Thinking Anglicans

SORs: from the Church Times

Last week, I wrote an article for the Comment pages of the Church Times, which is now available on the public part of the website: How far churches may discriminate. Most of this article is an attempt to explain how generous the religious exemption is to churches. I also wrote:

…the initial Church of England response was only lukewarm: “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.” In contrast, the Christian charity Faithworks welcomed them: “The proposed SORs are an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate the love and grace of Christ.”

Sandhya Drew, a barrister who specialises in discrimination cases, commented: “People of faith who respect the principles of universal human dignity have nothing to fear from these regulations.”

This week, Bill Bowder reports fully on the latest events in Christians fight on gay Regulations.

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Göran Koch-Swahne
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The Church Times’ picture says it all.

(the Bill Bowder link doesn’t work)

Simon Icke
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Simon Icke

Reading The Mail on Sunday 18.03.07, the article by Jonathan Oliver, Page 15, highlights the findings of the BBC Poll confirming what I have been trying to say for months, that Christians are being discriminated against in Britain today more than any other group. Recently many Christians have expressed their deep concerns over the governments forced Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) using the guise of yet more gay rights legislation to discriminate against Christians and force them to act against their beliefs, values and conscience. Yet the government has totally ignored their protest and made no concessions. Ever since the protest… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
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Link fixed, sorry for that.

Merseymike
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Merseymike

What a load of nonsense. Christians are not discriminated against in law at all. It is quite right that discriminatory beliefs should not be able to be put into active practice. Values and conscience that reflect prejudice and discrimination should not be ‘respected’ What may be the case is that people dislike conservative Christian viewpoints, and do not wish to see them as part of civil law. if that is an ‘aggressive secular agenda’, then absolutely – I do all I can to oppose the aims of groups such as the Christian Institute, because i think they are profoundly wrong.… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

Simon ; just an observation from your article – I think that many gay campaigners actually think that a co-ordinated approach to harassment may make more sense, since it goes further than simply the ‘goods and services’ provision. Its always annoying to have to wait for change when you want it now, but I’d question whether all gay organisations and campaigners necessarily reject the approach of dealing with harassment under more general review of legislation. It is going to be a priority of the new commission in any case. I tend to agree that churches have been given the right… Read more »

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

Simon (Icke): If you have not yet realised that shrilly to claim the entirety of the Christian mantle for oneself is a foolish and presumptious thing to do, you have not been paying close attention to contributions on TA. For many Christians the SORs are welcome and long overdue, and the parading of some Christians who represent themselves as ‘pars pro toto’ is as offensive to me as I am doubtless offensive to them. Nevertheless, the surname ‘Christian’ belongs to us all, and the implication that Christians who do not share your analysis are (a) foolish or (b) Christians in… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

I am hearing anecdotal evidence that GLBTs are not rejecting Christianity per se, but the solo scripturalists churches. I have a friend who was in a pioneering AIDS online support forum and a number of her compatriots in the US are getting involved with inclusive church outreach programs, and enjoying the process and theology. Like my friend, they reject a cruel image of Jesus, but eagerly accept and support a more gentle Jesus that is compassionate to all humanity and respectful of the whole of creation. However, sadly, many of these souls now avoid church communities as they have been… Read more »

Christopher Shell
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Christopher Shell

Simon Ref your Church Times article and picture, a few observations which may be helpful as I was there that day: (1) The banner in question was the only one of its type as the rest were mass-produced. It was wielded by a group of messianic jews – as they say, there is no-one so radical as a convert. (2) In calling homosexuality an abomination they were not giving their own opinion but merely alerting those unfamiliar with scripture including many christians to the content of Lev 18.22. (3) Lev 18.22 might not matter so much were this not one… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
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I only wrote this one article, not the news stories, nor did I choose the illustrations or the captions.

Go here for Church Times contacts:
http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=28877

Jon
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Jon

In reference to Christopher Shell’s comments, it is worth repeating here that the supposedly anti-homosexual passages in the NT can be understood as a condemnation of pederasty and/or compulsory cultic sex acts between otherwise heterosexual people. In other words a call to be what you are sexually whether that be gay or straight, even the OT restrictions could be understood as a condemnation of forced sexual congress between people of the same sex or breaches of the rules of hospitality. Translating ancient ideas and texts into modern language and thought is not easy and for a very long time a… Read more »

Fr Joe O'Leary
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Fr Joe O'Leary

“In calling homosexuality an abomination they were not giving their own opinion but merely alerting those unfamiliar with scripture including many christians to the content of Lev 18.22.” Christopher Shell

In calling genocide and the massacre of women and children a holy and godly act they were not giving their own opinion but merely alerting those unfamiliar with scripture including many christians to the content of Num 31, 1 Sam 15 Etc.

ruidh
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ruidh

“Ever since the protest outside the House of Lords against the SORs I have been trying to bring to the publics attention that there is a hidden aggressive secularist agenda led by this Government and supported by influential aggressive liberal secularist. It’s time Christians woke up and started to fight back before it’s too late.”

