Friday, 14 December 2007

Hereford: policy on recruitment

Here is what the Diocese of Hereford told me on Tuesday 11 December when I asked them to clarify the comments made by the Bishop of Hereford at the employment tribunal hearing in Cardiff on Friday 7 December:

“Given the judgement of the tribunal the only “safe” option to avoid future discrimination claims is for the Diocese to express a Genuine Occupational Requirement and claim exemption from the Sexual Orientation Regulation 2003.

This we do not wish to do as we wish to encourage people of any sexual orientation to play a full part in the life of the Church and to apply for all Diocesan posts.

However, we also require those in leadership positions within the Diocese, and the DYO is such a position, to uphold, support and promote the doctrine of the Church of England. We are therefore seeking advice on how we can maintain the teachings of the Church without transgressing the law.”

The Church Times has a story on this, Priddis ‘sorry for hurt’, but it is only available to subscribers at present.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 9:30am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

So, they want to discriminate against gay people (imposing a requirement of celibacy on them not imposed on heterosexuals) but they don't want to admit to it (claiming the religious exemption from legislation). They want to refuse leadership positions to gay people open to loving relationships, but they still want them to apply for those positions.

Confused and, I'm sorry to say, dishonest.

Posted by: badman on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 9:43am GMT

What a stupid mess the bishop has got himself into! The Church of England needs to finally fall into line and be made to follow the same laws as everyone else. It is scandalous to see bishops scrabbling about trying to grab at reasons to be exempt from the law. It is also deeply unedifying - friends from other European countries cannot believe the C of E is allowed to get away with ignoring human rights legislation. The Scandinavian churches, for example, our closest ecclesiastical relatives, are not allowed to opt out of the law of the land. Why should I lose my human rights when I enter a church?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 9:46am GMT

There is a simple solution to Hereford's problem:

Trust your applicant.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 10:23am GMT

Hah! And he is going to find that path difficult too, owing to the very tight boundaries of that definition.

basically, its just yet another sign that the church is institutionally homophobic. The Bigot of the Year confirms it!

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 11:02am GMT

badman,

Perhaps you are misrepresenting the Diocese's position when you say "imposing a requirement of celibacy on them not imposed on heterosexuals". That's not true is it. The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody - marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be.

As you know, there are plenty of us who at one time thought we were exclusively homosexual in our preferences and now find we are not. There is nothing discriminatory in applying exactly the same behavioural criteria to absolutely everybody.

Posted by: Peter O on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 11:24am GMT

There you go, change the law to get your way of being able to discriminate. Sounds like the good 'ole USA!

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 12:38pm GMT

Hi Fr Mark-

That is just the point. One may treat the law as infallible - but we all know that it isn't - it is constantly changing anyway. That is why totalitarianism is always a bad move. As it says in Life of Brian - we should learn to think for ourselves without having our thinking (so-called) done for us.

The same applies to what you call 'human rights'. The identity and extent of these is not a matter of pure logic: there will therefore always be disagreement about what does and does not count as a human right. All rights are invented anyway - which is not to say that they should not be assigned: they most definitely should be. But to claim that you know for sure what does and does not count as a human right is to claim something you know not to be true.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 1:21pm GMT

Peter O, you have made impressive efforts on your blog to learn about the concepts of discrimination law.

But your comment suggests you don't understand the concept of adverse impact.

If gay marriages/civil partnerships were recognised and accepted by the church, you would have a point. But you can't say "no entry without a membership card - no membership cards to blacks - no entry to you because you have no membership card and not because your black - that's not discriminating against blacks". Because it is.

If you say gay people who have no sexual interest in the opposite sex can only have sexual relationships with the opposite sex, you discriminate against them.

The non discriminatory way to apply your thought would be to say that heterosexuals must only have sex with their own sex, and gay people only with the opposite sex. That means you treat everyone the same.

Or to say that noone should have sex. Which is a respectable Christian point of view, now out of fashion.

But to say that only gay people are limited to sex with people they don't fancy - that's discrimination.

Posted by: badman on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 1:41pm GMT

Christopher: I'm jolly pleased that so many others have fought and campaigned, in the face of bitter opposition from some so-called Christians, so that I should have the human rights I have. They are not some negligible unChristian slightly naughty merely secular constructs, and I am not willing to lose them whenever I go into a church. They matter, and they should be respected by churchpeople.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 1:55pm GMT

"But to claim that you know for sure what does and does not count as a human right is to claim something you know not to be true"

But that's exactly what you do in your campaign against abortion.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 2:13pm GMT

"If you say gay people who have no sexual interest in the opposite sex can only have sexual relationships with the opposite sex, you discriminate against them."

