Thinking Anglicans

reactions so far to GB SORs

Updated

The Telegraph reported their publication, Labour faces fresh battle over gay rights

The Daily Mail had Law to put gay rights ahead of religion

According to both these reports, the Church of England spokesperson said:

“As Ruth Kelly’s statement acknowledges, these regulations raise ‘complex issues about how to reconcile competing rights and freedoms’. The Government has gone some way to recognising the particular needs of churches and other religious organisations to act in accordance with their own convictions.

“We shall, however, want to study the regulations closely before commenting in more detail. It is a matter of regret that the decision to create new law in this way without going through the normal procedure for Parliamentary Bills means that the regulations will not have the full scrutiny that sensitive matters of this kind require.”

Faithworks welcomed them in this press release: Faithworks welcomes the publication of draft Sexual Orientation Regulations. An extract:

Faithworks welcomes the publication of the draft Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) as an attempt to ensure that goods and services are delivered inclusively and in non-discriminatory ways.

We stand by the statements we have previously made on the SORs (www.faithworks.info) and are confident that they do not pose a threat to Christians.

It is right that any organisation receiving public funds should deliver services to genuine public benefit. A commitment to diversity does not mean losing one’s distinctive faith identity: it actually presents an opportunity to develop a dialogue and demonstrate Christian love and service.

There is still a great deal of misinterpretation of the SORs, which is leading to fear and opposition. However, the draft legislation includes clear exemptions for faith-based organisations relating to doctrine, and government ministers have also publicly answered questions of concern over the scope of the proposed SORs.

We acknowledge the different contributions and views of the whole Christian church to the issue of human sexuality. The Faithworks membership is drawn from across the spectrum of the church. Our approach to the SORs and to Equality & Diversity legislation allows for Christian views of sexuality whilst encouraging unconditional love and service. This is the Jesus model: defending a person’s human rights does not involve endorsing their lifestyle choices.

Lawyers Christian Fellowship (LCF), the Evangelical Alliance, Care and the Christian Institute did not do so, New gay rules attacked from Religious Intelligence/CEN

The Evangelical Alliance issued Response to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007

The Christian Institute said New ‘gay rights’ regulations put religious freedom in jeopardy and also a briefing note in a very smart PDF format.

CARE’s response is in a Word document here.

The Lawyers Christian Fellowship has a press release titled GOVERNMENT PUBLISH LANDMARK INTOLERANT LEGISLATION SETTING GROUND FOR CLASH OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Giles Fraser writing for Ekklesia commented on these attitudes: Giving fundamentalism a secular boost

The National Secular Society has Government Stands Up For Equality, Forcing Religious to Back Down

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Merseymike
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Merseymike

This follows a well established pattern.

1. Government announces gay rights legal reforms to bring equality for gay and lesbian people
2. Conservative Christian groups oppose changes, usually saying that they ‘do not support discrimination’ in the case of the more wishy-washy of them. Various outlandish suggestions are made as to the outcomes of this legislation
3. Government passes the legal changes
4. The world carries on, and none of the outcomes follow through
5. Everyone else gets on with life and conservative Christians continue to fulminate. Only their words appear ever more hollow and hysterical because few care about their obsessions.

Craig Nelson
Guest

Quite a bit of spinning has been going on here. The regs do seem to allow a much broader religious exemption than was originally proposed, notably along the lines requested by the Church of England. You wouldn’t think so from the reactions of the Church of England and as for the ‘usual suspects’ LCF, EA, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph etc they could have written their reaction 12 months ago (and in fact porbably did). Let’s not forget where LCF are coming from. They were against the Equality Act in the first place. They were against Civil Partnerships. They were against… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Helpful analysis of this emerging pattern from mm.

How they fail to realise that they alienate people form religion heaven only knows.

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

Laurence,

I have to say that I don’t think I have ever when involved in public evangelism been told by someone that they have been put off Christianity because of our position on homosexuality.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

I think that it is a case of religion alienating people from God.

Meanwhile we here in the USA bring freedom by amendments to our state constitutions that guarantee the right of organized religion to forbid civil unions of LGBT people.

Makes you proud. Bravo United Kingdom!

