Thinking Anglicans

Further discussion of the LBC radio phone-in controversy

Updated Sunday morning (scroll down for new item)

Kelvin Holdsworth Understanding the Justin Welby Radio Phone-In Controversy. One extract:

…It looks as though the Archbishop is trying to set up a “reconciliation process” when he has already decided that the best outcome would be for the church to adopt a policy of blessing gay couples in Civil Partnerships but not affirming anything to do with same-sex couples and marriage. The trouble with this is that it won’t do for those who have come to the view that gay people and straight people should be dealt with equally because they are fundamentally equal in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of God.

The suspicion is that the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others with him, is trying to address this question on the presumption that gay people are in some way disabled (or worse, dysfunctional) straight people. Does he believe that gay people just can’t help themselves and so something must be done for them? It may be to misjudge him terribly, but it feels very much like it.

The reality is that those who have campaigned long and hard for marriage to be opened up to same-sex couples have drunk deeply at the Civil Rights well of justice. They (we!) believe gay people and straight people should be treated equally because of a fundamental existential equality between gay people and straight people.

Any hope that the church could have satisfied people by blessing civil partnerships but refusing to affirm marriages contracted by gay and lesbian couples is 10 years out of date. Had the churches affirmed Civil Partnerships in the first place then they might be in a better place to affirm them now. The argument can be endlessly made that Civil Partnerships and Marriage confer the same rights. The trouble is, most people now accept that Rosa Parks was right. Even if the bus does get you to the same destination, travelling at the front of the bus and travelling at the back of the bus are not the same thing…

Jim Naughton reports on the North American trip: Welby’s assertion on massacre follows him “far, far away in America” and then offers this analysis:

…The grave in Bor [South Sudan] does not seem to be the mass grave that the archbishop was referring to in the radio broadcast in the United Kingdom last week when he initially stated that the victims had been murdered due to events “far, far away in America.” Indeed, the ENS story carries a “correction” that reads: “a correction was made to this article to remove reference to the location of the mass grave where Welby said he had been told Christians were murdered out fear that they might become homosexual because of Western influence.”

Welby had previously said that he would not reveal the site of the mass grave he spoke of on the radio to protect the community. His refusal to give further details on the massacre also means that his claims cannot be independently evaluated, and that his analysis of why the massacre in question occurred cannot be challenged.

Meanwhile, The Church Times has published a story in which it says that Sudanese bishops “confirmed … that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings.”

However, one of the three Sudanese bishops interviewed disputes this assertion and the quotation used in the headline of the story is not spoken by any of the bishops whom the Church Times interviewed.

Additionally, one of the bishops is said to have “verified” Welby’s experience at a mass grave that Welby has not said was in Sudan, and which at least one British religion reporter has placed in Nigeria.

One can appreciate Welby’s concern for the safety of Christians in Africa, and some readers may even be persuaded that it is necessary to discriminate against LGBT people in the West to save lives in Africa, but Welby cannot be given a pass for introducing 12-15 year -old right wing talking point into the debate over LGBT equality as though it were a proven fact, and then refusing to provide the details that would allow for a critical examination of his claim. (Secular human rights groups have documented many massacres in Sudan and Nigeria, and attributed none to the actions of gay-friendly churches.)

In his radio interview last week, the archbishop said: “It’s about the fact that I’ve stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who’d been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America.”

Nothing he has said since then indicates that he doesn’t believe this to be the case. But everything he has said indicates he is unwilling to actually defend this assertion. That’s dirty pool.

Mark Oakley wrote a letter to the editor of the Guardian How the Church of England can tackle anti-gay violence

Archbishop Welby is right to understand that what is said by the Church of England transmits messages (Welby links killings in Africa to gay marriage, 5 April). The prejudice that kills Christians thought to be gay-friendly is the same as that which kills LGBT people themselves in increasing global homophobic crimes from Russia to Nigeria. Whether failing to support gay marriage here because of the risk it places African Christians under is shrewd or simply handing power to the oppressor can be debated. I am convinced that if such support isn’t forthcoming, those who commit acts of anti-Christian violence are likely to find other reasons to do so. However, one urgent move is now essential – to speak out in support of decriminalising homosexuality across the Commonwealth and wider world. To do this in a joint statement with Pope Francis would be a powerful communication of the church’s non-negotiable belief in God-given human dignity and underline the clear distinction between morality and criminality – just as Archbishop Ramsey recognised when he supported decriminalisation in this country. It would also help reduce the abuse and murder of LGBT folk that criminalisation is perceived to legitimate. As Alice Walker wrote, “no person is your friend who demands your silence”.

