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Gay Episcopal bishop to retire amid death threats

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WASHINGTON — The first openly gay US Episcopal bishop, whose consecration rocked the worldwide Anglican fellowship, has said he will retire early because death threats and controversy had placed “constant strain” on his family.

Bishop Gene Robinson of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire said he would retire in 2013, when he will be 65.

“The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family and you,” Robinson wrote in a message posted on the diocese website.

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“Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years.”

Robinson was openly gay when he was elected bishop in 2003, but it aroused such passions that he wore a bullet-proof vest to his consecration.

His ordination as bishop — the first of an openly gay priest in any Christian denomination — so divided the church that its General Convention in 2006 called a moratorium on “any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.”

Then in July 2009, the church voted to end the moratorium even though the issue had opened a widening rift within the broader Anglican church.

Some Episcopal parishes in the United States responded by breaking with the US church and aligning themselves with conservative Anglican bishops in Africa and South America.

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The Episcopal Church is a US branch of the Anglican Communion, whose mother church is the Church of England.


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Ethics committee warns sitting federal judges not to affiliate with the Federalist Society

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On Wednesday, the Judicial Conference's Codes of Conduct Committee, a national panel of high-ranking federal judges responsible for policy-making on U.S. courts, released a draft advisory opinion warning federal judges against affiliating with the Federalist Society, one of the nation's foremost associations of conservative and libertarian lawyers.

The opinion also singled out the American Constitution Society (ACS), the Federalist Society's progressive counterpart.

"The Committee advises that formal affiliation with the ACS or the Federalist Society, whether as a member or in a leadership role, is inconsistent with Canons 1, 2, 4, and 5 of the Code," stated the opinion. "Official affiliation with either organization could convey to a reasonable person that the affiliated judge endorses the views and particular ideological perspectives advocated by the organization; call into question the affiliated judge's impartiality on subjects as to which the organization has taken a position; and generally frustrate the public's trust in the integrity and independence of the judiciary."

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Donald Trump’s Secretary of State apparently thinks Spanish is spoken in Lebanon

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The president of United States is often criticized for getting his facts wrong, especially when it comes to understanding the world.

Trump made up the country of "Nambia" while not knowing that Bhutan and Nepal (which he pronounced "nipple") are real countries. He said the country of Belgium "is a beautiful city" and once told the prime minister of India that the country does not share a border with China (their shared border is 2,500 miles).

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Jason Crow lays out the human cost of Trump’s Ukraine scheme — citing his military experience

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On the second day of the impeachment trial, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a veteran and one of the House impeachment managers, clearly laid out the risk that President Donald Trump's Ukraine scheme posed to human life — and drew from his own experience in the military.

"I know something about counter-battery radar," said Crow. "In 2005 I was an Army Ranger serving in a special operations task force in Afghanistan. We were at a remote operating base along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And frequently, the insurgents that we were fighting would launch rockets and missiles onto our small base. But luckily we were provided with counter-battery radar. The 20, 30, 40 seconds before those rockets and mortars rained down on us, an alarm would sound, and we would run out from our tents and jump into our concrete bunkers and wait for the attack to end. This is not a theoretical exercise, and the Ukrainians know it."

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