Comments: Churches panic over Equality Bill

It's an excellent commentary Simon. Thank you very much.

Posted by Paul Walter at Sunday, 24 January 2010 at 6:39pm GMT

Simon,

Thanks for your helpful essay. From this side of the Atlantic, I’ve been trying to figure out what all the fuss is about without making a career of the project. I’m not sure that I have enough understanding to have an informed opinion, but at least I now have a basic understanding of what is at stake.

Posted by Lionel Deimel at Sunday, 24 January 2010 at 7:39pm GMT

I fail to understand why I should be discriminated against as a minister.
Salisbury Theological college recommended me for Ordination, the DDO of Southwark accepted me for Ordination, Fr Nick Richards accepted me to serve my Title with him, and Bishop Mervyn Stockwood ordained me. All knew myself and my then partner (and my current civil partner) and went ahead.

I was also employed by the ecumenical South London Industrial Mission (SLIM); and later went on to another diocese who also knew and accepted myself and my partner -

It seems rather late in the day to be saying, "Oh, dear we're not sure after all-- so worried about our 'ethos', don't ya know ?"

The 'ethos' of so many leading anglo-catholic churches and bodies is so gay, the C of E authorities need have not worries about their ethos !

BTW What do the C of E's current gay bishops have to say on all this ?

And what do the liberal bishops think ? Why so coy ? Why so silent ?

Posted by Rev L Roberts at Sunday, 24 January 2010 at 8:32pm GMT

Grateful to Simon for this.

But I suspect Simon's failure to grasp why the bishops are pursing their present course is more a literary device than an expression of genuine amazement!

I suggest that the bishops believe they have got the government beat and they wish to express their fury at the government for consulting with gay groups over the limits to the exemptions but not with them, and so are pressing ahead in an attempt to humiliate the govt.

In fact this government and more interestingly, the Civil Service are putting less and less trust in the present bench of Church of England bishops and are consulting more widely within faith communities, what is more they are quite open about this.

There is, of course a natural and just logic in asking gay people about their exclusion and how it impacts on them. The Church as we have seen fails completely to fathom this and launches the most hideous and evil doctrine of "gracious restraint" without a single word to the people whose life it cripples.

There was a strong rumour that Barry Morgan was on his way to the Lords, however his plan to devolve power to an assistant, like Canterbury does to Dover, has failed - so he will not have the leisure he anticipated to throw himself into national public life.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 24 January 2010 at 8:38pm GMT

"It's very difficult to see why the latest wording proposed by the government does not concede all that they require." - Simon Sarmiento

Thank you Simon for your perspective on the ongoing chess-playing by certain English Bishops in the House of Lords, whose sole obejective here would seem to be their desire for the status quo in religious bigotry - as it pertains to their hold on power within the Church of England.

Why on earth do Bishops continue to think that they should be able to hold on to restrictive employment codes which allow them to discriminate against those from the Gay community who feel they are called into the ministry of the Gospel? Have they forgotten Archbishop Desmond Tutu's wise admonition that God is no discriminator against anyone whose sexuality or gender happens to differ from what may be considered to be the norm?

The uniformed stand of these bishops on matters that are important to address in today's Church and the World does little credit to the Church of England, and gives little comfort to other, more enlightened, Provinces of our world-wide Communion.

For the hierarchy of the C. of E. to appear to be in alignment with the Anglican Church of Uganda on issues of social justice and sexuality is an embarrassment to the rest of us.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 24 January 2010 at 11:18pm GMT

I think the bishops are being silly and disingenuous.

I wonder what their analysis would be of a Marriage Equality Bill.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Sunday, 24 January 2010 at 11:28pm GMT

From:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8479761.stm

Sentamu: "You may feel that many churches and other religious organisations are wrong on matters of sexual ethics. But, if religious freedom means anything it must mean that those are matters for the churches and other religious organisations to determine for themselves in accordance with their own convictions."

Well, what are Christians going to do when they are not merely asked to remove any outward signs of religious life or conviction but are not employed on the grounds of the latter? Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

(PS Still can't quite work out how Sentamu squares the above view with:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8429699.stm

At a tangent:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8425694.stm

It doesn't look very convincing but it is reported in the soundtrack that these new pagan recruits had had experience of the Church but found its hierarchical nature and its doctrinal and dogmatic character unappealing.

Now, I am not suggesting that the BBC is always above employing certain journalistic shticks, or is the only window on to the world but this should serve as some warning to the Lords Spiritual.

If people can't vote you out, they vote with their feet.

Posted by Achilles at Tuesday, 26 January 2010 at 4:52am GMT

Am I to understand from comments in another thread that, in defending religious "freedom," the Lords Spiritual opposed allowing other religious bodies to solemnize marriages?

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 27 January 2010 at 3:56pm GMT
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