We discussed the row over the appointment of an openly gay Bishop to the Anglican Church in our phone-in programme, Talking Point.
The spiritual leader of the world's Anglican Christians has called an extraordinary meeting of bishops to consider the impact of the confirmation of a gay bishop in the US.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, says the election of Reverend Gene Robinson as the next Bishop of New Hampshire would have a significant impact on the Church worldwide.
Traditionalist Anglicans have condemned Reverend Robinson's appointment, which threatens to spark a split in Church ranks.
This debate is now closed. Thank you for writing to us. The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received:
If being gay is a "sin", let him who is without "sin" in any way preaches. If all people can do is quote from what is in essence a book that is thousands of years old, then they should ignore all modern trappings. The world has moved on in many ways but only for some it seems. Life is on the streets, in schools and yes, in the Church, not between the pages of any book.
As I understand it Christians believe in a benevolent god that was responsible for the creation of the human race. It would seem, therefore, somewhat illogical that this god (who is supposed to be perfect) would create people who would then be persecuted because of the way they have been created. For those who say that sexuality is a matter of choice I would suggest that reading the odd research paper on the subject may be a useful pastime. The bottom line is that for centuries the Church has been used as a means to perpetuate the prejudices of those who control it. With better education comes enlightenment and with it the loss of control that the Church has exercised so easily in the past. If the guy is going to be good at the job then let him get on with it.
P Wilkinson, Oxford
The fact is simple. Christianity is a religion which expounds a theory, based on a way of life and a value system laid down by Jesus. It may be an old system with old values, but nobody is being forced to be Christian; those who do subscribe to it and benefit from it believe in it the way it is. If you don't like it, find a religion which is willing to subscribe to homosexuality as a way of life.
God works in mysterious ways; perhaps he is simply showing us that homosexuality is not a "great evil" or a sin. If this man has a good heart, and truly believes in God, why shouldn't he be allowed to be a bishop? At least he is open about his sexuality.
Nathanial, KY, USA
I fully support the decision that my church has made in the election of Reverend Gene Robinson as the next Bishop of NH. It was an agonizing decision but I believe it to be the correct and courageous one. Bishop Robinson will offer a ministry to the gay community that is just and right. I believe that one day the majority of people will see homosexuality as just another human variant.
Virginia Beach, VA , USA
Robert Bickers - I agree with everything you said, but that's not the point here. We could be enlightened, but the Bible isn't. No-one is getting hurt, but the Bible bans any sex before marriage. I'd ask not only why does Rev. Robinson let his sexuality define himself, but why he'd want to be such a hypocrite as teach from a rulebook whose rules he is breaking! I don't care who sleeps with who, but the Bible does and this man is supposed to follow it. This issue isn't about homosexuality at all; it's about breaking rules and being a hypocrite. If the Bible said wearing Yellow was forbidden, and this guy wore Yellow I'd still be against his appointment!
If we are so enlightened, why do we care so much about the gender of someone's sexual partner in a monogamous partnership? If no one is getting hurt, where is the harm? On the other hand, why does Rev. Robinson let his sexuality so define himself that he must let the world know his preference? I don't really care who anyone is sleeping with outside of my own life.
Robert Bickers, Arlington, TX, USA
It's so obvious that the Anglican Church in the US has acted incorrectly. It's not a question of could but when. Ask all those 'bishops' to go and read Leviticus 20:13. It clearly shows that homosexuality is wrong. Yes, everyone is accepted into the church but once your in you must change. A gay or lesbian was not born or created that way but they chose that lifestyle. A church has doctrines and principles and the people have to abide by it.
In reply to Kevin from Sri Lanka: If you honestly believe that gay people "choose" to be gay then you are really deluding yourself. I am gay because that is the way I was born. No one in the right mind would choose a difficult path for their life over an easy one. It would be so easy to be "straight", to be accepted by the mainstream. Why anyone would chose to have bigoted, small minded people hate them for who they are? The sooner people realise that homosexuality is not a choice that people make; the sooner people will be a little more tolerant!
Alan Twomlow, UK
By electing an avowed (and if I am not mistaken, practising) homosexual as a bishop the Episcopalian Church has shown that it does not care about the basic Bible teachings, that it considers the Ten Commandments less important than trendy political opinions. In a word, it has shown to the world that is not a Christian body. I think this church must have the moral courage of saying publicly in so many words: "We are not Christians" to avoid any misunderstanding.
