Comments: Dean of St Albans writes about same-sex marriage for Church Times

Sadly, in all of this, it is the hypocrisy of the Church that people of no faith are easily able to discern. We cannot hide the fact that there are already faithful monogamous relationships between people of the same gender in our congregations and in some more open parts of the Church, among our clergy. This fact is known to many of us.

For the Church to deny that such relationships are valid and blessed by God (when God is invited into them) is to deny their reality. This is hypocrisy. The sooner the Church admits that a monogamous loving relationship between two people of the same gender - who are otherwise, by law, allowed to be legally married - is in accordance with a biblical standard of fidelity, the better for all concerned

The integrity of the Church is at stake here.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 7 September 2012 at 11:50am BST

"By opposing almost every advance that gay people have made since decriminalisation, and now by opposing same-sex civil marriage, it has turned itself into the enemy number one of gay people - despite its being one of the gayest organisations in the country.

This is a disaster for the Church’s mission, its integrity, and its morale. “A lying mouth destroys the soul,” Wisdom says. It is time for the truth that sets us free."

Truer words were never spoken.

Most other gay folk that I know see Christianity as a mortal threat, that the goal of institutional Christianity is to wipe them off the face of the earth through either "therapy" or through other more direct means (see David Kato, Fanny Ann Eddy, Daniel Zamudio, Matthew Shepard, or the victims of the Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans).
And the really sad part of it is that they are right. "Pray Away the Gay" is a euphemism for a faggot-free world (sorry Simon, I'm not softening this). Institutional Christians want nothing less than the total extinction of same sexuality, its cultures, its communities, its legacies, its people.

When I tell other gay people that I am gay AND Christian, as far as they are concerned I might as well tell them that I'm a Jew AND a Nazi.

The only way that I can make the Gospel speak to me and to others like me is to split it apart from the institution that claims the copyright on it.

And the really bitter irony of all this is that if there is anyone who knows in their flesh what it is like to be despised and rejected, acquainted with grief and esteemed not, it's gay and lesbian folk. Many of us have walked a real Via Dolorosa all the way to the bitter end, wondering why God has forsaken us as a crowd jeers at us as we die.

Posted by Counterlight at Friday, 7 September 2012 at 1:43pm BST

Having struggled for many years since becoming a follower of Jesus, and being told that same sex relationships are wrong I have at long last used my own brain and searched for many months to conclude: "Who am I? to decide that another human being should not be allowed the same loving relationship as myself and my husband of 36 years.

Posted by Deirdre Botsford at Friday, 7 September 2012 at 4:36pm BST

My oldest son has just started at his new school, which was founded 500 years ago by a Cathedral Dean. Every year there is a camp for new boys organised by the school Christian union which is usually extremely popular and attended by large numbers of new boys, regardless of faith.

My wife tells me that this year very few went. Certainly, we could not persuade my son to go. When my wife discussed it with other mothers, she was shocked by the level of outright hostility to Christianity which came across. She told me that Christianity seemed to be seen by the average class parent as hateful and disreputable; not a positive or even a neutral force.

I think the Church is misrepresenting the Gospel by focussing in the public square on issues of sexual morality; and I also think the Church's public positions on sexual morality are wrong, which makes this distortion worse. But I am also convinced that, as well as being misguided, it is also a major threat to the mission of the Church of England.

The major concerns of the Gospel are with the kingdom of heaven and, on earth, with love of our neighbour. The hard teachings of Jesus emphasised the poor, the downtrodden, the weak, the vulnerable, and the despised and persecuted. It is not only a travesty, but a tragedy, that we should now be preaching a Gospel of discrimination and rejection against a minority. Perhaps it is poetic justice that, as that minority finds its place in society, it is the Church which is punished for its lack of compassion.

So it is that Lord Carey includes in his list of "persecutions" to the European Court of Human Rights the case in which the Bishop of Hereford was found to have unlawfully discriminated against a gay job applicant. Lord Carey thinks that the BISHOP is the persecuted one. But surely it was the gay man.

Posted by badman at Saturday, 8 September 2012 at 1:25pm BST

Couldn't agree more, badman.

I have a fair few gay friends and colleagues. Very few of them go to church. The rest despise the Church of England. They're right - at least as regards the handling of this issue by most high-profile Anglicans. I don't understand what has got into Williams and Sentamu over gay marriage. Quite apart from anything else - and of course there are many other things - it is so stupid.

Posted by John at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 3:24pm BST

"the case in which the Bishop of Hereford was found to have unlawfully discriminated against a gay job applicant. Lord Carey thinks that the BISHOP is the persecuted one. But surely it was the gay man."
- Posted by: badman on Saturday -

The whole affair sounds a wee bit like the story of Jesus' confrontation with the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted to stone the Woman 'taken in adultery'. Excepting that, this time, the 'woman' was a gay man who was 'stoned' by a bishop.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 11:35pm BST
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