Canon Mark Oakley
London

Update

Bishop Gene Robinson writes What the Archbishop of Canterbury Should Have Said About Gay Rights

…So how might the Archbishop have responded differently? Perhaps something like this: “Look, the church must consider many things in discerning whether a change is warranted in our consideration of blessing the marriages of same-sex couples: what scriptures says, how the church’s historical understanding has developed, and our own experience of gay couples’ relationships. We are in the midst of that discernment right now. In addition, we must always be aware that our decisions here in England are being watched by the world’s 80 million Anglicans and their enemies; sometimes being used as an irrational and unwarranted excuse by those enemies for violence against Christians. I have seen the graves of those who have suffered because of these unjust and irrational connections between LGBT people and murder, and it breaks my heart.

Even so, we cannot give in to the violent acts of bullies and must discern and then pursue God’s will for all of God’s children. Violence and murder of Christians is deplorable, but so is violence against and murder of LGBT people. And as the spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, permit me to point out, it is not helpful for some of our own Anglican archbishops, bishops and clergy to join in support of anti-gay legislation and rhetoric in their own countries, thereby fueling the hatred and violence against innocent LGBT people, who are being criminalized and murdered for who they are. These are complicated issues, and with God’s guidance, we will discern what is right to say and do.”

118
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
118 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
20 Comment authors
Gary Paul GilbertErika BakerSusannah ClarkcseitzMurdoch Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Deep gratitude to Jim Naughton for this: (Secular human rights groups have documented many massacres in Sudan and Nigeria, and attributed none to the actions of gay-friendly churches.) Even if Welby’s assertion was true, that wouldn’t make it moral to withhold human rights, justice, and inclusion for LGBT people. Ultimately, it is vitally important to see the causes of the violence as honestly as possible, if there is to be a prayer of addressing the problems and bringing actual peace. Most unfortunately, it looks increasingly as if the assertion is a classic piece of propaganda for anti-gay forces. It sadly… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

Again, +Kelvin totally “gets it.” Yes, many of us are steeped in the lessons of the Civil Rights era, lead by prophet and martyr, Martin Luther King. (It was amazing to me to see his statue on the West Facade of Westminster Abbey). Separate is essentially unequal. There is a great reason to use those lessons, it is the road to the Promised Land for ALL people. There may be other roads, but so far, no one else has revealed it to me, certainly not Justin. The road to the Promised Land is paved with nonviolent resistance. Thus, there isn’t… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Social constructivists, feminists, and now recently even some prominent Gay historians have argued that the very notion of ‘sexual identity’ goes back only 100 years or so. Given this, is the alternative view that ‘sexual identity’ (including what is now labeled GLBT identities) in fact always existed, but not in a social realm that allowed them to surface fully? (David was ‘gay’ and so was Jonathan, but we couldn’t see that clearly). Or is the modern GLBT genuinely without precedent, but also not socially constructed? One can see fairly quickly that if the Bible is consigned to a realm of… Read more »

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

So far as we can tell, sexual orientation has always existed, but it was only recognized and categorized in Victorian times. All that’s new is our understanding of a preexisting reality.

If the word marriage can adapt from a property transaction between families to a love match of equals, it can certainly adapt to be gender neutral. The abolition of coverture was much more radical than the wedding of gay couples.

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“This is, I believe, why most conservatives/traditional Christians (and their secular counterparts) bristle at the idea of using a term like ‘marriage equality’. If we have something genuinely new, it needs a genuinely new accompanying term.” The time for that debate was before the legislation was passed, not afterwards. Marriage is marriage: the legislation is passed, and if conservatives want to put quotation marks around it in some cases, as Andrew “Mainstream” Symes appears to want to do, then that is their prerogative. But no-one else is listening any more. The evangelical wing of the CofE stupidly (there is no… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

You know, cseitz, when I look at my partner and reflect on the gift from God that she is, I’m not exactly thinking about the historical perspective! The major point for many of us is that the witness and experience of our lives is holy and and our love is blessed. When I see Jesus caring for the outcasts and breaking taboos to heal, teach, and care for people, I get the sense that Jesus weeps when anyone is treated inhumanely. Anyone, be it LGBT people, or the people of South Sudan at the mercy of armies and sectarian strife.… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Guest
Susannah Clark

