Mr. Cooper, welcome to the light

Kevin Winter GETTY IMAGES BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JUNE 23: CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper (R) and Oscar the Grouch appear … Continued

Kevin Winter

GETTY IMAGES

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JUNE 23: CNN Anchor Anderson Cooper (R) and Oscar the Grouch appear onstage at the 39th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.

The first TV interview I ever did, after becoming the first openly gay priest ever to be elected bishop in the Episcopal Church, was with Anderson Cooper. I was new to the national media and a neophyte at such notoriety, but still, Anderson seemed nervous and uncomfortable. I wondered if he was distracted by other important news, simply uninterested in matters religious, or uncomfortable to be a closeted gay man wanting to stay as far away as possible from anything gay.

Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and I would be the last person to judge harshly anyone who chose not to do so. Still, as Mr. Cooper’s sexual orientation moved from rumor to open secret, I wondered why. In a rather elegant explanation to a friend, which he recently allowed to become public, Anderson Cooper has publicly come out. I am grateful to him for that, and yes, I think it matters.

It matters to the young gay kid in Anywhere, USA, who, despite the strides forward we have made, still wonders if being gay is okay. It matters that gay and lesbian kids have role models, especially the likes of Anderson Cooper, who has to be the hardest working journalist in America. It matters that that kid can see someone gay who excels at what he does with his life. It matters that Mr. Cooper has now said openly, “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” Those are the words every gay kid wants to be able to say about themselves.

It even matters to me, a publicly gay figure. Fighting this battle for acceptance – in the church and in the society – can get lonely. Despite the increasing numbers of openly gay public figures, it can be isolating and lonely on the front lines, and as every war combatant can tell you, it helps to have comrades who have your back – even if that comrade has merely announced the colors he’s wearing in this fight.

It also may turn out to be surprisingly important to Anderson himself. A dear friend and colleague, Tom Shaw, bishop of Massachusetts, came out in the new documentary “Love Free or Die.” His identity as a gay man, albeit a celibate monk as well, was a rather open secret too, and his coming out was not a surprise to most people in and beyond his diocese. But since the film’s January premiere, I have noticed a lightness to his spirit, a surprising lift in his witness to the Gospel, and an ease about his life that was not present before. I hope that Anderson is pleasantly surprised by the difference it makes in his own life.

At its best, the religious life encourages and enables us to live lives of integrity and authenticity. For me, as a religious person, I credit God’s acceptance of and love for me for my happiness as a gay man, while most of the world still condemns me. I don’t know what motivated Anderson Cooper to come out at this time, in this way. But I do know it matters. It especially matters to that gay kid who wants someday to be able to say, along with Anderson Cooper, “I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

Mr. Cooper, welcome to the light!

Bishop Gene Robinson, ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire, is author of “God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage,” which is set to be released in September. Follow him on Twitter @BishopGRobinson

Written by

  • ghislaine blanchard

    Good news Mister Cooper ! I’m so proud of you. You will help so many people ! You are a wonderful man! Quebec loves you ! Be free at last and happy

  • DANSHANTEAL1

    THIS IS NOT A BIG DEAL, FOLKS.

  • raymailhot

    Priests that are not following biblical or Christian teaching are priests of what? For those that profess to being Christian priests they “need” to read Romans 1:18-32. It is quite “clear” what they can profess and what they shouldn’t!

    Anderson is trying to get moral validation through administrative religious approval. Good luck with that philosophy/theology!

  • oneeyedjackintx

    after watching and listening to his overly girlish giggles, there was nothing else to hide. well, it didn’t affect DeGeneres career then; hopefully Cooper’s will not falter because of it.

  • eabgarnet

    I remember someone once wrote to the celebrity column in “Parade” magazine about Anderson Cooper, asking if he was in a relationship. The response (as I best remember) was along the lines about Mr. Cooper was private on that subject after watching the publicity his mother Gloria Vanderbilt had to deal with over the years.

  • chowlett1

    Ray, the bible is equally clear that wearing clothes of mixed fibers or eating shrimp is an abomination. Picking and choosing?

  • mikemccl

    why is gay orientation something to be proud of, to be congratulated for? any articles about aging news guys who say there’s just not interested in relationships anymore? any about news guys being proud to be heterosexual? why not just be what you want to be without the public fireworks?

  • chowlett1

    Being courageous enough to declare it certainly merits some pride. Why are people always declaring how “proud” they are to be American? Unless you won your citizenship through military service, you have no more call to be proud of that then being gay, straight, or ambi.

  • ISeeTheTruth

    what does sexuality have to do about religion?
    and what makes homosexuality more acceptable than bigamy or any other sexual perversion in terms of religion.
    mormons can’t have multiple wives, some Christian sects can’t have underage wives but homosexuals are openly welcome,
    why is one more acceptable than the other and why does any deserve to be related to religion?

