Thinking Anglicans

Getting Equal: RC reaction

Update
There is an Anglican angle too: Daily Mail Steve Doughty Anglican bishop threatens to close youth clubs in protest at gay rights. And sidebar Seven out of 10 say beliefs should not be abandoned over gay rights
The bishop is Michael Nazir-Ali of Rochester.

There are several reports of what RC archbishop Vincent Nichols has been saying about what he perceives as the government’s intentions in bringing in the proposed new regulations discussed here previously.

Daily Mail Steve Doughty Don’t impose your morality: Catholic Archbishop attacks gay rights bill and editorial comment Blair and the moral backlash
Telegraph Jonathan Petre Archbishop warns of gay rights backlash
Universe Church Fires Broadside Over Government’s Moral Neutrality
Catholic Herald Gay rights law threatens Catholic adoption agencies

It’s rather difficult to see what justification exists for most of these concerns. The Northern Ireland regulations are clear in providing religious bodies with an exemption from almost all the requirements placed on everybody else. The effect is that discimination by a religious organisation, in respect of sexual orientation. is permitted:

(a) if it is necessary to comply with the doctrine of the organisation; or

(b) so as to avoid conflicting with the strongly held religious convictions of a significant number of the religions followers.

which should be easy for the Roman Catholic church to meet. Charitable bodies, whether or not religious, are also exempted, provided their actions are taken by reason of or in pursuance of their charitable instrument.

The two principles from which there is no exemption provided in Northern Ireland are:

  • The requirement to refrain from harassment (see here for what this means)
  • The requirement that nobody providing education or social services at public expense will be allowed to discriminate in the provision of those services.

Postscript: there was a full page advertisement in The Times today placed by a group called Coherent and Cohesive Voice, self-described as “a network of hundreds of Christian leaders in the UK representing hundreds of thousands of voters”. Follow this link to read the text of the advertisement. Several claims made in the advertisement are quite false.

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Merseymike
Guest

Funny that – and I thought it was Nichols and his arch-bigots who wanted to impose his morality – if that’s what you can call it – on us by encouraging discrimination against gay people. He is simply not entitled to force his bigoted opinions upon us.

Quite sickening – and the hypocrisy of it all knows no bounds. I know of a gay man with a partner who has just started training to be an RC priest!

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

So far as these inflammatory and false alarms go, they are quite consistent with the strategy of dis-information pursued by the rightwing religious and political figures in USA for the past several decades. None of the mandatory things listed in the alarming advertisement are in fact required by the proposed new regulations; which nevertheless nudge legacy believers in all the received negativisms to think their particular negative beliefs through quite a bit more, and walk a more careful line besides simply presuming that their legacy negativisms are the common cultural coin. This will be painful, and possibly salutary, and possibly… Read more »

DaveW
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DaveW

Well there is the challenge. love and care or same-sex sex. Take your pick.
I see the comments from Vincent Nichols and Michael Nazir-Ali. We have already had Christians loose jobs and get penalised over same-sex sex promotion. The RC church alone finds homes for about 1 in 20 children adopted from care. We have had the alpha courses objected to etc.
“The orgasm has replaced the cross”

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Is directly calling people bigots, malicious? I think so.

Anyway better a bigot in love and care than a bigot in same-sex sex.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I don’t have a problem with people refusing to service gays, never had. My problem has always been with them denying GLBTs servicing by anyone. Accord human rights to GLBTs and allow those who would be “pure” to keep themselves quaratined. No problem, just let us know who you are so we can stay away from you. Oh, and don’t gate crash our the “unworthies” support services – including spiritual succour.

dave williams
Guest

Drdanfee,

On the record I have worked with colleagues and have friends that are LGB.

Plenty of Evangelical Christians do the same to the extent where as a practical, not a theoretical issue a number of us have discussed what would happen if we were invited in the near future to a Civil Partnership Ceremony.

I know of specific examples where Evangelical Christians have had to make the type of decisions that come under the framework of the regulations.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

The deception, downright lies, exaggerations etc are all expected.

As drdanfee comments this is all par for the course.

I recently contacted our local “Catholic” adoption agency and enquired if an unmarried couple who were atheists could adopt a child through them; the social worker told me that while in the past that was a problem it wasn’t any longer.

