Thinking Anglicans

incitement extension proposed

Yesterday the UK Government announced in Parliament that it would table an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality.

Mr Straw said:

The Government have a strong record of promoting equality and of tackling discrimination and bigotry in all its guises. We have strengthened the sentencing framework, so that sentences can be increased where race, religion, disability or sexual orientation are aggravating factors. We have also introduced legislation to outlaw the stirring up of religious hatred, as my hon. Friend reminded the House. We have received many representations on the matter, and I am pleased to say that we will propose a further step to strengthen the protection afforded to homosexual people. It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 years that we are all now appalled by hatred and invective directed against gay people, and it is now time for the law to recognise the feeling of the public. In Committee, we will table an amendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality. Homophobic abuse, lyrics and literature are every bit as abhorrent to those concerned as material inciting hatred based on race or religion, and have no place in our communities.

Media reporting of this today gives some prominence to objections from religious groups:

The Times Inciting hatred against gays could lead to 7 years in prison and yesterday before the announcement, Christians fear jail for criticising gays
Daily Telegraph Seven years jail for gay hate preachers
Guardian Straw moves to ban incitement against gays
Daily Mail New law means anti-gay comments could lead to seven years in jail
Daily Express JAIL THREAT TO VICARS UNDER GAY HATE LAW
BBC Plans to outlaw inciting gay hate

According to the Daily Mail (no other paper mentioned this):

Last night a CofE spokesman said: “We will be scrutinising any legislation to ensure that it safeguards the safety and rights of minorities without jeopardising wider concerns for freedom of expression, including the expression of religious faith.”

Update
The Christian Institute is already on the case, see Gospel freedom threatened by homosexual hate crime.

More Updates
The text of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act is here.

The Evangelical Alliance had this to say about it.

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Christopher ShellSimon SarmientoFord ElmsCheryl Va. CloughNP Recent comment authors
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NP
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NP

This is good – nobody should be able to incite violence or hate.

Legitimate freedom of speech and religion matter too, of course and I am sure the government will be careful to protect these as well as prohibitying hatemongers.

Pls do not think the government is making Lambeth 1.10 illegal….it certainly is not.

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

Jack Straw says: “In Committee, we will table an amendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality.”

Interesting, particularly in the light of remarks made by some of Mr Straw’s colleagues elsewhere in the same debate. See, for example, this article on the Guardian website – http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/frank_fisher/2007/10/all_the_fun_of_the_fear.html – and particularly comment 854293 by “MrPikeBishop”.

Anyone for Wolfenden’s principle that the criminal law shouldn’t normally interfere in issues of sexual morality?

John Robison
Guest

Again, the difference between those of us on the two sides of the Atlantic shines through.
I;m not sure how to feel about this, exactly.

Swedish Lutheran
Guest
Swedish Lutheran

Seems like the Spirit feels more at home in parliament than in church.
Hate speech/crimes against homosexual people have been included in Swedish legislation for a few years now, and so far only one clergyman has come close to being convicted. (He compared homosexuality to cancer, but was acquitted in a higher court to much dismay.)

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Fortunately ‘the CofE spokes-person’ need not worry about the free expression of faith,under this proposed legislation, as there is no article of faith in any Christian Creed proclainming:

‘Queers are dreadful’

or

‘Down with queers’

or

‘God hates fags’.

Phewww ! S/he must feel so relieved now ! Should have asked before !

Now, anything elsewe can help with ?

Chirstopher Shell
Guest
Chirstopher Shell

Jack Straw makes it clear that he is led by, and is simply following, currents in public opinion. Public opinion itself does not simply change for no reason, and the size of one’s platform to change it determines how far one will in fact change it. The media have a big platform: therefore they have the best chance of anyone of changing it (into their own image). Media types however are not broadly representative of the people of Britain – and even if they were, that wouldn’t make them right in terms of logical coherence. So our country is governed… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

The Daily Express piece is appalling !

However, the series of Comments (sic) beneath it are totally dire. Salutory for me to see so graphically, that some people hold such views !