Maybe, maybe not. Do we have a right to have sex?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 2:29pm GMT

Yet "Rule by law" is an English expression.

We haven't even got it.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 3:06pm GMT

badman,

It is not discriminatory to forbid all to engage in a specific identical activity and to allow all to engage in another specific activity. It is not discriminatory to say to those who have a specific attraction or desire that they cannot, like everybody else, engage in that desire.

Let me give you an example. Say you know somebody who is a cocaine addict. Do you say that it is OK for a cocaine addict to take cocaine (for he desires it) but not for somebody who isn't? Of course not. In the same way, the "justice" issue around homosexual practice cannot be argued simply on the grounds of the existence of a desire making it moral. You must argue that the activity itself is moral and that is something that the Anglican Communion (as recognised by the ABC in his recent "Oi!" interview and today's Advent Letter) has clearly decided is not so.

Posted by: Peter O on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 3:29pm GMT

“Maybe, maybe not. Do we have a right to have sex? “
I’m finding this question rather strange. Why do we insist on separating love and sex as though sex was not, at it is truly intended, an expression of love. Of course we don’t have a right to love, nor a right to sex. But we have the right to discover both in our lives provided it is within the bounds of a loving relationship.
We’ve taken this separating of love from sex too far. In the secular world it leads to sex having almost become a commodity, something you do for relaxation alone. In the counter culture of the church world sex has become the sole determinant as to what a relationship is about.
Focusing on the plumbing aspects of life alone leads to horrible distortions.
So the question is not do they have a right to sex that we may or may not have, but do we have the same right to a fulfilled, loving life with that one soul friend.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 4:50pm GMT

Christianity is discriminatory in itself - that's why it needs either change or rejection.

However, the law itself has nothing to say about 'behaviour', because it isn't there to distinguish whether people 'do' or not, simply that they are not discriminated against because of what they 'are'

The Church has to try and work around a law which does not accept or regard as valid their way of looking at the world, hence the current wriggling.

The simple answer should be: no exemptions, and if the church doesn't like it, tough. maybe they could close down or relocate overseas and do us all a favour?!

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 4:56pm GMT

PS I also think that it is important not to let people with the mental affliction of internalised homophobia direct public policy. One can sympathise with their plight, but not indulge their fantasies. It really isn't healthy.
It also isn't healthy to wish to work for or belong to an institutionally homophobic organisation, and I think that gay people do need to look very carefully at both the Christian myth and its earthly representatives, and disassociate themselves from that which involves self-oppression.

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 5:02pm GMT

Merseymike: I agree with you completely.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:06pm GMT

"Maybe, maybe not. Do we have a right to have sex?"

As long as it is equal and mutual all are ok.

Within the framework of an American Heterosexist Fertility Cult, no one is ok.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:20pm GMT

"Say you know somebody who is a cocaine addict. Do you say that it is OK for a cocaine addict to take cocaine (for he desires it) but not for somebody who isn't? Of course not. In the same way, the "justice" issue around homosexual practice cannot be argued simply on the grounds of the existence of a desire making it moral. You must argue that the activity itself is moral and that is something that the Anglican Communion (as recognised by the ABC in his recent "Oi!" interview and today's Advent Letter) has clearly decided is not so."

It seems to me you are very muddled, Sir. To many books into Philosophy?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:26pm GMT

"The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody - marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be."

Which is what makes it n o t "exactly the same . standard".

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:54pm GMT

"The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody - marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be."

If, one day, our Great Fish Overlords take over, and impose exactly the same *respiration* standard ("breathing water, with no distinction as to what your breathing organ is, was, or may be"), I really hope you're the first one to gurgle, Peter. >:-/

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 6:57pm GMT

Perhaps you are misrepresenting the Diocese's position when you say "imposing a requirement of celibacy on them not imposed on heterosexuals". That's not true is it. The Diocese imposes exactly the same sexual standard on everybody - marriage to somebody of the opposite sex or celibacy. There is no distinction in this as to what your sexual orientation is, or was, or may be.'

What disengenuous BSPeter O ! This is not equality. As you know. You make your 'postion' risible in the eyes of most people. Do you caere ?

