Sunday, 16 August 2009

mid-August opinions

Updated Monday evening

Catherine Fox writes in the Times Credo column that The Virgin Mary can test everyone’s assumptions.

Hillel Athias-Robles writes in The Guardian that Gay-friendly congregations can provide a nurturing spiritual community.

Also in The Guardian Andrew Brown writes in Heartbreaking progress that “the slow and painful progress of gay rights at the expense of traditional evangelical understandings can’t be stopped, because so many gay people are Christians”.

update
In his article Andrew Brown refers to a book review at Fulcrum. This review is well worth reading for its own sake, so here is a direct link.
Review of Andrew Marin, Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community

Posted by Peter Owen on Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 12:12pm BST | TrackBack
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Some interesting commentaries. I wonder if any of our conservative brothers and sisters would care to comment on the two pieces that speak pretty clearly to the pain caused by their attitudes towards gay people. And if any of them would realize that the goal of gay celebacy might be attainable without all that pain if they would just change their approach. I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 3:45pm BST

"because so many gay people are Christians”.

In the context of taking the fight to 'the enemy' (on the particular issue), I think this obvious truth merits exploration. It's clearly the case that the proportion of gays in (at least some) church contexts is higher than among the population at large.

Why?

(1) Because gays get more love and support in church contexts? True of some church contexts, emphatically not of others.

(2) Because 'camp' gays (no offence intended - translate it somewhow) like certain sorts of religious ritual/churchmanship? Obviously true in some contexts (again, no offence to anyone).

But these explanations don't seem to explain the phenomenon sufficiently.

I conclude therefore:

(3) Gays are in some deep sense closer to God.

QED.

Posted by: john on Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 4:52pm BST

Thanks to ABrown for passing news from FOTF. The damage this self-described family outfit is doing to real parents and real gay children is nearly indescribable; and the only thing that keeps it from being -cidal is that overt and hidden Freedom Trains exist with tracks running all over the place, threaded through the USA Bible Belt and related networks.

Many of these families will suffer for years - about a nice solid decade in my own personal extended family case - before adopting mixtures of change towards more positive views, plus coping patterns that vary from agreeing to disagree to de facto separations/splits. One learns every so painfully, who can be invited safely to what, and extended families often take great pains to come to such neutralities over long years of heartbreak and struggle. All without much overt support from daily church life, by the way, as the public UDA Bible Belt conversation cannot still speak positively of its queer children.

Such parents frequently live on slim hopes: No news is good news, At least I haven't gotten word that something fatal already happened.

A companion documentary might be, For The Bible Tells Me So.

See: http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/indexe.htm

The deeper mystery is what else besides effective rational reasons maintains our errors in drawing upon scriptures, tradition, and reason as believers.

Re Fulcrum - wind back the clocks to say, 1950s Wolfenden Report Britain; and you will get a sense of just where folks like Fulcrum live and think and breathe. Still marveling, puzzling over the notion that queer folks are people with rich, competent, even thriving and excellent daily lives. Gertrude Stein once said, There's no there there.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 8:37pm BST

Hillel AR puts it succinctly and beautifully:

Just as I couldn't repress my sexuality, I couldn't repress my spiritual self either.

Bravo, and many thanks HAR.

The worst thing about the traditional negative thinking its is falsifying of the larger, whole religious or spiritual truth.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 8:41pm BST

"(3) Gays are in some deep sense closer to God."

The chaplain I used to work for in the Navy noted that surveys of men in active ministry found that a high proportion are gay or have personality attributes that might be characterized as "feminine" (whatever that means). He theorized that it was easier for most gay men to love our neighbors (stop that snickering out there!) because we weren't trying to keep up the walls of machismo at the expense of our empathy, and that therefor we would be more attracted to Christianity.

Posted by: BillyD on Sunday, 16 August 2009 at 11:14pm BST

At this time when Catholics (Anglican, Roman and Orthodox - real Orthodox, not the ACNA variety) around the world have been celebrating the Assumption, or the Falling asleep, of the BVM, it was refreshing to read Catherine Fox's article, in the Time's 'Credo' column, headed: 'The Virgin Mary can test everyone's assumptions".

Intrigued by the title (and expecting the worst - especially when the opening paragraphs spoke of the author's Baptist upbringing) I became very taken with her story of her own journey from scepticism (about the place of Our Lady in God's plan of salvation) to admiration of the B.V.M. as Mother of Christ and Intercessary agent.

When one get's over the fact that the cult of Mary as 'Co-Redemptrix' was rather over-played in past ages of the Church; we can all settle down to the fact of her importance in God's plan for the salvation of the world by the incarnation, death and resurrection of the Son of Mary.

Catherine Fox's own experience of the trauma of motherhood has obviously brought her into a space where, at least instinctively, she can identify with the humanity of Mary's struggle with her Son's vulnerabilty. What a wonderful starting point from which to assess the Motherhood of Mary.

Catherine's progress from agnostocism about the place of Mary, has progressed now to the point where, in the company of the congregation at Lichfield's Cathedral of the BVM and St. Chad, and with her own specific insights, Catherine can identify with the traditonal catholic and orthodox understanding of Mary's role as saintly Intercessor and surrogate 'mother' to all who honour her special relationship to her Son.

"Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Pray for us sinners now, and in the hour of our death. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 2:22am BST

"Transitioning from a conservative religion to an inclusive one is not easy. Yet the bliss felt by being at peace with oneself and being welcomed into an accepting community outweighs the cost. If you take the leap, there will be many to catch you. Trust me, I was there.

(Hillel Athias-Robles is assistant rabbi of the Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue)

Rabbi Hillel demonstrates the difference between an 'ultra-Orthodox' Jewish position and that of the newer 'Liberal' Jewish school of religion.
He needed to graduate from the 'ultra-Orthodox' before being able to find a religious community where his being gay was recognised and respected as God-given.

What strikes me as not too different from our own Anglican Communion situation, is that there are the very same divisions about the acceptablity of the LGBT community - but mostly hidden. It is almost as thought there were 2 different kinds of Anglicanism - on the basis of the question of homosexuality alone. At the moment - perhaps becuase of the hiddenness of gay members of our congregations and among the clergy - the feuding seems always to be external - about what those precocious Americans and Canadians are doing: Ordaining gay bishops (and women?).

