Would Richard Hooker support gay marriage?

hooker mugLately it's becoming popular among Episcopalians who support blessing gay unions to cite this remark attributed to the 16th-century theologian Richard Hooker: "Pray that none will be offended if I make the Christian religion an inn where all are received joyously, rather than a cottage where some few friends of the family are to be received." The remark was a foundation for "The Anglican Communion: A Roomy House," an address by Bishop Jon Bruno to the Diocese of Los Angeles' annual convention in December. Larry Stammer of the Los Angeles Times summarized Bruno's remarks without attributing the quotation directly to Hooker.

Bishop Bruno is not alone in attributing these words to Hooker. The remark also appears in a convention address by Bishop Michael Curry of the Diocese of North Carolina; in a sermon (PDF) by the Rev. Susan Russell, president of the Episcopal Church's gay caucus, Integrity; in an essay by the Rev. Christopher A. Smith on what he considers contemporary Donatism; and in a convention sermon in the Diocese of Utah by the Rev. Dr. J. Rebecca Lyman of Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Since hearing Bruno's convention address, the Rev. Richard A. Menees, a Ph.D. student at Fuller Theological Seminary, has made several efforts to find anyone who can cite a specific Hooker text to establish the remark's authenticity.

Menees wrote to GetReligion:

I have been studying the missiological aspects of the ecclesiology of Richard Hooker for several years under the direction of Dr. John Booty, the former dean of Sewanee's School of Theology and an editor of the Folger Library Edition of the complete works of Richard Hooker. Dr. Booty, Dr. Philip Secor, Dr. Egil Grislis, Dr. William Haugaard, Dr. Torrance Kirby, Dr. Robert Sanders and Dr. Ashley Null have all looked into this quote and none of them can find it in Hooker. Secor, Grislis and Kirby all say they do not believe it is Hooker.

Menees provides a lengthier reflection on Hooker's teachings in this paper (PDF).

Here's a challenge to our readers: Can anyone demonstrate that Hooker ever wrote these words?

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