A plague on both your houses

Garret Keizer’s essay [link, subscribers only] appearing in the June 2008 issue Harpers Magazine, continues to impress. Diane Winston, the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the University of Southern California writes:

“Turning Away from Jesus: Gay Rights and the War for the Episcopal Church” (link currently malfunctioning?) in the June issue of Harper’s gave me the chills. It was that good.

The magazine sat on my desk for over a week. I’d look at the cover (a detail from a Prague altarpiece), and put it down, loath to read yet another piece about the Episcopal sex crisis. Thanks in no small part to the mainstream media, homosexuality has been the defining issue for Episcopalians (as well as Methodists and Presbyterians) for the past 20 years. As a result, mainline Protestantism’s (potentially) prophetic voice has been drowned out in the debate over who can sleep with whom and still do God’s work. Yes, it’s a big deal but so is the war in Iraq, public education, the environment, New Orleans, poverty and the imperial presidency. At times, I wonder if it’s an easier fight than the ones with less obvious (depending on your side) heroes and villains,

Evidently Garret Keizer agrees: “How does a Christian population implicated in militarism, usury, sweatshop labor, and environmental rape find a way to sleep at night? Apparently, by making a very big deal out of not sleeping with Gene Robinson [the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, a gay man, whose election to the episcopacy is the focal point of current divisions between so-called liberals and conservatives domestically and abroad]. Or on the flip side, by making approval of Gene Robinson the litmus test of progressive integrity, a stance that I have good reason to believe would impress no one so little as Gene Robinson.”

Read the rest of Winston’s thoughts here.

The Lead has excerpts from Keizer’s essay here and here.

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