Tuesday, 9 October 2007

incitement extension proposed

Yesterday the UK Government announced in Parliament that it would table an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality.

Mr Straw said:

The Government have a strong record of promoting equality and of tackling discrimination and bigotry in all its guises. We have strengthened the sentencing framework, so that sentences can be increased where race, religion, disability or sexual orientation are aggravating factors. We have also introduced legislation to outlaw the stirring up of religious hatred, as my hon. Friend reminded the House. We have received many representations on the matter, and I am pleased to say that we will propose a further step to strengthen the protection afforded to homosexual people. It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 years that we are all now appalled by hatred and invective directed against gay people, and it is now time for the law to recognise the feeling of the public. In Committee, we will table an amendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality. Homophobic abuse, lyrics and literature are every bit as abhorrent to those concerned as material inciting hatred based on race or religion, and have no place in our communities.

Media reporting of this today gives some prominence to objections from religious groups:

The Times Inciting hatred against gays could lead to 7 years in prison and yesterday before the announcement, Christians fear jail for criticising gays
Daily Telegraph Seven years jail for gay hate preachers
Guardian Straw moves to ban incitement against gays
Daily Mail New law means anti-gay comments could lead to seven years in jail
Daily Express JAIL THREAT TO VICARS UNDER GAY HATE LAW
BBC Plans to outlaw inciting gay hate

According to the Daily Mail (no other paper mentioned this):

Last night a CofE spokesman said: “We will be scrutinising any legislation to ensure that it safeguards the safety and rights of minorities without jeopardising wider concerns for freedom of expression, including the expression of religious faith.”

Update
The Christian Institute is already on the case, see Gospel freedom threatened by homosexual hate crime.

More Updates
The text of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act is here.

The Evangelical Alliance had this to say about it.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 11:50am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

This is good - nobody should be able to incite violence or hate.

Legitimate freedom of speech and religion matter too, of course and I am sure the government will be careful to protect these as well as prohibitying hatemongers.

Pls do not think the government is making Lambeth 1.10 illegal....it certainly is not.

Posted by: NP on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 12:47pm BST

Jack Straw says: "In Committee, we will table an amendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality."

Interesting, particularly in the light of remarks made by some of Mr Straw's colleagues elsewhere in the same debate. See, for example, this article on the Guardian website - http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/frank_fisher/2007/10/all_the_fun_of_the_fear.html - and particularly comment 854293 by "MrPikeBishop".

Anyone for Wolfenden's principle that the criminal law shouldn't normally interfere in issues of sexual morality?

Posted by: Alan Harrison on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 12:54pm BST

Again, the difference between those of us on the two sides of the Atlantic shines through.
I;m not sure how to feel about this, exactly.

Posted by: John Robison on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 1:12pm BST

Seems like the Spirit feels more at home in parliament than in church.
Hate speech/crimes against homosexual people have been included in Swedish legislation for a few years now, and so far only one clergyman has come close to being convicted. (He compared homosexuality to cancer, but was acquitted in a higher court to much dismay.)

Posted by: Swedish Lutheran on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 1:51pm BST

Fortunately 'the CofE spokes-person' need not worry about the free expression of faith,under this proposed legislation, as there is no article of faith in any Christian Creed proclainming:


'Queers are dreadful'

or

'Down with queers'

or

'God hates fags'.

Phewww ! S/he must feel so relieved now ! Should have asked before !

Now, anything elsewe can help with ?

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 1:57pm BST

Jack Straw makes it clear that he is led by, and is simply following, currents in public opinion. Public opinion itself does not simply change for no reason, and the size of one's platform to change it determines how far one will in fact change it. The media have a big platform: therefore they have the best chance of anyone of changing it (into their own image). Media types however are not broadly representative of the people of Britain - and even if they were, that wouldn't make them right in terms of logical coherence.

So our country is governed by the media, who are the main influence on the people, who are the main influence on the government. A three-tier hierarchy.

I don't know why there is an exemption for 'religious belief'. Why should any belief without evidential backing get an exemption? Whereas someone like me (boohoo) who relies on nothing but evidential backing - maximally up-to-date statistics from scientific journals and the like - is a prime candidate for prison because the people in question wilfully pretend that there is no distinction between (a) hatred, (b) fear, which is the proper meaning of 'phobia', (c) a conclusion that something is harmful based on study of the evidence.

a-c are obviously as different as chalk and cheese, and all three are real things which will often be evidenced. But somehow we are being coerced into believing that only a is real and that even c can in all circumstances be subsumed under the heading of a. (They know that this is not true, of course: but it helps in the enterprise of getting speakers of unwelcome truths punished.)

I think I will go home and listen to Britten's opera 'Paul Bunyan'. There, in two short words, is encapsulated the reason why Christians should not necessarily think their forthcoming stays in prison will be a waste of time.

Posted by: Chirstopher Shell on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 2:02pm BST

The Daily Express piece is appalling !

However, the series of Comments (sic) beneath it are totally dire. Salutory for me to see so graphically, that some people hold such views !

One 'commentator' actually sees this proposed legislation as being on a par with banning Xmas --rather than extending it to a vulnerable group.

You couldn't invent this stuff !

Thank goodness they don't post, here ! Oh, now, now, there's a thought !

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 2:41pm BST

This is good news. Once again, the churches are presenting themselves as being sympathetic to hate crime.

How sad, how pathetic. About time a few christians started to speak out against these negative statements.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 3:35pm BST

"Pls do not think the government is making Lambeth 1.10 illegal....it certainly is not."