So they want to be able to refuse a child to a gay Christian couple in a Civil Partnership, while accepting those who are unmarried and atheists – I wonder what this is about.

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

I confess to being confused. Partly because there are many people who, in all good faith, are saying the SoR are a Bad Thing. And partly because when they get up to say so, they sound suspiciously like a bunch of 13 year olds hacking their parents’ internet account, viz “OMG gayz giv me teh FEAR!!!!”

On the third hand, other commentators are saying there are more than sufficient provisions allowed to religious groups to opt out of SoR. So which is it? Realistic concern or ludicrous hyperbole?

(Anyone found out who ‘Coherent and Cohesive Voice’ are?)

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

Do Bishop Michael et co not see that they are exploiting the very people they claim they will “have to” (read “choose”) to cease serving, by using them as blackmail, as the stick to beat up on those they don’t want to serve, when the good bishop and those like him threaten to close down the youth clubs and other work that serves those in need? What are they thinking? Good God.
Lois Keen

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Simon Morden asks a good question.

Unlike many of the journalists who have written the scare stories he might like to read the provisions of the regulations as published for Northern Ireland. Simon has them linked on an item below.

Having read these regulations I would be interested to know what HE thinks.

Weiwen
Guest

Quotes from the advertisement “Make it illegal for a heterosexual policeman, fireman or member of the Armed Forces to refuse to join a Gay Pride event promoting the homosexual way of life.” That sounds patently ridiculous. “Force a family-run B&B to let out a double room to a transexual couple even if the family think it is in the best interests of their children to refuse to allow such a situation in their own home.” That sounds like fear-mongering. Besides that point, if I ran a B&B, was asked by a Black couple to rent a room, and decided that… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

I am glad to hear that not every single believer is socially distanced from positive, good queer folks and/or their efforts to live as productively as possible while certain organized groups (0ften religious, but not always) continue to say how filthy and dangerous they are. How do new or old conservative believers reconcile all this competent, ordinary, and sometimes gifted living with the range of legacy negatives? Too small a space to explain here, but somebody somewhere should bother trying. The clobber passages, even as severely interpreted, simply do not explain even though they condemn. The only vague theories I… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I think that a lot of the reason for this current outcry from the ‘usual suspects’ is that they recognise they have not in fact, won the concessions they had hoped for

THis is shown by the Northern Ireland proposals.

The exemptions will not cover all church activities and this is what they object to – only directly religious activities

THey will simply have to realise that their right to discriminate is less important than our right to be treated equally

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Dear Cheryl Clough and drdanfee,

Happily I love my friends who have homosexual desires and we socialise and help each other, you seem to want to stay well clear of anyone who doesn’t support same-sex sex.

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Dear Simon Morden,
You pose a key point here I think..
“On the third hand, other commentators are saying there are more than sufficient provisions allowed to religious groups to opt out of SoR. So which is it? Realistic concern or ludicrous hyperbole? “
Realistic concern, without doubt. http://www.christian.org.uk/rel_liberties/index.htm

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“It does sound plausible that public schools would be required to inform children of the existence of Civil Partnerships as one form of marriage. However, the use of the term “actively promote” is playing on people’s fears that those (gasp!!) homosexuals are trying to (gasp!!) recruit our children. Someone should remind these people that you can only get “recruited” if you’re actually gay.” On this side of the pond, ‘promote’ and ‘recruit’ are familiar buzz words. Any factual reference to the existence of glbt people is seen as ‘promoting’ the ‘gay agenda.’ I’ve seen ‘recruit’ less often in recent days,… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Wiewen and Cynthia: There is absolutely NOTHING in these regulations that relates to the content of what is to be taught in schools. The content of the school curriculum is regulated by a quite separate set of laws.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

DaveW
A third possibility is that those making untrue statements about these regulations, know perfectly well what they are doing. If that is the case, then the word for them is Liars.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I don’t know if any of this is very coherent, but it would have been great in Faulty Towers.

