SOR debate wrap-up

Updated Wednesday evening

The Hansard record of debate starts here.

You can read what Lord Eames said here.
You can read what the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham said here.

The following bishops voted in favour of the motion: Chester, Rochester, Southwell and Nottingham, Winchester. Also the cleric Lord Pilkington.
The following bishops or former bishops voted against the motion: Harries of Pentregarth, Worcester.
The Division list is here

Update Wednesday evening
Newspaper leader columns:
Minority Report in The Times
In praise of… the sexual orientation regulations in the Guardian

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Göran Koch-Swahnemynsterpreost (=David Rowett)MerseymikeFord ElmsChristopher Shell Recent comment authors
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mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
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mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

And +Winchester seems to have voted in favour.

Jimbo
Guest
Jimbo

Lord Alli’s comment: “Look outside this building tonight, listen to the small but vocal crowd, and imagine how it feels to walk through that crowd and see so much prejudice directed towards you simply because you are gay, simply because you are yourself, simply because you exist. It is rank hypocrisy to object to this order, having argued for the very same protection for religious groups only a few months ago.” Despite the technical inadequacies of the legislation and flawed governmental procedure in its rapid introduction – rightly criticised by the Lords – I am personally delighted that the challenge… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

As soon as law ceases to equal right, then contradictions become inevitable: (1) If the idea is to avoid discrimination, then to avoid discrimination against one is to create it against another. This could be avoided by rejecting the absolutism that comes from always affirming non-discrimination. Everyone can think of ways in which discrimination can be positive. A football coach knows that one of his charges benefits from reverse psychology, another from being verbally booted up the backside. He discriminates between them in his treatment of them, to the individual benefit of each. I often think that a society can… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, I agree with your comments on the absolutism of society and the relegation of nuanced thought. We see it here as expressed in religious debate, but it is elsewhere too. It is prominent in American society, and, in so far as it is a worldwide thing, I wonder if it has spread because America is the dominant world culture. I sometimes wonder as well if it is as a result of the American political system. Two parties means “either/or” and it seems sometimes that Americans are incapable of a more nuanced poitical view. If one expresses a liberal or… Read more »

pechadwr benodol / specific sinner
Guest
pechadwr benodol / specific sinner

‘..to avoid discrimination against one is to create it against another…’

Hardly.

Does the work of the equalities ministry mean that gradually whites, women, the abled etc .,are be being rendered oppressed and harrassed ?

In the light of some speeches in the House of ‘Lords’ and writings elsewhere, I have decided for the present, to follow Biblical prcedent and re-name myself here,

yours

specific sinner / pechadwr penodol

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Thanks to Jimbo, thanks to Lord Ali, and thanks to those who passed the vote in the House of Lords. Is this indeed cultural evidence in support of Darwin’s views? Are we evolving before our very own eyes? The central factual and discernment dilemma stands: Either all this negative religious definitional and presuppositional revelation stuff is accurate – and there is nothing good in a queer citizen’s life, except as exclusively defined by those categorical and conservative revelation hermeneutics; or we are all being led fairly down the garden paths to assert a flat earth theory of what it means… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

In response to Christopher, discrimination in the legal sense is not to treat people differently, but to treat them less favourably, where such differences in treatment are disproportionate to a legitimate aim. Discrimination in this sense is a completely different proposition because it is corrosive of that person’s identity and standing within society. The less favourable treatment in goods and services consists of a refusal of service or provision of a service on less favourable grounds. This is a political question – do you want a society where it is acceptable to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.… Read more »

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

Discrimination? Frankly, I think all Christians should delight that they are no longer lulled into the heresy of approving of/accommodating those who turn up (against Gospel imperatives) outside their establishments in big 4WD gas guzzlers while disapproving of those who offend (as Full Gospel Believers would have it) against the homosexuality imperative…. Hallelujah that we are no longer allowed to discriminate between Gospel-denying sinners other than by taking their cash:-))) Or as Theophilus of Antioch puts it: “But to the unfaithful who disregard and disobey the truth but obey unrighteousness, when they are full of adultery, and fornication and homosexual… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

Let me get this straight… The motion was to suspend the law passed by Commons. A vote in favor of the motion is a vote to suspend the law. The vote failed, so the law remains on the books.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Also,note that Baroness Richardson of Calow, former leader of the Free Churches and the Methodists, voted against the motion

