Thinking Anglicans

Equality Bill: Church Times coverage

There is a leader today, Legal protection for clerical consciences.

A LITTLE historical perspective might help those who are alarmed at the consequences of the amendment to the Equality Bill passed in the House of Lords at the end of last month. The effect of it, if the Bill survives intact, would be to permit same-sex partnerships to be solemnised in Quaker meetings, Unitarian churches, and Liberal synagogues. Much attention was given last week to the fears expressed by the Bishops of Winchester and Bradford that clerics would be compelled to register civil partnerships, under threat of legal action for exercising discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Political parties are considering the possible con­sequences on votes in the forthcoming election. There is even a petition being got up to have the amendment thrown out.

Two points are perhaps worth bearing in mind…

The article mentioned in the leader Quakers seek liberty for gay couples is subscription-only until next Friday. So also are several letters, and a discussion of newspaper reports in the Press column.

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Simon SarmientoFather Ron SmithRev L Robertstoby forwardPerry Butler Recent comment authors
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Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

This business got me re-reading Prof Lawrence Stone’s absorbing book “Road to Divorce.England 1530-1987” which shows just what confusion and collusion the Established Church was prepared to live with in the past and how curious marriage law in England has been been. Nearly every change in the law tended to be met with alarmist reactions. Plus ca change.

toby forward
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May I add to Perry’s comment my usual commendation of the excellent book ‘Hanging in Judgement’ by Harry Potter (really, he’s a priest and a barrister) which documents the way in which the bishops used their position in the House of Lords to block attempts to abolish capital punishment?

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Yes Perry Butler too true. And the C of E bishops blocked reform on the abolition of the Death Penalty. Thus leading to many unavoidable deaths.

But then ‘it all began’ with a certain king Henry…

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Synchronicity or what ! Toby Forward’s comment had not been published when I wrote mine. I think there is something running deep here. And what terrible wickedness it seems to us now. But to the bishops back then ? Were they subject to few ’bouts of Christianity’ then ? Cf Barchester Chronicles. May I add to Perry’s comment my usual commendation of the excellent book ‘Hanging in Judgement’ by Harry Potter (really, he’s a priest and a barrister) which documents the way in which the bishops used their position in the House of Lords to block attempts to abolish capital… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

Simon. It could have been useful if the articles you have mentioned from the Church Times could have actually been made available for comment here. It seems that only subscribers are able to access the articles at the moment.

Simon Sarmiento
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Ron, I did specifically state in the article that those items were currently subscriber-only. Normally I wait until items become free before linking, but on this occasion there was so much interesting material that I thought I would mention it sooner.