THINKING ANGLICANS

Church Times and the SORs

The Church Times not only reported on this week’s events, in Christians protest, but gay regulations continue in force by Pat Ashworth, but also had a leader which makes its editorial position very clear indeed: Misguided and misinformed:

…But there is no threat. The broad support for the Equality Act from the Church of England and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to name just two, has been drowned out by a small group of conservative Christians who seem to believe that, regardless of what the Government says, or the wording of the Act, only they stand in the way of a homosexual free-for–all. “This is a Christian country. If we don’t speak out now, in a few years’ time, it will be too late,” said one protester on Tuesday. No, it won’t. The legislation has been drafted to prevent discrimination against people on account of their sexual orientation; there is nothing about condoning sexual behaviour, a distinction made by the House of Bishops in 1991. The Government must simply take the protesters at their first word — every speech is prefaced by an assurance that the speaker is not against gay people as such — and ignore any misinformed opinions that follow. The mainstream Churches, having quibbled over some of the wording in the legislation, now need to make it clear that they do not share the views of the protesters, and that the majority of Christians will have no truck with discrimination on grounds of this kind.

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Dave
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Dave

I think that most Christian groups have little difficulty with the broad thrust of equality legislation. The UK Evangelical Alliance’s response as an example: http://www.eauk.org/public-affairs/humanrights/upload/GettingEqualPreamble.doc Here are a couple of quote: “Religious groups, as a matter of principle, oppose unfair discrimination and unambiguously reject abusive and hateful conduct, attitudes and speech aimed at homosexual people.” “The key point to be stressed here is that sexual orientation human rights are to be regarded as on a par with religion and belief human rights – not with rights relating to race, sex and disability. Both homosexual *practice* and religion and belief involve… Read more »

laurence
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laurence

The Church Times leader is unequivocal.

After reading the CT links here, why not go to the Question of the Week and vote on this question? : —-

‘Do you believe the new regulations infring your rights?’

Another small way of letting your view be known.

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Sometimes it feels like whack-a-mole here. The same pesky critter keeps on popping up no matter how often you hit it with a hammer.

Not every sexual behaviour is equally good. But what has that to do with selling books? Or bread? Or teaching maths? Or running a hotel? Or a print shop?

The legislation does precisely the opposite of what Dave says it does: it deliberately seperates the person from their sexual behaviour, as says you cannot discriminate against this person. It does not conflate the two – that’s the job of the opponents of the SoR.

laurence
Guest
laurence

Wind in the willows eh Simon ?!

Seriously, it does feel like that, thanks.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Simon Morden wrote: “Not every sexual behaviour is equally good. But what has that to do with selling books? Or bread? Or teaching maths? Or running a hotel? Or a print shop?” Dear Simon, Most of those are straw men. And I didn’t mention any of them! If the legislation means that you can’t refuse to print a book because you consider the content immoral (if that morality is to do with sexuality) then it is imposing a particular (a)moral view. If a christian church or retreat centre cannot refuse to take bookings from a group because that group has… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

whack-a-mole

Isn’t that that strange concoction made with avocado pear?

bernadette
Guest

I feel the point is being missed here. The passing of this legislation now means that it is illegal to teach the Christian faith,. e.g – in theory a teacher could be sued via the LEA for teaching that marriage involves a MAn and a WOMAN and for not also saying that a marriage betwen two men or two wo men is equally valid, depsite this contradicting Christian teaching. another e.hg. – a priest who refuses to bless a smae-sex union could also be sued now under this legislation. There will be test cases lining up for this April. Anglicans… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

The regulations have nothing at all to do with sexual behaviour, but sexual orientation.

And under the law, whether the Daves of this world like it or not, gay and hetero sexual orientations are as good as each other.

In other words, the civil law does not reflect traditional Christian prejudices – and that’s the way things are going to stay.