One ‘commentator’ actually sees this proposed legislation as being on a par with banning Xmas –rather than extending it to a vulnerable group.

You couldn’t invent this stuff !

Thank goodness they don’t post, here ! Oh, now, now, there’s a thought !

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

This is good news. Once again, the churches are presenting themselves as being sympathetic to hate crime.

How sad, how pathetic. About time a few christians started to speak out against these negative statements.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Pls do not think the government is making Lambeth 1.10 illegal….it certainly is not.”

I think it is some of the more extreme in your own camp who need to be reminded of this, NP.

And Christopher, you may wish to maintain this fiction:

“someone like me (boohoo) who relies on nothing but evidential backing – maximally up-to-date statistics from scientific journals and the like”

you may even believe it, but you have cited some things here that are NOT scientific, and treated them as fact.

badman
Guest
badman

I was at a service in Westminster Abbey last week where Jack Straw read the lesson and the Dean preached a sermon taking a swipe at equality legislation as applied to churches. He argued against “the relentless pursuit of the equality of individuals at all costs” and complained that “the drive for equality runs the risk of damaging distinctive institutions and organisations”.

I didn’t think the sermon was very coherent at the time, and the people around me seemed to find it simply baffling.

Maybe Jack Straw wasn’t convinced by it either.

Text here: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/worship/sermons/32328

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

The clsoing words of the sermon:–

‘As today we pray for God’s blessing on the courts of our land in this coming year and for the true administration of justice, we pray for the makers of law and public policy that, together with men and women of goodwill, we may work to build a more cohesive and peaceful Britain of strong communities, acting together for the good of all who live here, rich and poor, native’

“Hope so.”

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Alan ; this has nothing to do with sexual morality. Its about inciting hatred against an identified group of people.
Was that the view you took when you were a Union rep?
Oh well, another campaign for the Christian Institute to lose…..

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Laurence wrote “Thank goodness they don’t post here…”. Sorry your posting must have gone through before some of the postings went up. As Ford since commented some “…have cited some things here that are NOT scientific, and treated them as fact…” In threads in the last week they have posted some things as fact, which are merely fantasies in their own mind. A few weeks ago they talked about the thoroughness of rationality and robustness of examination, yet they are demonstrating that facts and evidence are meaningless when they have a barrow to push. What they really mean are the… Read more »

John Omani
Guest
John Omani

The Christian Institute website is fascinating. They have a series of manuals on how to defend your (Evangelical) Christian Union, and a morality catalogue of MPs. For all those stupid enough not to tell right from wrong, each MP collect ticks and crosses so that you can easily see their morality score, and discern the Godly from the reprobates. Jack Straw has just one green tick in a sea of big red crosses, so presumably is an agent of Satan. In what way is this body related to the Anglican church? I see that the very first organisation on their… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

John – it was founded by a member of Reform, David Holloway.
It has n o official relationship with the Anglican church but is supported by the usual suspects. It specialises in unsuccessful campaigns.

MRG
Guest
MRG

“Jack Straw has just one green tick in a sea of big red crosses, so presumably is an agent of Satan.”

Odd – I never thought I’d agree with the CI about anything…

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Ford and Cheryl:

What are the true scientific figures for the normal ratio between heterosexual risk and homosexual risk on the following matters:

(a) life-expectancy;
(b) STD risk;
(c) promiscuity risk;
(d) risk of being involved in sexual abuse?

Since you know that every single one of the figures which I have read about (without exception, since the general picture points one way and one way only) are incorrect, it follows that you know what the correct figures are. Thanks.

Jeremy King
Guest
Jeremy King

To Merseymike – like the campaign to clarify legislation in NI which has been ruled ultra-vires by the High Court on Judicial Review and the defence of the couple in Lancs. who were harrassed by their local council and the Police for being Christians with a point of view or the complaint upheld against the Gay Police Association for Religious Harassment and incitement to violence!