I think it is some of the more extreme in your own camp who need to be reminded of this, NP.

And Christopher, you may wish to maintain this fiction:

"someone like me (boohoo) who relies on nothing but evidential backing - maximally up-to-date statistics from scientific journals and the like"

you may even believe it, but you have cited some things here that are NOT scientific, and treated them as fact.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 5:16pm BST

I was at a service in Westminster Abbey last week where Jack Straw read the lesson and the Dean preached a sermon taking a swipe at equality legislation as applied to churches. He argued against "the relentless pursuit of the equality of individuals at all costs" and complained that "the drive for equality runs the risk of damaging distinctive institutions and organisations".

I didn't think the sermon was very coherent at the time, and the people around me seemed to find it simply baffling.

Maybe Jack Straw wasn't convinced by it either.

Text here: http://www.westminster-abbey.org/worship/sermons/32328

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 5:49pm BST

The clsoing words of the sermon:--

'As today we pray for God’s blessing on the courts of our land in this coming year and for the true administration of justice, we pray for the makers of law and public policy that, together with men and women of goodwill, we may work to build a more cohesive and peaceful Britain of strong communities, acting together for the good of all who live here, rich and poor, native'

"Hope so."

Posted by: L Roberts on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:10pm BST

Alan ; this has nothing to do with sexual morality. Its about inciting hatred against an identified group of people.
Was that the view you took when you were a Union rep?
Oh well, another campaign for the Christian Institute to lose.....

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:23pm BST

Laurence wrote "Thank goodness they don't post here...".

Sorry your posting must have gone through before some of the postings went up.

As Ford since commented some "...have cited some things here that are NOT scientific, and treated them as fact..."

In threads in the last week they have posted some things as fact, which are merely fantasies in their own mind.

A few weeks ago they talked about the thoroughness of rationality and robustness of examination, yet they are demonstrating that facts and evidence are meaningless when they have a barrow to push. What they really mean are the "facts" and "evidence" that they purport, which may or may not have actually occurred or have any correlation to reality.

But, it's okay because a lot of their cronies agree with them, so it's okay to talk and do as they do, and they are prepared to go to jail in order to prove that it is their right. Same dynamics that happened to Klu Klux Klan members.

I'm not sure that the penal system is the best solution, it is Nigeria going the other way.

At the end of the day we are always going to have some GLBTs in our communities and an element who have a strong anethema to them. Just as we are always going to have females and misogynists.

The trick is to nurture a society where we can all live together with a minimum level of dignity. Fear and hatred need to be managed because there will always be someone that we annoy (even the "perfect" are just plain annoying to some souls). We need to do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves, and allow unto others what we would want for ourselves. If we want to have a mate, children, food, shelter, companionship and joy; then we need to be prepared to give those to others. Further a society or priesthood that sees such things as undesirable is on the road to death as it no longer sees the need to care for children or give hope to the elderly.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 9:40pm BST

The Christian Institute website is fascinating. They have a series of manuals on how to defend your (Evangelical) Christian Union, and a morality catalogue of MPs. For all those stupid enough not to tell right from wrong, each MP collect ticks and crosses so that you can easily see their morality score, and discern the Godly from the reprobates. Jack Straw has just one green tick in a sea of big red crosses, so presumably is an agent of Satan.

In what way is this body related to the Anglican church? I see that the very first organisation on their links page is Reform.

Posted by: John Omani on Tuesday, 9 October 2007 at 10:19pm BST

John - it was founded by a member of Reform, David Holloway.
It has n o official relationship with the Anglican church but is supported by the usual suspects. It specialises in unsuccessful campaigns.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 12:27am BST

"Jack Straw has just one green tick in a sea of big red crosses, so presumably is an agent of Satan."

Odd - I never thought I'd agree with the CI about anything...

Posted by: MRG on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 12:40am BST

Hi Ford and Cheryl:

What are the true scientific figures for the normal ratio between heterosexual risk and homosexual risk on the following matters:

(a) life-expectancy;
(b) STD risk;
(c) promiscuity risk;
(d) risk of being involved in sexual abuse?

Since you know that every single one of the figures which I have read about (without exception, since the general picture points one way and one way only) are incorrect, it follows that you know what the correct figures are. Thanks.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 9:14am BST

To Merseymike - like the campaign to clarify legislation in NI which has been ruled ultra-vires by the High Court on Judicial Review and the defence of the couple in Lancs. who were harrassed by their local council and the Police for being Christians with a point of view or the complaint upheld against the Gay Police Association for Religious Harassment and incitement to violence!

Posted by: Jeremy King on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 11:53am BST

These are never simple matters.

In principle we are opposed to any law that curtails freedom of speech and a careful balance has to be struck in allowing that freedom whilst protecting people from intolerable abuse.

Sadly there is no doubt that some people deliberately try to whip up hate against LGBT people – this is itself a heinous crime and deserves to attract the full force of the law.

The Christian Institute has a responsibility to stand for what it believes without telling lies, not telling the whole truth, and whipping up hysteria by false claims. To date there is evidence of them doing all these and with little to show save the increasing contempt of those who should respect their position.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 12:11pm BST

Merseymike wrote:
"Alan ; this has nothing to do with sexual morality. Its about inciting hatred against an identified group of people."

Sorry, Mike, maybe I haven't been clear enough in my reference. Elsewhere in the same debate at least one MP, Martin Salter, vilified an identified group of people (sadomasochists) on the basis of their sexuality. He did so with reference to a clause which seeks to use the criminal law to enforce sexual morality by creating an offence of mere possession of material categorised as "extreme pornography". (So sloppily drafted, I might add, that it could throw people in prison for viewing the Guardian's art pages!)