What is needed, is either a separation out into pro- and anti-gay churches (ultra-orthodox and liberal) or - which would be preferable - an honesty about the reality of the presence of LBGT persons within the churches' ministers and congregations, accepting them on the same basis as everyone else.

Judaism has obviously had to split on this issue. Is Christianity better equipped to cope with the diversity that would be involved in acceptance of the LGBT community in accordance with the liberality of Jesus in the gospels?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 6:45am BST

To Ford Elms: I don't know if gay celibacy is a 'goal'. Perhaps it is for him. Jesus said celibacy was a gift some people have and most don't (I paraphrase).

But wait! Let's think about what Andrew Brown said. A parallel case: The church is full of adulterers, like me. I can't help being one, because I was born that way. John A.T. Robinson thought the church would get past its opposition to adultery; but up to now preachers are still preaching in favour of faithfulness--exceptions are trivially few. In brief, almost everyone knows adultery is wrong. Adulterers like me can be Christians--but by repenting and believing the gospel (and stopping committing adultery). So, what if we agree that it's the same for homosexuals?

Posted by: Soapy Sam on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 8:28am BST

I seems that the late John Paul I was an ardent defender of gay couples and gay adoption. See the link at my website. This is a painful reminder of what might have been...

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 8:28am BST

John wrote

"I conclude therefore:

(3) Gays are in some deep sense closer to God."

I hesitate to use the phrase closer to God, which asks the question closer than whom, but if you look in the wider literature on gay spirituality (as opposed to writings on homosexuality from inside the /Jewish and Christian traditions) there is much discussion of whether homosexuality may have as, one of its traits, a strong drive to the spiritual. This leads to gay people being over-represented in the structures of all religions. See http://www.edwardcarpenter.net/ecpf1.htm for one (very old but accessable) source.

The discussion of Jewish scriptures at the end of chapter 1 of this reference raises the possibility that the the Christian struggle with homosexuaity is so painful not because of homophobia, but through internalised homphobia, reacting against things which are an unacknowledged part of its own traditions and history.

Simon

Posted by: Simon Robert Dawson on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 9:14am BST

The fact that the number of gay men and women in the clergy is relatively high is a fact that the Church seems reluctant to study in any depth. I would suggest it raises interesting theological questions in relation to what God is doing in regard to vocation and also how priesthood has developed.

Posted by: perry butler on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 10:31am BST

"The church is full of adulterers, like me. I can't help being one, because I was born that way. John A.T. Robinson thought the church would get past its opposition to adultery; but up to now preachers are still preaching in favour of faithfulness--exceptions are trivially few. In brief, almost everyone knows adultery is wrong. Adulterers like me can be Christians--but by repenting and believing the gospel (and stopping committing adultery). So, what if we agree that it's the same for homosexuals?"

One big difference you conveniently ignore: An adulterer is, in a sense, a triple sinner. He is not just violating the commandment against adultery, but the ones against taking the Lord's name in vain (he has vowed before God to be faithful to his wife) and against lying (he has misled his wife into believing he CAN be faithful).

Which of the ten commandments has the homosexual violated?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 11:16am BST

Soapy Sam, it is not a parallel case. Adultery is built on lies, deception, and it harms the marriages of those who take part in it. Same sex relationships promote growth and harm nobody and nothing.

Besides, I doubt how whole heartedly anybody is an adulterer. Is it that you simply want sex with more attractive people? or do you in fact desire to deceive your partner, and reduce the life of the one with you have an affaire? It seems unlikely that you do - yet to actually BE an adulterer THAT is what you would have to want.

Gay people actually WANT others of their own sex in a whole hearted way that the adulterer does not. They want the whole package. The two toothbrushes beside each other, the right to be next of kin, the right to give presents, to celebrate anniversaries, to grow. THAT is the difference.

Posted by: RosemaryHannah on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 11:55am BST

Soapy Sam
"Adulterers like me can be Christians--but by repenting and believing the gospel (and stopping committing adultery). So, what if we agree that it's the same for homosexuals?"

Presumably, your adultery means you are breaking your marriage vows to love, cherish and honour another human being exclusively until the end of your life.
And if your spouse were to discover this, she would be devastated and deeply hurt.
So I suppose we could argue that you are doing genuine wrong, causing actual harm and breaking a vow you made before God.

It would help if you could show me how a same sex committed, faithful and loving couple is anywhere near the same bracket.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 12:35pm BST

"So, what if we agree that it's the same for homosexuals?"

You were born adulterous? Is it linked to male heterosexuality in some way? I ask because I have never heard partnered gay people complain of the problem. Now, if it's an innate thing like being gay, if you are born adulterous, then the Church has to be merciful to you. I mean, unlike homosexuality, adultery reveals a deep disrespect for one's partner, for the sacrament into which one has entered, one might even say disrespect for God Himself, since you vow before Him something you are unwilling or, so you are telling me now, unable to carry through. It would be better, I think, to refuse the sacrament of Matrimony to congenital adulterers (I have to confess, I have never heard of adultery being innate, but if you, a confessed adulterer tell me it is, who am I to deny your experience? That's what conservatives do to us.) I mean to say, it's pretty cruel to expect you to stand before God Himself and promise things you know you can't deliver on. The guilt of that alone is pretty toxic. Better to allow you to go on and be as promiscuous as your genes force you to be. At least you can struggle with your sinful nature without hurting too many others. I have to confess, though, I am not aware of any scientific research that says that adultery is in any way innate, whether that be genetic or a combination of genetic and enfironmental factors. Perhaps you could give me some links? I'm really interested in the psychological aspects of it. Is it that for you sex is such a small part of a relationship that you really don't consider it a big deal to break faith with your wife in that way? That suggests some congenital inability to bond physically with your partner, since most of us find sex with our partners to be a huge deal indeed, far better than sex with a stranger. I'm fascinated by what it must be like to live your life knowing that you are congenitally unable to behave towards your aprtner in what the rest of the world calls honourable abd respectful and evidence of your love and care for your spouse. It must be pretty horrible.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 1:27pm BST

It is an interesting issue. I have nothing but anecdotal evidence, but it does strike me that, in the UK at least, many gay people have had enough of the church, and that younger gay people are not at all attracted to religion because of the open homophobia, which they are unwilling to put up with.

