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other reactions to the LBC radio phone-in

Updated Monday evening

Here are two articles which are supportive of the line taken by Archbishop Justin Welby on Friday:

Ian Paul has written What did Justin Welby say about gays and violence in Africa?

Andrew Goddard has written a long article The Archbishop, Gay Marriage and Violence: What are the issues?

The latter goes on to consider in some detail how the issues raised in the interview should be considered in the event that the Church of England, as a result of the “post-Pilling conversations” does eventually decide to make some change in its present official positions.

Update

Here are two more articles:

Cranmer Archbishop Justin gets handbagged by Ann Widdecombe

Phil Groom Epitaph for an Archbishop? For fear of sailing over the edge of the world, he never put out to sea

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James Byron
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James Byron

As I said over on Ian’s blog, while I can accept the integrity of the evangelical position (God tells us to condemn homosexual relationships), I have nothing but contempt for moral blackmail. Open evangelicals like Goddard and Paul, who don’t oppose gay relationships out of homophobia, but out of a careful and sincere reading of the Bible, are the very people I’d hope would step up and say to Welby, “We support the traditional position, but this isn’t the way. Your approach, even if unintended, amounted to moral blackmail. It was not only unfair, it was deeply hurtful to our… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

What was not factored in, by the Archbishop, in connecting the possibility Anglicans being murdered in Africa – if the Church of England were to sanction the Blessing of Same Sex relationships in Civil Marriage – is the fact that Equal Marriage is already a part of the institution in England and Wales, and whatever the Church of England does, or does not do, about this reality, will not turn the legislation around. Therefore, to pin upon the Church of England any blame or responsibility for the homophobic murder of Christians in Africa, is to offer an odd excuse for… Read more »

Father David
Guest
Father David

Have any dates been set yet for the much heralded facilitated conversations? Who is going to facilitate them and, more to the point, who is going to be invited to converse?

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

ABC needs our support, his is a difficult and often thankless calling.I see on this web site a lot of strident comment ab0ut supporting the tribal position, on either side of the debate, rather than bearing the burdens of others that we disagree with. What forever changed my perception was hearing two clergy who I knew well sharing their experiences – one was straight and one was gay (to use the unfortunate shorthand but you know what I mean) – this gets you away from the stereotypes and into personal relationships. We did this 8 years ago in Leicester Diocese.… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Than you James for “Having clarified the Archbishop’s own position and noted the place of considering consequences in moral decision-making”, something dear Andrew seems to have failed to do in his long essay. I am sorry though James, if you think you are going to get any reasonable response to this from Fulcrum. Fulcrum has done all it can to support those in the Communion who are wedded to their section 28 theology. It beggars belief that sensible people can testify with a straight face as to the historical continuity of opposition to gay folk without any reference to the… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Listening to “both sides” is all well and good, Stephen, but not all positions are true, valid, or moral. South Sudan has been at war for the majority of the last 50 years. The Muslim-Christian strife is awful, but it is ultimately about local issues of control and power, with lots of blasphemy and whatnot to use as an excuse. There are logical and moral flaws in accepting the position that homophobic African Muslims are killing homophobic African Christians because TEC treats me and my partner like human beings. The sectarian violence in places like South Sudan and Nigeria are… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

Of course Ugandans and Nigerians are “less enlightened” about homosexuality — his prissy display of political correctness here well and truly cast gays under the bus!

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Stephen, I have the experience of being in Haiti during a time when political violence erupted. Each day, young men with guns came into the downtown, chanting slogans and shooting indiscriminately. They call it a “manifestation,” we’d call it a riot. People got hurt. Their calls were ridiculous and ignorant. So the right reaction is to give the mob what it wants? (Their real goal was to destabilize the government and sure enough, the US obliged by stepping in and removing their twice elected president). That is essentially the level of the ABC’s assertion. There’s a mob and we need… Read more »

Pete Broadbent
Guest
Pete Broadbent

David Porter and his team are being asked to facilitate them, based on material being devised (not Pilling, which doesn’t give us a proper basis). Participants as yet unknown. I assume that a proposed way forward will come back to the Bishops in May.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Andrew Goddard doesn’t like TA, does he? Or rather he doesn’t like the views expressed here and really holds us in contempt.

