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Parliamentary reports on SORs etc.

Republished Friday lunchtime; updated again Saturday evening

The House of Lords Select Committee on Merits of Statutory Instruments has reported on the SORs.
Read it in full here.

Update The House of Commons Twelfth Delegated Legislation Committee met yesterday and its debate is recorded in full here. This is a must read!
Update again You can listen to it from here (90 minutes long).

Other items:

Anglican Mainstream has published the following:

Church of England Newspaper 15 March

Stand up for freedom: How new legisation raises serious concerns for the Churches and Parliamentary process.

Chris Sugden

The SORs legislation limits the freedom of religious belief and expression, in particular the freedom of religious people not to be forced to be an accessory to behaviour that they regard as destructive of human flourishing and contrary to the will of God for human beings.

Read it all here.

AM has also linked to this report by another MP, John Redwood: How little democracy we have in the Commons-the Sexual orientation regulations.

Craig Nelson has commented on this in Anglican Mainstream goes into hyperdrive.

Update Peter Ould has What we should – and shouldn’t – be arguing about on SORS.

And, AM has PRAYER VIGIL OUTSIDE HOUSE OF LORDS OVER SEXUAL ORIENTATION REGULATIONS WEDNESDAY 21 MARCH 2007

Updates Friday evening
Other AM links to LCF anti-SORs material
Summary of latest news on SORS and call for action and prayer
Frequently asked Questions about SORS

Updates Saturday evening
Zefrog has three posts on recent parliamentary events: Sexual Orientation Regulations Approved by MPs, The Tory Position on the Sexual Orientation Regulations, and Sexual Orientation Regulations – What Next?

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Pluralistmynsterpreost (=David Rowett)Martin ReynoldsCheryl Cloughdrdanfee Recent comment authors
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drdanfee
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drdanfee

Oh dear me, Mr. Sugden cannot really have it both ways. He cannot expect us to feel sad with him as he laments in public that most citizens perceive him as akin to an Islamic fundamentalist when he is also claiming and defending some piece of the right to act like a Christian fundamentalist in this area of sexual orientation variances. If I am supposed to be in sympathy for him, he needs to clean up his high-handed view which tell him that only straight believers, pretty much just like him, are allowed to read and understand scripture for themselves.… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

I’m a little confused. Is there now to be a Parliamentary debate, or will this simply be a House of Lords committee?

Craig Nelson
Guest

As to procedure my understanding is that when you have regulations instead of a bill you have various scrutiny measures. One is a Merits committee which is able to draw specific issues to the attention of Parliament (which is the committee referred to here). Another is the Joint Committee on Human Rights which reported on the basis of the NI regs. Yesterday there will have been scrutiny from the House of Commons Delegated Legislation Comittee. There will, prior to the vote in both Houses, probably be a debate in the House of Lords and possibly in the House of Commons… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

The “Mainstream” piece is perhaps best left in silence, but I cannot help myself from commenting in this:

“It is not acting on the basis of different claims to truth but is privileging one set of opinions.”

Sorry, but when HM’s Government is de-privileging one set of “opinions”, this is because it is acting on the basis of different claims to truth.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

With regard to Sugden’s article: 1. Yes, Christian beliefs in this area are every bit as unacceptable as those other things he mentions. Bingo! I think he’s got it….. 2.The Bible has nothing to do with the secular, civil law – the real experiences of people are much more important than the contents of an ancient and outdated book 3. Quakers do not share Sugden’s views, on the Bible or on sexuality, though he tries to count them in as part of his coalition 4. He is still calling for an exclusive right to discriminate – unacceptable 5. His views… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ah, yea, I think I might repeat this:

It seems the Anglican Communion, not the British SORs, is the proper place to voice concern for the Freedom of Conscience.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Cheers, Craig,

Notable that the Tories were split on the Committee, and that the collection of Tories attending the committee, with a couple of honourable exceptions such as John Bercow, who is a sterling supporter of gay rights, were the official neanderthal Christian tendency of the Cornerstone group!

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

I agree with merseymike that it is unfortunate that Chris Sugden seeks to invoke in behalf of his argument, the historical witness and suffering of the Society of Friends, at the hands of the British state and its Established Church working in consort, in the seventeenth century. Especially as Quakers have been unequivocal in seeking to witness to and live out, the equality of all people, as all have the Inward Light or ‘that of God in every one’. In our own time the Society had felt led to revise its Book of discipline removing sexist language, and incorporating accounts… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

A humbling lesson on the difference between “belief” and “behaviour”, indeed… The Honourable Member for Epping Forest spoke: “No one will be required to change or relinquish their conscience or beliefs as a result of the regulations; but each of us will be required to moderate our actions and behaviour in order to accommodate those who are different from ourselves.” Starting with the honourable members themselves… I have read Captain Marryat and I have read about the Civil War, but the Long and Short and Rump of this is that in most civilized countries these people would be read whatever… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

The proceedings of The House of Commons Twelfth Delegated Legislation Committee yesterday, and its debate was hilarious, and shnows the Tory homophobes up to their old tricks. However John Bercow was very inspiring, and hit the nail on the head when he,said, ” I would like to take the opportunity. I put it to the hon. Member for Solihull that as a result of widespread discrimination, too many gay, lesbian and bisexual people in this country have suffered too much for too long and with too little done about it. I put it to her that in human terms—that is… Read more »

Thomas Renz
Guest
Thomas Renz

The Committee meeting minutes make indeed fascinating reading! Thank you, Simon!

