Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Saturday, October 31, 2015

SUFFRAGETTE

Suffragette
Drama. Staring Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, directed by Sarah Gavron


What women in Britain went through to get the vote in the 1920s is this movie’s gripping story. The brutality and cruelty the women faced is depicted with candor and power. The characters are fictitious but the story is true. Working conditions, male dominance and political intransigence kept especially poor women powerless. Meryl Streep plays a walk-in-role as Emmaline Pankhurst, a radical feminist who urged women on to direct action. Men and women will be disturbed and inspired by this movie of the wretched job it was for women to have the right to vote.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

PROTESTANTS AND THE RISE OF GAY RIGHTS

REFORMING SODOM       
PROTESTANTS AND THE RISE OF GAY RIGHTS
Heather R. White
The University of North Carolina Press  Chapel Hill
2015

From sin to sickness to compassion to full acceptance is the journey Heather White takes us on in her well-written book. Protestant liberal clergy led their denominations through the wringer of significant change toward LGBT rights and justice. Lay people often reluctantly followed.

Ms White is a visiting assistant professor in religion and queer Studies at the University of the Puget Sound. The book is well researched and has extensive bibliography and notes. All of the major psychologists, psychiatrists, scholars and researchers in homosexual studies were studied.

Her chapter on the Bible and homosexuality reveals that the word homosexual did not appeared until the Revised Standard Version of the Bible published in 1956. The King James Version of 1611 never used the word homosexuality, which word was not coined until the 19th century. She shows the futility of attempting to use the Bible against gays. White handles the complexity of the Biblical literature with accuracy and insight.

Liberal clergy by the 1950s were uneasy with the rampant condemnation of gays and lesbians. They thought they homosexuals were sick and needed compassion, not punishment. A movement also developed to get gay men to accept their sexuality but behave and pass as straight. As the 60s rolled into the 70s, many clergy came to know homosexuals as friends, colleagues and human beings. Many clergy saw that some people truly simply were drawn to people of their own sex. It was a natural normal part of the creation.

Of interest to San Franciscans is her description of the New Year’s Day invasion by the police of a charity costume ball given by various gay groups. Seven Protestant clergy held a press conference caustically criticizing the police. (Yours truly was among them) The outrage that followed caused widespread police changes to policies of invading gay bars and harassing gays and lesbians.

White points out that invasion of the New Year’s Day Ball is not considered as the kick-off to the gay right’s movement is because it did not become national news.

Four years later in 1969 the Stonewall riots happened and that was national and international news. Thus Stonewall is heralded as the foundation of the gay right’s movement.

 The book carefully traces the long painful struggle in the Presbyterian Church to bring church justice to its lesbian and gay members. All the denominations went through similar fights and struggles to affirm full right for all its members.

Since much of the anti-gay rhetoric worries about the affect of homosexuality on marriage and the family, Whited deals extensively with heterosexual marriage.

She quotes Britain’s Wolfenden Report of 1955 that says sexual activity between consenting adults, in private, should not be a matter of law. This is an excellent summary of the thrust of her book.


Heather White has written a book worthy of the attention of all interested in the Biblical background and historical rise and the struggle for full justice and freedom for all LBGT people.

Monday, October 12, 2015

REFORMING SODOM

REFORMING SODOM       
PROTESTANTS AND THE RISE OF GAY RIGHTS
Heather R. White
The University of North Carolina Press  Chapel Hill
2015

From sin to sickness to compassion to full acceptance is the journey Heather White takes us on in her well-written book. Protestant liberal clergy led their denominations through the wringer of significant change toward LGBT rights and justice. Lay people often reluctantly followed.

Ms White is a visiting assistant professor in religion and queer Studies at the University of the Puget Sound. The book is well researched and has extensive bibliography and notes. All of the major psychologists, psychiatrists, scholars and researchers in homosexual studies were studied.

Her chapter on the Bible and homosexuality reveals that the word homosexual did not appeared until the Revised Standard Version of the Bible published in 1956. The King James Version of 1611 never used the word homosexuality, which word was not coined until the 19th century. She shows the futility of attempting to use the Bible against gays. White handles the complexity of the Biblical literature with accuracy and insight.