Daniel Berry, NYC
Guest
Daniel Berry, NYC

I think I could stomach the ABC’s handwringing about treatment of gay people – and Ian Paul’s defense – if the archbishop had a history of condemning outright the deeply sinful treatment of gay people in our history and currently in the African countries under discussion.

SUCH AN UNEQUIVOCAL CONDEMNATION IS CALLED FOR AND INEXCUSABLY DELAYED.

And that includes the ugly rhetoric spouted by Ugandan and other bishops at Lambeth 1998 and since. This has gone unaddressed way too long.

Mike Homfray
Guest
Mike Homfray

The simple thing would be to dissolve the Communion. It would then remove any need for the church to have to waste time on the views of the bigoted and unenlightened and remove the frankly laughable excuses the CofE comes up with so regularly.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

“There’s no peace that is won via more injustice.” Testify! I won’t get hung up on the accuracy of Welby’s comments. For the sake of argument, I’ll accept that equal marriage in English churches would be “catastrophic” for Anglicans in other countries, and some affirming act in America did provoke a massacre in Nigeria. It’s still not reason to delay justice to appease sectarian thugs. Even from a consequentialist POV. Terrorists are only emboldened if they’re allowed to dictate policy. As ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’ so rightly said, “a negative peace which is the absence of tension” is no substitute… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Andrew Goddard doesn’t like TA, does he? Or rather he doesn’t like the views expressed here and really holds us in contempt.”

I’d love to see him in a room with MLK and Desmond Tutu.

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

Ref “David Porter and his team are being asked to facilitate them, based on material being devised (not Pilling, which doesn’t give us a proper basis)”

Thank you.

Two questions

1. Is it possible to expand on the “Pilling does not give us a proper basis” statement. Why not?

2. Are any homosexual people, or people who can talk expertly on “the lived experience of homosexual persons” (perhaps from a first person basis) involved in the preparation of the new material?

Simon

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

I sympathise with Justin Welby, who was understandably distressed by what he saw. But I think he is letting himself be manipulated by leaders whose own actions have not only fanned the flames of homophobic violence in their own countries but may also have put heterosexuals there at risk. For instance Archbishop Nicholas Okoh has been busy trying to persuade Nigerians that: (a) being gay can be spread (‘If anybody is gay, our position is that we should counsel the person because it is an acquired habit that can be delivered through the power of the gospel’); (b) Western churches… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Martin, I disagree with evangelical theology, but open evangelicals are the power in the church, and must be won over if anything’s to change. The positive news is that open evangelicals like Paul and Goddard, and Fulcrum in general, aren’t homophobic: they oppose gay relationships because they honestly believe the Bible to be God’s revealed will. Regardless of whether they want to affirm gay relationships, so long as they believe in biblical authority, their hands are tied. While I can’t see the majority of open evangelicals ever affirming gay relationships, as they’re not driven by prejudice, they might well be… Read more »

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“Open evangelicals like Paul and Goddard, and Fulcrum in general, aren’t homophobic: they oppose gay relationships because they honestly believe the Bible to be God’s revealed will.”

If it quacks and waddles, it’s a duck. If it support discrimination against gay people, it’s homophobia.

If prejudice had no real world effects,if people didn’t lose jobs, homes, lives because of their God-given sexual orientation, it wouldn’t matter, but it does. And it’s still real if the prejudice is from a nice person wringing their hands and saying ‘the Bible says so’.

The Rev'd Mervyn Noote
Guest

I’m gobsmacked by James Byron’s assertion that Andrew Goddard isn’t homophobic. He has opposed every step towards equality in church, more crucially, also in state since he first came to public notice. Not being homophobic isn’t just about what one says – it’s easy to make pious statements about loving everyone and considering them all God’s children (clergy have a lifetime’s practice in doing that!) Homophobia is about what one does. I think this is more to do with James’ low view of the Bible, and attempt to convince liberals that they need to move to a less Bible faith.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

If people are not prejudiced but merely forced by the bible to believe that homosexuality is wrong I would expect them to be heartbroken about this. I would expect them to be really upset that, for some inexplicable reason, God expects their perfectly normal gay friends and family members to live permanently diminished lives. I to no see any sign of distress, sadness or even unease in any of the writings on conservative evangelical blogs and from conservative members of Fulcrum. Prejudice is as prejudice does. The concept of biblical authority used in this way is a cloak for many… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Thank you, Father Andrew.

