Bil Browning

Bishop Gene Robinson: Retiring over death threats

Filed By Bil Browning | November 08, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Anglican Church, death threats, Episcopal Church, Gene Robinson, retirement

Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson will step down early from his post after recieving numerous death threats.

Bishop_Gene_Robinson_portrait_2005.png"Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years, and in some ways, you. While I believe that these attitudes, mostly outside the diocese, have not distracted me from my service to you, I would be less than honest if I didn't say that they have certainly added a burden and certain anxiety to my episcopate."

When Bishop Robinson was ordained in 2003 he had to wear a bulletproof vest under his robes due to all of the death threats. The normal age for retirement is 72 for bishops; Robinson will be 65 when he retires.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has tepidly defended Robinson while working hard to keep conservative church leaders happy and avoid a split in the church, did not make a statement about Robinson's decision. That seems about par for the course. As our children kill themselves and "good religious folk" threaten the lives of gay church leaders, the church itself stands by idly and sings hymns while the cathedral burns around them.

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Christians making "death threats?" What's next?

I'm glad that Gene Robinson was able to make a stand in the Episcopal denomination - it is unfortunate that he isn't able to continue. Like many Christian denominations they are divided over "us." That continues to sound like an opportunity to me.

This is really a very sad moment, not only for Bishop Robinson, but for all true Christians around the world. It seems the new American christian Taliban are working unceasingly at making Jesus Christ and his message insignificant. In the long run they won't win the war. A few battles, yes... but not the war. God's richest blessings to Bishop Robinson and his soulmate!
Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

I met Bishop Robinson at an interfaith dialogue in Edinburgh. Yes, the church fiddles as it burns. I asked if the pope had ever reached out to him, given the lackluster support he received from Rowan, and he tactfully suggested the pope wouldn't return his calls. Gene Robinson gave me hope for the Episcopal community and christianity that my own catholic leadership cannot and will not.