Friday, 16 April 2010

reactions to the Carey witness statement

Doug Chaplin has fisked the witness statement at One law for us, one for you: the Carey-a Sharia revisited.

Afua Hirsch in the Guardian has written Lawyers reject calls for Christian-sensitive judges.

Stephen Bates at Cif belief has written Lord Carey’s bloated conscience.

Earlier yesterday on the Today BBC radio programme, Barrister Dinah Rose and Andrea Williams of Christian Legal Centre discussed the implications. (hat tip SB).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 8:44am BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation

This whole thing is very confusing. If a judge can be shown to have shown legal bias, you appeal with evidence. If your rights to freedom of religion are infringed, you take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

In order to sustain what appears to be his view, Lord Carey would have to prove on the balance of probabilities, for example, that it is a conscientious requirement of the Christian Faith to wear a crucifix, or object to Civil Partnerships. For a court to accept such an argument, it would have to be established that this was in fact the case. The existence of many millions of Christians in the UK who neither wear crucifixes, nor believe themselves to be compelled to do so, not object to Civil partnerships, though doubtless there's a theological argument that they ought to do either or both these things, makes this argument, I would have thought, very hard to sustain in court. Where's the bias in that? I think we should be told.

Posted by: Bishop Alan Wilson on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 9:14am BST

Thank you Bishop Alan for your clear comments. For myself I wear a crucifix, and enjoy a God given same sex relationship, after many years as a widower.At the back of my mind is Archbishop Rowans Easter sermon in Canterbury cathedral. When he put this discussion in the full context of Christians throughout the world , and the persecution of much greater substance.

I very much respect Lord Carey, but disagree on his stance on this matter.

Fr John (Scotland)

Posted by: Fr John on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 11:44am BST

"It's difficult for them (Carey & Co.) to admit openly, but impossible to escape the conclusion that as far as they are concerned gays have no rights that might cut across a Christian's. The Christian conscience is so precious, virtuous and superior that it must trump all others. Is that what Lord Carey truly believes? If so, he should come clean and say it."
- Stephen Bates in The Guardian -

I think, from his previous meetings with other disaffected Anglicans from conservative 'think tanks', this is precisely what Lord Carey really does believe. One of the problems with that mind-set is that many of those 'gays' he wishes would just go away happen to be conscientious Anglicans.
The difference is that Carey believes God has no time for them, whereas the people he wants to be consigned to the margins of the Church are precisely those whom Jesus would include in the gatherings he so obviously enjoyed in his own ministry.

What Carey is arguing for here, is what he was so strenuously denying to Muslims - fellow citizens in his own backyard - whose civic rights are just as important to 'good government' as those he wants to arrogate to himself as a Christian. Shame on you, Lord Carey. Discreet retirement would be
a more honourable pursuit for you, right now.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 11:45am BST

My memory from when GC was my diocesan is that there were many categories of Anglicans whom he wished did not exist. Cerrtainly as a fairly conservative liberal catholic I was made to feel that there was no place for me in his scheme of things, and was told by him that he felt I would be unsuitable in a parish. (Perhaps, of course, he was right!!)

Posted by: mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 1:14pm BST

I think Lord Carey would greatly benefit from spending a large amount of his time without the company of other Christians.

Posted by: Rob_L on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 1:49pm BST

As an American Episcopalian, I find the flap over Lord Carey's recent comments interesting, but not after all really our business. It's for the Church of England, and the people of the U.K., to deal with. But to those who have their gaiters in a twist because The Episcopal Church has allegedly failed to exercise "restraint" (by their own definition) in the ordering of our own Church's life: why on earth should we?

Posted by: Bill Moorhead on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 3:01pm BST

I have a close friend who used to work in banking. When an issue or proposal was beyond further critique or discussion, the code phrase was, "It's a religious issue." So there seems to be even in the secular world an understanding that religious rights are to trump all others. I find the notion absurd and destructive to true religion. It is the ultimate idolatry of personal conscience -- projecting one's own beliefs upon the whole society and demanding obeisance to them. "Le veau d'or est toujours debout!"

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 3:09pm BST

Does anyone know if the former counsellor from Relate gave sex therapy to unmarried heterosexual couples? Given the demographics of Britain, it is hard to imagine that he didn't. Just as a survey of marriage Special Licence applications would reveal most couples are already living together when they get married. IF this really is about the view that ALL sex outside of marriage is wrong and not about homophobia, where is the zeal of Lord Carey and others on these questions?