  • ISeeTheTruth

    yet they made it a big deal.

  • herzliebster

    It’s all very well to talk about sexual orientation as “personal, private, nobody’s business but mine.” But if somebody wants to be partnered — to have an open social life as well as a personal life with integrity — they kind of do have to come out. It’s sort of absurd to try to pretend to be single when you’re not. Ask all the military who tried to live that way under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

  • ccnl1

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adultery or fornication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-sex unions not same-sex marriages.

    To wit:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay sexual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex sexual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O’Donnell.

    As noted, there are basic biological differences in gay unions vs. heterosexual marriage. Government benefits are the same in both but making the distinction is important for census data and for social responses with respect to potential issues with disease, divorce and family interactions.

  • bestowens

    Since Anderson has proclaimed his sexual orientation to the world, I guess he feels he can now date in public. Good luck with that, Andy.

  • RedMarrow

    Yeah, good luck taking your loved one out in public with you, Anderson! Good luck living the same life you’ve lived for so long regardless of the public knowing that you’re gay! Good luck having a happy, successful life! Good luck!

    Wth do you think you’re trying to prove with this sort of comment? He’s a person in the world, gay or not.

  • RedMarrow

    In order:

    * It doesn’t. this just happens to be a relgious person who is talking about it.

    * Bigamy is officially against the law. Homosexuality is not. No one is talking about “terms of religion,” because the Constitution doesn’t recognize religion above the law.

    * Mormons can’t have multiple wives because bigamy is against the law. Some Christian sects can’t have underage wives because people can’t be legally married until they’re of a certain age (also, are you seriously arguing this point? marriage should be between two adults, regardless of gender). Homosexuals aren’t “openly welcome” almost anywhere, if you haven’t noticed.

    * One is more acceptable because the others are against the law. Homosexuality (in this article, and elsewhere) is not being tied to religion at all. This just happens to be one prominent homosexual person talking about another one.

  • Barbara S

    If you are a reliable news agency, which these days in my opinion all news agencies publish and report on partial-truth and avoid reporting or publishing on the whole truth, but if you are reputable to report on the whole truth, I am requesting you to investigate and research why Anderson Cooper decided to come-out NOW, suddenly! We all know who and what he is in nutshell, so why NOW! I have been writing on Anderson Cooper HACKING and BULLYING a person w/ Kelly Ripa and Kathy Griffin since 2009! If you are into publishing and reporting the whole truth, you would look into my allegations about Anderson Cooper’s HACKING and BULLYING ACT w/ Kelly Ripa and Kathy Griffin bc by their hacking and bullying ACTS they have killed and destroyed two lives for no reason, no gain, but probably for their own personal fun and entertainment or bc they hate Christians…I don’t know… If you don’t care, at least let Sandusky and Medoff go free, so they too can live freely and happily like Anderson Cooper, Kelly Ripa, Kathy Griffin and others involved…

  • RedMarrow

    “Anderson is trying to get moral validation through administrative religious approval.”

    I’d love to see your source for Anderson asking Bishop Robinson for this article.

  • Secular1

    Mikemccl, if you need to ask that question, then asking it betrays one or both of the following. 1) you must live a remarkably sheltered life that you are oblivious to your surroundings (like Rip van Winkle and you have just woke up). 2) you are a complete unqualified bigot and of the view that the unadulterated BS espoused, in that decrypt book called bible, is really the code of ethics & morality.

    I would bet that you are not modern day Rip van winkle, so you are a bigot.

  • Catken1

    Another morally-bereft individual proudly preening themselves on their superior virtue while being unable to distinguish between a loving and consensual adult relationship and the rape of a child. The number of so-called Christians who have NO IDEA why adult consent makes a major difference to the morality of a relationship is TERRIFYING, really. Please, until you understand the moral distinction between consensual adult sex and rape, do not have sex yourself. You’re not adult enough.

    As for bigamy, we do not allow it with respect to legal marriage because unlike most cultures which allow plural marriage, we could not legitimately restrict such a right to only one sex, and if you do not, the legal rights and responsibilities quickly get out-of-hand in their complexity. (If A, B, C and D are all married, C is also married to E and C and B to F, D and A also to G and H, etc., it rapidly becomes very difficult to automatically establish things like insurance coverage, next-of-kin designations, child custody and guardianship arrangements, etc. with the standard civil marriage contract- you need individual contracts for each such relationship.) It is reasonable for government to say, “One legal contract of this sort to a customer at a time,” since the alternative would entail far greater cost and legal arbitration, and require major changes with respect to the legal rights and responsibilities of the civil marriage contract (as gay marriage would not). It is not reasonable (per Loving vs. VA) to say, “You may enter into this legal contract with X, but not with Y,” if both X and Y are consenting adults, and if you have no legitimate, sensible for doing so is religious dogma or “we’ve always done it that way”.

