The HRC (Human Rights Campaign) weighs in on the "rhetoric run amuck" issue:
WASHINGTON — In an Associated Press story out of California, the Rev. Paul Zahl, dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pa., was quoted as equating the election of an openly gay bishop in California to “a terrorist bomb, which is timed to destroy a peace process.” These incendiary comments come in the middle of an open and honest discussion happening in the Episcopal Church about the election of a second openly gay bishop this weekend at the church’s worldwide convention.
“Reverend Zahl should apologize for spouting such harmful rhetoric in the middle of an open and honest conversation happening in the life of the church,” said Human Rights Campaign Religion and Faith Program Director Harry Knox. “To liken the election of an openly gay bishop to a ‘terrorist bomb’ is one of the most outrageous comments made by a radical conservative fringe in the church that has certainly made some outrageous comments in the last few years.”
In 2003, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson was elected as the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop by New Hampshire Episcopalians. Since that time, the Episcopal Church worldwide has been engaged in a conversation about the role of openly gay clergy members. This weekend, California Episcopalians are set to elect a new bishop to head the Diocese of California. Three of the seven candidates being considered in this weekend’s election are openly gay.
“Paul Zahl's comments comparing the election of a gay bishop to a ‘terrorist bomb’ is hate speech that has no place in any faith-based discourse,” said the Rev. Susan Russell, director of Integrity, the national gay and lesbian Episcopal caucus. “Such language does nothing to advance our public discourse, does everything to further polarize and alienate and is antithetical to the love God calls us all to offer each other. I call for Dean Zahl to apologize for this incendiary rhetoric that attacks not only gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people but the very fabric of our historic faith in the Jesus who called us be peacemakers and to love our neighbors as ourselves.”
The Human Rights Campaign is the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Religion and Faith Program is a major organizer of religious leaders, theologians and experts committed to equal rights for all Americans.