an information resource
for orthodox Anglicans

Breaking the rules on gay marriage

March 23rd, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Will Adam, Church Times

The position of clerics who disobey bishops is still unclear
Picture the scene: the Bishop's post is being opened, and among the invitations, job applications, and clerical outfitters' catalogues are three troubling pieces of correspondence.
The first is from the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, informing the Bishop that an ordinand in training, who is in the process of looking for a title post in the diocese, has entered into a same-sex marriage.
The second is a letter of complaint from a group of parishioners that the Vicar of X has just used the form of service for prayer and dedication after a civil marriage from Common Worship: Pastoral Services to bless a same-sex marriage in church.
The third is from the churchwarden of Y to say that the Rector has just come back from holiday with the news that the trip was a honeymoon, and a new (same-sex) spouse has moved into the Rectory.
What is the Bishop to do? So much of the comment aired since the publication of the House of Bishops' statement on same-sex marriage ( News, 21 February) has revolved around how a bishop would enforce the policy set down in that statement.
The reality, however, is probably that it will be others who will make complaints, seeking to force bishops to act.
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Bishop of Oxford’s Presidential address to Synod

March 22nd, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Pilling Report Comments Off

The Rt Revd John PritchardHat Tip: Peter Ould

[...]  When I say I’m bored with sex I hope you won’t misunderstand me. But in another part of the forest, wearing my lead bishop on education hat, I’m being deluged at present with a campaign of emails on homophobic bullying in schools and Stonewall’s offer of free materials to help counter it. And I wrote recently to the clergy of the diocese on the House of Bishops’ Pastoral letter on same sex marriage – and that letter seems to have gone viral (as they say) – I’ve been getting emails of support from all over the country, indeed the world. The first same sex marriages will happen next week.

So, either way, I have to talk about sex. But fairly briefly. The House of Bishops didn’t excel itself in our Pastoral Letter on how to handle the phenomenon of same sex marriage. The tone had the awkward sound of scratching a blackboard. It was written by committee and no-one at the meeting of the House would have produced it, if they were writing alone. But we had to live in two time-frames – the longer one of considered conversation around the Pilling report, and the much shorter one of the very imminent arrival of a quite new phenomenon, same-sex marriage.

We were never likely to try and change two thousand years of belief and practice about marriage in a day in February at Church House Westminster. What the Pilling report, the wider Church and society as a whole are asking us to do is to listen and talk, to pray and to study, over a two year period about the biblical, theological, ethical, missiological and ecclesiological implications of what’s happening around us. That seems reasonable. The Church has to be in dialogue with its context in every age. If it isn’t, it becomes a defensive ghetto. And we believe we have good news for every generation and for all people. But is it good news of holy welcome or of holy resistance? The views of members of Synod here today will be very different, and not just in a binary way; there’ll be a whole spectrum of opinion here, and every opinion held vehemently, I guess!

Read here

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Proponent of intact natural families in US arrives for first UK gay weddings

March 21st, 2014 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Gay Marriage Comments Off

Lesbian-raised Bobby Lopez says “Children’s rights to both mother and father must trump gay rights”

Bobby Lopez, founder of the International Children’s Rights Institute in California, will be in the UK from 26th to 30th March, 2014 and is available for media events and interviews. He has authored The Colorful Conservative: American Conversations with the Ancients from Wheatley to Whitman and edits English Manif, a team blog devoted to children’s rights. He is an Associate Professor of English and Classics in California.

Bobby, who is being sponsored in Britain by the ‘GayMarriageNoThanks – because children matter’ campaign, supports civil partnerships for gays, but has strongly opposed gay marriage in part because of his personal experience. He was raised by his mother with the help of her lifelong female partner. He has self-identified as bisexual but is now married and in an exclusive relationship with his wife.

Bobby argues that:

• Some legal recognition is necessary to protect relationships between consenting gay adults, but there must also be legal protection of a child’s relationship to his/her mother and father. For this reason, civil partnerships are good for gay adults but gay marriage leads inevitably to a lack of protection for children.
• Children’s rights include the right to be born free, rather than bought or sold; the right to a mum and dad; and the right to know one’s origins.
• There is no “right to a child,” “right to be a parent,” or “right to adopt,” whether for gay people or other adults. Any legal notion of such a right turns children into commodities. Rather, society has obligations to children, the primary one being to provide each child with a mum and dad wherever possible.

