Thinking Anglicans

civil rights in Uganda

The Kampala Mail and Guardian carried this report on 7 July, Ugandan Parliament deals blow to gay rights. This report is amplified in an article from Human Rights Watch Uganda: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Deepens Repression. Other news reports that mention this are in the Kampala Monitor and the Kampala New Vision.

The LGBT community in Uganda had made representations to Parliament for inclusion in the list of recognised minorities for which the proposed constitutional amendments offered further protection and recognition of their special needs.

The actions now taken in response to this request are more extensive than were recommended in the white paper on constitutional amendments which only asked for the first declaration – marriage is between a man and woman – the second part criminalising those who enter a partnership is an additional action now taken by the Ugandan parliament without previous discussion.

Back in February, the primates of the Anglican Communion said:

…We also wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of the moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people. The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us. We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship…

At the recent ACC meeting in Nottingham, Rowan Williams said:

…The Lambeth Resolution called for just this. It also condemned in clear terms, as did earlier Lambeth Conferences, the Windsor Report and the Primates’ Dromantine statement, violent and bigoted language about homosexual people – and this cannot be repeated too often. It is possible to uphold Lambeth ’98 and to oppose the shocking persecution of homosexuals in some countries, to defend measures that guarantee their civil liberties

And again this week, in his presidential address at the General Synod in York, Rowan Williams also said:

If the listening process set up by the ACC is to be of any use, it must have the same character all round. And the point has perfectly rightly been made that it will fail if it does not listen to the voices of homosexual people within the developing world, so often horrifyingly at risk of violence and persecution, just as much as it will fail if it does not listen to those churches in the developing world that are struggling with great difficulty to find a pastoral way forward that is true to their convictions and does not expose their people to real danger.

Will any Anglican primate now speak up on this concrete example of civil rights abuse?

71 comments

  • Peter O says:

    Is the legislating against same-sex unions the same as acting against somebody simply because they experience same-sex attraction? What exactly is the civil liberty issue here? Can one be opposed (legislatively indeed) against formally recognising same-sex unions (because like it or not the legislating in favour IS a moral statement) and yet condemn any discrimination directly related to someone having same-sex attraction (which reasonably legislating against same-sex partnerships isn’t)? I think that’s possible.

    The only disturbing part of this (if it’s true) is where the state penalises one for entering into such a union. I’m all for refusing to legally recognise same-sex unions, but to penalise somebody for entering one is perhaps too dangerous a move.

    Of course, one could argue (provocatively) that permitting people to live immoral lifestyles is a very abberant and modern form of liberalism that is at odds with most of the history of human society and the way we have ordered our civil structures. Just a thought… 🙂

  • Merseymike says:

    Its very clear that this is an abuse of civil liberty. If the church believes what it claims to believe – that in civil society, gay people should not be persecuted for being gay or having gay relationships, then clearly this proposal is unacceptable.

    It appears to go far further than refusing to accept state acknowledgement of a same sex partnership, to attempting to prevent anyone having a gay relationship at all.

    If people are allowed to believe immoral and evil religions, such as those propgated by the Anglican Church in countries like kenya and Nigeria, which I would accept, despite the damage and harm they do, then people should ba allowed to enter into consenting relationships which do no harm and can be shown to do considerable good for those who enjoy them, and thus to the wider society.

    It will be interesting to see how the UK and other European countries respond to the likely applications for asylum should this law pass.

  • Peter O says:

    Thanks for adding the second Rowan quote Simon, but it still doesn’t answer the question as to whether not allowing same-sex unions to take place is, from a Christian perspective. a discrimination of civil rights.

    MM – I’m sure your use of the language of “immoral and evil religions” is designed to begin a gentle and courteous debate. Yes, I’m sure that’s what you intended…

  • Merseymike says:

    But you don’t do that, Peter, as you don’t allow opposition on your site!

    And I would suggest that your use of ‘immoral lifestyles’ was designed to do the same? I don’t have a lifestyle, I have a relationship, and it is not immoral.

  • dmitri says:

    We can hope that at least the new Archbishop of York will speak out against this human rights abuse. Perhaps he will be listened to.

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    ‘If people are allowed to believe immoral and evil religions, such as those propgated by the Anglican Church in countries like kenya and Nigeria….’

    Mike of course is a moral and theological authority on what are immoral and evil religions, being infallibly endowed with the Holy Spirit and knowing better than Jesus and his apostles.
    Thank you, Mike!!!

  • Charlotte says:

    Yes, Peter O., and so is your use of the language of “immoral lifestyles.” If what you wanted to do was shut down any possibility of dialogue before the conversation could have a chance to begin — well, you’ve done it. But will someone please enlighten me as to the point of all this shouting and posturing?

    Simon Sarmiento asked a question. Is anyone here willing to attempt an answer? But before it’s you (again), Peter O., would you please check into the current state of the laws regulating sexuality in Uganda? Your next post could only benefit.

  • DGus says:

    Wow! “Victimisation”! “Shocking persecution”! “Horrifying”! I braced myself to learn that the Ugandans were doing something really unconscionable. I was expecting at least–oh, I don’t know–confiscation of property? barring from public office? But the cited article says that the new provision is to “outlaw gay marriage and impose [unspecified] criminal penalties on same-sex couples who wed”. That’s it, right? All it says is that homosexual marriage will be invalid and (as in the case of bigamy or other attempts at void marriages) criminal penalties.

    From a Christian perspective, illicit sex is a grave wrong. It violates natural law, harms the people who do it, harms their families, and undermines society. We don’t tar and feather the wrong-doers, but we make no apology for urging that civil law corresponds to natural law in this regard. By way of comparison: We love adulterers; we would not deny them civil rights; but we disapprove of their behavior; and we think that our civil laws should, in appropriate circumstances (e.g., divorce laws), disfavor their misbehavior. If the adulterers form a lobby and complain of “victimisation”, we will laugh at them.

    You may disagree, of course, with traditionalists and their morals and their civic notions. But it’s just plain silly to equate traditional marriage laws with “shocking persecution”. –David

  • Merseymike says:

    … also, there is a clear injustice in not recognising same sex partnerships in terms of all the factors which have been resolved in the Civil Partnerships Act.

    That’s probably why so few Bishops actually opposed it.

    Still, at least it displays clearly how conservatives actually do wish to discriminate against gay people, which is why most of us don’t take their aggrieved complaints seriously when we rightly point out that they are homophobic
    (anti-gay)

  • Dave says:

    Merseymike wrote: “Its very clear that this is an abuse of civil liberty.”

