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Monday, August 4, 2003

Desperate measures.

Pardon me for asking, but what would motivate the Rev. Gene Robinson's opponents to hold on to their titillating — and probably trivial — allegations about the Episcopal bishop-elect's "boundary issues" until the day of the final vote on his candidacy? Apparently fasting and prayer didn't work, so somebody decided to try mud.

Reuters names the alleged victim of Robinson's "fondling". Okay. Could be true. Could be a homophobic overreaction to a hug. Who knows? But was the adult man so traumatized for the past two years — or somehow completely unaware of Robinson's candidacy — that he didn't bother raising his concerns until 8:54 last night? (The NPR report [RealAudio] quotes one church leader who considers the timing of the allegations "curious." Indeed.) It seems just as likely that his concerns were rather more recently amplified into just what the conservatives most desperately needed today.

CNN adds that another allegation has tried to link Robinson to a Web site that links to another site featuring "erotic photographs." The pornography charge (which the delegates already knew about and disregarded before they approved Robinson yesterday) is clearly silly since Robinson hasn't had anything to do with the Web site since its founding. The news stories today connect the bishops' delay only to the more serious allegations of possible misconduct, which the New Hampshire diocese itself asked for time to investigate.

Update 8.4.03: The CNN story has been expanded with additional quotes from the e-mail that first made the allegations about misconduct. The Episcopal News Service report says:

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold appointed Bishop Gorton Scruton of Western Massachusetts to investigate allegations that Robinson has "inappropriately touched" a man from the Diocese of Vermont during a provincial meeting some years ago.

Scruton will also investigate an allegation that Robinson is affiliated with a Web site — Outright.org — that offers links to pornographic sites. According to convention officials, these allegations appear unfounded.

Under the church's Title IV disciplinary canons, the victim's "credibility is assumed as soon as an allegation is made," said Hopkins. "That is how we do things because we take these things seriously."

The church's approach seems just right, but in the end the allegations will amount to a stalling tactic, not a permanent derailment of Robinson's election.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 4 August 2003 at 5:38 PM

Previous: Beliefnetters on Humanist Manifesto III.
Next: Pat on the back.

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