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Tue Jan 23, 2024, 09:06 AM Jan 23

Bishop Gene Robinson on why "God called me out of the closet"


Bishop Gene Robinson on why "God called me out of the closet"

By Ted Koppel

January 21, 2024 / 9:49 AM EST / CBS News

As the Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson the 9th bishop of New Hampshire in November 2003, he wore the customary vestments. He was also wearing a bullet-proof vest. What made the occasion controversial, indeed historic, was the Church's acceptance of Gene Robinson as the first openly-gay bishop in all of Christendom. ... Robinson is quick to point out that there have always been gay bishops in the Episcopal Church. "There have been a lot of us, let's just be clear," he said. "I'm just the first openly-gay one."

The Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, bishop-in-residence at St. Thomas' Parish in Washington, D.C.

Almost certainly the first Episcopal Bishop with purple nail polish. This was, of course, a special occasion: a celebration late last fall commemorating his consecration as bishop 20 years ago. The congregation of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, in Washington, D.C., is Bishop Robinson's parish these days. These are very much his people; and here he clearly feels more free, perhaps, to be himself – purple fingernails and all.

"It pleases me to no end," he said. "It's fanciful. I love purple. As you see, bishops wear a lot of purple. And I thought, 'You know what? I'm 76 years old. I can get my nails painted.'"

On a more serious note, Bishop Robinson reflected back on the climate in which he had been labelled the most dangerous man in the Anglican Church. "We forget what a big deal it was and how hard it was and how many people were opposed, and the pain it caused a lot of people," he said. ... It had provoked immediate threats. The day he was elected, he received his first death threat before he got home: "I got a postcard, and it began, 'You fornicating, lecherous pig.' And that was to continue for two-and-a-half years."

Bishop Gene Robinson.

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