Posted by: Merseymike on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 4:31pm BST

Rab Hillel's article is terribly moving. My history and experience was similar. (Though Evangelical (PBrethen), had psychiatric treatment in teeens-aversion 'therapy', engaged at 19, , had break-down , and realized I could not marry.

glad to see him happy and fulfilled now -- and how bright and lively his shul looks !

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 6:27pm BST

But wait! Let's think about what Andrew Brown said. A parallel case: The church is full of adulterers, like me.

Perhaps you need to get a grip on yourself Soapy Sam ! And not just your genitals it would appear !

No parallel. Maybe start to grow up ? Instead of betraying both a woman and gay people ?

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 6:34pm BST

seems that the late John Paul I was an ardent defender of gay couples and gay adoption. See the link at my website. This is a painful reminder of what might have been...

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 8:28am BST

No wonder he was murdered. But his spirit is undampenable, as he reaches out to us today. Death has not supressed his Apsotolate .... as we begin to see and hear .....

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 6:37pm BST

" A parallel case: The church is full of adulterers, like me. I can't help being one, because I was born that way."

Only a parallel case if you don't know, or refuse to acknowledge, what the words "sexual orientation" mean.

Posted by: BillyD on Monday, 17 August 2009 at 9:59pm BST

"All God needs are willing hearts to extend his unconditional love for all of his children – gay and straight. This is our blessing. This is our bold calling. This is our orientation"

- quoted by Andrew Goddard from 'Love is our orientation' by Andrew Marin -

I must confess, I never expected Andrew Goddard to write so affirmingly of a publication (from an Evangelical perspective) which seeks to encourage conservative Evangelicals to hold back on their criticism of the LBGT Community.

The sentence head-lined here, which appears at the end of the book, seems to summarise what the author (himself an Evangelical) has discovered about the LGBT Community with whom he has been working - in an attempt to understand where they are coming from, and the validity of their claim to their rightful Christian heritage.

I'm thankful for Andrew Brown's introduction to this critique - which appears on the 'Fulcrum' web-site, and which would seem to mark a new beginning on the part of the conservative Evvangelical camp in an honest attempt to listen and to learn from the people involved. This is so much more than the Church at large has been willing to do. Let's hope this challenge from a gay-friendly Evangelical for his fellow EVOs to treat LBGT persons with the same dignity as the hetero-sexual community bears fruit 'ere long. It might just encourage the Church of England at large to engage more effectively with the real issues at stake.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 3:23am BST

I admit the horrible character of my sins (Pat O'Neill and Ford Elms). 'Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me:' this doesn't, I don't think (Ford Elms), need to be confirmed by further research. I'm resolved with God's help to turn from those sins and live a better life.

Here's my point: adultery is wrong, and homosexual sex is wrong. This is the premise of the whole conservative case. Conservative Christians, especially those who are better people than me, want to show empathy and want to reach out to homosexuals who say, 'I was born that way,' and they/we aren't shocked (or ought not to be)--because everyone is born as a sinner.

But the evidence that homosexual sex is wrong is overwhelming.

Pat O'Neill says that there's nothing about it in the Ten Commandments. Well, who would believe that it's so often conservatives who get accused of naive biblical exegesis? But as a very brief answer: Christians are 'not under law but under grace', and therefore we don't refer back to the law of Moses. Our freedom, however, is freedom to do right, not wrong.

This is why conservative Christians think it's worth the trouble to warn people against 'shameful lusts'--and there's much more on that subject in Romans chapter one, but I've quoted enough from the Bible.

Posted by: Soapy Sam on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 4:57am BST

"Liberals have been a victim of their own success, they are ensconced comfortably in the Church of England, they've dominated the hierarchy for decades and they've had it too comfortable. Furthermore, they now preside over mostly moribund churches and they don't believe anything terribly much. If you're really going to make a difference you have to believe in it as though it's a matter of life and death, even eternal life and death." - Andrew Carey, C.T. -

In my curiosity about the fundamentalism of the ill-named 'Virtue-on-line' Amercian website, I came across the above article by one 'Andrew Carey' (any relation of you-know-who?), who writes for the English publication 'Church of England Newspaper'. In tune with the vitriol of Mr David Virtue (ex Baptist, self-proclaimed *Voice of Anlgican Orthodoxy), this article has its own unique take on what has happened to the Liberal Anglican cause in the U.K. since the ABC's criticism of TEC's declaration affirming the ministry of Gays and Same-sex Unions - and the corrosive follow-up speech from the Bishop of Durham.

One wonders whether the Church of England, in fact, would recognise Mr Carey's take on the situation; and whether it weould consider the C.of.E. Newspaper to be truly representative of mainstream Anglican opinion and view-point? In my view, the Roman Catholic newspaper 'The Tablet' is far more friendly towards mainstreeam Anglicanism that this 'organ' of the press. At least, is seems to recognise the real need for a 'semper reformanda' culture in the Churches' theological working out of what might be the appropriate Gospel message for the world of today. This is why the 'Church Times' has always been my paper of choice on Anglicanism.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 6:12am BST

"... as opposed to writings on homosexuality from inside the Jewish and Christian traditions... "

Outside. Hellenism is definitely outside. Always was. Always will be.

One might even argue that the Bible is assembled to counter and reject Indo European Ideas of Creation, Emmanation & cetera.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 6:24am BST

Hillel A-R's article is indeed very moving.

Hurrah to him for having found Love and Peace at last.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 6:41am BST

The variation in human sexuality seems to be natural and to say some manifestations of it are sinful does not make sense. I understand Jesus' teaching to be about how we relate to each other and God and not eclusively in a sexual way. I have only read the review of this book but it seems to be about these important relationships. I am disturbed by the inaccuracy of using lgbt to describe trans people because trans is to do with gender and sex not necessarily sexuality.