Race, sex, disability and sexuality are integral to a person, in a way which belief is not.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Simon Thanks for making me laugh, reading some of what has gone up in the last week, I needed cheering up. Plus there is an assumption that improper sexual behaviours do not happen between heterosexual couples. Just to add to your whack-a-mole game, how about we add bait-a-mole? One of my contemplations this weekend is that the penultimate Christian fantasy intrinsically aspires for selfish misogynistic celibate homosexuality. God is male (and male only) and is Jesus. The only legitimate wife to Jesus is the one true church. Only men can truly represent the church and God’s teachings. Therefore the only… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I have to conclude that Bernadette is just not reading what is being written here and elsewhere. The current regulations for NI simply do not have the specific effects described. Why is it that people continue to make false claims about these regulations?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dave had a couple of quotes from the Evangelical Alliance in the first comment above. Quote 1: “Religious groups, as a matter of principle, oppose unfair discrimination and unambiguously reject abusive and hateful conduct, attitudes and speech aimed at homosexual people.” “Unfair discrimination”? It looks like the new Roman Catechism § 2357… Quote 2: “The key point to be stressed here is that sexual orientation human rights are to be regarded as on a par with religion and belief human rights – not with rights relating to race, sex and disability. Both homosexual *practice* and religion and belief involve choices… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Dave wrote: “If the legislation means that you can’t refuse to print a book because you consider the content immoral (if that morality is to do with sexuality) then it is imposing a particular (a)moral view.” No it doesn’t. You need to contemplate for a while upon the (legal) difference between General and Particular. It is these provisions that are General in scope, whereas the opposition argues for a Particular moral view: Neo Platonist Moralism. and further “If a christian church or retreat centre cannot refuse to take bookings from a group because that group has a different view on… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Simon, I think Bernadette and others like her have been wilfully misled and if anything we may see even more of this as the government considers the Regs for the rest of us. Behind all the lies, there is a real change in the law, and it is going to mean that some people in some situations will have to behave differently or suffer its penalty. If there were no occasions of discrimination or harassment then this legislation would not be necessary, so it’s no surprise that those few left in this country who recognise that their current behaviour and… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I remember a conversation, that went something like:

“You can’t come in here.”
“Why not?”
“I don’t like the colour of your trousers.”
“Oh well, that’s fair discrimination.”

Baffling, really.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

I too remember a conversation in class. The teacher (of the Greek Pentecostal variety) said:

“Until Hjalmar takes off his homophile trousers (very flashy), he will not be given any questions, nor allowed to ask any.”

“Fair” discrimination – at the time.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I think the repeating of allegations which are simply not true are all part of the process of trying to create straw men. When it comes down to it, we know that the ideal situation for some of those on the protest would be to either recriminalise homosexuality, or a society where there had been no progress on this issue since 1967 and where grudging acceptance of gay sexuality in private is enough. There is certainly no place for happily open gays and lesbians living in relationships which are respected and acknowledged by society. They know that the return of… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Merseymike, Sexuality doesn’t change for some people; for others it does. What is more, some sexualities are harmful to others, and acting on them is illegal. Sexual *behaviour*, on the other hand, is completely a choice (unless you become addicted/compulsive). I don’t see why I should be compelled by law to not criticise, or refuse services that are requested to support *behaviours* that I see as wrong. I wouldn’t expect any more from you or other people who disagree with my lifestyle choices! I don’t expect the civil law to reflect Christian morality. I think the law is there… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

We have (unfortunately) been over this territory many, many times and now it is formally in the Hansard record of Parliament that the religious opposition (again we have thankfully seen many examples of religious groups in support) is not being truthful about the regulations and that they will not have the effects dreamed up by tese no doubt well meaning folks. Normally the Government is a fairly reliable source of information as to what a law does or doesn’t mean. And, because it is secondary legislation and because of the Human Rights Act and how it works we know that… Read more »

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Dave says: Sexual *behaviour*, on the other hand, is completely a choice.

