Thinking Anglicans

Hereford: BBC interviews the bishop

Updated

The radio programme Sunday contains a substantial item on the Hereford tribunal. Both Richard Kirker and Bishop Priddis are interviewed by Roger Bolton.

Bishop of Hereford and gay discrimination
Richard Kirker of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement believes the Bishop of Hereford should resign. His remark followed an employment tribunal ruling that the Bishop discriminated against John Reaney, a candidate for a position as a youth minister in his diocese, on the basis of his sexual orientation.

Reaney had held youth officer positions in Norwich and in Chester dioceses, but left his post in Chester early in 2006 [sic] after his relationship with another gay man had come to light. He told his interviewing panel in Hereford that he was gay, although now celibate, and the panel recommended to the Bishop that he should be given the job as youth minister. The Bishop was needed to give final approval, and after meeting Mr Reaney and discussing his sexuality, the Bishop refused to do so.

As a result John Reaney took the Bishop to an industrial tribunal. His claim that he had been harassed was not upheld, but his claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was. Richard Kirker and the Bishop both talked to Sunday.
Listen (8m 57s)

A transcript of the interview with Bishop Priddis can be found here.

Note: the mention of the year 2006 above is incorrect. Mr Reaney left Chester in 2002.

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Ford ElmsNPErika BakerBrian MacIntyreHugh of Lincoln Recent comment authors
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Pluralist
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The bishop’s interview just drove me nuts. The guy (John Reaney) cannot get married, so he is discriminated against, because the Church of England does not (except for the odd organist) recognise as equa Civil Partnerships. In any case, he was obeying these obsessive rules and the bishop is applying some cod psychology in order to deny him his job, a cod psychology employed because of some obsession about sex that goes on and on and which, had the chap been heterosexual, would not even have surfaced. He said if a relationship looked possible he would come to the bishop.… Read more »

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Anthony Priddis’ assertion that “people of homosexual orientation are welcome in the Church of England” reassured me as much as hearing that negroes are welcome” would have done.

Roger Bolton was very remiss in failing to raise the matter of Civil Partnerships. Bolton allowed Priddis to get away with murder.

Richard Kirker’s interview was to the point and succinct. A welcome but untypical anglican voice.

Pluralist
Guest

Here is the text of a not so imaginary Church of England job interview.

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/07/church-of-england-job-interview_22.html

matthewhunt
Guest
matthewhunt

Roger Bolton consistently asks the wrong question at the crucial moment. He’s either a little fuzzy in the head or quite markedly biased. Asking whether he would have made the same decision with an unmarried heterosexual couple in a relationship is bizarrely irrelevant. John wasn’t in a relationship. And this question after gibberish obfuscation about heart and head promises/delivery.

This is the second time I’ve been linked to Bolton from here and been very disappointed with his… ‘style’ (?)

One of the reasons I can’t be bothered with ‘Christian’ broadcasting. The new BBC standards committee should check him out.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Make a complaint. I’d agree, Bolton is worse than useless. About time they employed an atheist to present the programme – at least these mealy mouthed frock-wearing homophobes would get a decent grilling. John Humphrys would do a far better job, as would Paxman, whose regular mashing up of evangelicals and Catholics is a joy to behold

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

Why wasn’t the Bishop challenged over his congratulations to his Cathedral organist? Are organists in a lesser position of leadership that Diocesan youth workers. The Bishop’s muddled thinking and sheer hypocrisy were on public display again this morning and he had an easy ride from the usual vacuous interviewer.

Pluralist
Guest

>Why wasn’t the Bishop challenged over his congratulations to his Cathedral organist?<

Because he is not “promoting religion”. All an organist does is bash out tunes. We all know this. It’s like these people who say so many words from a pulpit or (continued page 94).

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

The exhilarating sound of organ music filling a cathedral is one of the most alluring ways of “promoting religion”: antediluvian episcopal prejudice is not.

NP
Guest
NP

Maybe some do not like his questions because Roger Bolton did not have an axe to grind?

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Pluralist’s point about a concern about “promoting religion” seems pertinent. Is it the teaching possibility that worries them? Is that why they don’t have a problem with filthy women in their pews? They’re being trained to shut up and put up, and smile nicely whilst they are insulted from the teachers that all the world’s problems are their fault? Being silent, the women can’t point out that men have made their own share of mistakes, the typical ones being when they didn’t get advice from a woman. How many a woman (and her children) have seen a man cringe when… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Maybe some think conservatives should accept the fact that they lost the case and are out of step with contemporary social justice….

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I think the question for most conservatives, as I think it ought to be for all of us, is why should we care what “contemporary social justice” says? It once said slavery was OK, it once couldn’t distinguish between a wife and a chattel, it once said beating one’s kids was right, and on and on. I can’t justify claiming that the prevailing societal mood towards social justice is any more reliable than it ever was simply because I agree with it now. There were lots of people who agreed with slavery too, did the fact that it was socially… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Merseymike – in your joy about a CofE bishop “losing” the case…..do you notice the principle upheld in the judgment was that the church can LEGALLY apply Lambeth 1.10 principles, even to laity??

