Thinking Anglicans

Hereford: policy on recruitment

Here is what the Diocese of Hereford told me on Tuesday 11 December when I asked them to clarify the comments made by the Bishop of Hereford at the employment tribunal hearing in Cardiff on Friday 7 December:

“Given the judgement of the tribunal the only “safe” option to avoid future discrimination claims is for the Diocese to express a Genuine Occupational Requirement and claim exemption from the Sexual Orientation Regulation 2003.

This we do not wish to do as we wish to encourage people of any sexual orientation to play a full part in the life of the Church and to apply for all Diocesan posts.

However, we also require those in leadership positions within the Diocese, and the DYO is such a position, to uphold, support and promote the doctrine of the Church of England. We are therefore seeking advice on how we can maintain the teachings of the Church without transgressing the law.”

The Church Times has a story on this, Priddis ‘sorry for hurt’, but it is only available to subscribers at present.

59
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
59 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
15 Comment authors
MerseymikeL RobertsGöran Koch-SwahneFr Markchoirboyfromhell Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
badman
Guest
badman

So, they want to discriminate against gay people (imposing a requirement of celibacy on them not imposed on heterosexuals) but they don’t want to admit to it (claiming the religious exemption from legislation). They want to refuse leadership positions to gay people open to loving relationships, but they still want them to apply for those positions.

Confused and, I’m sorry to say, dishonest.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

What a stupid mess the bishop has got himself into! The Church of England needs to finally fall into line and be made to follow the same laws as everyone else. It is scandalous to see bishops scrabbling about trying to grab at reasons to be exempt from the law. It is also deeply unedifying – friends from other European countries cannot believe the C of E is allowed to get away with ignoring human rights legislation. The Scandinavian churches, for example, our closest ecclesiastical relatives, are not allowed to opt out of the law of the land. Why should… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

There is a simple solution to Hereford’s problem:

Trust your applicant.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Hah! And he is going to find that path difficult too, owing to the very tight boundaries of that definition.

basically, its just yet another sign that the church is institutionally homophobic. The Bigot of the Year confirms it!

Peter O
Guest

badman, Perhaps you are misrepresenting the Diocese’s position when you say “imposing a requirement of celibacy on them not imposed on heterosexuals”. That’s not true is it. The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody – marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be. As you know, there are plenty of us who at one time thought we were exclusively homosexual in our preferences and now find we are not. There is nothing discriminatory in applying exactly the same… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

There you go, change the law to get your way of being able to discriminate. Sounds like the good ‘ole USA!

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Fr Mark- That is just the point. One may treat the law as infallible – but we all know that it isn’t – it is constantly changing anyway. That is why totalitarianism is always a bad move. As it says in Life of Brian – we should learn to think for ourselves without having our thinking (so-called) done for us. The same applies to what you call ‘human rights’. The identity and extent of these is not a matter of pure logic: there will therefore always be disagreement about what does and does not count as a human right.… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

Peter O, you have made impressive efforts on your blog to learn about the concepts of discrimination law. But your comment suggests you don’t understand the concept of adverse impact. If gay marriages/civil partnerships were recognised and accepted by the church, you would have a point. But you can’t say “no entry without a membership card – no membership cards to blacks – no entry to you because you have no membership card and not because your black – that’s not discriminating against blacks”. Because it is. If you say gay people who have no sexual interest in the opposite… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Christopher: I’m jolly pleased that so many others have fought and campaigned, in the face of bitter opposition from some so-called Christians, so that I should have the human rights I have. They are not some negligible unChristian slightly naughty merely secular constructs, and I am not willing to lose them whenever I go into a church. They matter, and they should be respected by churchpeople.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“But to claim that you know for sure what does and does not count as a human right is to claim something you know not to be true”

But that’s exactly what you do in your campaign against abortion.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“If you say gay people who have no sexual interest in the opposite sex can only have sexual relationships with the opposite sex, you discriminate against them.”

Maybe, maybe not. Do we have a right to have sex?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Yet “Rule by law” is an English expression.