For interviews with Bobby Lopez, contact Alan Craig (director, GayMarriageNoThanks) on 07939 547198 or email [email protected] 


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Statement by UKIP leader Nigel Farage on the issue of the party’s approach to same-sex marriage

March 19th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

Nigel Farage said: “UKIP’s objection to same sex marriage was two-fold. First, we did not think it should have been made a political priority at a time of many other pressing issues and pointed out that the measure had no mandate from the electorate.

“Secondly we were concerned that because of the role of the European Court of Human Rights in British law that faith communities which had strong objections were at risk of being forced to conduct gay marriages.

“The statement attributed to me yesterday was not made by me and not approved by me. It was a draft by a staff member that should never have been sent out.

“There is an ongoing debate within UKIP about how we can protect faith communities from ultimately being compelled to conduct same sex marriages against their beliefs and their will. We note that some gay rights activists are already talking about taking legal action in Strasbourg to force this issue.”

Read here

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Ukip will disestablish the Church of England

March 19th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, Gay Marriage, Politics Comments Off

From Cranmer

To all those Christians – including the many thousands who daily frequent His Grace's blog – who were considering voting Ukip in the imminent Euro elections (or next year's General Election), pause your fervour.

Nigel Farage has spent many years stroking your troubled forehead and luring you into believing that he and his party understand your concerns about the systematic erosion of our Judaeo-Christian heritage and the perpetual political diminution of Christian moral values. Indeed, he has said:

“We need a much more muscular defence of our Judaeo-Christian heritage. Yes, we’re open to different cultures but we have to defend our values. That’s the message I want to hear from the Archbishop of Canterbury and from our politicians. Anything less is appeasement of the worst kind.”

Cristina Odone herself was impressed:

Yet he speaks not as a defender of the faith — he ventures to church only four or five times a year — but of “our identity”.

..“We have,” he says, “some very mixed values”. These include the “betrayal” of the family. “This has been the most anti-family government we have ever seen. The very fact that they pushed for gay marriage, and thought that it was important at a time when not even Stonewall was campaigning for it, shows you their twisted sense of priorities.” He is “100 per cent” supportive of stay-at-home mothers.

And His Grace was attentive:

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Nigel Farage: Ukip would strip Christian weddings of legal status

March 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Marriage, Politics Comments Off

From The Telegraph

Nigel Farage says Ukip would strip traditional Christian wedding ceremonies of their legal status and keep same sex marriage

Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has said that the traditional Christian wedding ceremony should be stripped of its legal status.
Mr Farage suggested that couples who want to wed in church should have to undertake two ceremonies, one recognised by the state and one a religious ceremony.
He also said he would not abolish same-sex marriage, despite having campaigned forcefully against the bill before it came into law.
His call for French-style reforms of the marriage system came after similar proposals by Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat justice minister.
In an interview with PinkNews Mr Farage urged gay, lesbian and trangender people to join his party.

Read here


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Social science is no bogeyman

March 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Paul D Miller, MercatorNet

Well-grounded research supports virtue and human flourishing

How can Christians make arguments that are persuasive to those who do not share their most basic presuppositions? That is the quandary in which Christians—and Jews and Muslims—find themselves as public discourse is increasingly framed, mediated, and policed by people for whom religion is not simply incredible, but irrelevant. This dilemma is not new, but it has sharpened significantly as Christians struggle to articulate reasons for supporting marriage as the union of man and woman to a secular culture that suddenly discovered it had no reasonable grounds to agree with them anymore.

The traditional Christian response, and one that some thinkers have tried in recent years, is to frame arguments in terms of natural law. The effort, on the surface, made sense. Because we understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be objectively true and applicable to all persons regardless of time or culture, the moral guidelines to which it gives rise are similarly objective and universal. This is natural law: a universal moral code inscribed in creation, applicable across time and culture, and accessible by reason. Because God has written the natural law on the hearts of all mankind, all people—Christian and non-Christian alike—can discern it (though, of course, not perfectly, and not without training and education). Natural law and reason should be a common language with which to talk to others who do not share our belief in revelation.