Posted by: clairejxx on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 7:12am BST

Ford, I sort of understand where you are coming from but I find your post a little too churlish to be taken very seriously. It *may* be that adultery is part and parcel of who we are, which is why I find the rather regular and over-the-top professions on this site about gay relationships being good only to the extent they constitute 'faithful loving bonds' just a tad too unrealistic. Our nearest living relation in the animal kingdom is the Bonobo chimpanzee, whose own social and sexual organization seems to preclude permanent partners:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo

For me, it is the quality of companionship between people that is of utmost importance, whether or not genitals are involved; not all of my friendships have been permanent, does that mean that I should not have enjoyed their qualities? Does having more than one friend make me adulterous? Sometimes i do not quite know what we are so frightened of that we cling to a definition of marriage to make everything right, whether this is straight marriage or gay marriage or whatever.

Posted by: MikeM on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 10:32am BST

To hear an see Mr Marin start here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heh1Np6oUyw

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 10:38am BST

Soapy: have heard your 'warning' - endlessly and repeatedly - but you don;t appear to be hearing the responses. Which are that we disagree and will continue to disagree.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 12:02pm BST

*But the evidence that homosexual sex is wrong is overwhelming.*

No. It isn't.

That's a ridiculous statement.

There's no reasoned argument with it because it is completely delusional. You might just as well say, "The evidence that there are monsters under my bed is just overwhelming."

I'm afraid there's no insanity plea in reasoned discussion.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 12:04pm BST

Soapy Sam writes: "Here's my point: adultery is wrong, and homosexual sex is wrong. This is the premise of the whole conservative case."

You may be right that this is the premise of the whole conservative case. But "homosexual sex is wrong" has to be a conclusion, not a premise.

That may be why the whole conservative case (if framed as you frame it) is so utterly unconvincing to those who don't accept it without question. It seems to be based on nothing but prejudice. It assumes the conclusion without demonstrating it and it responds very badly to challenge.

Posted by: badman on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 1:50pm BST

And yet, there is this: "That means we must see we are not the solution and let God be God and seek to build our credibility with the GLBT community even if we face criticism from other Christians who think this is compromise or affirming the GLBT worldview."

Which "the GLBT worldview?" More listening is clearly needed as this sentence is itself a reductionism.

Posted by: Christopher on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 2:12pm BST

"adultery is wrong, and homosexual sex is wrong."

The first does not equate with the second, and the current debate revolves around whether or not the second statement is an accurate interpretation of seven verses of Scripture. Jesus was quite clear that we should follow the spirit, not the letter, of the Law, I think you should try to do that. And there's a lot more to being gay than sex.

"Conservative Christians, especially those who are better people than me, want to show empathy"

At best, this is a conservative self delusion. Their behaviour makes it pretty clear. I read a book review the other day that is the first time EVER I have encountered any kind of compassion from conservatives. Sorry you can't see that, though I'm not surprised. I have been trying to show conservatives on this site the cruelty of their behaviour for the past three years, with no obvious effect. Unless you think that lies, slander, and support for persecution constitute "compassion". As I have said over and over to conservatives, it is NOT the message you preach that reveals your hatred of us, it is the way you preach that message.

"the evidence that homosexual sex is wrong is overwhelming."

Really? Where? The vast majority of experts would disagree with you, so you'd better have some evidence for this statement.

"Christians are 'not under law but under grace', and therefore we don't refer back to the law of Moses."

I have never seen any of your conservative coreligionists use this very liberal argument, indeed, on this site they have, almost to a man, lined up to argue that the Law of Moses DOES indeed apply, at least the ones they consider to be about "morality". You are significantly our of step with your conservative counterparts.

"This is why conservative Christians think it's worth the trouble to warn people against 'shameful lusts'"

Is this the justification for the shameful, cruel, and unChristian behaviour that I alluded to earlier and that so often seems to pass for "evangelism" among the conservatives I have encountered here? Might I suggest you would do better if you concentrated on "working out your own salvation in fear and trembling"?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 2:30pm BST

Goran,

In response to my comment

"as opposed to writings on homosexuality from inside the Jewish and Christian traditions... "

You wrote

"Outside. Hellenism is definitely outside. Always was. Always will be."

In fact I was not referring to Hellenism or ancient texts at all, but to the modern academic literature on gay spirituality, and modern Christian texts on the homosexual issue such as the one Goddard refers to here.

To expand a bit – because I think this is an important point that has been missed - the original point at issue in this thread was whether gays were proportionally over-represented in churches despite the common anti-gay stance, and was there some reason for this.

I would argue from the gay spirituality literature that just like ginger haired people have a number of separate but linked traits (hair colour, pale skin, freckles and a tendency to sun burn) gay men also have a number of separate traits which are different from those of strait men. Sexual preference for men is one trait, but there are others, and the literature argues that gay men tend to have a different spirituality from straight men. When seeing to understand the homosexual issue in Christianity we persistently look a gay sexuality. This is wrong – we should seek to understand gay spirituality.

Some people argue that gay men have a stronger spiritual drive than straight men, others propose that gay men tend to image the divine as "friend/brother/lover" as opposed to the "father/lord/king" imagery common in straight men (and you don't have to be an expert in Freud to realise the potential for catastrophic oedipal misunderstandings there).

The reference I gave (http://www.edwardcarpenter.net/ecpf1.htm) is just one example showing a common series of spiritual (not sexual) phenomena inside shamanism, linked to homosexuality, across the world. I think this sort of thing bears study by Christians and should not be written off. For example, if the marks of shamanistic priesthood are divination, bright (perhaps feminine) attire, family rejection, and homosexuality, what light does that throw on the story of Joseph and his problems with Potiphar (or more specifically his wife), a story from the time when early Jewish religion was evolving from Canaanite religions close to shamanism. Perhaps the modern anglo-catholic gay priest in his lace is a direct descendant.

Such hidden marks of gay spirituality are there to be seen in all religions, not just hellenism.

Best wishes

Simon

Posted by: Simon Robert Dawson on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 2:38pm BST

"a little too churlish to be taken very seriously."

