Sunday, July 05, 2009

Gay Gordon, Camp David and Gay Shame

It has been handbags at dawn in the pursuit of the ‘gay vote’. In the pink corner are the acolytes of Gordon Brown (Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant), and in the pink corner are the aides-de-camp of David Cameron (Iain Dale and Alan Duncan). The fact that both corners are pink is simply to make then indistinguishable in their expression of ‘Gay Pride’ – they are united by their sexual orientation, but divided in their politics. In just about every other walk of life, homosexuals are united in overcoming social segregation: their sexuality is fundamental and underpins their group polarisation. And, as with all tribal separations, it informs their economic decisions, their evaluations of their neighbours, even decisions about what to eat, what to drink, what to wear and where to live. The separation is both physical and psychological, especially as suspicion surrounds non-members of the group.

But when it comes to politics, there are deeper tribal loyalties.

And so we witness the unseemly posturing of ‘Gay Gordon and Camp David’ – one of the best sound-bite headlines of recent years: it encapsulates perfectly the absurdity of the obsession as each bends over backwards to embrace the pink wings and fluffy hats, fighting like cats to lead the gay procession from Neverland to Sodom. There are accusations of hypocrisy, inconsistency, 'homophobia', lying and deception. Not to mention the ignoring of tradition, authority, science and nature.

But the battle in the political realm is really a consequence of that in the spiritual.

The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will be launched on Monday. The group had its genesis in Jerusalem and campaigns against active homosexuality in the Anglican Communion – both the ordination of practising homosexuals and the liturgical blessing of same-sex relationships. Their faith is based on the teachings of Scripture and is consonant with Church tradition and history. Its most prominent supporter is the Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, who is of the view that homosexuals should ‘repent and be changed’: Gay Pride should be supplanted by Gay Shame. They are traditionalists who are closer to the Vatican than they are to Lambeth Palace on this matter. And, pace the ‘Gay Catholics’ and Tony Blair, Rome has more adherents who accord with the views of Pope Benedict on homosexuality – that the practice is 'an intrinsic moral evil; the inclination 'an objective disorder' - than the Church of England has communicants who could be inspired to follow Archbishop Rowan Williams on just about any matter.

The Anglican Communion in the United States has already divided on this issue, and it seems inevitable that the Church of England will do the same. Protestantism was never supposed to dispense with authority and truth: it was never intended that it would fracture ad infinitum over minutiae.

And, dear readers and communicants, homosexuality is not an issue worthy of schism: it is simply not of the order of the sort of debate that used to divide the Church: the divinity of Christ, for example, or the nature of his humanity – the great controversy at the Council of Nicea in AD325 – or even over liturgy or the transforming nature of infant baptism. The issue of homosexuality affects only a tiny minority of its adherents: it is of distinctly secondary, even peripheral, scriptural importance.

The role of the Bible in addressing the modern question of the place of the homosexual in the church is complex, not least because where it is mentioned in Scripture, the authors give little sustained consideration of the issue as it manifests in the modern world. The nature of a biblical perspective will invariably be affected by the questions posed of the Bible, by the particular hermeneutic employed, and by the unavoidable perspective which each scholar brings to his or her reading of the Bible. While some may have an instant negative reaction, others seek to understand the debate in the different and changing circumstances in which we now live. Still others, who may identify themselves as homosexual Christians, struggle to express either their feelings or their thoughts on the issue. They are themselves divided into those who acknowledge that homosexuality is a sin and therefore a call to celibacy, and those who assert that they also are made in God’s image and therefore seek to express their sexual desires in an intimate, monogamous relationship.

That God established an objective, moral order in creation, and continues a work of re-creation through Jesus, is a source and standard of all that it beautiful, good and true. If such a moral order means anything, there may be no via media on the issue of homosexuality. Accepting theological diversity is not the same as tolerating all beliefs and practices, because ultimately the Church is called to be holy because God is holy (Lev. 19:2; Mt. 5:48). We cannot as Christians just give way to ‘you believe this, I believe that’ approach to being together, or moving apart, in the Church. Nor even can we be content with the rather cheap model of ‘reconciled diversity’, meaning benign tolerance, which many Christians find an easier option to the costlier pursuit of real, ‘visible’ unity. We need to continue to struggle together for the truth, to find the right and godly balance between the call to solidarity and the recognition of difference. Presently, nowhere is this more important – especially in the Anglican Communion – than in the area of sexuality.

But Cranmer is persuaded that the whole issue may really be a non-issue because the wrong question is being asked. His Grace posited a few days ago that the modern era is sex-obsessed: we live in a consumer society, and there is little that is marketed without a glance, a wink, a flirt, a breast, or allusions to sexual intercourse, because ‘sex sells’. If one were to judge by the media (which is more frequently a mirror to society than a catalyst for change), the fascination with people’s sex lives is now more important than politics, religion, philosophy or even Mammon. Jesus may have had to address the latter as the dominating idol of his era; his judgement was that one may not serve both God and Mammon (Mt. 6:24). But he did not enter into discussion on the fiscal minutiae of cash, credit, bonds, shares, loans or interest; a macro-warning not to be obsessed with Mammon was sufficient. If one were to apply the same principle to the modern idol – ‘Eros’ – it is doubtful that Jesus would address its sub-divisions (gay, bi, straight, oral, anal, tantric); he would most likely directly challenge society’s obsessive fixation with Eros, and by so doing confront both those who prioritise issues of sexuality and those in the church who presume to judge them.

By devoting so much time and effort to the ‘gay issue’, instead of challenging society by deconstructing the question or focusing on poverty and wealth (for example), the church is simply showing itself to share the same obsessions as the world. Paul allowed no compromise on the restriction of sexual activity to heterosexual, monogamous marriage. But such an ethic seems almost utopian to our sex-besotted age, in which it appears at times that one’s identity is made to reside in one’s sexual organs and their untrammeled exercise. The issue for the Church of England is that this debate has been blown out of all proportion; it is neither a battle for the soul of the church, nor an issue worthy of schism. It is a question utterly peculiar to this era, and those on both sides of the divide – both politicians and theologians – might consider toning down the rhetoric and the apologetics, and instead preaching a message that, contrary to society’s thinking, sexual expression is neither a necessary line of inquiry in every human interaction, nor an essential component in human fulfilment.

92 Comments:

Blogger Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Your Grace has, especially in his last two paragraphs, hit an important nail precisely on the head. I have reached a similar place in my own ruminations, on similar grounds. Homosexuality, a word the OED says dates back as far as 1892, was conventionally one to talk through with your spiritual director. If anyone ever feels any urge to say "Raca" to their colleagues and whip up a schism over it, or to don a thong and dance down the street, either way, I believe they would have a lot to discuss with their spiritual director. Fortunately the vast majority of Christians, Anglican, RC or anything else, feel nether of these unusual urges.

5 July 2009 12:39  
Blogger The Young Oligarch said...

A wise ,and very Anglican , pronouncement , Your Grace .

5 July 2009 12:43  
Blogger John Doe said...

The key to all of this is in one word 'hypocrisy'. You cannot preach the gospel by day, and be a house burglar by night.

I look forward to this new schism and new alliance of decency. I will leave His Grace to wallow in the old filth, along with His favorite filthy political party that supports it.

Your blind refusal to accept the truth lies in your blind support for the party of mammon....like it says, you can't have both...so good luck.

5 July 2009 12:45  
Anonymous len said...

Whilst our politicians strut their stuff in an open attempt to obey their dogma of political correctness and to pander to minorities( 3% of the population is reckoned to be gay) our society slides further into moral and economic chaos.
Unless the church stands up for Gods truth and moral law in the power of the Holy Spirit it will be overwhelmed by the world.

"When the Enemy comes in like a flood , The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him" Isaiah (59:19)

5 July 2009 12:49  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Just thought: David Cameron's not going to claim a precedent in King David, is he? Apart from anything else, that would seem arrogant.

Regardless, the whole thing is horrible. It's enough to put a person off any kind of relationship with anyone - you're never going to know who you can trust or who's going to say what about it.

Freud and Lacan and the rest of the Deconstructionist sickos have been on this tack for a while, of course. But I'd have thought that by now the British would have remembered that what's left of their brains are situated above the neck...

