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Yesterday, Mayor Anthony A. Williams asked Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr. to apologize for recent toxic remarks disparaging gay men. He said a mea culpa was the only way he could allow Owens to remain an honorary member of the mayor’s interfaith council.
Today, the bishop delivered. Sort of.
In a letter in today’s Washington Post, Owens employs the classic I’m-sorry-if-I-offended-anyone apology. The bishop writes that, “During my Palm Sunday sermon, I used words that the D.C. Coalition of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Men and Women has denounced as offensive. It was not my purpose to wound anyone or discriminate against any group, and I apologize for any offense.”
After outlining efforts by his Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church to address HIV-AIDS prevention and his support for those who wanted help in pursuing a heterosexual orientation, Owens went on to write: “I will not submit my sermons through political filters for fear of recrimination by political or social groups. On any given Sunday, I preach about love, faith and holiness, and, yes, about hell and sin. For that, I offer no apology.”
The way the mayor sees things, Owens hasn’t quite delivered enough. “It was a good first step,” Williams says. “I am very heartened to see that he’s taken the step.” But the mayor stopped short of saying the Bishop is now an honorary Interfaith Council member in good standing. He characterized the letter as, “a little bit ambiguous.”
Williams says that’s why he wants to sit down for a chat with the bishop and repeated his public request for a meeting. The mayor says he has not heard from the bishop about any kind of get-together.