  • Earl

    I do not wish to put anyone down for character traits. What I do not understand is;
    What is to be gained by this admission? Perhaps to give his conscience a little rest. Perhaps to brag a little that he is so brave. And to read all the uplifting remarks from a like character engaged in the ministry of counseling other people on their religion. What this world needs is help in correcting the degrading declining morals in this world. Not so much being congratulatory and receptive to the immoral acts of weak men and women who cannot master their own character traits.

  • kovu42

    In that we need religions to stop dragging us backwards in equal rights? There I would agree.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    The dumber you are, the more certain you are about what’s right and wrong. As evidence I submit Earl and his religion.

  • Catken1

    “Not so much being congratulatory and receptive to the immoral acts of weak men and women who cannot master their own character traits. ”

    Like the weak character trait of needing to put others down and call their healthy, happy love lives “immoral” just so you can feel superior? Or the weak behavior of needing to protect one’s “morals” by attacking other people’s families, children, and happiness, rather than being able to live one’s morals oneself without needing outside reinforcement or privilege?

  • lastofall

    It is merely another acknowledging that they are living in sin, nothing more. And seeing that it is a common occurrence, why is it so highly regarded to exalt sin? is it because the unbelieving world seeks to make sin its banner?

  • bnutz79

    Lastofall,

    Bible = fairytales

    Please jump back on your t-rex and ride on out of here.

  • CharlesWade

    Why should Mr. Cooper think that anyone truly wants to be informed about his sex life? This is so completely irrelevant and way too much information for public consumption. Who cares? Does Mr. Cooper think that what he does in his personal time is news or anything of interest? What gross conceit!

  • CharlesWade

    Thank you for stating the truth instead of saying nothing, which is perceived as consent. The majority of Americans believe that sodomy is a sin and repulsive.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    The majority of Americans are imbecilic and repulsive.

  • XVIIHailSkins

    ^ Merely another acknowledging that they live in delusional superstition, nothing more. Seeing as it is a common occurrence (an 80% majority in this country), why is it so highly regarded to exalt credulity? Is it because the religionist world wants to make ignorance its banner?

  • XVIIHailSkins

    I suppose the obvious counterpoint to this would be the fact that our journalists and politicians are incapable of leaving issues like sexuality off the table. Honestly, if you were an alien that crash-landed on this planet, what would the most important political issue of the day appear to be? Budget deficit? Poverty? Illiteracy? Of course not, because the Christian 80% of America has hijacked the conversation in their effort to officiate bronze-age morality to the rest of us.

  • larryclyons

    Funny thing is that most heterosexuals at one time or another also engage in what you call sodomy.

    Actually why are so many anti-gasys so obsessed with homosexual sex? I suspect (and there is some very good research that supports such) that its because those homophobes are closeted gays.

  • larryclyons

    why the concern when Christians do not follow 90% of the rules in the bible.

    Stoned any adulters lately? How about enslaving your neighbour? Have you slept with your recently widowed sister-in-law? Do you wear cotton blends? How was that shrimp last week?

    All those rules are in the bible.

    And what is it with your sort and your perverse obsession with gay sex? Too attractive for you?

    BTW you have got the biological thing entirely wrong.

  • larryclyons

    stereotype much? I hate to see what you write about other minorities.

  • larryclyons

    A question for you fundies. Why is it that the bible has 6 (yes 6) admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals?

    Could it be that those ignorant sheep herders (whose sheep were nervous) trusted straights less than gays?

  • larryclyons

    Agreed, its not a big deal, except to homophobes.

  • faulkwood

    Old Testament laws don’t apply to New Testament Christians, nor to those who are gentile. I mention it because people who actually study the bible, not just read words and take them out of context to support their viewpoint, will respond with that statement and it will not be an effective argument.

  • faulkwood

    “Bible = fairytales” People convince themselves this true so they don’t have to deal with guilt, shame or accept the possibility they can’t do whatever they want even if it’s not right (as if all natural human urges/thoughts are good/positive/wholesome/right). People go through great lengths to justify their behavior. Instead they should just say, “Look, I do what I want, I have a right to do what I want, whether you, God or your dog likes it or not, no one else can make the choice for me.”That is a valid choice/decision as any other. Even if it were proven by a shadow of a doubt that gay marriage was wrong, people would STILL have a right to choose to do it. It’s called free will. God doesn’t even make people choose Him. He ALLOWS them to choose right or wrong, of course He says choose good/right but does not force them. People are free to choose as they wish, as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. If there are any, they will suffer the consequences, not someone else. If God leaves people free to choose as, people should do the same. And people should not be afraid to just be honest and say this is what I’m going to do, my choice/my life, and not try to make justifications for it because they don’t have to.

  • larryclyons

    So it’s ok then to murder, rape and steal? And of course dump the 10 commandments?