THINKING ANGLICANS

Love Thy Neighbour

Stonewall has issued a report which Ruth Gledhill describes in The Times, see Faith leaders out of touch about gays and also Lambeth Diary: faith people ‘moderate’ on gays.

The Stonewall press release says:

Many faith leaders inadequately reflect their followers’ religious objections to lesbian and gay sexuality, new research has found. Love Thy Neighbour – published today by Stonewall and based on interviews with Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Christian participants from across the north of England – found that many hold significantly more moderate views of homosexuality than is often claimed on their behalf. Participants suggested to researchers from the University of Leeds that when the perceived tension between faith and sexual orientation is discussed in public, the agenda often becomes so dominated by aggression and sensationalism that levels of respect between faith communities and gay communities are overlooked.

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive, said: ‘Witnessing the saddening divisions in the Church of England demonstrated at this week’s Lambeth Conference, it’s telling that so many people of faith say they actually live, work and socialise with lesbian and gay people, and that significantly reduces negative ideas about difference. Many Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus are clearly markedly more moderate that we are often allowed to believe. The stark conclusion to draw when it comes to religion and homosexuality is that it may be time to start listening to the voices of the many people of faith in Britain which have until now not been heard enough.’

Interviewees suggested that new legal protections for lesbian and gay people, including civil partnership, have had a ‘civilising effect’ on British society. The increased acceptance of gay people on a national and political level has also had a positive impact on attitudes at a local level, they said. This confirms the findings of Living together, a YouGov survey of 2,000 people published by Stonewall in 2007, which found that 84 per cent of people who identified as religious disagreed with the statement ‘homosexuality is morally unacceptable in all circumstances.’

Ruth has made the full report available here. It’s a 200K PDF.

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Dan Baynes
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Dan Baynes

“84 per cent of people who identified as religious disagreed with the statement ‘homosexuality is morally unacceptable in all circumstances.’”

That’s breathtaking. Why hasn’t more been said about this?

By the way Ben, the recent legislation isn’t “protections”, it’s privileging of something to a level it doesn’t deserve – like suddenly deciding to pay cleaners as much as doctors.

kieran crichton
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kieran crichton

On one level this is just another expansive exercise in stating the blindingly obvious. I think something went radically wrong when people started to assume that bishops somehow represent the people in their diocese or province. Lambeth, the ACC and the primates meetings aren’t a parliament: very few bishops are actually elected on a popular basis. They can hardly claim to be representative when they express the fears of the most timid and reactionary in any given society. And still the pharasaical game goes on among the leaders: finding yet more hair-splitting excuses for saying that the gay is not… Read more »

john
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john

This is all very heartening. It’s certainly true of the church we attend in Durham, where a much-loved gay couple plays an invaluable part in running the church.

Phil Craig
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Phil Craig

“84 per cent of people who identified as religious disagreed with the statement ‘homosexuality is morally unacceptable in all circumstances.’”

Perhaps it’s because, as many keep saying, that homosexual orientation and homosexual practice are not the same thing. So many will disagree with the above statement while holding to a wholly traditional view of sex.

drdanfee
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drdanfee

Yes the religious, ethical, and theological prickliness and touchiness of those who still cannot fundamentally grasp that queer folks as varied citizens are simply, competently human – is tilting now. Still we have plenty more besides anecdotes – even good Samaritan ones – about how this or that queer citizen’s sexual orientation was not an innate ethical or human barrier to them enacting this or that good in their daily lives. We have carefully hypothesis tested data, published over the last forty to fifty years of human sciences research. A viable range of testing methods, data gathering strategies, and statistical… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“homosexual orientation and homosexual practice are not the same thing” Try telling that to a gay person in Nigeria or the Sudan. Try telling such a person that you love him, you just hate his sin, as you stand by and watch them carry him off for five years in jail or stand approvingly by the cloaks of those who stone him to death. What about false accusations and propagandistic pseudoscience meant to portray us as sick and dangerous? The thing is, if this is simply based on the idea that we as human beings are no different from everyone… Read more »