Well, I was aiming for "dripping with sarcasm", but 'churlish' is pretty accurate as well, I guess, and that word HAS been a favourite of mine for a while. And darned right I was being churlish! Yet another conservative presumes to pronounce on my life, reduce me to nothing more than a sexual act, revealing a lack of understanding of what it is to be gay that should disqualfy him from commenting at all. And tries to pretend that acting on that level of ignorance is somehow "compassionate"? What do you, or he, expect? Don't forget that this "homosexuality is just another sin" platitude has led, among other things, to gay relationships being compared to the temptation an overweight person feels for that second piece of trifle on Christmas Day! I read profound ignorance of the issues combined with a judgementalism justified by the false modesty of "I'm a sinner too", that made a completely inaccurate, and ignorant, comparison, and I reacted with sarcasm. And, excuse the sin of pride, but I think it was a relatively well crafted little piece for someone so fed up with this kind of selfrighteous ignorance as I have become.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 2:39pm BST

Simon Robert Dawson, An astonishing answer. It seems to me that my reference to Hellenist anti Procreation, but still Procreation only, Gnosticism and Philosophy passed over your head entirely.

The Western Academic tradition embraces enough Hellenist ideas from Ancient Alexandria, become Byzantine and later (cf Swedish 17th century Absolutism) State Ideology, to distort all Academic, including Church, teaching for the last 1500 years.

What is spewed in late Modern times as “the Christian Tradition” on Sexuality is nothing more than Europe’s Hellenist tradition from Ancient Alexandria: the black painting of Life as a Gaol for the Soul, as a Valley of Tears, by Gnosticism and Philosophy.

The Museioon, Philo, “Josephus”, Clement, Origen, Augustine, Chrysostomos, the Carolingians, the Scholastics, the (second) Neo Platonic “Renaissance”, in our time Dynamic Equivalent in-readings.

Anti Modernism is not Biblical.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 5:15pm BST

I can see that there are statements Soapy Sam might read as a blanket condemnation of homosexuality.

I cannot think of any other evidence at all that it is in any way immoral or harmful. If he knows of any such, he might like to share them.

Posted by: RosemaryHannah on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 6:40pm BST

" Gays are closer to God."

To face hostility and rejection from the Church but reach a place where you have assurance of God' love and acceptance, gives a deeper knowledge of the nature of God's love. Gay peoople are not loved more, but often have felt and known more the tenderness of God.

Posted by: Sue on Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 7:33pm BST

Goran,

Thanks for your reply. Your Hellenism comment did not pass over my head (I was reading Plato's Symposium only last night) but perhaps we should agree to disagree over the links between Hellenism and Biblical texts.

I suspect we are talking at cross purposes. I respect your obvious deep knowledge of the learning and traditions you mention but I was not actually addressing that area. I was simply making the point that if we wish to understand and resolve the issue of homosexuality within the Church then there is one specific area of learning and tradition - gay spirituality - which we need to study. For as long as we look only at gay sexuality, not gay spirituality, we are doomed to failure.

Best wishes

Simon

Posted by: Simon Robert Dawson on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 9:34am BST

This polemic against Hellenism puzzles me. Yes, a certain Platonism underlies the early Church's excessive cult of virginity etc. But really the sexual tragedy of Christianity -- what Nietzsche called "the poisoning of Eros" -- has as much if not more to do with a rejection of Hellenism. Plato celebrates homosexual love in the Charmides, the Phaedrus and the Syposium, and even if he turns sour in the Laws his work is the principal plateau of gay-friendly thinking in the Western world. Then you have the very gay classical poets such as Sappho and Hellenistic ones such as Theocritus (carried over by the homoerotic Virgil); The Hellenistic friendship-ethos continued by Cicero influences Christianity in John 15; the Cappadocians; Augustine; Paulinus of Nola, etc;, and implies a recognition of sexual attraction even if under a regime of virile chastity.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 11:33am BST

I don't believe I can offer new evidence to which Ford Elms, Rosemary Hannah and others haven't given full consideration; so I'll confess my inability to contribute innovatively to debate, and respectfully record my disagreement.

The point of posting a third time, then, is to say a word about what Ford Elms calls 'this very liberal argument', meaning my comment that 'we don't refer back to the law of Moses'. I acknowledge his point that the law of Moses is indeed used in the relation to this question, too often in my view, by people with whose conclusions (but not their arguments) I'd like to agree. I guess by 'we don't' I meant something like what my mother might have meant if she said, 'We don't try to eat horse chestnuts'--that is, 'we shouldn't', or 'nobody who has any sense does.'

The general principle ought to be common to all Christians, and I don't see it as a 'liberal argument'. (Almost) all Christians act as if it were a principle they/we live by, in that practically none of us keeps (e.g.) the dietary or purity laws.

Those who think the law of Moses applies (in part) to Christians will usually seek to enunciate a distinction between the moral law and the ceremonial law. In my view such a distinction is a mare's nest: any command by God about how to live is a moral command. What the Bible says (to simplify) is that the Law was revealed by God, all of it, and the Israelites were commanded to keep it; but in a number of places, New Testament writers say (simplifying again) that Christians need not, and actually should not, keep it.

When that old liberal Paul of Tarsus wrote this, it seems some people leapt to the conclusion that not being subject to the law meant, oh, let's see--not having to love the Lord thy God, love thy neighbour as thyself, et cetera. That wasn't his point; but I don't think I need say any more about it.

Posted by: Soapy Sam on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 12:09pm BST

Soapy SAm,

If you indeed believe that we are bound by Grace, rather than the Law, it is time for you to do some serious reading on the Bible in translation and in historical context. Do not concentrate on the issue of homosexuality, and don't look for articles on the internet. Buy some books written by scholars who do not share your view. Then tackle a book like Tobias Hallers' "Reasonable and Holy."

This approach has its risks. Some people, like me, emerge with a greater respect for the Bible and its role in the church, society and individual lives throughout the centuries. Some end up thinking they have been hoodwinked and find their faith in grave danger. Others just read and say - "you're wrong."

Love of God and neighbor requires us to use the intellectual capacity we have been given, and then use it as we try to live the way of the Gospel here and now, in 2009.

For the record - I was raised Episcopalian in the mid-Atlantic U.S. As a teenager, I voluntarily went to two years of evening Bible study at one of the best-knwon conservative churches in the Metropolitan Washington (DC) area. I was an active member of a United Methodist Church in the 1980s. My best friend holds Master's-level degrees in both liturgy and theology from Roman Catholic institutions (he guides my reading in theology). Oh, and I am an Episcopalian, home where I belong. Because that is where I have always found the greatest measure of God's Grace, as a child with simple faith and an adult with the deeper, more mature variety.

Look for Grace in the lives of others, not sin. Our Lord Jesus so commanded, and it's a rather nice way to live your life and faith.