But Christians have not exhausted the resources available for speaking in terms intelligible, legitimate, and persuasive to those outside the community of faith. There is another such a way. It's called social science.

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Same sex marriage – are we allowed to pray about it?

March 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Prayer Comments Off

By Andrew Symes

Marriage has now been redefined according to law, and there are fewer than two weeks to go before the first ‘gay weddings’, the symbolic enactment of this new understanding of the “honourable estate”. The media narrative is that this is no big deal – we are really just catching up with the more ‘advanced’ Western countries – everyone will soon get used to the more inclusive idea of marriage and family. The thousands who wrote to their MP’s and signed petitions last year have been told: you’ve lost the argument. Certainly I don’t intend to go over the arguments again about why same sex “marriage” is a bad idea and against God’s created order, arguments which remain valid today. 
I’m not going to try now to convince those Christians who are shrugging their shoulders and saying “whatever” why they should be more concerned. But I do want to ask those who believe that the nation is taking a profoundly wrong step on March 29th, if we are disturbed in our spirits but seem paralysed into inaction, what do we do about it? In particular, what are the options for PRAYER?
The title seems rather dramatic – are we not allowed to pray? When I first started suggesting the idea of calling the church to pray for the nation on March 29th, I was told in no uncertain terms by senior evangelical Anglican leaders that this would send out a negative message. So I approached individual churches, asking if they were planning to pray about this issue. Would it be possible for a concerned group of Christians to use the building to pray on the day that the ancient concept of the covenant of marriage is parodied and violated? “Er, no – we have many different views in our congregation, and this would cause controversy”. Well what about encouraging people to pray in their living rooms? “Well, we always encourage prayer, but we should pray for all the issues affecting the nation and the world, not focus on marriage alone”. These are people who will agree privately that the Bible prohibits same gender sexual relationships, who are actively discouraging prayer for the nation in this crucial area of life.
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Why Christian Supporters of Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Are Wrong

March 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage Comments Off

by Regis Nicoll, Breakpoint

Fox News political analyst Kirsten Powers is a Christian who supports same-sex “marriage.” In her moral imagination, the only thing fueling the opposition to “marriage equality” is anti-gay bigotry. She suggests that if Jesus was a baker today he’d bake a cake for the ceremony. Her reasoning? In part: “Christianity doesn't prohibit serving a gay couple getting married.” (My emphasis.) I’ll come back to the “argument from silence” in a moment.

Scarcely more than a decade ago, Christians who favored homosexual “marriage” were in the minority, at around 40 percent. No longer. Contrary to biblical teaching and historical church doctrine — not to mention millennia of cultural tradition — the support of same-sex “marriage” among Catholics and white mainline Protestants is the same as for the general public: 53 percent.

Strengthening the trend is the growing number of churches endorsing same-sex unions by way of consecrations or other solemnizing ceremonies. Among them: the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church USA, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

As to how their faith informs their stance on gay “marriage,” Christians parrot arguments demonstrating little understanding or acceptance of the faith that Jesus taught. Below are some of the most common arguments, followed by their counterarguments.

Read here

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Judge overturns Tennessee ban on same-sex ‘marriage’: true marriage laws are historical ‘footnotes’

March 18th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Activism, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Kirsten Anderson, LifeSite News

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction temporarily blocking enforcement of Tennessee’s constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage,” noting in her decision that she believes laws defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman will soon be nothing more than historical “footnotes.”

