Friday, 15 December 2006

statistics on civil partnerships

Changing Attitude has published a lengthy and detailed analysis on the number of civil partnerships of Church of England members reported to it. You can read the whole report here: Changing Attitude reveals results of Civil Partnership Survey.

They report a total of 87 Anglican events out of an English total of 14,084. (UK total 15,672). (That’s 0.6 % of the English total.)

The official national statistics can be found here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 3:33pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Hi Simon

Have you seen this yet ?


Posted by: Dave on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 4:48pm GMT

The national figures are very encouraging --- and those for the C of E a disgrace.

Posted by: laurence on Friday, 15 December 2006 at 7:08pm GMT

Well, I for one wanted absolutely no part for the church within my civil partnership - it was a wonderful day, something to cherish, and I certainly didn't want an institutionally homophobic organisation having any part of it. The involvement of the church would have been entirely superfluous.

Posted by: Merseymike on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 9:57am GMT

Dear Merseymike, people who don't think Civil Partnershiops are rght for Christians are not necessarily homo"phobic". You have moral beliefs that some other people's sexual desires and behaviours are wrong, and to be discouraged; yet I presume that you don't think that you are "phobic" of those people. Are you morally superior ?

ps You'll also have to avoid more than just the CofE. The Scottish Episcopal church has just overwhelmingly rejected Same Sex Blessings:

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 6:22pm GMT

I'm sorry that is incorrect. The body that is mentioned on that website is the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland, not the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 6:54pm GMT

Thanks for the correction Simon. :-)

Posted by: Dave on Saturday, 16 December 2006 at 10:24pm GMT

And, Dave, you really do need to recognise the contemporary use of the word homophobic, and the nature of institutional homophobia. Go away and do a bit of homework and then you may be able to make a valid contribution.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 12:51am GMT

Dear Merseymike, do you actually hate people whose sexualities you see as abusive or disagreeable ? Or do you just reserve to yourself the right to judge which sexualities may not be criticised - without being "phobic".

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 17 December 2006 at 10:45pm GMT

I thought The Archers episode last Thursday, and repeated in today's omnibus, of Adam and Ian's special day and how it was received was very true to our times. The sheer pleasure, joy or good will of most people. The struggles of their fathers with the problematics of masculinity and its tension with the reality of 'fatherhood'. In the end, these two farmers of an older generation, manage to put theri sons' happiness and well-being before their own conditioning.

I think this soap both depicted how our society is now, as well as exploring the feelings and issues of those involved. Ian and Adam's heartfelt expressions of love for each other , both before the service and during it were very moving. It was clear 'this is forever.'

To me it shows the work of the spirit, and the coming of the kingdom of heaven, into the world, beyond a narrow definition of church. On the other hand, it would be hard to find a more compelling sense of church, than in that service and party. Shows the potential for radio and other arts to become sacramental.

Can still be heard at the BBC 4 website - have your hanky at the ready.

Posted by: laurence on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 12:47am GMT

You sound like one of those people who still complain about 'gay' not meaning purely those who are happy, sportive and cheerful, Dave!

The term homophobia has long been used, colloquially, in a much broader way that in its initial psychological roots. No matter how much you may wish to look to the past in language as well as religion, that remains the case.

Whilst you continue to actively oppose equality for gay people and actively support discrimination against them, both of which you do, then your attitudes can be viewed as homophobic. similarly, the church is institutionally homophobic, given its opposition to equality and its active support for discrimination. Indeed, traditional Christianity itself is an inherently homophobic religion. That is why it requires either revision, or opposition.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 9:08am GMT

Dear Merseymike

Your labelling of people who don't approve of same-sex sex as "homophobic" seems to me to be in danger of inciting hate and vilification of Christians.

There are, in my view, four broad levels of opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality as "normal":

1. People who fear or hate people who are LGB - and attack, villify or incite persecution against them. This is completely un-Christian. As you know we are under an obligation of love towards everyone - even our enemies and the worst types of criminals.

2. People who say that same-sex sex is a one of the most vile sins and should be highlighted as such. I think that examination of the Biblical evidence, especially recently by +Wright, has shown that although the biblical writers unanimously label same-sex sex a sin (when mentioned) the examples of vile sin (eg Sodom, Romans 1) are more to do with sinful breakdown of societies - though same-sex sexual behaviour is part of this (but not of the "permanent, faithful, stable" type!)