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Not quite, ruidh. Your reading is correct except that…
This legislation was for Northern Ireland only, and had never come to either house of the UK Parliament in Westminster.
It had been brought in by the Northern Ireland government, but at present, for reasons that you may be aware of, the Northern Ireland Assembly is in suspension. Therefore it was brought in without a parliamentary debate there either.
It was in fact been debated once after that by the “Transitional Assembly” which I mentioned in passing earlier on TA, see
http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/002098.html

Cheryl Clough
Guest

This comment led me cogitating “A football coach knows that one of his charges benefits from reverse psychology, another from being verbally booted up the backside.” I’ve known of priests, parents and spouses who knew that their charges, dependents and spouses benefited from reverse psychology and a good slap. I’ve known some souls who always wear long sleeves and sunglasses to hide the bruises. I’ve known many, many women who were bankrupted as their husbands applied “reverse psychology” to their wives’ fear of not being able to pay the bills by taking all the family assets and squandering them. Bit… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

It does, however, set a precedent and suggest that the law in Northern Ireland will not be substantially revised for England and Wales. The arguments used by the Government were very much in response to the type of objections which have been raised by the conservative anti-gay Christian lobby in England and Wales. It is clear enough that there has been a decision made as to what the legislation should contain, or the Government would have recommended changes at this stage or announced the likelihood of revision. That isn’t the case. I think its well known that the Minister responsible… Read more »

AlaninLondon
Guest
AlaninLondon

On a oblique point. If the proposed Covenant needs legislation to take effect in England it will be interesting to see how Parliament will handle it if it is anti-gay in character, if it seeks to ‘unchurch’ those who take a liberal or more moderate position. Will Parliament rubber stamp such a Covenant (as it usually does with Church legislation) or will it seek to amend or even reject it? It is remarkable that even the House of Lords now will have no truck with anti-gay rhetoric. Will Parliament allow the Church of England to fall into the hands of… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

How right Cheryl is. I think I’ve commented before on the fundamental division between those who believe in the force of argument, and those who believe in the argument of force. TA by its nature attracts chiefly those who would accept the former. Those who accept the latter tend to gather around either conservative or extreme radical viewpoints. I love the lines in the Address to Diognetus (7:3f): “Did he (viz. God) do it as a man might suppose, like a tyrant with fear and terror? Not at all, but with gentleness and meekness, like a king sending his son,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

My experience at the demo was instructive. I did manage to get one guy to engage in reasoned debate as opposed to following his instincts like the rest. He updated me on one point, which was welcome, but as that concerned preferences for one sexual act over another it was neither here nor there. And even he jumped to conclusions before he read what I had to say. The remainder did that with knobs on – with the exception of a delightful guy with curly hair and glasses who I later saw being interviewed for the TV (what he said,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

There were two ways in which I felt the opponents of the demo were not pulling their weight, ie ‘could do better’ (dire words!!): (1) Sometimes it reminded me of a situation where a lass or lad is learning to drive and bursts into tears saying ‘My driving instructor hates me.’. The driving instructor is only trying to impart factual information as best they know how, and the net result will hopefully be beneficial for the candidate, which is in their mutual interest. It is as though everything in life is about emotions, and how it makes us ‘feel’. People… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But I don’t think its up to us to prove anything, Christopher. There should be an assumption of equal citizenship. Gay and lesbian relationships and identities have legal status – the conservative Christian view no longer predominates in terms of legal understanding. It is up to you to make the case to allow discrimination in civil society ie outside the confines of the church. Religious freedom allows you to practice discrimination within the Church, and whilst I disagree with such practice, I think the church does have the right to be bigoted within its confines. But – not outside. I… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“The more serious point is that they by and large show no inclination to familiarise themselves with the factual and statistical information on which any informed assessment of homosexual practice is based (regarding life expectancy, disease levels, promiscuity levels, levels of indulgence in unsafe acts).” Meaning what? None of what you mention as supposed risks of being gay are actually as a result of being gay, the issue seems to be more one of promiscuity. Though I contest your implication that gay people are more promiscuous than straight people, let’s suppose for the minute that we are. One could argue… Read more »

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

There is a sad contradiction that those who accuse the gay community of promiscuity are often those seeking to make formalised and stable relationships most difficult to maintain (eg by discrimination in goods and services etc etc).