We haven’t even got it.

Peter O
Guest

badman, It is not discriminatory to forbid all to engage in a specific identical activity and to allow all to engage in another specific activity. It is not discriminatory to say to those who have a specific attraction or desire that they cannot, like everybody else, engage in that desire. Let me give you an example. Say you know somebody who is a cocaine addict. Do you say that it is OK for a cocaine addict to take cocaine (for he desires it) but not for somebody who isn’t? Of course not. In the same way, the “justice” issue around… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“Maybe, maybe not. Do we have a right to have sex? “ I’m finding this question rather strange. Why do we insist on separating love and sex as though sex was not, at it is truly intended, an expression of love. Of course we don’t have a right to love, nor a right to sex. But we have the right to discover both in our lives provided it is within the bounds of a loving relationship. We’ve taken this separating of love from sex too far. In the secular world it leads to sex having almost become a commodity, something… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Christianity is discriminatory in itself – that’s why it needs either change or rejection. However, the law itself has nothing to say about ‘behaviour’, because it isn’t there to distinguish whether people ‘do’ or not, simply that they are not discriminated against because of what they ‘are’ The Church has to try and work around a law which does not accept or regard as valid their way of looking at the world, hence the current wriggling. The simple answer should be: no exemptions, and if the church doesn’t like it, tough. maybe they could close down or relocate overseas and… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

PS I also think that it is important not to let people with the mental affliction of internalised homophobia direct public policy. One can sympathise with their plight, but not indulge their fantasies. It really isn’t healthy.
It also isn’t healthy to wish to work for or belong to an institutionally homophobic organisation, and I think that gay people do need to look very carefully at both the Christian myth and its earthly representatives, and disassociate themselves from that which involves self-oppression.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Merseymike: I agree with you completely.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Maybe, maybe not. Do we have a right to have sex?”

As long as it is equal and mutual all are ok.

Within the framework of an American Heterosexist Fertility Cult, no one is ok.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Say you know somebody who is a cocaine addict. Do you say that it is OK for a cocaine addict to take cocaine (for he desires it) but not for somebody who isn’t? Of course not. In the same way, the “justice” issue around homosexual practice cannot be argued simply on the grounds of the existence of a desire making it moral. You must argue that the activity itself is moral and that is something that the Anglican Communion (as recognised by the ABC in his recent “Oi!” interview and today’s Advent Letter) has clearly decided is not so.” It… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody – marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be.”

Which is what makes it n o t “exactly the same . standard”.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody – marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be.”

If, one day, our Great Fish Overlords take over, and impose exactly the same *respiration* standard (“breathing water, with no distinction as to what your breathing organ is, was, or may be”), I really hope you’re the first one to gurgle, Peter. >:-/

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Perhaps you are misrepresenting the Diocese’s position when you say “imposing a requirement of celibacy on them not imposed on heterosexuals”. That’s not true is it. The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody – marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be.’

What disengenuous BSPeter O ! This is not equality. As you know. You make your ‘postion’ risible in the eyes of most people. Do you caere ?

Are you (another) anglican double agent ?

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

“So the question is not do they have a right to sex that we may or may not have, but do we have the same right to a fulfilled, loving life with that one soul friend.”-Erika Baker

Wonderfully well put. Thank you.

Peter O
Guest

Peeps,

This isn’t a question of justice from an anthropomorphic perspective. This is a question of holiness suitable for those in a position of church leadership. None of you seem to be engaging with that. You keep bringing it back to “that’s not fair” whereas really the issue is “that’s not holy”.

Peter O
Guest

Erika,

No one’s denying anybody the right to a “fulfilled, loving life with that one soul friend”. The issue is whether it is moral for that to be sexually expressed homosexually. Once again, no-one is engaging with the fact that this is an issue of holiness not justice. Either we have an anthropomorphic perspective on this or we have a Godly perspective.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“This isn’t a question of justice from an anthropomorphic perspective.”

We are not seeing this from an anthropomorphic perspective. Nor as “justice” but as Righteousness.