3. People who find the idea of same-sex sex repulsive and avoid associating with LG people. Which still falls short of Jesus' command to love your neighbour as yourself.

4. People who, though they see same-sex sex as not conforming to God's created order as revealed in the Bible and in Nature, still love their LGB neighbour as themselves, but can't affirm same-sex sexual relationships (along with many other sexual desires and behaviours).

Position 4 is a moral stance, it is predicated on loving your neighbour as yourself - including enemies and even terrible criminals. There are heaps of other desires and behaviours that people who hold that stance would see as sinful. It does not single out homosexuals.

Most other people who a traditional Christian would say is sinning have gotten over it - I think that you will too eventually. But at the moment you seem to want to treat people like me as if we were at level 1... Maybe even you would like us to have level 1 "Christophobia" inflicted on us ? (In which case I hope that everyone else who's desires and behaviour I disapprove of doesn't too!!!)

Posted by: Dave on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 7:19pm GMT

Quite simply, you either believe that gay people and their relationships should be treated as equal to straight people and their relationships, with regard to the civil law , society and within your organisation.

If you don't do this, then you display some degree of homophobia, which simply equates to 'anti-gay' in common parlance. It may not be a particularly 'good' word, but its the one which is most commonly used, and it doesn't bother me - indeed, the only people it bothers are those who like to make out their position is not anti-gay, using religion as an excuse.

The outcome of all 4 positions you have outlined above is the same. Inequality. Discrimination. Treating others as something less good than yourself.

We are not fooled Dave, no matter how much you repeat the mantra. We know who our enemies are.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 18 December 2006 at 10:38pm GMT

Dave - you cannot debate when the meaning of words are being revised.....waste of time

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 11:33am GMT

This is the meaning of the word in everyday life, NP. By attempting to hold on to an older, more rarefied but obsolete meaning, debate can be ignored by concentrating on the meaning of words rather than the actual actions which illuminate the genuine attitudes.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 2:51pm GMT

Dear MM and NP, the word "homophobia" is just being used to vilify people, and to justify irrational exclusion of debate. You need to find a more loving and inclusive way of expressing yourself - in a measured and respectful manner - or you could be acused of hate-speech.

You would object pretty strongly to being legally obliged to speak and act as if polygamy were equivalent to monogamy - with legal threats of police investigations and civil suits! If you were then accused of polygamy-phobia every time you tried to explain your position you would begin to walk in my shoes... As, I hope, I treat every individual equally (even polgamists) I object to being tarred "phobic" just because I not not believe that all sexual desires and behaviours are equal.

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 6:38pm GMT

Its not 'my' word, Dave. Its simply the word in common parlance. I'm sorry you don't like it, but language is a dynamic thing! It simply means 'anti-gay' or 'not regarding gays as equal in matters such as relationships and moral worth' or 'wishing to actively discriminate against gays'

You fulfil all those criteria, Dave. Tha'ts why the word can legitimately be applied to you.

And yes, it doesn't 'sound nice' but then, discriminatory opinions don't sound nice either.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 at 11:41pm GMT

Dave wrote: “Your labelling of people who don't approve of same-sex sex as "homophobic" seems to me to be in danger of inciting hate and vilification of Christians.

There are, in my view, four broad levels of opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality as "normal"“

You are mixing things again, Dave.

The trouble is not your “of opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality as "normal"“, but your of opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality.

The fact that you cannot accept a fact as a fact, without squeezing it into your little Hierarchy of Neo Platonist Values, first.

And, since a hierarchy of values always is de-valuing, you end up on the “phobic” side of things. All things.

Just t r y to accept God’s given as it is.

Simply put, "disapproving" is not your business. Approving or disapproving belongs to God.

The Bible says so in so many un-manipulated words.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 6:53am GMT

Dave - I thought I was supporting what you were saying!

Anyway, the ABC has made it clear he does not fall the for the screams of "bigot" or "phobia" which some people use, because they cannot argue their position from the bible, to try and silence mainstream, traditional, clearly Biblical, Christian values.....

