Wednesday, 31 January 2007

InclusiveChurch responds to adoption debate

Press release from InclusiveChurch
An interactive network for the voice of liberal Anglicans
.

InclusiveChurch responds to adoption debate

The debate on gay adoption highlights an increasingly serious problem within the Church of England.

We have been called to bear witness to the gospel of generous, redemptive love and justice, but time and again we are perceived to be more concerned with rejection than welcome, with bunker-digging rather than dialogue.

The collective sigh of relief that was breathed and the profound joy that was felt across the country when women were ordained to the priesthood, from those outside as well as those inside the Church, has now been overshadowed.

Instead, the Church is now associated more and more strongly in the public mind with another form of discrimination - homophobia. We are now in a situation where, however carefully public statements are worded, the Church’s of England’s grudging response to the Equality Act, and to last year’s civil partnerships legislation, only encourages the belief that ‘the Church has a problem with gays’.

Meanwhile, the country has moved on. Civil partnerships have been warmly welcomed by gay and lesbian people and their friends and families, with uptake take-up far in excess of Government predictions. And around the country gay couples are getting on with the tough and uniquely valuable vocation of bringing up adopted children.

The Church is certainly called to be counter-cultural. We are certainly called, for example, to challenge trade injustice, to question policy on the international arms trade, to resist consumerism - not least its trivialisation of God’s precious gift of sexuality - in short, to try to work for the good of all people under the eyes of God.

But sometimes our resistance to lessons learned in the secular world appears to be a denial of the possibility of progress.

We cannot control God’s outrageously inclusive Gospel. We should, rather, be asking what God is teaching us through our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters who have heard the Gospel message of salvation and redemption, and become part of the Christian community.

To this end, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement has organised a conference on “Faith, homophobia and human rights” on February 17th.

And the Church of England’s General Synod is preparing to discuss a motion on February 21st which includes the following:

‘That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire…’

We support these initiatives. As a church, we are in danger of becoming like sheep bleating in our little fold while real life goes by on the road outside. We acknowledge the diversity of opinion within the church. But it is our hope and prayer that the conference and the debate may be occasions to move away from rejection, so that we can jointly preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ’s love for God’s world to which we are all committed, trusting that the Spirit will through dialogue and mutual respect lead us into all truth. .

Revd Briony Martin, Vice Chair, InclusiveChurch

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Comments

Well, that doesn't say an awful lot of relevance, I guess. Fine, so inclusivechurch is inclusive; we might've guessed that. But what about the pending laws?

I'm minded to suggest that the `Sexual Orientation' is fine, but to ask whether we want to be a country where such things are imposed by Regulation. Wouldn't it be nicer if the church got there on its own steam (or even were seen as representative of part of the democracy in this country), rather than being kicked around by the Government?

Posted by: Tim on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 11:54am GMT

Nicer ?

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 3:00pm GMT

"Wouldn't it be nicer if the Church got to opposing slavery under its own steam rather than being kicked around by the government."

I rest my case.

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 3:49pm GMT

The surd of making antidiscrimination progress by nothing but persuasion and social-religios-ethical evolultion is just the difficulty that antigay folks are not content with being classically negative in their own personal, daily beliefs, attitudes, intentions, values, and practices towards any queer folks who might happen to cross their daily path.

We are told that their innate breathing room for negative conscience about queer folks must go further.

Antigay folks must be free to institutionalize - or reinstitutionalize in some instances - some piece of their negative beliefs, attitudes, values, intentions, and practices aimed at queer folks. And they must be allowed, nay, valorized and applauded by the rest of us, for doing this in transitional areas of publicly funded or publicly available accommodations.

Or else, we are solemnly instructed, they have no significant breathing space for conscience at all.

If this were about any of our other pro/con differences - antiwoman attitudes, or anti-Buddhist? - we would fairly quickly see through the reframing being urged upon us. Then we could sigh in relief, and get on with setting a proper balance, along with articulating the democratic core institutional-legal value: No discrimination - (whatever you personally believe about your preferred target group.)

It is actually so easy to get some clarity around these issues. All we typically have to do to clear the air for a moment is to replace the queer target group of negatively regarded (definitively negatively regarded?) people with some other favored target group. Almost immediately, you enter somewhat cooler and more rational regions than the legacy negative domains define and presume about queer folks in so many instances.