    How, MM, would you describe the UK MPs who opposed homosexual Civil Unions ? Maybe “evil and immoral” politicians ?

  • Peter O says:

    I used the term “immoral lifestyles” specifically within the context of presenting, as a devil’s advocate, an argument that needed to be countered. I noticed that neither of you (Mike and Charlotte) have actually addressed any of the points I raised.

    And MM, we do allow all kinds of opinion on the Mainstream forums – it’s disrespect we have a problem with.

  • Merseymike says:

    Dave ; yes, that seems reasonable. There weren’t all that many of them, and there will be fewer still in the future – I don’t hear the candidates for the Tory leadership talking about withdrawal of any of the pro-gay measures which have passed under the current Government. The opposite ; they are going out of their way to stress their inclusivity. No room for US-style ‘Christian Right’ politics here!

    Peter ; things have moved on, and here in the UK at least, we have no need to prove ourselves against people who have a literal belief in books written thousands of years ago. It is up to you to win your argument and prove immorality – we’ve fought and won that battle. if you wish to carry on fihghting it, or turn the church into some sort of premodern personal laager of bogotry, then go ahead – with any luck there will be a split and you can follow your leader (Akinola) in doing so.

  • Peter O says:

    MM, you still haven’t addressed any of the points in my original post. All you seem interested in is calling me “bigot”. In case you lost the original comment (that must be why you didn’t answer it, because it CAN’T be because you simply aren’t willing or able to engage in a debate on the law and morality, or because you deliberately ignored it) let me post just the first question again. Let’s see if you can stretch your impressive academic mind to it:

    —–

    Is the legislating against same-sex unions the same as acting against somebody simply because they experience same-sex attraction?

  • Merseymike says:

    Peter, I know far better than to jump to your tune or to let you and your sort set the agenda. There’s been far too much of that in the past.

    It is all part of a continuum of policy which regards gay and lesbian people as unequal or morally inferior. Both are examples of legally institutionalised homophobia or anti-gay policy enactment.

    Perhaps you could try to reply without being sarcastic. I mean, I know I hit home in revealing the true feelings of you ex-gays hence the ban from your site, but really, you don’t have to take it so personally. You’ll be honest to yourself someday!

  • Please would commenters avoid personal attacks and try to comment on the actual item posted.

  • Peter O says:

    Come on MM, are you going to argue the point I initially raised or just continue to call me “bigot”. We’re still waiting for Dr. MM to answer.

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    OK, I plead guilty to sarcasm. But is it really in order to describe the Anglican Churches in Kenya and Nigeria (full members of the Anglican Communion) as ‘evil and immoral religions’? Such a piece of invective might be expected on an Islamist or atheist site but not one called ‘Thinking Anglicans’.

  • Dave says:

    MM wrote: “the true feelings of … ex-gays”.

    Mike, you should fear ex-gays more than conservatives. They show that sexuality and orientation have moral and choice aspects as well as nature / nurture effects on psychology.

    And as for your denunciation of everyone who isn’t liberal enough on sexuality; aren’t you rejecting your liberal christian principles of “love” and avoidance of being “judgemental” ?

  • Charlotte says:

    May I second Simon Sarmiento’s remarks, while adding a few of my own.

    Please note, posters, that Ugandan law currently provides for lengthy prison terms for consensual sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex. Links on the original post would have informed the posters of this, had they been willing to consult them.

    Thus the issue at hand is not one of legislation permitting civil unions, nor the existence of social disapproval of homosexual persons, nor the right to disinvite others to one’s birthday parties, nor anything else of the sort. Let me repeat it: the issue is the Ugandan criminal code, which criminalizes consensual sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex, and punishes them with lengthy prison sentences.

    Many of us in the USA as well as in Britain are anxious to pin down the views of “reasserters” on precisely this point, though it is hard to get a clear answer — as this thread has shown. Let me ask the “reasserters” who have posted here. Do they support the existing Ugandan penal code? Do they believe it is right or just to punish consensual sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex with lengthy prison terms?

    Similar laws once existed in Great Britain, and still exist in a few states in the USA, though they are rarely enforced. Do “reasserters” want to see similar laws re-enacted in Great Britain? Do they want to see them strengthened and toughened in the USA? If not, why not? If they do not believe that it is right or just to criminalize consensual sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex, what are the grounds of their belief? Are they thereby obliged to speak out against the criminal code of Uganda?

  • Anna says:

    I would hope that Anglican leaders in Africa would speak up against this in the context of “the pastoral support and care of homosexual people”. Condemning cruel legislation like this is the only Christian response to this particular situation. But in this climate, I fear any condemnation by ECUSA/Canada would be seen as meddling, and any condemnation by an African bishop would be seen as selling out to the West.

  • Simeon says:

    Charlotte has raised the core issue here. Would Martin, Dave, Peter, et al. please respond ?

    I suspect that the majority of “reasserters” would love nothing better than to use the power of law, and the threat of punishment, to impose their anti-gay/lesbian viewpoints on society by force…

  • Merseymike says:

    Dave ; I don’t fear ex-gays, but I do feel sorry for them. Enforced repression as a result of a religious delusion is not a healthy or well balanced way to live.

    Simeon – excellent point.

  • Prior Aelred says:

    I must concur with Charlotte (who very articulately & dispassionately sets forth the facts on a topic that obviously inflames the passions & clouds judgement).

    Likewise with Anna, who makes an excellent point regarding what the ACC unanimously endorsed.

    From what some people I know have told me after meeting with “ex-gays” at General Convention, I think that Merseymike may well have an accurate insight on the question (although I do not make windows into human souls — nor judge — another has been appointed for that).

  • Dave says:

    Well Charlotte, Simeon et al, I’m not Reasserting anything – the Anglican position on sexual morality hasn’t changed: all the instruments of unity officially assert the biblical and traditional teaching that “homosexuality is incompatible with scripture”.

    As an “Asserter” of biblical souvereignty over Christian belief and practice, I make a clear distinction between morality and criminal law. Our morality should reflect the holiness of God (at least if you want to follow Christ’s teaching it should). Human authorities should make criminal law to keep the worst abuses in check, not to impose morality (biblical or liberal). No way should mature adults be prosecuted for what they do sexually in private, or for what they disapprove of, unless it puts others directly at serious risk! If the UK swung back to a more authoritarian moralistic polity, or various immigrant groups started targetting LGBT people, I would be getting involved in protecting the right of MM and his partner, and other LGBT people including several friends and relatives, to live free from persecution.