It seems to me that Christopher Seitz wrote… words, words, words in a “war” which he has conceded elsewhere has already been lost in the US. Cynthia wrote about her actual life. I echo the preciousness she finds in her beloved partner, and its reality, and legitimacy. Its right to be sanctified before the assembly of God’s people. And all the potentiality for children and family that lesbian marriage can and does involve (“parental duties and joys” attributed by Mr Seitz to heterosexual partners are also a lived reality of lesbian partners too). People who love each other tenderly, and… Read more »

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

If “marriage” can contain polygamy, polyandry, child brides, arranged relationships, and the like, surely it can safely contain the wedding of two people of the same sex.

dr.primrose
Guest
dr.primrose

In 2008, California law provided equal rights for same-sex and opposite-sex couples but gave them different names, something that previously existed in England and which the CofE apparently wants to maintain. The California Supreme Court found that “equal” rights but separate names for opposite sex couples (“marriages”) and same-sex couples (“domestic partnership,” “civil partnership,” or “civil union”) creates inherent inequality: “[A]ffording same-sex couples access only to the separate institution of domestic partnership, and denying such couples access to the established institution of marriage, properly must be viewed as impinging upon the right of those couples to have their family relationship… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

It’s “social constructionists” (advocates of “social constructionism” as a sociological theory of knowledge) — “social constructivism” (which has to do with the social contexts of individual cognition) is closely related to “social constructionism,” but they’re not the same thing. In any event, as someone who is sympathetic to social constructionism, but not a “card carrying” social constructionist, I’m always amused when people who clearly reject social constructionism as an approach to reality try to invoke it to support their anti-LGBT positions — because they never quite seem to “get” that social constructionism also identifies “heterosexuality” and heterosexual privilege as social… Read more »

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

The churches failed to provide any outlet for the human happiness of gays and lesbians for millennia — leaving them in no position to lecture society on what outlets it should or should not provide.

And it is good that Archbishop Welby’s oh-so-concerned comments about mass graves in Africa are being thoroughly exposed as the shoddy right-wing talking-points they are.

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

The only thing new is that more same-sex couples have come out of the closet. The Canadian Supreme Court in its ruling opening marriage to same-sex couples said the exclusion is sex discrimination. Outdated notions of gender and legal sex were being used to exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage, a public instituion. If the state offers benefits, it should offer the same benefits to all equally situated people.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“Social constructivists, feminists, and now recently even some prominent Gay historians have argued that the very notion of ‘sexual identity’ goes back only 100 years or so.” Suppose, arguendo, that this is true, every word. And suppose, further, that it means what you appear to think, that gays aren’t “really” gay and have just been taken in by some new-fangled fad like hula hoops or clackers. 100 years ago takes us back to before the first world war. Other things that didn’t exist 100 years ago: votes for women, civil rights for blacks, nuclear weapons, the Internet, any sort of… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

There’s much in the Bible about “marriage” (someone give me the Hebrew word, the Greek word) that no one SHOULD want to emulate [polygamy, handmaids, dowry, parental (mandatory) arrangement, compulsory wife obedience, etc!].

But I think it’s safe to say that of the BEST aspects of Biblical “marriage” [two-become-one(in Christ), love one another, my beloved is mine and I am my beloved’s—and the whole I Corinthians 13 love smorgasbord!], persons who loved another of the same-sex—even though they didn’t have a word to describe themselves—always looked at “marriage” and said “We want THAT” (often including the nurturing of children part, too).

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

Persons of same sex attraction never sought to be considered a distinct tribe, but were separated out by larger society in actions such as the Dutch anti-gay purge of 1730, or the creation of Paragraph 175 of the Imperial German criminal code in 1871. The word “homosexual” was unknown in the ancient world (as so many people have pointed out here over the years), but was coined by German psychologists in the 19th century to designate a new class of people singled out for their sexual orientation by society and by law. As the historian John Boswell frequently pointed out,… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

JCF wrote, “There’s much in the Bible about “marriage” (someone give me the Hebrew word, the Greek word)….”

Actually, at least in biblical Hebrew, there isn’t a single word that means “marriage.” The normal idiom refers to a man “taking” (that is acquiring) a woman. The verb is never (as far as I’ve seen) used of the woman. In the Hebrew Bible women have almost no agency in marriage — either to contract or to dissolve.