Posted by: Judith Maltby on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 3:23pm BST

When any group has had priveledges denied to others for centuries they will feel persecuted to lose their advantages. It is not long ago that admission to the most influential universities and professions was restricted to members of the Church of England. Even here in Maryland, USA, as long as the Episcopal Church was Established (note capital) others were denied full many opportunities. And we all know about racial and ethnic restrictions.
Columba Gilliss

Posted by: Columba Gilliss on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 3:29pm BST

"impossible to escape the conclusion that as far as they are concerned gays have no rights that might cut across a Christian's" -- quote from Stephen Bates’ column
Or in other words, gay people have no rights which Christians need respect, to paraphrase Stephen Bates' quote in the words of one of the most infamous USA Supreme Court cases of all time, the "Dred Scott" case.
The appalling thing about the former Archbishop of Canterbury's intervention is that he makes it in the name of "Christians” or "Christianity". From what I can tell in a brief scan or reading of some articles, he does not say "conservative" or "Evangelical" or "some" Christians. He does not modify Christians or Christianity in any way. In his intervention, all Christendom thinks the same way, and felt similarly threatened.
And that is grossly troubling. 1) He surely knows that not all Christians feel the way he or his colleagues do. Is he asserting that they aren’t Christian? Is he usurping only for himself and his fellow believers the name “Christian”, and casting all others who claim the name into outer darkness? 2) How many people will hear of this intervention, see his remarks, and have reinforced their ignorance of, attitude towards, or hatred of Christianity? How many sitting uneasy in the pews will have their ambivalence or fears reinforced and walk away, never to be seen again? The arrogance of Carey and his fellows knows no bounds. They explicitly ignore, or worse, trash, the theology and ethos of more liberal Christians. They anchor Christianity down with a weight it cannot sustain. They color Jesus of Nazareth with hues others will find repugnant.
And, forgive me, my brothers and sisters here, but for that I hope they pay a heavy price when they meet their God.

Posted by: peterpi on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 8:59pm BST

If (the former) Archbishop Carey is going to go down in flames, can he take his baby, Lambeth '98 1.10, with him? O_o

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 9:25pm BST

It is really a venture in theocracy we see here. The archbishop expects British law to favor his co-believers (a distinct minority in the Church he formerly miss-led) and impose his will on the State. Not gonna happen.


Posted by: Jim Beyer on Friday, 16 April 2010 at 9:34pm BST

@Bill Moorhead - Doesn't the fact that Lord Carey specifically invoked his supposed responsibility for our spiritual welfare as ABC mean that we're already involved?

Posted by: Bill Dilworth on Saturday, 17 April 2010 at 4:16pm BST

It is indeed confusing Bishop Alan and your point about the obvious remedy being an appeal is spot on.

The Ladele appeal was heard by a Court presided over by Sir Patrick Elias, who is himself a committed Christian. It was this Court which first articulated the reasoning to which Lord Carey objects.

There was then a further appeal to the Court of Appeal. In that Court, three more judges (Lord Neuberger being only one of them) agreed with Sir Patrick Elias. All three of them.

There was then a further appeal to the Supreme Court. Last month, three judges of the Supreme Court rejected this appeal, finding that the case did not merit a further hearing and refusing leave to appeal.

That is nine judges, all of one mind. To say that they are all biassed, or ignorant, or both, is simply daft. They delivered judgments which to my humble mind seem a great deal more compelling than Lord Carey's strangely incoherent witness statement.

Posted by: badman on Sunday, 18 April 2010 at 1:09am BST

Surely, the point must be, peterpi, that if you don't agree with George Carey you can not be a Christian. Me neither it would seem.

And yet, as Carey has given up on the permanence and indisolubility of matrimony, one might have thought he would feel it honourable --or logical, to adapt other ideas -- even those not impinging directly upon himself and his family.

Posted by: Rev Laurence Roberts on Sunday, 18 April 2010 at 4:58pm BST

Badman presents the facts thoughtfully

But much of the discussion I hear has swallowed the spin from Diamond and Co.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 19 April 2010 at 10:09am BST
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