I agree. But unless I’m actually trying to ravish someone in the Post Office queue, I don’t see what that has to do with not being allowed to buy stamps?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Martin I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at your example. It reminds me of a friend of mine whose marriage broke down because her husband had committed adultery. A well meaning Christian neighbour came over to pray for her and her marriage’s salvation. As if my friend had any choice in the matter! Sometimes their well meaning prayers are actually more hurtful than if they just ignored you. A good counsellor would tell you that you need to ask your client if they would like to be helped and if there are any constraints on how you would… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

re ‘ Martin’s example’. I am pretty clear that this falls foul of the ‘Protection from Harassment Act 1997’ with which I have had some involvement. In order to break this Law on has to either stalk or harass for a second time. That’s it. It is an excellent means of respite. The Courts will impose an enforcement order inhibiting the harassment at once, even before a full Hearing or Trial is held. The pastor’s act seems a clear incitement to me. I would have no hesitation in reporting him to the police. It is ideal law for domestic situations,… Read more »

Chrsitopher Shell
Guest
Chrsitopher Shell

Some reasons why the proposals are wrong: (1) A Christian teacher (especially in a nonChristian school), and likewise a Muslim teacher etc, will have to do one of two things: either lie (which they are unlikely to do) or suppress the conclusions to which they have come. We must always be against the suppression of debate – unless anyone is in favour of that? (2) If debate is not allowed, then essentially we are issuing pre-packaged conclusions rather than trying to weigh up arguments. Everyone knows which is better. No-one disagrees with that? (3) There is a danger that Catholic… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Sexuality doesn’t change for some people; for others it does” Really. Well, if you believe the claims of “ex-gay” ministries, I can see why you’d believe that, but these claims are, at best, debatable as to veracity, the definition of “change”, and the effect on people’s psych of the process whereby the people involved in these groups “change”. In those outside these groups, “changing” is pretty rare, and it is also telling that no-one ever “changes” from straight to gay. Might this indicate that the “change” is more in name than in fact on the rare occasions when it does… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
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mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Dr Shell’s observation that the search for a ‘gay gene’ (other than Robinson)is simplistic is a fair one, and it is intriguing that a number of studies of identical twins reveal non-identical characteristics, not only in the area of sexuality. But identical twin studies are particularly interesting in that environmental considerations are likely to be non-variant (except in those few studies which have looked at monozygous twins raised separately) – there is still something going on here which cannot be explained in terms of ‘lifestyle choice’. And the ‘white liberal’ bias in gay profiles counts for nothing – would YOU… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No, Christopher. 1. It is not up to a Christian, Muslim or any other teacher to teach only their particular perspective. That simply isn’t good practice. 2. Nothing to do with the regulations. Debate is allowed. Discrimination in the delivery of goods and services is not. 3. No. They may choose to close down, but the law is clear enough – that gay and lesbian people can adopt and foster children. Thus, it is not acceptable that they should be allowed to discriminate against those people, and so reduce the chance of finding a foster care or adoption placement for… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, 1. Supposing a conservative Christian wanted to argue that, since God cursed Ham, black people shouldn’t have equal rights. That was once a factor in human rights debate. Should we suppress that? 4. Most would agree that sexuality isn’t simply a matter of one gene, and the genetic influence on behaviour is as easily downplayed as it is overemphasized. Might non-white people growing up in a conservative society be afraid to admit their sexuality, thus making it appear there are fewer of us than there actually are in such societies? And I know a fair number of gay people… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

“-Homosexual orientation does not appear to be equally apportioned among different societies. A disproportionate number of those I meet are white liberals. “

Chuckles.

Well, I imagine that a homosexual Nigerian is very comfortable with their sexuality and readily talks about it at the local coffee shop…

Do these people ever look at for the snares and traps that they set? They seem to catch themselves in them more often than they catch others.

Lois Keen
Guest
Lois Keen

Re Dr. Shell’s observations and mynsterpreost (David Rowett’s) response re twins, I can point you to a pair of twins I know personally. They are not identical, they are what I as a layperson was taught to call “fraternal” twins. They are both gay. One is a man; the other a woman. Both are in same-sex life partnerships.
revLois Keen

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Christopher Shell is a hoot!!

“A disproportionate number of those (gays) I meet are white liberals.”

You must go to Walsingham Christopher for one of the more esoteric pilgrimages. I think you will find the place full of conservative gays, of course publicly homophobic to a lace cotta!

If you visit one of the large gay night clubs on a Saturday night – I think you will see as varied an ethnic mix as you do generally.

Christopher does seem to have led a sheltered life.