And one more thing - How come they can all run round playing this nauseating, despicable game, but nobody can get a protest together about Lisbon and the euSSR?

5 July 2009 13:03  
Anonymous Stewart Cowan said...

Once you let sin enter in, and without intervention, it will grow and grow until it takes over its host.

Christians need to stand up for the truth on this and every issue. We seem to go on about it continually because every day seems to bring news of another Christian being persecuted.

Yes, times have changed, because Satan is working overtime to try to convince even the elect.

Homosexual acts are sinful. They need repented of same as all our sins do. No excuses. End of story.

5 July 2009 13:07  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Sorry - 'whom you can trust' -

But another thought. If Cameron really prances about like this, whatever does he think the reaction of the rest of the electorate will be? Does he think this is what we want in a prospective Prime Minister?

Serve him right if we all grab our children and leave; take them anywhere, so long as its away from this second Jacobean age!!!!

5 July 2009 13:14  
Anonymous WannabeAnglican said...

What is at issue in the church isn't just homosexuality; it is the authority of scripture. Those who push a gay is o.k. agenda almost always oppose the authority of scripture in numerous ways. As a member of ACNA, I can assure you that our formation is about much more than homosexuality issues.

I do agree with Your Grace that it is unfortunate that homosexuality turned out to be the presenting issue that finally got some orthodox to put their foot down. They should have said "Enough!" of the libchurchers' enormities decades ago.

5 July 2009 13:33  
Blogger English Viking said...

I am afraid that Your Grace appears a bit 'wishy-washy' in his latest post, with lots of words and not much meaning. Where scripture is clear no further interpretation or revelation is necessary. Homosexuality, or to give it it's proper name-sodomy, is an abomination, a grave sin which has brought about The Lord's destruction of entire cities, on more than one occasion. One cannot be a Christian homosexual any more than one could be a Christian serial killer or enjoy Christian pornography. If we spent less time blurring the clear message of scripture with endless words and good intentions (the road to hell is paved with them) and more time declaring God's way of salvation through repentance and faith in Christ we could help more 'gays' become what God intended them to be-heterosexual.

5 July 2009 13:44  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

3% of the population is gay? A quick troll round my friends and acquaintances makes me think it's a lot larger figure. I know so many men who have suddenly changed their minds and 'come out' even though they have previously been in happy marriages and had children. The same for transexuals. There has been a rise in recent years in my home area.

Methinks the Lord has given us up to uncleanness.

5 July 2009 13:55  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr English Viking,

Wishy-washy?

His Grace has, on the one hand, been called a bigot, an extremist and a fundamentalist, and on the other, ignorant, an apostate and a heretic.

If 'wishy-washy' is the vernacular for 'via media', His Grace is content.

5 July 2009 14:01  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Reading the comments today, it would appear that the second of the two great commandments has been rewritten. It now reads, ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself—as long as he is not a pansy.’.

5 July 2009 14:09  
Blogger John Doe said...

'tis the sin we not love, not the 'man' himself!

5 July 2009 14:47  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Johnny Rottenborough: It seems to me that the comments are in Charity - they would spare all of us from this sin.

To dislike homosexuality - to find the idea nauseating or debauched is a natural reaction; and anyone who reacts like that is not making a 'choice' about it. This does not mean that we 'hate' the people who engage in the vice, any more that we hate alcoholics or drug addicts. It does mean that we don't want personal relationships with them, and that we cannot pretend they are little tin gods of virtue.

We have a right, therefore - as well as a Christian duty - to refuse to participate in the vice, to protect ouselves from it, and to do the same for our children and anyone else who is threatened by it. Part of that right lies in saying so.

5 July 2009 14:53  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

no nonny,
//This does not mean that we 'hate' the people who engage in the vice, any more that we hate alcoholics or drug addicts//

So, if one were to say that Christianity was disgusting and abhorrent, that Christian practices and rites are evil, you would not construe that as condemnation of Christian people?

Christianity is a belief and a practice. Do you think it reasonable to say that one can despise Christianity, but not Christians?

I am using the same argument construction as yourself.

5 July 2009 15:00  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ no nonny (14:53)—Thanks for that but when I read a comment such as ‘Homosexual acts are sinful’ I do get confused. If a man has been created by God as homosexual then how can be a physical expression of his sexuality be sinful in the eyes of God? (For those who would rush to argue that homosexual acts are sinful because homosexuality is a lifestyle choice made by some men—please don’t bother, because it isn’t.)

5 July 2009 15:33  
Blogger Chris said...

"And, as with all tribal separations, it informs their economic decisions, their evaluations of their neighbours, even decisions about what to eat, what to drink, what to wear and where to live. The separation is both physical and psychological, especially as suspicion surrounds non-members of the group"

Catholics?

5 July 2009 15:58  
Blogger OldSouth said...

Your Grace, thank you: You expressed the core issue of so many 'church fights' cogently:

Protestantism was never supposed to dispense with authority and truth: it was never intended that it would fracture ad infinitum over minutiae.

Which is exactly what has happened, across the spectrum, between 'liberals and conservatives', as well as amongst them. I've spent a great deal of my adult life in church just trying to be a faithful parishioner, raise the kids in the faith, and otherwise keep us all out of the line of fire. And, I didn't always succeed! The fact that I'm writing you on Sunday morning from my armchair may give insight into my present state of mind: deeply Christian, yet wary of the local parish just now.

Homosexuality is just one of many issues, but one that carries a particularly emotional 'charge'. With friends on all points of the spectrum, I witness how quickly the adrenaline levels rise when the subject is raised.

The entire essay offered is one of the most reasoned and humane approaches I have read in a long time. And its conclusion is correct--this issue is not of enough import (vs. say rejection or embrace of the Divinity of Christ)to merit a schism.

Thanks again.

5 July 2009 16:09  
Anonymous Philip said...

I agree the church needs to challenge society's preoccupation with sex (including the modern tendency to base one's identity as a person on one's sexual preferences), and that homosexuality might be one 'presenting problem' arising from this preoccupation.

But this cannot be used an excuse to avoid confronting specific sins. "Homosexual acts are sinful. They need repented of same as all our sins do" (Stewart Cowan 1307). Advocacy of sinful lifestyles by and in the church cannot be tolerated because "No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God." (1 John 3:9). As God's law is written on the hearts of Christians, a true believer will not for long continue to think homosexual practices are OK for Christians. I think "English Viking is right (1344) that ultimately, "One cannot be a Christian homosexual any more than one could be a Christian serial killer or enjoy Christian pornography." So this issue IS a legitimate cause of schism. It goes to the root of what a Christian is, what God we worship, and what the church is - a gathering of believers, and the authority of Scripture.

5 July 2009 16:38  
Blogger John Doe said...

Old South

It is not meant to be easy. We are not meant to be cowards hiding from the line of fire.

5 July 2009 16:47  
Blogger John Doe said...

Indigomyth

The next flood will be a flood of hatred and death. Every face I stamp on will be yours.

5 July 2009 16:53  
Anonymous len said...

Johnny Rottenborough, God created homosexuals?
God is not the author of sin!

The apostle Paul says"Do not be deceived! Neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous,nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will enter the Kingdom of god.( 1 Corinthians 69-11)
You see no special treatment for the homosexual, no concession for any type of sin, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ can set ANY sinner free from the bondage of sin.

5 July 2009 17:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, an excellent pronouncement on the state of the Church today.

I can recall the days when membership of the armed forces was denied to those who are Gay. When the law was changed and they were allowed to join, what had appeared to be a major internal issue of concern, overnight became a non-issue. All the threats of resignations etc, came to nothing. People realised that their prejudices were ill informed and actually not worth leaving the services for.

If the CofE stopped all of the navel gazing and looked outwards, it would see much more to concern it than Women Priest and Bishops and Gay issues.

5 July 2009 17:21  
Blogger John Doe said...

Anonymous 17:21 (suddenly feeling contaminated)

Maybe you have it!

If only the 12 Apostles had not been so narcissistic indulging in self-righteous navel gazing, we would have a much more inclusive sewer to fester in.

5 July 2009 17:41  
Anonymous Rudyard K said...

Christianity has inspired the finest music art and architecture
in the world.All these wonders are a testament to God through Christ.It is a religion that has produced great beauty and is based on compassion kindness and love. How can that be abhorrent?