DAveW
Guest
DAveW

Dear Simon Sarmiento,
Well I dont judge people my friend. Alas the law has already been proved unable to protect the Swedish pastor in the examples given by the Christian Institute and the concerns are shared by the Christian lawyers, so the concerns are well founded.

dave williams
Guest

Simon, I understand you were at some time a HR director. Presumably you received some legal training towards that? It may even be that you had formal legal training to degree level? You will definately have been involved in seeing plenty of regulations crossing your desk. I can certainly say from first hand experience having studied Law to degree level, having as a Manager had to deal with Employment Regulations, Company policies, Environmental regulations that there is a factor that you are missing! It’s called intepretation. My view having read these regulations several times is that the position represented by… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

If all of these services will need to close down if they are not exempted what steps are the government going to make for the gay community which is being excluded from them, given they are so important. Also why are churches running services that cannot be run unless they are either discriminating or harassing? A final point. The exemptions in reg 16 are broad and wide and along with the exemption covering charities mean that in most areas churches can carrying on discriminating and harassing but this will not apply to evangelical bookshops who will sadly have to sell… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Some of the Dave Williams’s wrote: ” Alas the law has already been proved unable to protect the Swedish pastor in the examples given by the Christian Institute and the concerns are shared by the Christian lawyers, so the concerns are well founded.”

The law was not unable to “protect” the Swedish Pentecostap Pastor Åke Green. He was aquitted by the Swedish Supreme Court.

If that doesn’t satisfy the Dave Williams’s of the world, nothing will.

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

Dave Williams does have a point about people not being sure about the application of the regs and having their worst nightmare come true (eg having to sell a Bible to a homosexual) and how we respond to people’s genuine concerns. However this would be better if a)the people concerned weren’t so prone to going off on the deep end (and I would argue that its their theology which is swarping their judgment); b) the leadership of the groups concerned had a greater concern for truth and veracity, instead of playing to the gallery of people’s worst fears (and jumping… Read more »

dave williams
Guest

Craig, My reading is that the exemptions are not that broad. Firstly because I read the exemptions they are for specificly named items relating to the regulations, secondly because they are relating in to a religious organisations doctrine -it will be interesting to see the courts determing that -maybe they can get a panel of TA experts to adjudicate :o) Thirdly because of the stated intent of the government to see such exemptions as limited (see previous comment. As for the harrassment side of things which is not exempted, the regulations are subjective on that -this is something that is… Read more »

dave williams
Guest

Goran, The concern is not just about whether someone gets acquitted at the end but the affect of going through a lengthy legal process on someone. Maybe the Swedish legal process is a nicer one than the British and you sit around eating cream cakes and having a good old yarn? :o) Craig, I agree the language in some cases is perhaps a bit intemperate -but it has been on here as well! Maybe they should employ a nice happy liberal from here to read their press releases for them and explain to them how that’s going to be read… Read more »

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Martin – right then! I have now read the NI version of the SOR. The following comments have to be read with the understanding that I am not a lawyer – I might consult m’learned friend at a later date. My impression is that the regulations are, in fact, generous to faith groups. Any church, parachurch organisation, church-run charity or faith-based group can claim exemption from the regulations under section 16. The exceptions to this revolve around the education sector, and organisations whose sole or main function is trading. To answer Coherent and Cohesive Voice, I would say: “Force all… Read more »

DaveW
Guest
DaveW

Dear Craig Nelson, The point you are missing three key points. The first is, I am gay. I have a joyful disposition and you are hogging the meaning of the word for those who have same-sex desires. Secondly, there are plenty of Christians who have homosexual desires and attempt to be celibate because they know same-sex sex is wrong, and there are those with heterosexual desires who are unable to find partners who are also celibate. Thirdly, the Christian faith like other religions and in particular in this case the Anglican Communion, believes same-sex sex is incompatible with God’s purpose… Read more »

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

Craig Nelson and others: Please be fair when we talk about this issue. Very few Christians who believe practising homosexuality is wrong, wouldn’t want to sell Bibles to gays. Those who don’t need to read up on God’s love, for them and others. Any Christian who loves the Bible will want as many people to have it as possible, Christians and non Christians, Gay and straight, men and women etc ad infinitum. I haven’t seen much about the laws, so I can’t comment on the interpretation, but please discuss the attitudes to the laws, not these ridiculous hyped up notions.… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

There is this twist and that twist of the argument. No one is talking about same sex sex, or its support, or any such thing. It is about a couple identifying itself as gay and getting access to provisions and services regardless of what they do. In the Anglican world this obsession with same sex sex used to be handled by a don’t ask don’t tell approach. That duplicity and dishonesty used to work especially when society was assumed to be discriminatory and indeed there was Clause 28 brought in operation. Whilst in the secular world Clause 28 was overturned… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