Are we all doomed? If fewer and fewer people believe that sexually involved same sex couples - who might be having dinner and gazing all cow eyed and lovingly into one another's highly beautiful and fascinating faces, down at the local inn or restaurant - are our best, deep images of creepy Original Sin?

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 4:04pm GMT

Laurence writes: "Nicer ?"

Yeah. It seems to me as though all the government wants to do is throw weight around through legislation, which has led straight into a head-on collision with those who (correctly) think that moral choices trump law (even when those moral choices are wrong).

It's not just the church that's affected, either: wedding photographers and caterers are already worried that they'll have to invent lies about availability to avoid doing what they don't want to; and why haven't we heard much from Muslims about this?

Posted by: Tim on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 4:10pm GMT

Not very inclusive this Inclusive Church!

Why are you excluding materialistic, greedy people who do not want to give up their consumerism?

What right does IC have to judge their understanding of scripture?

How do you know the spirit is not telling them to buy more sports cars and holiday houses?

Don't be judgmental, IC!
Include all that's what it is all about, (eg Jn3:36?),right?

(please, please do not respond with any verses re greed - the irony might make me fall off my chair and the logic of the statement above would not support the exclusion of the "prosperity gospel" heresy - but logic and consistency are easily sacrificed when there is an agenda to be driven)

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 5:10pm GMT

'the collective sigh of relief... when women were ordained to the priesthood'... if only.

As a woman in ministry, I am still confronted by people (men and women alike) who do not 'accept' my ministry - and even among those who do, for the word accept you could say 'tolerate'. My fear is that this will be the case if ever the Church of England is honest enough to witness to what has been reality for years - the Church of England accepts for training, ordains as Deacon, Priest and Bishop, those who are in committed and fulfilling relationship with others of the same gender.

I long for the day when the 'everlasting arms' that reach out and support the world in love are allowed to do just that - love.

Yes, we must engage in dialogue - and that dialogue must be engaged in with love and charity at its heart - on all sides of the debate. Yes, we must raise our heads above the parapet and challenge bigotry that denies the humanity and God given createdness of another. Yes, we must support initiatives such as the Synod motion... but supporting a motion will achieve nothing unless people are willing to do more than tolerate or accept the outcome. They must be willing to promote, embrace, encourage and believe in the validity and integrity of those whom God calls into God's service - whomsoever they may be.

Posted by: Deborah on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 6:14pm GMT

I won't respond with verses re: greed, NP. The irony of you sticking to the "plain word of Scripture" on the issue of sexuality while being quite content to ignore those that speak against wealth, greed, usury, or to use the OT to justify war, all this made me fall off my chair long ago. You have said before that you won't stand for people declaring not to be sin that which Scripture clearly says IS sinful. You left out the part where that only applies to the parts of Scripture that deal with sex.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 7:58pm GMT

One day conservative Christians will have to recognise that their homophobia simply isn't acceptable any longer

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 31 January 2007 at 9:37pm GMT

‘That this Synod acknowledge the diversity of opinion about homosexuality within the Church of England and that these divergent opinions come from honest and legitimate attempts to read the scriptures with integrity, understand the nature of homosexual orientation, and respect the patterns of holy living to which lesbian and gay Christians aspire…’

I wish someone would put the same motion in the RCC.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 1:02am GMT

Andrew Sullivan sees more sides of the story than most commentators:

"Religious Freedom in Britain:
"It just took a hit from well-meaning but misguided attempts to force Catholic adoption agencies to be open to placing needy kids in the homes of adoptive gay couples. It isn't the law yet, and the British parliamentary system means that, for the Tories at least, the vote will be one of conscience. My conscience tells me that denying needy children good and stable homes, just because their new parents will be gay, is morally wrong... but my political principles - specifically my belief in unfettered religious freedom - tell me that the right of religious organizations to practice bigotry and even cruelty in their own affairs is integral to a free society."

[I would add that there is also a MORAL principle at stake -- respect for bona fide conscience stances of individuals and groups, and avoidance of a State monopoly on moral judgement.]

"This dehumanization of gay people is a terrible stain on the Church, but that should be of no business of the government. There are also alternatives. If the Church comes across a child who might be taken care of by an adoptive gay couple, it can still transfer that child to another agency. If I were a member of parliament, I would vote against this bill."

[Sullivan, note, writes as a gay Catholic and an advocate of gay marriage.]

