Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Employment Tribunal rules against Jeremy Pemberton

Updated yet again Thursday teatime

The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has issued this press release

Employment tribunal finds in favour of Bishop

The Employment Tribunal that heard the case brought by Jeremy Pemberton against Bishop Richard Inwood has released its findings, dismissing all the claims brought against the Bishop.

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham said: “We are thankful to the tribunal for its work on this complex case and for its findings in favour of the former Acting Diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, on all the claims made against him.

“We recognise that it has been a long and difficult process for all concerned, and we continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers.

“Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds. We remain engaged in the on-going shared conversations across the wider Church of England that are exploring questions relating to human sexuality.”

The Claimant’s lawyers have issued this statement:

“We are obviously very disappointed by the Employment Tribunal’s decision; our lawyers have considered the judgment and are in the process of preparing the Grounds of Appeal for submission to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. We would like to thank all of those who have supported us through this litigation process thus far.”

The full text of the judgment can be downloaded from here.

Updates

LGCM has issued this response: Justice for Jeremy – we fight on.

Peter Tatchell has issued this response: Tribunal rules Church can dictate who NHS employs.

Four Three blog articles in response:

Initial press coverage of this case:

Pink News Gay chaplain loses employment tribunal after being sacked by Church for marrying

Premier Radio Canon Jeremy Pemberton loses tribunal claim the Church discriminated against him for being in gay marriage

Newark Advertiser Jeremy Pemberton loses discrimination case

Nottingham Post Gay priest not discriminated against, employment tribunal rules

Guardian Gay hospital chaplain loses discrimination case against CofE

BBC Gay canon Jeremy Pemberton was not discriminated against

ITV Gay clergyman loses discrimination claim at employment tribunal

Church Times (article revised) First gay marriage priest Jeremy Pemberton loses employment tribunal

Telegraph Hospital chaplain loses gay marriage tribunal against Church of England

Christian Today Gay priest who married partner loses employment discrimination claim

Lincolnshire Echo Gay canon Jeremy Pemberton was not discriminated against

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 3:03pm GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | equality legislation
Comments

The ruling is so clear and definitive, it is difficult to see what grounds of appeal there could be that would have any hope of success.

The Tribunal believes: the stated doctrine of the Church is clear; at every point the bishops have acted consistently in line with that; JP was very well aware of it; processes have clearly been followed. All this supported with very thorough substantiation from both the documents of the C of E and legal precedents.

Not much of a chink there.

Posted by: Ian Paul on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 3:20pm GMT

The case pretty well rests on the assertion by the Tribunal that the refusal to grant a licence was covered by the CofE exemption in the Equality Act. Any appeal is going to have to overturn that position and I can't see how.

It could also get very expensive if Pemberton lost.

Posted by: Peter Ould ☩ (@PeterOuld) on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 4:31pm GMT

“Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds. We remain engaged in the on-going shared conversations across the wider Church of England that are exploring questions relating to human sexuality.”

Yuck.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 4:46pm GMT

The bureaucrats (and that includes the bishops) and moralized it, rationalize it and "illegalize" it anyway they like; but at the end of the day this is a lousy way to treat a faithful servant. Beneath contemptible.

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 4:51pm GMT

My best wishes for Jeremy Pemberton. I remember a local court case about land that our side won - how absolute is a court judgment when its axe comes down. It raises for me the question of a non-discriminatory body requiring the yes of a discriminatory body in order to qualify for potential employment. I have the view that priesthood is not limited to one Church, that an independent or other Church-based priest or minister can still use Anglican forms, or as near as, and that Jeremy is clearly in the wrong Church as regards his rightly desired personal circumstances and his religious outlook. He may really want to be Anglican, but his Anglicanism may have to be found outside the Church of England or, if within, at the tolerating whim of a bishop in any one place.

Posted by: Pluralist on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 4:56pm GMT

I'm not an Anglican and maybe I should keep out of this. But I find it quite intolerable that 26 representatives of a body that, per this ruling, has the right to directly discriminate, should make laws governing me and every other non-Anglican. Would, e.g., Ian Paul or Peter Ould be able to explain what possible legitimacy their continued presence in the legislature might have?

As for pretensions to moral leadership, forget about it. Even if they stay in the Lords, they will no longer be taken seriously as moralists.

Posted by: Iain McLean on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 5:02pm GMT

Ian and Peter, I don't share your dismissiveness of the merits of an appeal (although I share Peter's concern about the costs). However, with the greatest respect, none of the three of us is an experienced employment lawyer, although we no doubt have varying degrees of lay knowledge to inform our opinions. In the secular courts our opinions are irrelevant; those qualified must present their arguments and those appointed to judge will do so.

Meanwhile, those of us who consider ourselves members of the CofE are entitled to form and debate our opinions on what Church doctrine is, whether it can be interpreted and/or developed and/or changed and, if so, in what way. I personally don't think the ultimate outcome of JP's tribunal action has any direct bearing on the outcome of this on-going debate.

Posted by: Amanda Fairclough on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 5:22pm GMT

Clearly the tribunal see that the Church of England can determine who is a suitable candidate for ministry in a diocese, and the hospital has to take that into account when appointing a Church of England chaplain. To apply for the job the would be chaplain has to have a license to officiate..which in this case is refused.

Just like a state school in Wales could not employ me as a teacher if I was not registered with the Welsh Graduate teachers council.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 5:44pm GMT

"Churches across the diocese continue to offer a generous welcome to people from all backgrounds."

Is this some sort of sick joke from the diocese? Utterly contemptible.

Posted by: Christopher on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 6:17pm GMT

Since there might be an appeal I won't comment on whether Jeremy did or did not suffer discrimination.

But this is very much a two-edged sword for the church because it seems to me inescapable that the church has just argued that JP's licence was withheld because Jeremy got "married" and therefore the church has recognised that Jeremy is, in fact, married in the eyes of the church.

I am equally surprised that the church didn't press harder on Article XXXII. As I read that Article, it embodies in each priest, not church hierarchy, the decision as to whom he should marry, and indeed whether he should marry. It's an Article with which I personally disagree, but nonetheless it is a key aspect of the Reformation and therefore with Anglicanism, that a priest cannot be forced to marry or refrain from marriage according to his (or her) own conscience. One would have expected the church to wish to defend a priest's own absolute discretion in this area. I think it is a case in which the Church of England might, on this point, be said to have won this particular battle but at what cost in differentiating Anglicanism from Catholicism? (Indeed, wasn't the most significant factor behind the formation of the Church of England a wish for each priest and the King to decide themselves whom it was or was not appropriate to marry? In their day, with marriages among a small number of noble European families, the contentious issue was the degree of consanguinity. These days the comparable issue is gender. For me, in not defending Article XXXII in the strongest possible way the church has attacked one of the core tenets of its own foundation,)

Finally, is it right for a secular public body like the NHS to make any appointment for the purpose of a particular organised religion, and the judgement finds that is what the NHS did? Indeed is it even lawful? Might this judgement now make it impossible for an NHS body to appoint a chaplain on the basis of membership of the Church of England? I suspect it is now impossible.

