Anglican and Roman church bodies comment jointly

The Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Council and the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have issued a joint statement.

This statement has been issued with a press release titled Churches comment on Government’s incitement to hatred plans which starts:

The Church of England and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have commented on the Government’s proposed amendment to the Public Order Act 1986 to create a new offence of incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation….

Scroll down from the press release to read the full text of the Memorandum to the Public Bill Committee on the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.

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Merseymike
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Merseymike

So, once again, the Church wants anti-discriminatory law to take account of its own homophobia.

Christianity is a homophobic religion. It needs reform, not kow-towing to.

Those who advocate this stance should be regarded with the same level of respect as the BNP in their attempt to rationalise racism.

Mark W
Guest

“Christianity is a homophobic religion. It needs reform, not kow-towing to.”

I would argue that it is only a small but vocal minority of self-professing Christians who are homophobic. Definately not a majority.

The appearance is made due to the Internet and other communications technologies which have been emerging over the past decade or two.

The best way to take the pulse of a people is go physically go out and visit the individual churches themselves and take a statistical sample. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that you’ll find results far different than what you see on the blogosphere.

Peace!

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“The Christian churches,” the memorandum points out, “hold a set of beliefs about human sexuality, marriage and family which represents a strong consensus through time and space….”

If that were true we wouldn’t have been having all those corrosive debates in recent years.
It would at least have been helpful to acknowledge that there is no one Christian view.

I’m really tired of people pretending to speak on my behalf and making sweeping statements that are so patently wishful thinking.

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

I have to confess, Merseymike, I don’t understand the level of your hositlity here. Sections 2 and 7 seem quite reasonable. They seem to be asking for clarity in what is and is not acceptable. I certainly see nothing wrong with a conservative preacher saying that Christianity teaches that homosexuality is sinful. That’s just stating doctrine. If he said all gays should be jailed or executed, that’s hate speech, and ought not to be allowed. But what of the preacher who says we die 30 years before everyone else? Is it hate speech just because he believes propaganda? What is… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

I get irritated that C of E representatives here have written as if the C of E has one fixed view on the subject of homosexuality, when it patently does not! They do not represent my view, and I don’t want the Government taking only theirs into account. It would be better if the Church stopped scraping round always trying to find ways out of human rights legislation, and just supported it without qualification.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The grounds of negative presupposition in public life are shifting, and may well shift, yet again – with many believers (including even some self-described conservative ones) favoring justice norms for citizen holiness in public life, based on that familiar Anglican combination – of reading the scriptures, investigating and applying the tradition, and above all being reasonable in any number of different best practices ways. What conservatives religious views have to understand is that their traditional claim to being the best and most viable reasonable thinking possible – across several hot button discernment domains – is not going to fly, unquestioned.… Read more »

L Roberts
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L Roberts

Ah, they have found something upon which they can agree ! At last !

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Actually, Ford, I think they can say what they want, but what they are trying to justify is their homophobia. otherwise, the proposed legislation wouldn’t be a problem for them. Think about it – and stop trying to defend the church. It is simply indefensible as an institution. The doctrine is itself homophobic. Now, I don’t think that shoiuld be illegal to believe, and the proposals in the law do not say that it should – at all. But don’t you think it would make a refreshing change for the church to welcome a new piece of gay rights legislation… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
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choirboyfromhell

You all in the UK have in a way, to be so lucky that the Church is “running scared” and wanting to be exempt from what we in the U.S. call hate crime laws.

Over here the “Church” in it’s many dysfunctional denominations as actually worked, lobbied and cajoled the grassroots to limit the freedoms of LGBT people in state constitutional amendments for domestic partner relationships, including the tax laws (the U.S., not Canada). And I suspect that many in the religious right are fighting pending legislation in the U.S. Congress to include sexual orientation in a hate crimes bill.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I think there is a legitimate argument to allowing people to disagree on such important matters. That said, I’m a bit disappointed that, if the issue is really freedom of speech, the churches are looking to defend the rights of Christians to express traditional Christian views, rather than the rights of everyone to express all kinds of views, some antithetical to the tradition. The special pleading weakens the free-speech case. My major problem, however, is the line, ‘The Churches draw a clear distinction between sexual orientation and behaviour based on that orientation.’ It is true that, in RC ethics, this… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

“I certainly see nothing wrong with a conservative preacher saying that Christianity teaches that homosexuality is sinful. That’s just stating doctrine.”