"There are plenty of avenues in Britain for gay couples to do the selfless and admirable job of raising abandoned or orphaned children in need. There's no need to trample religious liberty in the process. If the Church wants to side with bigots against the needs of children, it should be able to do so. It pains me, but it is none of the government's concern."

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 1:40am GMT

The day of lessened fear, disgust, ignorance and bearing false religious witness against queer folks is already dawning. That is why the antigay religious folks are so often upset - they have been loudly preaching to us for about fifty to sixty years, all the legacy negative stuff, and the din of their preachments would be deafening if their sheer determined ignorance could only carry the day. Except that face to face with the decent, loving queer folks in our family, among our friends, and contributing mightily to our best work teams - the drumming din of these legacy negatives starts to sound like the mouse that roared, rrrrrrrrrr. Look Grommit, cheeeeeeeeeese.

Posted by: drdanfee on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 4:51am GMT

Ford - how many times - you say we are excusing sins like greed but we are not....evidence for +Duncan preaching greed or being in favour of unfair trade? There is none

Easy to knock down straw men but pointless

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 7:22am GMT

The difference, NP, is that when I and (I believe) others of a liberal bent speak against the prevailing cultural mood of consumerism, materialism and me-me-me, I do so full in the knowledge that I am praching to myself as much as to anyone else. Consumerism is such a pernicious, insidious force that it manages to hold virtually all of us in its hypnotic gaze. Those of us who fall under its sway - self included, I say again, self included - are victims. What's being held up as anti-God is not a human being, or group of them but a social force which has gathered pace as the world has developed.

There simply is no parallel. And I'm still waiting for an answer to my question - why are value judgments about other peoples peaceable,private, legal behaviour a matter of conscience?

Posted by: JBE on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 8:17am GMT

JBE - I agree with your concerns on consumerism etc - these are serious problems and damage the world and most importantly, human beings.

Conscience comes into it in relation to the scriptures and what they say and mean......for this reason, in all good conscience, I cannot accept the "prosperity" heresy nor any other teaching which directly contradicts the word.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 9:29am GMT

Andrew Sullivan’s arguments once again focus on the competing rights of the agency and the prospective parents. This is the better story for journalists to get their teeth into.

The service users here are the children seeking a safe and loving home.

He tries to overcome this by saying that any child that might be suitable for placing with same sex parents should be withdrawn from the Catholic agencies.

There are children whose histories make it impossible to place where there is a man or sometimes a woman in the household. There are children whose complex needs require a single parent. There are children who cannot be placed in a same-sex household. My experience would say that if Catholic agencies were left with just this group then there would not be enough children for their service to survive.

There are far more imaginative ways to deal with the present impasse that would continue to involve faith communities without directly compromising their “conscience” and without allowing the Church “to side with bigots against the needs of children”.

My view is that the present system needs a radical overhaul; it leaves tens of thousands of children in inappropriate short term placements that inevitably add to their problems. Something good can come of this, it would be wonderful if the RC Church took that opportunity.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 9:56am GMT

I don't agree with Sullivan. He tends towards a libertarianism which allows discrimination to be sanctioned as long as it is in the private sphere, because he is not in favour of government intervention from a right-wing perspective

I think that the State should have the right to determine what is discriminatory in the public sphere, and the Church should be made to comply. What goes on within the Church is no business of Government unless it clearly breaks the law (such as child abuse within the Catholic church, or obeying employment laws), but as soon as the Church wishes to provide public services, then I think they must comply.

Religious freedom should apply only within the institution, but not be allowed to dictate discriminatory practices outside.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 10:27am GMT

'...long for the day when the 'everlasting arms' that reach out and support the world in love are allowed to do just that - love.' Deborah

I am really sorry Deborah to hear of the reception of your ministry, by some, and that of other ordained women. I regret it very much. I regret the hurt given to yourself and to them. I regret the hardness of heart which -- I assume leads to such a response to you and other women in Ministry.

I was over-joyed by the democratic decision to ordain women. It had been dear to my heart and looked for, for a long time. Perhaps as a young gay minister myself at that time, I identified with the exclusion of women. May be I had met so many women who were already spiritual priests, and who were a blessing to so many. Like Elsie Baker and Una Kroll to mention but two, in the Southwark Diocese of that time. May be it was the story of Florence Lee Tim Oi in war time.

I was at work at the WPF when THAT General Synod met, and I plugged in a tv set, which was really for playing training videos ! Watching it avidly, I was joined by others -all hopeful in a hope agaisnt kind of way (previous disappointments) --then our hope was transformed into joy ! there was never a day like it! -- even at that remarkable place of miracles in Kensington Square ! (Westminster Pastoral Foundation; Maria Assumpta).