Posted by: Lynn on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 4:52pm BST

"Look for Grace in the lives of others, not sin. Our Lord Jesus so commanded, and it's a rather nice way to live your life and faith." - Lynn -

Lynn, bless you! What a graceful and gracious reply to Soapy Sam's negativity about LGBTs. If only some of our conservative brethren and sistren could take your advice - which, after all, is true to the inclusive spirit of the Gospel - perhaps they would be less cavilling and more honest in searching for what the Scriptures may really be saying to us on these important matters - forsaking fundamentalist pre-suppositions, and looking for an up-to-date interpretation of The Bible with intellectual rigour and compassion - which is what Jesus might prefer us to do.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 19 August 2009 at 11:26pm BST

Dear Soapy Sam, The 10 Commmandments are very much the Law in Synagogue and Church, though much changed by the Scholastics for instance. The laws of men (Ezraic/Mosaic) not so much.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 5:55am BST

Pluralist has recently signaled a response to Williams and Wright by the 'Modern Church People's Union': www.modchurchunion.org/resources/mcu/2009-1.htm -

He is right to do so. It is a spanking piece which one makes one proud.

Posted by: john on Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 8:21pm BST

"The general principle ought to be common to all Christians, and I don't see it as a 'liberal argument'."

Nor do I, but your conservative counterparts disagree. We are not under the Law. That is not to say the Law has no value, but if we follow Christ we cannot help but follow the Law "Love God, love your neighbour" "On these two commandments....." But, it is conservatives seeking to find some justification for their dislike/hatred of homosexuals who routinely seek to claim that Christians ARE indeed bound by the "moral" Law, though not the ritual one. You really should go back a couple of years here and see the arguments conservatives put up against every non-conservative's (I use this, not liberal, since I am no conservative, but no liberal either, and I think there are more like me) arguments against it, that he Law does apply to us, and it is that Law that strengthens their resolve to force gays to either lie about who they are so conservatives can think God loves them, or just go away and stop bothering us. Seriously. You are the first conservative I have heard on this site in three years who was willing to acknowledge the idea that Christians are outside the Law. So strong is this that I really think that if you were to speak more, we would find you DO actually believe Christians must follow the Law, at least the moral Law, it's just that you don't want to realize it. If I am wrong in that, you are, in my experience, very rare among conservatives. Time will tell.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 9:07pm BST

Pluralist has recently signaled a response to Williams and Wright by the 'Modern Church People's Union': www.modchurchunion.org/resources/mcu/2009-1.htm -

He is right to do so. It is a spanking piece which one makes one proud.

Posted by: john on Thursday, 20 August 2009 at 8:21pm BST

Yes, absolutely ! Gave me fresh hope and encouragment.

Good to be reminded of the thought of HR McAdoo too

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Friday, 21 August 2009 at 2:24am BST

Goddard's review of Marin's book is certainly worth the read. Marin is about where I was about 25 years ago. But some of us have worked in areas where people felt more freedom to be out (or semi-out) for a long time. Also, I was a young woman in a large Metro area, determined to find a church home that had a reasonable number of people about my age yet not of the fundamentalist genre.

Perhaps that is what confounds me sometimes - it doesn't seem that the battle should be raging at this level now, so many years later.

Posted by: Lynn on Friday, 21 August 2009 at 5:38am BST

Ford,

I absolutely agree that someone has shown their ignorance.

I do not know you, I am not qualified to judge what to "expect", though I'd hope for a higher level of discourse.

To run the risk of sounding like a bore - I was posing the question; how would we deal with such views if adultery were itself also to be understood scientifically as being as congenital or inherent as being gay, say? There is already research out there that even examines whether being conservative itself could be genetically determined:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15534009/ns/technology_and_science-science/

Would you show the same restraint or compassion or forgiveness to conservatives then, as you appear to expect from them in regard to your own case, from their apparently fixed standpoint? There would be no end to arguments based on such an unalterable polarity. This is my own chief fear.

I am *not* saying that you are in need of forgiveness for any kind of sin - my own proclivities would make such a statement absurd - I am not interested in how "well-crafted" your piece was in relation to how intemperate you became in relation to something you view as personally aimed (I'd be the same if someone said something similar in relation to the seeming traits of the working class), but I am terribly interested in how those of us who do tend to rely on scientific evidence for our own justification would be placed were the boot on the other foot, simply.

Derision and sarcasm probably won't cut it, I am afraid.

Posted by: MikeM on Friday, 21 August 2009 at 7:14am BST

"how would we deal with such views if adultery were itself also to be understood scientifically as being as congenital or inherent as being gay, say?"

Why do so many seem to find it so difficult to distinguish between harmful, destructive behaviour that has clear perpetrators and clear victims, and consensual, loving relationships between 2 adults?

There are two parts to this gay conversation that keep getting muddled.
One is: is it chosen - which is of interest to those who believe we could change if only we wanted to and who really need to understand that we can't.

The other is: what do we do with this innate part of being. And there, the same rules apply to us as to straights.

Muddling the 2 arguments into one isn't particularly helpful, because you're mixing "being" and "behaviour" and putting them on the same level. In reality, the "being" is the top level, if you like, the Straight or Gay or Bi level.
Underneath that, there are behavioural choices for everyone, and things like adultery, bigamy or any other behaviour that has to do with power, exploitation, abuse and control is wrong. For gay and straight.
Anything that is equal, consensual, loving and faithful is right. For gay and straight.

It really is quite simple.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 21 August 2009 at 1:53pm BST

No doubt the huge response to Marin's thinking and work is going to include a whole lot of people who might spontaneously respond - About time. Or, Better late than never.

However welcome Marin's call is, that we step aside from prejudice-mistreatment as the core conservative believer church life and family life axis - what he is substantially doing is opening up, finally. Thus risking that in the end he may finally work through to various conclusions that he has been wrong-minded and wrong-hearted in this or that or the other way.

Marin is a huge call for the possibilities of long-term discernment and correction. He's bridging realms, and so is a transitional witness.

The hostility that conservative believers regularly preach to target queer folks as exemplars of human sin is indeed hardening in its sermons and its calls for punishment. Perhaps a sign that too much change has already happened? Trying to put the genie back in the modern and post-modern bottles?