Are you (another) anglican double agent ?

Posted by: L Roberts on Friday, 14 December 2007 at 10:56pm GMT

"So the question is not do they have a right to sex that we may or may not have, but do we have the same right to a fulfilled, loving life with that one soul friend."-Erika Baker

Wonderfully well put. Thank you.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 12:18am GMT

Peeps,

This isn't a question of justice from an anthropomorphic perspective. This is a question of holiness suitable for those in a position of church leadership. None of you seem to be engaging with that. You keep bringing it back to "that's not fair" whereas really the issue is "that's not holy".

Posted by: Peter O on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 11:05am GMT

Erika,

No one's denying anybody the right to a "fulfilled, loving life with that one soul friend". The issue is whether it is moral for that to be sexually expressed homosexually. Once again, no-one is engaging with the fact that this is an issue of holiness not justice. Either we have an anthropomorphic perspective on this or we have a Godly perspective.

Posted by: Peter O on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 11:24am GMT

"This isn't a question of justice from an anthropomorphic perspective."

We are not seeing this from an anthropomorphic perspective. Nor as "justice" but as Righteousness.

Are you not afraid that God in his Holiness will despise you?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 11:33am GMT

Peter O, you cannot abstract justice from holiness. The calling of a priest is to embody the life of God in man in all its many facets - justice (righteousness) and holiness among them. If we admit that it is possible for laity to pursue lives of holiness within the context of gay relationships, we must also have priests whose own lives reflect this potential. Anything else is a bizarrely reductionist account of priesthood, sacramental life, communion... and God, finally.

Posted by: Eusthatius on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 2:51pm GMT

Neither Eusthatius can you extract holiness from justice, but that seems to be what some here want.

Frankly, as a church (CofE and the Lambeth Conference at least) we *don't* "admit that it is possible for laity to pursue lives of holiness within the context of gay relationships" so your point is moot. Some individuals in the church might think that it is possible but the mind of the church does not (unless you want to demonstrate otherwise).

Posted by: Peter O on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 4:01pm GMT

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids all men to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread - the rich as well as the poor.

Posted by: JPM on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 4:04pm GMT

Peter,

Can you identify which part of the job description for the post of Hereford DYO, taken from the tribunal judgment, shows the Claimant's unsuitability due to a lack of holiness for being gay?

"We are seeking a committed Christian of articulate faith who is part of a collaborative team enabling adults of varying confidence and skills across the Diocese to

Face the context of youth without fear
To reach out to young people
Discover and rejoice in the worth of young people
help young people in the journey towards and with our Lord."

"The job specification goes on to say that the person they seek must be a communicant member of the Church of England and that person may be ordained or lay, male or female. What matters is there is the right outlook, commitment, experience and enthusiasm. The specification then goes on to say:

"Although the main task of the DYO will be to recruit, inspire, co-ordinate and support adults in the field of youth work, the job will naturally involve its own face-to-face youth work ... ."

"The job specification goes on to state:

"The Diocese is looking for someone who will assist the local church with the vision and practice of varied Christian youth work. They need a person whose instinct is co-operative and collaborative team work, who recognises and encourages the gift and ministries of others. We need someone who will work easily with others in the field of evangelism, social responsibility and ministerial training, one who can blur the boundaries of the voluntary and statutory spheres, applying the insights of one to the other; and one who has an all-age approach."

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 5:38pm GMT

Peter O: I seem to remember General Synod years ago, long before all the Jeffrey John controversy started, passing a resolution affirming those C of E laypeople who choose to enter into same-sex partnerships. Am I misremembering this?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 6:11pm GMT

Peter
Yes, it's holy.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 15 December 2007 at 10:59pm GMT

Hugh,

the fact that you wrote "Can you identify which part of the job description for the post of Hereford DYO, taken from the tribunal judgment, shows the Claimant's unsuitability due to a lack of holiness **for being gay?**" shows that you simply aren't engaging with the traditional position. There is NOTHING unholy about having same-sex attraction. The issue of holiness is to do with sexual activity NOT sexual attraction.

Fr Mark, "Issues in Human Sexuality" (a House of Bishops report, NOT a Synod motion) says that lay people might enter into same-sex relationships but clergy may not. At no time did Issues say that such lay relationships were holy. Furthermore, the more recent study document "Some Issues in Human Sexuality" takes a very conservative position.