I can only assume that the mainspring of those who maintain such a mutually exclusive position is that ANY physical expression of same-sex love is wrong, so fidelity is morally not superior to promiscuity. To me that seems perverse, but it has a certain internal consistency within it. However, its connection with the outside world seems strained….

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

I agree, Ford. It is well known that statistics gained from studies of young gay men, active on the commercial scene, which have been carried out for the purposes of developing HIV prevention startegies, are regularly mis-used by anti-gay bodies such as NARTH and are used to represent the entire gay population. So, gay people are said to be promiscuous and not in long term relationships with reference to a totally unrepresentative profile of gay people I wonder if surveys were done of heterosexuals in their late teens and early twenties who regularly use bars and nightclubs, the results would… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Well, I’ve been strictly monogamous for the past 20 years. Before that, I was frankly envious of my straight friends, all of whom seemed to be able to get laid at the drop of a hat, while I was practically a hermit. Maybe that’s why I resent being called promiscuous simply because I am gay. Believe me, in my younger days, I’d have been quite happy to be half as promiscuous as the straight people around me:-)

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Lord Morrow said in the Lords: “In most circumstances, the new laws will not be problematic. Homosexual people are entitled to be able to buy their groceries and have their bins emptied, just like everyone else…” You mean that when the door bell tolls for me it’s the milkman? Who would have thought… “… but the regulations go much further…. Christian old people’s homes will be sued for not giving a double bed to homosexual civil partners.” Having some experience (including recent) of old people’s homes, I would suggest very few indeed in such places are put in double beds…… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

Christopher Shell has a point (or two) – When we meet with our friends and family we talk of our children’s education, our eldests newest girlfriend, my mum’s new antics of hiding the sugar bowl (on a diet again!) and then spending three hours looking for it. We discus our mutual friends and absent family, what we saw at the theatre last week and what the preacher said in the sermon on Sunday, mortgage rates and of course the weather! We say our prayers together and talk about scripture and laugh with Jesus then – let a silence come. I… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The important thing about statistics is not to get them from any one ‘source’. One should get them from combining the results of all the most large-scale and most scientific surveys, adn seeing what the big picture is and what the big trends are. The only point is that if someone has not familiarised themselves with this data, then they are (as no-one could dispute) not yet in a position to adjudge homosexuality a viable (or for that matter non-viable) lifestyle choice. I have not yet heard an answer to this point. If, for example, life expectancy levels are worse… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, Isn’t the avoidance of attention to research a bit susp? Not if the research is obviously biased from the start. I can come up with “research” that seems to show that conservative political beliefs are a kind of psychopathology, but that’s just as biased. What research are you talking about? Of course gay rights have gone along with the sexual revolution. How else could it have happened? Even now, those who support us are in a minority. And what agenda are you talking about? The agenda that we will demand that society stop tying us to fences and pistol… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No-one is avoiding research, Christopher.It is you who is actually failing to read otr understand the research in the context of which it was written, because you clearly believe the propaganda of organisations such as NARTH. They both commission biased research which is not peer reviewed, and misuse the type of research I have outlined above. If, for example, you use a survey of HIV+ men to adjudge the life expectancy of gay men as a total population, you will gain completely ridiculous results. Indeed, quantitative figures are suspicious, full stop, as there is no sampling frame to work on.… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

You are incorrigible Christopher !

One has only to go thru your piece replacing ‘gay’ with ‘black’, ‘Jewish’, ‘female’, ‘Irish’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Welsh Calvinsitic Methodist’ –and so on… YOU choose ! – to see how outragous it is.

CORRECTION it would be outragous from almost any other pen (keyboard) but yourn Christopher.

I suspect that your thinking is informed by the statistical imperatives of the Revelation of St John.

Still I am mindful that you and I belong to minority groups severally …

BTW How did you come to adopt your particular lifestyle ? …

Martin Reynolds
Guest

“Life-style choice” is perhaps where we might come apart here Christopher.

I notice that world-wide women are still outliving us fellah’s by five years and more.