So, if this judgement stands JP has been defeated but it seems to me that the damage to the interests of the church in this judgement is much, much the greater.

Posted by: Kate on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 6:50pm GMT

Ian Paul: Not much of a chink there.

Strangely enough, my lawyers would not agree with you. But then, they had the advantage of actually having heard the evidence.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 6:53pm GMT

Ian and Peter,
I agree that this case will cost a whole lot more money before it's finally settled. But we knew that. This was always going to go to appeal, whichever side lost the first round.

We must assume that a top legal team would not go to appeal if they didn't have good grounds for it. Just as they went into the first round when many thought there weren't even enough grounds for the case to be heard.

It will be interesting to follow it in the coming years... because this will surely run and run for a long time to come.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 7:45pm GMT

Mr Paul and Mr Ould are, no doubt, well pleased that the Church's doctrine on marriage has been upheld by the secular courts and its ability to discriminate confirmed. The rest of us continue to despair.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 7:48pm GMT

"Not much of a chink"

"Can't see how [it could be overturned]"

If we don't believe justice will prevail and powers will be overthrown we really may as well all pack up and go home.

Dark days (not least for the Established Church of England)

So sorry for those who have once again been broken against it. You're not alone.

Posted by: ExRevd on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 8:06pm GMT

Please notice that in the Diocesan Press Release there is no courtesy title afforded to Canon Jeremy Pemberton who is simply referred to as Jeremy Pemberton but the bishop is referred to as Bishop Richard Inwood. In the light of a previous posting about courtesy titles this says it all.
Our thoughts are with you Jeremy and this matter continues to be a disgrace and I for one am ashamed at the moment to belong to the Church of England.

Posted by: Robert Ellis on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 8:07pm GMT

Not at all a good look for the Church of England! Has the fact of its being the State Church anything to do with the outcome, I wonder? I doubt the Church could treat its employees in that way in NZ and get away with it.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 8:26pm GMT

Ian Paul - the judgment is indeed clear, but it is based on the tribunal's interpretation of laws which are relatively untested. Having worked for lawyers in the past, my former colleagues would have relished the challenge of testing the interpretations adopted by this tribunal at a higher level on appeal. Those same colleagues would have been asking "how can an appeal be funded". For some lawyers there is status and reputation potentially to be made on these cases - for others there are points of principle to be established. If there is not an appeal, the decision will be more likely be funding related than related to the merits of the decision as it stands. The particular point about what constitutes a "qualifications body" within the church is of far wider significance than this particular case or issue, and potentially affects the ministry of every ordained person. That is not, on my part, to assume any outcome of this case, but given the lack of precedent, and given the wider significance of one of the key points at issue, an appeal would at least give legal certainty in the form of binding authority on future tribunals. For all the pain and cost of it, the CofE should want an appeal.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 9:49pm GMT

Much better that this goes to appeal. The Employment Appeal Tribunal as a higher court can set legal precedent and explore the wider issues, crucially whether it is the intention of the Equality Act to allow an ordained minister to minister to the sick and bereaved in one parish yet be prevented from doing so in a neighbouring parish. This is the 'principle' the House of Bishops will be spending a small fortune to defend at appeal.

Posted by: Andrew on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 10:16pm GMT

One can't help wondering whether an Employment Tribunal is really the best vehicle to determine the Church of England's doctrine. Don't we have other courts for this purpose?

For example: the ET judgment has a lot to say on the subject of the "Oath of Canonical Obedience" but I think this just adds confusion. For example, the principal case on the matter, Long vs Bishop of Cape Town, suggests canonical obedience refers to obeying a specific order (rather than complying with instructions in a document like the Pastoral Guidance), that an order must be clearly expressed as an order, not a suggestion, and that the Bishop must have legal authority to give the order. None of this was acknowledged at all in the judgment. I would have thought it better to leave out language of the Oath of Canonical Obedience and just talk about the canons, the Articles etc.

Posted by: Russell on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 at 11:50pm GMT

There can be no grounds for complaining about the outcome. Legally, it was a foregone conclusion, given the Church's exemption in the Equality Act and current doctrine. Jeremy Pemberton went ahead with a ceremony which he and all of us knew full well would lead to the withdrawal of his licence. Were I a betting man, I'd put my money on loss of his appeal as well. Doctrine is doctrine, and the law is the law, until or unless either or both change.

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 12:13am GMT

The usual sense from the Bishop of Buckingham

“The Church of England seems to have spent hundreds of thousands and possibly more on top London lawyers to ensure that a gay hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire cannot practise in Nottinghamshire, that seems an awful lot of money to spend on something like that.
This leaves the Church of England looking like a laughing stock. It is completely irrational: this man is doing the job in one place why on Earth can’t he do it 20 miles away.“People are going to find this extraordinary: on one side of a line through the village of Norton Disney he is fine as a hospital chaplain, on the other side of the line it is a matter of faith worth taking to Strasbourg that he must not be allowed to preach.”

Posted by: Christopher on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 12:23am GMT

Law at its worst: all process, no justice. The judgement's as soulless as it is tedious, and the two aren't unconnected.

Throughout, the tribunal misses the forest for the trees. Nowhere does the tribunal condemn the church's arbitrary behavior, instead obsessing about the minutiae of doctrines, schedules and clauses. Nowhere do its members act like judges. Nowhere do they see it as their job to do justice. It's this mechanistic, heartless adherence to rules that lead to the creation of courts of equity.

An appeal will, hopefully, give another tribunal the chance to take a substantive view of due process. It's achieved not by a wrongdoer abiding by technicalities while they do their wrong; it's achieved by no wrong being done, and when it is, by its perpetrators being held to account. By the wrongdoer facing the sword of justice, not the pettifogging license of bureaucrats.

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 12:41am GMT

CofE homophobia may have won a battle, even as it continues (in MANY ways) to Lose The War.

{{{Jeremy P}}}

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 2:06am GMT

Andrew, in passing, makes an important point. Given dioceses are continually complaining about their finances, was it an appropriate use of funds to fight this case? I for one will be much less likely to put money into the collection for it to be used in this way ... And I doubt I will be alone in that.