If homosexuals want to be included in the Christian Church why isn't celibacy a consideration?

5 July 2009 18:04  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ len (17:12)—God created homosexuals? God is not the author of sin!

To fornicate, to commit idolatry or adultery, to sodomize, to steal, to covet, to become drunk, to revile or to extort are matters of personal choice. To be born homosexual—to be created by God as a homosexual—is no personal choice.

I hope I’m allowed to say this, Your Grace/Your Eminence/Your Prominence/Your Beatitude/Your Magnificence (how exactly does one address an Ayatollah?), but perhaps St Paul was wrong when he lumped homosexuality in with his shopping list of sins. St Paul was only human, after all. He wasn’t God.

5 July 2009 18:07  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Both sides chase the minority pink vote. Meanwhile, the rest of the electorate look on in despair as the country falls to pieces around our ears.

I wish these dumb as rocks politicos would bend over so I can give them a bloody good kicking up their useless, chair polishing arses!

But yes, Your Grace, it was a brilliant headline.

5 July 2009 18:11  
Anonymous Preacher said...

Over the years I've seen the authority of scripture slowly eroded in a vain attempt to fill churches, it's similar to trying to lighten a sinking ship, but if you throw out all the lifeboats as well, what do you have left when the time comes to abandon ship?. The church has been under attack from many directions lately & most of them try to undermine Gods word, (nothing new there, "Did God say?.....") If we wish to see the power of God setting sinners free we must first come to terms with the fact that "He who commits sin is a slave to sin" & the prisoners of sin have to wake up & desire this freedom. I have witnessed on several occassions men who are struggling with sexual sins within churches being castigated & punished instead of receiving the help they need, resulting in them giving up on church & God, often the people who were the most ardent prosecutors in these cases have later been exposed themselves & caught in similar or worse situations. You cannot sympathise with sin, wether it'your own or someone else's but you are given the authority to deal with it, & the church needs to wake up & recognise this, pretending the unnatural is natural is no solution, all that will happen is that corruption will increase & permeate all of society, as has happened with homosexuallity, it's gone from being allowed to being flaunted in peoples faces & over protected & wooed by politicians, but whats the point of winning the 'gay' vote & losing the 'straight' one?. Morality in society is the joint responsibility of church & government, one upholds the spiritual & the other the law, if one lets down & dies the other is impeded in its task, the two must work together for the common good or the populace will pay the forfeit.

5 July 2009 18:25  
Blogger Chrysippus said...

Your Grace,

Glad to see normality resumed (ish).

With 'Gay Gordon, Camp David and Gay Shame',compared to 'Swine Flu ‘can no longer be contained’, but was it a man-made bio-weapon' you have managed to go from Lizards to Izzards.

Hopefully we are heading towards your usual 'normal' service?

5 July 2009 19:05  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The political parties merely reveal the interests of their closest advisers and media sponsors in their obsessional interest in gay rights.

For the rest of the population Immigration and National Bankruptcy are more pressing issues, but the hedge-fund sponsored political parties are simply labels on the same basic political group. There are no political parties build bottom-up other than the finge parties; the others are top-down media creations funded by bankers to harvest votes.

5 July 2009 19:07  
Anonymous no nonny said...

indigomyth @ 15:00- "I am using the same argument construction as yourself."
A: I think not; you have oversimplified it.

Using analogy, I say that you also apply your formula indifferently: as to a rock singer and the Rock of Ages. Since you have de-contextualized my reference to Charity, you also apply the formula indiscriminately to Caritas and Cupiditas. Indeed, their values are inverted by your questions.
-------------------------------
Q: "So, if one were to say that Christianity was disgusting and abhorrent, that Christian practices and rites are evil, you would not construe that as condemnation of Christian people?"

A: You generalize, assuming that "one" applies to "all" - in fact it depends on who's doing the saying. You require me to generalize in response - which I have already refused to do. In any case: Christianity teaches me that there is only one Judge with the power to ‘condemn' anyone.
-----------------
Q: "Do you think it reasonable to say that one can despise Christianity, but not Christians?"

A: Again, you generalize with the impersonal "one," and require generalization as an answer.

Further yet, you assume (incorrectly) that I use ‘hating' and ‘despising' synonymously. I might hate a sin, for example; but I would despise an attempt to glorify that sin or impose its practice on others. n.b: I try not to hate any people, because Christianity tells me not to.
-----------------------------------
You have lots of discussions like this, and leave me wondering...
Q1: What is your motive?
I think His Grace's last two sentences make the most sense I've heard for ages. Q2: What do you think?

5 July 2009 19:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5 July 2009 19:49  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

no nonny,

Thank you for your response.

My motive is to seek out challenge, and form debates. I am here to give people the chance to defend their views and beliefs to me, and to challenge my own understanding of the world. I want to understand, and to question. I want to highlight inconsistency and try and improve peoples understanding of their own belief. I am not satisfied merely to continue in life, comfortably staying within familiar boundaries, which it would be easy for me to do in the current world.

I happen to agree with you and Cranmer on the over emphasis of sexual matters in society. They are very wise words indeed. However, I would observe that humanity has always been obsessed with sexual conduct. Indeed, the fact that marriage is seen by many faithful (like Rebel Saint) as being a institution founded on procreation, and at most base root, vaginal intercourse, it seems that obsession with sex is something that cannot be escaped.

Indeed, if sexual matters were so trivial, then one wonders why the faithful are so eager to believe that homosexuality is a sin. The fact seems to be that sex is important, to people on both sides of the debate. If sexual matters are so trivial, then why have admonitions against certain sexual conduct?

I might go so far as to say that his 9th paragraph is in conflict with his conclusion. If sex has a God ordained role, than that role is of paramount importance.

Tell me, why do you read this blog? I do it to be challenged in my beliefs. I do not spend much time reading blogs that agree with me. What motivation have you for being here?

5 July 2009 19:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace wrote in these comments

"His Grace has, on the one hand, been called a bigot, an extremist and a fundamentalist, and on the other, ignorant, an apostate and a heretic"

Well you are an Anglican , so it's not suprising your getting this stick from everyone !!

5 July 2009 20:21  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

Homosexual experimentation is quite common in adocescents, but the only way that a figure of 3% could be put on the gay population is to include all those who have had a homosexual experience including the victims of homosexual rape. The true figure is around 0.1%, which certainly accords with my own experience. Of course, gays are attracted to certain jobs which gives them a false prominence.

As far as Scripture is concerned, its attitude to homosexuality is consistent in both Testaments, but is a part of a wider comndemnation of sexual sins. There are far more adulterers in the church than practising homosexuals and far more gossips than either. Sin is sin and no unforgiven sinner can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Michael Ali is simply saying it as it is. There is nothing sacrosanct about the Church of England. If it wants to degenerate into an heretical organisation like the Unitarians or Mormons or JWs then there are plenty of other orthodox Christiuan Churches for its members to join.

5 July 2009 20:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whilst being a committed husband and father, David Cameron has shown that he neither judges, nor condemns 'gays'.

"Judge not ..... "

5 July 2009 20:33  
Anonymous Brian E. said...

My problem with the current situation, is that I am convinced that active homosexuality is wrong. This is not only the biblical position but also that of other religions, in particular Islam. I therefore find myself supporting the position of the Bishop of Rochester.
The problem I have is with the assertion made by homosexuals that they are born that way and that they are attracted to persons of the same sex. This statement, I find acceptable, but I cannot follow their logic which says that because they have been born this way, they must be able to indulge their feelings regardless of the biblical prohibition, and at the same time not only remain members of the Anglican or Roman Catholic churches, but in many cases become ordained clergy. How can they, in clear conscience urge one to seek forgiveness for their sins, whilst at the same time continuing to sin themselves?
Another difficulty with the argument that they were born that way is that it can also be applied to other sins. Although very little research appears to have been done on the subject, a serial rapist could put forward a very similar, and possibly equally valid argument, that he was born that way and can't help himself. A paedophile recently stated that the only way he could stop would be for him to be locked up. Whether this analogy should be extended to alcoholics and drug takers is perhaps arguable as these are acquired habits. The problem is therefore which of the various traits that one is born with, which the majority of society instinctively considers to be wrong, should be allowed in civilized society.
My personal position is that I certainly would not attend a church service if I was aware that the priest was a practising homosexual. Otherwise in day to day life, I hope I treat them like every other person that I have contact with, some I like, some I don't. I don't think I would wish to be on such terms with one that I would invite him into my own home on a social occasion, although as far as I am aware the situation has not arisen.
What I dislike, intensely, is the constant politicisation of the situation and the attempts of politicians to each demonstrate that they are more homosexual friendly than the one next door. I think this harms the cause of all concerned, as for every vote they get from the homosexual lobby, I feel they are likely to loose one, if not more, elsewhere. It would be nice if politicians could keep their collective mouths shut on the subject between now and the General Election.