I look forward to sharing a cell with +Akinola when he's doing porridge for verbal queer-bashing and I'm banged up for curiosity about the oeuvre of Miklos Jancso!

Posted by: Alan Harrison on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 12:29pm BST

Christopher asks about life-expectancy, STD risk and promiscuity risk for heterosexuals and homosexuals.

A quick Google of these terms tends to turn up ‘traditional family value’ type sites quoting horrifying figures suggesting that most gay men die young. The source of their figures nearly always turns out to be the widely discredited researcher Paul Cameron.

In amongst his own flawed research, Paul Cameron misrepresented other researchers. Some of those researchers have since gone on record to correct Cameron's misinterpretations i.e.:

“It is essential to note that the life expectancy of any population is a descriptive and not a prescriptive measure. Death is a product of the way a person lives and what physical and environmental hazards he or she faces everyday. It cannot be attributed solely to their sexual orientation or any other ethnic or social factor. If estimates of an individual gay and bisexual man's risk of death is truly needed for legal or other purposes, then people making these estimates should use the same actuarial tables that are used for all other males in that population. Gay and bisexual men are included in the construction of official population-based tables and therefore these tables for all males are the appropriate ones to be used.”
(Hogg et al, International Journal of Epidemiology 2001;30:1499)

In other words, life expectancy (and I assume STD risk and promiscuity too) depends upon the way you live, not on your sexual orientation. There is no single ‘homosexual lifestyle’, just as there is no single ‘heterosexual lifestyle’.

Posted by: Jimbo on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 3:40pm BST

We've had a similar law in Canada for a few years. It only applies to broadcast media (radio, TV, newspapers, billboards, mass distributed fliers) and doesn't touch private conversation. Initially, religious groups had the same reaction but realized that no one was silencing core beliefs. You can say that homosexuality is a sin or according to Leviticus it was punishable by death. You just can't say "If you're a good Christian you'll do what Leviticus tells you to do" using a means of mass distribution.

It was this kind of hate speech that led to creating the conditions that led to the holocaust and to genocide in Rwanda. Expressing disapproval towards an action and inciting hated towards a group of people are vastly different things. Mainstream Christian groups really don't have anything to fear.

Posted by: toujoursdan on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 4:12pm BST

Alan: thanks for clarifying - this seems to be another part of the proposals entirely, which I can't really comment on as I haven't any more information about the precise proposal.

It is a totally different issue, though.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 4:25pm BST

Jeremy: you appear to have got your facts wrong.
First, with regard to NI, the only thing to fall, on the basis of lack of consultation alone, not its content, was the harassment clause. that clause is not included in the law in the rest of the UK and Stonewall agreed that it would be better to have harassment regulations which crossed the boundaries of the different inequalities issues. The Government are currently drafting these regulations. I think this is a bgetter approach. But the rest of the legislation - ALL of the legislation in the UK, remains intact. So, the CI failed in their aim.

As for the other case, I sincerely hope that any action is taken in a sensible and reasoned way. In the case you mention, the police and the local council both reacted in a less than ideal way. However, the substantive issue was that the couple concerned wished to display homophobic leaflets alongside official information about civil partnerships. This is not acceptable. The new law will, I hope, clarify the situation as the police and council were using the current, inadequate , general law which currently exists. this is why we need the new law, to clarify the precise boundaries of acceptability

But the CI appear to be opposing this welcome clarification too, as they wish to have the right to incite hatred on the basis of sexuality - or they would be supporting the legislation.

These are all pretty small beer - what the CI have not done is stop any of the substantive legal changes which have brought equality under the law for gay people. The fact that you haven't been able to claim success for any of those campaigns speaks volumes - the age of consent, equality in employment, the SOR's, civil partnerships - the CI lost the lot!

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 4:35pm BST

Jimbo is spot on re. life-expectancy of homosexuals, and that "it depends upon the way you live, not on your sexual orientation. There is no single ‘homosexual lifestyle’, just as there is no single ‘heterosexual lifestyle’."

Unfortunately, evangelicals enjoy misrepresenting the facts. Is the truth of Christ in them? Sadly, their prejudice and hang-ups trump truth and/or the findings of science. I get so annoyed with the retired Bishop of Eau Claire, a brilliant lawyer, when he reduces the average life-expectancy of gays and lesbians by twenty-six (26) years. Where is the evidence?

Posted by: John Henry on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 5:25pm BST

Christopher,

"Since you know that every single one of the figures which I have read about (without exception, since the general picture points one way and one way only) are incorrect"

You made statements about these issues and angrily denied that you were quoting Gagnon, Cameron, et al. Finally, after months of being pressed on the issue, you gave references to two studies, one by Cameron(!) and the other as poorly formulated as any of Cameron's propaganda. I do not know that all the figures you have read are wrong. I do know that the only figures you have provided me with are wrong. You do not seem to know how to properly assess a study. This is no crime for a layman, but you are claiming some sort of scientific position. I also question your ability to appropriately draw conclusions from data.

This is part of a trend. You made a reference to high and rising rates of violent crime in North American society recently. I had fortuitously read that very day reports of the decline of violent crime in North American society over the past several decades. When I linked to these sites, you ignored me. Sorry, Christopher, but you haven't given much evidence to back up your claim of scientific objectivity.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 5:51pm BST

"I think I will go home and listen to Britten's opera 'Paul Bunyan'. There, in two short words, is encapsulated the reason why Christians should not necessarily think their forthcoming stays in prison will be a waste of time."

