First Openly Gay Bishop Leaves After Death Threats
Gene Robinson, the world’s first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, has announced that he will be leaving his post after seven years in service.
The Episcopal Church elected Robinson the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, making history in the process. During his term, Robinson served the church splendidly, elevating religion to a higher standard of the love and respect it’s meant to teach.
It hasn’t been easy, though. Members of the Anglican church have been sharply divided on having gay clergy members. When Robinson was consecrated, he wore a bulletproof vest. He has received numerous death threats, requires extra security, and became a symbolic focus point of an increasingly noncivil campaign from conservatives within the church. With a split of the Anglican church nearly inevitable, the job became too much to bear.
“The last seven years have taken their toll on my, my family, and you,” Robinson wrote in a letter to the yearly diocean convention. “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.” The letter was Robinson’s announcement that he will be stepping down from him position in 2013.
This isn’t to be considered a victory by those motivated by hate. Robinson was threatened and bullied as a 63 year old bishop, but stood up and served for seven years despite these threats. While he is stepping down, his legacy is continuing. The Anglicans have already elected a lesbian as an assistant Bishop back in May, and there will be others.
Thank you, Gene Robinson. I wish you the very best.
- First openly gay bishop to retire after strain of backlash [Digital Journal]