I am always struck by the hidden / unacknowleged women in parishes of all hues, who quietly and lovingly make it all possible. Yes, many practical tasks like wafers and cruets, and bisuits and teas. And also, welcome, pastoral support and deep praying & connecting.

Not always quietly though -- and why on earth should it be ?! Usually offered with love....

my / our debt to the women of Christ is enormous and beyond quantifying.

laurence

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 10:58am GMT

Martin this is so clear, helpful, deep and spiritually real. Thank you.

You bring true authority to bear. Real authorship. True love. Inspiring.

May this creative opportunity be seized by RCC and us all.

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 11:02am GMT

sorry for my mistake in post above.

It should have read : --


'in a hope against hope kind of way' -- 'hoping agaisnt hope'


--hardly daring to hope that women would be ordained outwrdly, as they had already been inwardly and in their engagment with the world and individuals.....

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 12:38pm GMT

Plurality of interpretation of the scriptures?
Regarding the said passages, there are thousands of possible interpretations. But no more or fewer than for any other passage of scripture. Or of any other writing. That is because possible points for debate are limited to minutiae.

Regarding the big picture, namely a simple question such as Is the New Testament strongly in favour of, in favour of, neutral towards, against or strongly against same-sex sexual relations, there is not and never has been the remotest controversy among qualified NT scholars. Any more than there has been about lying, murdering and the other things that appear in NT vice lists.

It's the dishonesty that I want to highlight. Suppose I wrote a book claiming that there was 'legitimate difference of opinion' over whether the NT actually disapproved of lying or adultery. How scholarly I would sound. But how obviously wrong I would be. And how obviously driven by external ideological motives unconnected to the time of writing of the NT but deeply connected with my own time.

By all means debate whether homosexual practice is good or bad. Use valid criteria such as statistical evidence. But don't debate the undebatable, things in the 'Is the pope a catholic?' category. Because by doing so, one would be showing oneself up as someone who cares nothing for evidence and everything for personal ideology.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 12:54pm GMT

"evidence for +Duncan preaching greed or being in favour of unfair trade?"

NP, it's not about any one bishop preaching any one thing. These things have been accepted in society for hundreds of years, with the Church's approval. No-one needs to preach in support of things that are accepted parts of how society works. We need now to preach against them, since the were, are, and always will be wrong, despite the Church's having compromised Her principles centuries ago. We need to repent of these compromises. But, is Duncan going to preach against military service for Christians? Is he going to tell the wealthy to give all their money to the poor? (Oh, right, you don't think that particular Scriptural injunction is directed at everybody). Is he going to preach on the evil of an economic system that reserves 80% of the world's resources to 20% of its population, and does it by requiring that all adults carry a huge debt load all their lives in order to be able to function in that society? I doubt it. It's really upset Ahmanson, for one, and then where would Duncan et al get their funding?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 2:02pm GMT

Re: Greed versus the Common Good… Another interesting example of intentionally skewed reading is that of the word “all” in the Eucharistic Prayer.

Aramaic does not have a word “all”, which has to do with the various ways some languages count: one… two… several… many… (all).

So Aramaic hasn’t got “all”. Consequently, when Christ Jesus says “for all”, it is rendered as “for many” tò perì pollwn, because there is no “word” all.

The meaning however is and remains all.

But not in exclusionist “translations”. They translate all as “many” not to upset their narrow Soteriology, yet very well knowing that “many” means “all” in Aramaic…

If Text and Teaching must conform – experience shows that it is the Text that will be conformed to the Teaching…

(And don’t pretend they didn’t know before, because they do know now.)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 5:36pm GMT

Christopher Shell has a point -- this notion that heterosexual activity between a man and woman who are married (to each other) is a good thing is a modern notion that must be corrected by the universal, traditional teaching of the Church that celibacy is to be preferred & that marriage is only for those unable to control their passions (but even so, they may only engage in sexual activity with the intention of having a child &, of course, abstinence within marriage is to be preferred & required in Advent & in Lent -- beginning with the Gesima Sundays).

Right?

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 12:01am GMT

Inclusive Church talk negatively about non-liberal christians not being "witness to the gospel of generous, redemptive love and justice" and "the Church is now associated more and more strongly in the public mind with another form of discrimination - homophobia" and asserts that: "Meanwhile, the country has moved on."

