Originally published on Advocate.com November 19 2010 12:20 PM ET
Forget what you’ve heard: Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, isn’t retiring because of death threats.
Nor is he about to take responsibility for a charge routinely leveled against him: that he has brought the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a member, to “the brink of self-destruction.”
Through it all, Robinson, 63, has handled seven years of criticism and controversy since his consecration with remarkable poise and a keen sense of humor — inspiring a new wave of out and proud LGBT people of faith. In 2008, when the Anglican Communion declined to invite him to an all-important bishops’ conference in Canterbury, he traveled to England anyway, and while fellow church leaders enjoyed tea with the queen, Robinson “had tea with the queens,” holding his own party for people with HIV.
Two weeks after he announced that he would retire in 2013 (thereby giving the church time to elect a successor as bishop of New Hampshire), Bishop Robinson spoke with The Advocate about his tenure, his assessment of the Obama administration’s LGBT record, and his frustration with how Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and symbolic head of the Anglican church, has handled the religion-fueled, deadly homophobia rampant in Uganda.