THINKING ANGLICANS

Royal College speaks up

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has contributed to the Anglican Communion Listening Process.

The Church Times has an exclusive report by Bill Bowder at Acceptance helps gays, psychiatrists inform Anglicans.

THE Royal College of Psychiatrists has challenged Anglican bishops to support gay clergy and laity as an example to parents struggling to come to terms with having gay or lesbian children.

“The Church has a wonderful opportunity to lead rather than to be dragged along kicking and screaming. Christianity is such an inclusive religion,” said Professor Michael King, an executive committee member of the College’s special-interest group of 200 to 300 psychiatrists who work with lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and transsexual people.

His committee has submitted a report to the Church’s Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality, to inform a study guide for next year’s Lambeth Conference.

The report, endorsed by the full College “from the President down”, said that there were no scientific or rational grounds for treating lesbian, gay, and bisexual people differently, Professor King said on Monday.

The full text of the contribution can be found here as a PDF file. An html version is here.

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Ford ElmsNPGöran Koch-SwahnePat O'NeillFr Mark Recent comment authors
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NP
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NP

“The Church has a wonderful opportunity to lead rather than to be dragged along kicking and screaming. Christianity is such an inclusive religion,” said Professor Michael King “Inclusive” statements of Jesus Christ (a small sample) -John 3:36 -John 14:6 -Matthew 13 v 36- “Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

Let’s hope our bishops embrace reason over the coming months and make amends for the intolerable psychological damage done to gays and lesbians in the name of religion.

Acceptance should not be constrained by cold doctrine.

dave paisley
Guest

“No scientific or rational grounds for treating lesbian, gay, and bisexual people differently…”

Few people are disputing that. What the conservatives are using are superstitious and irrational grounds…

Margaret
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Margaret

So — the Christian church should do what the Royal College of Psychiatrists says because — well why exactly???? Are they are god??? Yeah right!! And talking about right, they know exactly how to treat all mental illness and that is why we no longer have any in society. No??? Well how come they think they know everything. I don’t know about Britain but we have a continual stream of people here in New Zealand, declared sane by Psychiatric “experts” who then immediately go on to kill and maim and commit heinous crimes. The best we get from these “experts”… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
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NP and Christopher Shell will devour it.

(Or not ;=)

Cynthia Gilliatt
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Cynthia Gilliatt

I assume from what they have written that if NP or Margaret ever contract leprosy, they will consult the Bible rather than a physician for treatment…nor would they take medication for epilepsy, but fiind an exorcist. And I suppose too, using the cosmology of the Bible, that they beieve the earth to be a flat disk ….

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“we have a continual stream of people here in New Zealand, declared sane by Psychiatric “experts”” Careful, Margaaret. It is one thing to express a belief that God considers homosexuality a sin. You are implying that we are also insane. You can still think I’m a sinner without calling me crazy. That is surely a sin on your part. Also, you are assuming that this statement is not based on advances in science, but political correctness. That is also wrong. I agree that the Church ought not to take it’s marching orders from any secular group, including governments. It is… Read more »

Merseymike
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Merseymike

I think that psychiatrists have far more qualification to talk about this than either outdated story-books, written by men 2000 years and more ago, or premodern religionists

After all, if Jesus is as NP describes, then no-one with a brain would even consider such a person worth believing in.

NP
Guest
NP

no Cynthia….just that it ain’t sensible to give much weight in theoogical matters to people who clearly do not know much about the bible or Christ…..however expert they are in other fields…and I am sure they are expert and help people. the issue in the AC is the authority of scripture….not psychology or human rights or anything else……the question which matters is this, “Is Lambeth 1.10 right that certain behaviour is ‘incompatible with scripture’?” because opponents of Lambeth 1.10 cannot disprove it from scripture, many different types of arguments are raised…but in the end, the question before us is what… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

NP: I’m pretty shocked at how dismissive you are of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They are scientists who need to deal professionally with some of the results of religious dogmatism. Who knows whether you or I will depend on their professional care some day? I think they are worthy of our respect, rather than your snide “I know better” tone.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

And, NP, instead of reeling off a list of Bible references to confirm your view of the world (I think a psychiatrist might be very interested in why you continually do that, actually), have you read the report, and if so, what do you think of it? It says that the prejudice and discrimination gay people currently experience in churches causes damage to them. Do you disagree?

stephen bates
Guest
stephen bates

Goodness, Margaret, I’d no idea New Zealand was such a hotbed of depravity, and all down to those wicked psychiatrists. The streets are clearly not safe to walk with all those kiwi psychos stalking around – so much better to leave them to rot, or just kill them, surely? So much easier always than consulting people who may know what they are talking about, but who may sometimes make mistakes, unlike you. Speaking of perfection, NP: wherever do you get the idea that anyone ever thought Jesus Christ was an “anything goes western liberal” or that anyone of any significance… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

It just occured to me: has anyone here ever met a conservative who was content to say “I believe Scripture teaches homosexuality is a sin” and leave it at that? It always seems to be accompanied by statements, overt or not, that we are sinful rebels who choose our sexuality in defiance of society and God, or are in some way mentally ill, or addicts, or something. I can’t recall ever reading or hearing anything by a conservative that, while piously proclaiming to only be following Scripture, DIDN’T also, in some way or another, indicate a belief that we are… Read more »

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

Well said, Stephen.

