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Bishop Robinson addresses Triangle Foundation luncheon

By |2018-01-16T04:29:36-05:00April 12th, 2016|Uncategorized|

FARMINGTON HILLS – About 50 people gathered to welcome the Right Reverend Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire, at a special recognition luncheon on Dec. 10 at the Birmingham Temple. The luncheon was sponsored by the Triangle Foundation, Bishop H. Coleman McGehee, and Rev. Harry Cook and was held the afternoon before the annual People Who Care About People With AIDS holiday service, at which Robinson was a featured guest.
Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation, welcomed those in attendance and introduced the Rev. Rod Reinhart, who originated the PWCAPWA service 20 years ago. It began with 30 people, he said.
“Over the years it’s been the most visible and most respected AIDS religious service in Michigan,” Montgomery said.
Reinhart said he missed those who have passed on with AIDS. “We need to keep the fight up and keep on praying,” he said.
Triangle Board of Trustees member Kate Runyon presented a series of token gifts to Bishop Robinson including a purple lei, rainbow soap (to wash off difficult experiences and start fresh again), a level (to keep an awareness of balance in life), pocket shims (for when things are out of whack), a compass, and a Groucho Marx disguise about which Runyon said, “Jeff keeps a pair of these on hand in his office at all times.”
Bishop Robinson addressed the lunch by encouraging donations to the Triangle Foundation. On how much to give he said, “When you write the check and you don’t get a lump in your throat, it’s not enough.”
Robinson also called for secular organizations to start real coalitions with religious groups. “There are plenty of religious people who are not part of the religious right,” he said, adding that the right had hijacked Christianity.
Also important, he said, was to make clear the difference between religious and civil marriage.
Robinson said coming out is also essential. “Don’t ever underestimate the political power of coming out,” he said, adding that there are few people today who can honestly say they don’t know any LGBT people. “Now when the issue comes up, along with it comes somebody’s face.”
Although the LGBT community suffered setbacks in the November election, Robinson’s outlook was positive. “Never forget how far we’ve come,” he said. “Twenty years is nothing for the kind of dramatic sea change that we’re seeing right now.”
Equal rights for LGBT people is a matter of when, not if, Robinson said. “I can’t find a conservative who thinks they can win this one.”
Those members of the majority who oppress minority groups want us to be fighting with one another, he said. “If we all got together we would be the majority.”
All forms of oppression are connected, said Robinson, and the LGBT community needs to renew efforts to fight racism and sexism. He said the gay male community needs to stand up and say “enough with the sexism already.” In addition, he said, “We need to talk to our straight brothers and sisters … about the connection between homophobia and misogyny.”
On the current controversy in the church following his confirmation Robinson said, “I refuse to take responsibility for the demise of the Anglican Community … [and] that has driven people nuts.”
Robinson ended with a quote from famous test pilot Chuck Yeager: “The plane always shakes the hardest right before it breaks through the sound barrier.”
What’s going on right now, said Robinson, is the plane shaking. “But we’re breaking through.”

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