And many liberals will, like me, tell you that it is not the job of the church is not to stay in step with society – not only is that not our job, it is also a poor strategy as it has proven to empty churches in England at an alarming rate

Neil
Guest
Neil

Re the Bishop of Hereford’s moral crusade – I wonder if he approved of the appointment of the former Bishop of Durham. He had a record of being caught and cautioned for, shall we say, inappropriate behaviour in a public convenience?
Mr. Reaney, I understand, is a highly regarded upright man with no police record whatsoever.

JCF
Guest
JCF

I think MM’s point, Ford, is that in vast swaths of the developed world, “contemporary social justice” (secular) is MORE “in step with the Gospel”, than are MOST Christians (regrettably!).

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

The Church has never been all that reliable in deciding what was right

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

No, don’t agree. I’m afraid the Church has got so far behind that it has become utterly out of step and is instead supporting the voices of reaction and bigotry.

TEC recognise the need to renew and revise.

NP
Guest
NP

Merseymike is a big fan of TEC and says the CofE is out of step with society – so, why is TEC shrinking??

If it is because nasty conservatives are leaving, if MM is right, there should be thousands joining given TEC is very in step with the morals of secular US society….

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP,
You DO know the public face of Christianity in the US, right? Do you seriously think it’s an image of good Godly people working fo rthe Kingdom?

NP
Guest
NP

Some of it is good, Ford…..Billy Graham and others have kept their integrity. There are and always have been lots of conmen – and we have been told not to follow them and to expect more and more to come. My point to Merseymike is that those who please him by adopting the morality of secular society do not have many coming to them at all – so I do not want the AC to go that route – it might a happy Merseymike make but it will not lead to a thriving AC (as TEC has proved and liberals… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Try reading the judgment carefully rather than the conservative spin – actually very muted, since the judgment was far worse than they had imagined and makes it clear that celibacy cannot be requested for a layperson unless the post is exempt. See point 107.

Pluralist
Guest

Ten of us this evening had a very good discussion, not one being (as best I know) evangelical and at least three describable as theologically radical (including me). It was about the 39 Articles and they pretty well ended up in the museum, yet generated good contemporary discussion. The mustard seed can also be about a qualitative development in individuals, and it has nothing to do with so-called “solid” teaching: the discussion was very solid indeed. Such a rich, good, active discussion is also attractive to many who realise they are being taken seriously, who can make their points without… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

“the principle upheld in the judgment was that the church can LEGALLY apply Lambeth 1.10 principles, even to laity??”

This decision offers no such “principle” to guide the legal future, and English Canon Law has not been extended to cover all the laity by this Welsh tribunal.

NP
Guest
NP

Pluralist – you say 10 met and decided the 39 articles are a museum piece now and they you say “Such a rich, good, active discussion is also attractive to many”

Since they are not in your meeting…where are they?

ellen
Guest
ellen

Does anyone know what happened to John Reaney? Does he now have a job? How is he? He is a lone citizen caught up in a case against the CofE (and the Bishop has all the support of the Cof E behind him). Who is caring for John Reaney? It is easy for us to forget that there are real human beings involved. I am shocked by the lack of compassion demonstrated in all this. I hope that John Reaney has a supportive spiritual adviser and that he is being cared for by people that love him. My prayers go… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

I’m afraid NP is incorrect when he says that “the principle upheld in the judgment was that the church can LEGALLY apply Lambeth 1.10 principles, even to laity??” What the tribunal found was that – the extra requirement was imposed in order to comply with the doctrines of the Church of England, and – alternatively, the evidence indicated strongly that a not insignificant number of people have strong feelings against homosexuality within the Church of England (nationally) That is quite distinct from finding that the requirement could be lawfully applied. On the contrary, the tribunal said: If it is necessary,… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

Well, this is what happens. In a town, a group of people meet, and they have a good discussion. They have a few, and they tell their friends, some of whom have an interest matters spiritual, but don’t want people telling them what to think or Bible bashing, but may well like to work things out themselves along with others. Slowly new people come. I’ve only been there myself for some one and a half years actively, and before that was an infrequent attender at mainly evening services. If it had pushy, “strong teaching” (as you call it, NP) then… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Simon – not sure I am wrong, unless you are disagreeing with the Archbishops’ Council statement (reported on TA on 18/7) below??

A spokesman for the Archbishops’ Council said:
“The broader issue raised by this case is whether there are posts, including some non clergy posts, where the religious exemptions permitted under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations can properly be applied by bishops and dioceses. The Tribunal has helpfully confirmed that there are. It also held that the role of Diocesan Youth Officer is such a post….”

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

NP
There is no conflict between my assertion and the Abps Council statement.

The tribunal found that the *post* fell within the ambit of the religious exemption.

