2007 Outrageous Quotes of the Week
Week of January 7 - 13
"It is true that Jerry [Ford] and I shared a common commitment to our religious faith—not just in worshipping the same Savior, but in attempting in our own personal way to achieve reconciliation within our respective denominations. We took to heart the admonition of the Apostle Paul that Christians should not be divided over seemingly important but tangential issues, including sexual preferences and the role of women in the church, things like that. We both felt that Episcopalians, Baptists and others should live together in harmony within the adequate and common belief that we are saved by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus Christ."
- Former President Jimmy Carter, speaking at the funeral for former President Gerald Ford on January 3, 2007, in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2000, Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), in part because of the SBC's opposition to female ordination.
Week of January 14 - 20
"I swear by my people and my country that will I not rest my arm or my soul as we build a new political system, a new social system, a new economic system. I swear by Christ, the greatest socialist in history, I will follow the wonderful mandates of this constitution, even if it costs me my own life and my own peace. Country, socialism or death, I swear it."
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez made the statement during his inaugural address on January 10 in Caracas.
Week of January 28 - February 3
"The Sunday after General Convention I returned to my home parish for Gay Pride Sunday and participated in a Disco Mass for which gays and lesbians turned out in force. The opening hymn was a beautiful jazz rendition of 'Over the Rainbow.' Musical offerings came from gay men in sequined tank tops and from the Director of Music who was ushered into the service singing a disco number complete with go-go girls. The queen of St. Mark’s appeared in full drag to deliver the homily and the closing hymn was, Sister Sledge’s 'We Are Family.'"
- Nell Braxton Gibson, Coordinator of the Episcopal Urban Caucus, describing a "disco Mass" at her home congregation in New York City.
Week of February 25 - March 3
"Just as for me and for so many others of us in this and every other church, it took the martyrs of Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery for us to begin to understand the humanity of the victims, so it will take more Matthew Shepherds (some Black, some Brown, some Asian) for those who stand against the Episcopal Chruch. How odd that it will be a brother or sister of Matthew who will be the agent of salvation for [Nigerian Archbishop] Peter Akinola and his brothers and sisters in faith, enabling them to see the full humanity and holiness of those they once saw only as sin or threat."
- The Rev. Thomas Woodward, Episcopal priest and steering committee member of The Episcopal Majority, a liberal organization within the Episcopal Church (TEC).
Week of March 4 - 10
"Despite the departure of a handful of disaffected Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations in recent months, General Assembly Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick remains convinced that the troubled denomination 'is in a potential tipping point of renewed growth and vitality.'"
- Opening sentence from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) News Service article, "Kirkpatrick Says PCUSA is at 'Tipping Point' of Renewal."
Week of March 18 - 24
"We look forward to the day when all people know that the word 'Christian' means a movement that yearns and aches for the Kingdom of God to come here on Earth with people of all faiths."
- Excerpt from the website for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq protest in Washington, DC on March 16. The protest was organized by the liberal evangelical organization Sojourners.
Week of April 1 - 7
"[N]o matter how good [theologian Dr. Robert Gagnon's] arguments are, the conclusions he comes to are patently bigoted, so I reject them regardless of what apparent veracity they may have. Frankly, if Jesus Christ pried open the skies and leaned down into my living room right now and said 'Doug, it is a sin to be homosexual,' I'd say 'Okay Jesus, that makes things simple—I'm not Christian anymore. Now go away.'"
- San Francisco Theological Seminary (PCUSA) student Doug Hagler, objecting to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary professor Robert Gagnon's arguments against the compatibility of homosexual behavior with Christian practice.
Week of April 15 - 21
"Kurt Vonnegut is up in heaven now. . . . His message spoken and unspoken was that you can go on with your life in spite of divorce, illness and despair and to me going through divorce, illness and despair that was good news.
". . . The gospel of Kurt Vonnegut is not identical with that of the Christian tradition but granting the differences, Vonnegut takes the life and teachings of Jesus Christ more seriously than some professing believers. For example in 'Jailbird' he traces the modern movement of social progress to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount."
- Dr. David James Randolph, former Senior Minister of Christ Church United Methodist in New York City. James officiated over Vonnegut's second wedding in 1979 to Jill Kremetz. Vonnegut, an avowed atheist, served as the honorary president of the American Humanist Association.
Week of April 22 - 28
"'Lord' has become a loaded word conveying hierarchical power over things, which in what we have recorded in our sacred texts, is not who Jesus understood himself to be."
- The Rev. Susan Anderson-Smith, associate rector at St. Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church in Tucson, AZ. Anderson-Smith is quoted in an article in the Arizona Daily Star explaining why the use of the term "Lord" is being restricted at her church.
Week of April 29 - May 5
"Where the protesters [those opposed to the Episcopal Church's actions legitimatizing homosexual behavior] are, in some parts of Africa or in other parts of the Anglican Communion today, is where this church and this society we live in was 50 years ago, and for us to assume that people can move that distance in a year or in a relatively instantaneous manner is perhaps faithless. That kind of movement and development has taken us a good deal of pain and energy over 40 or 50 years, and I think we have to make some space so that others can make that journey as well.""
- The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, in an April 25 interview in the Boston Globe.
Week of May 13 - 19
“Islam has a far better record than either Christianity or Judaism of appreciating other faiths.”
- Author Karen Armstrong. Armstrong, a former nun, refers to herself as a "freelance monotheist," claiming to draw inspiration from the three monotheistic faiths of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. She is a fellow of the theologically liberal Jesus Seminar.
