Trditional Marriage News

Date:
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
 THOM S. RAINER, CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
May 27, 2014

We church leaders repeat often that we desire to know and reach our mission field. And we also know that our mission field demographics are shifting dramatically in the United States.

Today, I want to focus on one large slice of the demographic pie in America-households headed by a single parent. That world is growing and shifting so quickly it is almost breathtaking. For now, I offer five factoids about these families. Consider the implications for churches as we attempt to minister and reach these persons.

1. Nearly three out of ten families with children today are headed by a single parent. That makes this group one of the largest population segments in the nation.

2. Four out of ten children in American are born to single women. That rate is six times its level since 1960. And the pace continues even though teen pregnancy has been declining.

3. Hispanics and whites have the largest percentage increase in single parent births. African Americans still have the highest absolute percentage, but the faster growth is taking place among Hispanics and whites.

4. Males are the fastest growing category of single parents. I think most of us are surprised at this development. The implications for churches are staggering.

5. The vast majority of single parents are gainfully employed. Eight out of ten single moms are employed. Nine out of ten single dads are employed. The vast majority of these parents receive no government assistance.

These statistics provide incredible insights about a part of the population that many churches have no specific plans to reach or to minister to. With that in mind, I ask church leaders five questions to consider.

1. Do the leaders in your church have an awareness of this large population group? Just an awareness of the issue can prompt action.

2. Does your church have specific ministries designed for this population segment? A corollary question is: Are those ministries effective?

3. What would your church need to do differently to reach this group? I specifically refer to current ministries and programs.

4. Are there any attitudes that would discourage single parents from feeling welcome at your church? Some of you readers may give us some good insights there.

5. Have you attempted to connect with single parents in your church to get clarity about this group? They would certainly be the best persons to help our churches prayerfully and strategically think about this issue.

Yes, times are changing. But we in our churches have a great opportunity to reach a growing segment of the U. S. population.

How will your church respond? Does your church already have a specific ministry or outreach effort to single parents?

(Note: These statistics were gleaned from The Retail Revival by Doug Stevens. The author further cites these sources: "Four in 10 Children Are Born to Unwed Mothers," from FamilyFacts.org and "Single Parent Statistics" from Single Parent Magazine, June 2012.)

 

Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
 
Date:
Thursday, May 22, 2014
BY LEONARDO BLAIR , CP REPORTER
May 22, 2014|9:47 am

"When the tables have turned in life, we need to realize that God owns the tables. He always has a plan and it's far greater than any plan we could ever come up with. It may be hard and painful to understand at the time, but God's ways are always best," began the brothers in the post.

"Remember the Israelites in Egypt — God turned the Egyptians against them so that they could fulfill their destiny. 'He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants …' Ps 105:25," they noted.

The twins then highlighted the adversity that resulted in their successful real estate company.

"Twelve years ago, before my brother and I started our real estate group, we worked for a large company that went through a horrific split. The split found us on the wrong side of the fence, so we got fired. Although we were heartbroken and had no other jobs lined up, God used that to force us to start our own company," noted the post.

"For two years we scratched and clawed to make enough money to feed our budding families, all-the-while building our little real estate company. Well, the rest is pretty much history, as God has blessed our little venture supernaturally, even to a point where HGTV offered to do a show based upon our real estate expertise," they added.

Now that they have lost that initial HGTV offer, the brothers believe that the adversity they went through before prepared them for the fallout with HGTV.

"God had already prepared us long ago for a situation just like this. All we need to do is remember that he owns the tables, and when they turn He is up to something good!

"When the tables turn in your situation, don't try to flip them back to where they were, just let it play itself out. Recognize that God Himself is the One who owns the tables. He's got you right where He wants you!" ended the post.

Date:
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

BY NAPP NAZWORTH, CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
May 20, 2014|7:09 am
Evangelicals will, inevitably, "change with times," "adapt," "get with the program," "finesse their position" on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, some say. Historically, however, the churches that changed with the times have not fared well.

Opposition to same-sex marriage and the belief that homosexual behavior is sinful is "collapsing" among religious adherents, William Saletan wrote May 1 for Slate. "Theology is adapting. Resistance to same-sex marriage is dwindling, and there's no end in sight."