Christianity is about purity and holiness, and following the example of Christ as discussed in the bible. The bible does not sanction homosexuality. Because one chooses to follow the bible does not mean that one is a hatemonger. It just means that as a Christian you love God more than you do the approval of men and woman. God is against homosexuality and although they should be free to love in peace, gays should not be our spiritual leaders.
Stacey, New York
Robin Wong: I don't say that homosexuality is an abomination, but the Bible does and if I were a Christian then I would have to believe that. I don't believe that, so I choose not to be a Christian. Why then does this gay man want to become a senior member of this religion that is so abominable? That's not having integrity, that's not being honest, and that's why I find his appointment so disgraceful. It's morally disgusting because he has no truth, and neither has Christianity.
Jane Holcombe, UK
For all those people who believe that homosexuality is an abomination, can they morally justify this position without referring to the bible, or is it just a case of the blind leading the blind? Someone please tell me what parts of the Bible, or any scripture for that matter, are correct? As the bible is clearly not correct in every instance, so which ones are 'right'?
Robin Wong, London
I need help understanding how the Episcopal Church can compare the ordination of women to the priesthood with the confirmation of a gay bishop.
The bible makes it clear that homosexuality is a sin, while the bible does not say that being a woman is a sin.
Isn't that like comparing apples to oranges?
The Church is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either follow the express word of the bible and consequently be narrow-minded and judgemental, or be selective in which elements of the bible are to be believed, thus acknowledging that the word of the bible is irreconcilable with modern attitudes. I cannot follow a religion which either promotes bigotry or lacks clarity and consistency.
I am Atheist so my perspective on this issue is based on logic.
Either the church needs to obey its own rule book (the Bible) or they should accept the rule book is not to be taken as a set of rules but instead as a set of guidelines. Even if there is a God I'm pretty confident the guys who were in effect the media reporters of their day probably got the text wrong anyway. A typing mistake here and there or a slightly deaf scribe and the church could well be doing things very differently.
Roy Matthews, UK
Within these messages, 'good Christian folk' have called me diseased, immoral, a sinner and a pervert. They've compared me to a thief, a drug addict, a paedophile and even a murderer. And frankly these insults are at the 'matey' and of the spectrum compared to the abuse that I'm often subjected to when walking down the road with my partner! I do nothing to warrant this treatment apart from love another human being and show it. If a gay man chooses the Church in spite of what that organisation and society in general throws at him, then I can only assume he must have an unsurpassed ability to love and forgive. Could a Christian church ask for a more appropriate person to lead by example?
Sam Wiley, London, UK
There is big confusion between loving your neighbour and accepting their sin. For example I have a friend who I know cheated on her taxes. Yes I love her as a friend but do not condone her actions for I feel it is stealing. I hope and pray for her to realise her sin and then turn away from it. I feel the same way about loving a friend of mine who is a homosexual. I don't expect the Anglican Church to employ someone who is a thief or a liar and it amazes me that the church would employ a homosexual as a spiritual leader and moral example. The idea is for us as Christians to conform to the bible not for the bible to conform to the world.
Tracey C Carter, Orlando
If it is OK for him to be a reverend, and a good one too by the comments from those actually in his parish with whom he really has an impact on their spiritual lives and wellbeing, why is it a problem to appoint him as a Bishop? Does the church accept gays so long as they do not have a big title? Man's interpretation of God's word is adapted to suit the ideas of each group. There are so many religions all with variations of the same theme so unless you follow the bible exactly on all other matters other than the homosexuality point then you are using God's word to support your bigoted ideas. Not very Christian!
Why is it that people who usually have no interest in the church like to express their opinion on such matters? I'm sick of reading that those who want to uphold Christian beliefs are accused of hatred, bigotry and in desperate need of being woken up!! I suggest that these same people hurling these accusations are those who would much prefer a church that accepted their perverse ways and eased their conscience.
God loves people but practicing homosexuality is a sin, God loves the sinner not the sin. I believe that it would not be appropriate for anyone sinning openly whether that is theft, murder, adultery etc to be a leader in any Christian group. A leader is there to provide guidance and support to those they lead both morally and spiritually, the church needs strong Christian leadership that live according to Gods will.
