THINKING ANGLICANS

more on Dr Glynn Harrison's views about homosexuality

Giles Fraser writes in the Church Times today about his concerns, see Can orientation really be changed?

Professor Glynn Harrison is very careful with his words. He does not believe in the concept of a “gay cure” or “gay conversion”, he says. Rather, he thinks that “there is evidence that some people with un­wanted same-sex attraction can achieve significant change.”

The True Freedom Trust, on whose council of reference Professor Harrison sits, was founded in 1977 by Martin Hallett. The website explains: “Martin was involved in a homosexual lifestyle for over nine years before Jesus dramatically changed his life in 1972.”

The fact that Professor Harrison is one of those chosen by the General Synod to help to choose the next Archbishop of Canterbury is what has brought his approach under the spot­light. His views may be similar to those of a significant minority in the Church of England, but they do not seem to be those of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, of which he is a Fellow…

Colin Coward writes at Changing Attitude about Dr Glynn Harrison’s views on homosexuality and his membership of the Crown Nominations Commission.

Last week a Guardian reporter phoned me to consult me about Dr Glynn Harrison’s membership of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC), the body that will select the next Archbishop of Canterbury (and appoints other diocesan bishops). The Guardian was concerned about Glynn Harrison’s CNC place because of his beliefs about gay people…

Dr Harrison’s own views can be found at the website of the Christian Medical Fellowship, which published the booklet Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction: Issues of pastoral and counselling support he authored jointly with Andrew Goddard, mentioned by Colin Coward in the article above. Three other articles are available here.

Dr Harrison is connected with the True Freedom Trust, as shown here.

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Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

God help and save us all. (The Church of England can not.) thank God we live in an age when authorities- be they Synods, bishops, psychiatrists are held to account more. I had aversion / electro-convulsive (mis)treatment my homoseuxality in the 60s — but such ideas let alone the practice of painful electric shocks– should NOT be so much as countenanced by any authority in society or church. What was the Synod and the archbishop thinking of ? He was quick enough to dissuade Dr John from his Bishop of Reading post, even though it had received the Royal Assent.… Read more »

Suem
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It really is depressing to find these kind of views having currency in the C of E. I think the church should be deeply ashamed.

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

Yes, the Church should be deeply ashamed, to quote the poster “Suem” in this thread. However the only way to be sure they are “ashamed” is to hold the hierarchy and those who make top level decisions within the Church, accountable. It is long overdue. Transparency when it comes to people such as those proposing such dark and backward thinking in order to disenfranchise those who hold healthier opinions about human sexuality. The fact that people such as Glynn Harrison are invited to serve on such Commissions, needs to be exposed and discussed because the damage by such people to… Read more »

David Lamming
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David Lamming

As a former diocesan member of the CNC (when it met to consider who should be recommended to fill the vacancy in my diocese), I am appalled at the criticisms being made of Dr Glynn Harrison, a duly-elected central member. I wonder if a CNC member who had expressed pro-gay opinions would be subjected to the same character assassination. My experience was that the CNC discussed prayerfully the needs of the diocese and the respective merits of the names considered before deciding who should be recommended for appointment. We should trust the CNC (and the Canterbury vacancy-in-see committee, who will… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

David Lamming,
the problem is not that someone expresses the opinion that God doesn’t like gay people, the problem is that he is an expert who expresses discredited views that people can change their orientation.

We are entitled to assess people and their views. This man’s views appear to be against everything his professional peers believe to be true.
I think that is quite telling.

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

I do think Prof Harrison’s views are appropriate for critique. I am not aware of any character assassination going on, rather an interest in what he actually does believe about such matters – I think the matter is rather murky (deliberately so). Apart from his views in the Church of England setting (it highlights the intersection of such matters with the established sets of antigay doctrines and how dangerous they actually are) one can ask very serious questions about the academic ethics involved as well as querying what exactly is happening in NHS mental health provision. A very disturbing picture… Read more »

Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer
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Lapinbizarre/Roger Mortimer

A gay candidate would and twice has been subjected to REAL character assasination, Mr Lamming.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

I think actually Erica – the problem with Prof Glynn Harrison is that this is NOT his field of research. He has no relevant specialism whereas he does have a theological position to maintain.

Tom
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Tom

And the Church wonders why it receives all the contempt it does from gay people…..

c.r.seitz
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c.r.seitz

Good luck David Lamming.

Simon Sarmiento
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Chris Smith
I repeat my earlier observation, that Dr Harrison was *elected* to his position on the CNC by his fellow members of the House of Laity of the General Synod.

Father Ron Smith
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It would seem, simon, that although Dr.Glynn Harrison was elected by his Lay peers in the General Synod, the Church as a whole needs to consider that his expertise in the field he frequently pronounces on – through his place on ‘The True Freedom Trust’ – is virtually that of a Lay person – with no specific training in the field of the modern clinical understanding and treatment of homosexuality, per se. In other words, Dr.Harrison perhaps needs to defer to his colleagues of the Royal Society of Psychiatrists, who have produced a seminal report on the dangers of trying… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

I’m a bit uncomfortable about making this an issue about one individual, however daft that individual’s views might appear. Dr Harrison is, after all, just one voice among 14 who will sit on the CNC and eventually select the next archbishop. And while I’m not a massive fan of the way the CNC operates, I really think Dr Harrison is the least of its problems. Let’s play the ball, as they say, not the man.

JCF
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JCF

“pro-gay opinions”: seriously, what year is this?

My ontological being/my Image-of-God is not subject to anyone’s opinions, Mr Lamming: pro- OR anti-.

The question is whether someone charged w/ selecting the next Archbishop of Canterbury (an interest even to those of us across the Pond) CAN pick an ABC who (to use words familiar to Episcopalians) “respects the dignity of every human being”—including those *God made LGBT*.

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

I do wish doctors and other professionals serving vulnerable people, to be held responsible for their actions.

Susannah Clark
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Susannah Clark

Scientific assertions motivated by theological dogma… “because the bible says so” …rarely make for good science. If you start with dogma, and try to squeeze the science into the dogma-shaped parameters, and believe that dogma trumps scientific evidence… You end up with the repudiation of evolution, the assertion that Adam and Eve had no primate ancestors, that death came into the world at the ‘Fall’, that therefore dinosaurs were still alive, or their fossils are a demonic trick. You end up with a ‘science’ that defies the prevailing findings and evidence of honest people, in terms of geology, palaentology, genetic,… Read more »

Andrew
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Andrew

A poorly written article by Giles Fraser and what feels like an attack. Prof Harrison has been very clear to say that he does not believe in a Gay cure, he is also very clear that he understands the issues that many christians face when dealing with same sex emotions and reconciling that with the Bible. He is merely stating a truth, that hope and change are all possible through our all powerful, all loving God. Regardless of your thoughts on homosexuality anyone who doubts the ability of God to make significant change in someones life doubts the all powerfulness… Read more »