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Prime Minister criticises Church on same-sex relationships

The Prime Minister hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday evening, and a transcript of his remarks has been published: Prime Minister’s speech at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Reception.

There have been several reports of this event including:

Changing Attitude David Cameron reveals government’s total commitment to equal marriage

Pink News Exclusive: Out4Marriage says David Cameron personally backs gay religious marriages

Thurible At Number 10

The speech linked above includes the following paragraph:

…I run an institution – the Conservative Party – which for many many years got itself on the wrong side of this argument, it locked people out who were naturally Conservative from supporting it and so I think I can make that point to the Church, gently. Of course this is very, very complicated and difficult issue for all the different Churches, but I passionately believe that all institutions need to wake up to the case for equality, and the Church shouldn’t be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views, are also gay. And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the Churches can be in danger of doing the same thing…

This has provoked a response from Anglican Mainstream Prime Minister urged to correct serious misrepresentation.

And Reform has issued this Media Statement.

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Counterlight
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Counterlight

I’m no Tory in membership or sympathy, but I’ve been making the same point for years. By arbitrarily locking out or disabling a whole population, the Church (Anglican and Universal) only hurts itself, especially at a time when growing numbers of the public on both sides of the Atlantic seriously doubt the good faith and authority of the Church’s moral pronouncements on any issue.

LGBTs will continue no matter what. LGBT Christians will continue no matter what. I’m not so sure about the churches as institutions.

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Unbelievable that a UK Prime Minister can know so little about the Churches that he doesn’t know that there are lots of gay people who are Christians (even conservative churches!) and he doesn’t know that a fundmental tenet of Christianity is that Everyone is Equal – whoever and whatever we are, right or wrong, good or bad!

Unbelievable!!

David Rowett
Guest

Is John 3:16 REALLY ‘the most famous verse in the Bible’?

Martino Reynoldo
Guest
Martino Reynoldo

Giddings’ letter is full of deception.

Many Churches refuse full membership to self affirming gay people. I always think about and quote Mark Green head of LICC who has frequently pointed out that many if not most of his constituency do NOT offer a “safe place” for LGBT folk.

Of course Giddings fails completely to understand the law here in the UK which does not recognise the distinction he is making.

Feria
Guest
Feria

Mr. Cameron’s comments seem perfectly sensible in themselves. But I can’t help coming away with the impression that he has failed to appreciate that, as Prime Minister, he is in a position of management and control with respect to the established Church. If he really passionately believes that the policies of the Church need to change, he can’t just assume that it’s someone else’s responsibility to change them.

Fr J C
Guest

Giddings, Sugden and Thomas, the moral guardians of our nation eh? More of the predictable same. I, for one, have been astounded by Cameron’s forward thinking in this area, in the face of old guard reactionary Tories. The mood of the nation is for equality and inclusivity and against the likes of Giddings, Sugden, Thomas and their bedfellows Archbishop Tartaglia and Cardinal O’Brien.

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

Oh dear, Beckett and More again. Where’s Thomas Cromwell when you need him?

Hugh James
Guest
Hugh James

I wonder if this will have any effect on the appointment of the next ABC, given the Prime Minister’s role in that appointment.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

So by their own admission Reform and Anglican Mainstream are ‘locking out’ any one who is GLTB who is having sex. Since that includes about 99% of us there’s hardly any difference between what they say and what the Prime Minister is saying, is there? Misrepresentation? What misrepresentation? Mealy mouthed and plain mean.

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

It would be a wonderful move forward if this Prime Minister did have an effect on the selection of the next ABC. Hugh James comments may be close to the truth on this issue. I hope so.

Randal Oulton
Guest
Randal Oulton

Some fundamentalist Anglicans would no doubt argue that pointing someone to the door and saying “here’s your hat, what’s the hurry” is not the same as locking them out. But it has the same effect, getting and keeping the undesirables out of their personal private temple, eh?

