Thinking Anglicans

Pilling Report – opinion

Janet Henderson blogs Pilling – Initial Reactions.

Simon Reader writes for the Westminster Faith Debates: A Blessing in Disguise?

Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon, blogs Welcoming Pilling.

Rachel Mann blogs on The Pilling Report and Trans People.

Bishop Alan Wilson offers these Resources for your very own Pilling Report Party.

Dave Young blogs Let’s talk about love not sex: Thoughts on the Pilling Report.

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Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

I’m sure David Young means well. But my eyes glaze over every time I read about “extremists” on both sides.
It’s a nice phrase that places the writer in the one reasonable position between two extremes.
But, actually, when one “extreme” only wants to be treated equally to everyone else and to be allowed to determine their own lives like everyone else does… labelling them as extremists is kind of missing the point and comprehensively misunderstanding the concept of equality.

Erasmus
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Erasmus

The Pilling report will only be effective in introducing a non-intrusive approach to sexuality if the Clergy Discipline Measure is amended, so that it doesn’t apply to the sexual activity of clergy (just as it doesn’t apply to doctrine, ritual or ceremony).
This is the one small change that would change everything.

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

Erika is entirely right and I had the same reaction. My observation is that the ‘extremists on either side’ people when asked their views do actually belong to one side or another, so the classification is more of a rhetorical device. It’s a form of obfuscation designed to cloak one’s views in magisterial impartiality rather than honestly own and defend one’s own position. Unless that is one proceeds by placing oneself equidistantly between opposing sides. I am not necessarily accusing any one person of doing this (though I think a good number of bishops are) but it makes itself available… Read more »

Fr Paul
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Fr Paul

Erika – I may well be blind but I cannot find the term ‘extremist’ in David’s article. Which makes your response to the occasional blog of a local vicar a bit of a ‘hip shot’ don’t you think?

James Byron
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James Byron

I agree with Craig and Erika that the “two sides” approach isn’t helpful. Craig’s “magisterial impartiality” is exactly the phrase I was looking for, thanks. 🙂

I hasten to add that I don’t know what Dave Young’s personal opinion is, and it wouldn’t be fair to prejudge it, so I’ve headed over to his blog and asked him.

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

Fr Paul, You’re right, the word extremes wasn’t used, I apologise! I re-read the article twice now and I still read the same meaning into it, though. There are two sides who both shout without listening to each other , both are rather extreme and it takes someone more balanced in the middle to be reasonable. I agree that there is a tendency to label the others and not to listen too carefully. But I have been engaged in this debate for almost 10 years now and I have rarely come across liberals, especially Christian liberals, who don’t listen and… Read more »

Erika Baker
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Erika Baker

I suppose what I would like are some examples of which liberals have been shouting at the others, dismissing and labelling them without listening. I can think of a number of conservative organisations that do that. All the ones that start grouping people into “redefiners” and “reasserters”, for a start. I can think of a number of influential conservative blogs where liberal comments are deleted and people banned, however constructively they engage. I do not know of any equivalent liberal organisation or blog. You find the odd frustrated outburst but by and large respectful engagement with conservatives here on Thinking… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

“Liberals have written complex theology that gets dismissed again and again in favour of a ‘the bible is clear… find me one instance where Scripture supports homosexuality’ approach.” Focusing on evidence and reason, and appealing to compassion, is, sadly, a losing strategy. The problem is that this conflict is rooted in biblical authority, which is about power, not reason. It’s near impossible to reason someone out of a position that they haven’t been reasoned into. Evidence and people are ignored because they are not the primary concern of people who hold to dogmatic homophobia. If they surrender on this (and… Read more »