Well then the doctrine should be changed, and Catholic never mind liberal theory allows it to be changed. This doctrine gives rise to everything else. Some Churches, small as they may be, have already changed.

The case for organising a clean break gets stronger; rather I am waiting for those who maintain obnoxious exclusive views to organise themselves elsewhere as they have threatened for a long time and as they may be beginning to put into action now.

Margaret
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Margaret

“Christianity is a homophobic religion.”

I hope that hate speech law protects Christians as well!

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford, Please re-think you post as though the church had put out a joint statement on slaves, jews or blacks. If you still believe that it is ok to let stated doctrine remain overstated and reinforced, and opposition from within the organisation’s own ranks ignored, then fair enough. But for me there comes a point where, once you have identified something as morally completely unacceptable you can no longer accept the theology of those who still believe it is immoral because of nothing more than personal prejudice (it’s not as though there wasn’t sufficient information around these days). Your posts… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Merseymike: I’m an Anglican priest, and yet I agree with you completely. So, as far as the institution is composed of people with our views too, it is not totally indefensible, I think! The problem is that the urbane side of the C of E, which has generally dominated and kept extremist nutcases well down in the past, seems to have abdicated responsibility at the moment, and be allowing the extremists pretty much a free hand.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I hope that hate speech law protects Christians as well!”

Would you include gay Christians in this, Margaret?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Margaret quoted: “Christianity is a homophobic religion.”

and wrote: “I hope that hate speech law protects Christians as well!”

Not from the truth.

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

God doesn’t seem that concerned about the sanctity of marriage. Who was the priest that married Adam and Eve, or did they ever have a marriage anyway? Then Mary was made pregnant out of wedlock and without a man. King Judah slept with a temple prostitute, who happened to be the widow of two of his sons, and I think that child went on to become the line of David. Isaiah conceived to temple prostitutes, it appears with intent. The moral code that they attempt to impose on GLBTs is harder than what they demand of themselves and harder than… Read more »

Joseph O'Leary
Guest

Surely the churches have no right to comment on such legislation, at least until they have made expiation for their own role in legislating hatred over many centuries? It is as unpleasant as if the churches were to intervene to criticize laws against antisemitism — or rather, more so, since in the case of the Jews they have made some feeble gestures of apology.

Joseph O'Leary
Guest

The doctrine is itself homophobic, writes Merseymike. He is right. To show this, just consider the following paragraph: “6. The Christian churches hold a set of beliefs about human sexuality, marriage and family which represents a strong consensus through time and space. This tradition teaches that human sexuality is a gift of God which finds its proper expression in marriage, the exclusive, freely-accepted and permanent bond between a man and a woman, and that sexual relations outside marriage fall short of God’s purpose. Moreover, while Christian tradition recognises the contribution of sexual relations to personal growth and well-being, it does… Read more »

MRG
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MRG

“Christianity is a homophobic religion. It needs reform, not kow-towing to.”

Every time you end a sentence with a preposition, Merseymike, God kills a kitten.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Margaret, hate speech laws don’t apply to the truth, so it ain’t hate speach unless you are trying to claim that jailing us and our supporters and inciting people to murder us is somehow an act of love. I know, some consevos seem to think they are, believing that such kindnesses might encourage us to repent, but I figure it’s only the more extreme who think that way.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“you still believe that it is ok to let stated doctrine remain overstated and reinforced” I don’t, which is precisely why I don’t see a huge problem with the statement. They are not saying “We should be allowed to condemn gay people from the rooftops and incite people to hang them from the bridges.” They are saying that any Church should be able to state its doctrine without fear of being hauled in front of the courts for that. I might not agree with what they say, but I very strongly oppose the idea that the State or anyone else… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

This statement bears only the authority of the Mission and Public Affairs Council, it is not accurate to attribute it to the CofE Bishops, or indeed to the Church of England as a whole.