Dave
Guest
Dave

“”Sexuality doesn’t change for some people; for others it does” Ford Elms wrote: “Really… Well, if you believe the claims of “ex-gay” ministries… In those outside these groups, “changing” is pretty rare, and it is also telling that no-one ever “changes” from straight to gay.” Dear Ford, I was thinking precisely of people who “discover they are gay” when they previously lived and enjoyed a “heterosexual” lifestyle (Maybe some *were* pretending, but others seem to genuinely change). And then there are some people who admit to homosexual experiences but experience themselves are basicall heterosexual. I think that sexuality is multidimensional… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Simon Morden wrote: “Dave says: Sexual *behaviour*, on the other hand, is completely a choice. I agree. But unless I’m actually trying to ravish someone in the Post Office queue, I don’t see what that has to do with not being allowed to buy stamps?” Dear Simon, you are putting up the Straw Man that Merseymike just accused conservatives of using! NOONE is worried about selling stamps to ANYONE (unless that can be somehow construed to be affirming homosexuality). And, for the record, noone I know thinks that people are more or less equal as individuals because of their sexuality.… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Dave complained:
In the SOR NI briefing, churches were said to be able refused use of premise to non-church gay groups, but only if they refused use of premises to all non-church groups. ie. even the established religions are not legally able to decide whether to provide ANY services, beyond their internal activities, based on the beliefs of that religion!

And is there something wrong with that? Your Church Hall will still be available for all your Church sponsored activities — you just won’t be able to exercise moral control over law-abiding, legally constituted non-church groups. Who appointed us as God’s auditors?

Simon Morden
Guest
Simon Morden

Dave – these aren’t straw men examples. You’d like them to be. You’d like to believe that nowhere in this wide world, homosexuals aren’t denied access to stamps simply because they’re TEH GAY! That homosexuals aren’t denied housing and benefits and medical treatment and legal advice… The axiom that hard cases make bad law is applicable here. All I hear from the noisy end of the swimming pool is about guest houses, printers, teachers and adoption agencies. Hard cases that need to be ruled on, perhaps, but absolutely and completely no excuse to say that homosexuals shouldn’t be treated as… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I think that sexuality is multidimensional” You’re hardly new in this, Kinsey said the same thing. And how fluid is your sexuality, Dave? Given the right situation, could you swing the other way? I couldn’t, see, I’m as far gay on the Kinsey scale as they get. As to those who “discover” they are gay in adulthood, that’s a good one. Dja ever think maybe they knew all along, but denied it out of fear and shame till it became a life and/or sanity threatening burden? “Discovering” it is a lot easier on the person you have lived with and… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Well, Dave, as you want to institute discrimination against gay men and lesbians, you are right in observing that this is a genuine difference of view. However, you are asking to have the right to discriminate in the civil sphere. That cannot be acceptable. Exemptions give you the right to discriminate in your own sphere – but thats as far as they should go I believe that the assumption should be that gay or lesbian sexual orientation and relationships should be viewed as of equal worth to those of heterosexuals – as indeed, they are in the law. Thus, your… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Mike Re the 5 points: I don’t think I proposed that anyone should teach *only* any one perspective. That goes against my whole call for more debate and fewer unsupported assertions. Of course, there are bound to be a few issues that are so clear-cut that debate is not needed. But this is not one of them. Clear setting-out of arguments and counter-arguments is required. Therefore to present the issue as clear-cut to schoolchildren or anyone else would be to lie. What I do propose is that everyone should say what their own perspective is, and (more importantly) the… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Martin I don’t in the least mind being a hoot. What people find funny is often what they are not used to, what they find counter-cultural. The issue of whether something is true or not is separate from the issue of whether it is funny or not, and also more important. ‘Sheltered’: Most of the great saints (of whom I am one NOT) were a bit ‘sheltered’. (Would they have been more saintly if they had experienced drug abuse and abortions first?) So are a lot of high achievers, and high achieving cultures (Jews, Indians, S.Koreans, trad British). ‘Sheltered’… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Ford Elms, if you read what I wrote last time, I acknowledged that some people pretend to be “heterosexual”… But I think that when some people “discover they are gay” later in life it is a genuine change. There are also examples I’ve heard of, where people “discover they are straight” after living as a homosexual… (when they meet a person of the other sex who they fall in love with).

