Sunday, 12 November 2006

religious news on a Sunday

Today’s newspapers are full of religion:

The Observer has a front page story about the Church of England: the headline reads Some sick babies must be allowed to die, says Church, though the content of the story may not justify that use of “must”. The church document on which this story is based has not yetnow been made public by the Church of England. Read it here. Meanwhile, here is the Nuffield Council for Bioethics report launch page.

The Sunday Times has an article by historian David Starkey not unrelated to his TV series which restarts this week, Henry was wrong. Put religion back in its box. Simon Jenkins reviews the book of the TV programme here.

The Sunday Telegraph has two reports by Jonathan Wynne-Jones
Schools are being forced to put tests before morals, archbishop warns
Chruches [sic] to unite at historic summit against rise in anti-religious public feeling

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 1:31pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

Hi Simon, you missed out Elton John saying that he wants all organised religions BANNED.... because they don't approve of same-sex sex: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6140710.stm

What is happening in Britain ? Is Christianity suddenly the prime source of all evil? I don't think so ! Where are these packs of Christians (or Moslems) who are beating up homosexuals or atheists ?

So why have people suddenly gone all totalitarian on us?

Elton John says: "I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people," and said. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays." But he is making the classic mistake of misunderstanding "love the sinner, hate the sin"..

I think that this betrays the lack of moral sophistication of many "liberals". They find that they can only love people that they think are OK, and hate people who they consider to be 'sinners' (eg Christians). So they can't (or won't) get their head round the idea of other people learning to love sinners.

But if Christians really were spiteful and hateful towards everyone who infringes on God's morals, we would be hating everyone: people who have casual sex (of any type), unmarried couples, people who divorce and remarry, people who've had abortions, everyone who doesn't follow Christianity. Not to mention people who lie, are proud, boastful, greedy, etc etc or any form of sinners... ie OURSELVES TOO!! If folk engaged their brains they would realise this pretty quickly, and realise why we have to love the sinner while hating the sin.

But if, on the other hand, people just feel oppressed because of our negative moral stance to their behaviour or beliefs, and feel that making people feel like that is wrong, then why do they allow themselves to express an *extremely* negative moral stance on religion? They make much more oppresive statements about us than anything we are saying about homosexuals, atheists etc!!

Dave.

ps I wonder if these outbursts have anything to do with the government currently reconsidering how it will impose the Sexual Orientation Regs on people, organisations and religions that do not believe in same-sex sex? The original proposals would have done much to drive organised religion from the public square.

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 2:36pm GMT

In fact this is what Elton said, in context, recognising that many gays are practising religionists. Rather a moderate statement I'd have thought (Compare & contrast Elton's words with the statements that pour out from Jo Ratzinger, and his denomination in Rome,and also those of the archbishop in Cardiff and the cardinal in Scotland : --

Organized religion fuels anti-gay discrimination and other forms of bias, pop star Elton John said in an interview published Saturday.

'I think religion has always tried to turn hatred toward gay people,' John said in the Observer newspaper's Music Monthly Magazine. 'Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.'

'But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion,' he said. 'From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate.'

John also criticized religious leaders for failing to do anything about conflicts around the world.

'Why aren't they having a conclave? Why aren't they coming together?'

John said those in his own field have been similarly lax.

'It's like the peace movement in the '60s. Musicians got through to people by getting out there and doing peace concerts, but we don't seem to do them any more,' he said. 'If John Lennon were alive today, he'd be leading it with a vengeance.'

PS

'same sex sex' as quaintly referred to here, is not a matter for belief or disbelief. It is a fact of life. Sexuality along with gender, race, ethnicity, culture, lingustiic community, abledness, class and so on on.
But the Churches will increasingly be restrained by the Law of Britain from incitement to hatred, or unequal treatment of any of these (and other groups). However, the Churches are also protected themselves, by this self same body of Law.

Posted by: laurence on Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 5:53pm GMT

I have found a fuller version of Elton john's remarks. He is one of many of us nurtured by the Church in childhood and later turned away :--

'Doesn't work'

His comments were made in a special gay edition of the Observer Music Monthly Magazine, where he was interviewed by Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears.

"I think religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people," he said. "Religion promotes the hatred and spite against gays.

"But there are so many people I know who are gay and love their religion."

According to the singer-songwriter, 59, his solution would be to "ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it".

He added: "I love the idea of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the beautiful stories about it, which I loved in Sunday school and I collected all the little stickers and put them in my book.

"But the reality is that organised religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate."

He also said that the problems experienced by many gays in former nations of the Soviet bloc, such as Poland, Latvia and Russia were caused by the church supporting anti-gay movements.

'God's people'

And he called on the leaders of major religions to hold a "conclave" to discuss the fate of the world - which he said was "near escalating to World War Three".