In my opinion the press release is highly misleading in its wording on this aspect.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
I take your point.
There are two issues here. One is the fact that the doctrine is homophobic and needs to be challenged, the other is that the church nevertheless should have the right to present itself as homophobic if that is what it believes.

On the other hand there is actually no agreement within the national church and the various churches in the Anglican Communion and to put out a joint statement that makes it sound as though all members of the church believe and are required to believe in homophobic views is, at the very least, being disingenious.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Simon
thank you for that clarification.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“there is actually no agreement within the national church and the various churches in the Anglican Communion and to put out a joint statement that makes it sound as though all members of the church believe and are required to believe in homophobic views is, at the very least, being disingenious.” The Right in this, as far as I can see, is made up largely of Evangelicals with some Anglo-catholics. Given that in Evo speak, Evangelical means Christian, and Anglo-Catholics all like to see ourselves as the true guardians of the Tradition, does it surprise you that the Right wants… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

It would be interesting to know the names of the members of this council.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Why a joint statement with Rome?

Didn’t you split in the 1530ies?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Why a joint statement with Rome?

Didn’t you split in the 1530ies?”

We had a referendum on denominational schools a few years back. The Pentecostals, who in normal circumnstances denounced the RCs as the Whore of Babylon, became fast friends, indeed, around our way Pentecostals spoke fondly of “Father” who they treated as near equal to their pastor. Politics makes strange bedfellows.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Whew. Straining at gnats and swallowing camels, this conservative stuff is. Anglicanism is way too important, way too precious, way too meaningful – for us to leave it all up to the bishops, let alone that even smaller group of the strict conservatives who still affirm flat earth views about queer folks, let alone to the even smaller group of the Primates Meeting. Let alone to the Archbishop of Canterbury who is, I guess, an army of one. What a puzzle, what a conundrum. What does a pluralistic, progressive society or worldwide communion do with people who believe, say, in… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I am here, I am queer, I am a citizen, I follow Jesus of Nazareth as Risen Lord, get used to it.”

Amen

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

‘…I certainly see nothing wrong with a conservative preacher saying that Christianity teaches that homosexuality is sinful…’ (Ford Elms)

It is wrong to lie.

And even worse for a minister of religion to stand up and tell lies during the liturgy.

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

“I am here, I am queer, I am a citizen, I follow Jesus of Nazareth as Risen Lord, get used to it.”

Amen

AMEN to that, Erika !

Get over it !

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“It is wrong to lie.”

All right, I see nothing wrong with a preacher saying from the pulpit that some interpretations of Christianity , particularly the one he follows, teach that homosexuality is a sin. You’re quite right though, that’s not all Christians, and I have railed enough about Evos comandeering that word from the rest of us.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

But they don’t want to say that Ford, they want to say it’s the only Theology ever, and that all that dis-agree will burn in Hell.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“But they don’t want to say that Ford, they want to say it’s the only Theology ever, and that all that dis-agree will burn in Hell.” But why is it more heinous to say this about homosexuality than it is to say, for instance, that if one hasn’t had some sort of dramatic conversion experience with much public outflow of tears, one is not “saved” and is therefor going to Hell, or because one prays corporately out of a book, one is going to Hell, or because one actually believes the Real Presence, or that said Real Presence calls for… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

It’s just as bad, naturally. But most people don’t know about it.

So, no outrage.

Nor do most people in the sects know or realize or imagine or even dream, how peculiar and strange and shocking their manners and dogmas and theology and goings-on would be to others, if they only knew.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Ford,
“I’m used to Evangelicals thundering from their pulpits that anyone who isn’t like them isn’t a Christian and is going to Hell. I don’t see this as anything new.”

You actually know people who believe this other than the odd cranky preacher? I don’t recognise any of my evangelical friends in this description.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“You actually know people who believe this other than the odd cranky preacher?” Yes. I have been told these things by many. Part of the problem is that until very recently, the phenomenon of the Anglican Evangelical was unknown here. I was genuinely shocked a few years ago when for the first time I heard Anglicans using the catch phrases (being ‘saved’. Jesus as one’s “personal saviour”, etc.) that I usually associated with what I would have called Fundamentalists. I lumped them together. I see now that this was inaccurate. All the same, Anglican Evangelicals clearly share many of the… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

After I posted my question to Ford I also remembered a few people I know who do hold the narrowest beliefs about salvation.