JCF
Guest
JCF

“I sympathise with Justin Welby, who was understandably distressed by what he saw.” You know, I think I *could* sympathise w/ Justin if, following his African mass-grave experience, we learned of it like this: “God’s beloved LGBT community of England and Wales: you have every RIGHT to marry, and moral justification to see your marriages blessed in CofE churches. HOWEVER, because of what I was told, and searingly SHOWN in Africa, here’s why I ***ASK*** you to refrain…” But No: LGBTs in the UK weren’t talked TO (imploringly and *humanely*), they were talked AT. On a radio show! They weren’t… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

I agree, it is homophobia. Difference lies in motive: open evangelicals advocate a homophobic position out of obedience to the Bible, not hatred of gay people.

I draw the distinction not to downplay the harm done, but to be accurate, and look for a way to fix this mess.

Rod Gillis
Guest
Rod Gillis

Thanks for providing links to articles written aimed at trying to lend Archbishop Welby at hand shoveling himself out of the trench he has dug for himself.I suggest trench, rather than hole, because whereas one can fall into a hole by accident, one normally digs a trench to take up a defensive position, typically with some degree of strategy beforehand. The Archbishop has a position regarding same gender marriage. It provides a perspective that is consistent with his anxiety linking sectarian violence, in this case in Africa, to the assertion of equal rights for the GLBT communities in England and… Read more »

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Regardless of whether they want to affirm gay relationships, so long as they believe in biblical authority, their hands are tied.”

Which is pretty much the Nuremberg Defence.

If it’s really the case that Evangelicals don’t have moral agency, then let them say so. It sounds pretty much like a textbook definition of sociopathy, however.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If it’s really the case that Evangelicals don’t have moral agency, then let them say so.” And that’s where it falls down, because they do. In increasing numbers they are changing their views without letting go of the idea of scriptural authority. It seems obvious to me and I cannot understand at all why James doesn’t seem to be able to see it. Evangelicals can and do read scripture in affirming ways. We really should support them in their battle against homophobia among evangelicals and not insist that what they do cannot be done without giving up the concept of… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

JCF, while I disagree with Justin Welby, he did not seem to me to be telling LGBT people that we should not be allowed to marry. In fact he has not mentioned the massacre in any pre-planned talks. Rather, in response to a question in a phone-in and after being pushed to clarify his position by a journalist, he talked about his distress standing by the mass grave as well as about the church’s treatment of LGBT people here. He also indicated on radio that he was not convinced the the Bible supports same-sex partnerships but he continues to grapple… Read more »

rjb
Guest
rjb

I don’t often agree with Andrew Goddard, though I have the utmost respect for his sincerity and would certainly never accuse him of being a ‘homophobe’ (at least as I understand the term). But I think his analysis of this particular fracas is actually incredibly insightful – the question “who is my neighbour?” is really at the heart of this issue. It pains me that some people I greatly respect in the Church don’t appear to want to see African or Asian Christians as just as important to the Church of Christ as people in their own churches and parishes.… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

rjb
are you suggesting that we agree with the Archbishop that there is a link between affirming gay equality here and Christians being murdered in Africa and that we are simply ignoring this?

Can I suggest you re-read the comments on the various threads about this, please?

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

rjb, I have the same questions as Erika. We are all part of the Body of Christ. This includes Christians who aren’t Anglican. And ALL people are our neighbors, each and every human being. In the global world, where people without electricity get news feeds on their phones, we all are truly connected. When our brothers and sisters are in deadly conflict, we all grieve. If we want to positively impact the situation, we pray. If we take active part, then we need to really deeply consider the nature and complexity of the brokenness before us. The Christian answer is… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

I would have thought rjb’s comments spoke for themselves. But this is the kind of ‘Mozilla’ climate we are now being asked to inhabit. Christians in Africa and in other places where hardship is daily bread — these are our brothers and sisters. They are members of our communion in the Body of Christ. Much of what one reads suggests that we are Christians in national entities in the first instance (where there is also internal division over matters like sexuality). We figure out what will work in our borders. We ask others to do the same in their regions.… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