This is now the second time in recent days you;ve used this made up word “secularist” as if it were an ideology. The proper adjective is “secular”. And I still fail to see why a government should be anything but secular.

cryptogram
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cryptogram

David Rowett /irony on/ Sadly, you don’t count as a Christian in the eyes of the likes of SI. You, like me, are a Satan-inspired liberal who doesn’t even merit a footnote in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And such folk will not rest until the last liberal has been smothered with the apron of the last freemason (or possibly the chasuble of the last crypto-papist), and Calvin’s Geneva (not to mention Akinola’s Abuja) spreads o’er the whole wide earth. And everone will then be forced to watch the TV programmes of Jack Van Impe and the gorgeous Rexella. What… Read more »

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Thanks Mr. Shell for reminding us that conservative believers who sometimes disavow or moderate their public allegiance to the OT harshness in Leviticus are, actually, still, closely pledged to it. That handy tag, Abomination, has a long and rather independent western religious history. Independent that is of its ancient near eastern origins. So we must confront and investigate in our discernments the full range legacy question: Are queer folks Abominations? Any more than straight folks? Now the paths of hermeneutics and discernment diverge. A contextual-historical study will suggest that homosexuality is every bit as much an Abomination as sowing two… Read more »

Brian
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Brian

I’m very tired of those religious conservatives who never give the impression of having made any effort to understand why those who disagree with them, do so. Um, yes, we are in fact familiar with all of the “clobber passages” alluded to. And we make every effort to understand why you love these passages so much. Some of us give them alternate readings, some of us read them as literally as you do and reject them as we would reject any form of incitement to hatred and violence. (When’s the last time you’ve killed an idolator? Or even as much… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

find this abusive misuse of children gives me cause for concern. With regard to the term from the Hebrew Bible / Tanakh, rendered into English there as ‘abomination’, much could be said. Suffice for now, to point up the severity of this ‘condemnation’ in context. The consumption of shell-fish, bacon, and white coffee after a steak dinner also have the word ‘abomination’ applied to them. As do the pratcies of shaving and wearing mixed fibre fabrics. In the interests of public godliness and Christian probity, I shall look forward to public protest against the full range of ‘Abominations’. btw The… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“(2) In calling homosexuality an abomination they were not giving their own opinion but merely alerting those unfamiliar with scripture including many christians to the content of Lev 18.22.” Ha, ha! they were “only” quoting Scripture ;=) no personal responsibility at all… Latin “abominatio” is a most uncertain translation of Greek bdélygma, a word nobody knows for sure what it actually means. It is probably not 1st Temple – perhaps not even original to the context – but Ezraic, appearing only in some very late and/or heavily edited scriptures, such as some 40 times each in Proverbs and Hezekiah (in… Read more »

Simon Icke
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Simon Icke

In view of the Government and Liberal whips not allowing their MPs and Peers a free vote for this weeks passing of the new Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs) as they were forced through the House of Commons and the Lords at unseemly undemocratic haste. Is this what the Government calls democracy? Using outrageous undemocratic and underhand tactics to force these unwelcome new rules on the majority. Should the silent majority now accept this so called democratic process and these unwelcome new rules? I would like to ask the Government and its liberal supporters; democracy what democracy? You mean riding roughshod… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Simon Icke The 9th piece of gay rights legislation in nine years? Well, don’t worry. Once lgbt people are 100% equal to everyone else the need for further legislation will stop and enough will be enough. Liberals are not only liberals if everyone agrees with them. You are welcome to your thoughts and highly un-Christian beliefs. What you cannot do is impose them on others. What’s wrong with that? Christians have rights too – absolutely. That’s why lgbt Christians are fighting to have theirs recognised, and why those who share the core values and beliefs that have been around since… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

As I pointed out already in the thread on the 3 Archbishops unfortunate letters, there has been ample opportunity over many years to address the question of the present British Government and its peculiar ways in Parliament. But the Archbishops did not do that. They claimed Privileges “for this church”. Privileges to discriminate. Quite a different matter altogether. Also, existing legislation has n o t been sufficient to protect all citizens equally. This is why old laws have been strengthened and new ones introduced since 1945 all over Europe, and especially since the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. Simon Icke… Read more »

Fr Joe O'Leary
Guest

Christopher Shell certainly shows how to use Scripture as a murder weapon. But as is well known the unstoppable advance of gay rights movements has actually been enabled by these fundies who relied on the letter of Scripture to make their case against gays. All the intelligence and persuasiveness has been on the gay side and the opposition has been amazingly weak, intellectually footless in fact. This has relevance for Anglicanism too — the malcontents of the Global South are relying heavily on the stupidities of fundamentalism, which foredooms their case to a speedy collapse.

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

“Using outrageous undemocratic and underhand tactics to force these unwelcome new rules on the majority.” Well, now there’s an accusation without a shred of evidence. The Conservatives had a free vote and significant numbers voted for the proposals. What makes you think the result would have been significantly different had a free vote been called? Wouldn’t the left- leaning parties have an even more substantial level of support? If there were significant support for a “No” vote, the MPs would have demanded a free vote, don’t you think? And that doesn’t even begin to explain the majority in Lords. Your… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Generally, MP’s are not allowed free votes on matters which are party policy.

And in any case, socialists and liberals generally believe in equality and fairness.

As for existing legislation, perhaps you could explain, Simon Icke, exactly which existing legislation would have protected gay people from discrimination? Well, you could have a go, but as there wasn’t any, you’ll be taking a while to do so…

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The bit of my comment which needs to be addressed, and so far has not been is: (3) Lev 18.22 might not matter so much were this not one of the OT stances reiterated in the NT. A number of the commenters above have not been honest. They knew very well that I included this point (3) but addressed themselves only to (2), which (3) modified, deliberately ignoring (3). Why? Because they wanted to caricature my position? Which is not what truth-seekers do. It is not difficult, by such means, to discern who is seeking the truth and who is… Read more »

ChrIstopher Shell
Guest
ChrIstopher Shell

Simon-
That is great – but as you are associated with CT, perhaps you would pass on that their readers who are not in possession of first hand information deserve less sensationalism and more balance. We all know what motivations produce the former and we all know that journalists are averse to the latter – but in a Christian newspaper…?