“At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, [same-sex] marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history,” wrote Judge Aleta Trauger.
Trauger’s order means that the state must recognize – at least for now – the “marriages” of three homosexual couples who married in states where the practice is legal and have sued to overturn the 2006 ban. The order currently applies only to those directly involved in the case.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s office released a statement condemning the decision. “The governor is disappointed that the court has stepped in when Tennesseans have voted clearly on this issue,” said Haslam’s spokesman David Smith.
Republican State Sen. Mike Bell agreed. "I am saddened that a federal judge has chosen to, at least in a narrow way, overturn the will of over 81% of the people of the state of Tennessee who voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman," said Bell. "I am hoping the higher courts will overturn this activist judge's ruling."
Trauger is just the latest federal judge to force same-sex “marriage” legalization upon a conservative state where it was previously banned.
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Registration opens for first same-sex marriages

March 13th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage Comments Off

From BBC News

Same-sex couples in England and Wales who want to hold weddings on the day gay marriage becomes legal on 29 March can register to do so from Thursday.
Existing marriages of gay couples that took place overseas will also be legally recognised from Thursday.
Procedures for people who are in civil partnerships to "upgrade" to marriage have yet to come into effect.
Scotland has passed a same-sex marriage bill but changes in the law are not being introduced in Northern Ireland.
Couples have to give 15 days' notice of their intention to marry at a register office, and need to do so on Thursday if they want to be among the first to benefit from the passing of the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act.
Under the terms of the bill, religious organisations will have to "opt in" to offering weddings, with the Church of England and Church in Wales prevented in law from doing so.
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Alas, I Shall never Be Queen!

March 13th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Monarchy Comments Off

By Peter Mullen

Suddenly I find my career options have disastrously narrowed.
The Government now realises that same-sex “marriage” will require a massive re-write of legislation dating back to AD 1285 – including the permanent abolition of the terms “husband” and “wife” from many of our laws. Crucial safeguards will also have to be introduced to safeguard the Monarchy.

The Government is scurrying to introduce all these changes through ministerial orders.

Among other atrocities, the proposals specifically include changing the law:

  • To prevent a man from becoming Queen in the event a King ‘marries’ another man
  • To prevent a man from becoming the Princess of Wales in the event that the heir to the throne enters a same-sex marriage
  • To stop the ‘husband’ of a male Peer being referred to as Duchess, Lady or Countess
  • To replace the terms “husband” and “wife” with “partner” or “spouse” in a huge raft of English law

NB: My today’s ‘blog is not a piece of satire

And it’s not just my ambitions which have been so cruelly curtailed. We are all diminished. Destroy a language and you destroy a world, irretrievably, irreversibly. By these revolutionary innovations, 1500 years of Christian civilisation are officially repudiated. This is the nightmare out of which it is impossible to wake up. Our old world is dead. Welcome to brave new world that hath such people in it.
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Wedding Cakes, Evangelicals, and Philistinism

March 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Religious Liberty Comments Off

by Bart Gingerich, Juicy Ecumenism

In a recent Huffington Post article, Christianity Today’s Skye Jethani joined Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt to condemn conservative Christian appeals to religious liberty in declining such services as photography and cake baking to same-sex wedding ceremonies.

[...]  But the craftsman has a different issue to consider: proximity. Immediately before him stands a couple, about to engage in a social evil, asking him to bless and sanctify the very event of cultural degeneracy with his talents and gifts. “Bless?” “Sanctify?” Yes! For every man’s work is an act of worship to God. While sacred ministry in a wedding liturgy is indeed quite different, there is an element within the Genesis mandate where humanity is responsible to make the wider creation glorify its Maker. In some sense, the product of a human being’s creation can be seen as an offering to God, which can also be a means of loving one’s neighbor.

In this perspective, using one’s gifts to directly further moral evil is a sacrilege of sorts. Should the photographer lay down his photographic offering before the feet of Eros? If he or she can legitimately refuse to engage in pornography, why not homosexuality? One wonders if Jethani and others of the evangelical left—who are so eager to act “prophetically”—would be enthusiastic about bakers and photographers who see it as their prophetic duty to call out the rebellion against God that is same-sex marriage. This would spring out of a love of neighbor, but a very difficult kind of love. Napp Nazworth offered a fantastic question on this issue: “Should a baker be required to bake a Westboro Baptist ‘God Hates F**s’ cake if it’s against his religious beliefs?”
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March 12th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church of England, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Peter Ould