Noreen Beckinsale, Cardiff, England
KM for the US: Why should any activity be considered "criminal"? This shows an appalling lack of tolerance and outright bigotry. Who decides what is criminal and what is not? Seems like most of what is termed "criminal" has been named so by the "moral majority". That same "moral majority" that considers homosexuality to be wrong. Therefore they must also be wrong on their other judgements.
It seems odd to me how the Rev. Gene Robinson can be confirmed as Bishop, defender of the faith, when he is in such serious opposition to the Gospel. The Gospel clearly states that marriage is between a man and women and all other sexual acts are sinful. This is not an anti-gay argument but a Gospel argument. Of course we all sin and fall short of holiness; homosexuality is but one of many sins. However, the difference is that the Rev. Gene Robinson does not acknowledge homosexuality as a sin. By continuing to live with his partner after divorcing his wife, the Rev. clearly shows he does not believe homosexuality to be a sin. In fact, he has made remarks that his election is an evolutionary step forward for the church.
Many of his proponents argue that the Rev. should be bishop because he is a loving and caring man. This may be true, but that does not mean homosexuality is not a sin. If you keep with the Reverend's evolutionary theology and his proponents' arguments, then many consequences follow. If homosexuality is not a sin, then why not allow marriage between homosexuals? What about polygamy and bisexuality? If the relationship is consensual and the participants are loving and caring, then who has the right to exclude this behaviour or keep these groups from the sacrament of marriage? If excluded, these groups would simply argue that the Church is not evolutionary enough in its thinking. The problem is that the Rev. and his followers are pursuing their own agenda and not the agenda given by Jesus.
It's refreshing to see a religious institution practicing what it preaches: love thy neighbour, respect, and understanding. Spirituality is not about who we love but how we love and conduct ourselves in our daily lives. Bigotry in any form is intolerable and homophobia is as hateful a form of bigotry as is racism. My congratulations to a courageous man willing to shake the roots of hatred.
Sandra, San Antonio, TX, USA
I'm pretty tired of reading comments from people who think that if you don't want a gay priest than you're an intolerant, right-wing, homophobic idiot. Many conservatives have a right not to feel comfortable with this issue. Ministers and priests are supposed to be pillars of the community that everyone can look to. As a catholic, if there was a gay priest elected to bishop, then I would leave the church. If you want to call me a bigot then fine.
The church's actions are fundamentally flawed. The more liberal it gets, the more people are not going to take the church seriously. No wonder why people don't go to church anymore. It's a total disservice. There will be a fundamental revolution, it always occurs after periods of great change. This can happen in the US, especially once American's realize their moral fabric has deteriorated, and life has become a Walmart product and everything is virtually legal.
Mark, New England
Why do we find it so difficult to respect and love each other, regardless of religion, colour of skin or as here sexuality. It is not our task to judge our fellow human beings, but to embrace them. A good person is created only by his heart, making a homosexual bishop just as equal as anybody else. Was it not Jesus himself who simply asked us to love our neighbour? Should his church not be among those to follow his bid?
Morten la Cour, Denmark
So what exactly is important here? whether someone will make a good bishop who serves the church with integrity and love, or whether he happens to not be particularly drawn to women. I am not religious myself but have always understood God to be Love. Guess I was wrong, God, apparently, is hatred and bigotry, or, no, wait, could that just be the people who claim to serve Him. Instead of pouring all your negative energy into this issue, why don't you try waking up in de 21st century, opening your eyes and looking around you, and doing something positive instead, like embracing difference instead of fearing and hating it.
Religion to me is a set of rules preserved in history by God's people. If modern man cannot live by it, then he should not follow it. Religion should not be changed or amended to suit modern man or his ideals.
The reason the Bible is applied selectively is to make religion fit the views of its followers - religion has been declining for decades so those in charge need to tailor their teachings to make their particular faith look attractive. If followers of a faith are not in favour of homosexuality then the faith cannot be or it would be deserted.
David Russell, UK
Christians supposedly believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. This word is 2000 years old and wasn't meant to be changed. If you want an unadulterated version of your faith you would end up with followers that would be considered in the modern world Christian Taliban or Fascists. If you change it from the way it was always meant to be then you don't agree it. It is time to decide whether or not this is your faith.