Saletan finds support for this contention from the recent "Faith Angle Forum Conference on Religion, Politics & Public Life" hosted by the Ethics and Public Policy Center. (Transcripts and audio available here.)

He pointed out that Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist and a graduate of the evangelical Wheaton College, said it "seems unfair" to expect "a heroic ethical standard" of celibacy from church members with same-sex attraction. Additionally, Cornelius Plantinga, a Calvin College theologian who has written books about sin, told Saletan over dinner that a lot of virtues, such as love, commitment and stability, can be found among same-sex couples.

Saletan also noted that Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, "continues to view homosexual behavior as sinful" but called for a change in tone in how evangelicals talk about the issue of homosexuality.

"Maybe Moore and his remaining flock can sustain a moral case against homosexuality in the face of these concessions. But I doubt it," Saletan wrote. "Once you accept the reality and persistence of the orientation, particularly within your congregation, you're on the way to the crisis Gerson described."

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The "crisis," in Saletan's view, is that those with same-sex attraction are asked to remain celibate while, for instance, a glutton can still eat food and adulterers can still have sex with their spouse. Based upon that, Saletan reasons that the Evangelicals who believe homosexuality is a sin hold an "unsustainable" position.

Gerson and Saletan are likely correct in pointing out that some sinful desires are harder to resist than others. But all Christians are asked to resist sin. What is missed in their assumptions is that a sinful desire for gluttony will not be satiated by eating a normal amount of food and a sinful desire to cheat on one's spouse will not be satisfied by having sex with one's spouse.

Evangelicals are "pretty good at ditching unsustainable positions," Saletan continues, because many Evangelicals do not hold a Young Earth Creationist viewpoint. (Saletan uses the word "Fundamentalists" here, but from the context he appears to mean "Evangelicals.") If Evangelicals can hold different views about the age of the Earth, there must be some wiggle room on homosexuality, he concludes.

The comparison with Young Earth Creationism is a poor one. Young Earth Creationism, rising in response to modern geological findings, is only about 100 years old. (There were, of course, theologians, philosophers and scientists before that, who attempted to date the Earth and came up with "young" numbers, but that is different than the modern phenomenon to which Saletan is referring.) The dominant Church teaching on homosexuality, on the other hand, is as old as the Church itself. The teaching found in some churches today that homosexuality is an "identity" that should be embraced rather than sin, a symptom of the fallen nature of mankind, is new, about 50 years old, in the history of the Church.

Saletan correctly points out, though, that the trend in public opinion has been toward greater acceptance of same-sex marriage. So, will the Church die if it does not change its position on homosexuality? The Christian Post asked Moore that question in a May 12 interview.

"This is what the media have always said about Evangelicals and they've always been wrong," Moore answered.

Instead of Young Earth Creationism, Moore brought up the examples of miracles and the virgin birth. During the Fundamentalist-Modernist debate of the early 1900s, Moore noted, people were making the same arguments that Saletan and others are making today. Instead of homosexuality, however, they were saying the Church must no longer hold to the views that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, Jesus performed miracles, and Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

There were some churches, of course, that did "adapt" to the "changing times" by abandoning Church teachings on the virgin birth and miracles. Those churches, Moore pointed out, are the ones that have been dying.

If changing Church teaching in order to be culturally acceptable is the way to grow the church, "we would see a booming Unitarian or Presbyterian Church (USA) church planting movement. We don't.

"Instead, the only Christianity that has survived is authentic, Gospel Christianity. Which means that ... you can't grow Christian churches by becoming sub-Christian," he said.

Further, Moore argued that if the Church abandons the concept of sin, it will not have much to offer the world. Those who do not need to repent of sin have no need for grace.

"If we don't call people to repentance for sexual immorality," he said, "we are not Gospel preachers, we are leading people in sin and in condemnation and in the accusation of the Devil. The only way we can reach a lost world is by speaking clearly about what sin is so that we can speak clearly about what grace is."