Posted by: Peter O on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 8:01am GMT

Erika,

You might think it's holy. The mind of the church is that it is not. You might want to read the Archbishop of Canterbury's Advent letter to remind yourself of that fact.

Posted by: Peter O on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 1:24pm GMT

Peter: "The issue of holiness is to do with sexual activity NOT sexual attraction."

ABC: "...it is part of our Christian and Anglican discipleship to condemn homophobic prejudice and violence, to defend the human rights and civil liberties of homosexual people and to offer them the same pastoral care and loving service that we owe to all in Christ's name."

There's nothing to qualify this by saying: "homosexual people" are protected from "homophobic prejudice" and their "human rights and civil liberties" are defended, on condition that they abstain from sexual activity.

If "human rights and civil liberties" have no place in the Church, why defend them in society?

Who is so free from sin that they can, without a trace of hypocrisy, declare confidently that partnered gay people are unholy?

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 1:58pm GMT

" At no time did Issues say that such lay relationships were holy. Furthermore, the more recent study document "Some Issues in Human Sexuality" takes a very conservative position."

Including "Dr" Cameron & al...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 2:28pm GMT

Peter O: No, the resolution I was thinking of predates that by a long time. Anyone else remember, or am I mistaken?
Anyway, I thought "Some issues" said that opinion is divided within the C of E. More than that would be impossible to say truthfully, wouldn't it, since many clergy do live with their partners, and have done for many years.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 3:04pm GMT

Hugh,

Once again you only report part of what the Archbishop wrote. You are neglecting in addition to what you said the clear teaching of the Church of England and the Communion.

Goran,

If you want to criticise Cameron the by all means go ahead. Seeing as I don't recommend his research I fail to see what mentioning him possibly has to do with the issue at hand.

Posted by: Peter O on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 3:20pm GMT

Peter O
You know as well as I do that there is some excellent theology on this. You don't have to accept it for yourself. I do.
The church? I do believe it will eventually change its mind. You don't.
Well see, shall we?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 4:14pm GMT

Just my point, Peter. ABC gets off to a good start with this positive declaration of principle, then ruins it immediately by following with the word "But", and never backs up this declared statement of intent with any indication of the practical measures by which it may be followed through by individual churches; in the case of the Church of England: liturgical affirmations of civil partnerships and equality of employment opportunities will have to be considered seriously by Synod very soon.

If enforcement of standards accepted elsewhere in society is only to come via employment tribunal judgements, the Church is on very shaky ground indeed.

Posted by: Hugh of Lincoln on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 5:17pm GMT

PeterO: "Neither Eusthatius can you extract holiness from justice, but that seems to be what some here want."

Try reading the prophecy of Amos, not to mention Isaiah - the prophets are quite clear that without justice there can be no holiness.

Posted by: RichardM on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 10:46am GMT

Richard,

You seem to read Amos as though holiness is a consequence of justice. Not so!! Holiness walks hand in hand with justice (they are two sides of the same aspect) and therefore one is not just if one is unholy.

Posted by: Peter O on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 1:20pm GMT

Hi Fr Mark-

Of course, but that is a separate issue. The issue I raised was a different one: namely, if a given so-called right is held to be a right by some and not held to be a right by others, there seems no way of judging which of the two is right, given that rights are human constructs anyway. One might say: maximise rights - but then one comes into situations like abortion where one person's so-called right compromises another person's, and one has to begin using other criteria, ie which kinds of rights are more important; who has most to lose; who has most to gain; and so on.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 1:55pm GMT

Christopher: yes, of course you are correct to say that human rights talk often involves juggling conflicting entitlements. The strange thing about the ecclesiastical conservatives' anti-gay rights stance, though, is that there shouldn't be any need to see gay rights in that way at all. Recognising gay people's human rights, in society as in the Church, doesn't at all conflict with anyone else's rights. Recognising the right of gay people to marry, for example, does not in any way conflict with straight people's right to marry - there is no overlap. In that sense, the ethical debate is not similar to that over abortion. Someone who does not believe homosexual sexual activity is not right for them is in no way compromised by someone else exercising their right to build a relationship with someone of their own sex: it is a false equation to state otherwise, and another example of the scare-mongering way of speaking that the conservatives routinely employ. Why on earth should any straight person care if two gay people are happy together? How could it diminish that straight person in any way?