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 9:29am GMT

"homophobic" is a stupid, illogical word, and it is deployed in a fairly obviously political way, as a catch-all term, to label and shame critics. It always carries moral - and now criminal - censure. It's straight out of the playbook of '1984'. Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour!

But MM - I'm sure you don't think language is set in stone. Anyone with a hint of historical awareness, let alone a knowledge of diachronic linguistics, knows this isn't so. Just consider how and why the words 'bastard' and 'nigger' have become so freighted in recent years.

"gay" is now commmonly use as a term of abuse in a lot of playgrounds. Language isn't quite as controllable as any of us would want it to be.

Posted by: Steve Watson. on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 9:40am GMT

I actually DO have a knowledge of diachronic linguistics, which is why I have little time for those who seem to think it a great sin that 'gay' now means homosexual, as though the language has been somehow highjacked. Language changes, it always has, I often wonder when was the last time some of these people 'prevented' someone at church. As to 'homophobia', do you understand the damage caused by the way Conservative Evos preach their message? Not the message itself, but the way it's preached. Why do Evos seem to think that they can preach their message in whatever hateful way they like and then claim to be oppressed when those they are verbally bashing won't stand for it? "I don't believe you should get married because the Bible says so" is far different from "I think you shouldn't be allowed to teach children" or "I don't think you should be allowed to serve customers in a retail business." When someone calls me a pervert or denies that the Church has any responsibility for anti-gay violence, or supports the oppressive behaviour of the Church of Nigeria, or equates me with a pedophile, well it isn't hard to say that their other terribly pious pronouncements are homophobia.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 7:18pm GMT

Again, Steve, you may not like 'homophobia', but I think its because it actually shames conservatives and reveals them for what they are. No wonder they don't like the word! Of course it is used politically, because the prejudice of anti-gay organisations and individuals is deeply political. Prejudice should certainly be censored.

I'm the one who has been saying that language isn't set in stone, Steve. Haven't yopu read the thread?

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 20 December 2006 at 10:59pm GMT

Ford - I would completely support you in being against some of the oppression you mention above.

I just struggle with ordaining people who say the bible is plain wrong on issues they pick - whatever that issue.

People on TA take very seriously (and quite rightly) what the bible says on justice and the poor....but then want to reject its authority when inconvenient. That is not satisfactory, I am afraid......but this is not supporting prejudice or discrimination in the workplace or society, I hope you will agree.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 8:53am GMT

MM: I can't find the phrase 'set in stone' in your posts (it's in mine), but at least we are agreed that language usage changes over time, and always has. Often I wish it didn't so we didn't have to keep revising Bible translations, or explain Shakespeare to our children - or even Yeats ('I have heard that hysterical women say/They are sick of poets who are always gay').
I am glad also that you agree that the use of the recent neologism 'homophobia' is a political tactic used to shame and silence opponents of an ideology - which is why I will continue to oppose this piece of Newspeak. Perhaps, however, you won't concede that your own outlook is also a "prejudice", as you label opposing views. Do you think you are in full possession of the 'facts' about human sexuality so that what you think and say is entirely objective and impartial? What a godlike confidence you have. Even Peter Tatchell (who was raised in a Christian home) doesn't share your essentialist ideology about sexual affections. In a strange way, he actually comes closer (in a recent Guardian piece, linked by Peter Ould) to what Professors Oliver O'Donovan, Markus Bockmuehl and Tim Bradshaw said in the 1995 St Andrew's Day Statement.

Posted by: Steve Watson. on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 10:49am GMT

Dear MM, I don't really expect that you will change your belief that same-sex sex is any thing other than equal with male-female sex. Though I think that, if you thought about it, you could probably identify several reasons why that is not factually correct.

And I could begin to enjoy the spectacle of you calling someone "homophobic" and your "enemy" after they have just said that they are determined to love you, even though they disapprove of same-sex sexual behaviour!

I have had friends who are divorced and remarried, some who were living together outside marriage, and the occassional one who was promiscuous, as well as some who were in same-sex relationships. I disapprove of all these sexual behaviours on moral/religious grounds, but I still love my friends... and they don't call me "phobic", "discriminatory" and their "enemy". Neither would they expect me to approve of their choices - nor feel the need to try to have me legally obliged to speak and act as if I do !