Steven, Mansfield USA
I believe that this is a great failure of the American Anglican church. I believe that this mistake should be accepted by them and there should be return to the authority and truthful interpretation of the Scriptures. It is my conviction that this is ultimately intolerance toward the Word and laws of God for moral and sexual conduct of believers.
Elvis Plaku, Dallas, Texas (U.S.A.)
After reading and seeing people's reactions towards the appointment of Re. Robinson, I am appalled at how narrow-minded our society is. God loves all people whether homosexual or heterosexual. This is a step forward for our society. We want a society of acceptance for everyone, and when the church can do that, I believe that is an improvement for our whole society. Also Rev. Robinson is a true leader, for the fact that he is true to not only himself, but God and the people who follow him!
Nicole, Bere, OH USA
I do not have a problem with people being gay and I can say this in this case because I am not a religious person. However should you choose to follow a particular religion and in this case it clearly states in the bible "Man shall not lie with Man", surely this is wrong. Otherwise it makes a mockery of that religion if the goal posts keep being changed! No disrespect to the Bishop but if he thought he would make a stand by trying to change; The Word of God, he may also like to try walking on water!
Clare, London, UK
Being gay is his choice but the idea of him having sex outside marriage is what should be taken into consideration since his association with his live in partner is not recognized by the church it sends a wrong signal to the congregation, especially the youth and the unmarried, that it is acceptable to have sex if not married. That is wrong and I hope the leadership will also address this issue when they meet and not only him be a gay. Thanks and God Bless.
Anthony, Dayton, USA
The bible teaches us to love thy neighbour. This doesn't mean become gay you love your neighbour, by being kind, But being a gay bishop is not being kind, it is hurting the church and her followers. You can not teach the rights and wrongs of the church if you are wrong - being gay is totally against any churches teachings, and the church will split over this and this one judgement has killed the heart of the church.
penny Coleman, Wales
It was very disappointing to see the 'Church' taking a vote to determine if a homosexual should be a bishop. The Church is not a democratic institution. The Bible sets guidelines for what should or should not be done and has explicitly spoken out against homosexuality so that no vote will change that. As an African member of the Anglican Church, I am sad to see a split in the communion but I feel that it will be necessary for one to take place so that the democratic wing and 'the to the letter' wing of the church can live in peace. God will be the ultimate judge.
Margaret Nganga, Kenya
Well, the Anglican church is dead, and the very soul of Christianity is dead. I am from a place where homosexuality is not accepted socially, morally or by law, it is considered a crime against nature and I agree with this point of view completely. There is no point appointing a gay bishop, I wonder how Jesus would react had this bishop been appointed in his times. When he comes back and sees a gay bishop in church he is going to be angry!
Ali Hasnain, Lahore, Pakistan
The church has acted correctly. Reverend Robinson has nothing to hide. How does his sexuality matter really? If you believe in God and Jesus as I do, you must accept people for who they are. Jesus once said love thy neighbour. He did not say love thy heterosexual neighbour. I would trust Reverend Robinson as much as I would trust any priest.
comments on this page reveal the ugly truth about Christianity. It is a faith for bigots and the self-righteous. I am gay and have nothing to do with organised religion since it is now and has always been a vehicle for breeding fear and intolerance throughout the world. The Reverend Robinson is a very brave man indeed and should be applauded in his efforts to clean up Christianity's awful legacy of oppression. I fear he will however be eaten alive by the religious zealots of Christendom. Shame on them all.
The Bible teaches its followers many things, but more and more often its word is ignored, sections are 'reinterpreted' to fit within modern societies and breaking of Gods laws are committed by those who believe in his words the most. Is the Bible really relevant to today's society, especially with only 3% of Britain attending church regularly, and Christian groups preying on venerable people to enlist them to their faith? Christianity is increasingly becoming a cult-like group of narrow minded people using an archaic book of rules to justify their prejudices.
John Kirkman, Manchester UK
Anna Gregson, Winchester, UK is the only one here who has pinpointed the correct issue. The sexual tendencies of a bishop are irrelevant, integrity, hypocrisy and failing to follow the rules of his own organisation are what matters. How can anyone call themselves a Christian when they don't follow Christianity! It's totally ridiculous!