If we had more space for unlimited discussions it probably would be informative to hear more about how conservative believers participate in the goods of their LGBTQ friends/family while maintaining one or more of the legacy clobbers. So far most of the USA evangelical/conservative believers I know have leaned more or less into several contrasting clusters or pathways: (1) I can support the non-sexual (and presumably straight meant) good parts of you, though I will always have my deep doubts and fears about all the embodied non-straight sexual parts of you; (2) don’t ask, don’t tell – unless you are… Read more »

J. C. Fisher
Guest
J. C. Fisher

If DaveW can keep *pounding away* at “same-sex sex” (I count 4 times on this thread thus far! :-0), then I think we here at TA enduring him, have a right to know exactly how much of a happy he’s getting while doing so?

Al Franken (US progressive commentator) had a phrase for the ilk who published this ad: “Lies, and the Lying Liars who tell them”. >:-(

NP
Guest
NP

drdanfee – read the parables – all are not welcome if you actually listen to JC’s words

Cheryl Clough
Guest

DaveW Your attempts to put words in other peoples’ mouths so you can claim the moral victory constantly amuse me. I don’t want “to stay well clear of anyone who doesn’t support same-sex sex.” I do want to stay clear of hate and violence mongerers, many of whom oppose same-sex sex. Mind you, I am also boycotting Elton John at the moment too, for trying to do “tit for tat”. The mistake that bullies make is thinking that if they are winning then other bullies are. Actually, there are souls out there who aren’t interested in bullying, I think Jesus… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

I think Simon Morden’s informed opinion on the Northern Ireland SORs is clear and concise. It is interesting to see how nearly all those who commented on the regs in the consultation believed they needed to exist, one would hardly think that the case from what we have read in the newspapers so far! The problem here is that to make a law that grants a licence to some to disobey its precepts is not good law. Our earliest legal briefing from back when the first of these regs was vaunted was about how such licence was difficult to define… Read more »

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Alex: “I don’t fear homosexuals, or know anyone who does. I have acquaintances that are homosexual, and I would love to meet up and study the Bible with them.” This is not a test of whether you fear homosexuals. You are meeting them on your ground, with your rules, with your choice of activity. Alternatively, you could go out for a drink with them. To a gay-friendly bar perhaps. Possibly get mistaken for a gay. Or a non gay-friendly bar if that’s too much for you, and then stand shoulder to shoulder with your friend when the barman says “We… Read more »

D O'Callaghan
Guest
D O'Callaghan

“It’s rather difficult to see what justification exists for most of these concerns. The Northern Ireland regulations are clear in providing religious bodies with an exemption from almost all the requirements placed on everybody else.”

I think this misses the point that protections given to religious bodies are not given to individuals. The claim of ‘harassment’ could be brought against any individual (teacher etc) who expressed a view that upset someone. (Think Lynette Burrows who believes that a child deserves two opposite-sex parents where possible.)

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

Well, I admit I was being facetious in my reference to selling Bibles. No doubt Bible sellers would be over the moon to sell Bibles and theology books to gays. Or then again maybe not. Two questions however arise: 1. If the service providers in question are happy selling their wares without discrimination – where is the problem and why are they screaming blue murder? 2. After so much effort has been extended in keeping gays out of these premises how likely are they to want to frequent them? These are things perhaps that should be more pondered on than… Read more »

dave williams
Guest

Simon, Thanks for taking time to read the regulations -it perhaps allows for a more sensible discussion about interpretations! Here is an interesting one for comment. A Church excludes someone from membership because that person is homosexual -regardless of whether they are celibate or not Question 1. Is that okay or not under the regulations? Question 2. Is that what Evangelical Churches want to to? My interpretation is that the regulations allow this -but as an Evangelical involved in teaching and preaching in church that’s not what I would understand to be what churches want to do. Question 3 An… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

” drdanfee – read the parables – all are not welcome if you actually listen to JC’s words”

Posted by: NP on Thursday

Why not give the Wheat & the Tares a go Dave ?
I love swapping parables !

laurence
Guest
laurence

‘ I don’t fear homosexuals, or know anyone who does.’