Date:
Monday, May 19, 2014
BY ANUGRAH KUMAR, CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
May 19, 2014|9:04 am

As a federal judge is scheduled to issue his ruling Monday on a constitutional challenge to Oregon's same-sex marriage ban, officials are prepared to issue marriage licenses immediately if a stay is not put on the decision. The state is not defending the state's voter-approved ban.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane will publish his decision at noon Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Officials in Multnomah County say they are prepared to begin issuing marriage licenses immediately if the ruling calls for it.

Representing two women in a relationship for over three decades, attorneys Lake Perriguey and Lea Ann Easton in Portland, Oregon, filed a lawsuit last October, arguing that the state's marriage laws are discriminatory and unconstitutional and violate their right to marriage. Later the American Civil Liberties Union and lawyers from two firms also joined in on behalf of a lesbian couple and a gay couple.

The ban in Oregon was approved by 57 percent of voters in 2004 following a brief period when Multnomah County issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. As many as 3,000 licenses were issued before a judge halted the practice. Later, the Oregon Supreme Court annulled the marriages.

However, Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has said he will not defend the ban. She believes no legal arguments can support it given last year's decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber also supports same-sex marriage.

In April, McShane refused to allow the National Organization for Marriage to intervene in the case while hearing arguments on the case. The group intended to intervene on behalf of its Oregon members after the attorney general's decision not to defend the ban, but the judge said the group cannot represent Oregon voters.

Federal judges in several states have struck down state amendments and laws banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional since the Supreme Court's decision last June to squash a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. They have revoked bans also in Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia, and ordered Kentucky and Tennessee to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. However, stays have been issued pending appeals.

Advocacy groups claim they have gathered enough signatures in Oregon for a vote in November on whether gay marriage should be allowed.

Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in 17 states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – and the District of Columbia.

Date:
Friday, May 16, 2014

BY: John Jessup

CBN Reporter 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A week after their show got axed by HGTV, brothers and business owners David and Jason Benham are still making headlines.

But instead of defending their reputation, they're now using each interview to share their Christian faith.

"We feel as though God wants us to actually stand up, lift Him up -- lift up His standard, silence this bully and lift up the banner of Jesus Christ in this situation. So that's our goal right now," Jason told CBN News.

The twins say that bully is an agenda from some militant gay groups and others on the left bearing down on America in what some describe as a "silencing war" on religious freedom.

"We do feel compelled by God that we need to point this nation back to our foundation in Jesus Christ," David told CBN News. "We need to point this nation back to the fact that we do have religious freedom and religious liberty and the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press and freedom of expression."

"And that any agenda that would seek to silence anyone on either side of any issue, for any matter, that forces them back into a closet, we've got to stand against that," he continued. "And it's Christians that have be the salt and the light of the earth to lead the way in this charge."

On May 7, HGTV canceled the brothers' reality show "Flip It Forward" because of complaints about their Christian faith.

The network's decision came after the website Right Wing News, which is funded by the liberal People for the American Way, published some of David's past comments regarding his pro-life and pro-traditional marriage views.

"Where we are in terms of national sin, where we approve of what God disapproves of, when we do that it will ultimately get to the point where that sin will become an agenda that not only dominates and permeates, but it seeks to assassinate anyone who speaks out against it. That's where we are as a nation," David said.

Surprisingly, they lay the blame for the nation's moral decay on the Church.

"We have more churches in America than we have ever had," David noted. "Just in our city alone we have 1,300 churches, and yet we're aborting millions of boys and girls -- little image bearers of God."

"We can't keep just having church and allow this to happen and think that the blessing of God is going to be on our nation," he warned.

While they've endured nasty criticism, they say they've also been encouraged by the support they've received both online and in person.

Their biggest supporters, however, are the women who know them best: their wives who spoke exclusively to CBN News.

"It's really neat to see how the Lord has prepared us and our kids during this time," Jason's wife, Tori, said. "There's been such grace over us. And a lot of people have reached out with support and love."

CBN news asked them what they would tell the world about who their husbands are.

"I want people to know that he has a huge heart for the Lord and a huge heart for people," David's wife, Lori Benham, said. "And when you get to know him, if you speak to him one-on-one, and it's not just through media, you'll see that it is the real deal."

Meanwhile, Tori described her husband, Jason, as a man of God and a good father and husband.

