The late and revered Bishop Moore at St. John the Divine here in NYC returned to news via a article this week's The New Yorker
by none other than his own daughter. I haven't read the actual article yet, but a piece about it in the NYTImes this morning caught my attention.
The man was gay- or at least had gay relationships- while fathering 9 children.
A Bishop Unveiled God’s Secrets While Keeping His Own
As is customary during Lent, the sermon at St. John the Divine Cathedral on Sunday touched on the themes of seen and unseen truths, knowing and not knowing what is before one’s very eyes.
It was not intended as a veiled reference to the disclosure this week that Paul Moore Jr., the late, revered Episcopal bishop who became a national figure of liberal Christian activism from the cathdral’s pulpit in the 1970s and ’80s, had lived a secret gay life.
And while the article doesn't mention it, Bishop Moore was instrumental in changing New York City's law's regarding gay rights.
Bishop Moore was unrepentant in his liberalism, even as many others, and the city as a whole, moved increasingly to the right in the 1980's. For example, he gave the invocation at the swearing-in ceremony for his friend Edward I. Koch as mayor in 1978 but within a short time was sparring with the mayor over the issue of housing.
Mr. Koch accused the bishop of being a ''knee-jerk liberal''; Bishop Moore called the mayor's ideas about homelessness ''na´ve and dangerous.''
Bishop Moore also clashed with Cardinal John J. O'Connor, the late Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, over the issue of legal protection for homosexuals. In time, Cardinal O'Connor overshadowed Bishop Moore as the city's most outspoken Christian voice, though one that was far more conservative.
In 1986, Cardinal O'Connor opposed the city's gay rights legislation, which was adopted later that year.
Bishop Moore, however, said that it was ''morally wrong'' to be against equal rights for all citizens.
Bishop Moore later acknowledged that his rhetoric was strong, but added, ''In this city you have to speak strongly to be heard.''
Also in the news today on the obit page was another man with a different story.
Robert Skolrood Is Dead at 79; Argued Religion Cases
Both men, it seems had something to hide. While Bishop Moore was a staunch advocate of gay rights, Mr. Skolrood was a fierce opponent. The end of the article is revealing.
In 2002, when he was semi-retired, Mr. Skolrood was arrested on charges of uttering obscenities and making sexual advances toward a male undercover police officer at an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He denied all the charges at a trial before a federal magistrate in Roanoke, Va., but he pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, and paid a $125 fine.
According to The Roanoke Times, Magistrate Judge Glen Conrad said, “That area has been notorious for problems of an unsavory sort,” adding that “there’s no question that you shouldn’t have been there.”
Both men kept their sexual lives 'private', each doing what they thought the good Lord required of them. One fought for our rights, the other against them.
Thank God for Bishop Moore. He may have kept his gay relationships private, but the public good he did was immeasurable.