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Openly Gay Retired Priest Gene Robinson Compares LGBT Life With Jesus' Birth and Struggle

( [email protected] ) Dec 26, 2014 05:33 PM EST
Rev. Gene Robinson has upset a few of his more conservative Christian readers with a recent article he wrote comparing lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to the oppression felt by Jesus being born poor.
Rev. Gene Robinson in 2009. Photo: Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images

Rev. Gene Robinson has upset a few of his conervative Christian readers with a recent article he wrote comparing lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to the oppression felt by Jesus being born poor.

While the overall message of Rev. Robinson's article hit home with a powerful message about God's grace for the poor and how we, as Christian, needs to realize Joseph and Mary's difficult situation during the time of Jesus' birth, it was the line that Robinson slipped in about the LGBT people in Uganda that has many questoning the motive of the article.

"The Christmas story is meant to bring comfort to those who are oppressed: young unarmed black men in Ferguson and Cleveland and all over America, Palestinians who are captive in their own homeland, LGBT people in Uganda, women who suffer genital mutilation, undocumented children on our border, abused women and children, incarcerated people who languish forgotten in for-profit prisons in America, the poor everywhere," he wrote in his Christmas-day editorial. "But this same Christmas story and message should be unsettling, even disturbing, to those of us who are well off. It is a revolutionary story, which threatens to upend the world as we know it."

But as several commenters point out, the retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire may have overstepped a bit.

"Rev. Gene Robinson expands the circle to be brought under Jesus' love," commenter A. Yeshuratnam points out. "Rev Robinson is correct when he says: 'It's true Jesus meant to be one of us - it would have to be to the least of us, the most troubled and despised, the most looked down upon-in order to demonstrate if God meant to be 'one of us,' it would have to be to the least of us, in order to demonstrate God's own empathy with the poor, marginalized, and oppressed, and to bring them hope. The rest of Jesus's life would focus on these people considered the last, the lost, and the least.' But Rev. Robinson is wrong when he includes gays and lesbians. Sin is a sin and it cannot be condoned. While supporting black men in Ferguson and Cleveland, he shouldn't forget the duty of cops. Palestinians would have got a state, if terrorists such as Hamas, Hezbollah had not indulged in terrorism."

The reason many conservatives are suspicious of Rev. Robinson's writing and teaching is because of the controversy surrounding him as the first Christian priest to be in an openly gay relationship. When he was initially elected to the Episcopal convention, many conservative church members left the congregation and formed the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in a process referred to as Anglican realignment. 

At that point, Robinson became a symbol for the LGBT movement in North America as he fought for the legality of gay marriage. In 2003, he married his long-time partner, Mark Andrew, in a civil ceremony, but divorced him in May of this year for "private reasons."

But this specific article touched a nerve with many as the Reverend takes aim at the "well off, comfortable, educated, white, and privileged" as people who might want to "ask whether this little baby's birth is something we really want to celebrate." Understandably, the irony of pleading for more tolerance, while simultaneously calling out labels like "educated" and "white" as negative, wasn't lost on the article's readers.

"Rev. Robinson slanders "that type of Christian" when he forgets that "that type of Christian" donates more time and money to charity than any other demographic," another commenter points out.