Civil Partnerships on religious premises consultation

by Richard on March 31, 2011

Via Thinking Anglicans I hear that the Government Equalities Office has announced a consultation on civil partnerships on religious premises

Opening date: 31 March 2011

Closing date: 23 June 2011

In February we announced our commitment to enabling civil partnerships to be registered on the religious premises of those faith groups who wished to host them. This will be done by implementing section 202 of the Equality Act 2010. This provision removes the legal prohibition on civil partnerships being registered on religious premises, enables regulations to be made setting out the arrangements for these premises to be approved by the local authority and clarifies that there is no obligation on faith groups to have civil partnership registrations on their premises.

Civil partnerships on religious premises: a consultation sets out detailed proposals for this voluntary measure which enhances the freedom of both faith groups and same-sex couples. The proposals are designed to enable faith groups to opt in, respect the different decision-making structures of different faith groups, minimise the risk of successful legal challenges and be straightforward for local authorities to operate. The law will make clear that faith groups are not obliged to host civil partnerships. It would also be unlawful for a civil partnership to be registered on a religious premises that had not been approved for the purpose by the local authority. That approval will be given only with the approval of the faith group concerned.

We propose a two stage process for enabling civil partnerships to be registered on particular religious premises. First the faith group concerned will have to consent to this and the consultation document sets out how this could happen. Then the local authority in whose area the premises is located will have to approve the premises and the consultation document sets out what conditions should apply to the approval. The registration of civil partnerships would remain secular, despite taking place on religious premises, but a religious service could be held to mark the registration.

This consultation will be of particular interest to:

  • faith groups including religions, denominations and individual independent religious congregations
  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) organisations, LGB individuals and their families and friends
  • Local authorities, including registrars and other relevant local authority employees
  • owners and managers of buildings approved for civil marriages and civil partnerships

Comments from other interested parties are also welcome.

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Doug 03.31.11 at 4:09 pm

Whats the point of having a civil union being done on a religious basis? Sounds like an oxymoron. The fact is there should not be any “religious registration” at all.

Problem, lets say a Methodist church who doesn’t support same sex marriage doesn’t want to do at all the ceremony while the Methodist (UMC) church supports it? Will that particular church be forced to do the ceremony if the UMC is registered as approved for the thing? Wouldn’t that force churches to leave a particular denomination that a while back was mentioned by people here as being a problem?

2

Mark 03.31.11 at 4:59 pm

Talk of the UMC is not really to the point as this is UK legislation.

From a Methodist Church of Great Britain perspective, if the Conference decided that Methodist premises could be used for the registration of Civil Partnerships, then I don’t see that an individual church has the right to opt out of that any more than they currently have the right to opt out of being venues for the remarriage of divorced people, for example. I think it would be wise to include a conscience clause for ministers, cast in the same terms as the existing one for the remarriage of divorced people.

All of that said, I doubt that the Conference will permit these services in the short term. Medium and longer term, who knows?

3

malc 03.31.11 at 6:08 pm

I didn’t realise that civil partnerships were legally prohibited in religious premises…

4

Kim 03.31.11 at 6:09 pm

“The fact”? Here, Doug, you should tell yourself “that’s your opinion.” Because it is. For the “fact” of the matter, whether you like it or not, is that plenty of Christians do not regard same-sex relationships as intrinsically disordered or inherently sinful and, consequently, would like to see liturgical provision for the blessing of same-sex civil partnerships. And they are all well aware of the texts you are raring to submit to us, so please, spare us the bombardment. (The blessing of civil marriages are already rites written into our service books.)

There will be no “problems” - except for those, like yourself, who reject the whole idea, period. That is, there will be no coercion, no requiring, let alone forcing, ministers to conduct such services, either by the government or by the particular denomination which, in principle, accepts, or at least does not reject, such services (cf. Mark’s “conscience clause”).

Of course, there are those who are already trying to scare people into thinking that there will be coercion. Which is a great shame because such false witness is indeed sinful. Others will simply absurdly insist that such religious services will undermine the institution of marriage and threaten to unravel the very fabric society. At least preposterousness is not a sin.

5

jogger 03.31.11 at 7:20 pm

Same sex partnerships are inherently sinful. They have knock on effects. Minors seeing this when they are growing up to take one. anything go’s and this is not the biblical way.
Ministers should have the right not to conduct services of same sex union.