Martin Reynolds
Guest

These are never simple matters. In principle we are opposed to any law that curtails freedom of speech and a careful balance has to be struck in allowing that freedom whilst protecting people from intolerable abuse. Sadly there is no doubt that some people deliberately try to whip up hate against LGBT people – this is itself a heinous crime and deserves to attract the full force of the law. The Christian Institute has a responsibility to stand for what it believes without telling lies, not telling the whole truth, and whipping up hysteria by false claims. To date there… Read more »

Alan Harrison
Guest
Alan Harrison

Merseymike wrote: “Alan ; this has nothing to do with sexual morality. Its about inciting hatred against an identified group of people.” Sorry, Mike, maybe I haven’t been clear enough in my reference. Elsewhere in the same debate at least one MP, Martin Salter, vilified an identified group of people (sadomasochists) on the basis of their sexuality. He did so with reference to a clause which seeks to use the criminal law to enforce sexual morality by creating an offence of mere possession of material categorised as “extreme pornography”. (So sloppily drafted, I might add, that it could throw people… Read more »

Jimbo
Guest
Jimbo

Christopher asks about life-expectancy, STD risk and promiscuity risk for heterosexuals and homosexuals. A quick Google of these terms tends to turn up ‘traditional family value’ type sites quoting horrifying figures suggesting that most gay men die young. The source of their figures nearly always turns out to be the widely discredited researcher Paul Cameron. In amongst his own flawed research, Paul Cameron misrepresented other researchers. Some of those researchers have since gone on record to correct Cameron’s misinterpretations i.e.: “It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure.… Read more »

toujoursdan
Guest

We’ve had a similar law in Canada for a few years. It only applies to broadcast media (radio, TV, newspapers, billboards, mass distributed fliers) and doesn’t touch private conversation. Initially, religious groups had the same reaction but realized that no one was silencing core beliefs. You can say that homosexuality is a sin or according to Leviticus it was punishable by death. You just can’t say “If you’re a good Christian you’ll do what Leviticus tells you to do” using a means of mass distribution. It was this kind of hate speech that led to creating the conditions that led… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Alan: thanks for clarifying – this seems to be another part of the proposals entirely, which I can’t really comment on as I haven’t any more information about the precise proposal.

It is a totally different issue, though.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Jeremy: you appear to have got your facts wrong. First, with regard to NI, the only thing to fall, on the basis of lack of consultation alone, not its content, was the harassment clause. that clause is not included in the law in the rest of the UK and Stonewall agreed that it would be better to have harassment regulations which crossed the boundaries of the different inequalities issues. The Government are currently drafting these regulations. I think this is a bgetter approach. But the rest of the legislation – ALL of the legislation in the UK, remains intact. So,… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Jimbo is spot on re. life-expectancy of homosexuals, and that “it depends upon the way you live, not on your sexual orientation. There is no single ‘homosexual lifestyle’, just as there is no single ‘heterosexual lifestyle’.”

Unfortunately, evangelicals enjoy misrepresenting the facts. Is the truth of Christ in them? Sadly, their prejudice and hang-ups trump truth and/or the findings of science. I get so annoyed with the retired Bishop of Eau Claire, a brilliant lawyer, when he reduces the average life-expectancy of gays and lesbians by twenty-six (26) years. Where is the evidence?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, “Since you know that every single one of the figures which I have read about (without exception, since the general picture points one way and one way only) are incorrect” You made statements about these issues and angrily denied that you were quoting Gagnon, Cameron, et al. Finally, after months of being pressed on the issue, you gave references to two studies, one by Cameron(!) and the other as poorly formulated as any of Cameron’s propaganda. I do not know that all the figures you have read are wrong. I do know that the only figures you have provided… Read more »

John Bassett
Guest
John Bassett

“I think I will go home and listen to Britten’s opera ‘Paul Bunyan’. There, in two short words, is encapsulated the reason why Christians should not necessarily think their forthcoming stays in prison will be a waste of time.”

Please, Christopher, don’t! It was written by a homosexual! It is probably performed by other homosexuals! They’re out to convert you!

Try something straight like, I dunno, Metallica.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Ford: another tactic of those who claim to be quoting scientific findings is to present statistics from HIV+ men in urban areas and research done specifically to develop things like safer sex campaigns as representative of all gay men.

