The openly gay American Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, has taken to wearing a bulletproof vest and walking with a bodyguard for fear of being attacked.
Bishop Robinson made the revelation during an address he gave, ‘The Lambeth Conference: A View from the Fringe’ at Kent University earlier this month.
The bishop has been attending fringe sessions that coincide with the 14th Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.
Liberal and conservative factions of the Anglican Church have been at loggerheads ever since he was ordained in the US in 2003.
Quoting extensively from the scriptures during his talk, he challenged traditional perceptions of same-sex relations:
“Heterosexism is the problem with today’s society,” he said, according to www.kentonline.co.uk.
“Homosexual families are still viewed as second class citizens, but what we are seeing today is the death of patriarchy.
“In order for the Church to come round to the idea of gay marriage, we need to separate the civil right from the religious right. If we can do that, we might get more religious support for the issue.
“It’s an exciting time to be alive. There are live issues floating around the Church to do with civil rights, but I think God’s heart would break to see people marginalised.”
Bishop Robinson claimed even Jesus possibly would not be welcome to attend the Lambeth Conference for the views he once held.
“I think Jesus might find himself on the fringe like me, and not inside the big top with the so-called powers that be!”
He is expected to continue attending fringe sessions at the Lambeth Conference, which runs until August 3rd.
In an interview with PinkNews.co.uk earlier this year, Bishop Robinson revealed that he faces constant threats of violence because of his stance against homophobia in the church.
“There are lots of crazy people out there and you know more and more crazy people are turning to violence.
“I’m not willing to put my life at risk without taking advantage of what protections I can put in place, in a civil union for my partner and family. I think that’s what any wife or husband would do.”