6

Richard 03.31.11 at 7:33 pm

As kim has already said, there’s no question of compulsion. But should ministers who disagree with your first premise have the right to conduct partnership services?

7

Mendip Nomad 03.31.11 at 7:36 pm

Jogger, they do have that right, and no-one, no-one, is proposing removing it from them. So far only 3 religious bodies (the Quakers, the Unitarians, and Liberal Judaism) have publically indicated they would allow the conducting of Civil Partnerships on their premises - and even in those groups a decision to conduct a ceremony will remain a matter of personal conscience amongst their elders/clergy/other appropriate persons. Suggestions that ministers will be forced to conduct such ceremonies against their own conscience are ignorantly disengenuous at best and deliberate, scare-mongering lies at worst.

8

Pam 03.31.11 at 10:52 pm

jogger, I’m running away from you.

9

Doug 04.01.11 at 12:12 am

Jogger, your right on on this one. And the fact of the matter is that conservative Methodist’s UMC will be forced to do the ceremony or leave the church.

10

jogger 04.01.11 at 1:29 am

Thankyou Doug. It’s secular law for secular people impinging upon the laws of our Lord.
My apologies Pam. In many ways I’m a liberal Christian but just cannot get on with the notion of homosexuality. Maybe it’s a few close escapes as a teenager from predatory poofs that’s either blurring
or making me lucid on this issue. Where was that blade when I needed it that time.

11

PamBG 04.01.11 at 2:03 am

Doug, why do you think British law is going to have an effect on the UMC? There are no UMC churches in Britain that I know of.

jogger, re predatory poofs, without being too disrespectful, maybe it’s predatory men that’s the problem - ie welcome to my world - or was I supposed to like being forced because it’s “natural”? As far as the other issue, my view is I don’t see how monogamy and fidelity can be committed as sins unless the don’t actually have any value. Just my 2 cents.

12

Pam 04.01.11 at 2:23 am

jogger, I agree with Pam BG about predatory “men”. To say to a proportion of the population “You’re not worth equal rights because of your sexuality” is a very disrespectful statement. To somehow equality homosexuality with predatory behaviour is very wrong. jogger, run with this idea - “I will not judge people because of their sexuality”.

13

Richard 04.01.11 at 7:46 am

Jogger - I’ve written about the “gay predator myth” before.

Doug - PamBG is right. This has nothing to do with the UMC. And there is no question of churches being ‘forced’ to be involved in civil partnerships, let alone individual clergy.

14

Kim 04.01.11 at 8:31 am

Jogger, the elision of responsible, loving, and faithful same-sex partnerships with promiscuous or episodic same-sex relationships, or talk of homosexuality as a life-style “choice”, would be bad enough. But, no, you go right to the extreme of “predatory poofs”. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Nor are your “close escapes” exculpatory. As a 15-year-old I had such an experience at the New York World Fair - I shall never forget it - but I would no more suggest that that is representative of the way gay men behave than I would draw definitive conclusions about heterosexual men from the would-be rapist. I think you should seek some counselling, otherwise you will no doubt continue to abuse verbally your gay/lesbian brothers/sisters - and mischievously to talk tripe in conversations like this one. Or, as an ex-boxer, perhaps you took too many hits to the head and should see a doctor. Either way, your “predatory poofs” interjection suggests that if you are not wicked or stupid, you do need medical attention.

15

Dramatis 04.01.11 at 10:28 am

To clarify for anybody who is confused, this would be a change to British law and would not be forced on any churches - the churches themselves would have to register to be allowed to have their buildings used for this purpose. It would be a civil ceremony in that it would be conducted by a civil official with no religious element to the ceremony - although the church could feel free to offer a blessing service immediately after if they and the couple wanted that. See my post here.

16

David Shepherd 04.01.11 at 11:06 am

It’s clear that the religious symbols, decorations and setting invest the registration with a sense of lawfulness in the sight of God and the church’s endorsement and blessing. What is unclear here is whether consent (general, or specific) to use premises is a blanket acceptance of its use for any civil partnership to be registered therein.

Even though you may believe that the church should endorse civil parnerships with a religious setting and ceremony, is that consent also a ‘carte-blanche’ abdication of any church discretion towards all such unions, even those that show a scant regard for former spouses and the children of past relationships?