This morning the Guardian Komment Macht Frei published a piece by Giles Fraser quoting Bishop Alan Wilson on whether clergy can be charged under the Clergy Discipline Measure for entering a same-sex marriage.
[...]  I was made aware of this by someone with considerable experience in the exercising of the Clergy Discipline Measure and the processes before it and who has a firm founding in Ecclesiastical Law (unlike both Bishop Alan Wilson and Joshua Rosenberg who was cited in the report on this issue on the Radio 4 Sunday programme this weekend).
I have been offered by this person the following commentary which I share with you for your consideration.
The Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 was designed to deal with a range of disciplinary issues concerning the clergy in the Church of England – but to the exclusion of matters of doctrine or ritual.
The 1963 Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure (one of whose chief architects was the late +Eric Kemp) retained the jurisdiction inherited from the Victorian era, and ultimately from the middle ages, expressly as a criminal jurisdiction, modelled on the former Assize Courts.
This meant among other things that the procedures of the consistory court when sitting under the EJM were those of a criminal trial, that prosecutors had to achieve a criminal standard of proof – beyond all reasonable doubt – in persuading the court to convict – and that the court’s sentences were effectively criminal convictions for what in some cases were relatively trivial offences. Its proceedings were open to the public and to the media.

The CDM was designed to be a civil tribunal and to operate without the full glare of publicity brought by EJM proceedings. The world’s press turned up for the trial of the Dean of Lincoln, Brandon Jackson, and the false evidence against him was published on the front pages of national newspapers. He was acquitted.

Those who preside at CDM hearings rely on a number of sources in determining whether a clerk has committed “conduct unbecoming”. Removal from office is in practice automatic if the person concerned has been divorced on grounds of adultery or unreasonable behaviour. This is provided in the Measure itself. Other forms of misconduct are assessed by reference to a variety of sources, such as the judgement of the secular courts leading to a criminal conviction; and in less clear-cut cases to the Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy; to guidelines issued by the House of Bishops or by the diocesan bishop concerned; and to many existing precedents. It is sometimes a simple matter of common sense that such an action as that alleged is simply immoral by any Christian standard.

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The House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage Part II – Raising Questions and Recognising Challenges

March 11th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Andrew Goddard, Fulcrum

The first part of this article defended the guidance against three prominent criticisms that have been made of it. This second part turns to highlight three areas of ambiguitiy, unclarity or inconsistency before concluding with some thoughts on the challenges we now face.
Questioning, Conscience, Discipleship and Discernment
Prior to their statement about not refusing the sacraments the bishops state that “Those same sex couples who choose to marry should be welcomed into the life of the worshipping community and not be subjected to questioning about their lifestyle” (para 18, italics added). That final phrase is on one reading unobjectionable but on another an alarming precedent.
This guidance likely orginates in the 2005 statement on civil partnerships which said lay people entering civil partnerships “ought not to be asked to give assurances about the nature of their relationship before being admitted to baptism, confirmation and communion” (2005, para 23). The difference here is that someone who marries someone of the same sex is clearly departing from church teaching which is not true for those entering civil partnerships. It may be that this guidance is simply repeating that of 2005 and preventing enforced and intrusive questioning about sexual behaviour, especially towards those who are new church members and who are to be welcomed into a congregation’s life. That is important guidance and it is sad that it needs to be said. However, on the surface, it appears potentially much broader. Those who marry someone of the same sex are, it could be claimed, not to face any questions about that decision within the life of the worshipping community. The danger here is that this sounds frighteningly like – and could be widely heard as – the widespread privatisation of moral decision-making. It can be understood to be saying that to be a welcoming Christian community entails never questioning or being questioned about one’s “lifestyle” even when it is evidently contrary to biblical and church teaching. This is to abandon being a community of moral discernment and moral formation which seeks to enable mutual growth in faithful discipleship.
There can clearly be questioning that is wrong and damaging in tone, substance, timing and intent. Damage is most likely where there is a power imbalance which may be alluded to here with the use of “subjected to”. Nevertheless, respecting the freedom of conscience claimed by someone living contrary to the church’s teaching must not entail refusing to question them about their decision. An appeal to conscience to justify conscientious dissent cannot be separated from an acceptance that each person has a responsibility to train and form their conscience. A key element in that is dialogue with, including being questioned by, those who disagree. This discipline of mutual accountability is true both in society generally and particularly in the church where we all need to learn to be open to question about our lives.
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Gay marriage and the Church’s response

