Tuesday, 6 February 2007

university in discrimination row

Read about this in the Guardian today, University to ban gay marriages on campus by Jessica Shepherd.

The heads of a university closely aligned to the Church of England plan to ban civil partnership ceremonies on campus. The vice-chancellor, chair of governors and deputy pro-chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University argue that the church’s position on homosexuality makes it wrong to conduct lesbian and gay “marriages” on the university’s premises…

…Canterbury Christ Church currently offers its premises for civil marriages at its campuses in Canterbury and Tunbridge Wells. From spring 2007, it is likely that new legislation will forbid institutions licensed for civil marriage ceremonies to refuse to conduct civil partnership ceremonies. There is unlikely to be a clause allowing them to opt out on religious grounds…

Earlier reports from the Guardian here, and from the BBC here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 9:58am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

I understand that in order to stop doing weddings for same gener couples, they must stop all weddings, for everyone. What a price to pay in terms of the lost joy and delight.

Speaking of cost, i am also given to understand that they stand to lose a cool £1 million a year, that weddings had been bringing in.

I hope, with hands on hearts* and heads held high, they can say ,
"It was well worth it."

(Keeping my community out. What about outreach or don't they beleive in that ?)

* if they have hearts

This must be churchianity gone to (almost) its (il)logical conclusion. Any one for Our Lord's summary of the Law ? !

Looks like Tanzania may well cap it for sheer preessing on with this logic. I hope they will celelbrate with Leneonard Bernstein's Mass at least once at Dar -- if not daily ....

Posted by: laurence on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 10:13am GMT

A reminder how few steps we are from burning people in the village square.

Posted by: matthew hunt on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 3:25pm GMT

I occasionally think that the best that could happen with all this newly exclusive Anglican and general Puritannical rightwing realignment stuff is that it really continue to dramatically play itself out, so publicly, right out in the open. Make the air and sunlight of the rest of us who continue to participate in democratic society - and who can positively cope with historic Anglican leeway, flexible social institutions, and something besides black/white categorical preferences in thinking - serve the admittedly fallible discussion, inquiry, and disinfectant aims so innate to admittedly fallible democracy. The CoE in that case probably does need to stop performing civil marriages for people just because they are straight. Unless the straight couples in question can publicly sign off on the rightwing holier than thou confession that consigns everybody else to a permanently lesser place, called not-yet-repentant?

The meaner the religious right continues to show itself to be, never for any admitted mean reasons of course for their reasons are almost without exception the most absolutely holiness motives on the face of our planet, the more the rest of us can discern: Is it gospel to preach your own exclusive holiness in condemnation of others while you continue setting things up in this or that institution to scrupulously pounce on them the moment they speak up so that you can treat them meanly in ways you yourself would probably not like to be trated?

Isn't the legacy path just that, so that they will have a second to consider repentance in hopes of your stopping, or at least in hopes of slightly moderating, your meanness?

Maybe these are the sorts of religious people of whom Jesus spoke in the New Testament when he said that some believers were busy, piling burdens on others that they themselves were blessedly free from having to carry. We would add these days, and busy giving themselves special privileges and special access to church resources supposedly freely given to the public which others must be denied.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 4:01pm GMT

Or, alternatively, shouldn't the CoE marry only those straight couples who can sign off in public to great acclaim, on the entire and absolute and compleat rightwing religious agenda?

If the Elizabethan Settlement must for reasons of good conservative conscience, end effectively for queer believers who can no longer live honestly inside CoE (as lay, as priest, as bishop), then surely that settlement or legacy of leeway ends for straight people as well. Rowan can say that nobody is arguing for an unintelligent reading of scripture; but our continuing de facto daily life with this realignment demonstrates to us otherwise. Sucking up all the breathing space available in church and church-related institutions of all types, and reserving it with a big sign that says our sort of straight couples only, please?

Bravo, then. Another gingerly step, right out into the rightwing institutional church open. Are you happy yet to be helping this all along, Canterbury and York? As outside society intentionally tries to grow more institutionally complicated, with more institutional breathing spaces, and more foundational institutional respect for human differences?

Those who go to the church for oxygen will have to pass the rightwing confessional litmus tests. Fortunately, one of the enduring legacies of the Protestant Reformation is that under those circumstances, the rest of us are still free to go directly to Jesus, do not pass the new and improved rightwing CoE Inquisition, do not collect two hundred holier than thou chips. Has anybod else noticed that this new conservative movement is now busy institutionally claiming just what CoE rejected when the pope in Rome claimed it: Sole authority, sole access? To God? To Jesus?

