I’m a huge proponent of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project, but Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson‘s upload really rubbed me the wrong way. I’m holding my comments til after the video, so watch it before you scroll down so I don’t bias your reaction further.
Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that Bishop Robinson is centering his message on “God loves you as you are, so you don’t need to change?”
It makes sense to say that God wants a better life for you, but can Robinson really believe that the life that God wants for us is necessarily the life that we presently desire?
He says that gay teens may feel uncomfortable because some “religions and religious people are telling you you’re an abomination before God” but instead of arguing that they’re wrong, that homosexuality is not offensive to God (which I assume is his actual position), he sounds like he’s denying that abominations can exist. Instead, he says that “God loves you more than you can imagine and God loves you the way you are.”
I think of being gay as a part of identity that doesn’t carry moral weight, like a preference for a certain color, or a fondness for umami. The reason God wouldn’t ask you to change these attributes is because they’re irrelevant to your ability to follow moral precepts, not because God loves you just the way you are. There are plenty of attributes that might be ingrained and might be a part of your identity, but must be rejected because they are poisonous.
Bishop Robinson speaks disdainfully about the idea of labeling people or desires as intrinsically disordered, but this category is important and real. Pedophilia is the best example of an intrinsically disordered desire. A large proportion of pedophiles are not choosing to be sexually attracted to children, and they struggle to refrain from action. This is the reason that some pedophiles ask to be chemically castrated; they are burdened with an identity that harms others. Bishop Robinson’s theme wouldn’t make any sense here.
For me, the most baffling line in the video was: “There’s nothing to be healed from.” I thought the entire premise of Christianity was that every single person is broken and is required to turn to God for the strength to be made whole. Neglecting this idea, Robinson seems to be mouthing the creed of what Richard Beck described as Moralistic, Therapeutic Deism.
On the oft chance there are other Battlestar Galactica devotees reading this blog, doesn’t this theology remind you of cult leader Gaius Baltar? In the season four episode titled “Escape Velocity” Baltar tells his acolytes:
“Love your faults. Embrace them. If God embraces them, then how can they be faults? Love yourself. You have to love yourself. If we don’t love ourselves, how can we love others? And when we know what we are, then we can find the truth about others, see what they are, the truth about them. And you know what the truth is, the truth about them, about you, about me. Do you? The truth is we are all perfect. Just as we are. God only loves that which is perfect, and he loves you. He loves you because you are perfect. You are perfect just as you are.”
I find the whole prospect creepy, condescending, and counterproductive.