NP
Guest
NP

Mark – how many times do I have to explain to you that the issue is the authority of scripture? I do not take my theology from experts in other areas of study…..who feel free to call Christianity “inclusive” despite many statements of Christ which are quite clearly exclusive. You will never change the mind of the communion by talking about psychology or rights etc You need to show that our bishops were wrong in saying certain behaviour is “incompatible with scripture” if you want to change the mind of the communion……..the trouble is that respected Anglican biblical scholars like… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

NP A genuine question. If we’re created by God, then our ability to gain new knowledge and insights are also created by God. Has he not blessed scientists in their new discoveries? Has he not blessed the psychiatrists who have helped so many previously dumped in Bedlam like institutions? Why, then, would he not want us to take those new discoveries on board when interpreting his words as written down 2000 years ago by people who did not yet have access to those discoveries? It strikes me that you are denying a huge part of God’s creativity and creation if… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Ford,,
“Why is it that conservative must use lies and slander to back up what would actually be a more respectable position without such falsehood?”

They don’t all do it, we’re just confronted with some particularly bad examples here. Thomas Renz, for example, is someone who does believe that homosexuality is against God’s will but who does not demonise, crimialise or belittle gay people in the slightest.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

NP: I don’t see why you keep harping on about my admission to having been in Tom Wright’s lectures, as if that means anything. I also used to go to Rowan Williams’, and he used to stand up for following the courage of your intellectual convictions wherever they lead you, even at the cost of being a lonely prophetic figure. I can’t understand how he has since managed to give up on the whole intellectual philosophy he used to expound so eloquently to us undergraduates, which appealed precisely because it had an integrity to it. Tom Wright used to teach… Read more »

Dirk C Reinken
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Dirk C Reinken

NP- there is a difference between approaching Scripture “as the Rule and Ultimate Standard of Faith” rather than as the only standard or as simply a rule-book for life. Science is another method of describing the reality in which we live, and it is more capable of describing and understanding illness, psychological and physical, than Scripture. Psychology and psychiatry, like medicine, are also subject to the scientific method. Theories of disease and treatment are subject to testing and verification. That makes their conclusions pretty hard to confute as a matter of observation. The problem folks like you and Margaret have… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Simply, then, to have openly LGB people in positions of ministry would be a tremendous support for stability and acceptance – that phrase “you are accepted” – just as is one of the effects of conferring blessings upon these folks for their relationships. Whilst the supernatural aspect of rituals might be questioned, the importance of ritual as a passing through, a gateway, and a reciprocal statement is undiminished. Such an obvious denial of this as at present, gives a kind of sanctification to discrimination. If the Churches are wanting to uphold people, to uplift people, then the policy has to… Read more »

Tim
Guest

NP: it’s not the (self-)righteous that needed Jesus, but the unrighteous. I think you’ll find he had a spectrum of responses to people from nasty to accepting depending on they *thought* they were doing. (Salient examples: consider “whitewash”, the story of the pharisee’s versus tax-collector’s praying style, the “sinners” with whom he ate.)

Then again your abuse of scripture indicates that you don’t know the difference between “causes of sin” and “homosexuality” as you seem to think that passage somehow relevant.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“opponents of Lambeth 1.10 cannot disprove it from scripture”

Some very credible people, “respected Biblical scholars” in their own right, disagree with you on that one. And you don’t respect the authority of Scripture as you claim everyone else ought to.

badman
Guest
badman

NP – how many times do we have to explain to you that the issue is the interpretation of scripture?

MJ
Guest
MJ

NP “how many times do I have to explain to you that the issue is the authority of scripture?” You arrogantly assume that those you disagree with are simply ignoring Scripture. That is completely untrue. There is now a wealth of Scriptural study on homosexuality which does not arrive at the same condemnatory conclusions that you do (which I very much doubt you have read any of). You regularly throw out the accusation of ‘ignoring Scripture’ because it makes it easier for you to feel secure. What you find deeply unsettling and threatening is the fact that Christians can interpret… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford – the reason you see a fuller response is that have people in the AC who are pushing,some overtly but many more covertly, to be accepted as clergy (even bishops) while condoning behaviour our AC bishops consistently say is “incompatible with scripture”….they are ignoring what the communion has consistently said about beliefs….that is why more needs to be said because we do have people working from within against what the ABC has called “the mind of the communion”

Colin Coward
Guest

Oh dear, NP, lecturing us all again.

