Jack Spong, Jerry Springer and The Episcopal Church
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Thu Feb 3 01:22:28 EST 2000
JACK SPONG, JERRY SPRINGER AND THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
By David W. Virtue
The Jerry Springer Show:
"You can have it all!"
The Lowest-Rated Jerry Springer Show Ever
Crowd: Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!
Jerry: Today's guest is here because he wants you all to know
that Sex is the greatest thing that ever was, is and ever shall
be, and you can do it with anybody, any time, any place with any
gender...and this guy's a bishop in The Episcopal Church!!! I'd
like to welcome the Rt. Rev. Jack Spong to the show.
*Jack Spong enters from backstage.*
Jerry: Hello, Jack, or should I call you Bishop Spong?
Jack: Hi, Jerry. Just call me Jack. All my friends do.
Jerry: With what you believe and advocate you must have a lot
Jack: True. But I have a lot of enemies too, basically narrow-
minded Fundamentalist types.
Crowd: Yeeeeaaaa Jack! Woooooo, Woooooo.
Jerry: (reading from card) So, Jack, you're here to tell all
these people that sex is the greatest thing that ever was and
there are no restrictions on who you do it with, where you do it,
how often you do it, what age you do it and what gender you do it
with, just so long as you don't pass on a nasty disease. Is that
Jack: You got it, Jerry. I've been a bishop in Newark, NJ for
nearly 25 years and I gotta tell you that in Newark, we have seen
it all, most people have done it all, and so the obvious thing is
to embrace it all. I even ordained a gay man once who regrettably
died of AIDS. I'm right out ahead of the Church on this issue
Jerry. This man John Williams, by the way, said Mother Teresa
would have been better off if she'd gotten laid. Now that's
pretty radical, don't you agree Jerry?
Crowd: Wooooo! Wooooo!
Jerry: Wow, Jack you've won this crowd over, and we haven't even
Jack: You see, Jerry, I'm a postmodernist bishop. I believe that
the individual self, the "I" or ego is the foundation of all
metaphysics, and self-fulfillment is the highest order of
reality. You see the contemporary self is a socially constructed,
multi-faceted subjectivity reflecting the personal (meaning
sexual) and spiritual realities of 21st Century personhood.
Crowd: Ooooohhhh! (Camera pans confused looks on audience faces.)
Jerry: Sheesh Jack, I'm moved by your affirmation of self-
fulfillment and ego-reinforcing reality. I guess everybody in the
studio already believes that in their own way. In fact there is
so much ego-reinforcement on this show some people actually come
to blows reinforcing themselves and each other.
Crowd: Yeeeeaaaa! Ooooo! Ooooo! Jer-ry!!! Jer-ry!!!
Jack: Morality is a private matter Jerry; it's got nothing to do
with religion. What people do in the privacy of their bedrooms
with whomever is none of anybody's business especially the
church's. We should keep our nose out of people's lives and get
people intoxicated with God, just like I am.
Crowd: Yeeeeaaaa! Yeeeeaaaa! Go Jack! Go Jack!
Jerry: Looks like the crowd is right with you Jack.
Jack: They ought to be Jerry. I'm only telling them what they
really believe, what they want and in fact are already doing,
Jerry: I agree. But sometimes jealousy gets in the way especially
when it comes to threesomes, people can't seem to handle their
feelings when another person gets between them in the sheets.
Sometimes on this show they come to blows and we have to drag
them apart. I've got to admit that I have a bit of a problem
here. I thought you, being a bishop and all, stood for something
different, you know, like Christian morality, and teach what the
Jack: The Bible is a heterosexist, homophobic book of stories
built around male Jewish Mashridic myths! Literalistic Biblical
interpretation equals oppression and the silencing of
marginalized voices--especially those of gays, lesbians, bisexual
and transgendered persons, Jerry. Women today are being liberated
from male oppression, replacing penises with dildos, fulfilling
themselves with other women like Episcopal theologian I. Carter
Heywood in my church, and realizing their true selves by choosing
as many partners of either gender as they like whenever they
Crowd: Yeeeeaaaa, Yeeeeaaaa!!! Woooooo!!! Go Jack Go! Go! Jack
Go! Go! Jack Go!
Jerry: That's quite a mouthful Jack. The crowd is eating this
Jack: Sure they are Jerry. They know truth when they hear it.
Jerry: But I'm not sure they understand it, Jack.
Jack: They don't have too, Jerry. Nobody really understands it or
me. But when I speak about sex I get everybody's attention. I've
written 15 books explaining myself and what I believe and some of
them are best sellers, basically because I tell people what they
want to hear and reinforce the behaviors they already have.
People just have to go with their instincts and fulfill those
basic urges and needs. The worst thing is to have boundaries. No
boundaries is what I believe, Jerry. When people release
themselves from heterosexist limitations and fundamentalist guilt
and low self esteem they will discover a new liberation and the
divine within themselves. They will eagerly explore the far
reaches of sexual self-discovery without fear of guilt or g-d,
whoever She might be.
Jerry: Really Jack?
Jack: Really Jerry. The modernist methodology of self-
understanding is to start with the basic dialectic of our sexual
self-awareness. It is the only road to truth! Mindless
repetition of the Prayer Book, Bible, tradition and reason leads
to irrational guilt and fear, and that kind of thinking has to go
Crowd: YEEEEAAAA!!! Go Jack!!! Go Jack!!!
Jerry: But Jack, when I grew up in England and went to public
school we were taught that the Bible was true...that sin and
salvation was part of the Christian religion...that you had to
...ah, like repent and confess your sins and then you'd go to
heaven and stuff like that.
Crowd: Booo Booo. No, Jer-ry!!! No, Jer-ry!!!
