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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


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Louie Crew's Natter [BLOG]

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RE: The Power of Sexism

  • To: Elizabeth Kaeton <emkaeton@aol.com>
  • Subject: RE: The Power of Sexism
  • From: Louie Crew <>
  • Date: Sat, 02 Feb 2008 12:00:12 -0500

Thank you for sharing your friend's note.  I grieve to give her

I have never claimed to speak for women. In my comments at the
diocesan convention I focused on the anti-gay texts which were
proscribed by the resolution.  I have experienced anguish from those
all of my life.  Yet and still, I do not want them banished from our

Speaking against the resolution at convention I noted that I have
hoped for years that Romans 1:17 would be assigned on my watch as a
lector.  When I returned to my convention table, a member of my
parish delegation pointed to "Romans 1:17" that she has written in
her notes, and asked me what it is.   I told her to read it but to be
sure to get to Romans 2:1, which was not put off into a separate
chapter in the original biblical text.  .....  "Then we will talk
about it," I said.    It is this type of engagement that I want to

Scripture says that a man who lies with a man as with a woman shall
be put to death (Leviticus 20:13) .  (I rejoice in the accidental
benefit of sexism here, in that women did not get noticed enough to
be covered by this.)  I have repeatedly told bishops and other church
leaders that I am willing to submit to capital punishment at their
hands so long as the press and the sheriff are present.  So far, not
one has had the courage of his [sic] convictions.   Again, I
encourage this type of engagement.  

Well-meaning friends of lgbt people often have no awareness of this
text as a part of scripture.  Those who create the lectionary
fumigate it from our offerings.  It never shows up.  Yet Arthur Dong
in his important documentary of 7 men on death row for murdering gay
men found that all 7 of them knew that verse!  (The film is called
Licensed to Kill.)  How will we equip the saints for this hard
ministry if we keep them ignorant of the forces of darkness that lurk
even in the dark places of scripture?

I applaud adding more positive images of those who suffer from bible
abuse.  We have an obligation to do that, in abundance.  Most of our
time should be given to the more positive images, but never with any
suggestion that the other texts are not there, often performing
lethal damage on the minds of those who believe them to be "the Word
of God."

During the McGovern campaign in 1972, I was teaching at a black
Methodist College in Orangeburg, SC, and with many others I was
involved in an intensive campaign to register voters.  One very
bright student from a privileged family (both parents with
doctorates, 4 family cars, a huge swimming pool.... .the works)  was
assigned to go with me into one of the poorest neighborhoods in the
world to register voters.  After he had witnessed at close range the
wretchedness of dirt floors, the children who were skin and bones and
were nearly naked in rags.....in about four or five shacks, the young
man got into my car and fell into my arms crying with bitter moaning,
heaving with tears.  "Man, he said, "I had no idea anyone has to live
like this.  And every one of them is black like me....."

His family thought they were doing him a great service isolating him
as much as they could from the consequences many have to pay for
systemic racism.  And maybe they were doing him a service.  It must
have been a hard call for them.  I acknowledge my arrogance in
suggesting otherwise, especially 36 years and 9 presidential
campaigns later.   But those shacks are still there and still filled
with naked and hungry children in many parts of this country.

Heterosexism and racism are intransigent.  They won't go away merely
because we refuse to look at the parts of our sacred texts  that
underwrite them.    On these matters, the bible has yet to earn the
honorific 'holy.'   How much else is presented to me as 'the word of
God' that I have not yet discovered to be a violent distortion? 

As I said in my earlier reply to you, likely worship is not the best
setting in which to pursue the complicated issues that I raised at
convention, but worship is about the only exposure that most
Episcopalians get to scripture, alas, so it seems proper to begin the
difficult discussion there.


To this The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton replied: 

> From: Elizabeth Kaeton [mailto:emkaeton@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 02, 2008 12:35 PM
Subject: Re: A personal testimony


I'm not very good at being succinct, but I'm going to try in the hopes that
it will promote clarity.

I am NOT advocating for an elimination of scriptural references which are
male-dominant, sexist or heterosexist in the worship of our diocesan life,
even though, as you yourself note, diocesan worship is not the place for
that kind of learning - break out workshops are.  That is not the purpose
of most of our diocesan worship events - especially our diocesan

I AM advocating for 

1.  sensitivity on the part of the liturgical planning team to how those
images are hurtful to women, and 

2. the use of images and language for God and human kind - I hasten to add
for clarity: in addition to the passages which are painful to women - which
are also expansive so as to include female-gender-specific as well as
gender-neutral language. 

I fear male privilege seriously impairs vision just as seriously as my
passion about this issue of justice may blind me to the nuances of bigger
picture.  After all these years of our friendship, I don't understand where
this is coming from in you.  It is exactly this sort of experience that
drives me to my psychology books to try and understand.

Hmmm . . . wait.  Hang on a second. Where have you and I had this
conversation before?  Yes, in various places in the church, but we've both
on the same side of the issue - LGBT liturgical, canonical and civil
rights.  You and I have both been in the place of supplicant to the
oppressor for a teeny-tiny crumb of justice.

That's all this is, Louie.  A crumb of a request for sensitivity from the
deep pain of the heart of being a woman to the church as institution.  As
one of my biblical mothers asked: aren't even dogs allowed to feast on the
crumbs under the master's table? 

We won't take anything away - no liturgical castration here.  No neutering
of the Godhead. Promise. I am asking to formalize in a resolution the
commitment to include and expand how we pray together as a diocesan family.
That's all.  Is that really that much?  Hasn't this always been the
standard?  Why should we reverse this now?

Finally, I trust you are including my voice in posting your 'natter'.  You
most certainly have my permission to reproduce my words there.  It might be
a helpful exercise for the church.

I treasure the opportunity to have this conversation with you.  Perhaps we
do need that Lenten lunch in order to have this conversation face to face
rather than in cyberspace.  We could record it it and bill it as
"Conversations between Queen Lutibelle and the Lipstick Lesbian."


(the Rev'd) Elizabeth Kaeton
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
200 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928
973 635 8085