"I live with him every single day, and I can honestly tell you that there's nobody that I respect more than Jason Benham," she said. "And I'm so thankful for the man of God that he is and the husband and the father he's become."

The brothers' wives have been surprised at the support they've gotten from people from across political and ideological spectrums.

"We can't even count how many letters, emails, Facebook, even tweets that are coming to us from folks in the gay community, from Muslims, from so many different people that completely disagree with our beliefs but that say 'We stand with you. Thank you for taking this on. This is not America. It's about time someone stood for the principles for that founded this country,'" David said.

Despite the recent turn of events, the brothers are devoted to finishing the projects from their now-cancelled show.

They're also offering to take no commission on the homes they sell to help the cash-strapped families who were slated to appear on the HGTV program.

The brothers say at least one of the families used their entire life savings to learn about what they describe as "principled flipping," which focuses on building relationships between spouses, parents, and children while buying property to turn a profit.

The twins have emphasized that while they don't hate or discriminate against homosexuals or anyone else, when it comes to the battle against religious freedom, they won't back down.

"What we want to do is not just represent Christ in a loving way. What we want to do is win this battle. We don't just want to fight it. We want to win it," Jason said.

"Nobody in the world knew who we were," he continued. "And God had simply just told us the same thing he told every human being today: Be faithful right where I put you and when the enemy shows up, don't back down."

Date:
Thursday, May 15, 2014
BY NAPP NAZWORTH , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
May 15, 2014

The main issue for those who are gay and Christian is whether they are following Jesus, author Michael Brown says in his new book, Can You Be Gay and Christian: Responding With Love and Truth to Questions About Homosexuality?

Christians too often have a misplaced emphasis when encountering followers of Jesus who have a same-sex attraction, Brown said Wednesday in a lecture at Family Research Council introducing the book.

"Instead of helping someone come to know Jesus and then grow as a disciple in holiness, in purity and in devotion to the Lord, we put the emphasis on becoming heterosexual, which is not where the emphasis should be," he said.

Brown has a Ph.D. in Near Eastern languages and literatures from New York University and teaches at a number of seminaries.

In answer to, "can you be gay and Christian?" Brown believes it depends on what is meant by the question.

"If by that you mean, can you be same-sex attracted, recognize those attractions are wrong, renounce them, not act on them, and follow Jesus? Of course," he said.

Recalling what a former lesbian told him once, he said, "God never said, 'Be thou heterosexual for I the Lord God am heterosexual.'" Rather, the Bible says, "Be holy because I the Lord your God, am holy." (Leviticus 19:21 Peter 1:16).

If by "gay and Christian" one is asking whether a person can be a practicing homosexual and a follower of Jesus at the same time, Brown says, "of course not. Scripture is explicit about this."

When asked for clarification during the Q&A, Brown answered that a person with same-sex attraction can still be struggling and following Jesus. The issue is whether that person is undergoing spiritual growth and has a repentant heart.

"It doesn't mean that someone in their ignorance, or their infancy or their early stages of coming to the Lord may be engaging in wrong aspects of life and may not immediately come under conviction. Some are instantly delivered, some are instantly changed, some, for many, many years, are struggling up and down," he said.

Brown wrote the book to respond to the many churches, pastors and theologians who have argued in books and pulpits that homosexuality was not forbidden by God. The book presents counter arguments to those claims.

Though unintentional, Brown said he appreciated the fact that his book came out about the same time as Matthew Vines' God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships. He hopes the coincidence will encourage more dialogue within the Church on the issue of homosexuality.

Brown also wrote the book to help heterosexual Christians better understand the struggles of their fellow Christians with same-sex attraction.

In conversations on the issue of homosexuality, Brown believes Christians should not have "sound bite answers."

"You can't fool people, people will ultimately know what's in our hearts," he said.

Brown also encourages Christians to listen to the struggles of those with same-sex attraction.

"Some grew up feeling that God hated them, or there was something wrong with them. Some grew up feeling that they could never possibly serve God because they were under God's condemnation," he explained.

Those who argue the Bible is accepting of homosexuality believe that following Jesus means accepting oneself as one is. Jesus did not call his followers to accept themselves, Brown countered, he called them to deny themselves.