    However I think that sexuality IS a moral issue. LGB&T sexualities do not reflect God’s intention, or the physical nature, of being a human being. The church and society should explicitely disapprove of immoral behaviour and support beneficial moral behaviour.

    Disapproval is not the same as persecution.

    So I see nothing wrong with CIVIL laws to restrict public sexual behaviour, or of giving civil recognition, and tax incentives etc only to people who take on the responsibilities of (true) married family life. It is proven to be a major contributor to the well-being of society.

    ps Please TRY to remember that I knnow I’m not as liberal as you. I get a bit tired of arguements along the lines of “shock, conservatives aren’t ‘nice liberals’.. that must mean that they are wicked hate-filled people”..

  • J. C. Fisher says:

    Two things which are far too easy to *say*:

    1) “My POV is the God-given one”

    2) “I’m not wicked and hateful”

    [God only knows, I’ve said them both—Lord have mercy]

  • Simeon says:

    Dave wrote: “Disapproval is not the same as persecution.”

    Exactly. Thank you. It’s the first time I think I’ve ever heard one of the “orthodox” admit this.

    Oh, and BTW, good show on being willing to stand up to protect the rights of LGBT people to live free from persecution – should it become necessary.

    “shock, conservatives aren’t ‘nice liberals’.. that must mean that they are wicked hate-filled people”

    No, it just means they aren’t behaving in a moral fashion. (Hah! doesn’t feel so nice when you’re the target, does it ? 😉 But as a good Christian, and with God’s help, I’ll have to hate the sin but try to love the sinner… (yes, this was a bit tongue in cheek 🙂

  • Merseymike says:

    But we don’t agree with you , Dave. Indeed, the Church of England’s official position doesn’t either, given that there is nothing to forbid gay couples in relationships being communicant members of the Church of England (indeed, doing anything except be ordained….)

    Disapproval is likely to lead to persecution, and certainly inequality, as you indicate above. Whereas I would see a society where stable relationships of all sorts are encouraged and supported as far healthier than one where a section of society is penalised for having those relationships. That is why the civil partnership arrangements have been made, which will give gay relationships legal and social status, and ensure that both gay and straight people are able to partake in civil society and both benefit from the rights, and take on the responsibilities, that entails.

    The outcome will be a more pluralist society where stable relationships are favoured.

    Anyway, Dave, this is old news now in terms of the wider society. Even the Conservative party realises theres nothing to be gained in advocating inequality for gay people – in a few years time when this sort of thing is commonplace, it will simply be an unremarkable aspect of mainstream society.

  • Charlotte says:

    Dave, I want to thank you for a clear and well-argued answer to the first of my questions. I have to say that it does raise further questions in my mind.

    You write: “As an “Asserter” of biblical souvereignty over Christian belief and practice, I make a clear distinction between morality and criminal law. Our morality should reflect the holiness of God (at least if you want to follow Christ’s teaching it should). Human authorities should make criminal law to keep the worst abuses in check, not to impose morality (biblical or liberal).”

    (I hope I won’t be shocking you too much, by the way, 🙂 if I note that you are taking here a (classical) liberal view of the proper scope of the State’s powers. In this view, the State is merely a referee of the actions of individuals, and should not prosecute an individual for doing things others may “disapprove of, unless [what is done] puts others directly at serious risk.”)

    I suppose I’m now wondering why, given your views, a question of sexuality within Anglican Christianity rises (for you and other “reasserters”) to the level of a communion-breaking issue.

    Let me, for the sake of argument, grant a proposition I do not agree with: that Christians may engage only in heterosexual intercourse within life-long marriage, all else being sin. Now I can think of various other ways Christians are called to a greater holiness. We are to avoid pride, anger, gluttony, and sloth. We should not be quick to go to law with one another, and we should be ready to “bear and forbear.” What would happen if one of the Anglican churches were to appoint a bishop who habitually indulged in one of these other sins?

    Example: Suppose word reaches me that the Scots have a new bishop, McGirth. Well-regarded in his diocese, McGirth is nevertheless obese, owing to his lifelong attraction to Walker’s Shortbread, about which he is quite open. He adamantly refuses to go on a low-carb diet, saying he sees nothing wrong with his actions. Arguably, McGirth is a glutton. Should I stir up ECUSA to demand that, unless the Scots repent and McGirth resigns, they should all be expelled from the Anglican Communion?

    (And why do we never hear from the ex-shortbread group?)

  • Dave says:

    MM, I know that you don’t believe in self-denial, or much else that are traditional Christain values and beliefs.. Would you in ANY circumstances admit that people’s “orientation” can change?

    Exgaywatch.com seems to be less intransigent. In response to recent work by Dr. Robert L. Spitzer (who was instrumental in the getting the APA in 1974 to agree that homosexuality “does not necessarily constitute a disorder.”) who now reports that “Some people can change from gay to straight, and we ought to acknowledge that”, Exgaywatch seems to admit that sometimes “change is practical” though “in only a small minority of gay individuals”.

    My point was that this shows that sexuality is associated with moral CHOICE, not just determined by nature or nurture.

    And denunciation of everyone who isn’t liberal enough on sexuality is a rejection of the principles of “situation ethics” which many liberals espouse: of “love” and avoidance of being “judgemental”.

  • Christopher Shell says:

    In my view RW’s stance is spot-on, with the one exception of his uncharacteristically populist use of the word ‘bigot’/’bigoted’.

    This word contains a contradiction within itself. (A bit like the word ‘hypocrite’, which by definition can only be used by the whiter-than-white, ie by no-one, and therefore ends up being used only by fellow-hypocrites, who become such by very virtue of using the word of others, and thereby judging others.)

    To be bigoted is to come to the conclusions one wants to come to, without proper thought and debate. And how much thought and debate is there behind the simple dismissal of people as ‘bigots’?

  • Merseymike says:

    Dave ; I think its unlikely that total ‘change’ takes place. There are people who have attraction to both sexes and can choose – because of commitment to another individual, perhaps – to have sexual encounters with either men or women. Similarly, they can have stronger attractions towards one gender or the other at different times of their lives.

    However, this isn’t particularly common. Indeed, even exgayers themselves admit that their methods only work with 30% of those who approach them. By default, they are a highly motivated groups of people, desperately unhappy with themselves and with very strong motivation to ‘change’ (this is also the problem with Spitzer’s work, and he has been most unhappy with the way that the right-wing have misused his findings).
    If the claimed ‘success’ rate is only 30% of this tiny group, thinking about the far greater numbers of gay people outside these sort of groups, we can see just how very rare this is. Given that the actual figure is likely to be far less, and at least in the UK, the numbers approaching these groups are in freefall (they are even trying to get into schools to recruit now, as well as ‘widening’ their target group – seems theres just not enough screwed-up young gay men out there to keep them busy any more!) – this puts the phenomenon in even more persepective.