MarkBrunson
Guest

“Unbelievable that a UK Prime Minister can know so little about the Churches that he doesn’t know that there are lots of gay people who are Christians (even conservative churches!) and he doesn’t know that a fundamental tenet of Christianity is that Everyone is Equal – whoever and whatever we are, right or wrong, good or bad!” De Jure is not De Facto, and, in an environment like a church, de facto is the more important. There are a thousand ways of forcing out without forcing out, of claiming membership by name only, of some being more equal than others.… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

I understand his invitations had included a number of prominent gay clergy so I imagine he knew exactly what the state of play is … in the church Mr Cameron is just another member of the laity. I am no Tory – but I thought his speech was bang on the money…

Father Ron Smith
Guest

I liked the Provost of St.Mary’s Anglican Cathedral, Glasgow, Kelvin Holdsworth’s, description of his experience at the U.K. Prime Minister’s Garden Party – especially in light of the fact that the Scottish Parliament might yet beat England in legislating for the first Same-Sex Marriage. We in New Zealand won’t be too far behind, seemingly.

Iain McLean
Guest
Iain McLean

If whoever runs the C of E cares about the reputational damage it is suffering, most recently from the Prime Minister’s remarks (and if it wants to keep its seats in the Lords, and to get women bishops on its terms rather than somebody else’s), a gesture of penitence is available immediately: Announce publicly that the disciplinary proceedings against the Rector of Winchelsea and the Rev. David Page are being abandoned forthwith. If they continue, they will only make the PM’s point for him, and show the C of E to be a corporate ass.

Feria
Guest
Feria

Charlotte,

“Thomas Cromwell” as in a lay Royal Legate a Latere? I guess there’s merit in reminding people (including Mr. Cameron himself) that that option is at the Prime Minister’s fingertips – although I’m not sure the situation quite warrants pushing the button _yet_.

John Bowles
Guest
John Bowles

Cameron and the Consrvative Party will lose more votes from core Conservatives on this issue than any other. Nor, I suspect, will he make up the difference from homosexual votes. To cap it all, with his kindly references to Blair he is digging his own grave.

jnwall
Guest
jnwall

There is what strikes me as an odd definition of baptism in Anglican Mainstream’s remarks. They say, “This is because ‘full membership’ of a Christian church comprises those who are baptised, i.e. those who have repented of their sins, and declared their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour.” Funny, I thought baptism was a sacrament of the Church involving water, the Holy Spirit, the Triune formula, and signing with the sign of the cross, acts performed by someone authorized to do so by the Church. I did not realize that one could baptise oneself. Interesting, the novelties… Read more »

Martino Reynoldo
Guest
Martino Reynoldo

“the Conservative Party will lose more votes from core Conservatives on this issue than any other.” John Bowles on Friday, 27 July 2012 at 4:02pm BST John Bowles doesn’t give us evidence to back up this unequivocal statement of “fact” and there was a time I might have believed this propaganda but my friends and fellow TA posters tell a different story. Robert Ian Williams stood in recent elections against a partnered gay Tory councillor and was on the stump every night for several weeks garnering support for himself. He tells that the gay issue or gay marriage didn’t figure… Read more »

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

I wrote “Unbelievable that a UK Prime Minister can know so little about the Churches that he doesn’t know that there are lots of gay people who are Christians (even in conservative churches!) and he doesn’t know that a fundamental tenet of Christianity is that Everyone is Equal – whoever and whatever we are, right or wrong, good or bad!” “MarkBrunso wrote: “… a lot of things are “supposed to be” but “how it is” is what’s important. You claim the ideal RevDave – do you really expect us to believe it is the real, as well? Dear MarkBrunson, Yes.… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

However, as loving others is consistent with Christian beliefs, values and behaviour …

David Shepherd
Guest

Of course, the other way that one could view Cameron’s remarks is that they were expressed in the light of further legal clarification. Probably, he has now been advised that to legislate for same-sex civil marriage, while maintaining a blanket ban on the religious solemnisation of same-sex marriage would violate article 14 rights. So, this is Cameron dealing with the ‘how’ of implementing same-sex marriage. For instance, if the proposals were implemented, how could Quakers and Reform Jews be prevented from conducting legally valid same-sex marriage services, anyway? Would the law force them, only in the case of gay couples,… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

