Thursday, August 07, 2003
I'm a Lileks kind of man: James Lileks takes on the Episcopal Church with regards to the standards that they have for their bishops. Now, there are Biblical reasons for opposing the leadership of an actively gay man (or woman) in any Christian church. Lileks lays out an excellent case why the Rev. Gene Robinson should not be given a position of leadership irrespective of his sexual orientation.
Perhaps I the only one who winced at this: “God has once again brought an Easter out of Good Friday.' said Rev. Gene Robinson after his election as the first openly gay bishop. Good heavens, man, why don’t you just do the full James Cameron: hop up on the cross and shout I’m King of the Jews!
This story has irritated me from the start, and it has nothing to do with Rev. Robinson’s sexual orientation. The guy left his wife and kids to go do the hokey-pokey with someone else: that’s what it’s all about, at least for me. Marriages founder for a variety of reasons, and ofttimes they’re valid reasons, sad and inescapable. But “I want to have sex with other people” is not a valid reason for depriving two little girls of a daddy who lives with them, gets up at night when they're sick, kisses them in the morning when they wake. There's a word for people who leave their children because they don't want to have sex with Mommy anymore: selfish. I'm not a praying man, but I cannot possibly imagine asking God if that would be okay. Send them another Dad, okay? Until you do I'll keep my cellphone on 24/7, I promise.
Who are you to judge? is the standard response, and I quote Captain James T. Kirk when asked the same question by Kodos the Executioner: who do I have to be? I’ll tell you this: my nightmare is losing my daughter. The idea of leaving her on purpose is inconceivable, and I don’t care if Adriana Lima drove up the driveway in a '57 BelAir convertible, tossed me the keys and asked me to drive her to Rio, it ain’t gonna happen. I made a promise when I married my wife, and I made another when we had our daughter. It's made me rather cranky on the subject of men who don't stick around. They're letting down the side. They're reverting to type. They're talking from their trousers.
I know, I know, his daughters love him & support him now. So what. Hitler’s dog went to his funeral. (No, that doesn’t make sense, but it’s my favorite wrench to throw in conversations this week.) If he’d cast off his family to cavort with a woman from the choir, I’m not sure he’d be elevated to the level of moral avatar – but by some peculiar twist the fact that he left mom for a man insulates him from criticism. It’s as if he had to do it. To stay in the marriage would have been (crack of thunder, horses neighing) living a lie, and nowadays we’re told that’s the worst thing anyone can do. Better to bedevil other lives with the truth than inconvenience your own with a lie. Right? If others are harmed in the short run, eventually they will be happy because you’re happier. Right?
I don’t think it works that way with little children. I don’t think they understand why Dads leave – and so they make up their own reasons and spend years looking for evidence in other people.
Heard an interview with Rev. Robinson this afternoon, and he used a phrase that set my teeth on edge: he referred to partnerships as “life-intentioned.” A wonderful weasel word, that: intention. The escape hatch is built right in. It’s as if the intention to stay together is equal to the expressed promise to stay together. But it’s not. Everyone had a faithless lover who did you wrong, and usually blamed everything but free will. It just happened, you know. Wasn’t intending to cheat, but . . . it just happened, okay?
Tonight I told my wife that I now regarded our marriage vows not as a solemn promise, but an expression of my intentions.
Ever seen those “Bringing Up Father” cartoons where Jiggs flees the house, trailed by a fusillade of rolling pins and frying pans?
Lileks should definitely be in every newspaper in America.