I wonder how much of this “biblical” model of marriage Dr. Seitz would like to advocate for our society.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

So is LGBT socially constructed and latterly so, or is it a genetic given?

This is an important question. If genetically given, it existed in all time and cultures.

If latterly the consequence of social construction, it would explain why non western cultures do not want it constructed.

If Thinking Anglicans cannot think this through, then there will continue to be impasse. Simply giving a fresh testimony to this or that relationship or yelling across the chasm won’t advance thinking anglicanism.

Nathaniel Brown
Guest
Nathaniel Brown

“So is LGBT socially constructed and latterly so, or is it a genetic given?” This is a false “either-or” question. At different times in different places, homosexual persons have emerged or hidden, as the climate permitted. Moreover, we now know that sexuality may be both genetic and environmentally driven. It is a very complex question, and to reduce it to either-or obscures the subject. Is heterosexuality genetic? Why does it matter? “This is an important question. If genetically given, it existed in all time and cultures.” Evidence is that it has. But why is this important? “If latterly the consequence… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

cseitz asked: “So is LGBT socially constructed and latterly so, or is it a genetic given?” Dr. Seitz, if you’re asking me, my answer is: I don’t know. Nor, really, does anyone else. I’m sure you’re well-aware that this is a hotly debated issue. Of course, most ordinary LGBT people see their sexual and/or gender identity as “given,” as essential to their being. They experience it that way, just as I am sure you experience your sexual and gender identity as “given.” Social constructionists point out that most people are utterly unaware that their experience of reality is socially constructed.… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

“Evidence is that it has.” And other evidence is that it hasn’t. That is the argument of social construction. “If “marriage” can contain polygamy, polyandry, child brides, arranged relationships, and the like, surely it can safely contain the wedding of two people of the same sex.” Leaving aside whether this is true, obviously words can refer to different things. My old Ugaritic teacher Marvin Pope used to quip that in Lane’s Arabic dictionary every root meant itself, its opposite and something to do with a camel. If the word ‘marriage’ is commandeered latterly to refer to same-sex arrangements, then, as… Read more »

John
Guest
John

I think ‘cseitz’ is genuinely trying to engage here. I personally (and academically) think that LGBT identity has always existed and – here’s the difference – has in Greece and Rome (which I know about) always been recognised to exist. That makes the question both easier – because we’re dealing with a persistent cross-cultural phenomenon – and harder to deal with (because one can’t just dismiss Paul as rejecting extreme homosexual behaviour independent of ‘stable, loving relationships’).

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

“Marriage” is not being “commandeered” any more than ordination was “commandeered” when women were admitted to holy orders — only a bit less “latterly” than the changes we’re seeing with same-sex “arrangements” … otherwise known as loving, committed pair-bonds … otherwise known as marriages.

All of this talk about C of E linguistic dissimilation looks to me like desperately wishful thinking.

Fr Andrew
Guest
Fr Andrew

“And other evidence is that it hasn’t”

Please forgive my ignorance. Could you suggest where I may find the evidence that same-sex orientation had not existed ‘in all time [sic] and cultures,?

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Very simple. Just google any site that explains what social construction means. Lesbians, e.g., have long held that they have no ‘identity’ as lesbian, but choose this as an act of social construction. And more radical ‘queers’ speak of marriage as something they reject as imitating a social construction they find abhorrent. Thank you, John. Many believe that sexual ‘identity’ was absent in the same sex eroticism of ancient Greece and Rome. The noun ‘homosexual’ is a 19th century term from the realm of jurisprudence. There is no noun form for ‘gay’ in ancient language. But surely this is well… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

Allow me to flag for a moment that there is also a linguistic distinction between orientation, identity, and behavior. The first two have, to my mind, a degree of construction, which may or may not be reflected in the third. That is, there may be someone who thinks of herself as lesbian, but is celibate or married to a person of the different sex. Or, on the other hand, a man in prison may have sexual encounters with other men, but never think of himself as anything other than heterosexual in identity and orientation. As someone said up above, this… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Lesbians, e.g., have long held that they have no ‘identity’ as lesbian, but choose this as an act of social construction. “ Not any of the lesbians I know. Where does this stuff come from? God created me in his/her image to be who I am. And I am not a new development in human his/herstory!!!! This thread is just taking a bizarre turn. Here’s where we are with the ABC’s gaff on the radio show: human rights organizations that study the massacres don’t say that any of them happened on account of western gay friendly churches. The ABC was… Read more »

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

So its that pesky being human part, confirming Adam’s crie de coeur at finding no one fit for him, until an ishah stood over against him as ish?