Brown recalled a Christian he knew who had same-sex attraction. When asked if it were difficult to remain celibate, the man replied, "No. Jesus requires everything from all of us, and Jesus is enough for all of us."

Date:
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
BY MORGAN LEE , CHRISTIAN POST REPORTER
May 12, 2014|9:44 pm

The Miami Dolphins have fined and suspended a player for his negative Tweets about Saint Louis Rams' draft pick Michael Sam, shortly after the first openly gay NFL player was drafted on Saturday.

Saint Louis Rams' draft pick Michael Sam and his boyfriend Vito Cammisano wait to hear if the Missouri player has been drafted on May 10, 2014.

Sam was drafted by the Rams in the 7th round, the 249th pick overall, and was shown on ESPN receiving the news while standing next to his boyfriend Vito Cammisano. After weeping while receiving the news that he would play professional football next year over the phone, Sam kissed Cammisano, embraced him, before kissing him again.

In response to Sam and Cammisano's public display of affection, Don Jones, a backup defensive back for Miami tweeted "omg" and "horrible."

Jones, who has since been fined an undisclosed amount and barred from team activities until he completes sensitivity training, apologized on Sunday.

"I want to apologize to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media," said Jones, who was drafted in 2013, in the seventh round, one slot after Sam. "I take full responsibility for them, and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment."

"I remember last year when I was drafted in the seventh round and all of the emotions and happiness I felt when I received the call that gave me an opportunity to play for an NFL team, and I wish him all the best in his NFL career. I sincerely apologize to Mr. [Stephen] Ross, my teammates, coaches, staff and fans for these tweets. I am committed to represent the values of the Miami Dolphins organization and appreciate the opportunity I have been given to do so going forward," he added.

Jones' Twitter account is now private.

Miami coach Joe Philbin said on Sunday that he and the rest of the coaching staff "were disappointed to read Don's tweets during the NFL Draft."

"They were inappropriate and unacceptable, and we regret the negative impact these comments had on such an important weekend for the NFL. We met with Don [Sunday] about respect, discrimination and judgment. These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program. We will continue to emphasize and educate our players that these statements will not be tolerated," he added.

Sam took to Twitter to express his excitement about being drafted on Saturday.

"Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every once [sic] of this to achieve greatness!!" he tweeted.

In an interview with USA Today, former NFL player Wade Davis, who since retiring has said he is homosexual, said: "For Michael, it's a little bit of relief that it's over, and you can finally say you're part of the NFL family. That is a dream come true for so many football players. That's a realization that all his hard work has paid off…Now he can really start to focus on his new journey."

 

Date:
Monday, May 12, 2014
BY ANUGRAH KUMAR, CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
May 11, 2014|9:35 am

More than a dozen same-sex marriage licenses were issued for the first time in a Bible Belt state Saturday after a state judge declared Arkansas' voter-approved ban on gay wedding to be unconstitutional.

About 50 couples had lined up at the courthouse in Eureka Springs in Carroll County, Arkansas, Saturday morning seeking licenses, according to Reuters.

But Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn told The Associated Press that 15 licenses were issued Saturday.

On Friday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it violated equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

"This is an unconstitutional attempt to narrow the definition of equality," Piazza wrote in his decision. "The exclusion of a minority for no rational reason is a dangerous precedent."

The judge refused to put his ruling on hold, allowing same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

But it caused confusion among county clerks, according to Association of Arkansas Counties executive director Chris Villines. "The court didn't give us any time to get the kinks worked out," Villines was quoted as saying.

Carroll County was perhaps the only county that issued marriage licenses Saturday.

Piazza's ruling also overturned a 1997 state law banning same-sex marriage.

"Our freedoms are often acquired slowly, but our country has evolved as a beacon of liberty in what is sometimes a dark world. These freedoms include a right to privacy," Piazza wrote. "It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters. We will be stronger for it."

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office has said it will appeal the decision and also seek to prevent a rush to courthouses for marriage licenses. "We respect the Court's decision, but, in keeping with the Attorney General's obligation to defend the state constitution, we will appeal," spokesman Aaron Sadler said.

Jerry Cox, president of the Arkansas Family Council, said the court's decision to not stay his ruling will create confusion. "Are these people married? Are they unmarried?" Cox was quoted as saying. "Judge Piazza did a tremendous disservice to the people of Arkansas by leaving this in limbo."