Posted by: Fr Mark on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 5:39pm GMT

"which kinds of rights are more important; who has most to lose; who has most to gain; and so on."

Who has the most to lose and who the most to gain by granting or denying our civil rights? In denying our rights, it is clearly us who lose, but who loses if our rights are acknowledged? Who loses if gay people are allowed to be married? Who loses if gay people are allowed to read in Church? Who loses if gay people are allowed, horror of horrors, to rent a room in a B&B like everybody else? Who loses if gay people are allowed to be favourably condisered for a job?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 5:40pm GMT

Peter has explained very well why, as conservative Christianity cannot provide justice, its claims to 'holiness' are about as credible as his claims for that religion as anything other than an outdated set of bigoted rules made up by one set of people to control other people.

Thankfully, most of us have seen through it. It is both unjust and harmful. And the sight of the Church keep being tripped up over its own set of bigotries does the case against them a power of good!

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 17 December 2007 at 10:21pm GMT

"Why on earth should any straight person care if two gay people are happy together?"

I'd say on occasion it's because said "straight" person decided long ago out of fear that s/he would pretend to be straight and now resents that decision. Living a lie will do that for you. Such a person is too vested in the Ozzie and Harriet suburban lifestyle he bought through his dishonesty that he cannot risk losing it. Besides, there's the kids to think about. So, he straps on the breastplate of righteousness and defends the "sanctity of marriage" from those homos who are so rabid to destroy the institution that they are fighting tooth and nail for the right to partake of it. I don't think Christopher is doing this by the way, but I know some IRL who I suspect do.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 2:04pm GMT

Was Eusthatius; realised the pseud. unnecessary here.

Ford Elms' general points about the psychological self-abuse that appears to be working in the subconscious of many cons.ev. individuals I quite agree with. Connect it with Fr Mark's reasonable question: What does any hetero-sexual person stand to lose - and we are left with a very unsavoury picture of a group which can only conceive of homosexuals in the christian community constituting something like a contagion: hence recent calls in some quarters that gays in relationships be discouraged from participating in Holy Communion (Turnbull + Giddings in the statement from the CofE Evangelical Council about +Williams' HC for the Clergy Consultation). One only has to observe the Donatist problem to see that the church has rejected the connection between holiness and ritual purity; but here we go again. No gays to celebrate mass, otherwise its integrity is impaired. Very poor theology.

Posted by: Dominic K on Tuesday, 18 December 2007 at 4:40pm GMT

Ford / Dominic,

Of course, it could just be that we see that Scripture very clearly says that Christians shouldn't engage in homosexual practice and that we have nothing against "homosexual people" at all. In fact, some of the people who hold that position are (or were like myself) "homosexual people".

But please don't let that stop you rolling out all the usual allegations of homophobia and bigotry.

Posted by: Peter O on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 9:42am GMT

I hate to nit-pick, but I haven't once used the vocabulary of homophobia or bigotry: read my posts again, please.
I was using the language of holiness/justice purity/contagion, to be precise.

Posted by: Dominic K on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 10:27am GMT

Peter O: whatever you do or don't engage in is your own affair entirely, and my side is not trying to judge you for it. I have nothing against celibate gay clergy (although in my experience they most often in their manner of living stretch the term "celibate" beyond its plainest sense, and end up going through a lot of "lapses" rather than making good long-term relationships). Likewise, I think that those who do find their fulfilment in stable partnership should not be judged for it.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 12:34pm GMT

Dominic,

"we are left with a very unsavoury picture of a group which can only conceive of homosexuals in the christian community constituting something like a contagion"

If that's not a misrepresentation of the conservative position AND an attempt to use emotionally derogatory language (eg "unsavoury") then I don't know what is.

Let's do this again for the umpteenth time- it's not about "homosexuals" or "heterosexuals". It's about sexual practice not orientation. As long as you and others continue to misrepresent the conservative theological argument with posts like yours above, why should we take what you have to say with any seriousness? You show us exactly the same disrespect that you accuse us of.

Posted by: Peter O on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 12:57pm GMT

"Of course, it could just be that we see that Scripture very clearly says that Christians shouldn't engage in homosexual practice and that we have nothing against "homosexual people" at all."

