I honor and remember well the life of Peter Gomes. I met him several times throughout my life, whether at Duke or UNC.
A bit from his obit in NYT.com:
“Religious fundamentalism is dangerous because it cannot accept ambiguity and diversity and is therefore inherently intolerant,” he declared in an Op-Ed article in The New York Times in 1992. “Such intolerance, in the name of virtue, is ruthless and uses political power to destroy what it cannot convert.”
In his 1996 best seller, “The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart,” Mr. Gomes urged believers to grasp the spirit, not the letter, of scriptural passages that he said had been misused to defend racism, anti-Semitism and sexism, and to attack homosexuality and abortion. He offered interpretations that he said transcended the narrow context of modern prejudices.
“The Bible alone is the most dangerous thing I can think of,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “You need an ongoing context and a community of interpretation to keep the Bible current and to keep yourself honest. Forget the thought that the Bible is an absolute pronouncement.”
But Mr. Gomes also defended the Bible from critics on the left who called it corrupt because passages had been used to oppress people. “The Bible isn’t a single book, it isn’t a single historical or philosophical or theological treatise,” he told The Seattle Gay News in 1996. “It has 66 books in it. It is a library.”
Click here for another interesting article: http://www.nytimes.com/ref/opinion/op-classic-gomes.html?ref=opinion