“Homosexuality will be the hot issue at the October convention,” said David Virtue, referring to the coming triennial general conference of the Episcopal Church. Many Episcopalians made the same forecast, but Virtue speaks from personal experience. His editorial, “Gay Is Not Okay,” in a diocesan newspaper in Virginia, stirred a wave of controversy large enough to carry him back home to British Columbia.

Virtue, who describes himself as an evangelical Baptist, became editor of The Virginia Churchman in January. However, he accepted the post on one condition—that the 25,000 circulation, monthly newspaper stop carrying an advertisement for Integrity, an unofficial Episcopalian gay caucus that endorses, among other things, the ordination of homosexuals.

The diocesan communications committee accepted that condition, dropping the ad. But as a compromise it let Integrity announce group activities in the newspaper’s calendar of events. Integrity officials had expressed their displeasure, saying the disputed advertisement did not advertise homosexuality per se, and that Integrity intends only to promote the concerns and interests of homosexuals.

That was only the beginning of public reaction. Virtue felt moved to explain his opposition to Integrity in a February editorial. He said the Integrity advertisement in effect condoned homosexuality: while Integrity did not “openly advocate” homosexuality, he said, neither did the group oppose it. “The Integrity forum in no way helped people break their homosexual behavior,” Virtue explained. “In other words, it said gay is okay.”

Virtue detailed why gay is not okay in his editorial, first by explaining what was not at issue: namely, whether homosexuality is a sickness or a psychological illness, ...

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