Cameron often does this when he cites secondary sources. Its a bit like saying that
Fred Phelps is representative of all evangelicals.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Reading the EA response, they really do need to recognise that their own stance does require some examination.

They seem entirely unaware of the possibility that they may themselves overstep the mark.

And yes, they may have to change their mode of expression at times.

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

“What are the true scientific figures for the normal ratio between heterosexual risk and homosexual risk on the following matters:

(a) life-expectancy;
(b) STD risk;
(c) promiscuity risk;
(d) risk of being involved in sexual abuse?”

Absolutely identical to the rest of the population, Chris. I’d be most curious to know what the particular risk of (c) and especially (d) is in smaller, often self-contained, communities, such as evangelical churches. Got any scientific data to respond to this, Chris?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Christopher In the attempts to push your barrow you make a fool of yourself. You wrote “Since you know that every single one of the figures which I have read about (without exception, since the general picture points one way and one way only) are incorrect, it follows that you know what the correct figures are. Thanks.” I have never purported to know every single on of the figures you ave read about nor how you have interpreted those figures. Thanks. I have no desire to spend my life trying to work out what quagmire you have been walking through,… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford/ Kieran – I am more concerned with spiritual health.

I am not at all convinced that the present excuses given by some to justify certain sins will stand up on the final analysis and receive the blessing of God. This is, as you know, based on what God has made clear in the OT and NT and the last 2000 years in the church.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Since making that last reply, Christopher, I’ve done some more thinking. There is a fundamental difference between your theology and mine. Your theology is premised that it is okay to attack those who are not “inside” grace and all you have to do is prove that they are “outside” of grace. My theology does not deny Jesus’ success and God’s reconciliation. It does not tolerate abuse or vilification of any soul. Your theology puts conditions upon Jesus’ sacrifice and denies that it applied to souls who never even know of Jesus, because they lived before his incarnation or did not… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP,
Whatever. Self examination is obviously not your strong point. I have explained how you are making yourself look. You don’t seem to care. I think you consider yourself the brave little soldier valiantly defending the faith against the apostates and the heathens. Either that or, as I said, a Church hater getting his jollies winding up the poor gullible Christians. Either way, it’s fun to watch. That accompanied by your fundemantalist style revision of Church history and doctrine just makes for an even better show. Please continue.

Fr. Shawn+
Guest
Fr. Shawn+

It’s important to keep in mind that there is a significant difference in how a secular society protects the rights of the individuals, and how a particular branch of Christianity instructs its membership. For example, many denominations deplore the use of alcohol, while the state condones its useage, in a controlled and mature fashion. Faithful members can deplore its useage, while many others in the culture find it fine. Still, if members of the denomination were to highlight scriptural passages that call for those who participate in that behavior to be punished in any fashion, and that punishment is in… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

But, NP, and I repeat this once again, we are not terribly concerned as to what you think, because we do not share your perspective.

As we have said countless times, we do not excuse or justify sins, but we disagree with you as to whether some things are sins or not.

I think that point should be well established and I hope the site owners will take account of the fact that we are becoming a bit tired of having so many debates brought back to the same irrelevant point which we have explained our position on countless times.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Cheryl-

You have made a serious allegation that cannot go unremarked.

If I have lied about my sources, please give chapter and verse. Thanks.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Actually Fr Shawn, there are times when the bible tells us to share alcohol: e.g. Proverbs 31:6-7 “Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.’ This passages basically says that if a soul’s life is a misery, do not begrudge them the break of sedation that alcohol can give. That is not to say they should go on to live a life of drunkenness, but there is a maxim that if a soul is in anguish of no hope of escaping… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Several times I have asked for more large-scale, more up-to-date statistics on these matters to be quoted. I may have missed it, or alternatively they were never quoted. Ford, I spoke as a Brit when I spoke of crime figures. The period of 1960s-style liberalism as a whole (ie the last 40 years) has been a period of massively increased crime and instability. I would think that this is true in America too when one compares these last 40 years with those preceding. There are small upturns and downturns, naturally, but the big downturn came 40 years ago and was… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Kieran-

Your comment was the most mind-blowing. By immense coincidence, the stats for homosexuals and heterosexuals are precisely the same on all these four matters?