    What is problematic is people’s inability to love and accept themselves, not the people who they actually are. Fortunately, coming out is becoming easier all the time, and legal equality will help make this easier still.

  • Dave says:

    JCF wrote: “,,things which are far too easy to *say*:..”My POV is the God-given one””

    Simeon wrote: “No, it just means they [conservatives] aren’t behaving in a moral fashion.

    MM wrote; “..this is old news now in terms of the wider society. Even the Conservative party realises theres nothing to be gained in advocating inequality for gay people.”

    It all depends what authority you base your morality on. I really don’t care what politicians or society believes about an issue, or I wouldn’t be wanting to assert the supremacy of Christ, the need for salvation from sin, and eternal death as a consequence of human immorality !! I just try to believe and do what is right; following the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. There is enough in the bible and tradition to form a basis for establishing their moral stance on most sexuality issues.. As some quicker wit than me once remarked: “you have your opinion, and I have God’s” !

  • Once again, could commenters please try to relate to the original item, in this case about civil rights in Uganda. Thanks.

  • Dave says:

    Charlotte wrote: “you are taking here a (classical) liberal view of the proper scope of the State’s powers.”

    Hi Charlotte, Thanks! I’m not afraid to agree with liberal attitudes that are correct! A friend of mine who moved fom the US to France once told me how shocked she was that she was challenged by people on her side of a debate about some of the assumptions she was arguing from; whereas in the U.S. you NEVER challenge someone on your side (and presumably always attack whatever the other side say).

    Maybe the more we learn from each other the more we’ll find we can converge, or at least learn to find ways to live with mutual respect.

    Charlotte wrote: “Suppose word reaches me that the Scots have a new bishop, McGirth. Well-regarded in his diocese, McGirth is nevertheless obese, owing to his lifelong attraction to Walker’s Shortbread, about which he is quite open. He adamantly refuses to go on a low-carb diet, saying he sees nothing wrong with his actions. Arguably, McGirth is a glutton. Should I stir up ECUSA to demand that, unless the Scots repent and McGirth resigns, they should all be expelled from the Anglican Communion ?”

    I’ve nothing against Walker’s shortbread, so their lobbyists don’t have to worry about me quoting scripture against eating it.. Shortbread alone is marginal gluttony! However a relative of mine WAS told by her bishop that she should try to loose weight if she wanted to be ordained.. (she was VERY overwieght). She tried, but didn’t suceed; he ordained her anyway, but now she’s had to retire with all sorts of health problems. Maybe gluttony is it’s own punishment. I certainly would expect a Bishop to be discipined for ANY sexual misdemeanour, theft, violence, abusing folk etc. And sacked if repentence was not forthcoming!

    The issue with Gene V is that he, and much of ECUSA, is defying the Church’s moral teaching on sexuality. And Christianity IS a moral religion. You either have to accept you were wrong, or learn to live apart – and please TRY to not to persecute the loyal Anglicans in the US who disagree with you remain in the Communion!

  • Charlotte says:

    But Dave, overfondness for shortbread is a moral issue. It’s gluttony, which is a mortal sin, whether or not the body of the glutton suffers from it. And +McGirth is defying the Church’s teaching by persisting in his gluttony. So (again supposing that heterosexual intercourse within lifelong marriage is the only Christian option), there is in fact no difference between +McGirth and +Robinson. Surely, Dave, you should be reacting in identical ways to both.

    So why do some make a difference between the two cases? I think the reason must simply be that, for whatever reason, they don’t take the sin of gluttony very seriously. Of course, they also are defying the Church’s teachings about sin. Such persons, however, are obsessively hypersensitive about sexuality issues. Clearly, their hypersensitive obsession is produced by something other than Biblical or Christian teachings, since they selectively focus on texts that reinforce what they already believe about sexuality, neglecting or ignoring the rest of the Church’s clear teachings on sin.

    Simon, mindful of your comments, let me try to relate what I have just said back to the original questions: Uganda’s denial of civil rights to gay and lesbian people, and the proper Christian response to this denial.

    It seems there would be a good many who would not care whether Uganda denied civil rights to gay or lesbian people, or indeed punished them with lengthy prison sentences, but not because they (or the Ugandan legislature) are following Biblical or Church teachings on homosexuality. On the contrary. They are allowing their hypersensitive obsession with homosexuality and sexual issues to blind them to the issues of justice involved. In their blindness, they condone the existence of laws which are manifestly unjust. Thus they condone injustice against gay and lesbian persons because they are obsessed with (what they believe to be) the sinfulness of homosexuality, while they wink at many other sins, despite the clear and consistent teaching of the Church.

  • Simeon says:

    Charlotte is doing a wonderful job of getting right to the core issues of these topics lately, and holding some feet to the fire, too 😉 Good show!

    So, “reasserters,” what about those greedy, wrathful, envious and/or gluttonous Christians (clergy or otherwise) ? How come they don’t seem to be in your crosshairs as thoroughly as one gay Bishop ?

  • J. C. Fisher says:

    [NB to Charlotte— Very instructive about “Bishop McGirth”: I like the way you think!]

    “There is enough in the bible and tradition to form a basis for establishing their moral stance on most sexuality issues.”

    If it relates to sexual *orientation* (it is acting in accord w/ one’s homosexual orientation which is being criminalized, reprehensibly, in Uganda: to stay on topic, Simon ;-/), then there is far less than “enough.” There is, in fact Dave, *nothing* about it in the Bible (nor within what one could properly consider “tradition”, having stood less than a century’s time).

    “As some quicker wit than me once remarked: “you have your opinion, and I have God’s”!

    {sigh}

    I guess I just don’t have a quick enough wit to see the humor in this.

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Charlotte: eating shortbread is no sin, unless it was stolen. Gluttonous overconsumption is a different matter. Where overconsumption begins is a matter of judgment. The comparison you attempt with homosexuality fails because sexual behavior outside of marriage is proscribed by the Bible, the Church’s tradition and the dictates of good reason as well. to use your analogy, sex outside marriage would be like eating stolen shortbread: it is taking something that does not belong to us.