I think the issue might be relationship with God.

But then, I’m only a gay priest, how could I possibly know anything about relationship with God?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“the issue in the AC is the authority of scripture….not psychology or human rights or anything else……the question which matters is this, “Is Lambeth 1.10 right that certain behaviour is ‘incompatible with scripture’?””

And what if that interpretation of scripture is incompatible with reality, NP? Shall we place the Royal College of Psychiatrists under house arrest, forbidding them to publish ever again, as the Holy Office did to Galileo?

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

“the issue in the AC is the authority of scripture….not psychology or human rights or anything else……the question which matters is this, “Is Lambeth 1.10 right that certain behaviour is ‘incompatible with scripture’?””

And what if that interpretation of scripture is incompatible with reality, NP? Shall we place the Royal College of Psychiatrists under house arrest, forbidding them to publish ever again, as the Holy Office did to Galileo?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

NP I keep reading your last post to Fr Mark and it strikes me that you’re not actually talking about the same thing. You insists that same sex relationships are wrong because they are not biblical. Even if you were right, would you not agree that the psychiatrists may have a point when they say that the current way LGBT people are being treated by the church is deeply damaging to them? And if that’s the case, could you not at least acknowledge that you might have to modify your behaviour a little in order to prevent some of that… Read more »

Ashpenaz
Guest
Ashpenaz

Scripture says that God has called people to many different vocations in the church such as teaching, comforting, healing, etc. When a group of doctors to whom God has given the vocation of healing come to a conclusion about a medical issue, God wants me to listen to them. I assume that God has given the vocation of understanding mental health to this group of psychiatrists, therefore, I trust their conclusions about homosexuality. God uses these people and their vocations to lead the church into all truth, so to truly be obedient to Scripture, we need to listen to those… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

NP — scripture (meaning Jesus) teaches authoritatively that it is not up to Christians to make determinations concerning the sins of others. (I realize the Apostle Paul disagreed; it may well be that the Gospel was recorded to offer a countervailing influence to Paul’s teaching.) I leave it to you to reap the conclusion, or ignore it. The psychiatrists in this case are making a judgment concerning the harm done to people by those who consider themselves to be moral, and on the basis of their position, to make decisions governing and limiting the lives of others. The psychiatrists note… Read more »

Louise
Guest
Louise

“the issue in the AC is authority of scripture….not psychology or human rights or anything else…” – NP I used to be a Christian until I encountered this willingness to throw human rights and any contradictory scientific evidence out the window in favour of ‘scripture’. I then found, in conscience, that I couldn’t accept that any ‘scripture’ could make the groundless ill-treatment of others OK. Writings rooted in the mind of late antiquity don’t provide a full basis for how to treat people now. So I suppose I should be grateful to the ‘gay bashers’ for waking me up from… Read more »

williex2
Guest
williex2

why is it, in the 21st century, that it’s secular society that’s pointing the way of the gospel?

tell me, NP: was man made for the sabbath or was the sabbath made for man? apparently, neither you nor the disciples could figure that one out on their own.

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“…have you read the report, and if so, what do you think of it? It says that the prejudice and discrimination gay people currently experience in churches causes damage to them. Do you disagree?”-Fr. Mark Of course he disagrees, he’s got Jesus wrapped up in his smug little world of know-it-all-ism. (pay special heed to the operative verb in that sentence..’he has got’) The ultimate in selfish religion. So if Jesus’s club is so exclusive, why would anybody want to belong to it? Selfish and exclusive, you can have your version of “Christianity” NP, just keep it away from mine.… Read more »

Andy
Guest

NP: I don’t think many here question the authority of scripture. I think it’s in the interpretation of scripture that we differ. How do you reconcile your quoted texts with Matthew 5:3-12? How do you reconcile your discussions here with Matthew 7:15-23?