Please, Christopher, don't! It was written by a homosexual! It is probably performed by other homosexuals! They're out to convert you!

Try something straight like, I dunno, Metallica.

Posted by: John Bassett on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 8:16pm BST

Ford: another tactic of those who claim to be quoting scientific findings is to present statistics from HIV+ men in urban areas and research done specifically to develop things like safer sex campaigns as representative of all gay men.

Cameron often does this when he cites secondary sources. Its a bit like saying that
Fred Phelps is representative of all evangelicals.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 11:07pm BST

Reading the EA response, they really do need to recognise that their own stance does require some examination.

They seem entirely unaware of the possibility that they may themselves overstep the mark.

And yes, they may have to change their mode of expression at times.

Posted by: Merseymike on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 at 11:59pm BST

"What are the true scientific figures for the normal ratio between heterosexual risk and homosexual risk on the following matters:

(a) life-expectancy;
(b) STD risk;
(c) promiscuity risk;
(d) risk of being involved in sexual abuse?"

Absolutely identical to the rest of the population, Chris. I'd be most curious to know what the particular risk of (c) and especially (d) is in smaller, often self-contained, communities, such as evangelical churches. Got any scientific data to respond to this, Chris?

Posted by: kieran crichton on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 12:33am BST

Christopher

In the attempts to push your barrow you make a fool of yourself.

You wrote "Since you know that every single one of the figures which I have read about (without exception, since the general picture points one way and one way only) are incorrect, it follows that you know what the correct figures are. Thanks."

I have never purported to know every single on of the figures you ave read about nor how you have interpreted those figures.

Thanks. I have no desire to spend my life trying to work out what quagmire you have been walking through, what you rememeber, what you have chosen to use and what you had deemed irrelevant.

I put you in the same category as my pedophilic father, which is that I do not pursue you or engage my attention in your mentality as I have no desire to become like you.

If you want to quote facts and link sources to justify your position, then I might choose to examine those and pass comment on either their veracity or your competence in analysis.

You do not quote sources (and one thread recently highlighted that you lie about your sources) so I am not bound to follow your reasoning.

If it is humanly impossible to see through your shimmers and mirrors, then I am not going to use supernatural abilities to derive the truth. If I succeed and can't prove it you will simply call me insane, if I succeed and prove it you will call me the "evil one".

You have been shown by others to lie about your sources, you have been shown by others to lack the ability to understand the sources that you do use, and you have been shown by yet others to be completely subjective and irrational to the point that nothing you postulate should have any credibility beyond a small group of sycophantic priests who want to continue tyranny and repression.

What all you idiots have failed to realise is that in refuting God's grace to women, GLBTs or eunuchs, you have refuted Jesus' sacrifice on the cross as being successful.

I believe the phrases that humans use in such circumstances is "shooting off one's own foot" or "cutting off one's nose to spite one's face".

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 8:47am BST

Ford/ Kieran - I am more concerned with spiritual health.

I am not at all convinced that the present excuses given by some to justify certain sins will stand up on the final analysis and receive the blessing of God. This is, as you know, based on what God has made clear in the OT and NT and the last 2000 years in the church.

Posted by: NP on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 8:57am BST

Since making that last reply, Christopher, I've done some more thinking.

There is a fundamental difference between your theology and mine. Your theology is premised that it is okay to attack those who are not "inside" grace and all you have to do is prove that they are "outside" of grace.

My theology does not deny Jesus' success and God's reconciliation. It does not tolerate abuse or vilification of any soul. Your theology puts conditions upon Jesus' sacrifice and denies that it applied to souls who never even know of Jesus, because they lived before his incarnation or did not have access to the "gospel". My theology claims that Jesus succeeded and that God accepted his offering to apply to all humans, whether they were before or after his incarnation or subscribed to a particularly selfish form of Christian theology.

Nor was Jesus overly worried about the "form" of religion that followed him.

Matthew 19:19-20 Jesus advised when arrested not worry about "about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."

Or Mark 13:11 "Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit."

Luke 12:11-12 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 9:11am BST

NP,
Whatever. Self examination is obviously not your strong point. I have explained how you are making yourself look. You don't seem to care. I think you consider yourself the brave little soldier valiantly defending the faith against the apostates and the heathens. Either that or, as I said, a Church hater getting his jollies winding up the poor gullible Christians. Either way, it's fun to watch. That accompanied by your fundemantalist style revision of Church history and doctrine just makes for an even better show. Please continue.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 12:49pm BST

It's important to keep in mind that there is a significant difference in how a secular society protects the rights of the individuals, and how a particular branch of Christianity instructs its membership. For example, many denominations deplore the use of alcohol, while the state condones its useage, in a controlled and mature fashion. Faithful members can deplore its useage, while many others in the culture find it fine.

Still, if members of the denomination were to highlight scriptural passages that call for those who participate in that behavior to be punished in any fashion, and that punishment is in opposition to the secular law, then there should be an accountability to that denomination for aggressive and illegal acts perpetrated against those that they have labeled sinners by their own definition.

In the case of sexual orientation, it is one thing to hold members of the individual congregation, denomination, or branch of Chrisianity to standards that that entire group values and something quite different to impose those values on the other dialects of Christianity or the entire diversified society and culture.

Posted by: Fr. Shawn+ on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 1:19pm BST

But, NP, and I repeat this once again, we are not terribly concerned as to what you think, because we do not share your perspective.