Turns out Genesis is more profound than we thought, confirming the deference of Origen and all the ante Nicene fathers who discovered for the first time truth and Plato’s Cave.

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

To clarify:-

* sexual orientation is biological, and refers to sexual attraction
* identity refers to how we respond to that biology

An evangelical sexually attracted to members of their own gender can refer to themselves as “same-sex attracted” instead of “gay,” but whatever language they use, they’re homosexual.

I’ve noticed a slippery blurring of identity and orientation by some conservatives, in response to the failure of the “cure” movement. “I choose not to identify as a gay man,” some say. Fine, call yourself “post-gay” if you like, but it doesn’t change who you want to get it on with.

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

Social constructionism à la Michel Foucault would see marriage as an invention which can be reconfigured. Likewise, gender. Identity is not necessary for LGBT politics. It recalls Judith Butler, in her classic book Gender Trouble, who argues that woman as such is an enabling fiction for feminism. One need not believe in a stable identity in order to work for feminist causes.

Gary Paul Gilbert

James Byron
Guest
James Byron

“The ABC was played by people with an anti-gay agenda.”

Possibly so, Cynthia, but it should be beside the point, as disputing the details implicitly accepts Welby’s argument. It doesn’t matter if he’s right about the cause of the massacre: the crucial thing is that he’s wrong about how we should respond to it.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I’m with Interested Observer. This is all so irrelevant now. As more and more people will discover in the coming months and years as they attend same sex weddings, they are no different from straight ones. 2 people choked with emotion and filled with love and hope promise each other in a shaky voice “all that I am I give to you, all that I have I share with you”. There isn’t a dry eye among their assembled friends and family. Who cares what historical, biological and environmental development has brought those two to pledge their lives to each other?… Read more »

FD Blanchard
Guest
FD Blanchard

I agree with Interested Observer and Erika Baker.

The train left the station a long time ago. These are all arguments from 50 years ago that have largely been settled except for a shrinking handful of people.
There’s no point in rehashing those arguments over and over to try to persuade people who’ve already made up their minds and will not be persuaded.

Dr. Seitz will just have to learn to live with gay marriages whether he approves of them or not, because they are here to stay.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

The basic point is that if ‘marriage’ now refers to a civil arrangement of various kinds; or a religious one undertaken in the 21st century, then what has occurred within the parameters of historical solemnization of holy matrimony will simply need a new name. In the zeal to overcome what is perceived as a loss, comes a loss of what is specific to that estate so vowed and solemnized. This is why a distinction will remain all the same, with some new linguistic arrangement to accommodate it. ‘Genesis-Cana-Matthew 19-Ephesians 5 marriage’ is what the rites have presupposed and blessed because… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“If the term ‘marriage’ is as variable as Haller implies then more precision is inevitable in the manifold ways language finds to do just that.” I believe that the precise opposite has happened. Civil partnered people have long referred to their partnerships as marriages and to their partners as husband and wife. As have our friends and family. And adverts for “gay weddings” have been around ever since the beginning of CPs. Language has recognised the truth of those relationships to the extent that when I recently told someone I would be converting my CP certificate to a marriage certificate… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest

To respond briefly to Dr. Seitz, I think a look to the tradition provides just such a linguistic distinction. Up until rather recently in church history, Christian marriage was confined to Christians, and all other marriages (that is, between two non-Christians or between a mix) might be referred to as “natural marriages” but not marriage as understood by the church. This is precisely why Paul (1 Co 7:12-15) allows such marriages to terminate should a non-believing party wish to depart. (What Jesus would have said about this, we do not know, but given his grounding of the permanence of marriage… Read more »

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

THANKS to Gary Paul Gilbert for expressing in a few simple sentences what I was struggling to express in over-long paragraphs! Gary, I wish I had your gift for getting clearly to the point!

Interested Observer
Guest
Interested Observer

“then what has occurred within the parameters of historical solemnization of holy matrimony will simply need a new name”

The tiny handful of people who care can name their definition of marriage whatever they want. The rest of us will continue to use the word “marriage” to cover all its forms.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Thanks. We tiny people called the majority of Christians worldwide appreciate your permission. Holy Week blessings, in Christ.