All these allude to important factors, but avoid the real point.... Truth. Although same-sex partnerships have similarities with male-female, the truth is that there are also some massive differences - biologically, physiologically and sociologically. The two are not "different but equal". Homosexuality has a dissonance between the psychological and the physical!

So the fact that liberal Western society now seems set to legislate equality of *homosexuality* (as opposed to *people* who are homosexuals) mostly says something to me about how liberal society defines truth. I think the last two quotes from the IC statement show that. Truth is relative to people, not measureable facts. And driving opinion and conscience from the public square into the home and churches - shows that what is really being legislated for is not even "equality" for all, since the Church has both Reason (as well as Scripture and tradition) to support it's right to its beliefs and teachings. We are just experiencing legal enforcement of a rather dubious morality.

The move isn't proportionate to real harm either, and it certainly isn't increasing the net overall "inclusion" of as many people and opinions as possible. I doubt it will survive long once non-UK human rights courts get involved!

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 12:16am GMT

Christopher Shell, biblical hermeneutics is a far subtler matter than this. Remember that the BIble literally approves of divinely-sanctioned genocide -- in far more numerous texts than the handful referring to same-sex activities. Look at Robin Scroggs and Walter Wink for a sense of the wide field of discriminating judgement that has to be embarked on if you wish to come to terms with the biblical doctrine of love, sheathed as it is in archaic patriarchal terms.
See http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-walter-wink

Merseyside Mike, "I don't agree with Sullivan. He tends towards a libertarianism which allows discrimination to be sanctioned as long as it is in the private sphere, because he is not in favour of government intervention from a right-wing perspective". I agree, the State should indeed penalized hate speech and bigotry, to some reasonable extent. What the State should not do is unreasonably narrow the space of religious freedom and freedom of conscience, or conscientious objection.

In fairness to Labour, the years of their Government have been very good ones for the gay population of the UK. A mean-spiritied church reaction to all this is to be deplored.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 3:23am GMT

You will find a scriptural case for same sex relationships by George Day on the Fulcrum Homosexuality and Scripture thread.

Posted by: laurence on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 4:21am GMT

Ford - I do not mean to patronise you but your posts have been much more logical than some on TA (and I only read some posts given some from others are normally nonsense) but you seem to have lost it just now eg saying, "But, is Duncan going to preach against military service for Christians? Is he going to tell the wealthy to give all their money to the poor? (Oh, right, you don't think that particular Scriptural injunction is directed at everybody). "

You are on weak ground claiming military service is always wrong - do you really think that (based on the bible)??? (ps, I am no supporter of GWB! In fact, I vote for the left)

Also- have you given ALL your money to the poor?
(I don't think you should because you are misinterpreting a passage and missing its meaning if you think we are commanded to do that - but since you claim faithful bishops should be preaching this, you must think it is correct.....so, you've done it, right?)

Also, you say "NP, it's not about any one bishop preaching any one thing. These things have been accepted in society for hundreds of years, with the Church's approval"
SO WHAT?
People have been hypocrites in the past so we must be now???

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 7:17am GMT

NP wrote: “… the logic of the statement above would not support the exclusion of the "prosperity gospel" heresy – but logic and consistency are easily sacrificed when there is an agenda to be driven”.

Greed, that is to disregard the common Good of the Community for the benefit of one’s own individual benefit, is 10th Commandment epithumía and other Biblical words, nowadays generally sexualized in “translations”; “covet” and so on.

So, where in the Biblical texts Greed is condemned, late modern “translations” driven by a Neo Platonist agenda condemns “sex”. Which, however, in Biblical times was an “issue” only for the Alexandrian Museiwn, but entirely unknown to the Biblical authors as a “problem”.

Conclusion, your “logic” and “consistency” are artificial, laboriously worked into the Biblical texts over 7 or 8 centuries by way of “translations” (Parisian Versio vulgata and onwards becoming much worse in the second half of the 20th century than any time before).

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:32am GMT

Christopher Shell wrote: “Plurality of interpretation of the scriptures? … there are thousands of possible interpretations. But no more or fewer than for any other passage of scripture. Or of any other writing. That is because possible points for debate are limited to minutiae.”

We have heard that one before. Claiming too much and too little at the same time…

Rubbishing is the first defence of the ignorant.

and “Regarding the big picture, namely a simple question such as Is the New Testament strongly in favour of, in favour of, neutral towards, against or strongly against same-sex sexual relations, there is not and never has been the remotest controversy among qualified NT scholars.”

