Sunday, 19 June 2005

BBC Radio: Sunday programme items

Anglican Consultative Council

The meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council which begins today in Nottingham could be a slightly awkward affair. The ACC is the only worldwide Anglican body which includes lay people and priests as well as bishops - all thirty eight provinces of the Anglican Church send representatives. This time, however the Anglican Churches in the United States and Canada were asked to withdraw their delegations because of the row over the ordination of Gene Robinson and the blessing of same sex unions. Stephen Bates is the Guardian’s Religious Affairs correspondent and has written a book about the divisions in the Church over homosexuality.

Listen here with Real Audio (3.5 minutes)

Profile of Archbishop of York

The Church of England is to get its first black archbishop - as Archbishop of York John Sentamu will be the Church’s second most senior figure and stands 98th in a line that stretches back Paulinus in the year 625. It is a remarkable journey for someone who began his working life as a lawyer in Uganda. Mike Ford reports.

Listen here with Real Audio (10 minutes)

John Sentamu

The appointment of John Sentamu to the number two job in the Church of England has provoked plenty of column inches in the papers - most of them positive. Much is made of his background. He worked as a lawyer and judge in Uganda before escaping to Britain; he was beaten up under the Idi Amin regime when he refused to acquit one of the president’s cousins. Much is also made of the fact that he is the Church of England’s first black archbishop - the Independent newspaper adds for good measure that he is the first “senior prelate of the Church of England to be flagged down by the police and asked the standard PC plod stop-and-search questions” Here are some reactions to his appointment - The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin chairs the Committee for Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns, the Most Rev Henry Orombi, is Archbishop of Uganda & and Bishop of Kampala, but first here are the views of Rt. Rev. Joe Aldred a pastor in Birmingham, and secretary for minority ethnic Christian affairs in Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. Whatever the ethnic background of the incumbent the position of Archbishop of York is, potentially at least, a hugely important one - both in the life of the Church and in the life of the nation.

Listen here with Real Audio (2.5 minutes)

BBC news report based on the above, Archbishop vows to ban homophobia

The archbishop told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme homophobia had “no place” in the Church.

He wanted people to stop using “ghastly” language that implied people were “not human beings” because of their sexual orientation.

Archbishop Sentamu, who was born in Uganda, was appointed to the second highest post in the Church on Friday.

“I want to say to people, ‘Please, please, please don’t use such ghastly words,’ because every human being regardless of their sexual orientation are standing in for God, each one of them is actually loved of God.

“And when you use language which implies they were not human beings who are you to do that because you did not create them?’”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 19 June 2005 at 9:13am BST
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion

Though I still believe that the Bible teaches that the practice of homosexuality (as opposed to orientation) is a sin, I totally agree with the new Archbishop's stance. It has worried me for some time that some people have made some quite outrageous judgements and comments which seem totally out of keeping with the way a Christian should respond. It is not for us to make judgements as to who is or who is not a Christian - that is solely God's prerogative.

Ironically enough, it is the ease with which news flashes round the world that one learns of such pronouncements (as indeed pronouncements by people on the other side of the issue). One would be forgiven, reading this and other web-sites, that all Christians are furiously debating the issue, which is certainly not the case in my experience. In my own church, the issue has only come up once, when we felt it necesssary to respond to our local bishop (St. Albans) regarding his appointment a year or so back. Having done so, there has not been a mere mention of homosexual issues either in our PCC nor in the church.

Don't get me wrong. We feel that the practice of homosexuality is a sin. But there are far more important issues to consider - such as seeking to win others for Christ.

And perhaps we ought not to get the new Archbishop wrong either. He is quite rightly condemning homophobia, where it exists, and the extravagant and strident comments that have been made of late. But as far as I am aware, he has not endorsed the practice of homosexuality as being OK.

Posted by: Robert on Monday, 20 June 2005 at 8:15am BST

Yes, I think everyone is in agreement on that point. Not that homophobia always exists where it is claimed to exist; but Im sure that plenty of times it does exist. Its wrongness is a direct result of the fact that Christians should not hate other human beings: in fact, should love them. Homosexuals (just like Jews) are not a special case here; and consequently there is no need for a moral category (as opposed to an historical category) of 'antisemitism' or 'homophobia'. Because if misanthropy is wrong, then both of these can simply be collapsed into the category of misanthropy.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 20 June 2005 at 10:58am BST

I'm not really interested in partial acceptance.

For me, only equality and moral parity can be seen as pro-gay. Homophobia is used, in common parlance , to simply describe anti-gay attitudes, and the Church is instituionally homophobic, as is conservative Christianity.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 20 June 2005 at 9:54pm BST

'Homophobia' strictly means 'fear of homosexuals' as 'arachnophobia' is fear of spiders. I don't know anyone who literally suffers from that condition.

One can at a pinch extend the meaning to mean 'hatred of homosexuals'. Only a few hateful people suffer from that condition.

If one extends it to mean 'hatred of homosexuality' then anyone sincerely convinced that the said condition or activity is harmful will naturally hate it just as they hate anything that harms people.

It would take a third extension (a third step away from the original meaning) to make the word mean 'anti-homosexuality' in a general way. If one took that step, one would be unnecessarily disposing of the vital distinction between hating a thing and hating a person. It's an old truth. It's a true truth, too.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:07am BST

But in actual everyday use, the term is used to mean 'anti-gay'. As the word'gay' is used to desbibe us - you can always tell the antis by their reluctance to use the word!

