Comments: Still more about same-sex marriage

It's hard to believe that someone as intelligent as Paul Vallely would misrepresent Andrew Symes so carelessly. When Mr Symes wrote that "we can't be certain about the direct link between bad weather and the gay marriage legislation", he (Mr Symes) was gently poking fun at the UKIP councillor who had suggested the link. Ever heard of irony, Mr Vallely? To use that quote to suggest that Mr Symes himself believes in the link is, well, unintelligent.

Posted by Jamie Wood at Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 7:00pm GMT

Well, it's not so much a criticism of Vallely but of Mr Symes, who convinced many (if not most) he was serious and looking at the website in the past it would seem to me to be an intelligent assumption. But putting that aside, apart from a couple of rants from the loony eccentrics, the articles recorded on Anglican Mainstream itself demonstrate just how far outside the mainstream their thinking lies!

For my money, the bishop of Buckingham has come out on top here!
Just a few short weeks ago, Thinking Anglicans refused to publish a comment in a similar vein from me ...... without any names ......on the basis that it was "outing people"...... TA has not acquitted itself well here.

Still, lets give all the kudos to bishop Alan who has only said truth and who needs our support, for he surely will be savaged by his own constituency for "outing people" when all he has asked for is an ounce of integrity from all his fellow bishops.

I agree strongly with the author of the Church Times leader who points out that the opportunity for facilitated conversations is evaporating almost week by week, and part of the reason for that is the failure of the English community of bishops to speak truth among themselves.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 8:15pm GMT

Won't it need an Act of Parliament to repeal the Quadruple Lock banning same sex marriages in Church of England places of worship? I can't see the current hierarchy of the Established Church requesting that in any great hurry. My Lords of Sarum and Buckingham are currently liberal voices crying in the wilderness. We await with interest to see what Rev has to say on the matter later this evening when approached by two Gay friends seeking to tie the knot in his ill attended fane.

Posted by Father David at Monday, 31 March 2014 at 6:43am BST

"Ever heard of irony, Mr Vallely?"

The Rev Symes would appear to be a victim of Poe's Law: "without a clear indication of the author's intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism."

Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 31 March 2014 at 6:51am BST

And another point about Anglican Mainstream:

Colin Coward blogged [1] about, and Peter Ould gave an interesting response about [2] a "conference" that AM hosted about same-sex attraction. It got 30 attendees, many of whom were either the organisers, speakers or bloggers come to report on it. In central London, AM was unable to get more than twenty people to come to a "conference" about one of its core concerns. The "conference" sounds, from the reports, utterly unhinged, but that's besides the point: they simply couldn't get people to attend for reasons much more edifying than morbid fascination.

And that, I must say, is the real Anglican mainstream's failure: they have not challenged Anglican Mainstream's claim to be mainstream. You have to admire Symes and Sugden; as an act of marketing, it's perfect. But an unwillingness by the real mainstream to challenge fellow Christians has ceded the high ground, and just as Muslims are angered and frustrated by the media's enthusiasm for Anjem Choudrey as a "spokeman" for Islam (when in reality, he probably has a claque of about twenty supporters), Symes is now able to claim, unchallenged, to represent the "mainstream" when in reality he does no such thing. To the casual observer, a man appears on the radio, described as mainstream, and spouts the usual nonsense about the end of marriage as we know it: how are they supposed to know he represents only himself and twenty other people?



Posted by Interested Observer at Monday, 31 March 2014 at 8:56am BST

One of the problems for the Church of England, at its official opposition to this new initiative on the part of the U.K. Government to offer Equal Marriage to same-sex monogamous relationships as well as heterosexual ones, is that it has already tacitly accepted the reality of same-sex committed partnerships amongst it clergy. The G.S. ruling allowing payment of spousal pensions to the surviving partner of a clerical Civil Union testifies as much!

Since the Church of England refused to offer official Blessings to Civil Partnerships (and still does so - despite the 'under the counter' permission for prayers for the couple) it has inevitably come up against the need to show some pastoral care for same-sex couples of the Church (and maybe - as the Established Church - to those outside of it) some official recognition of their intention to enter into a monogamously-committed, faithful and loving relationship that it urges upon other, heterosexual, couples.

If Civil Partnerships seemed to be something that did not fit in with the Church's understanding of the dignity of a 'marriage' commitment; perhaps the idea of civil marriage ought more readily to meet the existential needs of a society that recognises such commitment as a social good?