"I said this after 9/11 and people thought I was nuts," he said. "It's all got to be dialogue - that's the only way. Get everybody from each religion together and say 'Listen, this can't go on. Why do we have all this hatred?'

"We are all God's people; we have to get along and the [religious leaders] have to lead the way. If they don't do it, who else is going to do it? They're not going to do it and it's left to musicians or to someone else to deal with it."

He also said he would continue to campaign for gay rights.

"I'm going to fight for them, whether I do it silently behind the scenes or so vocally that I get locked up." (Elton interview ends here).

Surely this sort of thoughtful and obviously engaged criticism makes him the best kind of friend religion and the churches could have ?

Posted by: laurence on Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 6:00pm GMT

The Church has imprisoned, beaten, and murdered us for centuries. The Church of Nigeria wants to jail us even now. It has been repeatedly shown that the rate of gay bashing goes up when some fundie preacher goes on an anti-gay rant. I think Sir Elton is being an arrogant ass, but if one still hasn't gotten over one's adolescent rebelliousness and still needs to stick it to "The Man" then there's no higher to go than God. Pretty sad really. Still, that doesn't change the fact despite the "hate the sin, love the sinner" lie, the actions of straight and closeted Christians to gay people don't show a great deal of love. The thing is that some people feel that they can "show" people their sins, and in whatever way they want, and if that generates violence, well, too bad, I don't hate the sinner so it's not my fault if someone beats them to death. It's not the message, Dave, it's the way the Church has gone about preaching that message that is the problem, and that drives arrogant people like Elton to make his rediculous and insulting statements.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Sunday, 12 November 2006 at 10:49pm GMT

A quote from an interesting lecture given here a couple of years ago.
"And` by the way` if I may interject that` in parenthesis` that miserable distinction between hating sin and loving the sinners is nonsense` and impossible for you` and impossible for me` and fully impossible for the God of heaven and earth. God hates sin` and God hates the sinner."
http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_94.htm

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 12:42am GMT

I don't think the comments were either insulting or arrogant, Ford.

But I think its about time you stopped contributing to your own oppression. Without considerable revision, Christianity is an institutionally and inherently homophobic religion.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 9:36am GMT

No, Merseymike, Christianity is the fullness of God's self revelation to the world. It got made into a pit prop of society a long time ago, but that doesn't justify making it into some kind of societal institution like the school system that can be remade as society changes its mind time and again. As to contributing to my own oppression, well, that's a lovely activist phrase. It's a buzz word, and just as meaningless as the Evangelical buzzwords like "Bible believing Church". Just because I'm not out marching in the streets yelling at people and seeing in whose face I can get now doesn't mean I'm some kind of gay Uncle Tom. I got over my adolescent rebelliousness a long time ago, I don't need to Fight the Man anymore.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 2:21pm GMT

Martin Reynolds wrote: "that miserable distinction between hating sin and loving the sinners is nonsense` and impossible for you` and impossible for me` and fully impossible for the God of heaven and earth. God hates sin` and God hates the sinner."


Dear Martin,

That is not mainstream Christian teaching!! This is:"... God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (St Paul, Romans 5:8-10)

And God calls us to become like Him!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 6:10pm GMT

Dear Merseymike,

The Church does not discriminate against people just because of their homosexual orientation (or any other sexual orientation). We don't go round attacking or intimidating gay people; we don't want them to be legally punished; we do support adequate legal provision for people in mutually dependent non-married relationships; and we are generally pretty friendly to anyone who wants to drop by, no questions asked. :-)

Aren't you making a mountain out of a mole-hill ? Most people aren't living by Christian standards nowadays - but they have managed to get used to the idea that the Church disapproves!

After all, no-one is forced to believe Christianity. No-one is obliged to be a member of a mainline Christian Church. And there are several Churches who do accept same-sex relationships! Many of us still believe that same-sex sex is not as equally congruent as opposite-sex sex with either Biblical moral teaching or with the evolutionary order, but then we believe that many sorts of sexual behaviour are wrong (even within male-female marriage!) - and still manage to love all sorts of "sinners"... especially ourselves!

Disapproval is hardly "oppression"!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 6:39pm GMT

Elton John has made the same mistake as his enemies and is thus no better than them. He wants gays to be able to actualize, whilst he advocates the suppression of religion? Physician heal thyself and remove the plank from thine own eye.

It is the same with respect for women, respect will not come by changing who is the bully in power. Respect will come from recognising that God made both man and woman, perfect and imperfect: for it is not good to be alone or all the same. It is in diversity and the other that we find ourselves and improve upon ourselves. Respect will come by embracing paradigms that acknowledge that God made man AND woman, that we are not meant to be alone, that God wants us to interact with the other, and that we are to be stewards to creation. Collaboration, dialogue and respect are required.