It’s a bummer!

laurence
Guest
laurence

Thanks Cheryl. You speak my mind also. Women and others bear the physical bruises and scars of such applied ‘reverse psychology'(aka sadism, or abuse); and also the hidden psychological scars of such treatment( panic attacs, ptsd, anxiety, depressions, flash-backs, low self-esteem; and many other difficulties in life). And as Cheryl says Gaia too -and the very air we breathe, the oceans, the myriad creatures. Life in the UK in the 50s was often dominated by this way of treating children, elders and other vulnerable groups. I do believe we have entered kinder and more enlightened times, in the education of… Read more »

laurence
Guest
laurence

Christopher, I find myself wondering: are you much given to discussing ‘sexual acts’ on the streets of London with strangers– curly headed or otherwise ? And why not I suppose if an other wishes to. HOWEVER, if one does this, then I guess one must be ready for (almost) anything ? I AGREE with your argument for extending marriage to same-sex couples and only wish I had thought of it. But then I am rather lacking in the sphere of –shall we say –alfresco research ! (I did used to testify thru a loud-hailer in my teens, on street corners,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

??? I am not aware of the research of NARTH. As far as I know none of the research findings which I rely on are produced by Christians. I use only three tests: -how big is the sample? -how up-to-date is the survey? -is it approved by a recognised scientific/social-scientific journal/publisher? In addition, I try in each case not to rely on a single survey but on the conglomerated findings of the main existing surveys. Martin- not to mention those pesky left-handers who die so young. But you surely aren’t denying that men live less healthily than women on average,… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Laurence Thanks for the kind words and I liked your “value add”. Christopher Your comments about statistics providing insights into life expectancy and prognosis makes for some interesting contemplations. Is the homosexual lifestyle less safe and more likely to lead to injury? Yes. Do some souls have the ability to choose to eschew homosexual acts by either abstaining or choosing the other gender only? Yes – those who have low sex drives or at a point on the continuum where either gender is attractive to them. But there are those on the continuum where opposite sex sex is simply unpalatable… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Wow I am surprised to read that anybody is still trotting out bad science from the right in an attempt to convince us that a queer person decides to Come Out because they happen to fail to read the most damning – aka most accurate aka most traditional aka most obviously skewed and spindried – statistics somewhere. No queer person takes a survey as they begin their journey into mature self-knowledge. Or, at least few that I know personally, or know about from any other source. Most begin by knowing the inner world of that special and good attraction feeling… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

drdanfee’s comments are not up to his usual incisive standard. Why? Because it is simply impossible (by their very nature) that statistics will turn out as we would want them to turn out. The reason we have statistics at all is as a necessary corerctive to ideology and wishful thinking. Provided the necessary checks are in place (large samples, unbiased/neutral researchers, high-class accreditation, fully up-to-date contemporaneity) then statistics are the closest thing we have to facts. Yet one would never guess from drdanfee’s answer that any statistics which gave unwelcome findings on any topic under the sun could possibly be… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Cheryl Don;t you think that the more you feed something (eg an inclination) the bigger it grows? This is certainly true of my daughter. For example, a pornography-permitting society thus turns into not a sated society but a pornography-obsessed society. And a homosexuality-tolerating society ends up with more homoseuxality. The power to conform to what is perceived as normal (as opposed to good and beneficial) is very strong. (Normal on a local/national not international level, that is.) People just hate to be seen as deviants by their peers, however deviant they are in their views historically or internationally. Laurence-… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Christopher ; no, you are wrong.

Statistical analysis is next to useless when looking at gay populations, because there is no sampling frame. Any statistical survey can only ever be relevant to the specific population looked at. So, a survey of young gay HIV+ men will tell you about them – but not about the gay population in general.

You clearly have done no social research, or you would understand this elementary fact, which a first year undergraduate is usually able to grasp.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell wrote: “Yet their lifestyle choice must be based on something surely? “

Well… Try this one:

Being lesbian or gay is not a “lifestyle choice”.

Did it help?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Christopher Shell wrote: “Provided the necessary checks are in place (large samples, unbiased/neutral researchers, high-class accreditation, fully up-to-date contemporaneity) then statistics are the closest thing we have to facts.”

I suggest you drop a few names, Christopher.

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

“And a homosexuality-tolerating society ends up with more homoseuxality. “

This equates sexual orientation with a lifestyle choice like (say) drinking alcohol. So far as I’m aware, the scientific consensus would not go along with that.

