Thinking Anglicans

responses to the Sentamu interview

Updated again Tuesday evening

Libby Purves wrote an article for The Times titled Retreat from your battle against gay marriage. Only Times subscribers can read it, but if you are such a person, it is well worth reading. Here is the link.
A small fragment is reproduced here.

Andrew Brown wrote at Cif belief that John Sentamu’s argument against gay marriage is already lost.

The archbishop of York, John Sentamu, hopes that people will pay attention to other things in his most recent interview than his attack on gay marriage. Fat chance. When he said that the government will be acting as dictators have done if it introduces gay marriage, he put himself squarely in the wrong on a matter that people care about.

Nor does he give what I think are likely to be his real, animating reasons: that he believes gay marriage is bad because it makes being gay look normal and even admirable, and because gay people should not have sex with each other. Around most of the world, and certainly in most of the Anglican Communion, these would be perfectly respectable and uncontroversial things to say. But in modern Britain they are a minority view, and certainly not a respectable one. They are not going to win a political argument – and that’s what he’s fighting here…

Archbishop Cranmer published Sentamu pitches for Canterbury.

Terry Sanderson of the NSS wrote at Huffington Post that Sentamu’s Shot at Gay Marriage Is Only the First Salvo in a Bitter Battle to Come.

John Smeaton of SPUC wrote British government is afraid of the homosexual lobby.

Megan Moore wrote at Conservative Home that The Archbishop of York doesn’t deserve to be called a “bigot” by Twitter’s intolerants.

YorkVision reports YUSU slam Archbishop over marriage remarks. And see also Archbishop of York criticised for “outdated and homophobic rhetoric”.

Peter Tatchell wrote Archbishop Sentamu is “intolerant and out of touch” and also Archbishop Sentamu Has No Right to Block Gay Civil Marriages.

The Uganda Humanist Association writes Sentamu, your words will travel.

JP Floru Director of Programmes at the Adam Smith Institute, wrote in the Telegraph Gay marriage won’t make the world stop turning

…It is interesting to see that in the most recent debate on the issue of gay marriage, the bigots are falling out of the closet left, right and centre. They speak in code. Instead of shouting that “allowing gays to marry will demean Marriage”, they argue that “any marriage other than one between a male and female would change the meaning of marriage”. In other words: We Believe that Your Union is of Lesser Value than Ours – and the Law should Reflect This! Talk of totalitarianism.

Another argument is the “most people don’t want this” one. Well, there probably was a time when most people believed slavery was quite a useful little custom. A democratic majority does not legitimise trampling over the right of individuals to be treated as equal humans. Democracy can only be accepted by all if the power of the state to trample upon individuals is made impossible…

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Tobias HallerDavid ShepherdMarkBrunsonLaurence RobertsFr Mark Recent comment authors
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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Can I be so bold as to say that in the Archbishop of Canterbury stakes being black will trump any views on gay marriage.

Concerned Anglican
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Concerned Anglican

There’s no chance of Sentamu becoming ABC, it’ll be Chartres (sadly) who will be put in as a stop gap measure to let things calm down for four or five years until he’s seventy.

A similar thing happened after Michael Ramsay when Donald Coggan was put in as a short term candidate. Ramsay was surprisingly similar to Rowan Williams in temperament, churchmanship and intellect. Coggan was the complete antithesis to Chartres.

Meanwhile, Sentamu should be careful of throwing stones in glass houses.

JCF
Guest
JCF

[“Archbishop Cranmer”: who is this?] Re Sentamu: “And the CNC might quite like a[n ABC] who’s prepared to tell a Tory PM where he can stick his proposal for ‘gay marriage’.”

Nevermind LGBTs—or, say (vis-a-vis the Anglican Communion), TEC—think?

[Don’t think we Episcopalians have forgotten Sentamu’s “Here’s talking down AT you” performance of (IIRC) GC ’06!]

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Very good collection of reactions!

Andrew Brown’s prose sparkles.

I think Terry Sanderson is correct in saying there is going to be a Church led opposition and that this has already been in the planning for some time. John Smeaton at SPUC seems to be reflecting his angst at his group’s failure to impact on the politicians and accusing gay people of the sort of blackmail SPUC has tried (and failed) to use as a political tool, very interesting!

Ugandan humanists send a dire warning!

