Sometimes I hear people make comments which suggest that they view homophobia as an abstraction in the church – maybe the “gay people” are “making up” the problem. Hmph. It’s a real problem, but much of the time homophobia is practiced quietly, outside the public gaze. Bishop Gene Robinson, preaching in London on Sunday, was heckled. If you follow a link to this BBC story, you can find a video of the interruption to Bishop Robinson’s sermon.
Note several things. First, note the anger of the protester. Note the grace with which Bishop Robinson handles this, and note the response by the congregation. They break into singing! (Of course, now I know that is is S.O.P. when dealing with protesters.)
I post this to remind us all (in case we waver for a moment) that our church is still sick with the illness — the sin — of fear and of dislike of those who differ from “us” (whoever the “us” happens to be). In our culture, the current target is GLBT Christians, but the same illness could find its outlet elsewhere if there were another marginalized group to target. This affliction has been directed at people of color, at women, and now GLBT people. If we don’t deal with it, our church will continue to carry this defect.