Profile Remembrances

Rev. Robert P. Wheatly

As Remembered by Bruce Stores

I never met Rev. Wheatly in person.  His work for equality for LGBT people went beyond the boundries of his denomination.  In my book, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE: Its Encounter with Lesbian/Gay America,  (page 103), I wrote about his contribution at a demonstration at the Church's Headquarters (The Mother Church) in Boston.  The protest was about the sudden dismissal of Chris Madsen, a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, after it was learned that she was gay.  Rev. Wheatly was one of those leafleting the congregation.  Here is the quotation:

"According the Unitarian-Universalist minister, Bob Wheatly, one of the leafleters, COP [Committee on Publication] Manager A.W. Phinny's statement 'betrays his ignorance of homosexuality, a misunderstanding which,' says Rev. Wheatly, 'is the root of the problem that many [Christian] sects are having about gays. This is not a fad that is going to change. Homosexuals have been present in Eastern and Western cultures in all times.'

"Rev. Wheatly also criticized those responsible for the firings, which include top officials of The Mother Church, for acting in a manner, 'antiethical to Christianity. To cut off a person's livelihood . . .flies in the face of the religious teaching to be helpful to people in their needs. Even if they do misunderstand homosexuality, there is no excuse for this cruelty . . .'"

This demonstration in June 1982 (part of Boston's annual LGBT Pride March) was written up in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.

September 23, 2012