The Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson, the first openly gay man to be ordained as a bishop has used his first interview since announcing his retirement to criticse the Archbishop of Canterbury. In a wide ranging interview with The Times, Bishop Robinson says Rowan Williams acts as if he was abducted by aliens and replaced with someone with a completely contrary view on homosexuality.

Rev Robinson was the first openly gay, non-celibate bishop to be elected when he was ordained in 2003. His appointment caused deep rifts between liberals and traditionalists. 

“For 18½ centuries we had slavery and we used scripture to justify it … we have used scripture to subjugate and denigrate women … now we happen to be living in a time where we are trying to sort out whether we might have been similarly wrong about homosexuality,” he told the newspaper.

“What I point to is that Jesus clearly felt he had a special ministry and relationship to those who had been pushed to the margins. His central message was that no one is beyond God’s love. I would like to think that Jesus would have been arguing for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the life of the Church and in the life of the secular community.”

Robinson went on to express his perplexity at Dr William’s changing approach to homosexuality. “We were dancing in the streets when Rowan Williams was made Archbishop of Canterbury. We just thought it was a wonderful choice. And we are so perplexed here in the American Church about what he has done, what he has said.

“I have clergy friends in England who literally studied at Archbishop Williams’s feet when he was teaching and who have said to me it is almost as if aliens have come and taken Rowan away from us and they have left something here that looks like him but we don’t recognise him any more.

“And that’s from people who know him very very well. His writings and theological thinking have made enormous contributions to our common life. That will continue to be true. But I think writing and teaching is a different gift than leading and presiding over the Communion. And it’s in that latter area that I think we have so much confusion.”