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Basically, the exemptions are those which apply to internal church matters, but not in the public sphere.
That seems entirely reasonable, and it will further mark out the church as a place for gay people to permanently avoid.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Giles Fraser wrote “…fundamentalists… are (not) really threatened by… aggressive atheism – indeed that helps secure a sense of persecution that is essential to group solidarity – but the sort of robustly self-critical faith that knows the Bible and the church’s traditions, and can challenge bad religion on its own terms. Fundamentalists hate what they see as the enemy within.” It reminds me of misogynists who denounce women. The look for and see the bad in women and see every decent thing as merely whitewashing or manipulative. They find women hating or avoiding them; so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

All of this suggests a new question: Are extreme religious believers the true, new drama queans? Now, please, someone suggest we refer this question for study to the Anglican Chicken Little Institute, funded by the USA religious right?

If we feed the queers food from Christian bed and breakfast operators, they will only get fatter; every zoo visitor knows that. Being Anglican=No Peanuts for Queer Animals.

And: Just what have all those hysterical Christian lawyers been doing in the cool of the dark night that they are afraid they cannot do, once the SOR’s are enacted into law? Hmmmmmm?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Dear Merseymike and Laurence. As Faithworks said “defending a person’s human rights does not involve endorsing their lifestyle choices.” In fact if you read what most people (even the more conservative evangelicals) actually said, you will see that nearly 100% are against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in provision of general goods and services. If you don’t believe me, read the government’s own review of the consultation responses again… 97% or respondents said that they were generally in favour of the anti-discrimination regulations, yet well over 60% were from religious people (or at least on religious themes) and were… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

ps Merseymike wrote “4. The world carries on, and none of the outcomes follow through”. Generally (not specifically on “gay rights”) I would say that conservative Christians’ warnings on sexual liberation have proven right. Booming relationship breakdown, massive STD rates, poor childhoods etc etc can all be laid at the feet of the liberal “sexual revolution”. I wonder how much worse things are going to have to get before people realise that they should stop asking “how can we address these problems” and start asking “how can we stop creating these problems”!

Ann Marie
Guest

Dave, I think one of the ways is to stop stressing sex and start emphasizing relationship. I remember reading an article back in ’97 about dating among teenagers. The artical bemoaned the fact that teen-agers were having sex outside of marriage. Their solution – lower the age requiring parental consent so that these children would then be having sex within marriage. We need to stop seeing sex as the root of all evil and start on focusing on the good in it and the situations/circumstances that promote that good. The Anglican Church of Canada’s Primates Theological Commission has put out… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Nowadays, conservative views of human sexuality offer us a vexed and impoverished choice – between the gritted teeth and cold baths of traditional celibacy unless you are straight and married and making babies, and MTV-type gangsta rap booty calls. But there are other, alternative views about just how to be healthy in one’s sexuality without necessarily falling into either extreme’s narrow trap of self-fulfilling prophecies. Indeed, discerning minds and hearts will sense the hidden connects between the traditional celibacy/married valences (which denigrate all except one form of ordained sexuality) and the gangsta rap stuff which makes it all meaningless because… Read more »

Leonardo Ricardo
Guest
Leonardo Ricardo

“how can we stop creating these problems”! Dave

Ask Akinola because he simply endorses throwing some Christian/Anglicans and their loved ones/family in jail to be sodomized and/or murdered if they want to live in/have a committed relationship!

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dave Williams People are not likely to tell you in public evangelising that they are put off by your position on homosexuality. There are very few people who will air their private concerns in a public forum with strangers. The souls who do it are usually of the more flamboyant and extroverted nature, and you would avoid them because they are so obviously gay and proud of it. Usually the people who are put off are the ones you never seem to quite be able to engage in a conversation in the first place, they move out of range too… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

‘…that conservative Christians’ warnings on sexual liberation have proven right. Booming relationship breakdown….’ dave And yet all this is ‘booming’ among the families of ‘conserative Christians’. A lot of divorce and re-marriage — ask George Carey. Or any other ‘conserative Christian’ leader or minister of a congregation. It saddens me that instead of facing human sexuality and people’s xex lives on the ground, it all has to be hidden away. So that there can be no open sharing, no real reflection , and ahrd to ask for or receive help or support. But then it all breaks down –or perhaps… Read more »

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

Cheryl,

1. I’m not talking about internet public forum discussion but the regular opportunities through personal friendship evangelism, door knocking, questionnaires etc

2. You assume that people don’t say why they don’t want to become Christians. There are many reasons why someone might have been put off/or chosen not to become Christians -my personal assessment is that “gay rights” don’t register on the scale

dave williams
Guest
dave williams

Cheryl,

Furthermore, no, neither I, nor many of the conservative evangelicals I know would avoid the “flamboyant, extraverted people who are “obviosly gay and proud of it.” Incidently, I don’t think that being flamboyant/etrovert neccessarily means you are any more comfortable with your sexuality.