I do hope that you refer to the well known fact that “same-sex sexual relation” is a late Modern category, so not to be found in the Bible. The Bible (being pre Modern) by necessity speaks a different language, we must listen attentively to that if we want to learn.

and “Any more than there has been about lying, murdering and the other things that appear in NT vice lists. It's the dishonesty that I want to highlight."

You do know that the text says Do not “kill” not Do not “murder”?

“Murder” is put there by dishonest late Modern “translators” to justify Execution (by USA) and War (by USA).

and “Suppose I wrote a book claiming that there was 'legitimate difference of opinion' over whether the NT actually disapproved of lying or adultery.”

Well, actually, its Leviticus 19 which disapproves of lying. The Social 8th Commandment however, specifically speaks of Perjury before the Elders at the Gate. Not about lying in general.

Also, modern “adultery/marriage braking” (of the 16th century vernacular “translations” of the 12th century changes in the Parisian Versio vulgata) is a wilful distortion/sexualization of “adulterio” the (correct) Old Latin translation of Collective 7th Commandment moixeía.

Moixeia however, means “disloyal”, not marriage breaking.

and “But don't debate the undebatable, things in the 'Is the pope a catholic?' category. Because by doing so, one would be showing oneself up as someone who cares nothing for evidence and everything for personal ideology.“

It is debatable. Lutherans believe Calvinism to be Heresy and the Roman innovations (1073 Dictatus papae, 1139 Mandatory celibacy, 1215 Transubstantiation, and so on) to be Schism.

Heresy most certainly is not Catholic, but nor is Schism.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:37am GMT

"the space of religious freedom and freedom of conscience, or conscientious objection"

Trouble is that one man's "freedom" is another womans terror.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:40am GMT

Laurence - thanks for the reference which I have seen but we need a CONVINCING case

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:40am GMT

Dave ; that's your version of 'truth' - not mine, and not the majority of people in the UK, either!

We don't live in a theocracy. I wish you would remember that....and remember that as the Church can do as it wishes in its own sphere, the legislation (similar to that which exists across Europe) is perfectly legal, as much as conservative religionists may dislike it!

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 10:52am GMT

So Merseymike - the CofE should shape its beliefs on the basis of what the "majority of the people in the UK" think????

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 11:26am GMT

Goran said
Aramaic does not have a word “all”, which has to do with the various ways some languages count: one… two… several… many… (all).

Are you sure about that? Haven't got a Palestinian Aramaic dictionary other than BDB, but Payne Smith certainly gives k-[w]-l as 'all, the whole' (suggested root = complete, perfect, universal') — would usage be so different between Peshitta Syriac and the Aramaic of a couple of centuries or so earlier?

geek mode

geek mode back . Just noticed that 'kalba demaya' in Aram means 'an otter' (lit. 'sea dog') but also metaphorically 'a sodomite'. Does that help anyone along with the debate, and if so, how?:-)

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 12:00pm GMT

Hi Prior Aelred-
I would never take 'the teaching of the church' as necessarily being an authority. It is only the teaching of the leaders anyway (and usually of just one particular generation of them) - and who knows what motives they may have had?

Hi Fr Joseph-
I don't see 'The Bible' as a unity. For example, if there were no NT I would have no inclination to become a Jew on the basis of the OT. The NT (which never remotely sanctions genocide) is where we are at. I am sure this makes me sound a total marcionite, but better that than approve genocide any day.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 12:41pm GMT

NP, you are missing my point. Christ calls us to follow Him, and sacrifice everything else in the process. In so far as we do not sacrifice everything, we sin. "Sin" is not breaking the Law, the word is better translated as "missing the mark", in effect we put something ahead of our great Calling, and allow ourselves to be turned off the Path.