That would be a coincidence of Guinness World Records proportions.

Is this something you have evidence for, or something you want to believe?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“it is one thing to hold members of the individual congregation, denomination, or branch of Chrisianity to standards that that entire group values and something quite different to impose those values on the other dialects of Christianity or the entire diversified society and culture.”

Absolutely! Why, though, do so many think that it is our right as Christians to do exactly this?

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Ford wrote on 10 October: “You made statements about these issues and angrily denied that you were quoting Gagnon, Cameron, et al. Finally, after months of being pressed on the issue, you gave references to two studies, one by Cameron(!) and the other as poorly formulated as any of Cameron’s propaganda. I do not know that all the figures you have read are wrong. I do know that the only figures you have provided me with are wrong. You do not seem to know how to properly assess a study. This is no crime for a layman, but you are… Read more »

John Omani
Guest
John Omani

Christopher: ‘Whereas someone like me (boohoo) who relies on nothing but evidential backing – maximally up-to-date statistics from scientific journals and the like.’ Presumably ‘scientific’ evidence like this piece, posted on the Anglican Mainstream site: http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=1546 ? Unfortunately, the author happens to be internationally discredited for the flaws and failings of his ‘research’: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=588 Young Earth Creationists use what they call scientific research in support of their claims too, and have even created their own publishing houses and institutions to perpetuate their nonsense. Now, if Anglican Mainstream posted some of the material used by Answers in Genesis on their website… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

Surely if this legislation is passed, no one will be safe. they came for the evangelicals etc…syndrome.

You can’t force people to love or respect each other.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“You can’t force people to love or respect each other.”

No, but you can force them to treat those they don’t agree with or don’t like with good manners, not to agitate against them and not to incite hatred of them.
They may think what they like, it’s their behaviour that may have to be restricted.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Amen John “It is very troubling that even today many evangelicals still consider AIDS a punishment for sin. When dealing with the sick we would all do well remembering Christ’s encounter with the blind man in John 9:2: ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God may be revealed in him’.” Absolutely. Go to the book of Job, even God admitted Job was not being punished, but that the nature of God was made more fully manifest in the dialogues that occurred as they grappled with what was happening to Job. Similarly, Jesus addressed survivor… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi John- I repeat: even if one piece of research has flaws (in fact, what piece of research doesn’t), all you need to do is provide the correct statistics as a corrective. For that, I am still waiting. Be honest and admit in advance that (I imagine?) you are assuming that the statistics will turn out as you want them to? And how does that at a stroke discredit every other statistic that turned out as you did not want? There are all sorts of different statistics, from different sources, relating to this matter. In the real world, statistics and… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

The point is that I am a big-bibliography person, as it were. It seems to me to be true by definition that the more you read, the better informed you will (on average) be, as well as the better equipped to sift the wheat from the chaff. No wonder my viva examiner remarked they were glad I passed, for otherwise they would have had to lug the graat thing complete with bibliography around for another two months. Now – when it comes to orthodox writers, Gagnon, Nicolosi, the catholic writer J. Harvey, even Anne Atkins, they are kind enough to… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Gagnon, Nicolosi,” You left out Cameron and Satinover. Christopher, if you read 30 or 40 bad studies, you have read nothing edifying. There are flaws and there are flaws. One of the most important parts of a study is the discussion section where the authors, if they are honest, interpret their findings, discuss the flaws they can identify in their own research, and even propose better methodology. If Nicolosi publishes 20 studies constructed so as to “prove” his bias, that’s not science. Scientific validity is not to be found in the number of publications, but in the proper structure of… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“what other lifestyles have the opposite effect, then homosexuality falls in the same bracket as alcoholism and smoking.”

Funny. Which bit about going to work, looking after children and pets, and coming together at the end of the day to talk, listen and chat with each other is as damaging as alcoholism and smoking? I’d really like to know so I can stop doing it.