Comments: GS: Question Time

Oh the horror! It's the end of British civilization.!

Posted by Richard Lyon at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 12:45am GMT

No, discriminating against people has nothing to do with 'the common good'

Posted by Merseymike at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 12:53am GMT

Either this is exeedingly childish (on purpose), or straight out of la-la land.

"To think that people have died for this!"

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 9:07am GMT

The AofC: "there are deeper issues here about the rights, liberties and dignities of independent bodies ..... "

Perhaps the Government feels that the rights, liberties and dignities of its citizens are more important?

And again: "To use the law to make it impossible .... for a religious organisation to carry on doing work .... "

It is not the law that is making it impossible for Catholic agencies to continue their work; it is their religious convictions.

Posted by Terence Dear at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 10:47am GMT

So, at least this site isn't 'obsessed with sex'. I guess the other 80 or so questions were withdrawn?

Posted by David Keen at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 11:52am GMT

Golly, I wonder how anyone could ever get the impression that the CoE is obsessed with sex!

Posted by JPM at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 12:23pm GMT

'rightly caused concern about the State’s willingness to impose requirements on voluntary organisations that are in conflict with the religious convictions and consciences that are the inspiration for their work'

The Catholic church is quite willing to impose requirements on people whose religious convictions and consciences inspire them to disagree with and even abhor the official teachings of their church. Has the government taken a leaf out of their book? I know which looks to be the more Christian approach from God's point of view.

Posted by Neil at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 12:41pm GMT

The ABC said (during the answer:
"The Regulations for Great Britain have yet to be published and will in some respects be different from those already approved by Parliament for Northern Ireland."

The fact they will be different in some respects, is major news

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 1:21pm GMT

Conscience used to be respected in the UK, even when the government undertook bad actions, like the 1967 Abortion Act, which has killed millions of preborn children. Christian doctors and nurses were at least notionally allowed to withdraw on grounds of conscience. But these ideologically-driven SORs are forcing Catholic adoption agencies out of business. No respect for conscience where the gay agenda is concerned. The UK is following the route of Canada and Sweden, where Pastor Ake Green was notoriously prosecuted for criticizing homosexuality in a sermon. The proponents of the new sexual ethic want to stamp out dissent. They may yet succeed, as people emigrate, but one wonders what they'll say to the burgeoning Muslim populations of Malmo and other towns.

Posted by Steve Watson. at Tuesday, 27 February 2007 at 4:56pm GMT

The issue of freedom of religion and conscience is considered at length in the just published Joint Committee on human rights report

Briefly described on my blog

It deals effectively with the misleading gumf put out by the religious right about an alleged conflict of rights and considers that while the freedom to have a belief (article 9 (1) of the ECHR) is absolute that its manifestation (article 9 (2) of the Convention) may be limited to protect the rights of others.... and that in this case it is necessary under separate human rights provisions to protect LGB people from such discrimination.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 2:11pm GMT

No, conscience should not be respected if it means discriminating against gay and lesbian people.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 3:42pm GMT

Indeed, Craig, we can't have people refusing to burn incense to Caesar. What an idea. Where do they think authority comes from? Conscience should not be respected if it means discriminating against the State's claim to obedience.

Posted by Steve Watson. at Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 8:47pm GMT

IIRC the 'thurificati' and 'libellitaci' of the Roman persecutions represent a highly sophisticated attempt on the part of the Roman state to turn the CHurch's practices to its own advantage.

Because the Church at that time took a hard line on even those who had been coerced into apostasy (read 'huis clos' if you want an interesting meditation on the importance of one momentary lapse), it was an ingenious way of destroying the Church by creating a huge number of despairing ex-Christians who would act as a counter to Christian missionary activity,

The puritans of the time were hot against any recalculations of Church teaching (read Tertullian's 'De Coronis') for these overturned unbroken tradition. Others realised that the Roman state had exposed a weakness, and acted accordingly.....

Sometimes, you know, God can even work through non-churchgoers....

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 10:51pm GMT

The problem with Tertullian's teaching is that he misunderstood the New Testament both on baptism and the Christian's growth in grace. Luther ('simul justus et peccator') and the actual Puritans of the 16th and 17th centuries understood the NT much better on these issues. Like the good jurist he was, Tertullian read the NT as presenting a judicial interim or transitional 'period of grace', while 'true' Christianity had arrived in his time - a bit like the 'period of grace' the UK government is giving the Catholic adoption agencies to knuckle under or close shop, after which True Humanist Liberation will have arrived. The thought that tax-paying citizens should publicly disagree with the state ideology of Tolerance is intolerable.

Posted by Steve Watson. at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 7:18am GMT

Plenty of people at the time didn't think Tertullian had misunderstood the NT. Time's arrow proved him wrong. Did C16-17 Puritans understand 'better' or is it simply that his particular puritanical path was closed down?

Anyhow, the serious point was that puritanism and hard-line thinking was exploited as a weapon against Christianity: 'radical' Christians managed to blunt the weapon by reconsidering previously hallowed doctrines - at the cost of enduring (eg) Tertullian's rigorist outburst.

Posted by Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 4:02pm GMT

David, Tertullian was not a 'Puritan' in the C16-17 sense for the simple reason that he went considerably beyond the NT in his rigorism and legalism; as I said above, he treated the NT as only interim (a period of grace to give people 'time to catch up') and not the actual standard for Christians. Tertullian's teachings - like obligatory celibacy or the near impossibility of reconcilation after post-baptismal sin (not to mention his curious doctrine of baptism) - were poorly founded on the NT, and brought a reaction from the Catholic church, from which Tertullian separated himself. The effect on North African Christianity was baneful, as the subsequent Donatist schism showed. At least as far as the doctrine of grace is concerned, the Reformers and Puritans (who were, of course, leading Church of England men) looked to the great opponent of the Donatists in North Africa, St Augustine. Not just time's arrow but a better grasp of the teaching of the Bible gave an answer to the Donatists - however, North African Christianity itself - Tertullian's heirs and all - was well nigh obliterated by the arrival of the Muslim Arabs in 698- not what you would call "'radical' Christians". Deleta est Carthago.
I owe most of my knowledge of Tertullian to the books and lectures of Gerald Bray, Professor of Anglican studies at Samford University, who did his doctorate on Tertullian at the Sorbonne.

Posted by Steve Watson. at Friday, 2 March 2007 at 7:33am GMT

History is not just about reading books. One has to "read, learn and inwardly digest".

Some experience of the World does help.

Posted by Göran Koch-Swahne at Friday, 2 March 2007 at 1:05pm GMT
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