Are you not afraid that God in his Holiness will despise you?

Eusthatius
Guest
Eusthatius

Peter O, you cannot abstract justice from holiness. The calling of a priest is to embody the life of God in man in all its many facets – justice (righteousness) and holiness among them. If we admit that it is possible for laity to pursue lives of holiness within the context of gay relationships, we must also have priests whose own lives reflect this potential. Anything else is a bizarrely reductionist account of priesthood, sacramental life, communion… and God, finally.

Peter O
Guest

Neither Eusthatius can you extract holiness from justice, but that seems to be what some here want.

Frankly, as a church (CofE and the Lambeth Conference at least) we *don’t* “admit that it is possible for laity to pursue lives of holiness within the context of gay relationships” so your point is moot. Some individuals in the church might think that it is possible but the mind of the church does not (unless you want to demonstrate otherwise).

JPM
Guest
JPM

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids all men to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread – the rich as well as the poor.

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Peter, Can you identify which part of the job description for the post of Hereford DYO, taken from the tribunal judgment, shows the Claimant’s unsuitability due to a lack of holiness for being gay? “We are seeking a committed Christian of articulate faith who is part of a collaborative team enabling adults of varying confidence and skills across the Diocese to Face the context of youth without fear To reach out to young people Discover and rejoice in the worth of young people help young people in the journey towards and with our Lord.” “The job specification goes on to… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Peter O: I seem to remember General Synod years ago, long before all the Jeffrey John controversy started, passing a resolution affirming those C of E laypeople who choose to enter into same-sex partnerships. Am I misremembering this?

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Peter
Yes, it’s holy.

Peter O
Guest

Hugh, the fact that you wrote “Can you identify which part of the job description for the post of Hereford DYO, taken from the tribunal judgment, shows the Claimant’s unsuitability due to a lack of holiness **for being gay?**” shows that you simply aren’t engaging with the traditional position. There is NOTHING unholy about having same-sex attraction. The issue of holiness is to do with sexual activity NOT sexual attraction. Fr Mark, “Issues in Human Sexuality” (a House of Bishops report, NOT a Synod motion) says that lay people might enter into same-sex relationships but clergy may not. At no… Read more »

Peter O
Guest

Erika,

You might think it’s holy. The mind of the church is that it is not. You might want to read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter to remind yourself of that fact.

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Peter: “The issue of holiness is to do with sexual activity NOT sexual attraction.” ABC: “…it is part of our Christian and Anglican discipleship to condemn homophobic prejudice and violence, to defend the human rights and civil liberties of homosexual people and to offer them the same pastoral care and loving service that we owe to all in Christ’s name.” There’s nothing to qualify this by saying: “homosexual people” are protected from “homophobic prejudice” and their “human rights and civil liberties” are defended, on condition that they abstain from sexual activity. If “human rights and civil liberties” have no place… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

” At no time did Issues say that such lay relationships were holy. Furthermore, the more recent study document “Some Issues in Human Sexuality” takes a very conservative position.”

Including “Dr” Cameron & al…

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Peter O: No, the resolution I was thinking of predates that by a long time. Anyone else remember, or am I mistaken?
Anyway, I thought “Some issues” said that opinion is divided within the C of E. More than that would be impossible to say truthfully, wouldn’t it, since many clergy do live with their partners, and have done for many years.

Peter O
Guest

Hugh,

Once again you only report part of what the Archbishop wrote. You are neglecting in addition to what you said the clear teaching of the Church of England and the Communion.

Goran,

If you want to criticise Cameron the by all means go ahead. Seeing as I don’t recommend his research I fail to see what mentioning him possibly has to do with the issue at hand.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Peter O
You know as well as I do that there is some excellent theology on this. You don’t have to accept it for yourself. I do.
The church? I do believe it will eventually change its mind. You don’t.
Well see, shall we?

