Questions are being raised about the timing of Bishop Gene Robinson's scheduled civil union ceremony this coming June. There are voices that feel that Bishop Robinson intentionally timed the event so as to overshadow the Lambeth Conference that will be held later this summer. Bishop Robinson denies that intention.
The New York Times' Laurie Goodstein reports today:
"He planned his civil union for June, he said, because he wanted to provide some legal protection to his partner and his children before he left for England for the conference. Bishop Robinson has received death threats, and he wore a bulletproof vest under his vestments at his consecration in 2003.
‘We could have, I suppose, just gone to the town clerk and had that signed,’ he said, ‘but, you know, I’m a religious person, and every major event in my life has been marked with some kind of liturgy and giving thanks to God.’
Bishop Robinson will not be attending the Lambeth Conference’s official sessions with his more than 800 fellow bishops. He was excluded from participating by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who, as leader of the Church of England, is responsible for issuing the invitations."
There is one correction to the article as written (according to our sources here at the Lead).
"Bishop Robinson initially rejected, but has now accepted, the idea that he will spend the conference days in the Marketplace, an adjunct bazaar where church advocacy groups and purveyors of Christian merchandise promote their causes and wares."
is not quite accurate. According to our source, Bishop Robinson rejected Lambeth's offer of a stall in the marketplace and one major press interview as the form of his "invitation" to attend Lambeth. He doesn't reject appearing and being available in the marketplace to meet with people, it's the characterization of that access in the public arena as a form of "invitation" that is not acceptable to him.
Read the rest here.