as well, but if someone wishes to find comfort in religion, that’s their business. It’s only when their religion starts dictating what I can and cannot do, then we’ll have a problem.

  • Badger88

    @Charlie in Charge: Very true. Sadly, some “enlightened” atheists can be just as narrow-minded and dogmatic as religious fundamentalists.

  • nature boy

    I don’t think everyone involved in religion feels the need for approval from a higher authority.

    All you have to do is look around the world to see there’s an obvious human need to explore the questions “is that all there is?” and “i think there’s more to life… how do I get there…?”. Religion is just one pathway to seek answers to these questions.

    Yes, sitting around a fire staring at the stars will inspire these questions… so will the exhaustion of today’s “always connected” technology and widespread cultural depression.

    I always think back to Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth series where (paraphrased) Bill Moyers asks him if one religion is better than another and he just replies that they’re all paths to the same truth and if you’re already on one path it might be a good idea to stay on it since you’re already that much further to the end… and you may have more cultural support already in place for your journey on that spiritual path.

    But the reality is whether you worship Apollo, Jesus, Buddha, or the Green Men ( ), a lot of the essential themes are the same.

    The key is not to tolerate “my religion is right and all other religions are wrong.”

  • DarkZephyr

    I have met some monstrously homophobic Atheists in my lifetime, attacking and condemning gays on the basis of “nature”. “Its unnatural!” they have screamed at me, spittle flying, when debating with them about it. Its not just religious people who are bigoted homophobes.

    Me, I am pretty much an Agnostic and I am not a fan of bigotry in any guise.

    @Badger88: OH yes, as I indicated above, I have met some VERY dogmatic Atheists. Met plenty of kind and generous ones as well, but those that are not so kind and generous can be very very nasty.

  • nature boy

    oh yeah, also, I loved (paraphrased) :

    Colbert: “did God get it wrong?”
    Robinson: “the people who wrote this got it wrong when they were trying to interprete God’s will.”

    THANK YOU. All these documents were written, re-written, and translated by people…and people make mistakes and insert their own cultural prejudices. Always have, always will. To refuse to acknowledge this in any discussion about the Bible, Koran, etc is just plain ignorant.

  • jamesnimmo

    The defintion of religion is belief in a supernatural power that is only indirectly visible (so claim the adherents who always seem to know when this invisible, uncommunicating force works its miracles)offering rewards in a distant time, always after death.

    As posted above there are still those who have been discriminated due to some intolerant versions of religion and insist that the rest of us adhere to THEIR religion that is kinder and gentler. OK, for the uses of discussion, let’t assume that’s right. What does this say about the human invention of religion that it changes complexion to match the personal strentghs or weaknesses of the holder of the particular religious viewpoint.

    Just HOW can there be hundreds of versions of X-tianity alone to say nothing of the myriad other non-Xtian versions?

  • nature boy

    I don’t see any mystery at all about there being hundreds of versions of religion… there are hundreds of versions of language, and widely varying cultural styles of music, dance, and art as well. People are quite creative. My point is that the basic QUESTIONS religion seeks to answer do seem to be be pretty universal both geographically and through history as well.

  • nature boy

    “Religion is an organized collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.[note 1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. From their ideas about the cosmos and human nature, they tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.”

  • Wilberforce

    @jamesnimmo: It’s fun to watch people show their emotional issues on the web.
    Please don’t tell us what the definition of religion is. You’re not qualified, and we’ll decide that for ourselves.
    Meanwhile, look to the atheist financial elite who are turning our economy into the third world, and turning the environment into a no man’s land.
    Bottom line: there are good and bad, smart and stupid, learned and uneducated people in all groups. If you can’t see that, you’re one of the stupid.

  • 2eo

    @jamesnimmo: You’ll notice with a few more days that the apologists are dying to stick the boots in on threads like this but they’ll not go near the Bryan Fischer posts and the christian nutcases who represent their faith in its absolute form.

    They’re scared of reality, and they believe begging the question and playing the victim makes them somehow superior, that their centuries of massacring us, committing genocide and holocausts against us for centuries is fine because a few whisper they think it is wrong every now and again.

    We become the bad guys for the belief that we are equal as people with these people, they’ve genuinely given up, it’s so sad to see that there’s so many who’ve just decided to stop believing we are equal.

  • Badger88

    @2eo:How does Bryan Fischer represent Christianity in its absolute form? Did Jesus of Nazareth spew vile hatred and preach discrimination? No, he didn’t. Fischer only represents the absolute form of what YOU want to pretend that Christianity is. Like a religious fundamentalist, you parade the Bible around as infallible, when in truth, that’s a belief that Jesus never endorsed, mostly because the Bible was composed by men after he was gone. You argue that God demands Leviticus be followed to the letter, which is a view that Jesus harshly criticized the Pharisees for teaching.
    Who cares if the Church has committed atrocities? Bad people do bad things. The Church no more embodies Christianity than the U.S. Government embodies America: sometimes it does the right thing, and sometimes is does the wrong thing. But stop acting like a flawed institution taints the people beneath it, and always reflects the beliefs that they hold.

  • jamesnimmo

    I find it ridiculous that grown men and women, regardless of what they do with their private thoughts–for good or ill, find it necessary to believe in an other-worldly deity that will guide them in making decisions in their life. Adults who are acting out fairy tales, wanting to think that they can retrieve the bogus safety of the womb have a serious problem.

