Comments: opinion

+Josiah caught my attention with this ""First and foremost, my conviction has always been this and it hasn't changed: most of these crises we ascribe to religious differences [between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria] have very little to do with religion. Religion is a façade,"

Good for him. As Human Rights Watch's report on conflict in +Josiah's region of Nigeria lists numerous causes, generally in the realm of inequalities in civic and economic life, as well as a lack of a criminal justice system that can rein in perpetrators of violence on both sides.

This is a step forward from using LGBTQ people as a common scapegoat, which was the tenor of an interview in Australia.

Also, the fact that he prioritizes real gospel issues over fighting about LGBTQ is really good in my view. He said "homosexuality should not actually be the Church's focus, but rather corruption, poverty, and religious extremism."

We're not going to agree on gay marriage, but he is now clearly opposing human rights violations against gay people. He also seems far more respectful of the freedom of conscience within the communion. It's true that he said TEC leadership should have opposed gay marriage, but were "timid." He needs to look at the vote count, over 100 bishops voted for inclusive marriage and only 7 against (within the US). This is not about timidity. But I'll give him space on that one.

Posted by Cynthia at Saturday, 8 August 2015 at 7:10pm BST

Giles Fraser does a very effective job of focusing on the issues of solidarity and ethics in the migrant crisis. In so doing, provides an effective counter to those who want to monetize the issue.

Commenting on this issue in an earlier TA post about Calais (below), Robert Ian Williams writes, "Did our Lord dehumanize us, when he talked about us being sheep? The current illegal migration is a swarm ..." What a fatuous analogy.

I've attached a link to an article published by The Pontifical Council For the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Saturday, 8 August 2015 at 9:49pm BST

"Just as he opposed the anti-gay laws, he believes that the Episcopal Church in America, for example, should oppose the legalisation of gay marriage."

Archbishop Idowu-Fearon bases this upon Lambeth Resolution 1:10, which TEC's bishops rejected in 1998, and how much MORE so (w/ the rest of TEC) now. His equivalency simply doesn't apply.

"Christians in positions of authority and responsibility are always very timid, they allow the secular world to overcrowd them, so that fine line is missing".

Well, to the extent that the Church has sold out to the homophobia of The World (because it certainly doesn't come from Jesus!), then I agree. Of course, that would mean followers of Jesus taking a much more courageous stand---on behalf of Jesus's LGBT least-of-these---against, for example, the Archbishop himself. Amen!

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 9 August 2015 at 5:13am BST

" The late Terry Pratchett summed up my reservations when he wrote: “The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.” "
An excellent article by Christopher Whitby,
This sums it up very well indeed for many of us inside the church as well. But try saying it on a website such as Stand Firm in Faith or Anglican Mainstream. Not only do those who run such websites think they've found the truth, they think they have found an extremely exclusive version of it. And the version is extraordinarily unattractive.

Posted by Andrew Godsall at Sunday, 9 August 2015 at 5:14pm BST

JCF, in line with 1st century Jewish norms, Jesus of Nazareth would almost certainly have believed homosexuality to go against the law of Moses.

On this, as on his view of Canaanites, and his belief that Adonai was about to end history, Jesus was wrong, and that fallibility can be accepted without undermining the entirety of his life and teaching.

I doubt Idowu-Fearon could say that, which is why he's able to draw the false equivalence between opposing homophobia and opposing equality. This nonsense is, I guess, the "moderate" position, a position that I want no part of.

Posted by James Byron at Sunday, 9 August 2015 at 5:58pm BST

"in line with 1st century Jewish norms, Jesus of Nazareth would almost certainly have believed homosexuality to go against the law of Moses"

JamesB, I simply disagree---for 3 reasons.

1) I don't accept that "homosexuality...go[es] against the law of Moses", for the simple reason that I don't believe that ANY ancient texts speak to "homosexuality" (that is, *immutable same-sex sexual orientation*) as we know it in the 21st century.

2) I reject "Jesus would have" arguments. If Jesus didn't address it, we don't know WHAT Jesus felt about a particular subject, beyond general principles of "Love God, Love Your Neighbor As Yourself".

3) From the healing of the Centurion's Servant, a credible case can be made that at least the culturally-based SUSPICION of same-sex sexual activity, didn't lessen the Centurion's "faith" in his eyes.

You can't get 21st century homophobia from the Bible, and I'll go to my grave believing that.

Posted by JCF at Monday, 10 August 2015 at 1:48am BST

JCF, I agree that nither Jesus, nor the biblical authors, is likely to have had any concept of sexual orientation. By "homosexuality," I simply mean sex between people of the same gender. For men at least, this is explicitly condemned in the Mosaic law, under penalty of death.

While I also agree that we should be careful with arguments from silence, given the overwhelming religious, cultural and legal taboo, I believe that we can reasonably infer that Jesus would've condemned homosexuality, an inference that survives mere implications about a relationship between a pagan master and his slave.

It should be no matter. Our ethics aren't fixed by Jesus' command. No, he wasn't a 21st century homophobe; he was a man of his time, a man who could be wrong, and he was wrong about this.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 12:06am BST

“[I]n line with 1st century Jewish norms, Jesus of Nazareth would almost certainly have believed homosexuality to go against the law of Moses.”

Just to expand on JCF’s comments. One of the main problems with this statement is that, of course, Jesus on so many occasions expressly went against “1st century Jewish norms.” These are epitomized by the “you’ve heard it said, but I say to you” statements from the Sermon on the Mount (but they’re certainly not limited to these). For example (as paraphrased to meet the 400-word limit):

You’ve heard, don’t murder. But I say to you if you’re angry or insult a brother or sister, you’ll be liable to judgment; and if you call someone a fool, you’ll be liable to the hell of fire. Matt. 5:21-22

You’ve heard, don’t commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matt. 5:26-28.

You’ve heard, if you divorce your wife, give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matt. 5:31-32.

You’ve heard don’t swear falsely, but carry out the vows you’ve made to the Lord. But I say to you, don’t swear at all. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one. Matt. 5:33-37.

You’ve heard, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, don’t resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Matt. 5:38-41.

You’ve heard, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Matt. 5:43-47.

Posted by dr.primrose at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 2:52am BST

Dr. Primrose, in demanding people be held to a higher ethical standard than the Law of Moses, Jesus wasn't violating its prohibitions -- he was extending them. This was thoroughly in-line with contemporary Jewish thinking (particularly the Pharisees, whom the Gospels later demonized).

The one area in which Jesus did go against contemporary norms -- his departure from some purification rituals -- was tied to his belief in an imminent eschaton, itself a mainstream Jewish belief.

So yes, Jesus might've supported loving gay relationships, but given what we know of his setting and thinking, it's unlikely, and more importantly, shouldn't matter. Putting so much stock in it both invites historical inaccuracy, and argues this in traditionalist terms, which hamstrings the inclusive position from the off.

Posted by James Byron at Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 1:44pm BST
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