  • DGus says:

    Simeon asks, “what about those greedy, wrathful, envious and/or gluttonous Christians (clergy or otherwise)? How come they don’t seem to be in your crosshairs as thoroughly as one gay Bishop.”

    I can think of five reasons why the admitted homosexual acts of a Bishop would receive special attention compared to the greed, wrath, envy, and gluttony of other Christians:

    1. Sexual sin imposes unique harms on the sinner: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18.)

    2. Homosexual acts are objectively wrong, and do not present the subjective difficulties in, say, identifying greed, or in distinguishing between well-ordered eating and the excess of gluttony.

    3. Bishop Robinson admits to homosexual acts. We therefore do not have questions of fact and proof that might be present in addressing other sins.

    4. Bishop Robinson is a bishop, and therefore he has voluntarily taken on a status that requires him to account publicly for his behavior (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 15-9) and to be held to a higher standard (James 3:1).

    5. So far as I know, there are no self-identified gluttons, greedy persons, wrathful persons, or envious persons who campaign for their sins to be declassified as sins and who ask the Church to purport to bless their sins. It really isn’t fair–it approaches being ludicrous–for the revisionists to propose and lobby for their revisions and then to accuse their opponents of singling them out. It was not conservatives who put homosexuality on the ECUSA’s agenda.

    All five of these characteristics justify special attention being given to correcting errors about the supposed licitness of homosexuality. Having said that, I will quickly admit–

    1. that the other sins you mention are truly needful of correction by the Church whenever they occur; and

    2. I ought to give special attention to my own sins and errors, and not let the need for correction of other sins and errors distract me from my own very real and serious sin problems. I think I have sometimes been guilty of all four of the other sins you mention. The Devil would like nothing better than to use valid judgments against certain sins to draw us into self-congratulation. Anyone who senses self-righteousness in my content or tone is probably not far off the mark, and I submit in advance to your correction. –David

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Further:
    1. There is no ‘right’ to homosexual marriage, since marriage is always between a man and a woman, despite the secularist (anti-Christian) efforts (and successes in some places) in the West to change the definition of marriage. It’s a matter of natural law known to all mankind. All that the Ugandan law does is clarify this fact and pre-empt any attempt (by judges or others) to change the law. There is no civil rights issue here.
    2. Charlotte castigates traditional Christians for allegedly turning a blind eye to gluttony, acarice and other sins and obessing about homosexuality. Well, the shortcomings of the Church will appear in different ways to different people – but who is actually arguing that gluttony is a positive good? Charlotte and others, on the other hand, are arguing that homosexual behavior is good, in defiance of the Bible (‘wrong, difficult to understand or irrelevant here’), 2000 years of unanimous tradtion, and medical science (anal sex is dangerous to one’s health). Am I correct in reading Charlotte as tacitly admitting that homosexual behavior is sinful?
    3. Why do Charlotte and others focus on Uganda here? There are MANY MANY more unambiguous abuses of human rights across the Islamic world, including the stoning of homosexuals, adulterers, apostates from Islam, and mistreatment of women in general and Christians in particular. What is Charlotte doing about these crimes?
    4. Mike says Western society has ‘moved on’ in its attitudes. He’s right – it has moved away from Christian foundations to embrace secularist individualism, including the general trashing of marriage. The reappraisers have, whether they realize it or not, been accomplices in this ‘move’. However, it is not contemporary society’s or Mike’s verdict we should care about (‘Beware when men speak well of you ..’) but the verdict of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ah, says Mike, fundy fairy tales. Well, I’ll take my chances with those who have walked with God in all ages. My last appeal to you: please stop looking at Christianity through the lens of your homosexual feelings – this has grossly distorted your perecption of who Jesus Christ is and what He can do for us.

  • Merseymike says:

    But all the above assumes that we agree with conservative theology.

    Martin, Gus – I don’t agree with it. So really, what you say makes little impact upon me. I am sure the reverse is true as well.

    These problems only occur because we share the same denominational space.

    In terms of Uganda, the life of gay people there is made extremely difficult – and whilst we can have neither influence upon or meaningful faith-based comment on Islamic regimes, the church can have a voice in Christian countries. The reality is that not only has the Church opposed change within, it also opposes civil equality for gay and lesbian people in many countries. This is clearly not in line with a call to oppose persecution nor ensure civil liberties are upheld – given that to have a gay relationship remains illegal in so many of these countries, the church is notably not calling for the repeal of this sort of legislation.

  • DGus says:

    Dear MM: You say, “Gus – I don’t agree with it. So really, what you say makes little impact upon me. I am sure the reverse is true as well.”

    You don’t agree with what? Simeon’s implication was that it makes no sense for conservatives to treat the issue of a homosexual bishop differently from the way they treat other sin issues (such as gluttony). But he’s quite wrong. Even though you disagree with the conservative view of homosexuality, you must (I insist) allow that homosexuality take a different place in our public discussion of moral issues (for the five reasons I listed). That point (and not the licitness or illicitness of homosexual sex) was the subject of my post.

    And, by the way, I do care very much what you say. No, you don’t change my mind, but you have quite an “impact” on me. It matters to me very much that you think as you do. –David

  • Merseymike says:

    I don’t believe that gay relationships are sinful in themselves, Gus, so the approach I take comes from a completely different starting place. I would disagree with all 5 of your points as I think they do not stand up to either reason or experience, and that Christianity which does not have those factors applied to them has little or nothing to offer.

    For me, its not only a case of what I think, it isn’t ‘theory’, given that I live within a long-term (over 13 years) same sex relationship. So, whilst what you think really is your business, I will speak up if those thoughts are then used to enact discriminatory practice against me.

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Mike, I think I know what you don’t believe, but what you do believe about Christianity is unclear to me. I am far from certain, for example, what you mean by ‘liberal theology’, which is not a uniform or monolithic concept today, as it was more or less in the days of Hensley Henson. So as to avoid a dialog of the deaf, I’d be grateful if you could tell me what you believe about the following doctrinal points (which I accept in each case):
    God as an eternal Trinity of three consubstantial hypostases Y/N
    Jesus Christ the Incarnation of God, being True God and True Man Y/N
    Jesus being born of a Virgin Y/N
    Jesus performing miracles of healing and nature Y/N
    Jesus dying to atone for the sins of the world Y/N
    Jesus rising physically from the dead Y/N
    Jesus returning to judge and rule the world Y/N

    If you would kindly give your answer to these questions, then it would be a lot clearer what you mean by liberal theology vis a vis conservative theology. Thanks.

  • J. C. Fisher says:

    DGus:

    “3. Bishop Robinson admits to homosexual acts.”