Does the faith group representative have the power to refuse the use of its premises for the registration of a specific partnership, when, for instance, a couple of divorcees (with their former partners still alive) asks for it? Could that person enquire further as is the case for re-marriage in church.

Probably not, because it’s a secular arrangement. As such, the registration does not need to meet the same criteria as re-marriage in church. It can be conducted on church premises by a secular representative of a council that is (some here would say, thankfully) liberated from those narrow Christian views on divorce and re-marriage.

17

Richard 04.01.11 at 12:03 pm

Assuming that the law is changed to make civil partnership registration in church possible and the church authorities (the Methodist Conference in my case) decide that they wish to allow the registration of civil partnerships on their premises and the local church also agrees — why would the position for a particular civil partnership registration be different from a particular marriage ceremony? That is to say, no minister can be compelled to marry a couple. So why assume that they’d be compelled to conduct a civil partnership? It’s just scare-mongering.

18

jogger 04.01.11 at 12:19 pm

Thanks Richard, but you can write all you want about it being a ‘myth’ or not l. I reality at times teenagers or young men can be targeted by homosexuals.
Pam ‘I will judge people because of their sexuality’ (not your premise)

It’s a psychological disposition , a tainting of nature and anti-biblical.

let’s all make it up as we go along (not)

19

David Shepherd 04.01.11 at 12:59 pm

According to the press release: “The registration of civil partnerships would remain secular, despite taking place on religious premises,”

I am speaking specifically of the civil partnership registration that requires a civil partnership registrar, not necessarily a minister of religion. Admittedly, the minister might presently decide on eligibility for the accompanying religious service in accordance with a church’s current guidelines on marriage.

20

PamBG 04.01.11 at 1:27 pm

Does the faith group representative have the power to refuse the use of its premises for the registration of a specific partnership, when, for instance, a couple of divorcees (with their former partners still alive) asks for it?

Why would they not have that right? Individual ministers have the right to refuse to marry heterosexuals according to their conscience.

What is the justification for catastrophizing and deciding “Well, ministers can refuse to marry any heterosexual couple if their conscience prevents them, but the government is going to force all ministers of all denominations to marry any and all gay couples”? It just doesn’t make sense.

This is not a law where the government is forcing churches to do Civil Partnerships. It’s a law where a government ban on CPs in church is being lifted and where congregations and ministers are being given the right to choose to make their premises and their services available instead of being prevented by law.

And, as an aside, heterosexuals dump their partners on a regular basis and marry other heterosexuals and leave their kids and families in a lurch - I just experienced this with a heterosexual friend who had no clue at all that there was even a problem in the marriage. My friend’s spouse has moved to another country and left my friend in shock with two teenage children. But somehow saying that faithfulness is committed as a sin by gay people is going to solve this problem and prevent heterosexual people from dumping their spouses for a newer model. Not.

21

Dramatis 04.01.11 at 1:45 pm

David,

I do see your point. Thi would be a civil registration conducted by a civil person and so there would be no case of a minister withdrawing because he doesn’t approve of a specific relationship, because he wouldn’t have to be there to begin with! I’ll have to read the consultation paper again, but the implication is that the church would be in the same position as any civil partnership venue - and I don’t know for sure what that position is.

22

Earl 04.01.11 at 2:22 pm

It is what it is… Rome 2.0… Paul aptly described it precisely in Romans 1:18-32. The reasoning is no different that what Jesus condemned when he spoke to those who would substitute politically correctness (tradition) for the law of God.

23

Richard 04.01.11 at 2:46 pm

Jogger — No. When you speak of ‘the predatory poof’ you are citing a stereotype which is based on prejudice, not evidence. There is no evidence at all that youngsters are at greater risk of sexual exploitation by homosexuals than heterosexuals.

Earl — *sigh*

24

Doug 04.01.11 at 3:22 pm

Earl, what is interesting is that the Word of God made Richard a loss for words. I might also add 1 Cor 6 the entire chapter as well.

25

Richard 04.01.11 at 3:42 pm

Not at a loss for words at all, Doug. Just exasperation. Not with ‘the Word of God’…

26

Doug 04.01.11 at 3:43 pm

Well Earl and I are speaking the truth from God’s Word and so your exasperation is beyond to the Word of God.