God made me gay. When I was desperately lonely I prayed for someone to love. So did my partner. Eight years later, we are happier than we have ever been and closer to God. Countless Christians, saints and martyrs among them, have been and are gay. Maybe even Jesus himself. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" Do these gay-bashers know the teachings of our Lord, who chose "sinners" among his friends. Jesus was no Christian!
Andrew Lowe-Watson, Norwich, England
In reply to Andrew Lowe-Watson from Norwich: OK, but the issue here isn't about being gay, or gay-bashing, etc. This issue is about the integrity of any organisation's leader breaking the organisation's rules. The teachings of your Lord say that homosexuality is an abomination, hence I'm rather perplexed why you would follow it then. The Bible is incredibly intolerant of many minorities - so I don't follow it. It is thus strange that so many do, and quite frankly absurd that a gay man wants to become a bishop. Will we have a Jehovah's Witness heading up the Blood Transfusion service next?
Anna Gregson, Winchester, UK
I think big part of spirituality is discipline - striven for by saints, by Buddhist monks, by those that excel. In moments of homosexual tendencies, moments of lusting after a neighbour's wife, moments of anger enough to kill - many experience such moments. Do we strive to work through these moments toward what we know is right? I think church leaders should actively strive to control tendencies that are by nature not directed toward spiritual growth.
I think the contribution of a gay bishop to any Christian faith is a step forward. These men have been living in the shadows for too long now, it's about time people from all walks of life were recognised and respected.
Jessie, Age 16,
The fundamental disagreements between the two factions in the ECUSA are so deep now that the only workable solution for the long term is the creation of two Anglican provinces in the country to represent liberal and traditionalist Anglicans here. If not, as "progressive" continue to strengthen their hold on the US church, both American conservatives and the Anglican churches of the developing world will be further alienated and the world-wide Communion must break apart.
Chicago, Illinois USA
The church finally enters the twentieth-first century having, despite the rupture with Rome, remained in an atavistic stasis defined predominantly by St. Paul's bigotry. To my eyes it is damning in the extreme that even this move has been made with much kicking and
screaming from a body which preaches love without exception.
James L, England
Unfortunately the gay and the straight populations, do not, for the most part, mix particularly well, and there are conflicts and contentions, causing some stress from either group towards the other, particularly as to conversions. It is often almost a game of who can win over whom to what persuasion. In recent years that appears to have been more officially encouraged. For that reason, I think that the appointment of gay priests and bishops within organizations that are largely meant to preserve social structure and to help resolve moral issues, is a step in the wrong direction. It will do no good, and it will certainly do some harm.
The Anglican Church has a long tradition of welcoming changes in Christendom such as separation from the Roman Catholic and the King James version of the Holy Bible. Homosexuality is just the latest addition in line of tradition revolving around sexuality. Why was there separation? Is it not about sexual variety? Who are the traditionalists rejecting the Church tradition? Are they hypocrites who cannot accept the emerging power of homosexual community worldwide even though sodomy is immoral in the Holy Bible? Unlike the Roman Catholic, the Church saw the wave of the future and about to ride it.
A religion that no longer follows its doctrine? - Enough said!
Has Christianity now fallen to the left wing zealots who impose there way of life on everyone whether they like it or not? - Or are the 'leaders' of Christianity too blind to see what is happening to 'common people' who take the bible as their doctrine? It matters not to me, as I shall take my Christianity to an unadulterated place - I would hope that the church may follow my lead!
Doesn't this gay bishop see that it's doing more harm to his profession than good?
Joe New England, USA
With so many of their flock starving and living in appalling misery, I cannot believe that the Anglican Church is devoting so much of its outrage and energies at whether gays should have equality to worship.
In particular, the Anglican leaders in Africa need to get their priorities straight, given the miseries afflicting their continent.
Hilary Morton, Glasgow, Scotland
While everyone is so focused on this bishop's sexuality, it has become a complete and total distraction from his purpose: to be a spiritual leader to his community. Perhaps this is the one reason why it is best to not focus on the sexual preferences on a priest or spiritual leader, simply because it becomes such a distraction from their ability to unite a community spiritually. (It goes without saying that criminal behavior such as pedophilia should not be tolerated).
Even Socrates beleived that sex was a distraction from higher thinking and philosophy.