    Citations, please? Or do you mean the “homosexual act” of making dinner, or the “homosexual act” of jointly-owning a house, or the “homosexual act” making their wills, or the “homosexual act” of spoiling a grandchild, or what?

    Stop making this *about sex*, when no homosexual couple does!

    What +Gene Robinson and Mark Andrew, life-partners, do or don’t do, in the privacy of their own home—and which they *never* discuss—IS NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT THEIR OWN AND GOD’S. Period!

    Logs. In your own eyes, DGus. Get ’em out!

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    J.C. Fisher’s comments might make sense if Robinson was a private citizen and not one who purports to lead the historic and catholic Church of God. Does JCF think it would be OK for a single cleric occasionally to have sex with a prostitute in the privacy of his home?

  • Lambeth 1.10, The Windsor Report, previous and subsequent Primates Statements do not call homosexuality a sin, or express any view on it being a “disorder” or any such thing.
    The Windsor Report clearly rejected the option that homosexuality is proscribed by Divine Law, stating that it remains a matter for debate as there are widely differing opinions within and amongst Anglicanisms sister Churches. It is that reports only saving grace.
    It argues that while the diversity of opinion MAY not be a threat to unity – a diversity of practice in relation to the appointment of bishops is. It recognises that, as currently constituted, there is no way of stopping the development of practice that might threaten the “bonds of affection” that unites the 38 Provinces, and so makes proposals on how the Anglican Communion might become a different Church to prevent such developments. A “Covenant” is the central platform of this new Church.
    Even English bishops who have supported the general thrust of the Global South arguments (such as Chester and Rochester) have however made clear that this should not touch on the “civil rights” of lesbian and gay people. This is the matter on test here.
    If the primates have anathematised harm done to homosexual people – What does that mean? How far will they go to protect and defend our lives and liberty?
    As Peter identifies in the earliest post here it is the criminalisation of those who enter same sex partnerships that is at issue here

  • Merseymike says:

    Martin ; I can’t see how tickbox theology as to what I do or do not believe has anything to do with this thread….funny how I have never seen a liberal do the same with a conservative, but I think that is largely because the conservative mindset is such a black/white, in/out way of approaching questions.

  • DGus says:

    Dear JCF: There’s one funny feature of that “logs” passage (Matthew 7): One can never use it against anyone else, only against oneself. Each of us has to assume that it’s his own eye that has the log in it, and that it’s only a “moat” in his neighbor’s eye. Accuse someone else of “logs”, and immediately you’re the accuser with the log in your own eye. Jesus was being very tricky, eh?

    You say, “Stop making this *about sex*, when no homosexual couple does!” That’s almost amusing. But not quite. As you well know, conservatives’ only complaint with same-sex couples is their genital activity. If they simply want to co-own a house, or name each other in their wills, or spoil some grandchildren, they can do it with EVERYone’s blessing, as you well know. People with a same-sex orientation who resolve to be chaste nonetheless are utterly our own kindred spirits; we count their struggles as analogous to our own struggles toward purity, as you well know.

    The only reason that homosexuality is a controversial issue is that folks like you are lobbying for NON-celibate homosexuals to be ordained and to have their NON-celibate relations blessed by the Church. It’s not “about sex”? Oh come on.

    The only thing being criminalized in Uganda (the immediate occasion for this particular discussion), according to these reports, is the sex. Anyone who objects to the criminalization of sodomy is, by definition, defending none other than an asserted right to engage in homosexual sex acts. The Ugandan criminal law does NOT reach the spoiling of grandchildren. Or if it does, then we join you in objecting to it. (Spoiling grandchildren should bear only civil penalties, not criminal.)

    This controversy IS “about sex”. You guys make it that way.

    The Good News is, Jesus can take care of ALL of this. –David

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Mike comments: ‘Martin ; I can’t see how tickbox theology as to what I do or do not believe has anything to do with this thread….funny how I have never seen a liberal do the same with a conservative, but I think that is largely because the conservative mindset is such a black/white, in/out way of approaching questions.’
    What you dismiss as ‘tickbox theology’ is simply a convenient way of summarizing the cardinal points of classical christological orthodoxy as they are expressed in the Cathloic Creeds. I could have asked the questions differently, but I suspect you would still have evaded answering, as you do here. I am now quite sure that your answer to each of these (perfectly reasonable) questions is ‘No’, at least not in the way they have been classically understood. (Please DO correct me if I’m wrong!)
    Why don’t liberals ask conservatives these questions? Because I’m sure they already know the answer (it’s ‘yes’ in every case) – and asking would reveal that the liberals probably don’t accept these doctrines yet still want to claim the name of ‘Christian’.
    My reason for asking these questions? As I already said, to ascertain what you mean by calling yourself ‘a liberal Anglican’. I am now sure you mean very little, as you are either unable or unwilling to articulate what you do positively believe, only to affirm what you don’t. In historical-theological terms, you don’t even qualify as a ‘liberal Anglican’ (which is still a trinitarian, incarnationist faith, albeit rather etiolated) but almost certainly as some kind of Unitarian Deist. ‘Anglican’ doesn’t mean ‘anything I want it to’ – it has historical and doctrinal content, and you don’t subscribe to it. So you shouldn’t be pronouncing on what Anglican faith and practice should be. But please prove me wrong and tell me you do in fact believe in the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Resurrection and the Parousia – if you do.
    I will pass over your diversionary speculation about the ‘conservative mindset’ because I prefer a logical discussion about the facts rather than ad hominem attacks on your opponents (the kind of thing that would get a red pen through your term papers if you tried that at college).

  • DGus says:

    Dear MM: You say, “I can’t see how tickbox theology as to what I do or do not believe has anything to do with this thread.”

    Well, imagine attending a meeting of the Vegetarian Club, where they discuss their business–maybe a proposal to lobby against factory farming, or a resolution as to whether one may cook with butter. And you rise to be recognized, explaining that you too are a Vegetarian, though you do wear leather shoes and belt, and you do eat eggs. Oh, and you do like to grill a nice juicy steak every Saturday evening. But as a Vegetarian, you’d like to be heard on the matter at hand.

    All the members of the Vegetarian Club firmly believe in your right to your own opinions, and your right to be heard on them. And they may well like you just fine, and think you’re a good chap and all, and even be interested in what you have to say. But whether your views are to be taken into account in formulating the position of the Vegetarian Club is another matter. You call yourself a “Vegetarian” (and you have the right to do that, too, no matter how quirky your own definition might be), but your determined enthusiasm for beefsteak-eating takes you outside the circle, and renders your views irrelevant to the position of the Vegetarian Club.