As we have said countless times, we do not excuse or justify sins, but we disagree with you as to whether some things are sins or not.

I think that point should be well established and I hope the site owners will take account of the fact that we are becoming a bit tired of having so many debates brought back to the same irrelevant point which we have explained our position on countless times.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 11 October 2007 at 2:31pm BST

Hi Cheryl-

You have made a serious allegation that cannot go unremarked.

If I have lied about my sources, please give chapter and verse. Thanks.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 1:00pm BST

Actually Fr Shawn, there are times when the bible tells us to share alcohol: e.g. Proverbs 31:6-7 "Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.'

This passages basically says that if a soul's life is a misery, do not begrudge them the break of sedation that alcohol can give.

That is not to say they should go on to live a life of drunkenness, but there is a maxim that if a soul is in anguish of no hope of escaping its circumstances, then alcohol is a legitimate "respite".

Mind you, this would probably be more applicable to males that females.

Just as apparently Jesus' sacrifice was insufficient for all but the most pure of human females and is purported to have not covered any non-human females.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 1:09pm BST

Several times I have asked for more large-scale, more up-to-date statistics on these matters to be quoted. I may have missed it, or alternatively they were never quoted.

Ford, I spoke as a Brit when I spoke of crime figures. The period of 1960s-style liberalism as a whole (ie the last 40 years) has been a period of massively increased crime and instability. I would think that this is true in America too when one compares these last 40 years with those preceding. There are small upturns and downturns, naturally, but the big downturn came 40 years ago and was intimately related to a big downturn in prevailing worldview and life philosophy.

What puzzles me is: How can anyone think it is an ok lifestyle choice to be a practising homosexual without first researching the relevant stats? (Answer: because, if it feels good, do it?? Profound.)

Jimbo's point: Clearly either homosexuality is intrinsically less healthy or homosexuals by nature are prone to live less healthily in other ways. Both amount to the same thing: decreased life-expectancy for lifestyle reasons, just as smoking is a lifestyle that decreases life expectancy, albeit not by as many years. This finding would be predictable by the fact that married men always live (on average) longest by a considerable margin.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 1:15pm BST

Hi Kieran-

Your comment was the most mind-blowing. By immense coincidence, the stats for homosexuals and heterosexuals are precisely the same on all these four matters?

That would be a coincidence of Guinness World Records proportions.

Is this something you have evidence for, or something you want to believe?

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 6:27pm BST

"it is one thing to hold members of the individual congregation, denomination, or branch of Chrisianity to standards that that entire group values and something quite different to impose those values on the other dialects of Christianity or the entire diversified society and culture."

Absolutely! Why, though, do so many think that it is our right as Christians to do exactly this?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 6:52pm BST

Ford wrote on 10 October: "You made statements about these issues and angrily denied that you were quoting Gagnon, Cameron, et al. Finally, after months of being pressed on the issue, you gave references to two studies, one by Cameron(!) and the other as poorly formulated as any of Cameron's propaganda. I do not know that all the figures you have read are wrong. I do know that the only figures you have provided me with are wrong. You do not seem to know how to properly assess a study. This is no crime for a layman, but you are claiming some sort of scientific position. I also question your ability to appropriately draw conclusions from data."

Ford, sorry, but we need a favour. You were following the scent of a trail that didn't interest me. Would you mind using some search engine or your diary to track down and link the relevant threads? Google can help if you put the thinking anglicans domain name in the advanced search feature. It will take a bit of time, I've had to do it in the past with NP.

Further Christopher

I just love Isaiah 54:13-17: God's vindication for his servants is that we refute every accusation made against us.

My third rebuttal strategy. You have been quoting statistics to demonstrate that homosexuality reduces life expectancy, has higher health risks and therefore they are outside of God's grace.

Shall we consistently apply your interpretation? Let's reason together what that would mean. Such reasoning means we should deny grace to diabetics, congenital heart disease, the disabled. Actually, such souls were amongst the first to go into the Nazi gas chambers.

Reduced life expectancy is proof of God's judgment and wrath? Is that why AIDS victims and those born to poor families in poor countries are allowed to languish without medicine, food and shelter? Or that it is okay to enslave them at cheap rates to prop up the comfortable lifestyles of the complacent elite?

Another difference between you and I, Christopher is that I think every soul should be given dignity and the best possible life, irregardless of whether God has deemed they draw ten breaths or a million. There are no quantitative limits to God's grace.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Friday, 12 October 2007 at 11:04pm BST

Christopher:

'Whereas someone like me (boohoo) who relies on nothing but evidential backing - maximally up-to-date statistics from scientific journals and the like.'

Presumably 'scientific' evidence like this piece, posted on the Anglican Mainstream site:
http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/?p=1546 ?
Unfortunately, the author happens to be internationally discredited for the flaws and failings of his 'research':
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=588

Young Earth Creationists use what they call scientific research in support of their claims too, and have even created their own publishing houses and institutions to perpetuate their nonsense. Now, if Anglican Mainstream posted some of the material used by Answers in Genesis on their website they would be a laughing stock; you should not be surprised then to get the same reaction here.

What seems more sinister is your motivation for repeatedly quoting such material. What are you trying to prove? That sinfulness is measured by life expectancy? That the prevalance of AIDS in the homosexual community is evidence of their evil?

As I remarked in another thread to NP, who made derogatory remarks about 'wierdos' and 'misfits', one of the great drawbacks of conservative evangelicalism is its attitude towards those who suffer and are on the margins of society. Sadly, as seen in the cases of Paul Barnes and Ted Haggard in the US, those that persecute are often themselves struggling with the untruthfulness of their position.