5 July 2009 20:34  
Anonymous Puritan Preacher said...

When the apostle Paul condemns various sins including homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6 verses 9-11 he says to his Christian readers 'And that is what some of you were'. Please note the past tense. Homosexual practice is unacceptable behaviour for a Christian and in my opinion it should be allowed no foothold in any Church. There should be no Gay clergy, no endorsement of same-sex relationships, and no admittance of practising homosexuals into formal Church membership.

In 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 Paul says: 'I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater, or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.'

Paul is being dogmatic because the bible urges us not to give the Devil a foothold. One rotten apple in the barrel starts to rot the rest. If we tolerate homosexual practice or any other sinful lifestyle amongst Christians it dishonours God and undermines our message. If we do not practice what we preach we will rightly be accused of hypocrisy and if we edit scripture to avoid a schism, then we are preaching a different gospel which is really no gospel at all and heading down the road to apostasy.

We must be careful to condemn the sin and not the sinner. Those who commit homosexual acts are not to be feared, ridiculed or hated. They can be forgiven and by God's grace their lives can be transformed. The Church should be a haven of peace and healing for repentant homosexuals and a source of help and spiritual guidance for all who struggle to overcome sexual or any other kind of sin.

Many, perhaps most, homosexuals will see no need for repentance for they do not regard sodomy as a sin nor do they believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. They have made their choice.

5 July 2009 20:47  
Blogger Bryan said...

Only an Anglican could have written this article a vain attempt to compromise when no compromise is possible. Your grace with all due respect when people call holy what God absolutly calls sin then it is no act of sichim to leave and remove any support for such an institution.

The Church of England stands on the brink of destruction becasue she has not listen or obeyed her Lord the result can only be that her lamp stand will be removed unless repentance comes and she turns back to the word which is spirit and life...

choose this day who you will serve Christ or the church of england for it very sadly has come to that....

5 July 2009 20:57  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

Brian E,

The other actions you list, like raping and paedophilia, can be condemned on the basis of the fact that they harm unwilling participants, that they are not performed between consenting adults.

In contrast to the above, homosexual conduct is the expression of mutual love and affection between members of the same-sex. Therefore, it is difficult to reconcile a view of a loving God, with a God that would condemn homosexual intercourse.

//This is not only the biblical position but also that of other religions, in particular Islam.//

Yes, and it was once thought by many religions, including Christianity, that the natural place of woman was subservient to men. Indeed, much of the Islamic world still believes this. It is also true that most religions condoned slavery. Nowhere does Jesus preach against slavery. People who rejected that consensus are lauded as Enlighteners. That is all liberal Christians are doing; altering Christian teachings to confirm to the most recent understanding of morality.

//which the majority of society instinctively considers to be wrong, should be allowed in civilized society.//

Yes, but is it instinctive, or is it a social construction. There was a time when people "instinctively" believed that black people were inferior to white, and that slavery was right and natural. The tyranny of the ignorant majority is evident even in the modern day. Many Muslims feel that expression of Christian faith is abhorrent. Are we to conclude that it is right that Christianity should be forbidden in Islamic societies?

//I don't think I would wish to be on such terms with one that I would invite him into my own home on a social occasion, although as far as I am aware the situation has not arisen.//

Do you not think that is a rather abhorrent sentiment? If someone said that of a Muslim, Jew or Christian, would you be repulsed? Or what of someone married to someone of a different race? It seems like such an extreme response to someone being actively homosexual; the fact that you would not even want them in your home. Why would you not want them in your house? Do you believe them dirty? It seems like such an uncivilised sentiment you express. Nor does it seem particularly "Christian".

5 July 2009 21:14  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"Only an Anglican could have written this article a vain attempt to compromise when no compromise is possible."

And only an Ulsterman working as a pastoral assistant and training co-ordinator with St Peters Free Church in Dundee could purposely impute to His Grace a compromise based on a cursory understanding of the complex issues and a superficial reading of the article.

Compromise, indeed.

And there is no need to precede an insult to Anglicans with 'with all due respect' when there is none sincerely expressed or felt.

Over the centuries, there have been many who have asserted that the Church of England 'stands on the brink of destruction' as she has been perpetually crucified between two thieves.

And yet she has endured.

And so she shall.

5 July 2009 21:17  
Blogger John Doe said...

Here here! But I think we are probably of very different opinmions as to what form it will take. God bless the schism!

5 July 2009 21:31  
Anonymous joan of arc said...

Oh when will I be able to wear men's clothes in peace...

5 July 2009 21:32  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I found some comfort in your graces use of "one cannot serve both God and mammon". it is the continual grit wheel that grinds our own sins down.

Let us assume the advent of the gay clergy is not some left wing idealogical mission to rid the nation of Christianity (I do wonder but lets assume otherwise)

We have a scientific position that "Gayness" is hard wired and therefore an element of God making it , this fits more comfortably with the view of natural selection in that its possible desirable even to have a gay population so that strong matriarchs and patriarchs predominate. Therefore homosexuality has a place in the order . I will go alittle further and ask the more difficult question of is it a sin of the parents, the individual?? or just childhood learning experience that never got corrected?? .

what I see as the problem is unlike other sins we are left with a scientific explanation that carries more weight than any scriptural one into describing the difference or fault.

So gayness has an indeterminable cause.

We can say that the ten commandements are "thou shalt nots" and not "the causality of ". It is perhaps also interesting that gayness is not in the ten commandments unless adultery had a more subtle meaning.

The most definite scripture for me is in Romans 1 vs18-32 , where we do have this definition by paul of unatural sexual acts being committed , where people have exchanged the glory of god for images made to look like mortal man and the birds and animals and reptiles.(I speculate if this pagan worship )

it clearly defines these acts as perversions.

It then becomes immediately impossible for someone practising a perversion to be godly in ministering .

So scripturally bishop Nazir Alli is correct in that one must turn away from sin and live seeking the godly wisdom , which means no more gay sex (or any sex if not married).

It also means that anyone practising a perversion does not really love jesus or god , if they did they would turn away . The definition is clear there is no "based on new scientific understanding a get out clause" or "the logic of the bible is flexible on perversion"

I note it does not require the christian to hate , but it certainly doesnt mean actively welcome or participate in the perversion or claim it to be law under God.

In allowing a perversion , the church effectively falls on its own sword , in that it has not stood against a sexual act that is ungodly and so all have sinned and the faith of the communion is broken.

The sinner as ever, has a choice , to keep on sinning after being rebuked , or to turn away.

The church does not have a god history in dealing with incarnate sins , isolations , punishments ,attempts to cure the perversion demons , that have by enlarge not abated the lusts at the heart of the sin.

we have not as yet found the resolute spiritual cure for this sin which is used effictively by more Athiestic beliefs who cite our lack of success as proof that god was never there in the first place.

We now have the situation where homosexuals want god and dont want to be forgiven of there sin . Bishop Gene Robinson is not praying to made un gay !! as if that solves the sin by endorsing a perversion with a bishops title.

It gets worse, under the guise of equality (rather than formed in the image of) , the perversion wishes to be on all equal footings and legal claim to everything that everyone else has , a sort of "que by pass , fast attainment service" , I dont have to work through my sins , just go round it.

It is clear the church cannot promte gay lifestyles or declare them benign .

It can neither abandon the sinner seeking God.

This about following the path that God has given as the task to all who have fallen.

6 July 2009 01:07  
Blogger The Young Oligarch said...

Not going to engage in a lengthy slanging match with anyone .