Quite so.

I do fear heterosexuals with very good reason, and know plenty of others who do.

When grilling it might be better to stick to the food, and not lgbt people.

As for the fear of arrest –many of us lived our lives with this fear — and people still do in the 40 odd countries that still criminalise gay love, and the 12 or so which still execute us.

As for John Richardson’s pamphlet …..

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

It is pure snobbery, this treatment of (largely) black pentecostals as ‘a group calling itself CCV’ (sniff, sniff). We all know as well as I do that black pentecostals represent the biggest contingency of active Christians in London, so their figures may be accurate. The fact that you or I have not heard of them does not make them unimportant: it is merely the result of moving in the limited circles that you (and no doubt also they) do move in, encompassing no more than one or two of the many Christian denominations. The fact that we have or have… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

The church has an exemption in terms of its central core religious activities. It is those activities which are either commercial or not directly religious where there will be no automatic exemption.

I think it extremely unlikely that gay people will want anything to do with evangelical churches in any case.

For once, wouldn’t it be nice if churches could actually welcome legislation which assists gay people? Maybe then I might believe them in their claims not to be institutionally homophobic!

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

Simon, Fair point, but that is taking my point out of context. I was saying that not only would I want to sell them a Bible, I would love to invest time with them as a person and read it with them. I do go to the hall bar with them, and chat to them as any other normal person. They are no more in need of forgiveness than anyone else. I don’t see the point of going to a gay bar if you aren’t gay, but I would of course stand up for them if they were getting abused… Read more »

dave williams
Guest

Merseymike, I hope that we will show a bit more respect rather than just welcome legislation in order to appear less homophobic. I must admit, I generally flinch at the idea of welcoming legislation -especially when you look at the way it seems to be drafted these days. Let’s me honest the pink pound is big business these days. Something tells me that it’s the lawyers who are really going to look at this legislation and think “Payday” You probably don’t want advise from an Evangelical but personally I would say the people you want to watch out for are… Read more »

Alex Freeman
Guest
Alex Freeman

Laurence, You leave your comment on John Richardson’s pamphlet unfinished. Is it Biblically inaccurate, or what? Please say what you approve or disprove of. The Grill a Christian, clearly refers to us getting the grilling, not the audience. It is just a chance to ask questions about what Christians believe. The question of sexuality very often arises, and it has been great to see people lovingly discussing it afterwards, even though they both disagree. It is terrible that you have to live in fear of people, and the threat of prison or death. This shouldn’t be allowed. There should be… Read more »

dave williams
Guest

Drdanfee, Even those who turned up to the feast had to change their clothes -all of them. I think the problem hear is that we are dividing the world into “Straight and Gay” and that’s the wrong division. Better to say that there are 1. People who are very aware of their sin but also learning about God’s grace and his ability to transform them 2. People who see everyone elses sin but their own 3. People who are concerned about sin but don’t realise/believe/agree that a specific thing is a sin -but are prepared to find out whether it… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

In response to the three questions about the regs from Dave Williams. Q1 and Q2 are, I think quite easily disposed of. Q3 is a little more complex. However in my view there isn’t much of a chance that a person will be able to successfully win a case. Firstly because the harassment clause says you have to take into account the perception of the allged victim of harassment, BUT that this has to be seen as being reasonable in all the circumstances. Now the law has already admitted that some institutions have a problem around the gay issue because… Read more »

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Dave Williams: “A Church excludes someone from membership because that person is homosexual -regardless of whether they are celibate or not Question 1. Is that okay or not under the regulations?” As far as I can tell, churches’ membership is a matter for the church, and is therefore exempt. “Question 2. Is that what Evangelical Churches want to to?” I’d have to ask each and every self-identifying evangelical church to answer this question fully. But in my limited experience, sadly yes. “Question 3 An Evangelical Church, not wanting to exclude a homosexual from membership, nevertheless has strong views on sexual… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Dave ; I want legal equality and protection against discrimination. Who is opposing this. Evangelicals!

To be frank, I have no interest in being evangelical, as I think its an utterly wrong-headed and essentially unpleasant philosophy. I see no reason why those of that religion should have any right to impose their discriminatory beliefs upon me. Its not as if I am trying to do anything other than ensure that you cannot discriminate.