Gay Canon fires at patriarchy

THE bishop-elect of New Hampshire has called the opposition to his homosexuality "the death throes of patriarchy" and says he plans to speak out on political issues once he is consecrated as the Anglican communion's first openly gay bishop.

At Grace Church in the state's biggest city, Canon Gene Robinson said he looked forward to becoming "old news" after his consecration on November 2, so that he could begin to "take on some sacred cows", as Jesus did.

"We are going to start talking politics because how we act as a nation and a state is a moral matter," he said, mentioning issues such as education and Third World debt. "When we start, people will say, 'the church shouldn't be involved in that. You just say your prayers and stay in church'.  I'll be in trouble and, if you join me in that, you'll be in trouble and we'll be in good company."

The opposition to his homosexuality stemmed from the collapse, of white males' dominance in society, he said. "For a long, long time white men of which I am one - have ruled the world. With the emergence of people of colour in this country and elsewhere; with the emergence of the women's movement; and with the emergence of gay and lesbian folk, who are willing to be who they are, I think it's a threat to the way things have always been."

Canon Robinson received a standing ovation from the Grace Church congregation.  Insisting that he had been called by God, he again said that he could not be held responsible for a split if conservative Anglicans left the fold

For his sermon he chose a tale about four American soldiers fighting in World War 1. When one was killed in battle, the others tried to bury his body in the local churchyard.  The priest refused permission, because it was not certain that the dead soldier had been baptised.

When the men went back they could not find the grave. The priest had moved it into the cemetery. I moved the fence, because that is what Jesus would have done," the priest said.

Canon Robinson drew the moral that the work of Christ is to move the fence to embrace more of those outside. - The Times