Have just been on Labourlist to read their view . Nick Clegg (didn't know he was Labour !) jumps on the same bandwagon as CMD , but feels the need to demonise the rest of us as "bigots".
http://www.labourlist.org/conservatives-shoulder-to-shoulder-march-banning-bigots-nick-cle#comments

The comments are good though .
Read this -
"the BDSM community (masochists and sadists)... feel its as hard-wired into their psyche as any other."

Looks like they're not going to stop at the institutionalisation of one perversion .

Peter Tatchell's triumphalist eulogy of Labour's unprecedented assault on sexual morality is worth a look as well .

6 July 2009 02:20  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

I don't care what our Liberal Elites get up to in private, nor what they teach their children, but can't MY children be allowed to be children, must MY children conform to the beliefs and practices of the Liberal Elites.

EU Legalises Paedophilia

6 July 2009 05:39  
Anonymous no nonny said...

"This about following the path that God has given as the task to all who have fallen." Yes, not a machine - I think so too.

It reminds me of the Rubaiyat (Fitzgerald's translation):
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

Of course, I turn to Chaucer for a a Christian (rather than nihilist or alcoholic) approach - I especially like his treatment of the Canon's Yeoman and the Pardoner. The latter's role as ?a "gelding or a mare" entirely proves his thesis that: "Radix malorum est cupiditas."

But I'm with those who argue that all the pilgrims are communicants for whom the journey between earthly cities (Southwark-Canterbury) provides hope that they - with the benefit of Christ's sacrifice - can turn their base 'earth' (humanity) into spiritual gold.

Pity our politicians can't also consider progressing towards a gateway of the Heavenly City - instead of trashing the Minster in the West; and martyring poor old Becket all over again!

But no - they play the fool, right into the hands of Joan of Arc (:)), gratis Mandy and TB. The gravitas of statesmanship has escaped them entirely; meanwhile, Britain smoulders in ways beyond their wildest nightmares.

6 July 2009 06:02  
Blogger Gnostic said...

So it's not just the trots who are telling us what to think, say and do any more. All stripes and colours are at it.

And the reason for not rising up and slaughtering them all is...?

Better make it a damn good reason, folks because I'm running out of all the best ones!

6 July 2009 07:38  
Anonymous curious said...

Why would any homosexual want to be
part of a religion that rejects it?
Because they can.Revenge!And what better revenge than to join the clergy.

Otherwise if a homosexual really believed in Christianity they would realise that they couldn't practise homosexuality. So they have a choice stop practising or leave the Church.Simple.

Oh but that's right the Anglican church sanctioned same sex unions.
When was that exactly? And why are
you complaining now?

6 July 2009 08:55  
Blogger John Doe said...

Sexual disease aids society. Aids is a vicious nasty disease that kills sexually promiscuous people. It's the best thing since sliced bread. Pass mre the butter and marmalade.

Bring on the schism

6 July 2009 09:00  
Anonymous Highlander said...

It is becoming very clear now that the existence of committed and enduring homosexual relationships were well-known to the New Testament writers, yet the posture of the entire bible towards sexual expression other than heterosexual marriage is that such expression is always wrong. Sin is the word no one dare use.

It is an issue that threatens schism exactly because it concerns the relationship of the bible to the life of the church. Will the church conform its life to the bible or will it choose some other authority for itself?

The reason that sexuality is not a secondary matter, about which we could afford the indulgence of independent and differing opinions, is because the question of salvation attaches itself to it. One's fellowship with God in this life as well as one's ultimate destination in the next is affected by the approach one takes to the question of human sexuality.

What many of us are realising, perhaps far too late in the day for a rescue mission, is that the church's lack of rigour in matters of human sexuality is just one sign of a far deeper spiritual malaise. Perhaps the historic denominational vessels are simply too storm-damaged to sail any more.

6 July 2009 09:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error." - Romans 1:26-27

6 July 2009 09:17  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Whilst it is self-evident that homosexual behaviour is a perversion of God's intended order of things, I have to admit to rank hypocrisy - I find sapphic behaviour incredibly erotic. Can someone please provide me with a Biblical argument which will allow me to hold these to mutually contradictory positions with a clear conscience!

6 July 2009 09:20  
Blogger John Doe said...

"You men who are formerly of the light an have given yourselves to the darkness, you condone this foul act of homosexuality. And why? As satan inspires you and directs you, you go about looking for excuses for sin! You condone it with permissiveness! You have taken the direction and the Commandments of your God and you re-evaluate! You take them to your scholars who have heads of fog, and in your masterly, worldly way, you delude those of less learning to believe, because of your high-sounding words and theses, and all manner of scholarly knowledge; you delude those who do not have the God-given knowledge to believe your rot! You even deny the truth of what the Eternal Father did to Sodom and Gomorrah for the sin of homosexuality.
"You who cry love your neighbor, do not twist the truth and say that Sodom and Gomorrah fell because they were inhospitable! Oh, no! I say unto you: hospitality had nothing at all to do with this. It was a manner of degrading, debased sin, using a creation of the Father for vile acts, animal acts, and far worse until your filth and pollution has entered into the minds and souls of the young! You defilers of mankind, the skin shall burn off of your bones soon!"

6 July 2009 09:25  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

The issue of homosexuality is a symptom, one of many, that has emerged because the traditional authority of scripture has been undermined by Left-liberal ‘theological scholarship’.

Practising Christians are being persecuted in the public square by the homosexual lobby; the contrary is unarguable. If the Church of England does not confront this issue then it will undermine the hundreds of latent homosexual Anglicans who are celibate.

Do not abandon those brave Christians.

We are heading not only towards ‘schism’ but with it greater persecution. It is now no longer inconceivable that to be a member of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will be the ‘immoral equivalent’ of being a member of the BNP. That will mean many more practising Christians will be asked to resign from their jobs and default on their mortgages. They will be homeless and their families destitute.

It is said that there is a time for all things that are done under the heavens. The time has come to choose between Caesar and God. And how I wish such a time was not upon us.

Yet for all that, I know that the history of Christianity reveals that it is persecution that triggers revival and history shows that evil cannot long reign for evil to exist it must ‘feed off’ the good – precisely because it is an imitation of the good. Good can exist on its own. Evil never can.

We will triumph. The Lion of Judah is coming to rescue the American eagle and the British lion. And we shall look back upon the next two decades in old age and remember:

What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

King Henry V

6 July 2009 09:32  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Steady on Doe, your utterances are too Islamic for my liking. A bit of levity please!

6 July 2009 09:36  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Highlander is right ,the ship is too damaged to set sail any longer
so schism it is!The new ship will have a place for Mr. Singh's hundreds of latent homosexuals who are celibate as well.

Where on earth do you get this information from Mr. Singh?First it's Sartre sceaming for Jesus in the bank seat of a cab and now this!

6 July 2009 09:53  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

Overwhelmingly, the comments on this article have a 'conservative' flavour. There is hope for the C of E yet. I have a few homosexual friends whose behaviour is a matter of great sadness to me. I have many heterosexual friends whose behaviour is a matter of great sadness to me. How I wish that they could know the cleansing blood of Jesus in their lives.

For some months now I have been enduring chemotherapy, which in destroying my white blood cells deprives me of the cleansing, germ destroying, power of my own blood. The recurrent bacteraemia leaves me enfeebled and down hearted. This is how I imagine it must be for those still steeped in sin.

Such cleansing is available for the taking. "If we confess our sin he is faithfull and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all iniquities."

6 July 2009 09:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination" Lev 20:13
"I am the Lord, I change not" Mal 3:6
How clear can it be? God may change in His dealings with mankind but He does not change in His character. It does not matter if this sin has become socially accepted, sodomy is repulsive to God - end of debate.

6 July 2009 10:09  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Sydneysider,

In all the churches I have attended only a very few have been homosexual – often either married or celibate.

As to Sartre – I got the information from a work by my favourite Christian philosopher Francis A. Schaeffer. Unfortunately I cannot locate the exact work in which he mentioned the circumstances of Sartre’s death.

Please would you be kind to me and locate retired Christians in your church and forward His Grace’s link to them?

I am convinced that we have several divisions of retired Christians from all walks of life (lawyers, doctors, philosophers, composers, artists etc.) who are itching to use their expert knowledge in these debates.