Wouldn't it have been better to just pay Jeremy some compensation? Would that not have been the way of grace? I sincerely hope there is no celebrating in Church House tonight because this fight brings no credit at all to the church.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 3:43am GMT

Now it's been established in court that the church has the right to not grant a new license to a minister who doesn't follow its teaching on marriage, might it be more likely that the church could remove existing licenses too (this was always seen as legally more fraught) ?

Posted by: RevDave on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 5:16am GMT

The point Andrew makes about EATs setting legal precedent is important, so too the issue of consistency. I think it is important that there is an unambiguous legal framework for the C of E to work in. How and why doctrinal and management decisions are made is another matter.

Posted by: Adrian Judd on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 5:47am GMT

I tend to agree with Peter and Ian that the law seems fairly clear. And those who are expressing their dismay at the law or at the tribunal are misdirecting their anger. It is wrong to expect the state to dictate doctrine to the church, and it is wrong to expect the state to rescue the church when the church is wrong. This is a matter we have to sort out for ourselves.

I have an awful lot of sympathy for Jeremy P. in this case, and none at all for the former-acting-bishop of Southwell and Nottingham. But I also think we should remember that "the saints will judge the world," and therefore it is misguided for the church to submit to the judgement of the world, even when the church is wrong (for the right reasons) and the world is right (for the wrong ones).

Posted by: rjb on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 6:19am GMT

From the BBC report on Canadian PM's swearing in

"Trudeau's cabinet features an equal number of women and men, with the new PM touting his team's diversity.
After the ceremony, a reporter asked Mr Trudeau why having a gender-balanced cabinet was so important.
The prime minister replied, "Because it's 2015," and then shrugged to wild applause."

Presumably this Tribunal felt they were obliged to rule on the "regulations as they are." Some folk need to address the fact that this is 2015, and the end of the year at that.

If Bishop Inwood had started his consideration of the matter with the human situation instead of the proclaimed (but sometimes not applied) doctrinal rules, the Church could have been spared this painful result.

Posted by: Sister Mary on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 7:37am GMT

The farcical / tragic aspect is that Canon Pemberton is holding a license and officiating in another diocese.The Church of England whilst elastic in its morality ( divorce etc brought in line with society) is contrary and muddled here.

It will even create a traditionalist bishop to minister in a church within a church, who is divorced and remarried ..but there is only selective room for Canon Pemberton.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 8:13am GMT

"Jeremy Pemberton went ahead with a ceremony which he and all of us knew full well would lead to the withdrawal of his licence." Benedict

Only it didn't. Jeremy still holds a full licence and remains a priest in good standing in the Church of England in Lincoln Diocese and, by extension, Canterbury Province. The licence issue is geographically specific to Southwell & Nottingham Diocese.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 8:20am GMT

It is fantasy to play the 'make believe' game that the Church of England does not agree with gay sex. Who is the Church of England? The Church of England membership - the actual people who make up the Church of England - increasingly accept and embrace gay and lesbian sex, and a realistic 2015 set of values and decency.

We are told: "Such and such is the position of the Church of England" as if there is one, polar position (and a pretty cold one at that).

But that is fantasy. The truth and reality is that there is a huge diversity of opinion in the Church of England, and I'd wager most people now fully accept gay and lesbian sex, and oppose the 'official position' which masquerades as if it is an absolute.

And with most of the public of our country embracing and endorsing gay marriage - in a generosity of spirit and sense of justice - and increasing numbers inside the Church doing so too, there simply is not the absolute position that Church officials like to posture about.

It is fantasy. It is Alice in Wonderland. It is not "what the Church thinks". This absolutist approach - refusing to accept the diversity of views - epitomises the mentality of the ill-fated 'Covenant'.

This is about control, but in 2015, to be honest, that control is lost over people's lives, the game is up, society has moved on, and more and more people in the Church... a majority in the gay sex debate... are moving on too.

The actual and real position of the Church, on the ground, is that there's diversity of view and opinion, and bans on gay sex and even marriage are NOT in any way the real position of the Church of England as it lives and ministers to others.

This legal assertion in court is a classic example of an attempt to 'control' other people's views and consciences, and gives offence to many in the Church. It is 'The Covenant' again, by way of the law courts. It is the letter and not the spirit. It is top-down control, and chaotic, inconsistent enforcement of central power.

Only 'Unity in Diversity' makes any sense in this situation, or truly reflects the reality of 'what the Church thinks'.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 10:32am GMT

Think rjb hits the issue on the head, this case is about the chaos and widely inconsistent approach the church takes over human sexuality and so should be settled by itself, not over an employment issue.
Also as someone involved in HE I would caution anyone against involving secular authorities in the rights of religious groups to act as their religious views direct, it can often start with a good intention and quickly become the most draconian of interventions. The argument is really here about whether as the first two comments state the church's teaching is clear, or whether different approaches are formally allowed to happen, the stupid thing is not whether the marriage is valid, but why 20 miles makes any difference!

Posted by: paul on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 10:35am GMT

As a number above have commented, although the case might have been brought in order to test the doctrine of the C of E, that is not how the judge saw it. It was in the end a question of whether canon law is still the law of the land.

The church has a position; priests are obliged to honour it; and the Church is exempt from the Equalities Act. In law, that is that, said the judge.

The issue of the different licences was also surprisingly carefully explored. In order to be consistent in the holding of licences, there would have to be a CDM. If anyone thinks this important, do feel free to proceed.

Posted by: Ian Paul on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 10:38am GMT

Thanks Ian Paul. Would appreciate an answer to my question too.

Posted by: Iain McLean on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 12:35pm GMT

Could this go all the way to Strasbourg? I wonder.

Posted by: David T on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 12:36pm GMT

"The church has a position; priests are obliged to honour it; and the Church is exempt from the Equalities Act. In law, that is that, said the judge."

And if there is an appeal we will have to wait until it has run its course to discover whether that judgement stands. That being the whole point of appeals procedures.

Appeals can only be brought on points of law, not because someone doesn't fancy the initial verdict and would like another one please.

This is the first time the scope of the Equalities Act was tested in a tribunal.

Like all the "first time" test cases the Christian Institute fought, this one is more complex than "open and shut case" proponents want to allow.

Shall we wait?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 1:11pm GMT

When I became a member of Church Assembly in 1965 there was an air of hope and excitement in the church. Congregations were large and churches active.

Archbishop Michael Ramsey led the campaign to stop homosexuality being regarded as a crime in law. He also supported ' no fault ' divorce which ended the need to take suitcases into a hotel to prove adultery.