27

Doug 04.01.11 at 3:43 pm

We are just speaking the truth in love.

28

jogger 04.01.11 at 4:40 pm

Kim you are very rude indeed.

Your personal attacks I will not reciprocate.

Richard, I am not necessarily talking about minors being a target from homosexuals although my mind is open here.

Three instances between the ages of 16-18 I can remember being targeted and more.
Even at 22 on my way back from the East of France. A rugby trip where i decided to stay a few days more . Arriving into Paris very late I could not afford a hotel so decided to walk around the city until the morning where I could get an early train from gare du nord.
Down a sidestreet I could see a pub open in the early hours. I thought it was my luck as my almost asleep and it was cold.
After a buying a soft drink and sitting out of the way in the corner on my own. Dozing i noticed the pub was all men. Men holding hands and kissing. I could not believe what I was seeing.
I thought about leaving but it was warmer and I had a soft seat where i could doze.
They would not leave me alone. Even though I did my best to not look at them or not talk with them. I was very very tired and two sat on me while another fondled me. I can remember losing it and eventually managed to get out of this hell hole. One of them pursued me and I can remember wrestling him to the ground. He was alot heavier than me but i was so tired to do any damage.

When I say ‘predatory poofs’ I know they exist . Based on my own experience not from theoretical treatises.

29

Tony Buglass 04.01.11 at 5:01 pm

Jogger, the myth is that “all gays are predators or paedophiles” - they’re not - or that “only gays target young people.” It is a statistical fact that most paedophile attacks are heterosexual. Yes, some gays do target young people (often because they;re smaller and therefore easier targets), but most do not.

I accept entirely your experience - yes, such things do happen, but that doesn’t make them the norm by which to evaluate homosexuality. You were innocent and unfortunate enough to stumble into the kind of gay bar where people came looking for sex. If you had been a young woman in a straight night club or bar, e same thing might have happened. What you experienced is about predatory and promiscuous sex, not about homosexuality.

30

Tony Buglass 04.01.11 at 5:08 pm

“The registration of civil partnerships would remain secular, despite taking place on religious premises,”

Sounds very confused to me. What’s the point? Why choose a religious venue for a purely secular ceremony? Would any church agree to such a process?

As far as British churches are concerned, the law up to now has prohibited civil partnership ceremonies from taking place in church buildings. That prohibition is to be removed. But until the national church bodies decide to allow it (and they almost certainly won’t) it won’t make a bit of difference. Even if Conference agreed (and they won’t because it would cause a schism if they did), local churches would still have the right to say no, and so would local ministers.

This is just scaremongering and confusion.

31

Doug 04.01.11 at 5:48 pm

Tony, in response to your response to jogger, don’t ever correct me in relation to my interjection on someone from their personal experience. I know one time you defended PamBG based on her “personal experience of Evangelicals”. I then corrected stating that her view was an overgeneralization. Then you go on “How dare you correct her when that is her personal experience?” It seems to me by your latest response on this compared to similar defenses in the past that there is a double standard.

Can we referain from double standards?

32

David Shepherd 04.01.11 at 5:51 pm

‘Why choose a religious venue for a purely secular ceremony?’

I’d ask the Government Equalities Office who framed the press release. The registration and religious service will be consecutive elements of the ceremony. This might be to impart a greater semblance of church endorsement to the proceeedings than the registration and subsequent religious service in separate venues currently affords.

Thankfully, the purpose of the government consultation is to refine the current proposals, rather than to dismiss any concerns raised summarily.

33

Doug 04.01.11 at 6:05 pm

“rather than to dismiss any concerns raised summarily.”

Are you sure about that? The government has to take into account churches within a denomination that happens to endorse something that the specific church within that organization. This further “forces the issue” on churches who don’t adhere to a “pro-samesex marriage” construct and makes them at great risk to leave the denomination for another. From past comments on the subject of churches leaving, that is something Richard has mentioned that should not happen. However, this “concept” as potentially applied will have the unintended consequence that Richard (based on what I have read a while back) does not agree with.

34

jogger 04.01.11 at 6:52 pm

Thankyou Doug.

It was a nasty experience and one I will not forget. It’s not the only experience I have had in dealings with homosexuals . All very negative and with little respect .