“If it’s really the case that Evangelicals don’t have moral agency, then let them say so.” They do, Interested Observer: evangelicals aren’t shy about submitting to the teaching of scripture. The “Nuremberg Defense” was rejected ’cause conscience should trump orders: but evangelicals believe the Bible to be God’s revealed will. For them, conscience and orders are inseparable. Mervyn Noote’s right, I do, in line with liberal theology, have a “low view” of the Bible. For good reason: I find the authoritarian position terrifying. Evangelicals don’t choose to believe this, anymore than an atheist chooses to disbelieve in God, or I… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

I don’t understand, Savi. Is that not what Justin told Parliament? Is that not what he says *today* about CofE clergy?

I don’t believe I attributed to Welby anything not factually true. (OCICBW)

This isn’t about Welby’s animus to LGBT people—I don’t believe he has any. But he’s willing to make discriminatory policy FOR us, for a woefully *misperceived* trade-off to save African lives. He still won’t talk TO us. Why?

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

Cynthia, I agree that Welby’s premises are false, even in terms of realpolitik: as Kipling so rightly said:- “… But we’ve proved it again and again, That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld You never get rid of the Dane.” Erika, some evangelicals can read scripture in an affirming way, yes: many can’t. Don’t you think evangelicals like the gay men on livingout.org *want* to find an affirming message in the Bible? (The difference between women’s ministry and gay relationships is that the Bible is mixed on the first, and not on the second.) Likewise, don’t you think… Read more »

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

JCF, my understanding of your comment: ‘LGBTs in the UK weren’t talked TO (imploringly and *humanely*), they were talked AT. On a radio show! They weren’t asked, they were TOLD (in the 3rd-person) that they shouldn’t be *allowed* to marry, because if they did, they would be RESPONSIBLE for others deaths’ was that you were referring specifically to what Justin W said on the LBC ‘radio show’. He has not, as far as I know, mentioned the mass grave incident to Parliament. He has of course talked with LGBT people elsewhere, e.g. meeting Peter Tatchell and a delegation from the… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest
Martin Reynolds

Oh dear! While there always will be little Englanders and American isolationists, the vast majority of people love the idea of us being a part of the Anglican family. There were those among us Anglicans willing to see gay equality as something worth waiting for if it meant a better life now for lesbian and gay people in the continents of Africa and Asia. Some even went along with the Windsor Report and process hoping that the promised Indaba would deliver the long awaited “listening” the Lambeth fathers had promised for so long. Even the North American churches tried very… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“some of the comments seem to indicate difficulty in grasping why he should feel such a strong sense of personal connection to Christians in Africa.”

He doesn’t seem to feel a strong sense of personal connection to African LGBT Christians.

Why would his connection lead him in the direction of blaming a massacre on TEC’s kinder treatment of LGBT persons? I’m not really seeing your point. One might think that his connection would lead him to question the assertion and be cautious about giving encouragement to the murderers.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

CSeitz, maybe I should ask you to re-read our comments on the various threads too. The questions are: 1. Is there a direct or indirect link between Western theology on homosexuality and murders of (conservative anti gay) Christians in Africa? 2. What is that link? Is it liberal theology that causes people to die? Or are our lgbt brothers and sisters in Nigeria right when they insist that suffering is caused by the West and especially the Archbishops not speaking out loud and clear in favour of gay equality and especially for respect for gay people in Africa? 3. If… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

James, “Likewise, don’t you think it would be easier for Goddard and Paul, Broadbent and Wright, Welby and Williams, and many, many others if they could just take an affirming stance?” I am absolutely convinced that a deep emotional reluctance to accept gay relationships is at the heart of this. When you have been told from childhood that being gay is sinful you internalise it. When your whole church community, in which you feel safe, loved and where you belong, insists that being gay is ok but having gay relationships is sinful, you internalise it. It’s basic psychology. We internalise… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Guest
Simon Dawson

Savi,

I can accept that, due to his past long experience of Africa, Justin Welby might “feel such a strong sense of personal connection to Christians in Africa”.

But Christianity in Africa is diverse and contested. It is struggling with many of the same issues that we are, as well as many difficult issues of it’s own.

