Thursday, 6 November 2008

Obama and Robinson

Updated Friday evening

Ruth Gledhill has a report in The Times headlined Barack Obama asked gay bishop Gene Robinson what it was like to be ‘first’.

Bishop Robinson, in London as a guest of the gay rights group Stonewall for its annual “Hero of the Year” awards dinner at the Victoria and Albert Museum tonight, said that Mr Obama’s campaign team had sought him last year and he had the “honour” of three private conversations with the future president of the United States last May and June.

“The first words out of his mouth were: ‘Well you’re certainly causing a lot of trouble’, My response to him was: ‘Well that makes two of us’.”

There is a transcript of this interview, together with audio recordings, on her blog, under the heading Obama and the Gay Bishop: ‘Three Private Meetings’.

Friday evening update

The Hero of the Year Award was in fact awarded to Bishop Robinson. This award is based on the votes of Stonewall supporters, as is the annual Bigot of the Year Award, which last year was also won by an Anglican bishop.

See Stonewall press release here:

Hero of the Year chosen by Stonewall supporters - Rt Revd Gene Robinson. Openly gay Bishop of New Hampshire. Has bravely endured sustained personal attacks in recent months, as church debate on homosexuality has intensified. Recently barred from Lambeth conference.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 6 November 2008 at 11:23pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

Thanks Pres-Elect Obama, for making an effort to talk across our hot button divides.

A vigorous coalition - LDS, Roman Catholics, + rightwing believers - just campaigned to approve California Prop 8. So now, separate is equal is etched for the time being, into our state constitution. This of course has broad, foundational ramifications – since if separate is truly equal – we can separate out or separate off any number of other groups with whom some majority citizens might disagree, depending on when, how, if, and so forth. The campaign ad pitch was basically a faked and forced either/or: Choose this day between your own kids (vulnerable, innocent, lovely - presumably straights just like mommie and daddy) and all those COLAGE kids who are being raised by two mommies or two daddies (already fatally contaminated?).

We have a sad history of playing mean with minorities - just see how California treated, say, the Chinese laborers?

Yet we do move beyond our prejudices from time to time.

Conversing with queer folks at round-tables will no doubt get the new president in lots of hot water with various religious culture war groups.

The sermon still is: (A) queer folks simply have no citizen right to a public voice, plus (B) queer folks should at best remain (1) submissive-apologetic for existing, and (2) be as silent and invisible inside church life as possible. Married straight rightwing believers are God's gold standard for being human. And we will now use state constitutional force to enshrine labels, tagging our inferiors properly for the common good.

Truth is, we are not done with any of this not button nonsense, not by a long shot.

On a more optimistic side, more people in California voted against Prop 8 than at any time before in state history – surely a change indicator. Despite PropH8te passing, change is change. Most larger surveys of generational attitude and values differences seem to consistently show that our legacy of traditional high animosity against queer folks dissipates, as respondants get younger.

Obama is thus a sign of hope, linked to this generational shift that is lurking everywhere in almost all cultural and church life USA sectors. Loud rightwing preachments may studiously refuse to name the change, but that does not mean that change is not happening.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 7 November 2008 at 7:37pm GMT

Congratulations to Barclay's Bank for its support of the LGBT community in hosting the Stonewall Awards ceremony.

I have always considered Richard Wilson to be one of the outstanding comedy actors of our day. Bless him for his support of Gays. We need his delicious sense of humour.

Iris Robinson, M.P., ought to be ecnouraged by her consituents to undergo some education on the subject of scientific advances in the field of same-sex orientation. She might not then continue to abuse those of her political party who are still suffering blatant misunderstanding on this, and other, justice issues.

Her name-sake, Bishop Gene Robinson cartainly deserves his award for 'Hero of The Year'. May he long continue to uphold the dignity of the LGTB
membership of the Church around the world.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 7 November 2008 at 9:09pm GMT

What a delightful thread.

This is as pleasing as Obama winning presidency through and because of the groundswell of support from the masses.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 8 November 2008 at 12:30am GMT

The other thing about this thread is that it demonstrates that souls were learning lessons from the turmoil in the Anglican communion (e.g. Obama dialoguing with Robinson).

In turn, others learn similar lessons as they contemplate what Obama's election means. For example, this International Herald Tribune article http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/11/07/america/letter.php?page=1

They conclude:

"Yet democracy is not simply about the sanctity of rules that protect the ruled. It is about mechanisms - checks and balances - to ensure that trust is neither taken for granted nor abused.

It is about building and preserving a culture, about a compact between those who are governed and those in whom they place their faith to govern fairly. It is about a sense of common values bonding those in office to those whose votes put them where they are. It is about the rightful expectations of the governed to demand high standards of those who seek power in their name.

The challenge for Obama will be to maintain that covenant once the hoopla and the rhetoric and the euphoria subside, and those who placed him in office clamor for redemption of the expectations he has raised."

The same can be said for any organisation or faith that is meant to represent millions or billions, at any one time or over an extended period, including the Anglican Communion.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 8 November 2008 at 10:03am GMT
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