Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Half of Anglicans believe there is nothing wrong with same sex relationships

NatCen Social Research have released these survey results today.

Half of Anglicans believe there is nothing wrong with same sex relationships
15 February 2017

Ahead of the Church of England General Synod’s debate on the issue of gay marriage on Wednesday, new data reveals that 50% of Anglicans believe that same sex relationships are “not wrong at all”.

The findings, which come from NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey, show that Anglican opinions towards same sex relationships have been softening over time but acceptance is highest (73%) among those with no religion. The lowest levels of acceptance of same sex relationships come from those belonging to non-Christian religions: 31% of this group say that these relationships are not wrong at all.

Meanwhile, 17% of Anglicans think that same sex relationships are “always wrong”, the lowest level since records began in 1983 when 50% were of this view. In 2015 6% of those with no religion felt this way…

The summary continues at the link above. The data tables are also available.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 3:00pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

Encouraging on its face, but how many regularly attend church? There's clearly no extensive internal pressure for change in England, so either a majority don't feel that strongly, or they don't attend that often.

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 4:49pm GMT

There is a difference between approving legal, committed same sex unions and approving "same sex marriage". The first is certainly ok with some ; the second is impossible for many people who believe in marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and for whom "same sex marriage" is a contradiction in terms. (I wait for the usual response to the expression of my beliefs !)

Posted by: Chaplain J.R.Bunyan on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 8:05pm GMT

It's like ordination, J.R. If you are a gay person of faith and God calls you to the sacrament of marriage, you're called. And the church should not be putting up stumbling blocks. Nor practice hypocrisy, given the church's posture on divorce.

It is extremely presumptuous of anyone to deny that call, if there's reasonable discernment, like any other marriage.

Posted by: Cynthia on Wednesday, 15 February 2017 at 11:30pm GMT

I've no problem with you holding your belief, or indeed you choosing not to conduct same-sex weddings so long as you don't stand in the way of those people who don't share your view. The direction the SEC is moving in, recognising that we have divergent views on marriage, is a good one.

Posted by: Jo on Thursday, 16 February 2017 at 7:15am GMT

Chaplain Bunyan, you are of course fully entitled to your belief. Given your premise that marriage can only exist between male and female, it is a reasonable conclusion. But I hope you understand this is rather like an Anabaptist insisting that infant baptism is a contradiction in terms; given the underlying premise that baptism requires a personal affirmation of faith it is entirely reasonable.

But that doesn't prove the validity of your underlying premise; only that you believe it. Others do not.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Thursday, 16 February 2017 at 3:15pm GMT

I agree with both Jo and Tobias ! And I would not stand in the way of people who do not share my view if same-sex weddings are ever introduced in Australia. (In my increasingly hard-line Diocese of Sydney, as one of a now tiny disappearing species of liberal Anglicans among Sydney clergy, I am only too well aware of the terrible effects of tragic intolerance in broader aspects of Church life.)

Parliamentary supporters of a change in the Commonwealth law, however, have blocked the Government's wish to have a plebiscite on the subject to gauge the views of the population generally. The Commonwealth Parliament would take seriously the results of such a plebiscite (plebiscites in Australia being different to binding referendums).

Posted by: Chaplain Bunyan on Thursday, 16 February 2017 at 8:26pm GMT

"only that you believe it. Others do not."

Of course.

If we imagine God in Christ looking down on the world of his loving creation, do we imagine him looking down on the USA or the UK?

Or on the vast regions of his creation? Where the certainties the wealthy populations claim are so are the benchmark for things others find strange?

One needs to consider the scale on the map of God's whole creative purpose and life.

"Only you believe it" but "you" is hardly a world wide oddity.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 16 February 2017 at 9:21pm GMT

I totally agree with Jo's comment. We should not impose uniformity on the sincere conscience of someone else. There is no way out of the fact we have divergent views in the Church of England. Allowing space for divergent views, divergent consciences, and divergent practices, is the only way we can accommodate each other.

If Scotland can go that way, so can the Church in England.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 16 February 2017 at 9:42pm GMT

Cseitz, I do not believe God, who takes notice of every sparrow, is at all persuaded by the argumentum ad populum. At present, only about 1/3 of the people in God's good creation accept that he was and is present and active in Christ Jesus. Are we to abide by that vote? Or rather continue to press the mission?

One of the hallmarks of Anglicanism has been its ability to live with differences of opinion even on the "sacraments of the Gospel" or as central to faith as the understanding of the Atonement. I believe that similar flexibility is possible on the questions of sexuality and marriage. That is, of course, only my belief; and it may prove otherwise, which I should think unfortunate.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Friday, 17 February 2017 at 3:09pm GMT

"only that you believe it. Others do not" is its own kind of ad populum of course.

It is also a self-evidence. Many people believe marriage is constituted by X. "Others do not." And so it is.

Posted by: cseitz on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 at 6:30am GMT

No, CSeitz, "ad populum" is the logical fallacy that a proposition is true because of the number of people who adhere to it. You pointed to a "world-wide" view and the presumed "scale" of God's purpose. If you are not advancing these as arguments for the truth of propositions to which you give credence, I do not understand why you advance them.

"What people believe" is diverse. Indeed, so it is, and likely ever shall be. And given division of opinion -- especially when increasingly evenly divided -- the health and survival of the church seems best served by allowing for that diversity of opinion rather than insisting on a Procrustean rule that only one view is possible. That was a classic element of the Elizabethan Settlement, and it would seem a good strategy for the present.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Wednesday, 22 February 2017 at 6:28pm GMT
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