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 4:10pm GMT

Does this "university" have 4 Faculties?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 5:48pm GMT

At last some people in public life are getting the guts to stand up for their beliefs, and their right to express that in what they do and don't approve and support!

I expect that liberal commentators will be crying "heresy" and demanding burnings at the stake! Or the modern equivalent - exclusion from the public square..

Posted by: Dave on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 7:34pm GMT

Bishop Venner argues that the University has a world-wide Anglican significance - that it has deep religious connections from its foundation to today and that these religious connections are so fundamental that the buildings should (nay MUST) be exempt from celebrating Civil Partnerships.

At some time in the past these buildings were registered with the Registrar General as a place fitted for CIVIL marriage. At that time the university would have had to convince the Registrar General that:

“These premises must have no recent or continuing connection with any religion, religious practice or religious persuasion which would be incompatible with the use of the premises for the solemnization of marriages in pursuance of section 26(1)(bb) of the Act.”

Someone here is or has been deceitful.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 9:03pm GMT

“These premises must have no recent or continuing connection with any religion, religious practice or religious persuasion which would be incompatible with the use of the premises for the solemnization of marriages in pursuance of section 26(1)(bb) of the Act.”

Someone here is or has been deceitful.'

A very good point this.

It remeinds me, that we are told, that when people were joining the Armed Firces in WW2, when the recruitment process was being gone through, if people answered the question, " Religion ?" . with , "Agnostic, or atheist", the recruitment officer would put down "C of E" on their form !

Posted by: laurence on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 10:49pm GMT

I agree with Martin.

This is homophobia, pure and simple - civil marriage is not religious marriage.

In Liverpool, the Council have already made it clear that venues cannot pick and choose. Either they provide for civil marriages and civil partnerships, or neither.

This is just the sort of thing which will continue to give the church a bad image - do they not realise that young people, in particular, despise this sort of prejudiced nonsense?

Still, it will drive more away from this variety of religion, which can only be a good thing.


Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 6 February 2007 at 11:10pm GMT

"At last some people in public life are getting the guts to stand up for their beliefs, and their right to express that in what they do and don't approve and support!"

If they are running civil weddings, they have to accept all couples the State considers valid.

The Roman Catholic Church could not be involved with celebrating civil weddings in general, since it recognizes only a certain set of weddings as valid matrimony.

If the Anglican Church associates itself with the civil wedding system, this must mean that it is accepting all sorts of weddings as valid. Adding Civil Partnerships to the list should not make much of a difference.

On the other hand, if it wants to make an issue of Civil Partnerships, it should -- in fairness -- make an issue of any other marriages not meeting its religious criteria.

Indeed, the Church should not be in the lucrative business of celebrating civil marriages at all.

In the present case, however, it is not the Church that is celebrating the civil marriages, but an institution vaguely associated with the Church. It has happily been an agent of civil marriage, with no questions asked, and is now raising religious objections out of the blue.

Selective conscience is the worst form of inconsistency.

Of course I may be totally misreading the situation.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 3:15am GMT

Do these CofE university whackos not CARE how they're dragging the distinguished name of "Anglican" through the mud?

{sigh}

Maybe it really IS time to begin the worldwide *Episcopal* Communion. NOT as an American church . . . but as a *Christian* one! :-/

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 3:46am GMT

Martin: I agree that there has been deceit (or less than full consistency), and confusion. First, the confusion.

1. If, as the UK Government and the bishops of the CofE claim, civil partnerships are NOT marriages, then it cannot be discrimination to decide to host marriages but not CPs. They are said to be different things.
2. CPs are themselves discriminatory because different-sex couples are not allowed to enter them (as they are in New Zealand). Don't CPs fall foul of the SORs?

Second, the lack of consistency or honesty, with information supplied by people who know the place:
1. Canterbury Christchurch University has had a chapel since its foundation in 1968, where Christian marriage may be solemnised. There was no need to extend the number of places for this to happen.
2. When the law was changed a few years ago to allow civil marriage to be contracted other than in registry offices, Canterbury Christchurch University initially decided not to follow the example of hotels and country houses which were getting in on 'the trade', because that was not seen to be consistent with its mission as a university with a church foundation. (Everyone knows also that civil marriages typically are for people on their second - or third - marriage.)
Later, it decided to reverse this stand, as a way of making money.
So it got caught between its desire on the one hand to be a voice in Christian higher education and being a secular business on the other. The old dilemma of God and mammon, I think.
The University was built on land gifted by the Church of England (including part of St Augstine's monstery), and its original building - where civil marriages are conducted - was the home of the bishop of Dover, which has its own chapel.

