After reading the introduction and a few excerpts from his speech which I included in this posting, you will be compelled to read the speech and it’s entirety by clicking on the link at the end of this posting.
Reverend Professor Peter John Gomes. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1942, the Reverend Professor Gomes is an American Baptist Minister ordained to the Christian Ministry by the First Baptist Church of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Since 1970, he has served in the Memorial Church, Harvard University and since 1974, as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. A member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Divinity of Harvard University, Professor Gomes holds degrees from Bates College and from Harvard Divinity School and honorary degrees from nine American colleges. He is an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College, the University of Cambridge, England.Widely regarded as one of America’s most distinguished preachers, Professor Gomes has fulfilled preaching and lecturing engagements throughout this country and the British Isles. He was named Clergy of the Year in 1998 by Religion and American Life. His New York Times and National Best-selling books, The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart and Sermons, the Book of Wisdom for Daily Living, were published by William Morrow and Company. He has published four additional volumes of sermons as well as numerous articles and papers.
It falls to me as a Christian minister and a practitioner of religion to indicate that in the matter of sexual prejudice, religion is fundamentally a part of the problem and one can only hope that by acknowledging that, it may well indeed become part of the solution as well.
I have to revert to that wonderful Christian Sunday School hymn with which most Protestants at least were brought up: "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me, yes, Jesus loves me! How do I know? The Bible tells me so." Well, Protestantism is based on the conviction that the Bible tells me all that I need to know, and only what I need to know. When anyone looks at the record of our religious treatment of the other in the culture, we find that the first and the last resort used to justify a prejudice is the fact that the Bible tells me so.
Most people had no idea that Professor Gomes was gay before he came out (1991), and so when he did, he shook up the university, the church, and all those in the community who paid attention when he did come out.