Friday, 30 June 2006

Equally, a matter of orientation

Last week’s Church Times carried an article with this title. I didn’t write the title, but I did write the article. It is about the most recent proposals for further UK legislation concerning discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

The Church of England response which is discussed in the article can be found here (RTF format). The press release about it is here.

The original government consultation document is a PDF file. It is here.

Gluttons for punishment can read the Anglican Mainstream response, also briefly mentioned, here. On the other hand, for a sensible discussion of some of the serious practical issues, particularly with regard to schools, the LGCM response (PDF format) is interesting reading.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 30 June 2006 at 3:54pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

So, the Churches don't like gay people even using their school premises after hours?

Is this because they will indirectly contaminate the children with gayness?

Or is this simply because they find some human being creations of God disgusting. Like, erm... lepers and haemorrhaging women and things.

I have to say, I have come to find the churches disgusting.

I mean that in the nicest possible way. I really do. I believe in Christ Jesus and my trust and hope is in Him, and I actually believe I have an ongoing, real, interactive relationship with God, and so I define myself as a Christian (I have zero interest how others might define me), but if I, with a WELL tested faith and Church journey, find the Churches now so repugnant and un-Jesus in their medieval superstitions and prejudices, how much more those who might otherwise come to Him? Personally, I've known several who have fallen away from faith because of the unnecessary human and reason hating dogma. Sensibly, I know of many, many similar folk who have gone the same way.

The problem is, to my mind, that those with the wisdom and learning and power to know and make better have conceitedly and lazily failed us all, and it is probably too late for these modern-day theologians to matter even if they did finally deign to descend from their ivory towers and do some hard work in the real world in waking it up. They've had at least forty years to put some sense into the 'received' understanding of the faithful. Do you know, my greatest disgust is for them, rather than the neo-puritans. Useless buggers.

The whole organised Christianity thing has become a very dirty, political, worldly thing that is more interested in a superficial 'purity' about seemliness and genteelness and what happens with dangly bits. I'd like to know how many of the Christians with authority who care about these things have had the s**t kicked out of them for looking a bit faggy. I wonder if they would be so genteel if they had.

Justice, poverty, disease, loneliness, fear, violence, exploitation, child exploitation, the list goes on. And there are churches that are worried about whether a group of queens get together for some Mah Jongg in an empty classroom! Worried to the point where they lobby the government of the day to forbid it! In England. 2006. This just after the Nigerian Church has supported the recent further criminalisation of gay people to the point of compromising freedom of expression and assembly.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ.

I'm sorry, I give up. Have your Church you re-asserters, you and your creed have already convinced the middle ground to make a mockery of, and to surrender, God's Grace. I don't want your now silly Church anymore. I'll stick with my faith in Christ. And you can have your Church (and your probable faith in Christ - I have no place to decide the veracity of that).

I suppose it is a good thing that all these issues are coming up, so we can all clear the air and REALLY know what the Church stands for.

I think the Church you have won (years ago) needs to die for people and faith to live. See you on the other side. God bless.

Posted by: Augustus Meriwether on Friday, 30 June 2006 at 5:38pm BST

Simon, a good review of the situation. The difference between the AB's Council and the Government shows how two different world views lead to conflicting assessments of what is proportionate and reasonable.. If the Government decides to overrule people's religious beliefs and legislate that they must act differently from what they believe on this issue then I guess that discrimination against unmarried couples would be the obvious follow on... (as per the recent consultations - which the ABofC reacted rather strongly against!).

Basically this is all just enforcing cooperation with "freedom of sex" on those who still disagree... and despite the unquestionable evidence of huge social breakdown, abuse and illness that are being caused...

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 30 June 2006 at 7:44pm BST

I don't think the church can expect to be allowed to discriminate carte blanche.

Directly religious functions, maybe - but nothing else - equality legislation cannot and does not discriminate between what a person is and what they do. The CofE realises this, and as a result, its objections are not sustainable - Anglican Mainstream's are, based on unbridled homophobia.

Meg Munn made it clear in the Commons that the Government has no intent on incorporating anything but the most basic opt-outs. The Church really must stop thinking it can discriminate against people in civil society.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 30 June 2006 at 10:42pm BST

From the LGCM response:

"Civil partnership does not necessarily imply
any sexual relationship, but it does imply a very strong mutual emotional and hopefully life-long commitment. One would expect them to welcome and
celebrate this, especially since their view of the same-sex covenant made between Jonathan and David [see I Samuel ch.18 etc.] is that this relationship “must” also have been non-sexual. The implication should follow that the covenant made between these two “before the Lord” was wholly praiseworthy. In logic, therefore, it should form a precedent for the blessing of civil partnerships. But they will not face up to this."

Who's not facing up to something? Do these people really think that these Civil Partnerships have come to be demanded in these last couple of decades because, all of a sudden, same-sex friends want a legal way to celebrate and bless their non-sexual friendships? There's something spiteful about the pseudo-naivety of this argument.

Extend the civil partnerships to explicitly non-sexual situations of commitment that deserve some legal benefits (siblings who share accommodation/resources, flatmates, relationships involving more than 2 individuals, etc.) and then there might be something to them. Otherwise, it's pretty obvious what they're for.

Posted by: nathan on Saturday, 1 July 2006 at 2:58am BST

'Gluttons for punishment can read the Anglican Mainstream response...On the other hand, for a *sensible* discussion of the issues....the LGCM response...'.

Will progress ever be made when presuppositions and spin weigh so heavy upon us?

I guess we have two choices: to be spin-driven ideologues or to be open-minded and focus on the issues and arguments. I don't know who wrote the blurb for this excellent blog ('from a liberal perspective') but it is unworthy of it. If we already know what our 'perspective' is going to be before we start, then we are not interested in the issues or arguments at all, only in our own preexisting wants and ideologies. This means we have forfeited the right to be regarded as scholarly contributors to the discussion.

Luckily there are other ecumenical and round-table-scholarship people in the world who refuse to have any 'perspective' before they even begin. The problem has never been 'liberalism' vs 'conservatism'; it has always been potential eclecticism vs absolutism/dogmatism/fundamentalism.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Saturday, 1 July 2006 at 9:12am BST

Must say I agree. Everyone knows (except those connected to the Church?) that civil partnerships are gay marriage with a different name. Thats who they are for - and the consultation process showed that only too well. Outside the church, they are simply not a controversial issue.

Of course, there may be some companionate civil partnerships, just as there are some marriages which are not sexual, but they will be extremely rare, as are such marriages.

I wanted my relationship to be given status and recognition by the State, as do my married friends unions. Happily, after our civil partnership, this is now the case. I don't think that I would have been as enthusiastic about some sort of flatshare scheme, which CP's were never designed to be. Thats why they operate to exactly the same framework as civil marriage in terms of rights and responsibilities. If the church can't cope with that - tough. They don't run the country and only about 5% of people attend. They are but one, ever more irrelevant, pressure group, and unless they start getting real, their irrelevance will be the most notable thing about them.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 1 July 2006 at 9:32am BST
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