"misinterpreting a passage"? Explain, please. How do you fudge this one away? I'm sure you don't think it's fudge, all the same. I have not given my money away, but then I'm not making the kinds of claims you are about the Church's "obedience" to a literal interpretation of Scripture. Nothing I have said is meant to change your mind, merely to point that you have built your opinions on shaky ground. You have bought into the Evangelical mythology and are ignoring plain truth because of it. To those you would evangelize, this comes across as either stupidity or hypocrisy, since they know our history very well, many have been victims of it.
When God said "Thou shalt not kill" He meant it, not some pseudoErastian fudge about "do no murder". To claim that life is sacred only when it is yet to be born, or is too infirm to speak for itself is simply wrong, and up until we needed to suck up to Imperial power, we knew that, then we fudged it away. To use the bloodiness of the Old Testament to justify this is so disrepsectful of the mind of Scripture as to be near blasphemous, IMNSHO.
And no, we don't get to be hypocrites, but we do need to acknowledge that we have been, and strive not to be so in the future.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 1:08pm GMT

Ford

Thou shalt not kill clearly is about murder (animals are killd for food and sacrifices in the OT / the death penalty is even there in the OT etc etc).

If you think the message to the rich young ruler applies to all, you should give all your money away....but don't do that because the passage means something else - it means something like "whatever is your idol, are you willing to give it up because no idolatry is acceptable (including greed)?"
For the rich young ruler, his idol was identified to him and it was hard for him to give it up but generalising this to everyone clearly makes no sense (NB we do not see even the apostles doing that or teaching that others must do it) What I have written is not at all a contentious view on this passage - you are putting a very unusual spin on it.

So, the question to you and me is "what is your idol?" We will both have different idols as we both fall short.....and as sinners, we will both find it hard to give up our idols.....but we must because there is no room for any double-mindedness (this is the message from the rich young ruler's experience)

Posted by: NP on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 2:33pm GMT

NP ; the CofE can shape its beliefs as it wishes, but to think that there is agreement on this issue is a mistake.

However, thats not the issue - because these are not about CofE beliefs, but the civil law, and as some of us keep reminding you,we do not live in a theocracy, but a liberal, pluralist country where discrimination in the public sphere is unacceptable. Thats why the RC's haven't got their exemption.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 2:35pm GMT

Merseymike wrote: "Dave ; that's your version of 'truth' - not mine, and not the majority of people in the UK, either!"

Dear Merseymike, You have confirmed exactly the point I was making. What I, you, or "people", think does not define facts or truth (unless you think that majority opinion *is* truth.. which is a rather worrying definition, that I doubt you actually live by! :-) ).

The Government seems to think that "Equality" legislation means them empowering themselves to decide which groups to include and exclude from the public square - rather than creating a space where *different* groups each have a respected place, despite not agreeing with each other.

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 8:12pm GMT

Mynsterpreost wrote: "Are you sure about that?"

Well not really - one should never be in this line of buisness - but that is how this is explained by the professors at Lund, for whom "al kol" is "the whole", not "all" individuals...

But as I did not do Aramaic myself ;=)

Nevertheless... Píete eks autoû pántes definitely means Drink of it all!

(Not that I would be adverse to translating tò perí pollwn as "for about all"...)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 8:22pm GMT

Joseph O'Leary wrote: "I agree, the State should indeed penalized hate speech and bigotry, to some reasonable extent. What the State should not do is unreasonably narrow the space of religious freedom and freedom of conscience, or conscientious objection."

Dear Joseph O'Leary, The trouble is that that type of legislation sounds wonderful (who is in favour of "hate"?) but in fact we already have laws against incitement etc... "Hate speech" legislation isn't aimed at stopping "hate", it just defines who you can and can't speak hatefully about!

On religious freedom and freedom of conscience, I'm still struggling to understand why anyone thinks that it is anything less than political totalitarianism to exclude people or views from the public square, or from providing public services, unless they uphold a particular view on the importance of sexual behaviour! If Catholic Agencies provide a good service to some people, who the Government also agrees should be able to adopt, what is wrong with the Government funding those adoptions ? Just because they choose clients (who are suitable) on a particlular basis doesn't make them unfit to be involved in adoptions!

And Martin Reynold's arguement of a possibly less good adoption for some children, who might be better adopted by a gay partnership, is rather flimsy. What proportion of adoptable children is that? (if any, given that nature provides one parent of each sex for *all* children, and thatit flies in the face of millenia of human and pre-human evolution!) and is the discrimination against the Catholic agencies, and the good that everyone acknowledges they do for many difficult children, proportionate to the possibility of an occassional adoption that might be less good than ideal (theoretically, according to some people's theories, etc etc) ? Are all other adoptions and adoptees ideal fo the children!!!

I don't think so - these SORs are just ideological discrimination!

Posted by: Dave on Friday, 2 February 2007 at 8:54pm GMT

'And Martin Reynolds' argument of a possibly less good adoption for some children, who might be better adopted by a gay partnership, is rather flimsy...' 'Dave'

so how many children are you adopting then, Dave ? That makes your argument so 'un-flimsy'
How many adoption panels have you sat on ?