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Well NP’s stand is clear, it is just also clear that his reading of scripture about the naturalistic human side of who queer folks are is contradicted on too many levels by the empirical facts. Hence, the dilemma of reading scripture to verify flat earth facts which are then allegedly spoken or revealed by God. To take a hint from the New Testament Jesus, let us do a thought experiment. If inclusion and equality of citizen life for queer folks is nothing but unscriptural and devilish and evil, how can inclusion or equality support or contribute to healing and improved… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Citing John 3:36, John 14:6, Matthew 13:36 NP wrote: “Jesus Christ’s words are often not that inclusive, are they??“ Some explanations, NP (never told the hoi polloi in your peculiar tradition): John 3:36 “believe” pisteúon is not to share / subscribe to the beliefs (right or wrong) of the AC, or the accidental beliefs (again right or wrong) of a Primates meeting, or even a Lambeth Conference (remember Tea & cakes), or your particular Sect (always wrong), or anything like it, as you have been told by our 16th century Renaissance tradition of Neo Humanist Catechisms (the Congregation as School… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Matthew 13:36 “Fire” in a hot climate, and consequently in the Holy Scriptures (always in the plural) of the Bible, is an image / paragon / hyperbolä of the Purification of Hearts. There are innumerable examples in both Testaments (and also in the Scriptures which your peculiar “bible-believing” tradition doesn’t recognize / rejects / cuts out). You only need to read it to see it. But it is hamartía / wrong-stepping / missing the mark (aka “Sin” in the Scholastic tradition) that will burn / be purified/ be cleansed / disappear, not the persons. Gehenna is not the later, pagan… Read more »

RPNewark
Guest
RPNewark

NP, you do not *explain*, you *state* that the issue is the authority of scripture and you conveniently leave out the words, “for me”. You really should write, if you are going to be truthful, “The issue, for me and a small but vocal part of Christendom, is the authority of scripture. You see, NP, for most of Christendom, following the actions and teachings of Jesus Christ is far more important than following the actions and teachings of a human being (Saul/Paul of Tarsus, let the reader understand). How do you reconcile your frequent dashes to judge and criticize and… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

NP posted: “Mark – how many times do I have to explain to you that the issue is the authority of scripture?” This is, as others have said, nothing more than bibliolatry on NP’s part. NP is ignoring matters of translations of scripture over the millennia, and not just in the early Church itself, and he/she has the chutzpah to suggest irrefutable knowledge of what is accurate, as well as what the context was when the original words were written. NP also falls into the trap of contending that it was God who directly wrote the original words (whatever they… Read more »

Old Father William
Guest
Old Father William

When I was in seminary, I did my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a state mental hospital, and I was profoundly shocked by how large a proportion of the patient population had been badly damaged by churches of many denominations. Religion (as opposed to faith) had been a significant contributor to the warping of sensitive minds. I think that the 21st century Church would do well to listen carefully to the insights of modern psychiatry.

Robert Leduc
Guest
Robert Leduc

No NP, science is not theology. But theology cannot contradict science. The truth is the truth. Homosexuality is not a choice – a scientific observation. Conservative interpretations of scripture on this issue must therefore reconcile some contradictory passages of Scripture. For example, why does God say ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ and yet create individuals for whom the companionship he intends is to be found, due to orientation, with an individual of the same sex? It is no good to simply say these individuals are all called to celibacy. There is plenty of theology on the… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

When you find that your theology is at odds with reality, it’s time to reexamine your theology.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“… and do see that scripture consistently calls certain behavour sinful.”

Translations do, NP. They may be wrong.

Just might.

Colin Coward
Guest

NP, you will have to explain seventy times seven to Mark and the rest of us that the issue is the authority of scripture. No matter how many times you say it here (and you say what you say with tedious repetition) an attitude towards homosexuality held by Lambeth 1.10 which is prejudiced and bigotted remains so, however many theologians, Biblical scholars, bishops and Primates claim otherwise. You will never achieve an Anglican Communion that is free from faithfully partnered lay people, priests and bishops. It’s tough on you, but this is what God creates and blesses, whatever he may… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

I don’t know about Britain but we have a continual stream of people here in New Zealand, declared sane by Psychiatric “experts” who then immediately go on to kill and maim and commit heinous crimes. The best we get from these “experts” is “it can be hard to tell you know”. But now they “know” exactly what we should do. I think there is a credibility gap Posted by: Margaret on Friday, 16 November 2007 at 10:02am GMT Thanks so much for clarifying that Margaret. Perhaps you’d rather not listen to the conscientious thoughts of a group of caring people?… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Hey NP, you’re doing Christ a great job of witnessing from the looks of all these following postings!

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

There are souls who pray for “Judgment Day” so that all but the elite few can be consumed in hell. I can imagine the conversation between God and their “god” who justified the end of the world and eternal damnation for 99.9999% of its occupants. God, “So, the world has ended, has it”. Litte g “Yep”. God “So where did all the souls go? Little g “I sent them to eternal damnation”. God “Why?” Little g “They wouldn’t flatter me and wouldn’t repent of the sins I didn’t like. Anyway, I was bored with the planet and we’d consumed all… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Sorry, made the word count with 3 words to spare. This is a commendable move by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It reminds us that we are to treat people with gentleness and word to bring out the best in them, and to provide reasonable access to save life choices. For those who want to preach the “repent” and live the “safe” life contemplate this: A woman can not change her genitals (or by your theology shouldn’t). If we are meant to make lifestyle choices that mean we refuse to engage in activities that have a significant probability of reducing… Read more »