Posted by: Steve Watson. on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 7:39am GMT

I agree with Steve W. --equality for all !

Posted by: laurence on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 9:50am GMT

"The old dilemma of God and mammon, I think."

Which they revolve by saying, "A man and a woman living in sin is not enough of an affront to God to stop us taking the mammon. But a man and a man living in sin is just taking things too far."

And this shower of hypocrites expects us to take them seriously?

Posted by: Gerry Lynch on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 11:40am GMT

Matthew Hunt wrote; “A reminder how few steps we are from burning people in the village square.”

Indeed, the Nanny State intrudes daily with its Erastian EU-nuck diktats on the Consciences of those faithful Christians who would do this in good Conscience.

Its time for the Archbishops to write a letter to the Times...

(my mistake! they already did :-(

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 1:03pm GMT

Laurence wrote: “…the recruitment officer would put down "C of E" on their form!”

I’m sure he was an Evangelical ;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 1:03pm GMT

Hi Mike

You mentioned homophobia. Two questions:
(1) Does this refer to hatred or (more etymologically) to fear?
(2) On what basis would you distinguish between (a) a position based on analysis and (b) a position based on pure emotional reaction? Do you think that the world is devoid of (a)? If not, how do we identify the presence of (a)?

I mention this because those who see the whole world in emotional terms are so obviously the more inmmature: ie teenagers etc..

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 1:20pm GMT

Done this one Christopher. No, you are living linguistically, as well as theologically in the past. Homophobia refers to anti-gay attitudes - for an example, read your own posts.

Done the second one and not prepared to go through it again with someone who doesn't understand the meaning of social research or evidence.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 2:41pm GMT

a) would - it seems - require some kind of "analysis"...

... well any kind would do ;=)

If not: b)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 3:51pm GMT

Dear Christopher

I think that what campaigning liberals use "homophobia" to mean is: any belief or action that does not affirm homosexuality as equal (as a 'sexuality'). However, it is easily proven that homosexuality is NOT equal; especially biologically and physiologically, but also sociologically.

Nature herself is homophobic in their terms.
Shome mishtake shurely!!

Posted by: Dave on Wednesday, 7 February 2007 at 8:14pm GMT

"Shome mishtake shurely!!"

Nice, Dave. Very nice. You like to mock people with ethnic stereotypes, too ?

Dr. Shell, I'm afraid your allies are people like Dave here. So I'm gonna go with b) above as well...

Posted by: David H. on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 1:55am GMT

Dave, I don't really think the claims that "homosexuality is equal as a "sexuality" " is a central plank of gay rights argumentation. What I have heard a million times is the claim that gayness is a natural variant of human sexuality, and is in itself good and to be respected. This is not to say that homosexuality is equal to or interchangeable with heterosexuality (though some such crass notion of "equality" may underlie the Labour Government's tendency to conformist social engineering).

And what homophobes balk at is not some declaration of equality but at the acceptance of gays as normal people with a valid sexuality. The structure of this balking is much the same as the structure of racism or antisemitism.

Nature is clearly not homophobic in the real terms of mainstream gay rights thinking, for nature abounds non-judgmentally in homosexual behaviors throughout the animal kingdom, something homophobes fought hard to deny.

Posted by: Fr Joseph O'Leary on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 3:05am GMT

First it was (Indo European) Holy Scripture (in the singular) - now it is Mother Nature.

What's next?

(Le Prejugé reste le même - les arguments changent)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 9:37am GMT

Joseph ; I would say 'equal to' in a moral and legal sense, certainly - but that doesn't mean 'the same as'. However, in may ways, the similarities ie people who love one another and wish to form a relationship together - far outweigh the differences!

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 9:59am GMT

Hi Mike-
I disagree on the definition of 'homophobia'. Even supposing that your definition were in official usage - which it may be - it is incoherent. Why?
(1) The general term 'anti-gay' can cover all sorts of different and incompatible kinds of attitude which cannot be lumped together. Being pro the people but anti the action for ick-factor reasons. Being the same for statistical reasons. Being anti both person and action.
(2) Most ppl know that 'phobia' means fear. It doesn't mean 'antipathy' in a general way.