Now the General Synod in November will be considering a whole mass of reports which are intended to bring people back into the church which seems to be dying.

Meanwhile the Bishops by seeking judgements like this, basing their case on a particular reading of certain verses in Leviticus and Paul drive more and more people away. Many left before as it took the church so long to give women a proper place.

When will they learn!

Jeremy keep going and lead us all on into the light!

Posted by: Revd Jean Mayland on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 1:30pm GMT

"and the Church is exempt from the Equalities Act" - Ian Paul

Actually, I don't think that is what EA2010 says. The carve outs in the Equality Act apply to individuals not to the church as a whole. The exemptions are written very specifically as applying to a person (which could included a body corporate presumably, although I don't know if that has been tested).

The distinction seems to be important in this case. Had the case been brought against CofE as a whole then it might have succeeded on the consistency point, but it was brought against the acting bishop who, as a person, relied upon his own oath. That seems in the judgement to be what sidesteps the issue of consistency because instead of the Respondent needing to show that granting a licence was against doctrine he was apparently only required to show that he believed that granting a licence was against his own oath as he understood doctrine.

Someone quite gifted drafted the religious carve outs in the Equality Act. There are layers of subtlety to them which are not immediately obvious but which act to favour the church against individuals bringing claims of discrimination. They are not, however, perfect and it might be that an equally gifted silk can find flaws in them.

Incidentally, if JP appeals I would expect a cross-appeal from the bishop on the question of whether he is a qualifications body.

Whether this judgement is or is not correct in law is, however, beside the point. If the law has been correctly decided then the law needs to be changed because the carve outs should not stop anybody securing an appointment in the NHS, or a school, or a charity etc. There should be an overall caveat that the exemptions apply only to employment in an organisation whose primary focus is religion and where the primary focus of the employment is of a religious nature.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 1:58pm GMT

Iain, best of luck getting any answers out of Ian Paul. Ian was clear in his election address for GS that the approach GS took to women bishops - a both/and approach - is one that will help us with the debate about human sexuality. But ask what that both/and approach means and it's basically that LGBT people should shup up and put up and be celibate or face discipline. And if you ask what discipline means, as I have consistently asked Ian for months, then you won't get answer. But maybe Ian would like to actually do what he suggests here, and put in a complaint under CDM?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 2:49pm GMT

Laurence Cunnington, the fact remains his licence was withdrawn in Southwell and the tribunal found in favour of the Bishop on all counts. Lincoln is one Diocese you can cite in which he is able to hold a licence. How many other examples can you give please? Lincoln is hardly held up as a model diocese in respect of orthodox teaching, is it?!

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 3:55pm GMT

"But maybe Ian would like to actually do what he suggests here, and put in a complaint under CDM?"

Unfortunately, that will not be possible.
If I understand it correctly, you have to have be personally affected by the action you are complaining about, and you have to make your complaint within 12 months of it arising.

Jeremy Pemberton married well over a year ago.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 3:56pm GMT

Benedict
No licence was ever issued in Southwell. Only a PtO was withdrawn.

And another example, well known, is in London diocese.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 4:12pm GMT

I note Ian Paul's vexatious and inflammatory suggestion that a qualified individual bring a CDM case against Mr Pemberton. No doubt he doesn't feel Mr Pemberton belongs in "his" church. I'm not sure anyone does.

Keep digging, the gospel will prevail, but you won't find it buried in a hole in the ground.

Posted by: ExRevd on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 4:13pm GMT

the question about CDM is valid in the sense of whether entering into a same sex marriage is allowable or not. Whilst my personal opinion is that it should not be, I find the duplicity of the episcopate on this issue to be mad and therefore have great sympathy for the case being brought, misguided as the actual direction to the bishop may prove finally to be.

Either you can or cannot, and if you cannot then surely action must be taken against the licence holder when the marriage is entered into, not lets wait until they try and move and then block it.

Posted by: Paul on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 4:42pm GMT

Andrew Godsall - thanks. But let me keep trying none the less.

My question for Ian (or Peter Ould, or Benedict) is as follows.

If this judgement stands, it confirms that the C of E may discriminate against its own members in a way which would be unlawful for a secular organisation. You may say that that is a necessary implication of religious freedom. Arguendo, I accept that.

Religious freedom of this sort is defensible in, say, the framework of the US Constitution, which forbids legislation either establishing a church or inhibiting the free exercise of religion. It is not defensible in England, where one church is established and gets seats as of right in the legislature. Several bishops including Justin Welby voted in the Lords to throw out same-sex marriage without discussion.

Well, that is a religious freedom issue too guys. My faith (the Religious Society of Friends) wished in conscience to celebrate SSMs in our meeting houses. If Justin and the others had prevailed, they would have blocked our religious freedom.

Please, on what possible argument may the presence of bishops in the UK Parliament be justified?

Posted by: Iain McLean on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 4:52pm GMT

Erika: the problem is that the way some people blog so personally about it you'd think that they were personally affected by it. It can feel like Jeremy is subject to a trial that is more obnoxious. It goes beyond reporting and journalism.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 7:19pm GMT

Fyi Jeremy and Ian Paul are on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC1 tomorrow (Friday) morning from 9.15 am.

I think it will be found that many anglican ministers have married (and will marry). That is a simple and unremarkable fact to most of the parishioners / people of Britain- though a matter for great cheer and rejoicing among most folk- as are all weddings !

I am such a married priest myself, and being retired, have been left in peace.

I am glad of that, as I suffered oppression at theological college many years ago, and in the early years of my ministry.

Those who so immoderately attack lgbt are not only causing pain, to vulnerable people of all ages, but are doing great harm to the reputation of the Church, and attempts to do meaningful gospel work, out in the real world, and forms of really messy church :)

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 8:42pm GMT

Iain, not sure who is arguing for bishops to be in the House of Lords, I doubt you would find any evangelical who would not take the deal you seem to offer. Also your friends did indeed win and its somewhat overboard to make the 26 bishops somehow the moral arbiters of government policy when there are 790 lords in total.

Posted by: Paul on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 8:47pm GMT

Paul, leaving aside the 12 months deadline, CDM wouldn't work here because the "punishment" for a first offence is a rebuke and the promise not to do it again.
That is clearly not an appropriate response to someone getting married.

What would have to happen is a trial under EJM. That would deal with the question of Doctrine.
Interestingly, the CoE has studiously avoided going down that route so far.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 9:24pm GMT

Paul

Notwithstanding this judgement and notwithstanding the attempts by the House of Bishops to declare otherwise, I am now personally persuaded that the prevailing doctrine from Article XXXII is that any Christian is free to marry anybody according to their conscience and regardless of the gender of that person. That can be changed only by modifying the Articles.