Gary Paul Gilbert
Guest
Gary Paul Gilbert

WilliamK, Thank you for the compliment! If I had read your excellent comments I might not have written mine, which I was afraid was too theoretical. I swim in deconstruction (even murkier than social construction–one of them is the impossiblity of X school, while the other is the invention of X) so I am never sure what will work for a broader audience. You zeroed in on the irony of people opposed to social constructionism citing social constructionists to argue against LGBT liberation. I love these two sound bites in particlar: I’m always amused when people who clearly reject social… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

“I’ll repeat, if “LGBT” is socially constructed, then so is “heterosexuality” and the system of privilege that goes with it.”

Amen to that!

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

Cseitz in response to Interested Observer: “Thanks. We tiny people called the majority of Christians worldwide appreciate your permission.” I posted in a different thread that I reject the “numbers game” when “my side” plays it as much as when “traditionalists” play it. So, I’ll say, I really wish Interested Observer hadn’t made an argument that referred to a “tiny handful of people.” A tiny handful of people who are right are right; and a vast majority who are wrong are wrong. Truth is not decided by votes. Dr. Seitz, “the majority of Christians worldwide” are against women being ordained… Read more »

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

WilliamK, I agree that morality is not decided by a majority vote.

I think Interested Observer was responding to Dr. Seitz’s suggestion that marriage, as he understands it, will need a new name.

Right and wrong are not subject to majority rule. Language, however, is. If many people find a word useful, it lives; if not, it dies.

Dr. Seitz may feel the need for a new word. But that new term won’t make much of an impression, if no one else cares to use it.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

William K:

Not to mention that, as far as I know, no one has actually polled all the world’s Christians (or even done a statistically valid survey) to find out their positions on same-sex marriage (or anything else for that matter). All we really know is the official positions of the dominations to which they belong…which may not coincide with the actual beliefs of their members.

Take, for example, the official position of the American Catholic Church on contraception…it is opposed to its use, but surveys indicate that Catholic women are no less likely to use contraception than any other group.

Spirit of Vatican II
Guest
Spirit of Vatican II

It is really a huge revolution for gay men and women to find the sweet words “will you marry me?” being addressed to their ears, or forming themselves spontaneously on their lips. Something that was brutally ruled off the map of human discourse, by St Paul among others, has now come into our lives as a miracle. Churchmen sniff around it anxiously, but it seems destined to bloom and grow.

Pat O'Neill
Guest
Pat O'Neill

Correction to my last post: Obviously I meant “denominations” not “dominations.” My bad for not proofing before hitting “post”.

WilliamK
Guest
WilliamK

Jeremy: I acknowledge your point about language. But, language use is often bound up with morality. There was a time when “nigger” was an “acceptable” word for many White Americans — but the fact that a majority used it didn’t make it right or good. Likewise, even if a majority of Christians worldwide continue to regard “marriage” as a word that belongs only to heterosexuals … or if a majority continue to see “priest” as a masculine label … that won’t make it right or good. So, I still believe it is best for us to avoid playing the “numbers… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
Guest
Laurence Cunnington

“Dr. Seitz may feel the need for a new word.” Jeremy

I wonder how Roman Catholics already describe, say, a 4th marriage of a heterosexual who has three former spouses still living?

Perhaps “a form of marriage which I do not recognise” would fit the bill for Dr. Seitz. It’s clumsy, but accurate.

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

I think we can safely leave the invention of a new word to those who believe that it is needed. It may even gain currency within their own circle, a bit like the current term “marriage” as opposed to marriage.

I would be very surprised if that word survived the next decade.

cseitz
Guest
cseitz

Look, this isn’t very complicated. Will the vast preponderance of Christians worldwide–the New Christendom–conflate ‘same sex marriage’ with traditional marriage, and the rites that warrant it? Of course not. The readings, vows, blessings that belong to that understanding will remain and resist attenuation. Will some in pockets of Christianity decide they want to call a new understanding ‘marriage’ or ‘same-sex marriage’? Yes. But this will hardly dislodge the rites and understanding that most continue to presuppose when they speak of marriage or holy matrimony. That is simply a fact on the ground and in history. The CofE has simply acknowledged… Read more »

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“Will the vast preponderance of Christians worldwide–the New Christendom–conflate ‘same sex marriage’ with traditional marriage, and the rites that warrant it? Of course not.”

Apparently, you don’t include liberal Protestants in your Christendom.

Regardless, there was a time when slavery, misogyny, and anti-semitism were broadly supported. That didn’t make it right. Might does not make right in any “Christendom” that I’ve understood.