The difficulty here is how we define equality. There were many South African whites who genuinely believed that blacks were their equal but that they had different roles in life. There were many who objected to women’s liberation because they insisted that women were completely equal but have different roles in life. Acutally, though, the only test of equality is whether it treats everyone precisely the same and gives them precisely the same rights and responsibilities. By that reckoning, all are equal in the church but some (men) are more equal than others (women) who again are more equal than… Read more »

John Bowles
Guest
John Bowles

I am amazed by Martin Reynaldo’s complacency. If he consults the Christian Institute’s website he will find several references to the opposition of core Conservatives to this legislarion and the likely consequences for the Party. As for alternative political choices, many of us will vote for UKIP and others will not vote at all. Cameron has proved to be an intensely disappointing Prime Minister and leader of the Party. He may well have broken it in the way that Lloyd George destroyed the Liberals.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

” But Jesus told his Apostle to make disciples “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. If anyone wants to be His followers we have to fit in with Him, and the teaching of Him and His Apostles.” – RevDave –

Right you are, RevDave! So. Point to any place in the Scriptures – that you rely on to prove your anti-gay position – where Jesus spoke one word against the minority of people who happen to be intrinsically Gay. (Or even ABOUT them).

Counterlight
Guest

“Everyone is welcome in the Kingdom of God, but entering and remaining in it requires us to believe, trust and follow Jesus.” Sorry, but Christ is not an exam proctor or an auditor, and no one pulls themselves up into the Kingdom of Heaven by their own bootstraps. Rest assured that each and every one of us will fail any test of faith and virtue that Christ would send us. All the required tests have been taken and all the tasks already accomplished on our behalf by Christ Himself. Remember that He forgave his executioners from the cross, demanding nothing… Read more »

Craig Nelson
Guest
Craig Nelson

I think Cameron might lose some votes by inducing a double dip recession and if the NHS were to disintegrate. I agree with Martin Reynolds. I remember when the Parliament Act was used to force through the equal age of consent against Lords (and Anglican) opposition. The following day there was a blood curdling editorial in the Sun saying this was a terrible thing and that the Labour Party was going to pay a terrible price for doing such a thing. The Labour Party went on to win the next two elections and the issue was never heard of again.… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Ron and others: Please make up your minds. I hear some of you maintain consistently that scripture says nothIng about homosexuality as it is practiced today, Fine! That would mean maintaining that any prohibitions (NT or OT) on same-sex copulation are irrelevant, but that would also end your attempts to sexualise references to eunuchs from birth, David and Johnathan, the Centurion’s relationship with his servant and ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’. Agree among yourselves and authorities in the liberal world whether scripture does or does not. It’s really not subtly paradoxical. You can’t cherry-pick inferred homosexuality, while ignoring explicit prohibitions… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

‘He forgave his executioners from the cross, demanding nothing from them, not even their repentance.’ Ah, a lovely tinge of universalist clap-trap. ‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?’ That’s forbearance towards ignorance, not relief from the need for repentance. Their sins of ignorance were forgiven ‘for they know not what they do’. This is borne out by Peter’s speech after healing the lame man in Acts 3: ‘And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we… Read more »

Martino Reynoldo
Guest
Martino Reynoldo

” If he consults the Christian Institute’s website ….. many of us will vote for UKIP…..”
John Bowles on Saturday, 28 July 2012 at 10:29am BST

Enough said ……

Charlotte
Guest
Charlotte

“Vice-gerent in Spirituals” was the title Cromwell invented for himself in 1535, as Feria of course knows. Working through Parliament, Cromwell then used his new powers to bring in the Reformation. Of course, Cromwell rejoiced in the full cooperation of Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Interesting little fact: the online newsletter for my old church is featuring parishioners’ summer reading lists. All the clergy are reading what you might expect clergy to be reading. All the laity are reading Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall.”