Father ron Smith
Guest

I think it sad that Archbishop Sentamu, who had such affirming comments to bring about Gays and Adoption, should go on to say what he has about the prospect of Gay Marriage. He is confusing those of us who really believe that committed, permanent relationships between LGBT persons must be better than the option for uncommitted, casual relationships – such as are common in hetero- as well as homo-sexual liaisons – and thus worthy of the Blessing of the Church. However, as the Church is unwilling to oversee the commitment of permanent, faithful relationships between LGBT persons, it should not… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

Am I naive to be surprised at John Smeaton’s article? I always assumed SPUC was fairly moderate and reasonably sane, given the current Archbishop of Canterbury’s former association with the movement. Instead Smeaton trots out the familiar more-persecuted-than-thou paranoia that seems to be the last refuge of the terminally out-of-touch.

It’s hard to see what anti-abortion activists should have against gay marriage – indeed, should they not be encouraging rampant homosexuality as an obvious remedy to the nation’s plague of unwanted pregnancies?

David Wilson
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David Wilson

RJB – so following your “natural” desires is not the issue – encouraging same-sex amongst heterosexuals suggests it is merely the right to do as you choose.

JCF
Guest
JCF

DavidW, check your Tongue-in-Cheek Detector…

John Barton
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John Barton

I wonder if any of his critics have actually read what Archbishop Sentamu said in his interview with the Daily Telegraph journalist. It’s in full on his website; most reports about it bear little or no resemblance to the truth.

Tobias Haller
Guest

Although the transcript reveals some of the ABY’s more offensive comments in a kindlier context, the comments themselves remain problematical as examples of circular and/or definitional reasoning: i.e., marriage is between a man and a woman because that’s what marriage is; and the state shouldn’t get involved in such things because it isn’t the states business. That, for me, is where the problem lies.

MarkBrunson
Guest

The man is not as bright as he thinks he is, and has Prince Philip’s happy facility of expression. I have no doubt he didn’t think through what he said – Sentamu is clearly a mediocrity promoted through apathy – but it doesn’t put him an any sort of light as a suddenly holy, intelligent and sound pastor. Like Carey, and, indeed, like Williams, he’s a company man sounding off about a perceived challenge to his hegemony without the slightest concern for what is right.

David Shepherd
Guest

Sentamu has stated (without overstepping the church’s current position on same-sex relationships for which the 2005 Pastoral Statement is under review): ‘We supported Civil Partnerships (the bishops in the House of Lords), because we believe that friendships are good for everybody. But then to turn Civil Partnerships into marriage, that’s not the role of government to create institutions that are not of its gifting.’ If as in the US race laws, civil partnerships are wrong because they apply a ‘separate, but equal’ status to same-sex relationships, how many here are on record as forthrightly objecting to the Civil Partnership Act… Read more »

Feria
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Feria

Mark Brunson: ‘The man is not as bright as he thinks he is, and has Prince Philip’s happy facility of expression.’

Careful: recall that (unless I’ve missed an earlier instance) Prince Philip, when he was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, was the first Ordinary in the Church of England in whose jurisdiction civil partnership blessings were allowed – see the post on this forum on 16th February 2006.

Fr Mark
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Fr Mark

David S: I don’t recall bishops lining up to support the introduction of civil partnerships at all. If they had done, then they surely wouldn’t subsequently have banned anyone in one from becoming a bishop and refused to sanction the blessing of them in churches. For bishops to claim retrospectively that they were as a group somehow in favour of civil partnerships all along is mere dissembling. Equality for gay people is being won in the face of oposition from the bishops, considered as a group, every step of the way. They oppose freedom because they are scared of losing… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

David, the “tactics” to which you refer were also played out in the history of race relations. In 1799 John Jay sponsored “gradual emancipation” in New York that said that the children of slaves would be born as free citizens. This had happened in other states and would continue for some time. Eventually emancipation took place, and then the establishment of “separate but equal” by law or by custom were the next steps — including the Liberia adventure. The reevaluation of segregation in the 1960s led to its downfall. We are, in the US, still dealing with the relics of… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Fr Mark:

Thanks for your comments.

Nevertheless, you still didn’t address the substantive issue: that of those here who disingenuously supported the introduction of civil partnerships as a mere short-term ‘separate, but equal’ tactical expedient.