  • the other Greg

    @jamesnimmo: Yeah, but what’s with your homage to Apollo on your blog link? If you are under the impression that what we now call Greek/Roman mythology was never taken seriously and literally as a religion, you are incorrect.

    People were taking it seriously at least as late as the fourth century, when Emperor Julian tried to get Romans to forget Christianity and get back to that old-tme religion. (Anyone unfamiliar with this history can read Gore Vidal’s fun novel about Julian.)

    The old religion eventually became allegorical. Anything that hastens this process in the monotheistic religions is a good thing for gays.

    (Btw, if you think Greek religion approved of homosexuality – well, yes & no. The Greeks idealized teenage boys getting fucked by older men. But that was supposed to be temporary. They definitely didn’t approve of what we’d now call age-appropriate gay relationships.)

    Unlike Christianity, Islam and all current religions, Greek mythology no longer has fanatical nutbag believers around to discredit it.

    Like monotheism, Greek mythology is not literally true. But as you apparently (or partly) realize, lack of literal truth doesn’t make mythology devoid of meaning.

    Although it’s a long process and none of us will be around a hundred or 200 years from now, I hope by then all religions will have mellowed into mythology for the vast majority of people.

  • jamesnimmo

    If I drove a Centaur does it mean I believe in mythological creatures? I have a pic of Apollo because it’s a good reason to have an image of a male nude antique statue.

    Read the caption–In mythology, Apollo is one of the most important and many-sided of the Olympian deities. Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; archery; medicine and healing; music, poetry, and the arts. (from )

    I make no claims about the efficacy of Greek gods, unlike those who believe in a triune god that begat itself, allowed itself to die, and created itself.

  • 2eo

    @Badger88: “Who cares if the Church has committed atrocities?”

    Oh my. That’s a dangerous attitude, to just dismiss all religious violence because you claim it doesn’t matter. Good your lord, that’s possibly the worst thing I’ve ever read on this site.

    That’s without the part where you decided what I said and then ranted against that to pad your post out.

    That direct statement of yours just typifies why people like me are not being silent anymore.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    There may be a physiological aspect to spirituality that some are not acknowledging. Just as some have a propensity towards math, or spoken languages, or dance, there may be some who have spiritual gifts, rooted in neurophysiology. We should take care not to be oppressive on either side. Religion should not dictate civil, contractual laws. Separation of Church and State has never been more relevant. The mind is vast and for anyone to discount the experiences of others is just a closed as thumpers wanting to undo those that they don’t, nor want, to understand.

  • Badger88

    @2eo:I wasn’t dismissing the violence as irrelevant or not a big deal. Whenever the innocent are massacred, it’s always a horrific tragedy, no matter what the motivation was for that killing. But I don’t see why it matters that the violence was perpetrated by a religious organization, as opposed to some secular government. That’s what I said “who cares” about.
    And what aspect of your views did I distort to “pad” my response? Have you never claimed that Leviticus means a “true” Christian must stone the gays to death? Have you not cited the New Testament as evidence that a “true” Christian must view gay people as wicked? If not, then I will apologize, but then I also won’t understand where you get your notion that Christianity is inherently homophobic.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Badger88: In fact, I’d say more so fundamentalist than anything else. I’d rather believe in God and be wrong, than to not believe in God… and be wrong.

  • MK Ultra

    @Dakotahgeo: I’m sure you know that more than 2 choices – Either Christian god or no god – exist that postulate at the mysteries behind this universe.
    In fact, the possibilities are endless, not 1/2 like you suggest.

  • Billysees

    Here’s a few things I can add here —

    Some quotes from the founding fathers on religion:

    1. “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches” — Benjamin Franklin

    2. “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting (supporting) his abuses in return for protection to his own” — Thomas Jefferson

    3. “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it” — John Adams

    4. “The government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion” — John Adams

    5. “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man” — Thomas Paine


    Here’s one I read the other day —

    “When it’s done against Christian fundamentalists it’s called hate or persecution, when it’s done by Christian fundamentalists it’s called freedom of religion.”

    A sad story…..

    I’d also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they’re dead–one with less hatred and intolerance.
    If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

    They live in a black and white reality they’ve constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don’t understand that good and decent people exist all around us, “saved” or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

    That was from scrolling down to — I’d also like to address my family…


  • the other Greg

    @jamesnimmo: I was going to say – thanks for the Common Knowledge via Wikipedia, Captain Obvious.

    But, Centaur? Damn, I realized I’d never even heard of a car called Centaur so I had to look it up. I guess anyone who still drives a car from the ’60s probably has a hell of a lot more problems to deal with than believing in mythological creatures?

  • Billysees

    @Badger88: 16

    You’ve presented a most excellent comment here, a very interesting one —

    “Who cares if the Church has committed atrocities? Bad people do bad things. The Church no more embodies Christianity than the U.S. Government embodies America: sometimes it does the right thing, and sometimes is does the wrong thing.”
    My comment —

    I think we can easily realize that religion is in the world to stay and it ain’t gonna disappear no matter what the faults are of its adherents.

    The best thing we can do is to learn what we can about them and decide what the good things are of each and do what we can to propagate them.

    It shouldn’t take much to realize that expressions such as “sin” or “abomination” will eventually be replaced by expressions like “love hides a multitude of sins” or “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” and “all things are allowable, lawful and permissible”.

    Cause being a follower of this man called Jesus, it may be of interest to know that he seldom mentions the word sin and almost never refers to it. Maybe about a dozen times or so.

    One day, if not already, that word will seldom be used.

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