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

I’m afraid, John Bowles, that UKIP isn’t going to inherit the mantle of the Conservative Party, if indeed it is as broken as you believe. According to our first past the post system it is extremely difficult for minor parties to get elected. If anything, defections from the Conservatives to UKIP will only make it more likely that Labour will win the next election with or without the support of the Lib Dems. The Conservative Party will be scrambling again to make itself electable by appealing to the widest possible constituency. And that doesn’t include its core Christian Institute or… Read more »

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Ron wrote “Point to any place in the Scriptures … where Jesus spoke one word against the minority of people who happen to be intrinsically Gay. (Or even ABOUT them). Dear Ron, neither Jesus, nor I, am against anyone, whoever or whatever they are: good or bad, right or wrong! The issue isn’t “ontological”. What I said, and you agreed, is that “If anyone wants to be His followers we have to fit in with Him[Jesus], and the teaching of Him and His Apostles.” Jesus himself condemned sexually immoral *behaviour* saying, for instance, “… out of the heart come evil… Read more »

Counterlight
Guest

“The soul sits on death row awaiting its ultimate eternal forfeiture.”

The word “love” dies on the lips.

I’ll take “universalist claptrap” over gleeful personal vindictiveness projected onto the cosmos any day.

David Shepherd
Guest

‘Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?’ Ezek. 18:23. It’s a deprture from the original topic, but the scriptural counter to universalism is not ‘gleeful personal vindictiveness projected onto the cosmos’. Those who have progressively banished from themselves all of God-ness as He is authentically revealed are reluctantly relinquished to their chosen state. If I couldn’t be persuaded by divine insight into God’s supreme act of abandonment to our plight to abandon myself to His will, I wouldn’t consider… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

RevDave:

Re; “practicing homosexuality”

Amazing that Paul could condemn something using a word that didn’t exist until nearly 1900 years after he wrote the letter in question. (Merriam-Webster finds the first citation of “homosexual” in 1892.) Whatever Paul was talking about, it wasn’t “homosexuality” as we understand it in the modern world, any more than Genesis describes the modern understanding of the formation of the universe.

david rowett
Guest

Misprint, Rev Dave – isn’t it ‘porneia’? And although my lexicon’s an out-of-date Liddell & Scott, even as weak a classicist as I am would note the word is cognate with ‘porne’ and its derivatives, all of which refer to various forms of prostitution, including cultic (for which there would indeed be Jewish abhorrence). L&S offers ‘fornication’ as an alternative meaning, but the connection with ‘negotiable hospitality’ isn’t easily dismissed. I’m not much of a scholar, but I’d like to know the reliability of the source for your blanket assertion that ‘Pornea (sic) is the general term for all sexual… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

‘Pornea’ usually has the over-tone of ‘sex as self-indulgence – sex for mere sensual pleasure – sex without commitment’. It is not, in the least, the same as a relationship of commitment between two people of the same sex.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

David Shepherd. You appear to be playing with words. That you utter them here is no guarantee that they are true – any more than those of any of the rest of us. Perhaps an economy of words from your end would help some of us to identify your actual arguments. However, when you oppose my pointing out the mention of eunuchs by Jesus in the Scriptures (Mat.19) to my proposition that Jesus said nothing about LGBT people, you are surely playing semantics. The point I am trying to make (albeit, not to your satisfaction) is that Jesus seemed not… Read more »

Feria
Guest
Feria

Come now, RevDave. We’re Anglicans: by article VII of our Articles of Religion, our interpretation of phrases like “sexual immorality” is not supposed to be identical to that in the unabridged law of Moses, which I presume is what you mean by ‘the Jewish mind of the time’. As for the passages you mention from 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy… I see you’ve chosen the 2011 edition of the NIV as your translation to quote. I have to hand it to you: in the 2011 edition of the NIV (and indeed in the ESV), those passages unambiguously say what you… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

@Ron: ‘The irrefutable fact is, that Jesus did not seem to address specific instances of mis-behaviour by intrinsically homosexual people. Whereas he was critical of those who betrayed their marital vows’ Of course he didn’t, he used the broader, more inclusive term, porneia. It’s off-topic, but I’m happy to go down that road, if RevDave isn’t and the moderator allows. He also commissioned His apostles and endowed them with the Holy Spirit of truth and that same Spirit condemned same-sex copulation in the epistles, rather than equating it to part of a protected characteristic. He also enjoined all to chaste… Read more »

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

The word ‘Homosexual’ was invented in 1869 according to Wikepedia, its first usage being in an anonymous pamphlet arguing against the Prussian anti-sodomy laws. It’s part of the mid Victorian attempt at defining the ‘condition’ of same sex attraction, before then, morals and the law were only interested in ‘actions’. As Pat O’Neil says, what ever Paul was talking about it certainly wasn’t homosexuality as we understand it today.