Federal judges in several states have struck down state amendments and laws banning gay marriage as unconstitutional ever since the U.S. Supreme Court last June squashed a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. They have revoked bans also in Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia, and ordered Kentucky and Tennessee to recognize out-of-state gay marriages. However, stays have been issued pending appeals.

Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in 17 states – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – and the District of Columbia.

Date:
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE | 5/5/14 6:08 AM EDT Updated: 5/5/14 9:04 AM EDT

Next up in the gay marriage fight: Oklahoma.

Freedom to Marry, the national marriage legalization effort, is going up on the air starting Monday with a new television ad that will run for a week in the conservative state, as litigants wait for a ruling in a case in front of the 10th Circuit that’s challenging the state’s gay marriage ban.

The ad is part of a larger effort to influence popular opinion around greater acceptance for gay marriage as the 10th Circuit and dozens of other cases around the country pend, with the hopes of eventually returning to the Supreme Court for a broader legalization ruling. And it plays heavily on biographical and family values appeals in the deep-red state.

The ad features retired Army colonel and Purple Heart recipient Ed Cuyler and his wife talking about their daughter, Deedra, and her partner Amber.

“Here in Oklahoma we value family,” Cuyler says, over footage of him sitting next to his daughter, and the couple walking around their ranch with one of their children.

“When Deedra told me she was gay, as her dad, I was worried, because I wanted to protect her,” Cuyler says. “Only marriage means the ability to take care of your family.”

The two were married in Massachusetts and live on the same ranch with their parents, but Deedra is blocked from putting Amber on her health plan from the Goodyear factory where she works because the state doesn’t recognize the union.

“Why shouldn’t they know the love we’ve had all these years?” says his wife, Robbie Cuyler.

“As a veteran, I know freedom means freedom for everyone,” Cuyler concludes the ad. “And no family should be denied a basic freedom.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the case in front of the 10th Circuit. It is a challenge to the state gay marriage ban.

 

Date:
Monday, May 5, 2014
BY LEONARDO BLAIR , CP REPORTER
May 5, 2014

Bishop Gene Robinson from the U.S. the only openly gay bishop in the Anglican church speaks on his phone as he tours the "market place" a collection of stalls run by Christian organizations on the fringes of the Lambeth Conference in Cantebury, southern England July 21, 2008. Robinson has been barred from attending the Lambeth conference, a meeting of bishops of the Anglican faith held once every 10 years, but is taking part in activities on the sidelines of the meeting.

Gene Robinson, retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire and the first openly gay priest elected as a bishop in a major Christian organization, announced this past weekend that he is divorcing Mark, his partner of 25 years.

Robinson first revealed his decision in an email to the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on Saturday.

"It is time to share with you, our diocesan family, that my partner and husband of 25+ years, Mark, and I have decided to be divorced. As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us – not a decision entered into lightly or without much counseling. I'm sure that you will understand the private nature of this change in our lives and our commitment to keeping those details appropriately private," said Robinson in the note.

"Our life and ministry among you continues to be something that both of us count as an honor and blessing.
We ask for your prayers, that the love and care for each other that has characterized our relationship for a quarter century will continue in the difficult days ahead," he explained.

The retired bishop, who is now a senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., elaborated on his decision in the Daily Beast on Sunday, explaining he does not know if the path he is taking is right or wrong. He said, however, that he had faith that if God could bring salvation from the crucifixion of Christ, something good will come from his divorce from Mark.

"While I would never remotely compare myself to Jesus, I do know that I too have to move forward without knowing whether the steps I am taking are in the right or wrong direction. I too need to take care of relationships, in the midst of my own pain. (No, it's not all about me.) And I need to be an active participant in my own destiny," he said.

"Most importantly, I need to hold on to the belief that God will have the last word, and that word is hope. If God can bring an Easter out of that awful, long-ago Good Friday, then God can bring new life to me and Mark out of the pain of our parting company," he noted. "That is my faith, even if the pain of the present moment is too excruciating to envision what it might be. Mark and I will need, and welcome, the prayers of our friends and the support of our community."

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