Jerry: All right I admit that I was more interested in girls than
G-d when I hit puberty, and I was trying to look up girls' skirts
when they were kneeling in front of me. But I was just a horny
young red-blooded male and didn't know any better.
Jack: And now you're saying that you are no longer horny and
interested in women now that you are over 50, Jerry?
Crowd: Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Tell the truth Jerry!
Jerry: Sheesh Jack, all I'm saying is that I've grown up a bit
and I don't need to chase every skirt around town.
Jack: But Jerry, wasn't it revealed in the newspapers that you
had a couple of women together in bed?
Jerry: Wait a minute Jack, whose on the hot seat here, and if
morality doesn't matter, according to you, why are you
challenging me about what I do?
Crowd: Yea Jack, Why!!! Why!!! Why!!!
Jack: You're trying to dodge the issue, Jerry. What I'm saying is
you can have it all and you don't have to be ashamed.
Jerry: (reading from card). According to some statistics I have
here Jack, your diocese in Newark has dropped 40 percent in
numbers and you've closed 18 parishes while you were bishop. How
do you account for that?
Jack: Numbers are irrelevant, Jerry. People are comfortable in
churches that preach a fixed moral code. When you push the
envelope like I do and take theological and moral risks you are
bound to upset people. I help people break out of their comfort
zones and challenge their moral exclusivity with inclusive
thinking. I'm more intoxicated with God than most fundamentalist
and evangelical preachers. I take risks redefining how people
think about God. I am here to modernize the Christian Faith, make
it more palatable to people here in the studio.
Jerry: Sounds good, Jack, but they're not exactly flocking to
your cathedral to hear this stuff, whereas evangelical churches
are filling up everywhere.
Jerry: (Reading from card). You've been married twice, did you
ever have sex outside of your marriage vows Jack, say between
Jack: I'm not going to answer that question, Jerry. As I said sex
is none of anybody's business. It's a private matter between
consenting parties. Where have you been for the past 20 years?
Jerry: Clearly not in your church, Jack.
Crowd: (Laughing) Jer-ry! Jer-ry!
Jack: You have to start with radical doubt, Jerry, especially
when it comes to the Bible. You can't take things literally. It's
all one big myth, foisted on us by ancient Jewish rabbis who
couldn't see their thingies for their beards. The worst of them
all was the Apostle Paul who was clearly a self-loathing
homosexual, and who, for all we know, might have been a drag
Crowd: Yea...Wooooo. Go Jack go!!!
Jerry: It's time for questions from the audience.
Audience member: Bishop Spong. My name is Monica Bimbo and I've
done it all with just about everybody who's asked. I've smoked
enough grass to light up Mount Fuji and I've done things with
cigars that I've never told mother about. At the end of the day
though I'm still unhappy and unfulfilled. Occasionally I even
feel guilt about some of the things I've done. Can you help me?
Jack: Thank you, Monica. Guilt is a post Freudian hangover from a
Victorian morality imposed by fundamentalists in a post-modernist
society. Get rid of it. Drop it. Get a new man, preferably not
from the South (even though I was born there) and get a different
brand of cigar. Maybe you should try a woman. The male appendage
can be awfully threatenin'.
*Gays in the crowd cheer and stomp. *
Crowd goes wild. Ooooooooh! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Yea Jack!!! Yea Jack!!!
Jerry: But shouldn't you be recommending the Bible to this woman
to give her comfort at this time Jack?
Jack: Jerry, you can't trust the Bible to tell us the truth. As
far as I'm concerned the Virgin Mary was a sexually abused
teenager, and Judas Iscariot was a fictional character created to
justify anti-Semitism in the church. And there's more. The Bible
has a heterosexist twist on human relationships that is pre-
Copernican and homophobic. The biblical writers never had the
scientific knowledge we have today. They knew nothing about gay
genes and scientific thinking on a whole range of sexualities
that people experience today. We know more about sex than any
generation in history, and that's why we can enjoy it more. Look
I'm almost 70 and I'm still getting it on. Thank g-d for Viagra.
Crowd: Woooooo! Woooooo!..go Jack go. Yea...preach it Jack!!!
Jerry: But Jack, if I understand you correctly you are saying
then that the Old Testament was wrong about sex, Jesus was wrong,
the apostles were wrong, the Church Fathers were wrong, the
Reformers like Calvin and Luther were wrong, the Wesley's were
wrong, Billy Graham is wrong. If that's true that pretty well
leaves only...JESUS, Jack!
Jack: If you say so, Jerry.
Jerry: We'll be right back with a final thought! Stay with us!
*Commercial break for debt-consolidation loans, ITT Technical
Institute and Psychic Alliance Hotline. *
Jerry: Hi! Welcome back. I just want to thank Jack Spong for
being here, and to say that I hope he has enlightened you. I hope
you all find happiness, if indeed happiness can be extracted from
the dismal lives most of you lead. But as we all know when the
heart gets involved, all our painfully acquired metaphysical
insights go right out the window, and we're reduced to battling
it out like rutting chimpanzees. Jack Spong has made that clear.
It's not pretty. If you're in a relationship, and differences
over the fundamental principles of your respective subjectivities
are making things difficult, maybe it's time to move on. Find
someone new, someone who will accept you and the way your
laughably limited human intelligence chooses to codify and
rationalize the chaos of existence. After all, in the absence of
a clear, unquestionable revelation from God, that's all we're all
doing here. So remember: take care of yourselves -- and each
Announcer: Be sure to tune in next time, when Episcopal
theologian, lesbian, womanist and feminist I. Carter Heywood
battles it out with heterosexual New Testament scholar NT Wright
in: Is the Bible sexist? We'll also have two very special
Episcopal gay guests, Louie and Ernest. Tomorrow on Springer!
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