    Likewise, Christianity is a Faith with a Creed. If a man can’t or won’t affirm the basics, then his views shouldn’t be taken into account in formulating the Christian viewpoint (say, on sexual ethics). Of course he has the right to hold and express his opinions, and he can call himself whatever he likes, and the Christians may like him and think he’s a fine fellow (and hope that he’ll eventually affirm the basics); but he’s effectively outside the circle–practically speaking, a non-Christian participating in a Christian conversation.

    I think Martin was asking–and in any event I would like to know–whether and to what extent your doctrinal views are remotely within the Christian circle. Even if they’re not (or especially if they’re not), then God bless you, and blog on. But I’ll then regard your comments as those of a non-Christian, which is fine.

    You observe–perceptively, IMHO–that “I have never seen a liberal do the same [use a “tickbox”?] with a conservative, but I think that is largely because the conservative mindset is such a black/white, in/out way of approaching questions.”

    Quite right. Conservatives have this linear way of thinking about things. “A is not non-A”. That sort of thing. We call it reason. Alas, it lacks nuance. –David

  • Dave says:

    Martin Hambrook wrote: “Mike, I think I know what you don’t believe, but what you do believe about Christianity is unclear to me.”

    Hi Martin, it’s a pity that these postings aren’t searchable or you could find answers to most of your questions to MM..

    But I don’t want to just pick on one liberal anglican; so rather I will say that I think that quite a few “liberals” would not fall into the category of “Christian” in the way it is classically defined – ie people who believe a set of proposals about the nature of life, God, Jesus Christ, sin, salvation, etc. Neither would they fall into the category of “Anglican” as defined originally in terms of the version(s) of Christianity defined by the liturgy and theology in historical documents such as the BCP and 39 Articles.

    “Christian” or at least “Anglican” in post-modernist thought can be a self-identification with a group in society. In fact many post-modernists would argue it really is no more than that.

    When we are discussing what “real Christianity” is with *liberals* we are, in my view, not arguing about the definition of “real” but about the definition of “Christianity”.

  • Merseymike says:

    Now, looking at those last three posts explains very well why I think the Church does need to split.

    Conservetive, orthodox, traditional Christianity – now, surely it shgould be blatantly obvious to you and everyone else , that I don’t share that approach? I’ve even said that I want to reclaim the term ‘revisionist’!

    But, we have had a place within Anglicanism for a long time – had it not been so I wouldn’t have become an Anglican in the first place. What I think you would like to do is to try and draw the boundaries more closely around Anglicanism. You do this for yourself in any case – I am well aware that my views wouldn’t qualify me for Christianity in your reckoning, and thats fine by me. But, the Church of England has space for those who have the same approach as me.

    You won’t have long to wait, because I’m quite sure that the split is coming and that you’ll all be very happy in the former Anglican Reformed Church of Lagos

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    DGus and Dave: yes, you have correctly discerned my intention in asking these questions of Mike, which he has declined to answer – to determine whether his thinking really is in within the orbit of Anglican faith, even a ‘liberal’ one which presumably privileges modern reason (though, to paraphrase Macintyre, I have to ask: whose modernity? whose rationality?). Anglicans are a creedal, sacramental and liturgical communion, and a person who doesn’t actually believe what Anglicans affirm, whatever other excellent qualities he has, shouldn’t claim the name. To do so would be like the present Chinese government calling itself communist when they are really rampant capitalists of the first order. Thank you also for the reminder that ‘conservative’ theology insists on the Law of Non-contradiction (A or not-A). This, along with the Law of Identity and the Law of the Excluded Middle, is simply one of the three fundamental laws of logic identified (but not created) by Aristotle and is simply about thinking correctly. Every computer program works on this principle. It troubles me but does not surprise me that logical fallacies (ad hominem attacks, changing the subject, petitio principii etc) bedevil the contributions not just by Mike but also J.C. Fisher and Charlotte et al.

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Mike writes: ‘But, the Church of England has space for those who have the same approach as me.’
    Oh come on, Mike, stop teasing us! What DO you believe about Jesus of Nazareth? I keep asking but you refuse to say. What do you have to hide? I know Muslims who say they ‘believe in Jesus (Isa)’. Is your faith the same as theirs or pretty similar? Are you a trinitarian-incarnationist or a unitarian-adoptionist? Can you affirm the baptismal vows of the Anglican Communion?
    And please: use logic to address the questions, instead of changing the subject. These diversions wouldn’t be accepted in a sophomore term paper.

  • Merseymike says:

    Only you are not my examiner, Martin, and I am not accountable to you.

    Is John Spong an Anglican, then? Or any other high-profile liberal? Seems like it to me, given that they are all baptised communicants of the Anglican church….

  • J. C. Fisher says:

    DGus, when you are ready to talk about opposite-sex married couples being *mandated to publicly swear to celibacy*, get back to me. Until then, I’m uninterested in your asymetric burden-imposition.

    [Lord, remove my logs and be-devils! :-)]

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Mike, I don’t mind answering your questions (assuming you have any) about what I believe, as the context for explaining how my thought works, and you are perfectly free to ignore my questions. Of course you are not accountable to me. If you held any responsibility in the Anglican church, you would be accountable to your vicar or bishop.
    Is Spong an Anglican? Only if the word means a unitarian deist – and possibly not even that. You might recall his famous ‘Twelve Theses’ which Rowan Williams called ‘the kind of questions a bright six former (Grade 12?) might ask.’ If you believe as little or as incoherently as Spong does in Christianity – or as the much brighter Richard Holloway does – then we are not debating Anglicanism or even generic Christianity.
    Is Spong an Anglican? You might as well ask, is the Chinese government communist? ‘When I use a word it means exacly what I want it to – nothing more or less’ – Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass.

  • Dave says:

    MM wrote: “But, we have had a place within Anglicanism for a long time – had it not been so I wouldn’t have become an Anglican in the first place. What I think you would like to do is to try and draw the boundaries more closely around Anglicanism. You do this for yourself in any case – I am well aware that my views wouldn’t qualify me for Christianity in your reckoning”

    Hi Mike, Everyone is welcome in Anglican churches (or at least they are at the moment), but it seems reasonable that only Christians (*liberal* or *conservative*) should be involved in deciding what the Church approves or disapproves.

    Isn’t it time you started to believe or stopped campaigning for “InclusiveChruch” ? If you don’t really believe and trust in God and Christ it isn’t just my definition of Christian you fail to meet !! You naughty boy you.

