+Gene on The Daily Show

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show interviews the Rt Rev. Gene Robinson on the changing Christian attitudes toward same-sex marriage and explains how the commonly misinterpreted story of Sodom and Gomorrah actually deals with poverty.

Part 1

Part 2

Comments (10)

All in all I thought he did very well. The "Scripture says, 'Where love is, there is God'' line was unfortunate, but even if the quote isn't from the Bible it's certainly inspired by it, via "Ubi caritas" and Tolstoy.

1 John 4:7-8 "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Gillian Barr

And if he had said, "Scripture says, 'Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God' it would have been an accurate quote, Gillian. Like I said, the sentiment is in the spirit of the New Testament, but I don't believe it's a quote, and presenting it as a one was a misstep. And as I said, I think he did well overall - it wasn't a fatal misstep.

He's made the attribution before, it turns out. In one interview, he said that it was a quote from something called "the first letter of Paul" (which narrows it down to three epistles, I guess). Paul says lots of stuff about love, but that isn't one of them. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/religion/news/2012/06/20/11684/religion-marriage-and-the-economy/

All the gospel writers and Paul have misquotes of scripture - it's the sense of it.

Ok, so, I both deeply respect and admire Bishop Robinson and appreciate the difficulty of a videotaped interview. (I've done a couple minor ones and they're never fun for this tongue tied introvert)

That said, I don't think Bill is being unreasonable. I think it is fair to expect the BISHOPS of our church to quote Scripture accurately. (If and when they quote it at all)

OK, I'll bite (and display my ignorance): if not from Scripture, where DOES "Ubi Caritas" (Ubi Caritas et Amor, Deus Ibi Est) come from? An Early Church father?

JC Fisher

JC, it's one version of an antiphon of a medieval hymn used during the Maundy Thursday footwashing in the RCC. http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Hymni/UbiCaritas.html

Tolstoy wrote a story with the title "Where Love is, There is God Also," taking the hymn as his inspiration. A lot of people are familiar with the phrase through Tolstoy's story, maybe more than those who know Ubi caritas.

Oddly, +Robinson has attribute the quote to different books of the Bible - the citation has wandered from the Gospel of John to the "first letter of Paul" (referred to in a comment above) to 1 John.

In this interview, he says, "As John said in the Gospel: 'Where love is there God is also. When two people are in love, we are participating in the reality of God.'" I'm willing to bet that the second sentence was included by the reporter in the quote, and that +Robinson didn't intend to attribute it to John. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/03/bishop-robinson_n_1937150.html

In this interview, he says that 1 John is the source: "The fact of the matter is, God is love and where love is, there God is also. It's what we're told in the first letter of John." http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3478/ItemId/22126/Default.aspx

The misquote seems to have come from +Robinson's interpreting it as the meaning of 1 John 4 in an interview: "You know, as a Christian and as a bishop of the church, I know from 1st John Chapter 4 that where love is, God is. It says that if we know love, we know God." Maybe over time it slipped his mind that his interpretation wasn't the actual verse - surely it's not a conscious attempt at "improving" Scripture.

If you want to convince people who take the Bible seriously of the Scriptural grounding of your argument, it seems to me that it's worthwhile to be careful when telling people what "Scripture says." The Declaration of Independence's assertion that all men (sic) are created equal is clearly an extrapolation of the Biblical message, but if someone said " as the Scripture says, all men are created equal" they would be wrong.

Tolstoy? Bill, I bet more people know it as I do: a Taize chant. ("Medieval" is nice, but I really was hoping for something more specific, if possible. St Bernard, maybe?)

JC Fisher

JC, Taize is how I know it, too (full disclosure: I've never read anything by Tolstoy). But I think more people in the general population have heard of Tolstoy than Taize.

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