Hence, the Church is institutionally homophobic, as are those who hold your viewpoint, Christopher. There is no separation of me being gay and the person I am, as much as you may like their to be, so I treat the conservatives expressions of love with the contempt they deserve, as they are as bogus as the religion they propagate.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 11:49am BST

(1) Are you sure that your worldview is not merely a projection of your psychology? In other words, you are hypothesising that God/Jesus just so happens to be exactly as you would want him to be. I couldnt imagine that he would be exactly as I would want him to be. He is totally free of my wishes. And what are the chances against his being exactly as I (or you, or anyone else) would wish him to be? They must be colossal.

(2) Are you sure you have not been duped by the 1960s untruth that sex is so absolutely fundamental to our whole identity?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 4:47pm BST

Yes to both points, Christopher.

I think, to a very great extent, we all make our own image of God. But I don't have a particularly 'realist' view of God in any case, other than that as a force for good, exemplified by the person of Jesus, many of whose teachings can make the world a more just and fair place.

I don't much go for all the supernatural orthodoxy. More of a social gospel man, personally.

And sex is certainly one part of our identity, but I'm not talking about sex. I'm talking about being gay and being part of a gay relationship, of which sex is a part. As for the 60's 'untruth' , I think you mean 'idea which I don't agree with in my opinion, which I will try and reject by linking it to the 1960's'.

Lets be honest, Christopher. Neither of us are going to change our minds. I would rather rinse my mouth out with sulphuric acid than believe in your sort of Christianity. So, why not think about ways in which we can move forward whilst agreeing to differ?

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 22 June 2005 at 5:10pm BST

Because we are not at liberty to choose what Christianity is all about. That has already been chosen for us. Where is your evidence that we all make God in our own image? Some of us are trying to be even-handed historians trying to find out what Jesus was really like. There's no guarantee at all that he will fit in with our own preferences, expectations or ideologies.

So - I repeat - where is your evidence that everyone makes God in their own image? in fact, if they do, it is pointless their talking about God at all, because every time they say 'God' what they really mean is 'me'. I thought self-centredness was supposed to be what Christians were struggling against.

Miffed - miffed - miffed etc

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 10:43am BST

I think everything we think and do is processed by us and conceptualised by us, Christopher.

In that sense, there is no such thing as an objective, external @God 'who exists somewhere ain the sky, as a person.

Come on, you've heard all this stuff before - don't plead ignorance.

I'm not in the least interested in orthodox Christianity. Ihave never claimed to be an orthodox Christian, and I've become less so in the past year or two, because it doesn't convince or appeal to me.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 3:42pm BST

I've heard all sorts of things in my 39 years. A lot of them are true, and presumably even more are untrue. The fact that Ive heard it before does not make it coherent.

If you are 'not in the least interested in orthodox Christianity', then why would you wish to identify yourself as a Christian? No anthropologist would identify you thus.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 23 June 2005 at 7:13pm BST

May I just say that I have struggled with this idea of people not accepting others for what God made them to be for a very long time.

I personally believe, and I do not expect anyone to accept this, that God is love and those that live in love live in God and God lives in them (probably not a word for word quote so no speechmarks) comes above and beyond all other arguments. If we take this simple passage, and the findings that homosexuality is more likely than not something that you are born to rather than a choice, how can we as christians deny someone the grace and blessing of what, to a homosexual, would be a natural love?

If we argue using Paul's words, in his letter to the Romans, only, without any further support from the scriptures then one may assume that homosexuality is a sin. However if one was to closely examine that passage it is actually the condemnation, by Paul, of unnatural acts as a result of misplaced faith. From a heterosexual standpoint such unnatural acts would of course include homosexual sex and Paul rightly includes this; however from a homosexual standpoint, a homosexual that was born homosexual and created in the image of God, to be forced to deny oneself by living without 'true' love would be the unnatural, and therefore sinful thing to do.

My question to you would therefore be this, what is worse, to deny love in your life and therefore the love of God, or to force others to deny such love?

I do not profess to be a scholar or in anyway to have studied theology so if my argument or ideas are flawed please let me know.

I will leave you with an image that I recall from a debate that took place recently on this issue: Comments had just been invited from the floor and a man stood up and said that AIDS was a visitation of God's wrath on the homosexuals in the world. I was shocked and appalled. By the way in case you were thinking I was some Bible belt nutter from Arkansas I am an Anglican from London and this happened in a conference in Minehead.

Posted by: Paul on Thursday, 1 December 2005 at 4:53pm GMT

Just a commment wrt what Paul wrote on 1st Dec 2005- about the comment made that AIDS was a visitation of God's wrath on homosexuals: the best answer to this that i've ever heard was k.d. lang's comment - > (this quote may not be exactly verbatim), but it makes the its point nicely, since lesbians have a reduced risk of AIDS, compared with, for example, married, sexually faithful heterosexual women in parts of Africa.

Christopher Shell's comments annoyed me. "no anthropologist would identify " Merseymike as a Christian because he does not adhere to Orthodox Christian views- this is factually inaccurate. I also wonder what Mr Shell makes of the entire Anglican movement or Lutheranism, since these were originally founded by people who objected to aspects of the then orthodoxy (catholicism)

Posted by: M. Smith on Friday, 5 February 2010 at 1:41pm GMT
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