Watching a media feeding frenzy is a disturbing thing, even to some of us self-described ink-stained wretches. In his film The Right Stuff, director Philip Kaufman makes snapping camera shutters sound like so many locusts, and shows reporters repeatedly invading the privacy of the first astronauts' families.
On Monday afternoon, the same sort of suffocating media attention surrounded the Rev. Michael Hopkins of Integrity (the Episcopal Church's gay caucus), then Jim Solheim of Episcopal News Service. Even as Solheim tried to walk away from an impromptu news conference, cameras and boom mikes moved with him like an electronic retinue.
That sort of media attention doesn't affect the Episcopal Church very often. Bishop Walter Righter went through it when the Court for the Trial of a Bishop held two pretrial hearings and then exonerated him in his ordaining an openly gay man as a deacon. Bishop John Shelby Spong attracted it a few times during his career, when he was well ahead on the wave of sexual liberationism that the House of Deputies surfed on Sunday afternoon.
Now Gene Robinson is going through the glare of celebrity, and until Monday the ride mostly went well for him. The House of Deputies confirmed his election by a more than comfortable margin, and it appeared he would win a confirming vote in the House of Bishops.
"My guess is that in the next few days you all are going to be so bored with me," Robinson said Sunday night, as he described returning to his ministry as New Hampshire Bishop Douglas Theuner's chief administrator. Already those words seem like echoes from an almost tranquil time that we cannot recover.
Even as conservatives grieved at the decision of the House of Deputies, few of us would have wished that Robinson's ...1
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