See, Peter, I would have no problem accepting this were it not for the fact that the people who most loudly make this claim then turn right around and do and say things prove quite clearly that they in fact DO have a huge problem with gay people. I have to admit that it is useful as a means of spotting them, but incredibly frustrating in that no matter how hard one tries or how simple one makes the point, they can't seem to understand that their actions speak far louder than their words. I have yet to hear anything positive from conservatives about gay people. Anything. I have been trying to point this out for over a year, yet every time I do, conservatives defend their position, they never, ever, stop to consider what their behaviour towards gay people, the things they say, the things they defend says about thier attitudes towards us, not towards what we do in the bedroom, towards us. You can chack back through the archives here if you like. I'm not asking for full agreement, I'm not asking for acceptance of me, but is it too much for one conservative to at least consider the possibility that the current conservative rhetoric about gay people is hurtful and often times nothing more than propaganda? Why is it so necessary for them to lie about us if they "have no problem with us"? If someone is so ignorant about another group that they can't even consider the possibility that their words and actions might be hurtful, insulting, or out and out wrong, if they vehemently defend their right to behave this way, then what else is one to assume about their attitude?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 1:59pm GMT

"......and that [we] have nothing against "homosexual people" at all. In fact, some of the people who hold that position are (or were like myself) "homosexual people"."

My, ----isn't this the ultimate thesis of self-hatred.
Obviously what God made you didn't overcome the fact that you put your trust in a few scripture readings to change God as you think He should be in your body. Blasphemy?

It's amazing, I've run across AA meetings and have never seen so much cigarette smoke and nervous anger from all the coffee consumed. Sorry, you can pretend to cure yourself of the addiction, but you can't change what God made you. And taking it inward and using it to preach a bunch of nonsense about "hating the sin and loving the sinner" is nothing but slow term self-destruction. For you and the Church.

Unbelievable.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 5:32pm GMT

Peter: No, it is not about practice vs orientation, it is about acceptance of the way we are, the way we are made to be, the way God loves us. And, for straight people, it is also about acceptance of difference as being also good. Maybe, if I might be so presumptuous, there could be an issue of honest acceptance of self in your case too.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 at 10:03pm GMT

Actually, the law has nothing to say about sexual practice. The law is all about identity based on orientation and personhood. It is only the church's very partial exemption which means that in the case of clergy and a few other cases, they can discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation. In all other cases, they cannot, and the practice/orientation difference has no place in law at all.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 12:50am GMT

Peter O wrote: “It's about sexual practice not orientation.”

But why is only one sexual practice icky? Why not the others?

We can only read what you say, you know. Might it be something you said?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 7:29am GMT

'Fr Mark, "Issues in Human Sexuality" (a House of Bishops report, NOT a Synod motion) says that lay people might enter into same-sex relationships but clergy may not. At no time did Issues say that such lay relationships were holy. Furthermore, the more recent study document "Some Issues in Human Sexuality" takes a very conservative position.'

Posted by: Peter O on Sunday, 16 December 2007 at 8:01am GMT

Therefore :

are you telling us that 'laity' who entered into relationships on the strength of 'Issues', ought now to separate, on the basis of 'Some Issues' ?

DO you really think we are going to live our lives breathlesly fom 'Church Pronouncement' to 'Church Pronouncment' ? 'In-out, in-out shake us all about!' I call that Hokey-cokey theology and Hokey-cokey pastoral care.

Rowan Williams is another one.

He tries to distance himself from his paper 'The Body's Grace' (Publ. as LGCM booklet, by saying, that he "was a young theology professor trying out some ideas". But he fails to face the fact, that many people were encouraged to enter or stay in relationships. Encouraged to commit themselves by this talk of his, --- are they to say to each other, "Oh the young thoughtful prof who spoke life-giving wwords, is now an olde B----- * and shit scared of politically adroit campaigners--- we must now part !" For Christ's sake get real. And I do mean that literally !

Time to start taking responsibility for your words and actions --and little experiments.

* Bishop

BTW
on the matter of relationships among 'the ordained' --- the Law of the Church of Engalnd has been changed to accomodate those in Civil Partnerships, and they are included through-out along with 'the married'.

If this is not 'Church acceptance' -- what is ?

Yes, when I die my partner will get my pension, that is what is otherwise known in the legislation as the widows' pension.

They seem to say one thing, and do another.

Posted by: L Roberts on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 8:05pm GMT

That's because they have to obey the law of the land, LR.

I think they are simply backing themselves into a corner as far as the UK are concerned. Unimportant, unlistened to, irrelevant. yesterday's voices , ideas going nowhere.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 11:22pm GMT
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