All else is merely shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 7:28pm GMT

Isn't christianity wonderful ?

Posted by: laurence on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 7:33pm GMT

"Disapproval is hardly "oppression"!"

Absolutely right, Dave. Disowning, beating, jailing, depriving of livelihood, killing, these ARE oppressive, however, and at one time or another, even today, the Church has been guilty of these things. I'm not afraid of your disapproval, Dave, but I am very afraid of bishops who would cast me in jail and think they did God service. Sorry, but your "the Church loves you, we just don't approve of the sex you have" is a convenient fiction. Before the Church has the moral authority to tell me my relationship is wrong, she has to repent for all the times she tied people like me to the bottom of the stake because we weren't worthy of being burnt standing up.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 7:57pm GMT

Read what Elton said in context --its very moderate, while being honest. He wasn't making aproposal but expressing his disappointment with religion, and sad remembering the church's promise of his sunday school days. --no need for card carrying christians to get so defensive.

But we could listen to him and lern from him...
we're not listening yet--prhaps we never will (Vincent-Starry starry night)

Posted by: laurence on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 9:02pm GMT

Ford Elms wrote: "Sorry, but your "the Church loves you, we just don't approve of the sex you have" is a convenient fiction."

Dear Ford Elms,

No, it's the truth. "Love for sinners" is what we are about!

The CofE doesn't do any of those violent things (beating, jailing, depriving of livelihood, killing) to anybody, even the most dispicable criminals. Hasn't done for ages. In fact we take under our wings a fair share of people who have previously lived very unacceptable criminal / abusive / violent lives! [I think that burnings at the stake went out with duckings and beheadings at the end of the (rather bloody) middle ages... except in the [secular] French Republic - which did beheadings until rather more recently].

Anyway, the Church's moral ideals are not based on her own authority. They are based on what Christians believe to be God's revealed truth, and order in creation - which condemn the Church's own errors too!

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 13 November 2006 at 11:19pm GMT

I think you missed the point here Dave.

A substantial number of churches in my country embraced Professor Hanko’s views when we last had a “Moore College” experience some hundred years ago.

I think it might even be fair to say that, for a time, this was a “mainstream” view here in Wales - such things come and go it seems.

I was trying to avoid being too polemical and merely suggesting, by providing the reference to this article, that when outsiders view a faith they do not necessarily see it as we might wish them to. I have many Moslem friends who are deeply disturbed seeing their faith characterised by the actions of a minority and perhaps Christians might suffer the same fate.

It is a matter of perception.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 6:08am GMT

"Anyway, the Church's moral ideals are not based on her own authority. They are based on what Christians believe to be God's revealed truth, and order in creation - which condemn the Church's own errors too!"

As the late James Barr (may he rest in peace and rise in glory) observed, the problem with ConsEv thinking is that it does accept that the Church can err, but locates the sin of the Church in its being insufficiently ConsEv.

Posted by: mynsterpreost on Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 10:52am GMT

Anyway, the Church's moral ideals are not based on her own authority. They are based on what Christians believe to be God's revealed truth, and order in creation

Surely a good Christian should be content simply to rely on God's truth revealed in scripture, and to hell with what so-called natural theology comes up with. Scripture needs no justification from the natural order, does it. 'Cos if it does, what does the ConsEv do when the natural order includes 'unnatural'? We all know the answer — it rejects unpalatable insights from natural theology, so why does it pretend to take natural theology seriously in the first place? Similarly, some ConsEv embrace critical scholarship — as long as it agrees with the ConsEv position. It's opportunism, I think....

Posted by: mynsterpreost on Tuesday, 14 November 2006 at 10:54pm GMT

Dave,
Take off the rose coloured glasses! The Church in Nigeria most certainly wants to imprison, not just us, but those who are in any way supportive of us. We have had conservative Evangelicals in this country claim quite seriously that we shouldn't be working in jobs where we have to deal with people, or that we shouldn't be teachers, and try to get us fired. What the Church says and what Her members do are often very different things, Dave. I have no quarrel with your sincere belief that I am called to celebacy because I am gay. I have great problems with your need to believe that we are living in some kind of semi-utopia where the Church is some benign influence on society as a whole, and gay people in particular. That is self delusion. How can you convince anyone of the truth of your position with regard to gay people when you so obviously have no idea of what our lives actually are? If you want to preach your message in any sort of convincing way, you need to prove that you understand your audience. All you seem to be interested in is telling us our experience is wrong and your rosey image of the Church is true. How can you convince anyone of the truth of your message with that kind of attitude?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 15 November 2006 at 3:37pm GMT

belonging to any long-standing organised religion makes you an accessory to genocide [your name here] repent, in the name of yourself

Posted by: E.Jones on Sunday, 3 December 2006 at 7:22pm GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.