The only real question involves us asking: How much damage will the death throes of traditionalistic prejudice-mistreatment have to do to constituents and to bystanders of all sorts? Before we let go and work through these changes?

All that circles about a key theology question: Are all difficult changes, by definition, apocalyptic? Doomsday signs? Or - are some changes, correction? Growth? Maturing?

Chalcedon-Rushdoony have their answers and working rules of thumb. I have mine, as Anglican.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 21 August 2009 at 6:52pm BST

Goddard's review of Marin's book is certainly worth the read. Marin is about where I was about 25 years ago. But some of us have worked in areas where people felt more freedom to be out (or semi-out) for a long time. Also, I was a young woman in a large Metro area, determined to find a church home that had a reasonable number of people about my age yet not of the fundamentalist genre.

Perhaps that is what confounds me sometimes - it doesn't seem that the battle should be raging at this level now, so many years later.

Posted by: Lynn on Friday, 21 August 2009 at 5:38am BST

Yes, absolutly. Why oh why has it taken so very long ? (My entire lifetime).

Has Goddard really had a change of heart ? Or will we disappointed by his next public utterance ?

It couldnt ahve been easy for him to respond in this way, and I am moved by that. It needs to be sustained though. Does he need any support ?

Will he be presurized or picked off ?

I hope not.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Saturday, 22 August 2009 at 6:18am BST

I suppose, in all fairness, I should remember that much of what I know and understand is cumulative knowledge. When you have a reputation in a community as someone who 1) doesn't judge on sexual preference, and 2) is perfectly happy to keep a secret if someone isn't ready to be full-out - you just end up knowing more non-straights (and then their partners and friends).

I know now that that trust was a privilege when I was a young woman, and times were just changing.

Posted by: Lynn on Saturday, 22 August 2009 at 7:32pm BST

Lynn, your post reminds me of the tales my Grandmother told of the 1930ies...

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Sunday, 23 August 2009 at 6:25am BST

"how would we deal with such views if adultery were itself also to be understood scientifically as being as congenital or inherent as being gay, say?"

First of all, it is disingenuous to pretend the first statement was some sort of hypothetical topic for discussion. Soapy Sam was not proposing an abstract concept, but clearly states that he sees heterosexual infidelity as equivalent to homosexuality and asks why the two are not treated the same. This reveals a level of ignorance of the issues that, by now, no-one commenting on this topic should have. Sorry, but gay people didn't just burst on the world's consciousness yesterday, it's not like this is the only place in the world where these issues are discussed. What I did might not be particularly Christian, nor conducive to civil debate. But it does make for very satisfying venting of the frustration that builds up from continually dealing with conservative ignorance about gay issues, which they usually try to deny, and which is often expressed far more insultingly, even violently, than Soapy Sam spoke. It was not intended to be anything else. But now that we have made it into something other than it was, let's go for it.

I would have to say that if we indeed found that some people were constitutionally unable to remain monogamous, we would certainly have to re-examine how the issue is handled. I think it is cruel to force people into a situation where they will be forced to enter into covenants wth others, made before God, but which they are not able to carry out. For one thing we would be forcing them to lie to God. I'm not sure what the answer would be, but making them promise to God thaings they will not be able to deliver on, forcing them to lie before God Himself, is just wrong.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Sunday, 23 August 2009 at 1:58pm BST

Erika,

So, according to this logic, being adulterous could not happen between two consenting, loving adults, and there is always only power, control, and exploitation (etc., etc.) at the heart of it? Is your ideological world really so black and white?

I am sorry but whenever I hear the word "victim" being deployed in any argument, I know I am up against dogma of some sort or other.

There is obviously something about my posts on this that is either being willfully ignored, misunderstood or plainly not well articulated by me.

I just don't think this interminable scrabble to get to any particularist moral high ground is worthy of the label Christianity; we are all sinners, whether faithful gays or less-than-loyal straights, self-abusing cross-dressers or celibate intersexed, congenitally hermaphrodite or after-the-event eunuchs, and we are all in need of grace.

When will this babble of self-justification stop, on all sides?

(throws up hands in existential exasperation).


Posted by: MikeM on Sunday, 23 August 2009 at 2:17pm BST

Nothing to justify, Mike. Its you doing the condemning and I for one are bored of listening. I don't actually care what your conservative god, or your conservative church, or your so-called holy books are sup[posed to say. Nothing relevant to me and my life.

Carry on being exasperated. I'll carry on being a happy gay man in a relationship, and getting on very well now I have given up your god, your church and your ancient hate literature.

Posted by: Merseymike on Sunday, 23 August 2009 at 11:48pm BST

Ford -

I once again defer to your graciousness.

Just a last bit of indicative evidence on this, more for information than argument's sake:

http://www.innovations-report.com/html/reports/life_sciences/report-30309.html

Posted by: MikeM on Monday, 24 August 2009 at 7:12am BST

Frankly, the worn-out arguments comparing same-sex relationships to "any other sin" are so completely lacking in a real-world grounding that the only possible response by an intelligent human is ridicule and derision. The idea that true debate can take place with those absolutely unable to grasp anything outside their own "traditional" biases is pointless. Even mockery is far kinder - in assuming the ability of the mocked to be ashamed of irrational behavior - than the other possible response of telling those expressing the "traditionalist" views of homosexuality to be quiet and let the grownups talk!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Monday, 24 August 2009 at 11:28am BST

Merseymike

It just amazes me how obtuse people can be.

I haven't condemned anyone. I have asked that people stop condemning each other on the back of fallible human positions.

Go back and read some of my posts on this. I have said time and again that I find the inability of Christianity and its adherents to deal with the multifariousness of human sexuality and reproduction pretty mind-blowing.

I have never once called on scripture in defence of anything like an anti-gay stance or "pro-conservative" position, and have said that given my own manifold sexuality it would be absurd for me to do so. I have disagreed with someone's argumentation, not their argument.

And yet you pitch me in with some sort of hate-filled constituency, on the basis of what?

I have asked people to look at standards of evidence (those who live by the sword, die by the sword, and all that) and (gasp) how things might look if situations were reversed but it seems this does not matter, since what counts here mostly is "if you are not with me, you are against me".

There's now hysteria in all camps, so I am going to do an Achilles.