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

David S: “those here who disingenuously supported the introduction of civil partnerships as a mere short-term ‘separate, but equal’ tactical expedient” You make it sound, by your choice of words, as if there is some kind of war going on, with winners and losers. I don’t agree: men don’t lose when women have equal rights; white people don’t lose when members of ethnic minorities have equal rights; straight people don’t lose anything when gay people have equal rights. It is not a zero sum game: the whole Church wins when all humans are treated by it with proper dignity. I… Read more »

Laurence Roberts
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Laurence Roberts

Mark there can t be many of us who are 60+ who buy this episcopal disingenuous, double-talk and anti-gay prevarication either !

David S we have always had to take what we could get and then Get On With It ! – as creatively as poss – I’ve been doing it for over 60 years !

Tobias Haller
Guest

Mr. Shepherd, the idea that civil partnerships were introduced in some disingenuous way is a “substantive issue” of your own devising. Most social change does not come about immediately, but in stages. To cite the example of race that you raise, the long road by which the US dealt with slavery and racism took many steps, and the journey is far from over. In the late 18th century, for instance, a number of states introduced the concept of ‘gradual manumission’ — New York among the latter in 1799 — by which the children of slaves would no longer be slaves.… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

Tobias Haller: As you well know, the ‘crumbs from the table’ metaphor acknowledged Jewish precedence (as the natural descendants of Abraham) over Gentile access to the healing grace of Christ. As Paul, says, ‘to the Jew first and to the Greek also’. The analogy would suggest that heterosexuals enjoy a naturally derived access to the marital benefits that homosexuals are not properly entitled to participate in. I would not have compared civil partnership status and gay marriage to a provision of unmerited grace, so I find it strange that you would reinforce that idea. In respect of your all-too-familiar comparison with… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Mr. Shepherd, “Jew first then Gentile” implies that the Gentiles do in fact merit God’s attention, even if subsequent to Jews. So, yes, I am asserting that until now heterosexuals have enjoyed access to benefits that have been withheld from same-sex couples — and to which they are entitled by the grace of God, and by natural right. I should have thought that was obvious. The comparison with the civil rights movement was raised by you, once again, in your effort to contrast it to the gay rights movement. I am suggesting that the similarities surrounding the incremental nature of… Read more »

David Shepherd
Guest

1. Grace accords us unmerited privileges. You may indeed call anything bestowed in this way to be an entitlement. However, these privileges differ from the liberty and claim-rights accorded by society. In respect of grace, there is nothing in unregenerate humanity (‘the natural man’) that merits anything from God. We were ‘by nature, the children of wrath’. So, I would hope that you didn’t mean that society bestows the right to marry in the same way. 2. I said of black civil rights: ‘those advancements were still largely prescriptive’. It partly explains the incremental development of the black civil rights… Read more »

MarkBrunson
Guest

Feria,

I don’t care what happened under Philip’s watch, ask anyone about his tendency to use “credit-to-your-race-don’t-sweat-much-for-a-fat-girl” expressions!

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

David, there were, in 2000 and still are, large swathes of civil society opposed to same-sex marriage. That is why we are having the debate. The reason for incremental movement is entirely based on the opposition, not the desires of those seeking change.

Your argument fails.

David Shepherd
Guest

Tobias, The reality of significant opposition does not preclude forthright, open debate from both sides on it. The illegality of political formation and legislative participation in the 60’s does. In spite of some reactionary elements, the tide had turned by 2000. The generation that ushered in the Blair government on a landslide victory was full of belief in youth and open to fresh ideas: ‘Things can only get better’ and ‘Cool Britannia’ were the mantras. Section 28 was repealed. Prominent MP’s on both sides of the House came out and were cheered by the wider society for their honesty. One… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

David, I simply think you are misreading the history. There were strenuous objections to same-sex marriage in 2000 — as there are now: are you aware of that? And the opposition was much stronger in 2000 than now. Civil Partnerships was a step forward, but not as you seem to suggest a desideratum in itself — at least for many. It is important to recognize that there are some gay and lesbian persons who do not want SSM but a separate and equal category of CP. Just as there were African Americans who were happy with segregation, and opposed the… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

David, my response was lost once again in the ‘net gap. Suffice it to say that I think your memory of the 2000 debates is faulty; there was no chance that same-sex marriage would have been adopted, and CP was the best that could be achieved. This was not a ploy by the GL people, but necessitated by the opposition. As to the 60s in the US, I lived through it, and your recollections are similarly faulty.