Is your expertise based on considerable experience (like Martin's) ?

Posted by: laurence on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 6:32am GMT

Göran wrote
al kol" is "the whole", not "all" individuals..

Ah! I get it now. Delete my previous comment as a waste of electrons. And of course I meant 'water dog' not 'sea dog' — I suppose the 'hello Sailor' implicitum derailed my thinking!

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 8:30pm GMT

"Thou shalt not kill clearly is about murder... "

Geek mode on:

Up to and throught the 19th century, in law there was a difference between "killing" (5th or 6th Commandment) and murder", just as there was between "robbery" and "stealth" (7th or 8th Commandment).

2 different words, even...

(when there seems to be more than 1 word for the same thing, this generally means it is not the same thing ;=)

Killing and robbery were in the open, killing infact l e g a l for the Pater familias until the 6th century Novellae of Emperor Justinian (for considerably longer around here).

"Honour killings" they are called these days.

Murder and Stealth were - well, by stealth... which meant that they were a threat to Society in a way the others werent. In a situation where nobody was able to tell who-dun-it, everybody would suspect everybody else and blood would be shed indeterminately.

So the 6th Commandment is about the Pater familias being forbidden to kill the members of his Household. Still practised today by both Christians and Muslims from the Middle East.

The 8th Commandment is about stealing persons for the slave trade. Still practised around the World.

Geek mode off.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 10:14pm GMT

Laurence wrote: "so how many children are you adopting then, Dave ? That makes your argument so 'un-flimsy' How many adoption panels have you sat on ?"

Dear Laurence, Now you are doing it.. avoiding debating the issues, by trying to attack me. Exclusion of agencies that do not wish to provide services to gay partnerships is a very serious matter. It is a very weak arguement to suggest that the only way to prevent an occassional hypothetical reduction in the benefit to an adopted child is to exclude whole groups of society from providing adoption services. As if there is no other way, and all other adoptions are optimal..

Liberal inclusion and tolerance at their best!

Posted by: Dave on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 1:16am GMT

A Poodle?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 9:11am GMT

addition to my previous:

... which means, as some itinerant teacher or other once said (if my memory doesn't quite fail me) that the Law (only the 10 Commandments are Law in the Church) is not yet adhered to...

... adding that not a comma must be taken away from it before it is fulfilled...

... which means that not only commas but whole Commandments (1st and 3rd) have been taken away from the Law and still are, and still will be taken away or altered beyond recognition, eg 6th or 7th Commandment moixeía; disloyalty, which is always in the grammatical m a s c u l i n e plural in Greek (eg moixalídos) and Latin (adulteris), but misused in the 2nd Millennium by State, Academy and Church against w o m e n: against the wives of bishops and priests (Laterans I and II), as well as against wives in general.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 10:05am GMT

Very good. NP, a fudge worthy of an Anglican. I can be wealthy as long as I don't make an idol of money! Brilliant! The practice of centuries would speak otherwise. I guess I can be gay as long as I don't make an idol of sex. And I agree, such commandments ARE about idolatry in some sense, see my previous post about "missing the mark". One could make the same argument about sola scriptura, actually, making the Bible into an idol, the Words of God being made into the Word of God, thereby bumping Christ off His Throne. And:
"we do not see even the apostles doing that". Are you serious? We see the Apostles giving up EVERYTHING for the Kingdom. We see numerous saints through the ages doing the same thing, that is if you believe the Church actually was in existence from the death of the last Apostle until the Reformation. Otherwise, that's all just the "traditions of men", I guess. And glossing over the commandment that we not kill by claiming we CAN kill animals, and the OT has no problem with capital punishment and war is brilliant. It is not convincing, however. And again, why the "rich young ruler"? Why ruler? I don't believe the original Greek said anything about his being a ruler.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 5 February 2007 at 1:33pm GMT

Revd Briony Martin's comments about 'real life' going by 'outside' are emotive, but a poor argument. Any Christian church has a responsibility to adhere to the Gospel and is therefore frequently in a position to be counter-cultural - as for example they are in the matter of extra-marital sex. It is nonsense to suggest that any church ought to be led by the secular society in which it sits. Choose another argument, but not that one.

Posted by: Main man on Monday, 26 February 2007 at 12:33am GMT
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