A few years ago I lived in the city and was sanding and scraping the old paint off my front door. It took me all day.I had to be exposed to people walking up and down the pavement as the house did not have much of a drive. A rather large man started to chat. I reciprocated being not an unfriendly or uncommunicative type. After an hour of enduring this he suddenly said something out of the blue which I won’t print on this site. Then he told me it would not cost me anything.
I was able to shut the door and get inside away from him without finishing the job.

I felt anxious and angry at the same time.

Two days later I saw this same man in the street. I was so annoyed I went up and cracked him one on his right ear. He immediately ran and I was able to get a quick kick in . This was in front of cameras. I watched him run straight to the police station.

I ran home and the next day the boys in blue came calling. They had seen it on camera. I told them what had happened. They did not arrest me but told me that this man was known to hang around public toilets in the vicinity. One of the coppers even complimented me on my left hook to the ear.

It would be wrong or misguided to say all homosexuals are predatory or paedophiles. But some are.

In my opinion the psyche of gays lacks the moral standard of straight men. To me men of this disposition are intrinsically untrustworthy.

35

malc 04.01.11 at 7:35 pm

I would also imagine that another reason that a homosexual couple might want to have their civil partnership to take place in a place of worship would be if they also wished for a blessing service and for it to all take place in one event with everyone present… though obviously this would only take place if the church minister (priest, rabbi, iman) agrees.

36

Doug 04.01.11 at 8:36 pm

Jogger, I have no problem “having your back”. Hopefully we can have more of an agreement on things of Scripture than ever before.

How can they ask for a blessing for something that is not approved or condoned in Scripture in light of Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6?

37

malc 04.01.11 at 8:55 pm

This may surprise you but there are more religions than Christianity that will be effected by this change in the law. And quite frankly there are far more important passages in the Bible to worry about (how’s about that for contraversial!!). It is one of the things that always irks me that so often people don’t look at the teaching of love from the Gospels but look at the teachings of exclusion in the later books.

38

jogger 04.01.11 at 9:00 pm

Thanks Doug

Exactly, St. Paul’s teachings confirm the OT view of our Lord’s disapproval of Homosexuality.

Problem is we live in a culture that tries to fit Christian teachings around their own lifestyle and adapt it to fit.

39

Doug 04.01.11 at 9:06 pm

Jogger, you are right on.
However, you stated this, “In many ways I’m a liberal Christian but just cannot get on with the notion of homosexuality.”

40

jogger 04.01.11 at 9:19 pm

Yes, i did. Maybe a rethink. Or maybe trying to tell the blog with the word ‘Liberal’ that I am not really a prude when i really am!

41

Doug 04.01.11 at 9:32 pm

Well being a “non-liberal” doesn’t mean you are a prude. I consider a prude someone who has a “bad attitude”. I don’t see that in you. At least from what I have read. :)

42

jogger 04.01.11 at 10:03 pm

Thanks Doug!

That smiley face looks better than those avatar teeth. If I get bitten by teeth like them I won’t be so good at jogging.
thanks for your compliment. Actually very quiet person who would rather look at a monitor screen rather than socialise or do my evening sit ups and press up’s. i’m really worrying that i’m in decay.
hopefuly not pissing down tomorrow so i can get out and do a days work. When it’s raining I’m stuck with this bloomin laptop causing trouble and being ooutspoken. I’ve made a real name for myself on the Welsh politcal blogosphere just doing this.

43

Doug 04.01.11 at 10:22 pm

Jogger, I make a point not to look at the pictures associated with the person who posts.

Hey Richard, can you get me a better picture on my replies? I sure do hate the shark teeth.

44

Richard 04.01.11 at 10:27 pm

Doug said: “It seems to me by your latest response on this compared to similar defenses in the past that there is a double standard. “

I can’t let this pass. Doug, the obvious difference between homosexuals and evangelicals is that broadly speaking we don’t live in a community where many people think it is OK to go kicking evangelicals teeth in. Homosexuals, especially gay men, are not so lucky.

Jogger, your comment was too close to justifying violence against homosexuals for my liking. I need to hear from you that this wasn’t your intention. From your description of the event you ought to have been done for ABH at the very least. Do you have any sense of remorse about this?