I don't accept that Article XXXII doesn't apply to same sex unions because such unions were not in the contemplation of the drafters because I think the drafters' intention was to reserve the decision entirely to individuals and out of the hands of a church hierarchy.


Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 9:47pm GMT

Simon Sarmiento, licence withdrawn, or PTO, what difference does it really make? Jeremy Pemberton's ministry as a priest is curtailed.

Posted by: Benedict on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 10:55pm GMT

Paul, if you are right that all evangelicals are for disestablishment and religious freedom, I look forward to their support. There's a synod coming up soon. Who will lead the charge for disestablishment, so that you don't obstruct our religious freedom and we don't obstruct yours?

Posted by: Iain mclean on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 11:01pm GMT

Erika, my understanding is that CDM is the process for conduct unbecoming, which seems to be the line the church has taken in its defence, although I understand the time and also the need to be personally effected to bring such a complaint.

If someone leaves their wife or husband to form another relationship, perfectly legally in the eyes of the state, a CDM is normally taken not a EJM. I would argue that such a move is an issue of doctrine and whilst I am not trying to deliberately draw a parallel I am interested why the bishop of the current diocese has not done anything, yet another diocese refuses license on what appears a CDM related ground.

Kate, very interesting and novel appeal to articles that are almost completely ignored by everyone now, surely the context was the status of whether clergy could be married in a post RC church at all, big reach that same sex unions were also envisaged.

Posted by: Paul on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 11:03pm GMT

Erika

It is the EJM that restricts the penalty for a first offence. The restriction is to a rebuke or to a monition (that is to say an order to do or refrain from doing a specified act). All penalties are available for first offences under the CDM.

Posted by: Peter Owen on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 11:11pm GMT

At some level, the decision seems unavoidable given the protections the church has gotten itself. The rules are the rules, unjust though they may be. But as Ian McLean wrote @4.52

If this judgement stands, it confirms that the C of E may discriminate against its own members in a way which would be unlawful for a secular organisation.

That's it. The optics are dreadful. The victory will be Pyrrhic.

Posted by: IT on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 11:14pm GMT

The Church's exemption from the Equality Act creates a kind of totalitarian theocratic regime within a liberal democracy. It aligns itself with overseas jurisdictions which deny civil rights to LGBT people under the banner of unity and punishes any form of dissent. Canon Pemberton's claim could have been settled long before it got to full tribunal. But no, it was decided to go for the jugular and assert doctrine to make an example of Pemberton, lest others followed suit. The menacing tone of the Bishops Guidance is rehearsed more than once in the Judgment, as if to drive home the point that there can be no room for manoeuvre on the wording of the Marriage Canon, unlike, say, the pastoral accommodation with divorce and remarriage.

There can be little doubt that a major underlying cause of the Bishops' recent actions is some sort of strategic alignment with the policy direction of two of the largest Anglican churches in Africa, the leaders of which have been invited to attend the Primates Gathering in the New Year. The fear is that invitations will be turned down if there was the merest hint of a change in direction signalled by any relaxation of canonical obedience. So the sick and bereaved of Nottinghamshire are denied the gifts of ministry of an outstanding priest not so much because he is no
longer in good standing with the church there (otherwise he would have faced disciplinary action in Lincoln too) but rather because of the need to be seen to be applying Lambeth 1:10 consistently across the piece where practical to do so.

Posted by: Andrew on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 11:29pm GMT

Iain truth is that it's the liberal establishment Anglicans that love it and really to suggest a complete time wasting distraction of disestablishment would come from evangelicals misunderstands them entirely. I still fail to see how we have restricted your freedom, same sex couples can get married in any other number of churches that wish to offer it, but accept it that most simply don't. For those Anglicans who won't accept that I say do the same as the ordinarite Catholics did, the same as many liberals here say to evangelicals, it matters that much to you leave to pursue your own beliefs.

Posted by: Paul on Thursday, 5 November 2015 at 11:47pm GMT

Paul

I am sure it was not envisioned, but that is an irrelevance. Since the Marriage Act of 1753 marriage has been regulated by the State. Marriage has evolved over that time such as changes in the age of consent, permissible degrees of relatedness etc as well as changes in re-marriage after divorce. So for instance in 1907 it became legal for a man to marry his sister-in-law (or a woman her brother-in-law). At no time in this has the Church sought to change Article XXXII to limit its scope to apply only to the combinations permissible in 1563. It is therefore clear that by custom and practice, Article XXXII has meant precisely what the words say: that the doctrine of the Church grants to each believer the absolute freedom to contract any lawful marriage.

So rather than ask whether same-sex unions were envisioned in 1563 the question is whether the Church has seen Article XXXII being incompatible with the State deciding who could get married and it is clear the Church has not. Even after the Same Sex Marriage Act became law, CofE has not attempted to modify Article XXXII to refer explicitly to a marriage between one man and one woman when it could have done so.


Posted by: Kate on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 1:32am GMT

The point about no one having proceeded with a CDM in Lincoln is actually significant because if the bishop had wanted to revoke the licence one of the archdeacons could have easily been asked to put the complaint under CDM. The fact that no such complaint was put is rather telling isn't it?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 6:57am GMT

"Lincoln is hardly held up as a model diocese in respect of orthodox teaching, is it?!"

Please answer your own question, Benedict, I wait w/ bated breath!

[IMO, "orthodox" is a term that, in the 21st century, is well past its Sell-By date. Can we PLEASE measure the church on how Christ-like it is in its behavior?]

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 8:16am GMT

Kate,

Your interpretation of Article XXXII that grants absolute conscience to clergy on who they can marry is almost certainly incorrect. The Injunctions of 1559 (Art. XXIX), which are roughly contemporary (within 3 years) of the drafting of the Articles order a complex set of procedures to vet clergy spouses.

Posted by: Caelius Spinator on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 8:34am GMT

Peter,
thank you, I got my consequences muddled up.

Paul,
As the church legal team explained at the tribunal hearing, marriage is not a "conduct unbecoming". It's against the church Doctrine but it's not an immoral act in the sense of the Measure. They therefore deliberately did not apply CDM.
They could, of course, have applied EJM and it's interesting that they have so far avoided any legal option available to them that would have led to a thorough investigation of their same sex marriage Doctrine by qualified canon lawyers and doctrinal experts.