I didn't get your point on 'social research or evidence'. Is your proposal / programme that everybody should ignore statistical findings of scientific journals on all matters? If not, could you articulate what your proposal is?

Failing that, could someone else do the same?
Thanks.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 12:32pm GMT

I am more than happy with Mother Nature & her # Cornucopaeia of blessed gifts# !

.... even though being a gay male at this time and place in history has meant living as a* second or third class citizen* for over half a century -- and only just changing,for the best, fingers crossed ! ---- I should not give up my life and my 'me' for ANYTHING .

Thank you Universe! / Multiverse !

* pathologisation / aversion 'therapy', criminalisation by State, demonisation by religion(s), queer bashing --- 'the bad ole days'.

However, Mitigated by the Grace of God, by an experience of the LesGay Pleroma age three, Round the Horn (radio 4 Sunday delight for a lad), two ladies who lived over and ran the village Wool Shop,who exuded calm charm; our lesbian bus-conductress who made me feel reasured ; the discovery fun in my teens,Evensong & Benediction-- and then falling in love 43 years ago in August ......

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 1:15pm GMT

So is it okay if we say you are homoantipathetic?

I can agree to that.

I'm so glad we can discuss terms in such a civilised way. I've never had the opportunity in real life to object to being called a pouf and so on. And to think that those men who called me those things whilst jamming their fists into my face and breaking the bones in my head were never in any way influenced by the homoantipathetic teachings of the 'church' all those centuries and most particularly those decades when these particular men were growing up trying to define what it is to be male and 'right'.

I must be homo-pathetic.

That fits uncannily with the sentiment that people from school through adulthood encouraged me to agree with.

You must have some spiritual insight or something. Maybe if we all keep in there and push this message through, there will never be any more filth like me. Shall we pray now?

Posted by: matthew hunt on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 4:56pm GMT

oh dear ! I am sorry but '43 years' should have read (cf my post above), of course '34 years' !
also while I'm at it : the #Cornucopaeia of blessed gifts# -- I meant to indicate the gifts in my final para following #Mitigation by Grace of God# by placing this # symbol down there. But I'm sure you got that...

They were right about 'counting my blessings one by one'. I enjoyed recalling them & 'what God has done.'

Posted by: laurence on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 6:40pm GMT

Try me:

One doesn't have a case by being one.

The "statistics" you go on about is not science, but superstition.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 8:47pm GMT

Joseph O'Reily wrote: "....This is not to say that homosexuality is equal to or interchangeable with heterosexuality (though some such crass notion of "equality" may underlie the Labour Government's tendency to conformist social engineering).


Dear Joseph, That is exactly what I think they, and their supporters, are trying to do. And "crass" is a good description of a lot of the arguements extended to defend imposing their ideology - and exclude all those who aren't quite as liberal as they are.

To explain what I meant about "nature being homophobic" in the terms some campaigers use to define it... Firstly, humans (and animals) sex organs are built for male-female intercourse - we are physiologically heterosexual. People of the same sex can stimulate each other sexually but that is, physically, less than full sexual intercourse. In the same way reproduction is, naturally, a key objective of sexual intercourse (but humans have artificially broken the link recently). Nature does not allow same-sex partners to reproduce. Also, a homosexual partnership is also not as complete as a male-female marriage because it does not include the other half of what it means to be human.

I hope that helps explain..

ps I don't agree that "nature abounds non-judgmentally in homosexual behaviors throughout the animal kingdom". (How would *you* see nature judging a behaviour?!) It could readily be argued (for some of the reasons given above) that "homosexual" behaviour in the animal kingdom is just aberant sexual behaviour. And anyway I'm not sure if you could define an animal as homosexual in the human sense!

Posted by: Dave on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 11:10pm GMT

ps As I think no-one pointed this out earlier... the CofE recognises non-religious marriages as valid marriages. Therefore Canterbury Christ Church University is not going against the teachings of the church, by being seen to affirm something that the church says is sinful, when it allows it's premises to be used for civil marriages ....unlike Civil Partnerships.

Posted by: Dave on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 11:17pm GMT

Tough, Dave.

They will have to obey the law. They are not above it nor exempt from it.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 8 February 2007 at 11:57pm GMT

I for one, am glad you came through and are here matthew hunt . thank you
laurence

Posted by: laurence on Friday, 9 February 2007 at 12:46am GMT

No dear Dave, it's not O'Reily; that's FOX news.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 9 February 2007 at 6:10am GMT
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