It is very troubling that even today many evangelicals still consider AIDS a punishment for sin. When dealing with the sick we would all do well remembering Christ's encounter with the blind man in John 9:2: 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God may be revealed in him'.


Posted by: John Omani on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 4:13am BST

Surely if this legislation is passed, no one will be safe. they came for the evangelicals etc...syndrome.

You can't force people to love or respect each other.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 7:37am BST

"You can't force people to love or respect each other."

No, but you can force them to treat those they don't agree with or don't like with good manners, not to agitate against them and not to incite hatred of them.
They may think what they like, it's their behaviour that may have to be restricted.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 5:24pm BST

Amen John "It is very troubling that even today many evangelicals still consider AIDS a punishment for sin. When dealing with the sick we would all do well remembering Christ's encounter with the blind man in John 9:2: 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God may be revealed in him'."

Absolutely. Go to the book of Job, even God admitted Job was not being punished, but that the nature of God was made more fully manifest in the dialogues that occurred as they grappled with what was happening to Job.

Similarly, Jesus addressed survivor guilt-tripping when he rebukes that generation with a comment that they were no better than Sodom or Gomorroh.

Then there are numerous biblical passages where God says he will strike us, but only in order to heal us. Those who remember God with reverence at such times are those who are written into God's Book of Life, may they also remember the everlasting covenant of peace that was promised to both Levi and the Daughter of Zion.

Erika and Robert, we can not always heal souls' hearts, but that does not mean we have to tolerate bad behaviour. To say that it is useless to thwart bad conduct is to say that we should not stop suicide bombers or rapists.

We have a responsibility to build as safe a society as possible, if that means that expressing hate in public needs to be curtailed, then we do that. We might not change what happens behind closed doors, but as children see their own homes filled with violence and hate speech, yet others filled with love and joy, they can individually commit to build better lives than their parents. Plus the teachers of peace will be hidden no longer and they will be able to find suitable mentors to help them transcend the aggression that their own parents couldn't or wouldn't renounce.

Steven Covey talks along the lines of being a generational transformer for one's own family. You often find such souls go on to teach their parents how to be good grand-parents, even though they were lousy parents.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Sunday, 14 October 2007 at 10:06pm BST

Hi John-

I repeat: even if one piece of research has flaws (in fact, what piece of research doesn't), all you need to do is provide the correct statistics as a corrective. For that, I am still waiting. Be honest and admit in advance that (I imagine?) you are assuming that the statistics will turn out as you want them to?

And how does that at a stroke discredit every other statistic that turned out as you did not want? There are all sorts of different statistics, from different sources, relating to this matter.

In the real world, statistics and facts do not always turn out the way we want them to. Because wants are one thing, and reality is another thing.

Hi Cheryl-
My point was a different one. Namely, that if we are trying to find out what lifestyles help human beings thrive, and live healthily and long, and what other lifestyles have the opposite effect, then homosexuality falls in the same bracket as alcoholism and smoking. The Nazi death camp deaths were - as you know - nothing to do with freely-chosen lifestyle.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 12:34pm BST

The point is that I am a big-bibliography person, as it were. It seems to me to be true by definition that the more you read, the better informed you will (on average) be, as well as the better equipped to sift the wheat from the chaff. No wonder my viva examiner remarked they were glad I passed, for otherwise they would have had to lug the graat thing complete with bibliography around for another two months.

Now - when it comes to orthodox writers, Gagnon, Nicolosi, the catholic writer J. Harvey, even Anne Atkins, they are kind enough to give leads to the available scientific research. Some say that some of the works they cite are flawed (what research isn't?) - but it is highly unscholarly and unscientific to tar it all with the same brush as though it was all done by the same person under the same conditions. We are talking about 30-40 studies here that all point in the same direction: homosexuality being an unhealthy lifestyle.

I would (as is my wont) dearly love to increase my bibliography, and maybe the nonorthodox writers will help me do so - with the precondition that they must be treating the same (not always tasteful) questions of STD rates, life expectancy, promiscuity rates, rates of indulgence in unsafe/unhealthy sexual practices, and rates of involvement in abuse.

Can anyone give me any leads here? I'm assuming (or hoping) that, since many have come down firmly on the other side, they must have done so on the basis of real-world evidence and statistics. Because hopefully bona fide scholars can spot somebody motivated by wants rather than by facts a mile off.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 12:54pm BST

"Gagnon, Nicolosi,"

You left out Cameron and Satinover. Christopher, if you read 30 or 40 bad studies, you have read nothing edifying. There are flaws and there are flaws. One of the most important parts of a study is the discussion section where the authors, if they are honest, interpret their findings, discuss the flaws they can identify in their own research, and even propose better methodology. If Nicolosi publishes 20 studies constructed so as to "prove" his bias, that's not science. Scientific validity is not to be found in the number of publications, but in the proper structure of the study, the conclusions drawn, and reproducability. Nicolosi and Gagnon are not credible voices in this area, and by continually quoting them, and Cameron, you are ruining your own credibility. I do not buy your veneer of science for this reason. The onus is not on me to provide you with statistics, the onus is on you to use credible data to back up your claims. To date you have not done so, and it ill behoves a Christian, a follower of the Truth, to go quoting propaganda as though it were fact. I am not seeking to change your mind about gay people, I am seeking to show you that quoting such people's "work" as valid scientific material, you make your claim to some kind of scientific objectivity very difficult to accept. Do not be hoodwinked by these people.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 5:07pm BST

"what other lifestyles have the opposite effect, then homosexuality falls in the same bracket as alcoholism and smoking."