Anglicanus
Guest
Anglicanus

May I suggest to Dave that the Christian Lawyers position in relation to conscientious objections to sexual equality (“biblically based”) parallels that of those who objected on grounds of religious conscience to racial equality (“biblically based”)? I also hope that it meets with the same end, that is to be totally unacceptable socially, morally, ethically, and intellectually. Perhaps then those who claim the ‘theological high ground’ will realise what low ground they actually inhabit and change their ways. I am amazed that those whose professional training is in Common Law and precedence seem unable to recognise the similarity of these… Read more »

Athos
Guest
Athos

Anglicanus There is chasm of difference bewteen racial equality and sexual equality socially, morally, ethically and intellectually. I am constantly amazed that folk seem to lump the two together without discriminating between the two as they inhabit two differing planes of reality. A lot more work and listening has got to take place in precisely this area. For a start sexual ethics is rooted in behaviour in a way that racial issues are not. I know I am going to be slain by this tolerant, open-minded website for saying that but as yet my LGBT friends still need to make… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Hello again, Athos,
Given that sexuality is as innate as colour why do you not see a moral parallel?
Now that we understand that sexuality is not a behavioural choice as formerly thought, but something we’re born with that defines our whole personhood, we have to adjust our ethics accordingly.
I think we no longer have to make a case for positively identifying ourselves with the race issue. It’s really up to you to explain why you believe that modern psychology and science should not change our way of thinking.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Dave W I am glad to hear that you would not avoid the flamboyant souls. The disclosure on avoiding churches due to their stance on homosexuality is still valid. For example in the last month, a friend’s 19-year old son has just “come out”, to both his parents surprise. If he hadn’t told his parents, do you think he would tell a stranger? Another acquaintance found out only last week that his flat mate of the last year or so is gay (the first boyfriend stayed over while he was there). Do you think this person, who with-held information from… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

Those who say there is no parallel between race and sexual orientation are somewhat wide of the mark. One parallel is that both groups face discrimination, prejudice and harassment and therefore should be given equal protections. While sexual orientation probably is innate for most people (the vast majority of either gay or straight people don’t seem to have to work very hard to maintain their sexual orientation – it seems to come naturally to most people!) that itself is not the point and we shouldn’t spend too long debating it. In UK law, and in most European law, religious belief… Read more »

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

Dave (as in Wiliams); I don’t see how your replies really answer the issue. My gay friends and acquaintances ‘know’ that there are Respectable reasons for not being a Christian – ie ones which will produce, at worst, a quick blather from Holy Writ about intellectual matters (“The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” sort of thing) which do not touch on personhood and identity – will see off the God-botherer quite nicely without having to run the risk of being taken to task for one’s perceived moral shortcomings. It takes a brave soul to risk… Read more »

Athos
Guest
Athos

Hi Erika
I guess its because I am unconvinced that modern psychology and science have proved anywhere near as much as you claim.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“… socially, morally, ethically and intellectually.”

mmmmm, synonyms…

;=)

Weiwen
Guest

dave williams, you say that “my personal assessment is that “gay rights” don’t register on the scale” of why people don’t become Christians…

my personal experience is that for LGBT people who have left the church or don’t want to become Christian, our perceived and real attitudes towards homosexuality are probably the main reasons they made their choice. of course, for the general population, Christian attitudes towards homosexuality aren’t usually at the top of the scale.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The obvious empirical parallels between racial characteristics and sexual orientation are fairly obvious as posters assert. One similarity is, indeed, the full force of prejudice, stigma, and subtle or gross discrimination which is used to hinder one from resources or opportunities to which one would otherwise be granted access, if only one were …. fill in the blank? White, straight, male, English-speaking, middle class or richer, … A second similarity is the intractability of color, rather similarly durable in fact as is sexual orientation. Stories of people who become ex-gays rather neatly run similar to old – and now almost… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Erika wrote “…sexuality is not a behavioural choice…” I have to admit that I find this to not be so clear cut. I rather think as human beings being on continuum. Sex drive being very high for some people and very low in others with the most tending towards the middle. Simlarly, homosexuality probably follows a bell curve, I know some men who simply cringe at the idea of having sex with a woman, but others are comfortable either way and their attraction also takes into account personality and circumstances. It is possible to call on all souls to be… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Weiven The issue about making a stand on homosexuality/GLBTs is not constricted to the affected souls alone. I know of many people who shun the churches because of the mistreatment or implications for their aunts, uncles, brothers, sistersm daughtersm sons, close friends or even previous marriage partners. The thing I ask myself is what would I do if any of my children turned out to be gay? What would I want for them? How would God want me to treat them? God would want me to love them, God would want me to want them to be happy, God would… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

