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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Robinson has no place in church

The question of separating a man from his actions is one that has arisen repeatedly in recent years. Can former President Bill Clinton still be an effective leader despite his private turmoil? Are priests capable of spreading the word of God while being plagued with a sinful infatuation? Can Michael Jackson still be appreciated as an artist despite his alleged depraved behavior? And recently, can the Rev. V. Gene Robinson really be an effective leader in the Episcopal Church while seemingly not believing a part of the Bible from which he teaches? Indeed, a man can never truly be separated from his actions, and in the case of Robinson’s open homosexuality, it has resulted in a schism in the Episcopalian church.
Those opposed to Robinson’s election met the week of Jan. 20 in Plano, Texas, to discuss what actions should be taken to right what they see as a very serious wrong.
As followers of and believers in Jesus Christ’s message, Christians believe they are called to follow his example by loving and accepting everyone they come into contact with. Although many Christians fail at this far too often, it does not change the fact that it is the standard that all sincere Christians should aspire to. Robinson himself charged Christians by asking them on the Episcopal Web site, gc2003.episcopalchurch.com, “Do we truly value the people who hold an opposing view, while disagreeing with their position?” If he can ask that question, surely he should know the answer to it … those who oppose him are not judging him as a person. They are not saying that they hate him or that he should be discriminated against. They are doing exactly what any Christian should strive to do: truly valuing him as a person who holds the opposing view, while disagreeing with his position.
This being said, no matter how much he is still valued as a person, as a homosexual, Robinson has no place as a church leader. In regards to certain occupations, a person does not just do their job, they are their job. The priesthood is one occupation in which people have completely given themselves to their jobs. Thus, we should assume that they are exactly what they profess to be at all times. Their behavior should be consistent with what they teach, whether in the pulpit, the supermarket or their homes. They should never pretend to be an earnest believer if they are not striving to follow every bit of the doctrine they profess.
Sophomore A&M student and Episcopalian follower Katherine White says that, more than anything, the situation with her church makes her sad – sad that the Episcopal Church has strayed so far from the Bible and that the church has come to embrace the standards of society over the standards of God. As a minister of God’s word, a priest should strive to be stable, to never even think about looking to society as a standard and to not only believe this standard, but to uphold it in their own lives.
Even if he did have homosexual desires, as a man of God, Robinson should have known that people should not always act on their desires, whether natural or unnatural ones. He should have known that, as a man of God, it is wrong to “(make) a home for the past 13 years” with someone who is not a spouse. Robinson should have known, as a man of God, that with enough prayer and effort, he can overcome any homosexual temptation. The Rev. Phillip Jones, pastor of St. Clements Episcopal Church in El Paso, Texas, told The El Paso Times that “(those that side with Robinson) are basically saying, ‘Jesus Christ cannot change your life.’ He can and he will.”
Robinson obviously believes the Bible to be true or he would not have, as the Episcopal News Service Web site says, remembered “accepting Christ ‘as my personal Lord and Savior’ at the age of 12.” He believes the part of the Bible that preaches salvation but cannot believe that part that warns, “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Romans 1:27b). How can a man who does not fully believe what he preaches be trusted to lead the masses?
Those opposed to Robinson formed their own group – the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes. “Yet the creation of the Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes stopped short of a schism with the Episcopal Church, raising the prospect of church-by-church fights for authority and control,” says MSNBC. The network plans to seek support from their Episcopalian roots, The Church of England, which mostly opposes ordaining gays. The dissenters claim they will seek to set up a “church within a church” system.
Proponents of the Robinson camp, though, seem to be confused altogether about why they are involved in the church in the first place. They claim that no good Episcopal would go for the “church within a church” idea because it violates the church law that MSNBC reports as saying, “no bishop from outside a diocese can minister to a congregation without the local bishop’s permission.” Daniel England, a national church spokesman, told MSNBC, “I don’t think most Episcopalians, committed to a system centered on the authority of diocesan bishops are going to put up with that kind of behavior very long.”
The problems with the church can be found within that statement. A church should not be centered on the authority of any man no matter how worthy or unworthy he may be. All the problems within the Episcopal Church could be solved if it would shift their focus from being a “system centered on the authority of diocesan bishops” to being a “system centered on the authority of God.”
White sums up what most dissenters in the Episcopal Church believe, “Whichever church stands planted in the truth of the word is the church that I will support.”

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