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

Just my point, Peter. ABC gets off to a good start with this positive declaration of principle, then ruins it immediately by following with the word “But”, and never backs up this declared statement of intent with any indication of the practical measures by which it may be followed through by individual churches; in the case of the Church of England: liturgical affirmations of civil partnerships and equality of employment opportunities will have to be considered seriously by Synod very soon. If enforcement of standards accepted elsewhere in society is only to come via employment tribunal judgements, the Church is… Read more »

RichardM
Guest
RichardM

PeterO: “Neither Eusthatius can you extract holiness from justice, but that seems to be what some here want.”

Try reading the prophecy of Amos, not to mention Isaiah – the prophets are quite clear that without justice there can be no holiness.

Peter O
Guest

Richard,

You seem to read Amos as though holiness is a consequence of justice. Not so!! Holiness walks hand in hand with justice (they are two sides of the same aspect) and therefore one is not just if one is unholy.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Fr Mark- Of course, but that is a separate issue. The issue I raised was a different one: namely, if a given so-called right is held to be a right by some and not held to be a right by others, there seems no way of judging which of the two is right, given that rights are human constructs anyway. One might say: maximise rights – but then one comes into situations like abortion where one person’s so-called right compromises another person’s, and one has to begin using other criteria, ie which kinds of rights are more important; who… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

Christopher: yes, of course you are correct to say that human rights talk often involves juggling conflicting entitlements. The strange thing about the ecclesiastical conservatives’ anti-gay rights stance, though, is that there shouldn’t be any need to see gay rights in that way at all. Recognising gay people’s human rights, in society as in the Church, doesn’t at all conflict with anyone else’s rights. Recognising the right of gay people to marry, for example, does not in any way conflict with straight people’s right to marry – there is no overlap. In that sense, the ethical debate is not similar… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“which kinds of rights are more important; who has most to lose; who has most to gain; and so on.” Who has the most to lose and who the most to gain by granting or denying our civil rights? In denying our rights, it is clearly us who lose, but who loses if our rights are acknowledged? Who loses if gay people are allowed to be married? Who loses if gay people are allowed to read in Church? Who loses if gay people are allowed, horror of horrors, to rent a room in a B&B like everybody else? Who loses… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Peter has explained very well why, as conservative Christianity cannot provide justice, its claims to ‘holiness’ are about as credible as his claims for that religion as anything other than an outdated set of bigoted rules made up by one set of people to control other people.

Thankfully, most of us have seen through it. It is both unjust and harmful. And the sight of the Church keep being tripped up over its own set of bigotries does the case against them a power of good!

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Why on earth should any straight person care if two gay people are happy together?” I’d say on occasion it’s because said “straight” person decided long ago out of fear that s/he would pretend to be straight and now resents that decision. Living a lie will do that for you. Such a person is too vested in the Ozzie and Harriet suburban lifestyle he bought through his dishonesty that he cannot risk losing it. Besides, there’s the kids to think about. So, he straps on the breastplate of righteousness and defends the “sanctity of marriage” from those homos who are… Read more »

Dominic K
Guest
Dominic K

Was Eusthatius; realised the pseud. unnecessary here. Ford Elms’ general points about the psychological self-abuse that appears to be working in the subconscious of many cons.ev. individuals I quite agree with. Connect it with Fr Mark’s reasonable question: What does any hetero-sexual person stand to lose – and we are left with a very unsavoury picture of a group which can only conceive of homosexuals in the christian community constituting something like a contagion: hence recent calls in some quarters that gays in relationships be discouraged from participating in Holy Communion (Turnbull + Giddings in the statement from the CofE… Read more »

Peter O
Guest

Ford / Dominic,

Of course, it could just be that we see that Scripture very clearly says that Christians shouldn’t engage in homosexual practice and that we have nothing against “homosexual people” at all. In fact, some of the people who hold that position are (or were like myself) “homosexual people”.

But please don’t let that stop you rolling out all the usual allegations of homophobia and bigotry.

Dominic K
Guest
Dominic K

I hate to nit-pick, but I haven’t once used the vocabulary of homophobia or bigotry: read my posts again, please.
I was using the language of holiness/justice purity/contagion, to be precise.