Gene Robinson, the gay Episcopal bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire, did not set out to be a lightning rod in the conflict between religion and the drive to legalize gay marriage.
That said, his new book God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage (Knopf, $24), attacks the anti-gay undertone in many churches.
Robinson has a message for Christians who believe that the Bible condemns gays: It’s time to read your Bible again.
Amicably divorced from the mother of his two grown daughters, he writes about discovering the fullness of love in a gay relationship. He details meeting his husband, Mark Andrew.
“For the first time, I was able to express my love for someone through my body. … I experienced a wholeness and integration between body and spirit I had only dreamed about. I remember thinking, ‘So this is what all the fuss is about! No wonder people like — and hallow — this!’ ”
Robinson deconstructs biblical passages that seem to condemn gay sex. At best, he contends, the invocations against gay sex are products of a time in which all people were assumed to be born heterosexual. Making gayness seem like willful disobedience rather than an inborn orientation was not even considered within the cultural framework of the period.
Robinson also points out that Jesus never addressed homosexuality and in fact spent much of his time with those who were on the outskirts of society.
He also notes that many who consider themselves strict Bible constructionists have moved on from many of the mores set forth in the Bible: We wear clothing of varying fabrics; women don’t cover their heads in church, and women are not considered property; we don’t keep slaves.
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