Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
Jim McGreevey, the former New Jersey governor who came out of the closet while in office and resigned because of an alleged affair, has converted into the Episcopal Church and will enter its General Theological Seminary in Manhattan. (The ordination of gay priests has become, to put it mildly, a contentious issue in the U.S. branch of King Henry’s church.)
Here’s the word from the Newark Star-Ledger, which broke the story online today:
“This is something he’s been thinking about for years,” said David France, who last year co-authored McGreevey’s best-selling memoir, The Confession. “His spiritual life has always been central to who he is. From the time he was a kid, he thought about going into Catholic seminary a number of times. The idea of going into the Episcopal seminary has been in his mind for at least a couple of years.”
McGreevey, 49, resigned in August 2004 after announcing he was gay and had an affair with a male staffer, who has denied it.
News of McGreevey’s plans come a day after his estranged wife, former first lady Dina Matos McGreevey, released her own tell-all memoir, called Silent Partner: A Memoir of My Marriage. The McGreeveys are embroiled in a nasty divorce and custody battle, which has boiled over in recent weeks and led a Superior Court judge in Elizabeth to instruct the couple to use common sense and remember that their daughter will one day read everything they’re saying about each other.
While in office, McGreevey’s pro-choice political stance put him at odds with the Catholic church. And soon after his resignation, McGreevey began attending Episcopal services. A central point of contention between the McGreeveys in their divorce is whether their 5-year-old daughter, being raised Catholic by Matos McGreevey, should be allowed to accept communion while at services with her father.
Of the Episcopal discernment protocols, Bean said: “There’s a whole process that takes place within his parish here at St. Bart’s, of discernment. That is followed by a process of further discernment at the diocesan level, involving the bishop and all. The decison to go to seminary is part of a more thorough process of discernment to ordination. It’s not just going to seminary that gets you ordained ... It’s a pretty extensive.”
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May 1, 2007 | 6:18 pm
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
Have you heard that story about Richard Gere? No, not the gerbil hoax that tainted Dr. T when I was a kid. But the one about Gere smooching Bollywood babe Shilpa Shetty at an AIDS awareness event in New Delhi last month.
As my friend Manya Brachear points out on her blog for the Chicago Tribune, Gere’s actions “enraged some Hindus who thought the public display violated laws of public obscenity.”
If apprehended, Gere can be sent to jail for up to three months, fined or both. He is not in India now but can be held if he visits the country again, which he does for at least three weeks each year to study Tibetan Buddhism under the tutelage of the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in northern India. He is also involved with AIDS prevention groups there.
Daniel Gold, a professor of South Asian religions at Cornell University, said exceptions are traditionally made for Bollywood stars and Westerners who do not abide by Hindu laws.“In general public displays of affection are not part of Indian traditional culture and most people are rather restrained about that,” Gold said. “The world of Bollywood stars is a whole other world. They have inter-caste marriages, inter-religious marriages. People accept it. But itâs nothing that they would do.”
But Vasudha Narayanan, a professor of religion at the University of Florida, said it wasnât until recently that kissing was considered acceptable by censors, no matter how sexually suggestive an actorâs gestures might be.
“As a general rule of the thumb it would be expected that any visitor to the country should follow the norms and customs of that place and not do anything that would be knee-jerk offensive,” she said.
“Many people are against these types of lawsuits saying it depicts India in a very negative light and India is in many ways an extraordinarily progressive country,” she added. “But like any other place particularly so in India, itâs a land of extremes.”
According to Britian’s gossip magazine Now, Shetty thinks the whole scandal is ridiculous:
“Can you believe it? It’s so, so stupid,” Shilpa, 31, exclaims. “The lunatic fringe went ballistic over nothing.
“Richard was bending me backwards and he kissed me on the cheek. But the news stations were rewinding and replaying the same shot over and over again on primetime TV. They didn’t talk about the HIV problem that faces this country.
“I was furious when I saw people burning effigies of Richard. That sort of behaviour is not representative of my country.”