Counterlight
Guest

So God has decided that gays and lesbians are his mortal enemies while he lets war lords and plutocrats rape and plunder with seeming impunity. People here froth at the mouth in purple faced rage over boy bits being attracted to other boy bits, and yet the High and Mighty profiting off the misery of millions of people gets barely a raised eyebrow. Some of us are even prepared to congratulate the High and Mighty and proclaim their might as a manifestation of God’s favor. The “Strong Arm of the Lord” easily morphs into the strong arm of those Siamese… Read more »

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Dear Pat, Feria and Richard, You suggest that the Bible’s authors can’t be refering to homosexuality because the word wasn’t invented until the 1800’s. But this is another oft-repeated liberal argument… but not very well thought through: I presume that you aren’t saying that what we call homosexuality didn’t exist until the 1800’s, or are you just claiming that noone realised that some people are primarily attracted to people of the same sex until the 1800’s? Show me the evidence! Of course people people were aware iof homosexuality before the 1800s. People weren’t stupid! ANYWAY the whole of the words… Read more »

RevDave
Guest
RevDave

Dear David Rowett and Rosemary Hannah Arguments over the meaning of “pornea” are discussed at some length by “religious tolerance” here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/pornea.htm/ Given the forms of sexual relationship condemned by Jesus and the Apostles in the NT, I’d go with a simple definition that Religious Tolerance seems to think is a less controvertible: sexual intercourse outside marriage.. (eg 1 Cor 7:2) remembering that, for a Christian, “marriage” means marriage as defined by Jesus in Matt 19:5 (quoting Gen 3): “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

RevDave: What I am saying is that the idea of two men or two women in a lifelong committed relationship was clearly not what Paul had in mind and that same-sex attraction between equals was especially unknown to the ancient world…one side of the equation was always considered superior, the other inferior (generally man-boy and owner-slave). And the ancient world really had very little to say–positive or negative–about lesbian relationships. As for your second posting about Jesus’ definition of marriage: It is not clear to me that Jesus was limiting marriage to man and woman, only that he was using… Read more »

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

@RevDave. OK I have looked at the web page and it really tells me nothing. It cites some of the occasions when pornea is used. It then tells me that some translators have chosen ‘fornication’ as an English equivalent,and then further explains what fornication means in English. However, translating does not work like that. It is VERY rare for any one word to have a neat equivalent in another language. One can never assume that because a foreign word has an English equivalent, knowing more about the English will tell you more about the foreign word. Let us take the… Read more »

Feria
Guest
Feria

Dear David S,

Nevertheless, some of the acts and omissions that were declared to be sins by (the civil precepts of) the Law of Moses _are_ morally neutral, or even morally beneficial. That’s not some innovation that we twenty-first century liberals have introduced – it’s been the doctrine of the Church of England since 1571. Of course, where your conscience and mine diverge from one another widely is on _which_ of those Old Testament commandments are obsolete civil precepts.

David Shepherd
Guest

Pat : ‘He never specifically says that a man cannot equally “leave his father and mother and be united” to another man. ‘ So, Christ presents the pre-Mosaic prototype of marriage as a counter to attempts to justify a later concession to human intransigence (divorce). Since He does not explicitly condemn same-sex relations in that particular sentence (summarily dismissing the epistles), you think that we should deduce that He is in favour? Of course, the prefixing the quote from Genesis is ‘for this cause’ is grounded upon sexual differentiation: ‘Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he… Read more »

Feria
Guest
Feria

Dear RevDave, I didn’t suggest anything of the sort. (Nor, I think, did Pat and Richard, but I guess they’ll tell you that themselves.) The point I was making was this: whereas, in 1 Corinthians 6, the 2011 edition of the NIV labels as wrongdoers all “men who have sex with men”, the 1984 edition of the NIV applies the equivalent label instead to “homosexual offenders”, the KJV to “abusers of themselves with mankind”, and the Good News Bible to “homosexual perverts”. Hence, those older translations do something important for us that the 2011 NIV fails to do: they delegate… Read more »