Good luck.

Posted by: MikeM on Monday, 24 August 2009 at 1:11pm BST

"But the evidence that homosexual sex is wrong is overwhelming." - Soapy Sam -

Maybe to you, Soapy Sam and many others like you, the whole business of sexual activity is something 'not quite nice' or even downright dirty. The only reaction you get from me is that: it's about time the churches got down to a discipline of reasoned debate about the subject of human sexuality - in a way that recognises differences between the lack of scientific evidence available to the Church in past centuries, as compared with the plethora of societal and scientific evidence now available in this day and age.

The Victorian attitude to sexuality has long been put to rest, and it is time for the Church to move into the 20th century in it's understanding of the purposes of sex - outside of it's presumed exclusive use in procreation. For any reputable church leader to continue to apply the old idea of sexual activity as in any way distasteful, and therefore taboo - militating against the whole ethos of spirituality - ought to re-read the Old Testament Book of the Wisdom of Solomon. Now there, you have a wonderful and uplifitng understanding of the place of human sexuality in the life of God's faithful children.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 at 1:21am BST

MikeM,

I have no dog in this fight, except doing the right thing is important to me. I can marry anyone who asks me - I'm a woman who goes for men, and my ex passed away not long after we split (yep, I could even marry a Catholic widower).

Understand you aren't bringing a particularly fresh argument to the table. Yes, the discussion is at quite the impasse. You have been given numerous reasons why people disagree with you, and seem frustrated there are so many - some factual, some emotional, some even justified by personal views of theology.

When you jump into the fray, you never know how people will reply. It's rare when any of us gets a nod to extraordinary ideas, no matter how much one might expect that on some comments. Sometimes you are only educating yourself, and sharing what you have learned.

There's nothing wrong with walking away from an argument. It's respected when you do it to allow everyone to cool off - but I've never noticed much respect when I've done it to have the last word.

Posted by: Lynn on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 at 6:26am BST

"you pitch me in with some sort of hate-filled constituency, on the basis of what?"

I think it's on the basis of your implied equation of adultery and homosexuality. The two are not the same at all. No, you didn't really do that, and I get what you are trying to do. It is a basis for a discussion.

But you are talking to people who have been lied about, mistreated, misrepresented, slandered, in some cases assaulted, all their lives by people who make exactly these kinds of arguments. They come here and repeat these same old tired attacks and justifications, and scream "Oppression" when anyone so much as counters their rants. You only need to look back at recent threads to see the level of calumny, self delusion, and masked hatred that passes for "reasoned debate" in the vast majority of conservatives.

Many of us have been through things that have caused us a great deal of pain, and we react from that place in response to people who make arguments that even superficially resemble those of the conservatives who so poorly disguise their hatred of us. Hence, your reception here. Frankly, I have little time left for conservative ignorance and hatred masquerading as righteousness and concern. They hate us, a good number of them would dance on our graves if someone were kind enough to exterminate us for them so they could pretend not to be guilty of our deaths, and I have no interest whatsoever in helping them maintain the self delusion that they are somehow Godly for being that way. I don't always agree with MerseyMike, sometimes he annoys the daylights out of me, but I know where he's coming from.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 at 3:31pm BST

Of course, just for intellectual practice, we could juxtapose any number of different things, and talk about what would be the case if they indeed were equal or comparable. Moon equals green cheese? Homosexuality equals moon equals green cheese? Conservative religion equals moon equals jalapeno cheese equals V Gene Robinson equals New Hampshire equals adultery? Gee, think I'm getting the hang of this riff. More Dada-istic than I guessed at first?

I don't get it yet. I also don't get the fuzzy implication that if we hold an ethics that accepts modern views of queer folks positively, we are then bound to somehow approve of (say) adultery. That is the proferred spin doctor trap laid in waiting, is it not? If you spin in that direction, you are not thinking critically; but running through the traditionalistic spin doctor gear changes of one of the loudest, fake tropes of many conservative believers.

First gear change, don't deal with homosexuality in a modern sense. Use some equation or comparison to question that we've changed our minds for good reasons, and now regard sexual orientation as morally neutral (capable of bad and good and indifferent ethical potentials?). Redefine all that queer stuff via something else, anything else bad that will serve your spin efforts aimed at driving us back in a circular closed path, to a traditional condemnation of queer folks and queer stuff. Adultery? Alcoholism? Child Abuse? Cheap Thrills Hedonism? Nice gears, dude.

Second gear change, having presumed that homosexuality is equal or comparable to some other bad thing, harp on that other bad thing endlessly, as if one could not reconsider one's view of queer folks who are family members or coworkers or neighbors, until and unless one similarly revised one's views of the Very Bad Thing that still stands unchanged, Bad, Threatening.

Yawn, ho-hum, I think the kids seat-belted safely in the back seat are asking again: Are we there yet? Next turn out, somebody will probably need a bathroom break.

Posted by: drdanfee on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 at 7:37pm BST

Ford: I think all you need to do is pay a visit to VirtueOnline, Anglican Mainstream or StandFirm to see the full extent of the hatred. When these people are together in the safety of numbers, they move into almost hysteria mode.

I can think of one example. There was a pretty horrible case here of two gay men who were foster carers and had been abusing some of the kids in their care. Now, this was highlighted and flagged up as a reason why ...well, you can imagine the rest. But here in the UK, where that happened, these cases are very rare, whereas we have had some really appalling cases in the past few months, which have involved the heterosexual parents. naturally, these cases are not mentioned on these sites, nor seen as a reason why heterosexuals should not foster or have children....

Essentially, the conservative haters cannot conceive of a gay relationship being good, and this has absolutely nothing to do with theology and everything to do with visceral dislike and unease

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 25 August 2009 at 11:22pm BST

"I think all you need to do is pay a visit to VirtueOnline, Anglican Mainstream or StandFirm to see the full extent of the hatred."

I have, frequently. What's your point? That conservatives hate us? Not a big surprise to anyone. That they pretend not to hate us? Again, tell me something I don't know. That it makes you angry? It does to all of us. You respond differently to those facts than I do, that's all. But don't assume that because I don't feel or express your visceral hatred for the Church and anyone who is a part of Her I therefor don't know or understand the issues.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 26 August 2009 at 3:13pm BST
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