We don’t choose who we fall in love with…..
any one remember love? I know the majority culture tends to wish to forget that lgbt people fall in love and live in love. Too threatening I guess. Why should love be such a threat ? But then, why are minority cultures and languages such a threat to the majorities ?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

A timely reminder, Laurence. thank you.

Cyndee
Guest
Cyndee

Cheryl, I have “shunned the church” because I didn’t want my children taught that the Bible can be changed to suit our cultural/sexual whims. At the same time, I have a niece who is gay. Do I love her and welcome her at family gatherings? Of course. And she is loving enough to respect our position and not flaunt her lover in front of our children. My oldest daughter lives with her boyfriend. Do I not love her and want her happiness? Of course! At the same time, I don’t tell either of them that their relationships are blessed by… Read more »

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

Mystified by the inability of some ConsEvs to see sexuality as anything other than a matter of ‘lifestyle choice’, I took to looking for influences and sources of this bizarre belief – and I have found it. The highly disreputable Tom Sharpe novel ‘indecent exposure’, set in apartheid South Africa, contains a scene where the racially impure heterosexuality of policemen is modified by ECT – whereupon the entire police force becomes gay, and has to be subjected to another course of ECT to ‘cure them’. (The line, “I’ll never touch another rhino as long as I live,” still delights me.)… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi David Rowett- I very much doubt that the anglican primates ‘equated’ homosexual practice with murder or with sexual abuse, since to ‘equate’ is to treat as being actually the same thing. They certainly spoke of them in the same breath. But that should occasion no surprise: everything in the world has many dimensions and associations; and there must be at least one dimension or association which will allow these things to be spoken of in the same breath. In the case of murder, the association is not hard to find. Both homosexual practice and murder are things strongly condemned… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

We need to be very careful about getting bogged down about choice and not-choice. Clearly religion is chosen at some level. Similarly saying that black people should be protected from discrimination on the ground that they can’t change or didn’t choose their ethnicity is probably the worst possible basis on which to argue for anti-discrimination. Seems to me that a solid basis for anti-discrimination laws is: – discrimination exists – it affects a distinct group within society – the discrimination adversley affects the well being of that group and reduces their opportunities to participate fully in society As regards choices,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Erika- You wrote: ‘given that sexuality is as innate as colour’. This is to treat the demonstrandum as a ‘given’, to treat the presupposition as a conclusion. This practice is at the root of the majority of faulty argumentation. Is it honest to go with the crowd, with the preferred ideologies that are being thrust upon us? It is only a minority of identical twins of a self-styled homosexual person who would self-style themselves as ‘homosexual’. This tends to show that the majority of homosexual orientation is not genetic. Data like this are relatively factual, and all discussion on… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

This is, however, the view of the vast majority of the medical profession, Christopher, also the view of the BMA.

You are entitled to disagree with it, but then, creationists are also entitled to disagree with evolution – it doesn’t stop them being regarded as largely deluded and silly by everyone else.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Cyndee Do you realise what you said “…the Bible can be changed to suit our cultural/sexual whims…” What do you think the Apostle Paul was doing? He was telling people to stop having sex whenever and wherever they wanted with whoever they felt attracted to at the time. Paul punched through the sexual morality of his times with an alternative vision – of lifelong monogamous relationships. And if we are worried about chopping and changing, then we should re-institute the conventions that applied to eunuchs/oddballs in the Old Testament. There was a social innovation to “purify” sexuality – and we… Read more »

Laurence Roberts...
Guest
Laurence Roberts...