Funny. Which bit about going to work, looking after children and pets, and coming together at the end of the day to talk, listen and chat with each other is as damaging as alcoholism and smoking? I'd really like to know so I can stop doing it.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 6:53pm BST

Cheryl,
One thread is here:

http://thinkinganglicans.org.uk/mt/comments?entry_id=2419

There's two points. First, the continual reference to "numerous" studies, when those "studies" have been done by discredited people like Cameron. The second is the statement that a large amount of such evidence is somehow valid. I could argue that the moon is made of green cheese, I could put together "studies" that purport to prove it. I presume that if I and a few others put out enough studies, Christopher would claim that we must accept that the moon is made of green cheese till better science comes along. But we must not accept propaganda simply because we don't have anything better. Lies are not made true by the absence of truth. This serves to give a veneer of science to the argument, but if a study, or a hundred studies, are poorly constructed, if they are designed to "prove" the investigator's preconceived notions, if the investigator draws from the data conclusions that the data do not justify, then such "studies" simply cannot be accepted as being "as good as we have for the time being". They are simply wrong, and no absence of anything better will make them even partially right.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 15 October 2007 at 7:57pm BST

Christopher,

You seem to have completely missed the point. I asked you why you consider life expectancy and HIV infection to be a sign of sinfulness? If your premises are false, you cannot begin to advance to a conclusion. Did you know that men and women have different life expectancy rates? Obviously being male is intrinsically less healthy. Or that the more children a woman has the more likely she is to be obese and to die prematurely? Having children must be a bad lifestyle choice.

What does seem to help people live healthily and long are loving stable relationships, something that you seem keen to deny and prevent in a significant portion of the community.

Ford has offered a comprehensive rebuttal to the substantive part of your reply: that truth is measured by the number of people stating the same thing. As has been said already, Young Earth Creationists use the same principle: maybe you agree with them and maybe you don't, but I can tell you that the work they cite is certainly not scientifically reputable. The fact that you have cited as authorities quacks like Nicolosi and Cameron speaks volumes for your discernment. I really do hope that your examiners encouraged a better grasp of critical thinking than this.

That hormonal, developmental, and genetic reasons play some role in the development of homosexuality is well documented in the scientific community: I am very surprised that you have not familiarised yourself with such studies. The anti-gay lobby usually miss the point by putting the burden of proof on a single homosexual gene, completely ignoring the environmental and hormonal factors that kick in during gestation and afterwards, but which are no less important in demonstrating that the construction of sexuality as merely an 'addiction' or 'casual' choice is false.

What is absolutely clear is that sexual orientation cannot be reduced either to a mere matter of choice, or a 'lifestyle', as you seem to believe. As Ford states, if you are going to make derogatory claims, the onus is on you to provide credible evidence.

Posted by: John Omani on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 1:28am BST

Hi John, Ford and Erika

Several points here:

(1) Erika, the activities you cited were (as you know) not specifically homosexual activities. If our topic is smoking, we narrow our focus to activities involving smoking. Likewise, if our topic is homosexuality, we narrow our focus to activities involving that.

(2) Life expectancy: John, you are not honestly saying that men's lower life-expectancy has nothing to do with the fact that they look after themselves less well than women on average. This can be proven by the fact that single men live many years less on average than married men.
The basic point being: life-expectancy is generally lifestyle-related. More healthy lifestyle, more life.
This is not always the case. Left-handers live less long than right-handers. Clearly however the disease rates among homosexuals (which is a lifestyle issue) are a significant factor in teh life-expectancy figure.

(3) Simply going on your unilateral and supremely authoritative say-so to determine what is or is not good [social] science is something that no scientist would do. Because there are better criteria than the unilateral say-so of one who has not themselves done any of the research. Especially when the findings of the research are not congenial to them, and they expect us to believe that this is not a significant factor in their stance.

(4) Do you seriously expect us to believe that no reliable figures exist on these matters? Yet homosexuality is a growth area in research. What have they got to hide? Clearly there must be some figures which are more reliable than any others. What are they?

(5) As between someone who has carried out such research and someone who has not, I and everyone else would obviously give greater attention to the former.

(6) The International Journal of Epidemiology findings re male homosexuals in Canada (ie 8-20 years' less life-expectancy) were not the findings of interested or biased parties. So much not, that shortly afterwards the authors issued a supplementary article begging that their findings not be used by those with a vested interest.

(7) Identical twin surveys, as you will also know, do not support your presuppositions.

(8) My main puzzlement is: If you don't trust any of the research hitherto at all, then how come you have any position on the matter at all? You should be agnostic pending [what you consider to be] reliable research.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 1:15pm BST

Thanks Ford and John, well played

Christopher wrote "It seems to me to be true by definition that the more you read, the better informed you will (on average)..."

That is based on the premise that what you read is credible and accurate.

I could read ten Mills and Boons romantic novels each week, but they bear no correlation to men in the real world. I might enjoy reading them (blush I did in my teens) but at some point you have to "grow up" and realise that what you have been reading is rubbish.

That does not mean you give up on romance or men, but it does mean you take a long look at what they really are and what you can realistically expect from them.

Ditto GLBTs, I can not change that God keeps creating them, but I can choose how to relate to them. I can choose to bring out the best or worst in them, make their lives difficult and "unsafe" or easier and "safer". Ditto for their friends and family.

