FIGHTING WORDS? What Episcopal Bishop Frade May Have Meant When He Called President Obama A Sodomite
david at virtueonline.org
Fri Dec 5 13:05:05 EST 2014
FIGHTING WORDS? What Episcopal Bishop Frade May Have Meant When He
Called President Obama A Sodomite
By Rick Stone
November 21, 2014
Miami's downtrodden, disenfranchised and undocumented probably have no
greater friend than Bishop Leopold Frade, spiritual leader of Southeast
Florida's 33,000 Episcopalians.
The Cuba-born clergyman -- once the Bishop of Honduras -- authorized the
South Florida diocese's first same-sex wedding in 2012. Five years
before that, he demanded that the Bush Administration give protected
status to 101 Haitians refugees who had washed ashore in South Florida
after a three-week ordeal at sea. Even earlier, he was convicted of
trading with the enemy for helping Cuban refugees make it to Florida
after the Mariel boatlift (the conviction later was overturned).
So, there was nothing unusual when Frade (say FRAH day) stood this week
with immigration advocates urging President Obama to "go big" with his
executive order to curtail deportations.
"It is horrible," Frade, in his purple robes, shouted from the steps of
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, "to see the people being deported, being
separated from their children, being separated from the people that they
love because we have insisted on not doing what we need to do as a
But here's where it did get strange. In his anger over the country's
dysfunctional immigration system, the bishop called the president a
nasty name: sodomite.
"He has been the president that has deported more people than even Bush
did!" Frade said. "And I am asking President Obama to stop being a
And he repeated it in Spanish for the Hispanic media: "Es la hora de
decirle al Presidente Obama que deje de ser un sodomita!"
Technically, a sodomite is merely a person who engages in homosexual
sex, much as the residents of that biblical town, Sodom, did before God
destroyed it. But, shouted to a crowd by some character in clerical
vestments, "sodomite" is often a homophobic insult.
Was it in this case? Hard to tell. But probably not. At the very first
level of analysis, no one has accused the president of being gay. And
even if Obama were gay, Frade's background suggests he would have no
problem with it.
The bishop did not respond to phone calls and emails asking for comment.
Neither did the national church or South Florida figures who have worked
with Frade. But if you open the Bible, and turn to its funkiest and most
X-rated chapter, you may get an idea of what the bishop was driving at.
Ezekiel 16, cited by the bishop, reads like a condemnation of female
sexuality as might be heard from, say, a member of ISIS. But it becomes
apparent that the slutty, ungrateful woman getting all the grief is
actually a metaphor for Jerusalem, which the Lord is berating for
enjoying unearned wealth and beauty while giving no help or comfort to
the poor and needy. Then, there's a comparison to Jerusalem's "sisters,"
Samaria and that champion sin city of all time, Sodom.
So, then: being this kind of sodomite, as Bishop Frade perhaps
inadequately explained to the immigration rally, is wallowing in
undeserved luxury while ignoring one's duty to the needy. In his view,
perhaps a perfect indictment of the U.S. and its Congress and its
approach to immigration.
"This was the sin of your sister Sodom," Frade bellowed as the immigrant
activists darted worried glances at each other. "She and her towns, they
felt very proud of all the abundance that they had, all the food they
have, enjoying all their comfort. But they never help the poor and
needy. They became proud and they did things that I detest."
It's hard to imagine anything good or productive coming from shouting
"sodomite" at the president of the United States unless you're a bishop
with a really exaggerated idea of how familiar people are with the 16th
chapter of the book of Ezekiel.
But once you do the reading, it does become clear: We should really stop
being such sodomites.
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