This site sheds interesting light on the issues Christopher and others’ raised .

http://borndifferent.com/

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Craig, I find your contributions fascinating and completely appropriate to this thread that deals with the SORs. But your arguments allow as given that religions may choose to discrimminate internally if they so wish. As I would dearly like to see the full acceptance of ALL people in the Anglican Community I would still like to be allowed to state that sexuality is fixed from birth (Cheryl -so is bisexuality and any other sexuality on the bell curve) and that it should therefore not be used as an argument to discriminated against people who love. As Lawrence pointed out –… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Athos – I should not be surprised. Do you think anything might make you change your mind? I’m fascinated. Unlike some obvious conservatives who post here, you appear to be truly interested in a conversation. You read TA, you correspond regularly with everyone on this list, and most of your correspondents are highly trained theologians and priests. Yet, nothing you read seems to chime with you. You don’t hold liberal theology, modern science and psychology in high esteem, nor the witness of your lgbt “friends”. Can I ask why you are continuing this conversation on this forum?

Athos
Guest
Athos

Cheryl
What a perverse upside down reading of the Apostle Paul!! Paul wasn’t changing the Bible to fit in with the sexual practises of the Pagans. He was applying the sexual ethic of the Bible to a godless society. As Martin Luther King wrote “there was a time when the Church was powerful..when she was not just a themometer that recorded the ideas..of popular opinion; she was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”
Also I think you had better study the way in which Christ and the Apostles laid aside Civic Old Testament law..

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl,
we are not asking for the standard to be “dropped” for heterosexuals, but as for LGBTs, we are asking for the meaning of the law to be recognised rather than the letter. If Cyndee’s daughter lives with her boyfriend in a loving, faithful and hopefuly life long relationship, then God will accept and bless it, whether they have formalised it or not.

Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

CS: to deal with them as morally equivalent (yes, ‘equate’ was a poor shorthand)(equivalent = ‘equal value’ or lack of same) is to taint by association.

I can’t help but feel that your posting seeks to veil a belief that murder and homosexuality are equally morally repugnant, but actually to say so out loud would reveal the moral bankruptcy of such a position. It has to be admitted, though, that the Nigerian legislation would seem to back up such an attitude.

matthew hunt
Guest
matthew hunt

Genetic predisposition is thought to be a factor in the formation of homosexuality – in an unknown proportion of homosexual people to varying degrees and probably (in mind of the complexity of genetic causality) in varying ways. Importantly the environment in the womb (particularly hormonal) is ALSO thought to be a factor in homosexuality – in an unknown proportion of homosexual people to varying degrees and in varying ways. Also infancy and very early childhood bring important factors in shaping sexuality. This is bound to be even more complex than the genetic and antenatal factors, with influences both internal (psychological,… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest

Cheryl says that we should say that sexuality is fixed from birth because that way we can more clearly banish discrimination. I do think that for the vast majority of people sexual orientation is a given. I think that is obvious by reflecting on how straight people get to be straight (answer they don’t they just are and the rest flows naturally). I will comment on some of the biological data when I’ve had a chance to review some of it. Even if sexuality is more or less fixed (as it surely is for most people) then how we live… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

People continue to post messages here which imply a belief that Christian sexual mores have never changed. Cyndee’s animadversions on her family members are a case in point. Please, folks, remember that marriage customs have changed often: vows, which we regard as an essential part of marriage, are less than a thousand years old. As late as the early 19th century it was common, even semi-officially sanctioned, that a couple slept together before marriage to demonstrate their fertility, and once the girl was pregnant, they proceeded to make their marriage vows. It is still the practice in some European cultures,… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi David Rowett- I don’t see any way that they could be ‘equally’ morally repugnant. After all, murder is pretty final, whereas other sins allow room for reconciliation, remedy and repentance. Murder and/or abortion deprives someone of every ability to do anything at all in the future. But they are equal in the relevant respect, the respect with regard to which the bishops and others were citing them. Namely: they are things 100% forbidden in the NT. Neither is nore forbidden than the other. Hi Merseymike- Of all the professions, the medical (which sanctions 500 abortions a day in one… Read more »

Athos
Guest
Athos

Erika
I want to be convinced. But as yet I have heard NOTHING that is able to overthrow the wisdom of the ages. And the more I read libleral or feminst of gay theology it all seems to be special pleading and not based on truth and very superficial. I guess I want to know what it is that grips you so powerfully.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

C. Nelson : “It’s only religionists that have bizarre and archaic discussions about it.” How sadly apparently true. Today we have a top military leader here in the U.S. that is refusing to appologize for calling LGBT people “immoral”. This is a person whose career has been a product resulting in the ultimate focus of his lifelong training, to kill. That a person can be raised with this twisted and sick perversion of moral logic shows just how far from God we truly are. It is simply more acceptable here in the U.S. to turn the television on and see… Read more »