  • Merseymike says:

    Oh, I don’t worry about the opinions of conservatives, Dave. After all, I’m not one, and do not pretend to be…..

    Yes, it is reasonable that only Christians should make those decisions ; and baptised , communicant members of the Church of England fulfil that definition – even those I disagree with!

  • Dave says:

    No they don’t Mike. Rejection of faith and trust in God and Christ mean you discontínue your christianity.

    Anyway if you’ve moved to the Quakers, haven’t you “abandoned the faith” a la Bp Smith’s definition ?

  • Merseymike says:

    I haven’t moved to the Quakers, Dave. I was once a Quaker, and whilst I remain sympathetic to much of their outlook, I remain an Anglican.

    I do find it interesting how, in the light of losing an argument, or the likelihood of schism, you choose to try and redefine the membership of an organisation to exclude those who do not agree with you. Until someone decides to tell me that I am no longer an Anglican, my voice is as valid as yours.

  • Rev. Lois Keen says:

    In a church I served after the ECUSA General Convention 2003, there was one parishioner who was a member of the American Anglican Council – the AAC – with whom I had many conversations early on, before he stopped speaking with me at all. He stopped speaking to me because for him I was not a Christian. He could tell I was not a Christian because I am a woman in orders, a priest, and because I support the decisions of the 2003 General Convention. These two things would make it impossible to sign on to the AAC confession of faith. This meant I cannot possibly be faithful, and therefore I am not a Christian.

    I’m not sure how this conversation about whether MersyMike, and others who have been named including two women posters, “et al”, are Christians or not relates to the article at hand, namely civil (not religious) rights of gay and lesbian persons in Uganda. I only know that it struck ice in my gut to read those words, “You are not a Christian”.

    I’m afraid it means that we are not going to be able to concentrate on how best to serve fellow Christians in Uganda, including LGBT Christians, because we are now focused on demanding credentials proving faithfulness to Christ from one another, while not agreeing together on what that faithfulness looks like. For me, faithfulness to Christ includes taking holy orders. For my AAC parishioner, taking holy orders as a woman was a faithless act. Even without my support of General Convention 2003.
    For the record, in the Episcopal Church in the United States, baptism brings with it full membership not only in Christ but in the church. It is the only requirement. No signed confession, no works, no nothing. Baptism alone.

    Faithfully,
    Lois Keen, Priest, St. Martin’s, Boothwyn, PA

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Lois, if you have visited this site earlier, you will know that Mike has labeled a whole raft of basic Christian teachings about God and Christ as ‘fairy tales’. Many of us found this offensive, even blasphemous, and rightly wondered why someone who professed to believe so little claimed to belong to the Anglican Church and presumed to say what its policies should be – as in the matter in discussion here. He has never retracted this statement. That is why we cannot take his comments as a serious contribution to an intra-mural Anglican debate, any more than we should listen to a Muslim who insisted that he ‘believed in Jesus (Isa)’ – as a prophet but not the 0nly Begotten Son of God.

  • Dave says:

    Hi Lois

    Please read what I wrote carefully before suggesting that I want only my type of Christian in the church. What I am saying is that if someone does not believe and trust in a real God and in Jesus Christ as His Son, *how* can they claim to be Christian, or Anglican ?

    I would never suggest that someone wasn’t a Christian just because they were not evangelical, were living in a homo-sexual relationship, were a woman priest, were a member of the AAC or even an “Affirming Catholic”! (I used to be a liberal Christian, but now I realise that I was just a *confused* Christian – like many other liberals!!)

    However the church needs as many committed enthusiastic and faith-filled Christians as it can have, if it is going to have any real impact on decadent western society; and I do not see why ECUSA persecutes faithful Anglicans who disagree with GC’s.decisions. After all, they are in line with scripture, church tradition and the Angican Communion’s official position on sexuality… it is ECUSA that is out !

  • Merseymike says:

    I think much that makes up Biblical literalism is akin to believing in fairy tales.

    Quite how that has been extrapolated to mean that I have ever said that the entirety of Christianity is a fairy tale is anyone’s guess.

    I think they call it ‘spin’.

  • Dave says:

    Mike, I am not the only one who have gotten the impression that you reject all primary Christian assertions, not just biblical literalism. Yet you act as a representative for IC and CA, trying to persuade us to accept your beliefs on LGBT sexuality.

    Why not stop telling us what you DON’T believe and start telling us whether you really believe ANY of the facts of Christianity, and explain HOW you trust and obey God / Christ ?

  • Martin Hambrook says:

    Mike writes: ‘I think much that makes up Biblical literalism is akin to believing in fairy tales. Quite how that has been extrapolated to mean that I have ever said that the entirety of Christianity is a fairy tale is anyone’s guess.’
    Nobody said ‘the entirety’, Mike, just the trinitarian and christological heart, as defined by the Catholic Creeds accepted by the Anglican Communion. A typical Muslim believes quite a bit in common in Christianity, but you appear to believe even less than the Muslims do – or at least that’s how it seems, as you never state what you do believe, only (somewhat vaguely) what you don’t. But you can easily correct this misimpression if you wish.

  • I have requested twice before that comments should relate to the subject matter of the article: civil rights in Uganda.

    In future, comments that do not do so may be deleted.

  • I have studied the arguments here and wondered how helpful they are in teaching our son, who has very severe learning difficulties, about God and Jesus. As I pondered I came to the conclusion that he has probably more to teach those at loggerheads here than he could learn from them. One thing he already understands is the fact that his Dads would be imprisoned should they live in, or visit Uganda – that I think is the issue here, I will tell him what you think.

  • DGus says:

    Dear Martin R.: That’s baffling.

    You need not rehearse your family’s private business here, of course, so I don’t expect any more explanation. But I guess I just want you to know how this sounds to people like me:

    You have a son with “very severe learning difficulties” (I’m sorry for his difficulties, and grateful for your care of him). And you want him to learn about God and Jesus (excellent, and more Power to you). But you have devoted some of his limited learning capacity to understanding the criminalization of his homosexual parents’ relationship in the country of Uganda (where I gather you don’t live).

    I can’t tell whether this is all beyond him, and you’ve given him enough information just to make him–I don’t know–confused? afraid? sad? You don’t mention his age (which is your business), leaving me wondering also about age-appropriateness.

    Anyway, I guess my point is: In my own mind your point is crowded out by other points. But God bless that son of yours, and you. I’m glad he has someone who cares about him. –David

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