Week of May 27 - June 2
“I would like to suggest that we have to start reading the Bible backwards....We begin with Revelation, not with the pristine garden. But then, reading backwards with the saints of all times and places, we discern the possibility for a new beginning—we reach towards a new genesis, a new way of living in harmony with the earth...."
- The Rev. Janet Parker, pastor of Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ in Arlington, Virginia. Rev. Parker was the winner of the National Council of Churches' first Environmental Sermon Award.
Week of June 3 - 9
"The way I understand Jesus is compatible with Islam. And although there are Christians and Muslims who think I must convert from one to another, the more I go down this path, the more excited I am about both Christianity and Islam.
"...I agree with both [Islam and Christianity] because I do want to say that Jesus is unique, and for me, Jesus is my spiritual master. Muslims say Mohammed is the most perfect. Well, it depends on who you fall in love with....I was following Jesus, and he led me into Islam, and he didn't drop me off at the door. He's there, too."
- The Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding, speaking on her dual role as practicing Muslim and Episcopal Priest, in an interview on page 9 of the June 2007 Episcopal Voice, an official publication of the Episcopal Church in western Washington (state). Dr. Redding is a professor of theology at Seattle University.
Week of June 17 - 23
"According to the Rev. John Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ, the denomination needs to start seeing itself less as a big tent and more as a parade heading in a certain direction and marching to a certain drumbeat.
"Some of the tolerance toward dissenting groups needs to end, he said, especially if those groups are not loving and bent on pulling people out of the denomination."
- Article in the Carroll County Times (Westminster, MD) on the 50 year anniversary of the United Church of Christ.
Week of July 8 - 14
"A 21st century [Martin] Luther would surely recognize that the few biblical proscriptions against "sodomy"—shaky in themselves as condemnations of same-sex love and rooted in a worldview vastly different from our own—should not bar the loving union of two gay or lesbian persons. Equally, a 21st century Luther would affirm the ordination of such persons, as in line with his theology of the 'priesthood of all believers.'"
- Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women's studies and religion at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, responding to the recent decsion by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to expel a minister who admitted to a physical homosexual relationship—a violation of the denominations "Visions and Expectations" statement.
Week of July 22 - 28
"Paganism has an important role to play in American religious culture as it explicitly regards women as capable of embodying the sacred. It has been my personal experience that conservative Christianity in particular regards all women, regardless of their faith, as vaguely Pagan. Christian conservatives do not value women's religious leadership as highly as that of males. Women are called the 'weaker vessel' and considered less capable of embodying the sacred. This is why women are not ordained by Catholics and conservative Protestants. Women are deemed incapable of 'imagining Christ.'"
- The Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary (UCC), in a July 6 article for The Washington Post blog On Faith.
Week of August 12 - 18
"They may have been anti-church, but they were not anti-God or anti-religion."
- Rev. Ernle Gordon, spokesman for the Anglican Church in Jamaica, explaining the inclusion of reggae songs by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in the new church hymnal. Both Marley and Tosh were practicioners of Rastafarianism, an indigenous religion known for the sacramental smoking of marijuana.
Week of August 19 - 25
"God doesn't really care how we address Him."
- Catholic Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens of the Netherlands, suggesting on the Dutch television show Network that Christians begin referring to God as "Allah" in an attempt to foster better relations with Muslims. Bishop Muskens predicts that within 100-200 year, Roman Catholics will be addressing prayers to Allah.
Week of September 9 - 15
"But I must tell you, I have a hard time even thinking of [the IRD and other reform-minded groups and individuals within the mainline church denominations] as sisters and brothers. But you, who are Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and others who work so hard to create and restore human relationships, are doing the will of God. You are my sisters and brothers."
- Shanta Premawardhana, Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations for the National Council of Churches (NCC), addressing the Islamic Society of North America on September 2, 2007.
Week of October 14 - 20
"All are welcome at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts on October 13 at 5:30 p.m. for the HipHopEMass 'Big Bean' Celebration with the newest Hip Hop Bishop, 'Great Momma' Gayle Harris."
- The official website of the Episcopal Church, promoting "Hip Hop Schoolhouse"—a two-day "hip hop worship learning party" in Boston.
Week of November 4 - 10
"This Folsom Street Fair poster might even communicate the good news of Christian faith better than some of the worship services in our churches: There ought not to be any exception to the radical welcome of the Gospel. And that's exactly what I see in this poster—people who have put themselves on the table, leather gear and all. It is at once a deeply human and deeply spiritual portrayal—exactly like the final meal Jesus shared with his closest friends."
- The Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson, Acting Executive Director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS) at the at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, regarding a poster promoting the Folsom Street Fair celebration in San Francisco. The poster depicts individuals in sado-masochistic attire recreating the famous painting of the “Last Supper” by Leonardo DaVinci.
Week of December 2 - 8
"Mary, Red Bull is an energy drink which gives you wings. How else could the heavenly host keep it up?"
- A "fourth wise man," giving the baby Jesus the gift of a popular energy drink in an advertisement appearing on Polish television. A Roman Catholic bishop in Warsaw has objected, calling "such exploitation of Christmas traditions . . . scandalous."
Week of December 16 - 22
"There are not many churches that would reach out to a bunch of crazy anarchists, and there are not many anarchists that would reach out to a bunch of crazy Methodists."
- Kate Khatib, a member of a group of self-described anarchists who run Red Emma's, a nonprofit bookstore and cafe in downtown Baltimore. Red Emma’s has partnered with St. John's United Methodist Church (whose pastor, Drew Phoenix, recently underwent a sex change procedure) to rent the church building to house its expanding bookstore.
Outrageous Quotes Archive: 2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010