Thursday, 23 January 2014

Pilling: Changing Attitude sends report to Bishops

From the Changing Attitude website:

Changing Attitude England Report to the College of Bishops meeting 27 January 2014

Changing Attitude England posted a Report today to every member of the College of Bishops and the 8 senior women in advance of their meeting 27 January 2014. A paper about the inclusion of LGB&T people in all conversations affecting our place in the Church has already been sent to the members of the College of Bishops in the papers for the meeting and that is reproduced at the end of our Report.

Changing Attitude England’s Report to the College of Bishops

Changing Attitude’s goals

Changing Attitude has three core goals, the achievement of which would mark a radical transformation in the experience of LGB&T Christians, and we believe, for the church as a whole. The goals are:

  • Celebrating the loving, permanent, faithful, stable of lesbian and gay relationships, lay and ordained
  • Equality in lay and ordained ministry in the selection, training and appointment process and the end of hypocrisy and secrecy – the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ culture.
  • Identify and eradicate prejudice against LGB&T people and the systemic homophobia which corrupts Christian attitudes and teaching.

1. Changing Attitude’s submission to the Review Group

In our submission to the Review Group we said the need for a radical change in Christian attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people is now urgent. We asked whether the review group is going to advocate that the Church of England recognises the reality of the presence of LGB&T people in the Church or whether they are going to maintain the present culture of secrecy, denial of reality, suppression of identity and the unhealthy attitudes in which many LGB&T Christians remain trapped.

The report does not herald radical change and does not therefore fulfil the expectations of Changing Attitude. There are no practical proposals which will begin to dismantle the present culture of secrecy, denial of reality, suppression of identity and the maintenance of unhealthy attitudes. The group has met people and listened and the unhealthy attitudes remain unchanged.

The Review Group explored a lot of the ground which is fundamental to the dilemmas faced by the church as it continues to think about human sexuality. The report explores many of the issues which must be reviewed if the Church of England is ever to speak truthfully and lovingly to those whose sexuality and gender are variants on the heterosexual, patriarchal norm of Christian theology, teaching and practice…

Read the full report here.
Scroll down for the separate document “…about the inclusion of LGB&T people in all conversations affecting our place in the Church has already been sent to the members of the College of Bishops..”

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 9:00am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

The Pilling Report was written by bishops, and so it is not surprising, although disappointing, that their grasp of everything except theology was inadequate.

Changing Attitude is right to single out, by way of example, the astonishing equivalence given in the Pilling Report to the consensus of independent expert scientific and professional opinion and research on the one hand, and the views of the Core Issues Trust on the other.

The Report was skewed, and not only in his lengthy solo dissent and appendix (comprising 48 pages of the 195 page total), by the Bishop of Birkenhead, who is himself on the "Council of Reference" of the True Freedom Trust. I notice that the Bishop of Birkenhead's account has caused an "erratum" to be put up on the Church of England website in his name:

"Erratum: The Bishop of Birkenhead has asked for the words in brackets on page 163, first paragraph of Section 5 of Appendix 3 '(and argued, e.g. by Richard Burridge)' to be disregarded from the online document, and apologizes unreservedly for any misrepresentation of Professor's Burridge's views caused by their inclusion."

I assume that the Rev. Prof. Burridge, Dean of King's College London, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, and Member of General Synod, complained about a passage in which he was, in fact, the only person referenced. It looks as if the dissenting Bishop of Birkenhead didn't even read the theological writing very well.

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 10:56am GMT

It's not really accurate to say that the report was written entirely by bishops. The report itself makes clear that most of the drafting work was done by two staff members at Church House. One of them happens to be a priest, the other (who happens to have just left) is a lay person. And of course Sir Joseph is not a bishop.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 6:08pm GMT

I agree with all that Changing Attitude say about the corrosive DADT culture, but their case would benefit from spelling out the necessary reforms, namely:-

* Synod repeal of the 1987 Higton motion
* a House of Bishops statement that withdraws 'Issues in Human Sexuality'
* altering the canons to allow same-sex marriage
* full adoption of the Equality Act

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 23 January 2014 at 6:12pm GMT
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