Andrew,
I couldn't agree more!
I cannot imagine any form of legal process, other than summary dismissal with no form of trial and right to appeal that would please these people.... oh, wait, that's exactly what happened.
The truth is, if someone is so prejudiced that they lose sight of the humanity and vulnerability of the individuals involved, and if they lose all sense of charity and kindness, then regardless of what form a legal process takes, they will lash out.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 8:43am GMT

Erika, my understanding is that CDM is the process for conduct unbecoming, which seems to be the line the church has taken in its defence, although I understand the time and also the need to be personally effected to bring such a complaint.

If someone leaves their wife or husband to form another relationship, perfectly legally in the eyes of the state, a CDM is normally taken not a EJM. I would argue that such a move is an issue of doctrine and whilst I am not trying to deliberately draw a parallel I am interested why the bishop of the current diocese has not done anything, yet another diocese refuses license on what appears a CDM related ground.

Kate, very interesting and novel appeal to articles that are almost completely ignored by everyone now, surely the context was the status of whether clergy could be married in a post RC church at all, big reach that same sex unions were also envisaged.

Posted by: Paul on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 9:34am GMT

The granting of a licence and the removal of a licence are two entirely different legal issues, similar to the way that the making of a employment contract and the revocation of an employment contract are two entirely different legal issues.

If you cannot understand this then you will always be chasing a legally pointless straw man.

Posted by: Peter Ould ☩ (@PeterOuld) on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 12:18pm GMT

Peter Ould,
are you seriously saying that if Jeremy had committed a grave offence,say,sexual abuse, he would still be licensed in Lincolnshire?

The difference is that one bishop felt it important to take action, whereas the other one thought the "offence" was minor enough to warrant a rebuke only.

An option Bishop Inwood admitted had been open to him too. Only he chose to be more severe. Simply because he could.

None of that has anything to do with any objective criteria about the good standing of a priest.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 2:23pm GMT

"The granting of a licence and the removal of a licence are two entirely different legal issues" Peter Ould

I agree, they are.

But it is not as though there were no route available in Lincoln Diocese to remove the licence already granted and they were stuck with Jeremy whether they liked it or not - there was a process available to remove the licence and they chose not to use it. The argument that the processes available are, apparently, time-consuming, expensive and complicated or that it would have been too nasty to use them should not have prevented invoking them should a sufficiently serious act have been committed. Hiding behind a supposedly useless disciplinary procedure doesn't really hack it, to my mind. Had the case involved dishonesty or safeguarding issues, for example, I am certain the CDM would suddenly have been found 'fit for purpose'.

I am also genuinely surprised that the 'conservatives'' ire is not also directed at the Bishops* who issued the licence/PTO to Jeremy in the first place knowing that he lived openly with me in a same-sex relationship and/or the Bishop of Lincoln who chose not to take the most severe disciplinary action possible against Jeremy when he could have done.

*The now-retired Bishop of Grantham and the current Bishop of Durham, respectively.

Posted by: Laurence Cunnington on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 3:20pm GMT

I am confused by one aspect of this case. It seems to be the case that CDM was not used, for whatever reason. I think Jeremy has confirmed that himself. However, he has also indicated that he was given a rebuke. A rebuke is one of the penalties that is given under CDM. If no CDM proceedings were begun, on what grounds was a rebuke issued? A rebuke is part of a formal process.
How is a bishop able to issue a rebuke if there is no CDM?

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 7:17pm GMT

As a "conservative" my ire is directed at the bishop because I actually agree with you Laurence. As I stated I personally do not think a priest should be allowed to enter into a same sex marriage hurtful as that is to you both, but the sheer duplicity of the episcopate and the church hierarchy annoys me far more than your marital status ever will.

The church needs to state what it believes and practice it fairly and evenly, if same sex marriage is acceptable let those who disagree consider whether they wish to leave over it and if it's not it must result in a fair and even disciplinary process. It is not credible to leave this very difficult and culturally current issue to nods and winks and individuals open to punishment in one diocese and acceptance in another. I wish you both well in your case and whatever the outcome hope this truly does force the issue to be clarified, Paul

Posted by: Paul on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 8:09pm GMT

Paul,
in a very convoluted way the bishops' actions make sense. It is possible to pretend that 2 men living together are just good friends.
It is even possible to pretend that Civil Partnered men are celibate (some are, I believe).
But it is not possible to believe as a matter of principle, that married couples are celibate (although some are).
So that's why the line has been drawn here.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 8:38pm GMT

This is the video of the meeting between me and Ian Paul this morning on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC2.

https://youtu.be/uly0Aj2hhXM

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 8:53pm GMT

The Bishop of Lincoln issued me with a rebuke in his capacity as my Ordinary.

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 8:58pm GMT

Andrew wrote: "[T]he sick and bereaved of Nottinghamshire are denied the gifts of ministry of an outstanding priest . . . because of the need to be seen to be applying Lambeth 1:10 consistently."

I could not have put it better.

Again we see that the Church of England is putting the interests of African churches ahead of the interests of parishioners in England.

In my view, the women-bishops crisis was resolved only through parliamentary intervention. Let's hope that more questions are asked, and a debate held, on the right of gay priests to marry.

Posted by: Jeremy non P on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 9:44pm GMT

Paul,

You state: "The church needs to state what it believes."

However, the heart of the problem is that the church believes a diversity of things on the subject of sexual orientation.

If the church is to state *honestly* what it believes, it needs to say: "Actually, some of us believe one thing and some of us believe another thing."

There is no monopoly of view, and that is exactly why the Covenant's attempt to enforce uniformity was doomed to fail.

I see this whole business as a test of faith and grace. We, on either side, can get tribal and try to enforce our own view as a uniformity.

Or we can seek grace to love and co-exist, and regardless of our own views, respect one another's consciences.

It seems to me that when Laurence and Jeremy were originally endorsed, and Jeremy commissioned to work in the NHS, that was exactly an act of grace and respect for individual conscience.

If the church tries to state that it is against gay and lesbian sex, then it is lying, because half the church (at least) endorses it.

What we need is: the grace to seek 'unity in diversity'. It is straightforward graciousness. Just as people opposed to women bishops have been afforded the grace and space to co-exist within communion, on principles of conscience, so people of divergent views on sexual orientation deserve that same grace and space, again, on principles of conscience.

If the church is going to state what it believes, in honesty, it is going to have to say, "We believe in two contradictory things." But that doesn't mean we have to contradict one another's fundamental faith.

The real test from God may not be "Which way is right" but "Can you live together in grace, even with divergent views."

That seems to be a test God has posed to the Church of England at various times in history, and the diverse nature of our strength is exactly an outcome and charism and grace of that test.

In the end, even with widely divergent views... we are ONE in Christ. There lies our unity and communion. Not in imposed uniformity. But in love and grace and generous co-existence.