Too bad that after centuries of debate over marriage and sex should be allowed amoungst our spiritual leaders, that today a small question mark over a spiritual leader's sex life (or lack thereof) still throws society into a tizzy. Meanwhile, what happened to the real lesson to be learnt at church? Or did the congregation spend the entire service worrying over the bishop?
I really don't see what the big deal is? OK the man is openly gay, but then again 10% of the world population have homosexual tendencies and they are completely natural. Homosexuality has been with us since the human race was swinging from treetops and will be with us till the end of our species. The Anglican Church is the last strong hold of pompous arrogance that is sexist, racist and homophobe and it's about time that they shed their backward views! Welcome to the modern world.
I feel the whole issue is the problem of putting the cart before the horse. There is no doubt we should accept homosexuality as a normal part of society but the Christian Church still has not come terms with it. The problem of electing Gay bishops or members of the clergy is that only divides an already divided religion and in the end divides people. Hasn't religion divided and damaged society enough over the last few thousand years of civilisation?
If the church had had gay members who have contributed to the development of the church, why should such gay members not be entitled to all that the church can offer? Nothing is wrong in appointing a gay into any position in the church. It is a way to appreciate the contribution the gay bishop has given in the past. If the church elects to split now, it is but a way to display the double standard which the church in this end of time has to show the world.
It seems that the Church is much less concerned about priests that sexually molest innocent children, than it is about two adults promising each other and the world that they will forever hereafter limit their sex life to their own bedroom.
Crazy, I tell you!
How can you now call the Anglican Church a church of God when it renounces parts of the bible? How arrogant are we as a society when we believe we know better than all the combined wisdom of the generations that have gone before us. As for tolerance it is a much overused word helping to mask and bury the real political agenda's of groups such as homosexuals. Would God be pleased to see his church abused by perversion? I think not.
This could split the church, although not an Anglican, I feel it is not right that an openly gay bishop is appointed, as church representative. This can only weaken the church and gay church members are surely in the minority, so not representative of the wider church population. The world is not ready for this yet.
B. Ward, Dublin, Ireland
God was not wrong to send his angel to Mary so that she could be the mother of Jesus. If homosexuality was a right thing and especially for those who think it is a right thing, then God would have sent his angel to a man to have Jesus. This is a clear indication that God want sexual relationship to be between man and a woman. The appointment of a gay bishop is unrealistic and unwise.
Majur Malou, Rumbek, New Sudan
What gives non-Christians the right to pass judgement on what is 'True' Christianity and what is not? It must be galling for those homosexual Anglican ministers who have operated for decades with the full knowledge of most honest Anglicans. This event has merely highlighted what has been known for centuries, i.e. the Anglican 'church' is essentially a political creation designed to serve the whims of the Establishment. Any truth it has preserved is purely incidental. If people desire the fullness of Christianity they should embrace the Catholic Faith, which comes to us from the Apostles.
James Stubbs, Coventry, U.K.
I am a "straight" Anglican confirmed in the Diocese of New Hampshire. I applaud the confirmation of Bishop Robinson. I believe that lack of monogamous commitment to his partner would have been grounds for declining to confirm him, but his long term monogamous commitment to a same sex partner should not be. Bishop Robinson is a good and decent man, and we should be pleased with his election.
David Hope, Wayne, PA, USA
I'm very disappointed with the Anglican community that I have only recently joined. But if this is what being a Christian means, I may just as well go back to paganism where they are less judgemental and people actually want to be good to each other.
Angie Stothers, Alma, MI, USA
It is unfortunate that the Anglican "Church" has departed from the laws of God. The mere fact that a priest is a homosexual should be enough to kick him out of the priesthood. These events have gone a long way to expose the type of Christianity practised in Europe and the USA.
Azunna Chuks, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
The Anglican Church in the USA has once again placed itself outside of agreed policies. It did so after the Lambeth Conference and continues to do so today. I welcome Archbishop Rowan's decision to call a meeting of the Primates, and call upon them to affirm orthodox teaching in relation to sexual morality.
The Revd Leonard Payne, Wrentham, Suffolk, UK
Doesn't the Bishop represent what the church believes in? If the Scriptures discourage homosexuality, why should the Church appoint a gay Bishop?
I would like to first make it very clear that I am not a religous person, not even slightly, but I do respect religon for those who believe. As for Reverend Gene Robinson I would have to say Good For Him, it takes a lot of courage to do what he's doing. For those that are in opposition to Gene being bishop simply because he is openly gay I say Shame on You.