Posted by: Dave on Thursday, 21 December 2006 at 11:44pm GMT

Oh, agreed - I don't share Tatchell's outlook at all. I'm much more mainstream.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 12:24am GMT

Nothing to do with behaviour, Dave. Identity, personhood, relationship. Until you grasp this, you will continue to speak in your usual homophobic way. And you will continue to be marginalised - just as the Church is today.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 22 December 2006 at 10:52am GMT

"People on TA take very seriously (and quite rightly) what the bible says on justice and the poor....but then want to reject its authority when inconvenient. That is not satisfactory, I am afraid......but this is not supporting prejudice or discrimination in the workplace or society, I hope you will agree."

What ever makes you think this has to do with "convenience"?

A forged translation is a forged translation.

So, I do think this is suppporting prejudice and discrimination. It's Social and Political, nothing to do with the Bible.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 6:37am GMT

O, Dave, I so do hope you will leave these meaningless anecdotes!

They cannot be verified either way.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 6:38am GMT

Dave (and others): OK, Homophobia may not be the right word (or it may be, we'll see). Let's try another: Heterosexism. It means believing that and acting from the premise that being heterosexual is superior, better, more (insert your adjective here) than the lives and experience of gays and lesbians. It relates to terms like ageism (believing that the older members of society, their perspective and wishes, are less valuable or valid than younger members of society) or nativism (believing that the views and perspectives and lives of immigrants are somehow less valid than those who are native born) or racism (the belief that the members of one's own race are somehow more deserving or better). In this light, do you think that you are a heterosexist? Do you think that straight people's views and wishes and perspectives are more valid, normative, than those who are gay and lesbian? If you don't like being called a homophobe, would you admit to being heterosexist?

Posted by: Dennis on Sunday, 24 December 2006 at 8:10pm GMT

Dennis wrote: "OK, Homophobia may not be the right word..... Let's try another: Heterosexism. It means believing that and acting from the premise that being heterosexual is superior, better, more (insert your adjective here) than the lives and experience of gays and lesbians."

Dear Dennis, "Heterosexism" would certainly be an improvement over an extremely abusive term like "homophobia". However, most "-isms" such as racism or sexism are predicated on the idea that *people* of one race or sex are inherently better than those of another. I think that most conservative thinking anglicans wouldn't think that people of a homosexual orientation are inherently better or worse than other people because of that orientation... Not because that orientation is equal to male-female attraction, but because we are all sinners in many ways. We all have desires and behaviours that are wrong. Just because one person's sins include same-sex sex and another person's sins include greed (say) doesn't make either inherently better than the other!

I suppose I would say that we are all equal, and must give each other equal love and respect, because we are all sinners!

Of course that doesn't satisfy most homosexuals - and especially political campaigners - but any reasonable thinking person should at least see that there is a huge difference between that and hate and fear. If everyone whose behaviour or desires Christians disapprove of thought of us as their "enemy" we would be friendless . . . . and skizophrenic - since we are *all* sinners!!!

On more accurate *name-calling* or *labelling*, what traditional Christianity teaches against is acting on dis-ordered sexual desires, not just the desire itself. And same-sex sex is hardly the only "orientation" that is seen as disordered! If we take this list of sexual orientations (strong mostly unchanging attractions):

Gender: Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Asexuality
Family Relationship: Incest, Oedipus complex
Age: Paedophilia, Ephebophilia, Gerontophilia
Number of partners: Monogamy, Polyamory
Unequal relationship: Amelotatism, Necrophilia, Sado-Masochism, Bondage, Domination
Non-human: Zoophilia, Objects, Sex dolls etc
Faithful: Promiscuous, Sequential, Life-long

We can see that Christianity is very narrow in what sexual bahaviour it approves of: Life-long, heterosexual, monogamy - within which consent, equality and respect are required to avoid sexual sin!

I think that an accurate label would be: mono-hetero/asexuo-nonfamilio-similarageo-equalo-nonabusivo-humano-faithfulism

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 26 December 2006 at 5:22pm GMT
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