Gene Robinson is the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire. Ordained in 1973, he made history three decades later when he became the first openly gay person to be consecrated a bishop in the worldwide Anglican communion.
Since then Robinson has been a staunch and outspoken advocate for civil rights and marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. He also has led retreat programs, coordinated youth ministries, started mentoring programs for clergy, and worked with AIDS patients in the United States, Uganda, and South Africa.
His talk, "Justice and Compassion in an Age of Demonization," is part of Elmhurst College’s Speaking of Faith lecture series and is presented in cooperation with The Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary in Elmhurst.
Robinson is the co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, and has been an advocate for anti-racism training in his diocese and the wider church. He has lobbied at the state, national, and international levels for equal protection under the law and full marriage rights for LGBT people.
In 2010 Robinson announced plans to retire next January, citing the toll that has been taken on him, his family, and the diocese since his consecration—an event that led to death threats against him and that set off a historic rift in the Anglican communion, whose churches are in more than 160 countries. But those who know Robinson say he will not be retiring from public life.
Robinson is the subject of a new documentary film, Love Free or Die: How the Bishop of New Hampshire Is Changing the World, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The Bishop's latest book, God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage, was released on September 18 by Alfred Knopf.
Recorded Thursday, October 4, 2012 at Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, Elmhurst College.