And when they come, we shall recite the following prayer:

O God of Battles! steel my soldiers' hearts;
Possess them not with fear; take from them now
The sense of reckoning, if the opposed numbers
Pluck their hearts from them. Not to-day, O Lord,
O, not to-day, think not upon the fault
My father made in compassing the crown!
I Richard's body have interred anew;
And on it have bestow'd more contrite tears
Than from it issued forced drops of blood:
Five hundred poor I have in yearly pay,
Who twice a-day their wither'd hands hold up
Toward heaven, to pardon blood; and I have built
Two chantries, where the sad and solemn priests
Sing still for Richard's soul. More will I do;
Though all that I can do is nothing worth,
Since that my penitence comes after all,
Imploring pardon.

6 July 2009 10:16  
Blogger John Doe said...

Remain this focused Terry. God will Bless.

6 July 2009 10:16  
Anonymous Maturecheese said...

I am sick to death of all this pandering to minorities in the name of votes. The important issues are never given enough prominence and instead we end up with heated debates about rubbish like this but here goes.

Clearly most right minded people KNOW that Homosexuality is WRONG. The actual act committed is frankly disgusting and it is not something that should be treated as normal. Yes some people end up going down that road and they should NOT be persecuted but neither should they be celebrated or accepted as normal. We are still essentially a tolerant Nation and have tolerated homosexuality for a long time and that's how it should remain, tolerate but don't celebrate.

6 July 2009 10:16  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

I'd love to help you out Mr.Singh
but most of the retired Christians in my Church spend their time
surfing in Bali and those that dont
make John Doe look low impact.But
I'll keep an eye out anyway.

Can't say I approve of homosexuals
marrying women.That happened to my poor sister and what a terrible business that was.It's such a wicked thing to do . There's no room for them on the new ship.

I hope you're not taking offense at my little digs Mr. Singh. All
meant in good fun!

6 July 2009 10:46  
Blogger Ian said...

"We will triumph. The Lion of Judah is coming to rescue the American eagle and the British lion." - D. Singh

I always value your contributions on the web but I believe both yourself and Cranmer have misunderstood what will prevail us.

I believe that the lion of Judah will rescue His people soon after the coming conflagration in the ME. All will be destroyed except Israel. So I believe this is the time for us to make a spiritual stand.

Your grace I have always enjoyed your posturings but have to be honest, forgive me, questioned your Christian credentials.

If by this post you are offering a "toleration" of the homosexual act in society, than I have to say you are both wrong and in confusion as to what is happening in our country.

The great evil that is socialism is like a cancer. Currently now its finishing the work of destroying its host over the last 150 years or so and sounds the death knell for our country. In the last 12 years we can now see the legacy of the new labour project. The rise of fascism in our land.

Both Cameron and Brown are moral cowards wolfs in sheeps clothing lacking the guts to stand up for what is right. "For evil to exist all good men have to do is nothing" Edmund Burke. And evil is growing in this country now and we have no defenders. Not the Church not Westminster not business. This country I am afraid is finished. While you all have been watching your bank balances grow and your property portfolios flourish you ignored what was going on behind your backs. America is under attack now. I dont think it will survive.

So with great irony you have the chance to emanate your illustrious predecessor and make a stand for what God's word. Nothing less will do.

When Labour got into power, in a strange way it reminded of those 30's films of the triumphs of the Nazi's - which was obviously ridiculous.

Now 12 years on with what is happening with the rise of fascism I can easily see how the nazis got power. No small achievement I think you'll agree.

We have been very lucky to avoid the carnage of our parents and grandparents in the early part of the last century. Our lives of comfort have lulled us into a fantasy that is about to rupture. And in a strange way the test is greater. The price our souls.

There is no way back for us. The only people suggesting there is are the hate filled national parties. Corruption and greed allowed socialism a foothold and it has destroyed our country. When Mr Cameron made his apology for section 28 it was indicative that the game was up. Every rat is gnawing at the carcass of the body politic of the UK to steal what he can while he can and now is not the time for compromise with the devil.

Ask yourself as long as you had a nice house, a big car and plenty of money but were living in nazi germany in the late 30's would you have been happy? Could you, would you have turned a blind eye.

6 July 2009 10:49  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Sydneysider,

I am afraid the debate over sexuality is advancing towards a greater destructiveness. On the Brussels Journal’s website it was reported that a man in Holland has ‘married’ (under Dutch contract law) two lesbian sisters.

Once the monogamous heterosexual norm is breached then there is nothing stopping any other type of ‘family unit’ being formed.

The homosexual lobby has made very little comment about this development.

If two men, then why not one man and two lesbians? If that, then why not one woman and three chimpanzees?

Once you destroy the Judaeo-Christian basis, then society is left alone to come up with anything it desires – that is what the Nazis and communists discovered.

6 July 2009 11:07  
Blogger John Doe said...

July 6, 2009
The truth that dare not speak its name
Daily Mail, 6 July 2009

Melanie Phillips.com

6 July 2009 11:37  
Blogger Chrysippus said...

You Grace,

Here in Deal, Kent, as part of the Summer Music Festival, over the weekend last, we had the Black Dyke Band performing.

Thus we managed to celebrate two minorities in one concert.

6 July 2009 15:48  
Blogger John Doe said...

A little something which may, or may not be of interest to His Grace's communicants.

A YouTube video called "The Bible Told Me So". An exploration of the intersection between religion and homosexuality in the U.S. and how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to stigmatize the gay community.

Which I am in full support of, I have to include.

The Bible told me so.

6 July 2009 17:30  
OpenID jamestheless said...

Johnny Rottenborough,

"If a man has been created by God as homosexual then how can be a physical expression of his sexuality be sinful in the eyes of God?"

As so often, the error is in the initial assumption. It is true that man was originally made in the image of God, but as a result of the Fall, nature is corrupt - the natural world as well as human nature. While the image of God is still present in every human, it is tarnished and obscured by sin.

The process of human procreation is affected by this corruption of the natural world, meaning that every human is born with a propensity to sin (although individuals seem to vary greatly as to which sins they find the most compelling).

God does not create homosexuals, any more than he creates (heterosexual) pornography addicts, kleptomaniacs, swindlers or gossips.

Since our human nature is corrupted and has fallen away from God's intentions, Christians cannot just "express" themselves, since that means expressing the sinful part of their nature as well as the part which comes from God. Only when they have crucified their passions, and their human nature has been restored in Christ, can they relax and fully express themselves, since they will be what God wanted them to be and they will always do what God wanted them to do.

6 July 2009 18:07  
OpenID jamestheless said...

Your Grace,

May I draw your communicants' attention to an excellent post on the Working Class Tory blog?

Although the main purpose of the article is to dispel a number of myths about the infamous "Section 28", which made it illegal for local authorities to promote homosexuality, it also contains the following paragraph:

"[H]omosexual couples, in 2000, only made up 0.1% of all UK households. Not only that, but in the Blackwell Scientific report carried out in 1994, named Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, only 0.3% of men in Britain are exclusively homosexual, and 1.4% have had a gay sexual experience in the last five years."

It may be that these statistics are out of date, and a new survey would result in somewhat higher numbers; nonetheless, they show that this is a very small constituency. One would have thought that both politicians and churchmen would have far more pressing concerns, particularly in the present circumstances of severe economic and spiritual decline.

6 July 2009 18:32  
Blogger John Doe said...

God created man to 'Love' men. But we Love our children, I love my dog, but God Dam, I don't screw my kids or my dog!

6 July 2009 18:41  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

jamestheless,

Hello again.

I would just like to highlight a different survey that puts the figure at closer to 6% of the population being homosexual.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/dec/11/gayrights.immigrationpolicy

//nonetheless, they show that this is a very small constituency. //

Perhaps. But you fail to factor in their friends, and family, and people with more liberal views generally. Also, I imagine that both the % of black people in the US was low, and the % of people wishing to intermarry with another race would be even lower. The % does not really matter. What matters is the injustice of the situation.

6 July 2009 19:24  
Blogger ZZMike said...

Rottenborough: "If a man has been created by God as homosexual then how can be a physical expression of his sexuality be sinful in the eyes of God?"

While there are dangers in pushing metaphors too far, one might ask the same question of murderers. Are they not created so by God? And if not, how can we say that homosexuals are?