Do Christians forget that the bible was written by men and has been traslated and reinterpreted many times? The men that wrote the bible lived in less tolerant times, when slavery was acceptable, and justice consisted of stonings (hardly thou shalt not kill). Through reinterpretations, Christians now rightly see these as abominations, even though they are advocated in the "scriptures". Yet, Christians still claim homosexuality is a "sin", as it still suits their own prejudices. Yet society moves on, and the church must also. In a few decades, this should be a non-issue and will be brushed under the carpet by a hypocritical organisation.
David Phillips, Pontypridd, UK
Oh please, I don't see what the fuss is about- a religious leader should be an honourable, courageous and wise person. Sex is just another biological activity like eating or breathing. Don't tell me a person cannot make a good leader just because he/she is a vegetarian
rashmi, Bangalore, India
Homosexual behavior is contrary to the Gospel. What a pity that the Anglican church has caved in to the demands of those endorsing sexual perversion. The Catholic Church seems to be the only institution that has held its ground on life issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality. Religions have come and gone, but it's the Cathoic Church that has endured through generations. Martyrs and saints have shed their blood to preserve the truths given by Christ thorugh the apostles and their successors in the Catholic Church. What other church can make that claim? Truth always prevails. In time, the Anglican church, like so many other denominations that compromise the Truth, will be a distant memory.
Loomis, CA USA
It is sad because this will cause some believers to break away from the church and not return, it will cause some in the homosexual community to come to church and believe that what they are doing is not contradictory to what the Bible teaches. It is sad that Rev. Robinson does not take this into consideration. It is clear that the Bible says that sex between homosexuals is abhorrent in God's eyes and the mere fact that he is not a practicing one is just blurring the lines a little more.
Irene, Virginia, USA
I doubt that a Christian will take an outsider’s opinion seriously, but I do believe that the US church has acted correctly. Properly speaking, there’s nothing in the Bible to underlie any sustainable case against homosexuality. There’s enough, though, – no matter what the fundamentalist will say, – to justify its complete social acceptance. Namely, the Christian teaching of love. Love not meaning mere affection, of course. Respect for human rights, tolerance, etc. is a vocabulary that just didn’t exist in the days of Jesus. And secondly, acceptance of homosexuality is inevitable among Christians anyway. It’ll force its way in just as the ordination of women did a few years ago, though that caused a lot of rifts too. After all, there have been times when anti-Semitism and social inequalities were legally enshrined all over Europe. Wait a bit, and gays and lesbians will be accepted by far more conventional denominations – the Roman Catholics and Orthodox, and even by the stagnantly conservative Russian Orthodox Church.
Andrei Skvarsky, Moscow, Russia
This all seems rather hypocritical. The Episcopal Church knew that Robinson was divorced and gay when he was ordained as a Reverend. They knew that he was in a relationship with a man for over 10 years as he worked his way up in the chuch. Now that he wants to become Bishop its suddenly a problem? The Church's inaction towards Robinson all these years can clearly be seen as acceptance. It's too late to cry foul now.
Paul Kosachiner, Albany, USA
It's amazing that a person is not elected to a particular rank because of his sexual orientation, something which he has absolutely no control on, as this is genetic in character. It's just as ridiculous as denying a post to someone because he has black hair or because he likes fish rather than meat. Anglican and Catholic Churches, please move on or you will simply be ignored in the future!
Why are we Christians who hold to the teachings of the Bible suddenly accused of being homophobic and hating homosexuals merely because we do not approve of their actions? No one approves a murderers or thief's actions either but no one has a problem with that.
We hate the sin, but love the sinner. It seems to be very hard for outsiders to understand this but they still feel they know better than us and then say that we are the ones being self-righteous!
I have never met Gene Robinson, even though I am a New Hampshirite, but he appears like a reasonable person, and part of his message is correct. "Jesus reached out to people on the fringes and brought people in" - that is exactly what the church should be doing, and I do applaud Gene Robinson for that. Anyone, no matter what evil they may have committed, can find salvation to God through the Saviour Jesus Christ. However, sin is still wrong, and we must condemn the sin. Too many people in secular society today confuse the sin (homosexuality) and the sinner (the homosexual). The inability to separate the two leads to the moral relativity that confounds so many today. May all churches be reminded of the Biblical truth: hate the sin only, but love the sinner. Turn away from homosexuality, but always love the homosexual.