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

*Ultimately, and tragically, if dogmatists hold to their beliefs, this is going to have to be settled in terms of power.* It won’t matter. In the eyes of young people (where young mean, what, under forty? Fifty?), homophobia is as ugly and irrational as racism. It’s not founded on theological precepts about which reasonable people disagree, it’s just vile hatred. So if the CofE attempts to reconcile with homophobes, rather than simply point-blank expel them, then the impression it gives is as though it were relaxed about racism. As though it sees racism as being a topic about which reasonable… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Interested Observer: I agree, 100%, that homophobia is as ugly and irrational as racism, including homophobia that wears a theological mask. People who demand equality and justice, and people who advocate homophobia, are absolutely not two sides of the same coin. I’ve used the civil rights comparison myself. I also agree that the CofE shouldn’t tolerate homophobia. As I said in Janet Henderson’s blog: “No organization should tolerate prejudice from its office-holders, as such tolerance is a form of endorsement.” I suggested that the church split precisely because there can’t be reconciliation with people who continue to advocate a homophobic… Read more »

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“As though Rosa Parks and the Sheriff of Montgomery are equally unreasonable, and what is needed is for someone to come up with a moderate theology of moderate racism that keeps both sides happy. That perhaps had Rosa Parks been a little less fixated on equality, and understood that the people that hated her had a position that needed to be considered as well, they could have come up with a solution that would have kept everyone happy and wouldn’t that have been nice?” Martin Luther King wrote a letter to these people. http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html Few things in life are black… Read more »

Turbulent priest
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Turbulent priest

Recommendation 6 of the report is “No one should be accused of homophobia solely for articulating traditional Christian teaching on same sex relationships”. This is not a recommendation but an assertion. Many people (arguably a majority of younger people in the country) simply won’t accept this assertion and therefore how can the report help in any way? Roll back decades or centuries and substitute “on slavery” or “on attitudes to Jews”.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

Tubulent Priest: “Many people (arguably a majority of younger people in the country) simply won’t accept this assertion” I suspect that most of them won’t get to the point of even hearing it. In their eyes The Church of England is a vile collection of bigots who exclude and diminish women and gays and have so far done nothing but talk about it, and which regards appeasing bigots as more important than being just. Why would they even bother finding out what self-serving definition of homophobia is used by a bunch of homophobes? The Pilling Report essentially says, channeling Thomas… Read more »

dr.primrose
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dr.primrose

Cynthia, thanks for linking to Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail. As Dr. King so succinctly stated, “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

Dr. King’s letter was directed to the religious leaders of his time. His letter has a lot to say to the religious leaders of our own.

JCF
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JCF

“So if the CofE attempts to reconcile with homophobes, rather than simply point-blank expel them, then the impression it gives is as though it were relaxed about racism.”

^This. When I attempt to dialogue w/ secular LGBTs, this is the position I’m confronted with again and again. Secular LGBTs don’t want to hear “it’s complicated” “we have a difficult polity” or “we’re slowly making progress.”

We either [defecate] or get off the pot. We declare homophobia ANATHEMA (and opposition to marriage equality IS “homophobia”) or secular LGBTs want *nothing* to do w/ us (besides their hope we go extinct).

Cynthia
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Cynthia

“His letter has a lot to say to the religious leaders of our own.”

MLK has much to say to us all. And he would have said much more about economic justice for all, had he not been struck down.

It is so interesting that we see him as a bringer or justice and a peace maker. People repeating him on the issue of women and LGBT inclusion are rabble rousers… By the way, MLK and his family strongly supported LGBT rights.

James Byron
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James Byron

JCF: Yes, that’s the heart of it. Holding “facilitated conversations” with advocates of homophobia legitimizes their position, exemplified in the absurd “neutrality” of Pilling, which equates the Royal College of Psychiatrists with the Core Issues Trust! Given that Fulcrum, the “open evangelical” group, has just issued a statement that ignores all Pilling’s affirming evangelical material, more talk is likely to fail on practical grounds as well as ethical ones. The time for talk and delay is over. This needs to go to Synod, and the church has to make a decision: does it stand with homophobia, or with justice? If… Read more »