If sexual orientation is NOT a lifestyle choice,t hen the suggestion is as ludicrous as saying “And a (gypsy/aborigine/ethnic x)-tolerating society ends up with more (gypsies/aborigines/ethnic x.” Or perhaps beyond ludicrous and heading towards offensive.

Mind, it’d go down a wow in Abuja, and Tunde could do with a bit of help from the sounds of it.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Its probably true to say that a tolerant society ends up with more people able to be open about their sexual orientation

And of course, this is what Christian homophobes want – gay people back in the closet,living in fear.

But its not going to happen – which makes them even angrier as they see their rather nasty world slip away from them.

laurence
Guest
laurence

And of course, this is what Christian homophobes want – gay people back in the closet,living in fear.’ mersey In fact they will be entering the closet themselves at this rate. Serves them right ! A short time in the naughty corner may make them more socially acceptable, skilled and pleasant to be around –and leave the wings of flies alone when the summer comes. — surely they could find some other form of displacement activity that might bring a smile to their faces ? Smiling is a great therapy !….. Also i fear that many of the christian homophobes… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Mike-
I didn’t get your point. Surveys of young male HIV+s refer only to young male HIV+s. Surveys of male homosexuals in general refer to male homosexuals in general. Surveys of homosexals of both genders refer to homosexuals of both genders. All three kinds of surveys have been done (albeit they ought not to be confused with one another).

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“lifestyle factors also influence the homosexual life-expectancy figure”

I’m interested what you think my lifestyle is, Christopher. What in my lifestyle shortens my life and is specific to homosexuality?
Also, what is the mechanism by which a society tolerant of homosexuality produces more homosexuality? I grew up in a society very intolerant of homosexuality, I also had this attitude and spent ten years of my life trying, praying, not to be what I am. Societal factors matter not a whit, even if you accept them, so how do you figure that being more tolerant will make more of us?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

What do you mean by ‘male homosexuals in general’, Christopher?
Who were the sample? How do you know if they represent the ‘general’? What sampling frame exists to compare with?

And what were the motivations and background of the researcher? For that can be a very important aspect of any sort of analysis of research.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Ford- As I mentioned earlier, it is a misunderstanding fo statistics to apply averages to every member of the subset. Dogs are on average bigger than cats, but Scrappy Doo is not bigger than Kitten Kong. Averages are averages. They still reduce to real individual people and real trends, and are therefore the best basis for assessing lifestyle options. Mike- The point still applies: how better can we gain the large-scale facts except by use of stats? What is the alternative paradigm? Of course there will always be complicating factors – it would be far more surprising if there… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, Surely you know that a very important part of the scientific method is that the methodology of a particular study be seen so that those who read the study, either for information or for peer review can critique it and look for sources of bias that might not have occurred to the researcher. Peer review of studies is also an important part of the process, as you are, I’m sure, aware. You have refused so far to tell us where your “statistics” come from. How can we engage this issue? We cannot assess the methodology of the studies to… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Christopher: you still don’t get it. And I am bored with repeating myself. I am gay and perfectly happy with it. As such, I really couldn’t care less what those who follow your religion think, nor of their attempts to misuse research carried out for other purposes. I don’t think you have a clue about either scholarship or objectivity, or you wouldn’t have been taken in by a view which is clearly not shared by the bulk of the medical profession, and you would understand that statistical research is not the only form of research and suggests an epistemology which… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

PS _ Christopher – as an example, perhaps you could inform me exactly what it is about MY ‘lifestyle’ that I should change and which place me.personally, at any risk?

Fact is, you haven’t a clue how to answer that – because you don;t know anything about me. Which is the problem with your epistemology. You are applying the specific to the general, and failing to understand the importance of the micro over the macro.

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

A statistic like ‘married vs cohabiting’ looks like it should be straightforwrd (and a lot of pro-marriage groups report as such). But I am concerned that so many of these reports do seem to have been commissioned by folk with a somewhat vested interest! In this debate (mercifully removed from the gay issue), I would need to know that the sample has successfully excluded/accounted for such factors as: Poverty, employment and housing conditions. Are those who cohabit likely to be living in poorer quality housing and under greater external stress than marrieds? How many ‘failed’ cohabitees are also ‘failed’ marrieds?… Read more »