March 11th, 2014 Jill Posted in American Anglican Council, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Andrew Symes, AAC

As the Archbishop of Canterbury has reminded us more than once, we are experiencing a cultural revolution in the area of public attitudes to sexual morality. The pace of change has been rapid. I am not yet 50 years old. When I was born, homosexual sex was illegal; in two weeks time, people of the same sex will marry, accompanied by celebrations all over the country. The change has not evolved gradually, but has happened as part of a deliberate campaign. The current revelations about life in the seedy 1970’s illustrates how the ‘gay rights’ movement transformed itself from part of a coalition of leftist and anarchist anti-establishment groups (including paedophiles), to a respectable, single-issue cause, embedded in the establishment and in all political parties. The change has been carefully controlled, by using media, the law and even science to promote the new ideas.
The revolution has been rapidly accepted: importantly by people with power and influence, and then filtering down to the general population. The message has been imposed through a combination of relentless teaching and threats of punishment for resisting. And there is a real belief that the changes are wholly positive, part of the progress of civilisation.
In the face of this remarkably successful campaign, how has the church responded? By and large, we have seen targeting, analysis, paralysis, and division. After looking at each of these in turn, we’ll see if we can discern any signs of hope.
It is a paradox that though one of the tenets of the media narrative about the church is its irrelevance, it is deemed relevant enough to be relentlessly targeted in the campaign for full ‘gay rights’. Why should it matter to the majority of gay people and those who support the successful campaign for full ‘equality’ including marriage, who rarely or never go to church, what the church believes or does? And yet it clearly does matter, as these articles in today’s Daily Telegraph and Guardian show, together with the stream of comments.
Why have the newspapers found space for these opinions? Because a church which conforms to secular humanism’s diktats remains usefully irrelevant, a poodle rather than a lion. Would they print an article with the opposing view? A church which says “there is a higher authority than Caesar” is a counterrevolutionary threat, so if this view is given space, it is in order to ridicule and criticize it.
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Compassionate or confusing? The Dalai Lama on same-sex marriage

March 11th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Zac Alstin, MercatorNet

One of the world's best known religious leaders has came out in favour of same-sex marriage. But what does he really think?

Widely reported as having recently “thrown his moral weight behind gay marriage”, the Dalai Lama’s actual words to talk show host Larry King were not quite so compelling. He described sexual morality for the non-religious as a “personal matter”, but noted that same-sex marriage was “up to the country’s law”. When pressed further on his personal opinion, he replied “That’s okay. I think individual business”.
Westerners have confused and contradictory impressions of Eastern religions and philosophies. On the one hand, fantasies of the mysterious and enigmatic Orient are nothing new: Omar Khayyam was as popular in Victorian England as Jalalladin Rumi is in America today. Nor need we watch Madam Butterfly to understand how Asia has continued to serve as a canvas for weird Western dreams, projections, and insecurities.
Some compassion for the Dalai Lama is duly warranted. The poor guy is, at face value, a perfect vehicle for the Western ideal of a tremendously wise, compassionate, yet safely foreign master – the nearest living equivalent to Yoda from Star Wars. But at the same time he’s the serious head of a serious sect of Buddhism, the spiritual leader of a dispossessed people, and a living manifestation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, roles he must somehow balance against the neediness of Westerners anxious to find a convincing spiritual counterpoint to the stifling moral authority of their own religious heritage.
Progressive Westerners look to the Dalai Lama for enlightened moral guidance, expecting to find a safe, comforting affirmation of their own values reflected in his compassionate eyes. Buddhism is not, after all, like those nasty Biblical religions with their dogmatic intolerance and weird sexual hang-ups.
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The House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage Part I – Engaging with the Critics

March 11th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Andrew Goddard, Fulcrum