Did not even Saint Paul say that it was "Better to marry than burn"?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 12:20am BST

I am wondering, following his comments in Bury St. Edmunds cathedral, if Justin Welby is the most Erastian archbishop we have had in a long time? His support for the ordination of women to the episcopate and his comments about withdrawing CofE opposition to Gay marriage on the grounds that the Established Church should not oppose the Laws of the realm suggest that he has indeed a deeply Erastian soul. I know that he has been bitterly stung by the backlash to his ill timed and ill judged recent Pastoral Letter but has he forgotten that the Church of Jesus Christ is meant to be counter cultural?

Posted by Father David at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 6:44am BST

Fr David,
but please let's not confuse getting hold of the same rope as culture but pulling in the other direction with being counter cultural.
That's being as immersed in the cultural issues of the day as you can possibly be.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 8:36am BST

Your recent comments, Father David, seem to me to display interesting ambivalences. Glad at any rate your spirited campaign for the elevation of Jeffrey John seems not a whit diminished by his open (and brave) support of full gay marriage.

Posted by John at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 10:30am BST

The blog below spells out clearly the consequences of the HoB guidance. Did they really consider the consequences of their words?

'The prohibition on ordination is tantamount to a process of same-sex cleansing'

So much for the weasel words of welcome and appreciation for the work of the Church's lgbt clergy.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 10:48am BST

"the Church of Jesus Christ is meant to be counter cultural?"

There's a difference between critically evaluating societal change and assuming as a knee-jerk reaction that it is always wrong. Just because on some issues society is moving faster than the church does not necessarily mean that society is wrong, nor, of course, that it is right. It just means that people who see themselves as morally aware should examine the change and react thoughtfully.

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 1:16pm BST

But 'critically evaluating societal change' (Interested Observer) is as immersed in the culture of the day as pulling in the other direction on the same rope. Archimedes asked for a place to stand so he could move the world, we would have to join him there if we are to judge all cultures.

We are called instead to follow our incarnate Lord. That is, to be fully part of the culture we live in (especially if we feel we are missionaries from the past) but critical from within. Critical solidarity with humanity is what Jesus displays and we in the church should do likewise in our age.

As Passiontide approaches we have to follow Jesus on the way of the cross, rather than stay with Pilate at the seat of judgement.

Posted by RevPeterM at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 3:27pm BST

It surprises me how few of those calling for the Church to take a "counter-cultural" approach to gays were arguing for marriage equality in the 80s and 90s!

Posted by Geoff at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 5:36pm BST

How ironic that the religion of Constantine would ever claim to be countercultural!

In any case, getting outside of one's culture would be like trying to jump out of one's skin--an impossibility. One is always a product of one's culture. The difference is how one reads it and which parts of it get cited.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Posted by Gary Paul Gilbert at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 7:12pm BST

Geoff, it's entirely useless as a concept. It allows reactionaries to boast that they are being "counter cultural" in denying rights to, variously, non-whites, non-men and non-hets (society is changing too quickly, we must hold fast to eternal truths) while simultaneously providing backing for rights for non-whites, non-men and non-hets (society is not changing quickly enough, we must strive for justice and truth).

As we don't live in a uniform society, I doubt there's any social concept where you can't argue that there's pressure to do something you don't want to do, and therefore your chosen path is "counter cultural". It's meaningless.

Posted by Interested Observer at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 9:18pm BST

"As Passiontide approaches we have to follow Jesus on the way of the cross, rather than stay with Pilate at the seat of judgement."

I don't think these metaphors are very illuminating in this context. Indeed, they could generate confusion.

I trust that RevPeterM is not asking that gay people be willing to be crucified on the cross of the established church's bigotry.

Posted by Jeremy at Tuesday, 1 April 2014 at 10:35pm BST

"I trust that RevPeterM is not asking that gay people be willing to be crucified on the cross of the established church's bigotry."

Let's hope not, we've been living with that for a long time and it's time for us to get down off that cross. And work that no others suffer for the sake of keeping the the dominant classes comfortable at all costs.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 5:34am BST

No, I'm not asking anyone but the church (all of us) to walk the way of the cross. I just don't think that it is possible for us to independently assess new developments in society and reliably decide the good from the bad. Instead we must live in the society we find ourselves and find out what God is doing there.
It's just that sometimes (or always?) faithfulness leads to the cross and resurrection. Avoiding that by standing separate from our contemporary society is not on.

Posted by RevPeterM at Wednesday, 2 April 2014 at 3:32pm BST

Father David: 'Won't it need an Act of Parliament to repeal the Quadruple Lock banning same sex marriages in Church of England places of worship?'

No, it won't. The Justice Secretary or the Lord Chancellor (who currently both happen to be the same person) has power to do it by a Statutory Instrument subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. The power is conferred by section 17(2) of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.

It could also be done by a Church Measure, since the original 1919 Act that invented Church Measures allows them to amend primary Acts of Parliament.

Posted by Feria at Friday, 4 April 2014 at 12:29am BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.