Nick, Manchester, NH, USA
Maybe it's time that the church is split... or disbanded for this type of prejudice. No longer can hate be disguised behind "belief". We've been through enough hate, judgement and persecution to know that this type of discrimination is evil and threatening to the world. No longer are we able to persecute those by religion, colour or sex... so why is it that we are allowed to do so based on sexual orientation?
Chris, Toronto, Canada
I'd like to respond to all the comments that talk of selective following of the Bible. How do Christians decide then what to follow and what not? The fact that Christians don't follow some bits (mixing textiles) and do follow others doesn't make this appointment right. Some parts of the Bible are written and are distinctly contextual in terms of time (mixing fibres would spread disease). Others like "don't steal" are fundamental rules which nobody seems to have a problem following. Homosexuality falls into the latter category, not the former. The Bishop should not have been appointed because he has broken the Bible's rules. If he can be Bishop, then Christianity will be ridiculed and it's completely lost it's moral basis because if a leader won't follow their text, why should the followers?
As a former Episcopalian, I am glad that the church can recognize that of God in everyone and appreciate the gifts that individuals bring to our understanding of what it means to love unconditionally. To me, it speaks volumes to what it really means to be a Christian. As a Quaker, I believe God constantly reveals Truth to us. This decision by the Episcopal Church has nothing to do with political correctness. It demonstrates that we are all spiritually evolving as we strive to reach a level of love and respect for all people. We know what the Bible says and what some ministers say, but what do we experience as Truth? For me it is simple, God is love and he sent Christ to remind us that we are to love and take care of one another. When we fail to love because of social taboos and fear, we have not only failed God but each other.
Shelia Bumgarner, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
The answer to those who talk about eating shellfish, mixed-textiles etc etc is that this was part of the civil and ceremonial law and applied to the Jews and no one else. The only parts of that law Christians are supposed to adhere to relate to idol worship and to eating blood. That homosexuality was forbidden, along with murder, adultery, lying, stealing and so on, was already firmly in place centuries before the law was given - they were included along with the other things so that no one could claim it was alright to partake of them because they were not in the law.
Adrian C, Essex, England
The confirmation of Gene Robinson as bishop is a clear indication of how far church leaders in the US have fallen from grace. This act is a clear violation of the very Holy Scriptures that make any church apostolic and historically biblical. But this sin will serve a righteous purpose: to separate those who seek righteousness from God's perspective and those who refuse to come into the light of scripture. A church split is inevitable and I pray that it comes soon. May the grace of God be given to those prelates who will stand up and protest.
Richard Calla, West Chester, PA
I do have some sympathy with Dr Williams in that it would be a disaster for him to preside over a schism in the Anglican Church. However, for years most faiths have treated gay and lesbian people with contempt and hatred and this has to stop. In the Church of England, as with most Christian churches, this issue has everything to do with prejudices of the men who wrote the Bible or who translated it from the original text and nothing to do with Christian compassion, love, understanding and tolerance.
Christians have what should be an easy choice, do they really believe in the teachings of Christ or don’t they? Dr Williams has to answer that question and lead where I’m sure his answer will take him.
People of the Christian faith should stop worrying so much about what a person does with their body parts and worry more about what they do with their heart. I'm sure each and every person who is opposed to this man as a Bishop because of what is said about homosexuality in the Bible live their lives to the exact word. I wish that I could be so perfect.
Wellesley, MA USA
As followers of Christ, we should follow what Jesus says, and since he did not condemn homosexuality, then how can we condemn it. St. Paul was against it, but he was also against women in authority and we've seen how wrong his thoughts were on that subject. Jesus Christ died for all of us and he came to show us how to live. With the way some of the people are acting in the Anglican church, you would have thought that Jesus had chased homosexuals out of the temple like he did the money changers. So if your faith is lost or you demand a split over a topic that Christ himself found so important that he never took the time to speak on it, then you had no faith or church to start with.
Robert Brown, Denver, USA
Having read through some of the comments, I can honestly say that I don't have much hope for this world. There are still too many people out there who advocate intolerance, bigotry and discrimination. And looking back at our not so distant past, I don't think attitudes will change for a long, long time.