ps Some ex-gays (and some repentent gays) seem happy enough: http://www.zacchaeus.ca/OurStories.html

Dave
Guest
Dave

Merseymike wrote: “I believe that the assumption should be that gay or lesbian sexual *orientation* and *relationships* should be viewed as of equal worth to those of heterosexuals – as indeed, they are in the law. Thus, your position doesn’t actually have any logical basis….” Dear Merseymike, well that is where we disagree. And, as you point out, that is the basis for calling something “discriminatory” – because it doesn’t treat those two *orientations* as equal. (As opposed to treating *individuals* with those orientations as equal – which I hope that every Thinking Anglican would agree with). In fact it… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

“The point remains that a society’s attitude to whether homosexuality is a viable option is surely going to affect the numbers who take up that option.”

More correctly “who dare express that option.”

And ‘option’ is a skewed word, implying voluntary adoption.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

” I don’t consider you sheltered because (let us say) you (hypothetically) know nothing about the history of Essex County Cricket Club c1973-92 or about the films of Jacques Tati.”

No perhaps not Christopher but then I have never made any comments on Essex County Cricket Club or Jaques Tati’s films here.

My sheltered comment was made with warmth in my heart. It was a gentle reproof and kindly meant.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Christopher: I don’t want to repeat myself again, but the law does not go along with your view of gays and lesbians (that they are ‘not right’ in some way)

There is thus no logical reason why this law should follow that viewpoint

You prefer to choose your facts, and as your aim is to reverse laws which treat gay people as equal citizens, I think they can be safely laid aside.

You’ve lost this argument in the wider society.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Mike-
(1) Do you think that ‘legal’ equals ‘true’? In that case, truth is changing all the time. Your assumption (that the law is always right) is obviously incorrect – I am surprised that you cannot see this.
(2) Do you think that truth is determined by headcount? Obviously it can’t be.
(3) So how is factual truth determined? (a) with difficulty; (b) primarily by responsible use of statistics.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Martin-
You missed my point. My point was that I know very little about what homosexuals get up to in their social life (Walsingham and nightclubs). I do, by contrast, know a little bit (and uncomfortably more than those more directly affected) about the statistical evidence relating to homosexual practice.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the statistical evidence”

References please. Repeatedly referring to statistics without citing your sources is no argument.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Christopher:

This is a debate about the law. Not what you or I believe to be true. Thus, what you think about gay or lesbian people is irrelevant. It is a matter of the law. And the law does not, and cannot, reflect purely your view of what you believe Truth to be.

Factual Truth is neither as black and white as you imagine, and as someone with research experience, is certainly not available by simply number-crunching, particularly if it is not possible to produce meaningful statistical work.

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

Christopher Shell

I imagine my old ladies who go to Walsingham every year would be most distressed to know you equate it with gay night clubs. Your odium theologicum is showing rather a lot.

I suggest that you might go there, and pray there at both the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines (both are remarkable places to pray), and then come back full of grace and apologise.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Dave, Are you trying to say that people choose to be gay later in life? If you can so easily accept that sexuality is changable in this fashion, your experience is different from mine. Perhaps you are closer to the centre of the Kinsey scale than I am, and thus, while still heterosexual, are conscious of some potential to homosexual attraction, but your life, faith, and the fact that you are still basically heterosexual have made it a non-issue for you. Believe me, my sexuality is immutable. I spent ten years trying, praying, not to be gay. The only response… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

No I think I understood your point Christopher as I believe you have grasped mine. Interesting article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2007/001/5.11.html Note: “The real question is not whether evangelicals can clean up their statistical act. The deeper question is whether American evangelicals can learn to live without the alarmism that is so comfortably familiar to them. Evangelicals, by my observation, thrive on fear of impending catastrophe, accelerating decay, apocalyptic crises that demand immediate action (and maybe money). All of that can be energizing and mobilizing. The problem is, it also often distorts, misrepresents, or falsifies what actually happens to be true about… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

A fascinating link, Martin. Perhaps the statistics naifs on TA will listen to the voice of someone clearly speaking from a Christian perspective (as opposed to the biased voices of those nasty TA liberals) and submit raw data to scrutiny before building spurious arguments on them.