Comments: views on the adoption agency row

Is no one here unaware of an interview between the Archbishop and Robert Pigott for the ten o’clock news on the 24th? The full transcript is at:
http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/releases/070124.htm

RW made some very significant remarks in the current debate re adoption in the UK and Government's role and rule of law.

He ended with: "I think what’s at stake ultimately is whether the church is answerable finally to the State as the only court of appeal or whether the church can rightly appeal to other sources for its moral compass and whatever one’s views on this particular issue, I think that remains a question of basic political and philosophical importance."

Posted by Ken Sawyer at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 11:59am GMT

It is worth noting public sentiment on the issue as polled by YouGov today - 42% support the churches' demand for an exemption, 43% oppose. As a society, we really are split down the middle on this one.

However, I'd guess the 43% is disproportionately concentrated among the under-40s; they're the people we're telling that you have to be a homophobe to be a Christian; once again we mortgage our future to defend the legacies of our past.

Posted by Gerry Lynch at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 12:09pm GMT

Ken, I am away from home at the moment, and not keeping up very well, thank you for the link, I will add it to the main article.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 12:42pm GMT

Jane Shilling sums it all up: "Crikey. To think that people were burnt at the stake for this."

So no Gerry, we are not mortgaging our future, we are paying for our past.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 12:47pm GMT

Sometimes it the tone of the public discussion can sound as if lesbian and gay relationships and people are on trial. I think it should be borne in mind, that it is the (continuing) failure of male-female relationships that is the cause of this crisis. And believe you me, it is a CRISIS for every abandoned infant, child or teenager; and time is of the essence for each one of them.

But the crux of the matter, is the urgent need for more individuals and couples,to come forward, for consideration as potential parental surrogates. Foster & adoptive parents are urgently and vitally needed.

More often than not, there is NO choice between that 'ideal married male-female couple', and 'this second rate same sex couple'. The adoption agencies and children are desperate for ANY adoptive parents who can do love's job for the years and years that it takes.

On a personal note, I strongly regret, that at the time in my life, when I should dearly have loved to foster or adopt children, my partner and I were not able to be considered, in the homophobic practices of those days.

So let's set an encouraging and supportive tone -- offering oneself for consideration and assessment is surely a daunting step for any one ?

Posted by laurence at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 1:30pm GMT

As to the "TV interview with Robert Pigott" ;=)

I can only cite the (US) Bishop of Bethlehem: "“distant, confused, and multiply triangulated”".

I don't care to go into detail.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 2:05pm GMT

Good news this time around. And how it cheers one up.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 2:24pm GMT

Andrew Brown writes about the Anglican archbishops’ statement: Is Rowan too subtle or too supple? It is in the nature of churches to regard themselves as higher moral authorities, but there’s no reason for the rest of us to go along with it.

This marvellously perceptive of the issues and emotionally literate too. To be read by all who care about the whole anglican thing at the moment. It sort of clarifies what you know --but couldn't have found quite the words for. At any rate, it has moved and helped me.

Mary Ann Sieghart, Stephen Bates and Simon Barrow are also very worth reading, to my way of thinking...

It is an encouraging reminder too, that if the Churches will not articulate and serve the Good, others will, in the much maligned secular world and press.

Posted by laurence at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 2:56pm GMT

I disagree with what the ABC says. I think in the case of the civil law, then it has to be the state's decision.

I am prepared to see exemptions for internal church/religious matters, but as soon as they step out of that boundary - the Church must comply.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 3:36pm GMT

Andrew Brown's comment in the thread to his own article made sense to me (but then I am accustmed to the separation of church and state): ". . . if Catholic adoption agencies take public money, they must go along with parliament's idea of what is decent."

Posted by Prior Aelred at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 4:17pm GMT

Does anyone know what Murphy-O'Connor, Sentamu, and Williams' take on Masonic affiliation is?

I'm not talking about being friendly with the builders.

Posted by Matthew Hunt at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 4:32pm GMT

Gerry, your second paragraph would appear to imply that 42% of the UK population (that's +/- 25m people) who apparently support the views expressed by the three archbishops on this matter are homophobic. As someone who supports the various points (note the plural) made by the archbishops and who is therefore, I must presume, numbered among the 42%, I would suggest such an implication is likely to be wide of the mark. Speaking personally, it is certainly so.

One of the functions of statistics is to clarify matters that are complex by simplifying them. The danger one runs in looking back at the matter (any matter) under consideration through a statistical prism is that one can all too easily draw simplistic conclusions.

Posted by Stephen Wikner at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 5:45pm GMT

This whole episode is yet another reminder that homophobia is a cancer on the Body of Christ.

The current crisis sadly provides the temptation to people minded that way to turn the Church into yet another purity cult.

Some of the most loving parents I know are gay couples who have adopted children.

