Renowned as an advocate for those on the margins, you have led the way to the opening of God's church to people of all colors, cultures, and sexual identities. In 1974, you founded Integrity to promote the dignity, rights, and vocations of its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members -- those whom the church has tried for generations to ignore. You have refused, time and again, simply to go away. Through your persistence, the Church has been blessed.
We here in this seminary who struggle for liberation in its many dimensions consider ourselves especially blessed by your witness. Many of us here have long claimed you as one of our own pioneers, poets, and prophets. We know the price you and your beloved spouse, Ernest, must have paid, again and again, for pressing the boundaries of race, sex, and gender in your commitment to live, lovingly and publicly, in God's Spirit.
We have been mentored by your consistently sweet-spirited, gracious ways of speaking truth to power. Your humor and your "camp" aid you in the struggle by disarming those you encounter. You have dared to dress in your finest satin for an episcopal audience. You wink and smile even at your hardest-hearted adversaries. You have inspired many of us to lighten up and be the blessed queens and characters we were created to be by One who knows us better than we know ourselves.
In fact, you live your whole life as if called. You have received fellowships from the National Endowment for Humanities, the University of Chicago, the University of Texas, and the University of California at Berkeley. You have authored nearly 1,300 books, essays, and reviews, including the first openly gay materials ever published in such journals as Chronicle of Higher Education, The Living Church, and Southern Exposure. You have long been professor of English and are currently chair of the Rutgers University Senate. You have received the Episcopal Church Publishing Company's triennial "Vida Scudder Award" and the Bishop of Newark's "Outstanding Service Award." You have worked tirelessly at one General Convention after another, as least as far back as the early 1970s.
Your strong belief that truth can be found in the details has led you to become one of the first, and certainly the foremost, cyber-missionaries as you collect countless bytes of information on your website. Each day hundreds visit your site because they know that they can find and trust the data you have posted about the Episcopal Church, gay and lesbian issues, poetry, teaching, and many other topics. You model for us the ability to spread the same Good News in strikingly modern ways.
Sir, in recognition of his courageous contributions to the struggle for a just church, I present to you Louie Crew, recommended by the Faculty to receive the degree Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.
[Degree awarded on May 27. 1999]