"... but perhaps St Paul was wrong when he lumped homosexuality in with his shopping list of sins."

Ypu're right - he was wrong. He just got his list a bit mixed up. That other one shouldn't have been there either. I don't feel so guilty now.

"To be born homosexual — to be created by God as a homosexual — is no personal choice."

You may be right. I would amend that to "to be born with homosexual proclivities". Most of us are born with an attraction to the opposite sex - a "crossed wiring" of parts of the brain may produce the opposite effect. And there are also many of us who do not act on those impulses - monks, nuns, priests. I suspect there are many homosexuals who do not act on their impulses. The rest - on both sides - are those who reject mere freedom for complete license. The issue would not be so great as it is today were it not for the "in your face", "we want it all now" tantrums we see so often from homosexual activists.

indigomyth: "In contrast to the above, homosexual conduct is the expression of mutual love and affection between members of the same-sex."

Now you've painted yourself into a corner. What homosexuality has done, over the past few decades, is bring sex ("eros", the 4th in the list our gracious host started) out of the bedroom into the public bath house. And more recently, into the public bathroom. Mutual love and affection have very little to do with it, at least, not in the public face they present to us, in almost any "gay pride" festival and parade.

"Yes, and it was once thought by many religions, including Christianity, that the natural place of woman was subservient to men."

Not in the early church. Jesus held His longest conversation in the Gospels with the woman at the well. Women were prominent among His followers: Prisca (=Priscilla) (she's even named first: "Prisca and Aquila ..."); Lydia, the dealer in purple cloth - in other words, a rich merchant; ...

6 July 2009 20:28  
OpenID jamestheless said...

indigomyth,

Hello again to you too!

Thank you for the Guardian link. Unfortunately, this does not explain what criteria were used to determine whether someone is homosexual. Does it mean, as I expect many readers would assume, someone who is exclusively homosexual and either in a homosexual relationship or actively looking to start one?

Or does it mean anyone who has ever had some kind of experience or feeling which could be interpreted as not unambiguously heterosexual? I understand that the proverbial "10%" figure derived from a study which counted, for example, the recipients of unwanted homosexual attention (e.g. being stared at in communal showers) as being gay.

Without this key information, I'm afraid this doesn't tell us very much.

As for my constituency remark, I realised after posting that this might be misleading. Let me say that I do not believe the law should not snoop into people's bedrooms, and I certainly do not wish to see a return to gay people being persecuted for their sexuality.

I think my point is really a philosophical objection. I object to the Marxist notion that society can be divided into a set of interest groups (or "communities" in New Labour-speak), each interest group consisting of depersonalised individuals who are defined entirely by their membership of the interest group. Having divided society into "good" and "bad" interest groups and set them against each other (workers against toffs, women against men, blacks against whites, etc., etc.), politicians then rule over the resulting chaos.

While we have come to expect this from New Labour, it's extremely depressing to see the Conservatives playing along with this game.

I also find the sudden passionate enthusiasm for the gay cause cynical, hypocritical and self-serving. Again, we've come to expect this from New Labour, but Conservatives are supposed to make changes in a thoughtful and careful manner, rather than jumping from one fad to another based on the latest focus group.

6 July 2009 20:31  
OpenID jamestheless said...

"I do not believe the law should not snoop into people's bedrooms"

Argh! Of course I meant the exact opposite, Your Grace.

I believe the law should not snoop into people's bedrooms.

6 July 2009 20:36  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

ZZMike,

//Now you've painted yourself into a corner. What homosexuality has done, over the past few decades, is bring sex ("eros", the 4th in the list our gracious host started) out of the bedroom into the public bath house. And more recently, into the public bathroom. Mutual love and affection have very little to do with it, at least, not in the public face they present to us, in almost any "gay pride" festival and parade.//

I should have said that homosexual conduct CAN be the expression of mutual love and affection between members of the same-sex. In the same way that heterosexual conduct can be merely about lust, so can homosexual conduct. However, the problem is that certain Christian are indiscriminate in their criticism of homosexual conduct.

As it is, sex is a principle part of the expression of mutual romantic love? And, I would opine, that since many religious people feel that marriage is for procreation, in short, sex, that sex has always been in the public domain.

I admit, I am liberal in my sexual attitudes, so I do not believe sex needs to be an act of love. But I realise that this can be quite validly criticised. Promiscuity can be quite legitimately condemned. However, to lump all homosexual conduct together, would be like to say that all heterosexual conduct is the same. What I am saying is that it is perfectly okay to condemn a promiscuous homosexual for their promiscuity, but not for the homosexual nature of that promiscuity. I am sorry for the error in my statement.

Things like Civil Partnership, an institution to protect the rights of same-sex partners to see each other in hospital, etc, make no mention of sexual relations.

Could you explain why it is that Christian marriages can be annulled if they are not consummated with sex, and this does not make the institution of marriage one that revolves around sexual relations? Indeed, the very argument that sex is for a husband and wife, within marriage, makes the focus of marriage sexual relations.

I would note, that many Christians feels that even things like two men holding hands in public, or kissing, are "pushing homosexuality" on them. The sensitivities of some Christians seems to be remarkably low.

6 July 2009 20:47  
Anonymous len said...

If the 'gay ' population is rising perhaps this is one of the reasons why our society is fragmenting and the family unit is under threat.
The rising( if it is so) gay population would also explain David and Gordon courting ( if that is the word)the gay vote.

6 July 2009 20:53  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

//Without this key information, I'm afraid this doesn't tell us very much//

I would assume that they used self-determination to arrive at their figure.

The study you cited talks of "exclusive homosexuality". The problem is that sexuality is a continuum. Very few people fit either entirely in one extreme or another. I would be interested to see how many people would come out as exclusively heterosexual!

//I think my point is really a philosophical objection. I object to the Marxist notion that society can be divided into a set of interest groups//

Granted. However, is this not what religion is about? Indeed, is this not what God does? Sorry, that is a side point.

I agree that a person can be gay, and yet favour the Conservatives.

Do you find it interesting that many strongly religious people are starting to conform to the Marxist notion. Surely the invention of a "Christian Party" is the ultimate expression of identity politics. It would be truly ironic if the Christian Party was the result of Marxist ideology!

6 July 2009 20:56  
Blogger John Doe said...

I have nothing to say to sluts, and even less to queer ones.

6 July 2009 21:48  
OpenID jamestheless said...

indigomyth,

"The study you cited talks of "exclusive homosexuality". The problem is that sexuality is a continuum. Very few people fit either entirely in one extreme or another."

Precisely. This is why I would like to have seen a more specific breakdown in the Guardian article.

"I would be interested to see how many people would come out as exclusively heterosexual!"

Fair point! Although I would count people who settle down to adult heterosexuality after teenage experimentation as heterosexual, for example (and vice versa for homosexuals).

"//I think my point is really a philosophical objection. I object to the Marxist notion that society can be divided into a set of interest groups//

Granted. However, is this not what religion is about? Indeed, is this not what God does? Sorry, that is a side point."

Not really. Only God can decide who is his and who is not, and this will happen after our lives. Christians believe that God's justice is tempered with mercy and love, and that he is able to see into the depths of our hearts.

Marxists do not even practice justice, let alone mercy or love, and they only pretend to be able to read people's minds (curiously enough, they always find exactly what is needed to exalt or condemn them according to their purposes).

It's true that religions distinguish their followers from non-believers and apostates. Jesus told his followers to pray for and bless their enemies, which I understand to include these groups as well.

"I agree that a person can be gay, and yet favour the Conservatives."

If the opinion polls quoted on Iain Dale's blog are to be believed, more gay people will vote for the Conservatives than for Labour! I suspect that, as with other "interest groups", some gay people are beginning to tire of the constant assumption that they owe the Labour Party a huge favour.

"Do you find it interesting that many strongly religious people are starting to conform to the Marxist notion. Surely the invention of a "Christian Party" is the ultimate expression of identity politics. It would be truly ironic if the Christian Party was the result of Marxist ideology!"

I don't know anything about the Christian Party, but it does rather sound like an attempt to defeat sin by using the weapons of a fallen world, something which is bound to fail.