Yet rather than connect with all of the various diverse strands in Africa Justin Welby seems to connect with, and support, only the authoritarian, patriarchal, anti-gay, central establishment. Those on the margins don’t seem to get his attention.

Simon

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

Cynthia and Simon

I think Justin W is genuinely upset at the treatment of LGBT people in parts of Africa. However (like a lot of church leaders) he is too trusting of certain senior clergy’s claim to speak for whole communities and fails to recognise their complicity in fuelling the prejudice that makes violence more likely. His shock at the mass grave may have also meant that he was not thinking critically enough about what he was being told was the cause.

MarkBrunson
Guest

Don’t you all get it, yet?

GLBT’s Christians *don’t* count to the ABC, or to the CofE, and they will always see/treat us as subhuman. Throw out all the little anecdotes about “my parish” or “what the vicar of so-and-so said” you like, the reality is that the ABC is the voice of the CofE. He’s not there by accident.

We’re not wanted. You’re not wanted. Gays are trash to them. Leave them to their hell and find a way to heaven without them.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Do I think that Christians die in Northern Nigeria because

“.. the Archbishops [are] not speaking out loud and clear in favour of gay equality and especially for respect for gay people in Africa?”

No I do not. Not in the least.

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

“There is by now enough intelligent pro gay evangelical theology to make it perfectly possible for people to weigh up the arguments and to make a rational, bible based choice.” Erika, I continue to disagree with you on this point, and to agree with James Byron. In my opinion, there is only one authentic way of reading the bible, and evaluating the cultural views and intentions of the religious communities that generated it… and that is to recognise that the bible (and its authors) are dead set against man-man sex. In my opinion (and I think, James’) it is possible… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

(Post 2 of 2:) There *is* homophobia in the Church (as elsewhere) but to be an evangelical who believes the bible means what it says… does not imply they have had long-term visceral disgust of gay sex. In many ways, I am more mistrustful of people who try to squeeze interpretations to suggest the bible doesn’t condemn man-man sex. It seems to me, that such people are sometimes *still* seeking biblical mandate for gay or lesbian values, instead of the more honest assertion I feel James makes: that the bible is simply wrong. Some people want to maintain the ‘fantasy’… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Savi, I saw no “upset” in Justin over the horrific laws recently passed in Uganda and Nigeria, nor the violence it fueled towards LGBT people there. The response from Lambeth was awful. Compare it to our Presiding Bishop’s. The fact that Justin doesn’t condemn the injustice and violence gives him little standing in this new thing about the massacre’s being caused by me and my partner. Whatever the psychology, and whatever he’s feeling, the narrative of blaming the massacre’s on TEC is both dangerous in encouraging the murderers, and it also happens to fit his personal agenda against full inclusion… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“No I do not. Not in the least.”

As our lgbt brothers and sisters in Nigeria tell us otherwise, we really need a little more than our individual beliefs here.
That’s my whole point.

We need someone to investigate the links properly so we can stop talking about our individual suspicions and can begin to talk about something a little more factual.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

Susannah, “In my opinion, there is only one authentic way of reading the bible, and evaluating the cultural views and intentions of the religious communities that generated it… and that is to recognise that the bible (and its authors) are dead set against man-man sex.” I respect your opinion, I really do. But this is not about opinion, this is about an available body of theology that has helped evangelicals to change their minds. It exists. Maybe I can ask our evangelical friends here to help me out again and provide us with a list of reference material that has… Read more »

Murdoch
Guest
Murdoch

Not sufficiently appreciated is the fact that most Biblical discussion is based on translations. Translators strain to make sense of the originals, to provide readability in the target language, especially where the original is obscure. I’ve tried to find info on what the original Hebrew or Greek actually says about sexuality, and it seems that the originals aren’t exactly clear — translators have strained to provide coherent versions of material that isn’t coherent in the original. In modern languages, talk about sex often is conducted in slang and metaphor. Evidently sixth century Hebrew and first century Greek were no different.… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

We are speaking of deaths in Northern Nigeria at the hands of Muslims. Muslims. Take an afternoon to read Sharia Law and get a translation of boko harum — ‘western decadence.’ No palliatives from Archbishops would change that one iota. It would make things only worse.