We should be saying “The church believes in grace.”

And no law court in the land can contradict that.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 6 November 2015 at 11:14pm GMT

All of this is taking place against the background noise of the Facilitated Conversations - You couldn't make it up!
I reckon that the growing Diocese of London has opted for the better way in responding to the other clergyman who has entered into a same sex marriage by electing him to serve on the General Synod rather than having to face the ordeal of an Employment Tribunal.

Posted by: Father David on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 4:30am GMT

Jeremy P: I realised that the Bishop of Lincoln was your Ordinary. What I am still not clear about is how, in the days of Common Tenure, a bishop can just issue a rebuke without due process. With Common Tenure came the CDM.

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 9:23am GMT

Erika : "are you seriously saying that if Jeremy had committed a grave offence,say,sexual abuse, he would still be licensed in Lincolnshire?"

No. I'm saying that the issue of granting and removing a licence are two separate things.

Laurence : "But it is not as though there were no route available in Lincoln Diocese to remove the licence already granted and they were stuck with Jeremy whether they liked it or not - there was a process available to remove the licence and they chose not to use it."

Yes, the Bishop of Lincoln chose to give your husband a rebuke and that rebuke will remain on his file. It will pretty well prevent him from getting another licence / PTO anywhere else in the future. Is that not punishment enough? Should the CofE humiliate Jeremy by removing his licence as well?

The formal rebuke is an incredibly good way of *avoiding* a CDM. It means that the official hierarchy have dealt with the issue and given concepts of "double jeopardy" it would require someone else with due cause to lay a CDM (i.e. not the Diocesan hierarchy) and frankly no-one has that due cause (they tried in London with Andrew FC and failed). There is still the possibility that a CDM on this issue would fail and that's what the Bishops want to avoid.

Of course, the reverse is now true. As one canon lawyer pointed out to me this week, if Jeremy loses at the EAT we would then have a precedent in Employment law about what the Doctrine and expected standards for clergy was, which would then make the likelihood of a CDM against someone who had entered a same-sex marriage MUCH more likely to succeed. The perverse thing about an appeal is that it might actually fundamentally weaken the Lincoln position of Jeremy (and that of Andrew in London).

Posted by: Peter Ould on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 11:24am GMT

Peter Ould, surely the weight put on this "rebuke" will depend on the bishop and her or his sympathies?

If Jeremy does lose the appeal, as I said over at Psephizo, the next step may well to get the relevant sections of the Equality Act struck down for failing to correctly implement the relevant EU directives.

I wish I could say that I take comfort in the fact that, 50 years hence, those who enforce the current rules against Jeremy will be viewed in the same light that we all view segregationists. I don't. Just makes me sad that so much needless pain is being caused in the meantime, and worse, by good and kind people who, absent the dogma, would never dream of behaving in this way.

God damn dogma, and what it makes of us.

Posted by: James Byron on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 6:41pm GMT

Peter Ould said: "As one canon lawyer pointed out to me this week, if Jeremy loses at the EAT we would then have a precedent in Employment law about what the Doctrine and expected standards for clergy was, which would then make the likelihood of a CDM against someone who had entered a same-sex marriage MUCH more likely to succeed. The perverse thing about an appeal is that it might actually fundamentally weaken the Lincoln position of Jeremy (and that of Andrew in London)."

Yes, probably.

And I think the argument about changing the law so that the church cannot discriminate is not going to hold water. It is discrimination under the HRA to not employ people on grounds of religion - so "eliminating discrimination" would mean that religions would have to employ people as clergy whatever religion was! Dooh!

Posted by: Rev David on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 7:00pm GMT

In my experience choosing not to give something is much easier to do than to ask for something back that has been already given. Choosing not to renew a contract is very different from terminating one, even if employment law is there to guarantee the rights to make and end contracts fairly. As to Church law, yes on this I agree with Peter Ould: choosing not to grant a licence (or PTO) is a separate thing to removing a licence (or PTO).
I don't intend this to be a direct comment on this case, just a reflection on my experience.

Posted by: Adrian Judd on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 7:22pm GMT

Without wishing to appear a bit thick can Peter or indeed Andrew clarify the status then of a 'formal rebuke' outside of a CDM. Coming from a HR background I'm unsure of what basis this is offered, is it the version of a formal warning? If so Andrew I think is right to query on what process does that happen?

Having been to many an employment tribunal it is almost always the correct following of process that wins the case or not. If it was a formal process where is my copy of that policy (or indeed Lincoln Diocese's version) so that I am aware of its terms and process? How can it mean I might not receive a licence in the future unless it is a recognised wider process?

Posted by: Paul on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 9:09pm GMT

"There is still the possibility that a CDM on this issue would fail and that's what the Bishops want to avoid."

That sounds a bit like "because due process might discover that there had not actually been an infringement that requires punishment, we'd better avoid that possibility and act without due process, because, thankfully, we can."

And " Should the CofE humiliate Jeremy by removing his licence as well?" is another interesting angle.
The point of having a licenced priest working as an NHS Chaplain is surely to protect those people in the NHS this priest works with and to assure everyone that he fulfils the criteria for the job.
So either someone has committed such an offence that he is no longer in good standing - and then he should not be doing Chaplaincy work anywhere, and then the bishop should use all legal processes at his disposal to make sure that priest no longer works for the NHS. Or he has not committed an offence that reduces his good standing – and then he should be able to work everywhere.

The idea that a bishop might not fulfil their obligations vis a vis the NHS to provide objectively valid licenses or to revoke them when the appropriate circumstances arise “to avoid humiliating” the priest in question is quite astonishing.

I’m not sure that that level of randomness is legal even in the strange church universe of legality.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 7 November 2015 at 9:22pm GMT

So sorry about the suffering inflicted on Jeremy P. and his husband. That anyone can believe this is the Good News boggles the mind.

It is rather convoluted that Jeremy is perfectly legit in one diocese and unqualified in another. Church of England won the case but lost even more of their moral standing in the world.

There is going to be a time when CoE is going to have to choose between continuing to indulge its odious bigotries or actually follow Christ and respect ALL people as created in the image of God and get with the program of loving our neighbors as ourselves. ALL of our neighbors. The arrogant people who think they have the privilege of excluding others need to retire, now.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 5:17am GMT

Andrews Godsall:
Perhaps because I am nothing to do with Common Tenure, but have a GPL?

Posted by: Jeremy Pemberton on Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 5:37am GMT

Cynthia, it boggles my mind, too, but then I don't buy into authoritarianism: for those who do, Good News is whatever the Bible says it is, and since they believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality, ipso facto, LGB relationships must be Bad News.