Posted by jnwall at Friday, 26 January 2007 at 10:10pm GMT

I still have a lingering hunch that God uses this sort of false move by the great leaders of great churches, to show the cul de sacs of definitional-presuppositional flat earth understanding into which we have let some key legacy falsehoods lead us.

The ConsEvs folks would have us believe that it is all of a piece, this legacy flat earth stuff about sex and embodiment - but in fact even they no longer believe that oral sex causes hurricanes or stillborn catttle - something which would have been so self-evident to most ancient legacy believers that they would be shocked to find us concluding it morally irrelevant because empirically disconfirmed.

As to that 42 percent who support the flat earth theories of these church leaders: Some followed because they thought change in understanding sexual orientation a risk, and understood playing it as safe as possible as a markedly virtuous or quasi-virtuous fork of the bifurcated option. Some followed, because they have had notably bad or terrible experiences with something or someone connected with what have so long passed definitively as nothing but non-straight problems, and so it all made sense to them that danger and harm needed to be avoided above all by avoiding the people legacy thinking defines for us as essential Abominations. Some followed because they don't know the updated empirical information about sexual orientation, and really do not care to know it, so change doesn't exist for them. Some followed because they believed somebody else was watching them, a peer or a superior maybe, and who wants to offend anybody who may turn out to negatively affect your future well-being, and maybe even the well-being of your family or children, just because you got out of step with their legacy prejudices about non-straight personality.

I can understand the 42 percent at the bottom and middles of things. What still puzzles me is the ding at the very tops of our faith leadership, including a notable scholar who now sits in Canterbury - distancing himself from the more progressive views he once published, and ignoring his own experiences of the queer two dads next door in Wales who successfully fostered a very angry boy out of childhood harm's way, all the way apparently to university entrance. We should shut the door on people like that, I guess?

We are waiting for these leaders to show us the gospel good news? To model gospel living for us - in this way? Really?

Posted by drdanfee at Saturday, 27 January 2007 at 12:48am GMT

Brown's is a propagandistic and question-begging article and Bates's piece is not much better. If you grant the State unlimited power to dictate morals you will end up with martyrs of conscience a la More or Becket. The parliament who gave us the horrors of the Iraq War and Rendition Flights are more fit to play the role of Herod than that of Moses.

The emotivity of the reactions suggests that we are not facing the key issue about the autonomy of conscience squarely.

Posted by Fr Joseph O'Leary at Saturday, 27 January 2007 at 1:16am GMT

per Andrew Brown: "Dr Sentamu's performance on the Today show yesterday morning was a breathtaking display of intellectual dishonesty."

Between this, and his blowhard performance at GC last summer, ++York has blown an astonishing amount of goodwill the past year. Let's hope this ends the ill-considered "Sentamu should be the next ABC" sentiment?

Posted by JCF at Saturday, 27 January 2007 at 2:55am GMT

Sentamu is acting from 'York' as he did from 'Stepney' by all accounts. Its just that, for some reason, the press and tv/radio are more interested in utterances coming from York.

Desmond Tutu should have been invited to 'Canterbury'. I believe he was considered, but some British State protocol got in the way. These things can be got round with desire and effort. May be he will be asked to take care of things quite soon ?

Rowan Williams could follow could follow David Ebor's example quite soon. (Father David Hope). For David Hope sexuality was famously "a grey area". Yet his Catechism from York affirmed the goodness of gay people and relationships --and yes, sex.
Heaven knows what colour would most suit Rowan ! - Perhaps all the bishops have colours -- I think we should know ! But I suppose Vacency-in-See committees try to ensure compatibility, or what Christopher Shell might call 'fit'.......

Posted by laurence at Saturday, 27 January 2007 at 10:19am GMT

Hi Matthew Hunt
is masonic affiliation a controversial issue for Christians? There is no basis on which it would be. The Masons worship one Jahbulon, incorporating among others Baal. I have not heard that church leaders are masons any more, though there was a time when they were (in the 1950s even the ABC).
There are so many I'll scratch your back / old-school-tie set-ups in life, but I had thought they were getting fewer and more accountable.

Posted by Christopher Shell at Saturday, 27 January 2007 at 12:20pm GMT

"Brown's is a propagandistic and question-begging article and Bates's piece is not much better. If you grant the State unlimited power to dictate morals you will end up with martyrs of conscience a la More or Becket."

Sorry, but we will end up with O’Connor the Cover-upper, Sentamu the Discriminator and William the Spineless.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Saturday, 27 January 2007 at 2:57pm GMT

Absolutely, Goran.

This whining about conscience ie justification of religious homophobia is sickening. They should be exposed for the bigots they are.

Let them keep their consciences within their temples of prejudice - at least those of us who have seen through the cant and lies can avoid attending them until there is real change eg a split and the formation of a new global movement.

Posted by Merseymike at Thursday, 1 February 2007 at 10:34am GMT
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