That is quite a separate legal point from whether the *requirement* was discriminatory or not.

NP
Guest
NP

Simon – clearly, the exemption (even for clergy) can be read as discriminatory by those who do not want to allow freedom of conscience on this issue.

But if, as you say, the post is exempt from the regulations, it cannot be at the same time discrimination to treat the post as exempt, can it?

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

NP
Can I refer you to my comment on another thread where I attempt to answer Peter O’s assertions?
Also, you will find an article by me in this week’s Church Times which explains the tribunal judgment in some detail.
I will write a further article here on TA giving even more detail on this Regulation 7(3), in a little while.

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

….so I wonder how the Cathedral organist at Hereford felt being *outed* like this by his bishop???

NP
Guest
NP

ok – will have a look, Simon

I am sure Stonewall are very happy to have humiliated a CofE bishop…..I realise +Hereford has rather walked into defeat on this one but as long as the exemption has not been overturned, I am not too worried.

I wonder if Stonewall has any clergy wanting to take the CofE through the courts?

Pluralist
Guest

As was pointed out by someone I was chatting with, the organist in a cathedral congratulated over his Civil Partnership by this bishop otherwise upholding marriage will, of course, be “promoting religion” via his work with young people not to say adults.

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

The Tribunal easily found direct and indirect discrimination, even when the exemption applied, so the Church will need to be very cautious about discriminating against ordained gays, including those in Civil Partnerships. General Synod Feb 2007, “affirm[s] that homosexual orientation in itself is no bar to … full participation in lay and ordained ministry in the church…” In its Pastoral Statement on Civil Partnerships, July 2005, the House of Bishops “does not regard entering into a civil partnership as intrinsically incompatible with holy orders, provided the person concerned is willing to give assurances to his or her bishop that the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“I am sure Stonewall are very happy to have humiliated a CofE bishop”

Oh, you poor suffering victim, you! Hang on, I’m sure I have an Imperial Altar round about, then you can refuse to burn incense on it. I won’t use you for a streetlight, all the same, I won’t gratify your vainglory.

Brian MacIntyre
Guest
Brian MacIntyre

Kieran Crichton wrote: “….so I wonder how the Cathedral organist at Hereford felt being *outed* like this by his bishop???” As I don’t get the idea that the marriage was a hush-hush affair I’d assume the organist was already out. A great number of people (and their numbers are growing faster than NP can hope or imagine, for for his/her own preferred “None of Your Innovations, Please” denomination) really aren’t bothered any more by the fact that some people want to date and then marry members of their own sex. Besides, there’s this: Q: How many straight organists does it… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

Ford- it was just a question. Relax!

Do you really support people taking the church to civil courts – supported by secular campaigning groups? (I would not have thought you would…)

Brian MacIntyre
Guest
Brian MacIntyre

“Do you really support people taking the church to civil courts – supported by secular campaigning groups?” Good question. My answer would be, Of course, if the church is violating the civil law. As was decided in this case. Someone once said words to the effect – if someone is suing you, try to make friends with him before you reach court. Otherwise you will go to prison and stay there until you have paid every cent of your debt. Whoever it was that said that doesn’t seem to have regarded his followers as above the law. True, there are… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“Do you really support people taking the church to civil courts – supported by secular campaigning groups? “ NP, If the Church actually practiced what it preached, there’d be no need. How would have handled the residential schools issue if the victims had not been able to take the Church to court? They needed a secular campaigning group to stand up for them when the the Church would have liked for it to go away. The fact that it was taken to the courts forced the Church to face what it had done and then behave, I think, appropriately. What… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

I would have completely supported those who were abused by “priests” in going to the police and getting the abuse stopped plus forcing the church to discipline its priests. There, we are talking about a crime.

As you know, lawsuits amongst believers are wrong so I do not support using the civil courts to fight theological battles….I expect you will agree with that.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

NP,
this was not a theological battle. The bishop did not believe the applicant who was clearly following church teachings. It has absolutely nothing to do with theology but everything with prejudice.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, first, it wasn’t only priests. Second, the people victimized were believers. Many have left the Church because of it, others have stayed to find healing. It has shaped our approach to such issues and we are determined not to make the samemistakes again, hence our debates about gays. Why do I get the feeling you don’t really know what I’m talking about? This isn’t the American RC sex abuse scandal, nor is it the one in Newfoundland 10 years earlier. It is about Anglicans, in Canada. You do understand, right?

NP
Guest
NP

you are right – I don’t know what you are talking about Ford….pls explain.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

NP, go here first: http://www.anglican.ca/Residental-Schools/overview.htm then go to the website of the Anglican Church of Canada, and click on ‘residential schools’ on the left hand side. We are humbled by our role in this evil. You need to realize this has been an important insight into how evil the Imperial Church can be, even when She thinks She is acting correctly. It certainly colours my response to the things you say, since I hear in your attitude the very ideas that were the basis of this happening. Yes, you are appalled at what happened and I know you don’t condone… Read more »