You don't need quantitative text (or lots of them) to know that conscious souls appreciate being treated courteously and being given the space to safely raise dependants and live their existence.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 1:37pm BST

Christopher
so your issue is not with homosexuality as such, but with sex.
And, presumably, it's not even sex as such, but male, unprotected, promiscuous sex.
Because I can assure you that I am no more at risk from AIDS or other "lifestyle" related issues than you are, just because my parter is female.

So maybe it's time to be honest and acknowledge that certain lifestyles are more damaging than others. But they are equally damaging to straights and gays.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 4:58pm BST

"Because there are better criteria than the unilateral say-so of one who has not themselves done any of the research."

My claim that a study has been poorly structured and not reliable is not unilateral. I have been a practicing physician for the past 22 years. I know how to critically read a paper. What qualifications do you have for the critical analysis of scientific data?

"What have they got to hide?"

"They"? Are you suggesting there is some sort of gay cabal that is controlling information?

"someone who has carried out such research and someone who has not"

But Paul Cameron has not carried out research. He has constructed numbers to support his pre-existing biases. That is not research. The APA's discrediting of him and others was not political correctness, it was based on lack of scientific integrity.

"IJE findings"
A poorly constructed "study" as I remember from your link.

This forms a pattern that makes me doubt your scientific credibility, because it is not limited to gay issues. You cite massive increases in teen pregnancy and abortion in areas where sex ed is carried out in schools. The statistics don't support that, as can be found by Googling the topic. You cite massive increases in violent crime, yet when I linked to 2 reliable studies that show a decrease in violent crime over the past several decades, you ignore it. I choose to believe this is merely because your education in science was as poor as my education in music and you therefor aren't equipped to actually process raw scientific data. I really don't believe this is dishonesty or dissembling on your part.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 7:03pm BST

Christopher
"Life expectancy: John, you are not honestly saying that men's lower life-expectancy has nothing to do with the fact that they look after themselves less well than women on average. This can be proven by the fact that single men live many years less on average than married men."

Hmm...isn't that another non-sequitur? Maybe single men are less likely to live long because they lack the companionship of a partner, although they may be expert cooks and have spotless kitchens?

But in any case - that applies to partnered gays as much as to partnered straights, does it not?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Tuesday, 16 October 2007 at 8:10pm BST

Erika/Ford - even if you could show better health outcomes related to behaviour "incompatible with scripture", I am sorry, I would have to be bound by scripture and could not condone those behaviours.

This applies to any behaviour - eg someone being persecuted might have a far superior health outcome by telling ies about his faith.....I would have to say that I hope I would not go against scripture and lie in that situation (obviously, I do not know what I would do under real pressure.....but I hope I would stick to the scriptures by God's grace)

Posted by: NP on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 7:17am BST

Erika

Maybe single men's shortened life expectancy is God's judgment against them for rejecting or abusing the feminine?

Or perhaps it is because they don't live within the holy land. Maybe they are like Moses, who was able to look upon the Holy Land but not enter it because he struck the earth.

I don't think God likes abuse of either wives, the earth or the feminine.

I don't think the feminine Cherubim of the Ark likes being ignored for 2000 years, told she doesn't exist, has no feelings that matter, and is irrelevant to Jesus or any other part of humanity.

You can't help wondering where is the brave honest male who stood up for his mate against these misogynists? Too busy being served by his priestly "wives", perhaps?

The first paragraph is tongue-in-cheek the four are metaphysical imagery that those who see in Spirit will easily understand.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. Clough on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 8:35am BST

"even if you could show better health outcomes related to behaviour "incompatible with scripture", I am sorry, I would have to be bound by scripture and could not condone those behaviours."

NP, what you do or do not condone, or what Scripture does or does not condone (two very different things, BTW) is not at issue here. The issue is Christopher's continued citing of discredited "data" as though it were fact and claiming that he has respect for science and the scientific method. I react poorly to anyone lying about me. I react even more poorly to someone who tries to make those lies look like fact by dressing it up in scientific clothes. I am not accusing Christopher of this, but people like Cameron. I believe Christopher is sincere in his beliefs. I am trying to show that what he has put his faith in is not science and ought not be relied on, that by continually citing these things he is actually weakening his position, since he is giving the impression that he is not all that well versed in science and will accept any old garbage at all as long as it agrees with him. I'm sure he doesn't want to give that impression, but that's how it looks. Whether or not you condone anything from your distant vantage point on the Judgement Seat is immaterial.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 12:59pm BST

Any further comments here should be directly related to the legislative proposal now under discussion in the Westminster Parliament. Comments that are not related to that may not be published.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 at 1:11pm BST

It is axiomatic that proposed legislation that claims to be nothing more than a reflection of public opinion should do four things:
(1) question why those presumably better informed should be led by those presumably less well informed;
(2) present figures on what public opinion actually is;
(3) provide evidence on what forces/factors lead to changes in public opinion;
(4) seek to establish whether public opinion is scientifically/statistically well-grounded or not.

After all, there is always the possibility (to put it no stronger) that the majority will vote for what they *want* (selfishly) as opposed to what they *believe in* (can back up by argument and evidence). I want huge cream buns; I also know they are bad for me; the net result is that I don't (always!!) eat them.

The central point, which is intimately related to the specific statistics which I wanted to discuss, but whose discussion is prohibiting the appearance of my comments, is: Is [supposed] public opinion a sufficient ground for legislation? Is everything about votes? Because if it is, there is no place for conscience, and we will be ruled by conscienceless gogetter chameleons.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 19 October 2007 at 1:23pm BST
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.