Thinking Anglicans

Tom Butler changed his mind

Bishop Tom Butler spoke on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day on Tuesday, about how people change their minds on issues such as divorce and remarriage, or homosexuality.

The press has been remarking on Theresa May’s response to a question from a member of the Question Time audience, about the new home secretary’s apparently less than gay-friendly voting record . Her reply: “I’ve changed my mind”.

I don’t think that she’s alone in that. It’s remarkable to observe how, in spite of traditional religious teaching, public opinion in Britain over a period of a decade or so, in a remarkable shift of thinking has mostly changed its mind on the worth and place of gay people in society. The reason is simple: it’s difficult to hold dogmatic views about what is good and desirable behaviour, when some of the often obviously good, loving and responsible people you actually encounter are behaving in an alternative way…

Read the full text here.

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Father Ron SmithRev L RobertsChris Smithevensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)john Recent comment authors
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Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

“The fact that Mary has been in a twenty-year lesbian partnership was simply a non-issue for the many church people there who knew and admired her, and they found it very difficult when I tried to explain that liberal actions in America or indeed Britain can have dangerous consequences for fellow Christians living in minority situations in Africa or Egypt. But a responsible global church must take this into account and try to build bridges of cultural understanding.” I know this argument is often trodden out, but it is rarely if ever supported by lgbt people in Africa. And when… Read more »

toby forward
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I’m sorry but I’m just not impressed by this. In fact, I pretty much despise it, not least because I have good reason to believe that Tom Butler changed his mind on this several years ago and waited till he was retired before saying so, just because he hadn’t got the guts to face up to hard-liners in his own diocese. By not facing up to them as their bishop and giving his open support to his gay clergy he allowed thenmfree reign to carry on, and he exposed his gay clergy to their attacks. Bishops bleat on about keeping… Read more »

Ed Tomlinson
Guest

He’s changed his mind? on What exactly? This is exactly what I would expect him to write!

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“..the price of holding the Communion together can’t all be paid by stifling the lives of gay people in the West and cruelly punishing them in Africa. The Home Secretary has changed her mind (about gays), and so have I” – Bishop Tom Butler – Alleluia! The Spirit of God fills the whole world! And here is part of the evidence. Not only the Home Secretary in the Government of the United Kingdom has ‘changed her mind’ about the integrity of gay persons – so has the good Bishop! Perhaps now even Archbishop Rowan will have realised that no amount… Read more »

John B. Chilton
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Toby –

I had similar views, but a commenter said Butler had changed views and made them plain earlier in another BBC4 Thought of the Day. I’ve pulled this together, here,
http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/anglican_communion/bishop_pilloried_for_changing.html

He was even blasted by Anglican Mainstream at the time.

I want to make it plain I don’t know much about how public his stand was, and will glad to hear this discussed more.

toby forward
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I read Ed Tomlinson’s post here. I followed the link to his blog. Try it. You’ll find two racist jokes about thick irishmen. Says it all, really.

Robin
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Robin

> the price of holding the communion together can’t all be paid by stifling the lives of gay people in the West and cruelly punishing them in Africa.

A pity +Rowan Williams doesn’t agree.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Yes, John Chilton, you’ll note I titled this article “changed” not “changes” as I agree this is not a recent change. At the time I published it, I had not read any other blogs at all as I was abroad on Tuesday and Wednesday, and without internet access.

Pluralist
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The 2006 statement by Tom Butler was chased up by Anglican Mainstream on the basis of its ambiguity regarding celibacy or otherwise, whereas this statement is clear about gay and lesbian people in relationships. The earlier statement also claimed transparency in a Church, where clearly the arguments were being held back and coded. So retirement has made the difference. As for waiting until Rowan Williams’s retirement, which cannot come soon enough, we have first yet to hear of the “consequences” of the Americans doing what others find insignificant, “consequences” however mild that might be interpreted in places like Malawi as… Read more »

john
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john

It is well known that Butler supported Jeffrey John on that famous occasion, making public his view that John’s treatment was ‘disgraceful’. This is in Stephen Bates’ book. Perhaps that was the start of his ‘change of mind’.

See also Colin Slee’s view of Butler:

http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/4350.

Slee can hardly be considered a wet, inhibited liberal on this matter.

evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)
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evensongjunkie (formerly cbfh)

Toby: There’s enough hillbilly in me that I laughed tongue-in-cheek at Special Ed’s Irish jokes (as inappropriate as they surely are), then recoiled at his blog on the Los Angeles consecrations as “heresy”.

And we all know what trumps heresy, that right bower known as “schism”.

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Both May and Butler have got a darned cheek.

Changed their minds indeed ! That isn’t good enough.

And he still has a long way to go evidently.

“Tom, There’s nothing ‘liberal’ about ordaining gays Tom. It’s simply human and good.”

The harm done to Southwark diocese is hard to calculate.

And we know the harm May and her co-politicos did to gays in UK up to 13 years ago.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

“The fact that Mary has been in a twenty-year lesbian partnership was simply a non-issue for the many church people there who knew and admired her, and they found it very difficult when I tried to explain that liberal actions in America or indeed Britain can have dangerous consequences for fellow Christians living in minority situations in Africa or Egypt. But a responsible global church must take this into account and try to build bridges of cultural understanding.” Tom Butler. This is self-serving nonsense, from someone who has been disastrous for gays in one of the gayest dioceses, and a… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Toby Forward had made a valid point.

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

Yes, Robin, your comments about Rowan Williams are spot on. It is truly frustrating that he has not shown more courage and backbone on this issue and as you say: “the price of holding the Communion together can’t be paid by stifling the lives of gay people.” Maybe Rowan will surprise us all and finally stand up for the glbt community. He certainly has the capacity, so let’s hope he will do the right thing. As for Ed Tomlinson’s comments on the various threads, there is a point in time where his ignorance and language that he chooses to use… Read more »

Rev L Roberts
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Rev L Roberts

Tom Butler’s change of mind did not lead to him being free of homophobia on the ground -where it matters- before retirement.

Another wasted episcopate / opportunity = Why are the C of E bishops as much of a waste
of space, as the TEC bishops are prophetic ?

The C of E would be better off without bishops

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“I refer to those for whom the Ordinariate is extremely exciting and who will be looking to pursue this option regardless of what happens in future synods. I lament that this group is not larger because logic dictates to me that it should be. But fear abounds, nerves are wobbling and I discern that many are not confident they can presently lead congregations to the promised land.” (could this be Rome, by any chance?) – Ed Tomlinson’s Blog – For those of you who might be wondering where our friend Ed is bound in the present uncertainty, here is his… Read more »