Tragically, there's minimal outside pressure on the church to change. Most people are indifferent about what it does, since it doesn't affect them or their loved ones. They're as indifferent about the church as I'm indifferent about the Odd Fellows. Even secular gay rights groups don't care much, 'cause many of their members aren't interested in religion. Just check out the Pink News comments: the dominant theme is "Of course the church is homophobic: why doesn't he just leave?"

If the church maintains homophobia for the sake of political convenience, then frankly, they've got a point. The church is dying. Maybe we deserve to die?

Posted by: James Byron on Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 9:11am GMT

Jeremy: I don't think so. I'm simply not sure how a bishop can issue a 'rebuke', which stays on your file (I dont think necessarily for ever despite what Peter Ould says) and also goes on the Archbishops lists (again for a period of time) without some kind of due process to which you have right of appeal. A rebuke is part of the CDM machinery. There is a Code of practice for that and I'm sure you are aware of it.

It sounds like the term rebuke is, perhaps, being used as a term outside of the CDM process? If that is the case it's a bit misleading because it's a term used by CDM. If it IS being used as a CDM term, then surely this case needs referring to the president of tribunals for CDM because it seems like no process has actually been followed. Either way, it's a bit troubling......

Posted by: Andrew Godsall on Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 9:22am GMT

To Peter Ould et al,

I don't know if there was a word for Schadenfreude in Aramaic, but whatever he called it, I doubt Jesus had much time for it.

Posted by: ExRevd on Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 8:12pm GMT

"I wish I could say that I take comfort in the fact that, 50 years hence, those who enforce the current rules against Jeremy will be viewed in the same light that we all view segregationists. I don't. Just makes me sad that so much needless pain is being caused in the meantime"

Oh, how I wish Thinking Anglicans had an Up-Vote Button!

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 9 November 2015 at 5:49am GMT

"The Church's exemption from the Equality Act creates a kind of totalitarian theocratic regime within a liberal democracy. It aligns itself with overseas jurisdictions which deny civil rights to LGBT people under the banner of unity and punishes any form of dissent." - Andrew on Thurs.5 Nov. -

Those 'overseas jurisdictions' are, notably, within the Anglican Provinces of the GAFCON Primates. It this an instance of the C. of E. emulating them? I had thought that, in a liberal democracy the Church of England would do better.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at 9:42am GMT

Funny how these things ebb and flow.

The tractarians fiercely asserted the autonomy of the church vis-à-vis the state.

The 'western prelates' poo-pooed the idea of a Presiding Bishop having authority over their dioceses and their mediaeval affectations (in 1900, this was wearing a cope and miter!).

Now we have an argument that civil society ought to be the main determiner of church faith and practice.

And a TEC fascinated with liturgical ceremony and quasi-metro-political authority.

The student of history shakes her head...

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at 9:56pm GMT

"The student of history shakes her head..."
- Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday -

..While the student of theology applauds movements in the Church that bring salvation to ALL people - not just the 'holy and self-righteous'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 8:17am GMT

Civil society only assumes the role of 'main determiner' of good faith when the leaders of the Church themselves fail to champion common-sense justice and mercy.

After all, there's no reason why ordinary decent people, outside the religious mainstream, can't recognise issues of justice, and in the abandonment of the religious establishment, lead the way themselves.

That is what is happening in church after church in England, where ordinary people in the pews are following the example of ordinary people in society at large, and endorsing gay and lesbian love as something good, beautiful and as precious as anyone else's tender devotion and faithfulness.

The problem isn't 'civil society' - it is the mean-spirited, frankly unspiritual, dogmatism of religious leaders who seem to ossify their religion and perpetuate bronze age statutes, all the while running scared of offending prelates who vilify gay and lesbian love, and preferring to placate them, than actually listen to the conscience of the people in society at large.

I shake my head indeed.

We need far more grace and generous inclusion. Otherwise the Church will exclude itself from the attention of right-minded people, who are astonished at our prejudice and just can't take the good news seriously when the Church seems to shore up homophobia at home and abroad, while it's left to civil society to blaze the trail for justice and inclusion.

God always sends the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth, to champion love, to incite change, to overthrow fear and hatred: and God can use even Balaam's ass to do that, and can perfectly well work through ordinary people, and not just a holy huddle of religious dogmatists.

If society itself is straining towards justice and acceptance for gay and lesbian people, maybe it is the Church itself that needs to be set free from old dogmatisms, and the constraints of theology that elevates biblical verses to infallible status, ignoring historic and cultural contexts, and worst of all seeming to ignore the primary imperative of love.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 10:20am GMT

A wide variety of views are expressed here.

The thing that the legal processes ignore is the human cost to Jeremy and his husband and the stress involved. The tribunal judge chose to dismiss this, basically saying that Jeremy brought it on himself by his actions, which seems to me to be a huge cop out.

Jeremy exercised his legal right to get married. The Church chose, in the middle of the discussions ongoing in the church about human sexuality, to withdraw Jeremy's PTO in Nottinghamshire, knowing full well that it would be both contentious and would make those in same sex relationships or marriages, start looking over their shoulder, to see if they were going to be next?

This was a deliberate act. A warning shot for anyone contemplating marriage or even civil partnerships, and to those exploring a vocation to Ministry in the CofE that if they are gay, whether partnered or not, not to bother. It also looks to me to be an attempt to force in particular Clergy in active ministry out of the Church.

I pose that as a possibility, although I don't think that the church has the intelligence to actually go down that route. Choosing Jeremy as a soft target, knowing his need for a licence for his new job was simpler. Make an example of him, and everyone else will sit up and take notice.

I really hope and pray that I am wrong, and the the HoB will come to its senses, and when this issue is taken to GS, that they will offer some form of formal recognition of same sex relationships, which will remove the discrimination suffered for so long, by so many over generations.

They would have to eat humble pie to get an amendment to the Secular Marriage legislation, but that won't do them any harm at all.

Posted by: minidvr on Thursday, 12 November 2015 at 3:48pm GMT

As I was reading minidvr's comment, I began to wonder whether Jeremy P is being made an example of, so as to depopulate an entire wing of the Church of England.

Synod needs to take note and take action.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 13 November 2015 at 9:38pm GMT

"The problem isn't 'civil society' - it is the mean-spirited, frankly unspiritual, dogmatism of religious leaders who seem to ossify their religion and perpetuate bronze age statutes, all the while running scared of offending prelates who vilify gay and lesbian love, and preferring to placate them, than actually listen to the conscience of the people in society at large."

Thank you, Susannah.

Posted by: Cynthia on Thursday, 19 November 2015 at 2:44am GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.