Harvard Minister Peter J. Gomes Dies

The Rev. Gomes announced that he was gay a generation ago and became one of America’s most prominent spiritual voices against intolerance.

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The Rev. Peter J. Gomes passes away at 68.

The New York Times is reporting that the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, a Harvard minister, theologian and author who announced a generation ago that he was gay and became one of America’s most prominent spiritual voices against intolerance, died on Monday in Boston. Robert D. McFadden writes:

He was a thundering black Baptist preacher and for much of his life a conservative Republican celebrity who wrote books about the Pilgrims, published volumes of sermons and presided at weddings and funerals of the rich and famous. He gave the benediction at President Ronald Reagan's second inaugural and delivered the National Cathedral sermon at the inaugural of President George H.W. Bush.

Gomes was the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at the School of Divinity and the Pusey Minister of Memorial Church, a nondenominational center of Christian life on campus. In 1991 he bravely announced that he was Christian and gay before an angry crowd of students, faculty members and administrators protesting homophobic articles in a conservative campus magazine whose distribution had led to a spate of harassment and slurs against gay men and lesbians on campus.

"I now have an unambiguous vocation -- a mission -- to address the religious causes and roots of homophobia," he told the Washington Post months later. "I will devote the rest of my life to addressing the 'religious case' against gays." He was 68.

Read more at the New York Times.

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