About 4,000 Episcopalians from New Hampshire and beyond gathered at a university ice-hockey arena on Sunday afternoon to enact what they decided during the summer: that an openly gay man is a wholesome example to his people and should become a bishop of the church.
Once again, conservative Episcopalians appealed to the church's historic teaching in pleading with church leaders not to consecrate Gene Robinson as the next bishop of New Hampshire. Once again, they cited statements by Anglican primates warning about the divisive nature of consecrating Robinson.
Once again, Episcopal leaders responded that they've given ample consideration to such concerns, and—to quote the formulaic response used at all protested consecrations—"We will proceed."
Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold asked the assembled to listen with respect as their fellow Episcopalians expressed objections to Robinson's consecration.
The Rev. Earl Fox began those dissents on a scatological note, saying that most homosexual men engage in oral sex, anal sex, or mouth-to-anus sex. His remarks were causing scattered laughter when the presiding bishop intervened.
"Father Fox, would you spare us the details and come to the substance of your remarks?" Griswold said.
Two other protesters, who (unlike Fox) were working with the American Anglican Council, appealed to theological and ecclesial arguments.
"This is the defiant and divisive act of a deaf church," said Meredith Harwood, a parishioner at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Ashland, New Hampshire, who read from a prepared statement. "The clear teaching of Holy Scripture in both testaments without exception is that sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong for the people of God, yet we are deaf to the Bible. The vast majority ...1
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