Liberal clergy by the 1950s were uneasy with the rampant condemnation of gays and lesbians. They thought they homosexuals were sick and needed compassion, not punishment. A movement also developed to get gay men to accept their sexuality but behave and pass as straight. As the 60s rolled into the 70s, many clergy came to know homosexuals as friends, colleagues and human beings. Many clergy saw that some people truly simply were drawn to people of their own sex. It was a natural normal part of the creation.

Of interest to San Franciscans is her description of the New Year’s Day invasion by the police of a charity costume ball given by various gay groups. Seven Protestant clergy held a press conference caustically criticizing the police. (Yours truly was among them) The outrage that followed caused widespread police changes to policies of invading gay bars and harassing gays and lesbians.

White points out that invasion of the New Year’s Day Ball is not considered as the kick-off to the gay right’s movement is because it did not become national news.

Four years later in 1969 the Stonewall riots happened and that was national and international news. Thus Stonewall is heralded as the foundation of the gay right’s movement.

 The book carefully traces the long painful struggle in the Presbyterian Church to bring church justice to its lesbian and gay members. All the denominations went through similar fights and struggles to affirm full right for all its members.

Since much of the anti-gay rhetoric worries about the affect of homosexuality on marriage and the family, Whited deals extensively with heterosexual marriage.

She quotes Britain’s Wolfenden Report of 1955 that says sexual activity between consenting adults, in private, should not be a matter of law. This is an excellent summary of the thrust of her book.

Heather White has written a book worthy of the attention of all interested in the Biblical background and historical rise and the struggle for full justice and freedom for all LBGT people.

-The Rev. Robert Warren Cromey
is a priest of the Episcopal Church
retired and lives in San Francisco

415-824-6321
3839 20th St.
SF  CA 94114







Monday, October 05, 2015

JESUS AND WOMEN AND DIVORCE

Sermon for Oct. 4, 2015

Genesis 2

Genesis is a story. It is not history or biology.

Imagine  an old Jewish man, may be a rabbi four or five thousand years ago. See him talking with a group of children. A kid raises his hand and asks, “Who made the animals?” The old man tells a story, Out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to the man to see. God brought them to the man and told the man to give them a name. That’s an eagle, that’s a canary, that’s a wolf, that’s a crocodile, that is a rabbit. So all the animals got their name.

Remember this is an ancient story. It is not anthropology, sociology or biology. This is story.

Today we have the blessing of the animals. St. Francis of Assissi, used to talk to he birds and loved and respected all the animals. Fr. Richard will bless any animals you brought to church today.

But there is more to the story. The children ask, “Where did mommy come from?” The old rabbi responds saying the man after naming the animals took a nap. You know what God did? He took a rib out of the man and made it into a woman like your mommy.

This story may satisfy young children and has down through the ages. Children today would question the story by the time they got to fourth grade.

We need to look more deeply into the story.

The story was told by a man. Woman was created third. Fist the man, then the animals and finally the woman. The story comes from a powerful patriarchal tradition. Men were seen as having power over women, women were second class citizens. Most of us see men and woman as equals. We see that women can do things men can do. Fight in the military, run major corporations and be doctors and lawyers. Women are still emerging. Growing stronger  in their rights for equal pay, status and recognition.

We can be proud that our Episcopal Church has women deacons, priests Bishops and even the Presiding Bishop. But when it comes to getting a job as a rector of a church. Most vestries still choose men over women.

Jesus was an advocate for women.

In the gospel story Jesus condemns divorce. “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.”

Jesus knew that if a man divorced his wife, she would be destitute, have no means of support and would likely be begging in the streets. A man could divorce his wife, but a woman could not divorce her husband. The man owned her, the money and the property. She and her children would have nothing.

Jesus wide compassion forbade divorce for men in his day because of its harrowing effect on women.

And that’s the way with Jesus. He is compassionate and calls on the world, each of us, all of us to that Christ like Compassion.

For the Hungry, Sick, homeless and immigrants in the United States and those fleeing Syria.