I note that Meg Munn claims that SOR will make it illegal for a school to “prevent a student from becoming head girl on the grounds of her sexual orientation” or for a teacher “to single out a child for ridicule or criticism because they have same-sex parents” – does this mean that under current legislation it is perfectly all right to do so? I am astonished.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

There is absolutely no legal comeback for either of those things, Thomas. That’s why we need the new regulations.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Good as the overall aim of the Regs is – in preventing unjust discrimination against people purely because of their sexual orientation, the Regs will also make it virtually impossible to discriminate against homosexual activity. That will be the thing that causes onerous problems to individuals and schools who uphold Christian sexual morals.

Cheryl Clough
Guest

No wonder we have such a problem with the “listening process”. Pre-emptive atttempts to move motions before data is even presented or protocols followed. I wonder how many motions from whom had been prepared before hand, and who was carrying the briefcase on this one?

I am sure members of the House of Lords are as bemused at certain parties claims to have “listened” as are some of us within the Anglican communion.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Regs will also make it virtually impossible to discriminate against homosexual activity”

I woke up this morning so tired from this continuing nonsense. Did any of you in the UK watch Comic Relief last night?

The hours and energy wasted by the Christian right trying to destroy stable relationships and families is astonishing. Just think how much more profitably this time and energy could be spent actually living a Christian life and helping to sort out the real problems facing the world.

I’m finding this truly bewildering and very deeply sad.

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

“individuals and schools who uphold Christian sexual morals.” More correctly ‘those who agree with me’. There are plenty of faithful Christians out here for whom this is a cause for celebration. I wonder whether some of our more conservatively minded sisters and brothers have noticed that the World now regards much of the Christian faith as morally inferior? They seem to continue to argue on the grounds that ‘we’ are more moral than the non-Christian, grounds which look increasingly shaky. I have a nasty feeling that the old saw, ‘you don’t have to be Christian to be good’, which greets… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

What is bringing push to shove here involves typical (and I think, extreme) conservative social and institutional church life habits. One bad habit is that too often conservatives resist any new disconfirming data having to do with sexual orientation competency and human nature, in favor of maintaining their legacy presuppositions by intentionally maintaining their ignorance. This starts off as being clearly within their rights of free individual conscience. But it bodes ill for the body public at large, and they are all too often setting the future stage for just the poor citizenship we can observe when push comes to… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

A third bad habit is that witting or unwitting conservative religious misunderstandings and quite a bit of alarm are always the core topics that have to be addressed, when in fact, many of these phenomena pretty exclusively derive from and/or are rooted in something in the legacy negatives that no longer has vitality inside any newer or alternative framework. It may serve conservative and religious upset to keep dragging the conversations back to discredited sexual orientation prejudice themes (like: (1) high legacy presuppositions of danger, earthly and heavenly, to non-straight selfhood and embodiment? plus (2) high legacy presuppositions of danger… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

As a side matter, but important, is a key part of anti-discrimination legislation is ethnicity not race. Race involves observing a collection of characteristics, which in themselves don’t add up to a great deal; what matters is ethnicity, which is identity via race, language, religion, culture, origins (real and perceived) and collecting these into a group. Thus in places like Northern Ireland and former Yugoslavia, you cannot tell who is one identity of another by appearance, but ethnicity is as strong as ever. Liberalism needs ground rules, just as capitalism cannot be lawless. One of the ground rules is not… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I agree with drdanfee’s comment that certain elements resist evidence if it is uncomfortable or inconvenient for them. It’s not just on human sexuality, it also relates to the (mis)treatment of women and children, or the environment (e.g. Al Gore’s 1984 attempts to get certain parties to listen on the environment). And I agree with Pluralist the biggest and loudest does not represent the whole. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/4837 This article expresses concerns that “English Free Churches have virtually no recognised place in public life at national level today, and the same is true of the main ecumenical bodies.” It’s not just the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

It is interesting that at the same time some Christian pressure groups are agitating for further exemptions from the law others are unhappy to find themselves so exempted. We have been discussing with the legal draughtsmen on how at least two entire denominations and many other congregations can disassociate themselves from these provisions and place themselves fully under the regulations. They argue that this is not an exemption they have sought or want and while recognizing others might wish it, believe there should be an “opt in” arrangement. This “opt in” should, we maintain, be a rolling arrangement so that… Read more »

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

Chris Sugden:
“On one side people were presenting themselves as victims with stories of emotion, hurt and pain. On the other people were wrestling with biblical teaching, theology, science and appropriate Christian pastoral understanding and discipline.”

Nice neutral language, innit? “presenting themselves as victims” contrasted with “wrestling with biblical teaching, theology…”

And I am amused by his denunciation of ‘appropriate’ followed by his own appropriation of that word in order to ensure that only Christian pastoral understanding of which he approves gets through the screens. Disingenuous or what?

Pluralist
Guest

Quite: they did not (necessarily) have pain, they were “presenting themselves” as victims. So it is like a simulcra moaning from the sidelines while, indeed, Chris Sugden’s men hand out the justice. A possible answer to Cheryl Clough’s extended point is in having something distinctive to say. The liberal end might be being suffocated by the insufferable (?), but it has distinctive things to say. The problem regarding Free Churches is that almost all the arguments that made them have either gone or are not big enough to make them distinctive denominations today. There are distinctive denominations – the Free… Read more »