The divisions within the Church of England and the multiple challenges it faces in the light of the advent of same-sex marriage have become even clearer and more serious in the weeks since the House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance. In what follows I explore three areas where the bishops have been criticised and offer a defence of their stance. A subsequent article notes three areas where questions remain and concludes by describing the serious challenge now facing the Church of England in the light of the guidance and reactions to it.
The relationship between church and state
Probably no bishop wanted to address this issue. It has been forced upon them by the change in the law and the divergence this creates between church and state in an area where both have a major historic role. The bishops’ description of this and their claim that what they describe has happened “for the first time” (para 9) has been subjected to major critique (initially by Linda Woodhead, then supported by Scot Peterson and an open letter of leading academics; the correspondence is reproduced here and here; helpful comments also by Frank Cranmer and Mike Higton here on disagreement over the statement and here more widely on the deeper issues).
I personally believe the bishops’ statement, though potentially misleading, is fully justifiable. It relates not to a contradiction between the canons and statute law but rather to a divergence between “the general understanding and definition of marriage in England as enshrined in law” and “the doctrine of marriage”. It has not been shown that the earlier divergences (in relation to divorce law and the prohibited degrees) clearly fall within these two descriptors. A good case can be made that earlier legal divergences do not mark a divergence from the definition of marriage found in canon B30. A test which I have not seen used is that the church’s marriage liturgy – a key criterion in defining its doctrine – can be used with no obvious contradiction between word and act in relation to both remarriage of divorced persons and the marriage of man to his deceased wife’s sister. The liturgy would, however, need to be significantly rewritten to enable the marriage of two men or two women.
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What the Pro LGBT West Doesn’t Understand About African Countries

March 9th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Global South Comments Off

By André Jenkins, English Manif

"We have been disappointed for a long time by the conduct of the West, the way you conduct yourselves there, but we just keep quiet. We just see how you do things and your families and how they are organized. All these things, we see them and we keep quiet. We never comment because it's not our country. Maybe you like it. So this is now an attempt of social imperialism to impose social values of one group on our society. Then our disappointment is now exacerbated because we are sorry to see you live the way that you live. But we keep quiet about it. Now you say "you must also live like us." That's where we say no." –Yoweri Museveni

It is important to understand (even if one does not agree) the common African perspective of Western countries' overt pressure on Africa regarding gay rights. It is even more important to work with Africa starting from their understanding of homosexuality and how they view Western pressure on them. However, the West has done none of the above effectively. For example let's see what President Barack Obama has done. Instead of just focusing on getting sodomy laws weakened in Africa, he jumps all the way to gay marriage:

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Rights and Responsibilities

March 9th, 2014 Jill Posted in Gay Marriage, Human Rights Comments Off

By Vic van den Burgh

Heard today how some clergy were becoming members of Unison (the union) so that they have support for them in what they obviously perceive will be a battle over their rights.

A few days back I chatted to a member of the clergy who was telling me about all their rights and how the church needs to understand and respect them . . . or else!

Often meet with members of church and and other organisations who are all too ready to tell me about their rights and what 'they deserve' or are 'entitled to' and to be honest it is just beginning to grind and grate and tug just a little too much for it to be comfortable.

Many years ago I was a member of a fraternity who found themselves very much acted against and to be honest, distrusted and quite despised. As a result of (misplaced) popular opinion this group found themselves legislated against in the sort of popularist, kneejerk way, that humankind excels at. Interestingly though, the kneejerk response aside, the clever people said that if legislation was passed then certain things would occur and some of society's ill would be remedied. Sadly though some seventeen years later that which they hoped to see change has actually gotten worse.

Now the incident that started it all was William Hamilton's murder of innocent children in Dunblane in 1996 and the subsequent law which removed handguns from the hands of those who legally held and used them did nothing to diminish gun crime, in fact the very opposite has occurred (I'll give you my theories some time . . but best continue).

The thing about having rights is that with them come responsibilities and yet I find it interesting that these days rights are what many people assume to have and responsibility appears to be what others have when it comes to the fulfilling of the expectations of those with rights.

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