6 July 2009 22:43  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

Jamestheless,

//I don't know anything about the Christian Party, but it does rather sound like an attempt to defeat sin by using the weapons of a fallen world, something which is bound to fail.//

I always thought that the US spent thousands of dollars setting up reservations for Native Americans. In the UK, certain types of Christians are doing the political equivalent of that, all by themselves.

//Marxists do not even practice justice, let alone mercy or love, and they only pretend to be able to read people's minds (curiously enough, they always find exactly what is needed to exalt or condemn them according to their purposes).//

And do you not find it equally curious that the Gods of people so frequently dislike exactly the same thing that their followers dislike.

//Fair point! Although I would count people who settle down to adult heterosexuality after teenage experimentation as heterosexual, for example (and vice versa for homosexuals).//

I think that may be a fair assessment. Though it would not really address the question of sexual attraction. Based on that principle, there were very few homosexuals in the past, because they got married and had children.

7 July 2009 06:59  
OpenID jamestheless said...

"And do you not find it equally curious that the Gods of people so frequently dislike exactly the same thing that their followers dislike."

I find it even more curious that the God of the Jews and the Christians often demands his followers to do the exact opposite of what they would like to do. Telling Abraham to sacrifice his son, for example; or saying that Christians should turn the other cheek when someone insults or injures them.

"I think that may be a fair assessment. Though it would not really address the question of sexual attraction."

I was trying to distinguish between someone's orientation as a confused, hormone-ridden adolescent and their orientation as a mature, settled adult.

"Based on that principle, there were very few homosexuals in the past, because they got married and had children."

Not necessarily - a number of homosexuals lived lives of quiet celibacy (on the surface, at least) and devoted themselves to their work in schools, academia, the arts or even the Church. Admittedly this was only really an option for the well-off and well-educated.

7 July 2009 09:33  
Blogger D. Singh said...

jamestheless

Outstanding!

7 July 2009 09:54  
Anonymous indigomyth said...

Jamestheless,
//I find it even more curious that the God of the Jews and the Christians often demands his followers to do the exact opposite of what they would like to do. Telling Abraham to sacrifice his son, for example; or saying that Christians should turn the other cheek when someone insults or injures them.//

An interesting idea. I would note that I have talked to Christians that would be glad to have been Abraham, in order to do God's work. However, I accept your point, that some aspects of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith asks some of its adherents to do things they would otherwise like. I would note, however, that people like John Doe seem to relish the task handed to them by God.

//Not necessarily - a number of homosexuals lived lives of quiet celibacy (on the surface, at least) and devoted themselves to their work in schools, academia, the arts or even the Church. Admittedly this was only really an option for the well-off and well-educated.//

Conceded.

I confess, if more Christians addressed these matters as you have done, rather than in the throwing around of words like "abomination" and "abhorrent", then you would have a far greater chance of "winning" back society. However, as long as individuals as Dutchlion and John Doe abound (and there are more than a few of them), I fear that society will never be as you want it.

7 July 2009 18:11  
Anonymous len said...

Christianity is not in the business of winning back society, becoming a part of society, or cosying up to a fallen corrupt creation!
This world is under judgment and eventually will be destroyed and a new world created.
Christians are delivered from this present evil age....
" Paul an apostle...not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raise Him from the dead.. all the brethren who are with me, to the churches in Galatia, Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory for ever and ever , Amen.(Galatians 1:1-5)

7 July 2009 19:06  
OpenID jamestheless said...

Mr Singh,

Thank you for your praise. At the risk of turning His Grace's august forum into a mutual admiration society, I have been impressed by many of your posts here.

indigomyth,

I can't speak for John Doe, although he appears more than capable of speaking for himself.

Len,

You are quite correct to say that Christians should not pander to a corrupt world. On the other hand, we have a responsibility to help redeem it, in Christ.

If I understand indigomyth correctly, he is saying that going around hurling anathemas and damnations at non-believers is not an effective way of doing this.

7 July 2009 19:44  
Anonymous len said...

Jamestheless,
I believe( at the risk of sounding arrogant) that fallen man is totally unaware of his condition.
Without a knowledge of Gods original intention for man, and the fall of man it is impossible to appreciate the situation one is in!
To use an illustration...
If I saw someone driving down a road which i knew ended in the car going off a precipice would....
write a letter to the times?
Do nothing?
Pretend I didn`t see them?
Not say anything because they might think I was being abusive or arrogant( know it all?)
Or shout " your`e going the wrong way?

The apostle Paul would probably enter in a long discourse on the subject.

The apostle Peter would be a lot more to the point.
Who would be right?

7 July 2009 21:25  
Anonymous Magenta said...

John Doe: "Aids is a vicious nasty disease that kills sexually promiscuous people."
----

Has it ever occured to you that some people could contract an STD or HIV\AIDS via rape\molestation. Some children are even born with it.
I'm assuming you're christian\catholic. Christ never wished aids on anyone and niether should anyone who claims to be his follower.

10 July 2009 04:22  
Blogger David Ould said...

Your Grace speaks much sense and is, as always, to be listened to and considered.

However, perhaps my good lord bishop has not been sufficiently clear on the source of the distraction of sexuality-related matters for the unwary reader could be lead to believe that you were castigating those who sought to simply defend what our very good Lord tells us in His Scriptures.

It is not the "conservatives" who are causing the trouble, it is those who would seek to say that what God has said is wrong.

Notwithstanding all the good said in this post by our common obsession with sex, perhaps we should still be realistic about who is picking the fight.

It think it was your grace's German friend who said "If we do not stand and fight at the place where the enemy makes his great assault, then we are not standing at all". Or words to that effect. With an umlaut, not doubt.

13 July 2009 07:07  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Judgment begins with the House of God.

I am tempted every Sunday morning by Giant Despair. At least once a month a leaflet is shoved under my nose about how we need to help those in Third World countries – do these ‘do-gooders’ not see that the Church in Britain will shortly be a in a position where it is unable to help? Do they not see the thousands of Christians – particularly in the public sector – who wonder if they will be asked to leave their desks because they are Christians; their homes repossessed; their children destitute?

When we plead with our priests to shout out from the church bell-tower that Christians are being silenced in the public square, what do we hear? A cryptic reply that wears an ivory smile: ‘We priests can say things but you can’t!’

But by saying that they betray how bad the situation is: in Britain Christians are silenced by the State. In other words our priests, by default and unwittingly, collaborate with the politics of the world (the cess-pit).

By silencing Christians you close down not only a part of this nation but also its glorious heritage and its future; this country cannot be divorced from the history of its Christianity. And if you do so divorce: what sacred treasure can you leave for those who come after you?

Why do those Christians who pray on their knees at the weekly Bible Study meeting; who exhort us to obey Scripture; who shake the collection tin on a Saturday morning, not able to grasp the escalating scale of hostility towards our historic faith? Could it be that they have failed to hear and read of the cries of Christians in our yet still free press?

But that cannot be the reason – for the Lord our God gave us two things in common: eyes to see with and ears to hear.

Or is the real reason that we can say long prayers in the safety and comfort of our homes but play the coward in the face of an increasingly cynical and hostile world possessed by the Spirit of Munich?

Many at this moment, suspended from work, are contemplating what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God.

The church may have abandoned them; it may have passed them by the way; averted its eyes and stopped its ears: but there is still a remnant left who sees and hears them. And that remnant God will call by those watchmen who do their duty by raising the alarm on Liberty’s wall.

Let us remember the words of that great and gallant Christian Oliver Cromwell:

‘It is not numbers that count; but speed and surprise.’

13 July 2009 10:34  
Blogger Bubbles said...

Gays are not a threat to anyone or anything. You're not going to lose any rights just because they are given more. So much time and millions of dollars are wasted trying to stop the gays from getting married. Time and money is much better spent witnessing to others, or helping children who are starving.

13 July 2009 12:08  
Anonymous len said...

The whole point of the 'gay ' argument is the 'world' trying to water down and dilute the christian message, to in fact outlaw Christianity because it doesn`t comply with the moral standards of the world.
It is an attempt to corrupt the Christian message.
To use an illustration Nebuchadnezzar set up a statue, an idol ,and everyone had to worship this idol on pain of death.This whole thing was set up to corrupt the prophet Daniel.
Christians should be aware of the intentions of the world to corrupt the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

14 July 2009 23:45  

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