Is there anyone here who could comment on whether these are nevertheless isolated incidents or whether there really is an “evangelical” theology about it?

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I don’t know about a systematic theology concerning this, Erika, but look at behaviour. How often have you heard or read “Christians believe…..” followed by a statement of conservative Evangelical belief? The obvious meeaning is that those who do NOT hold these beliefs are not Christian. How often have you heard someone who has “been converted” in some sense speak of “When I became a Christian”? I have heard this repeatedly from people who used to be Anglicans and then converted to, say, Pentecostalism? Their meaning is clear. When I then hear Evangelical Anglicans expressing the same ideas about redemption,… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Erika If you look under the rocks, don’t be surprised if you find bugs. Yes, there are really an “evangelical” theology that sees that all is condemned but them and this world and all its occupants are going to be destroyed for being riddled with sin and they are going to have a squeaky clean new world with none of us riff-raff or our fallen natures. Ford is not the only one whose had to listen to hateful words nor erroneous trash being spoken from the pulpit or published by cruel ignorant diocese leaders. If you really want to look… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl and Ford, I don’t doubt that many evangelicals hold pretty rigid views. I have experienced them on TA and I have occasionally dipped into the conservative blogs. But my question was rather whether they are representative of anything at all other than a noisy minority. I do have evangelical friends. Some of them even believe some of the stuff that gets posted here. But I have yet to hear one say that my own salvation is in danger because I don’t agree with them. They pity me, yes. They believe I’m wrong, yes. But they accept me as a… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Erika: I have met evangelicals (not Episcopalians, thankfully) who firmly believe that I am not a “Christian” and firmly believe I am damned to hell for not believing in quite the same way they do. One of them is a member of the Lutheran Missouri Synod, others are Church of God, a few are Baptists. These are the folks who drive cars with bumper stickers that say things like, “In case of rapture, this vehicle will be unmanned”. This kind of person–so convinced of their own salvation and so convinced of everybody else’s damnation–is the very quintessence of what makes… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
Guest

Erika Your question is quantitative, and I think principles are often more grounded in qualitative answers. How many Cains did it take to murder Abel? One. Where do you draw the line against violence against children, women, GLBTs, ethnic minorities? The first injury, the first 100, 1000, 100 000, 1 million. When it is one individual, 10% of the population or complete decimation? Some see my theology as childishly simple. But a child knows that what is done to one can be done to many. I draw the line not on whom is targetted, nor how many, nor what percentage,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Cheryl, My question was born out of reading various conversations here over the past few months where evangelicals have been accusing liberals of abandoning scripture (which I know isn’t true), and liberals accusing evangelicals of being totally dismissive of everything that isn’t in their own “I made it myself” faith concept and denying that the rest of us are Christians in a meaningful way. This I hear but cannot judge. Is it true? Is it as untrue as the slander the conservatives throw against us? I’m feeling a little lost at sea and drowning in voices of people all across… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Are they in the minority or is the noisy lot on the blogs in the minority” My prejudice is that they are actually the majority. I have run into Evangelicals on other sites who give quite the opposite impression. I am at a point now where I can say, grudgingly, that perhaps the majority of Evangelicals do NOT have the beliefs I spoke of, but I am actually just forcing myself to give them the benefit of the doubt. I know Evangelicals who do not fit my stereotype, even in my own family, and I think of them when my… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

Ford and Erica, within Christianity in the US I would say that they are a evangelicals are a very noisy block. That protestantism composed of many denominations is the majority here, and within almost every one of those denominations is the “fundie” cult, that takes literal translation of scripture to heart. Today a candidate for the president of the US is making a speech justifying his religion. Unlike a predecessor who made a famous speech justifying his faith community, the present candidate is using his religion as a crutch; a appealing factor. This is the difference between now and forty… Read more »