45

Richard 04.01.11 at 10:31 pm

Doug — as I’ve explained before, the avatars are assigned automatically based on your email address. If you used a real email address instead of a fake one, you’d get a different avatar. Or you could sign up for an account with gravatar. Then you get to choose your own (but again, you’d have to use your real email address.

46

David Shepherd 04.01.11 at 10:51 pm

It’s unfortunate when the need for sexual contact escalates to desperate levels. However, as a young heterosexual man, I was propositioned by gay tourists in Barbados where I grew up. I didn’t beat them up, or slice them with a knife.

I want to believe in the highest and best from each person that I meet, regardless of sexual orientation, rather than treat predatory behaviour as normative homosexual conduct.

I’m an 18-stone heterosexual man and believe me that, while I agree with Romans 1:18 - 25, I will put myself in harm’s way to protect all homosexuals from vicious homophobic reprisals. I will also not allow the sacred gospel to become the boast of thick, ignorant, right-wing sentiment.

47

Doug 04.01.11 at 11:01 pm

Richard, is anyone saying that anyone should get their teeth kicked in? Outside of joggers latest comment on kicking teeth. Ther WAS a double standard. I do think there is some community’s who think it is okay to ridicule Evangelicals and lavel with a “broad brush” based on “personal experience” and the same thing goes for Homosexuals. Both oveergeneralizations are wrong and we should condemn the accusation of it being overgeneralization just because of one’s own personal experience. Tony accused Jogger of labeling homosexuals with a broad brush but ridicules me for stating that PamBG is labeling Evangelicals with a broad brush. Where’s the fairness in that all things being equal?

Again I don’t condone kicking people whoever they may be in the teeth except for self-defense. Outside of that (being that the “double standard” comment was BEFORE the jogger comment on teeth being punched in) I see no reason to overlook the double standard.

Thanks for answering my question on the picture thing. I’ll live with the shark teeth.

48

Doug 04.01.11 at 11:03 pm

Thanks David for your wonderful comment which I wholeheartedly agree with.

Jogger, punching teeth in is not good buddy.

49

Richard 04.01.11 at 11:14 pm

>> “Richard, is anyone saying that anyone should get their teeth kicked in?”

Yes. Jogger appeared to think his violence was justified. Yes, I know your comment appeared before his. I believe I would have made the same reply to you, though. Violence against homosexuals is a real issue and there’s some evidence that it is getting worse.

If we’re talking about double standards, what about the double standard of changing your user name here from ‘DH’ to ‘Doug’ to appear less anonymous, but continuing with a false email address?

50

jogger 04.01.11 at 11:40 pm

I did not kick him in the teeth!!!!, I kicked him in the leg…!!!!!

51

Dramatis 04.01.11 at 11:58 pm

Malc, there are indeed same-sex couples out there who would want their partnership blessed by a minister. I’m sure many would rather be actually married by a minister but society takes a long time to change and religious institutions take even longer. being able to have their civil ceremony and then have a minister step up and conduct a blessing service, with their Christian friends around them in the place where so many other loving partnerships had been blessed down the years - that would be something worth having for many.

As for the subsequent question (not by you) of whether God would bless such a partnership - surely all love is a reflection of God’s love, an expression of the love he has placed in us all. How can it not be?

52

Kim 04.02.11 at 12:01 am

Richard, don’t you agree that the self-styled “outspoken” yet “quiet” Jogger - he is certainly not vain, is he? - is taking this site to new levels of intellectual shabbiness and moral odiousness - to which he adds a personal touch of the insipid, as he takes a breather from throwing wild haymakers by informing us of his exercise routine? He will probably desperately repeat his allegation that I am “rude” (this from a bully who refers to “predatory puffs”). On the contarary, I think this assessment is quite generous. For heaven’s sake, DH has got to say Jogger, punching teeth in is not good buddy. I think you should deduct a couple of points from his scorecard and send him to his corner.

53

PamBG 04.02.11 at 12:18 am

There is no evidence at all that youngsters are at greater risk of sexual exploitation by homosexuals than heterosexuals.

I did read jogger’s experience and I don’t want to be totally unsympathetic.

As a teenager, most of my female friends and I had experiences of older men taking us by surprise and physically overpowering us, usually for the purposes of groping and having tongues stuck down our throats. I was not raped and I don’t know of anyone who was but I presume now, as an adult, that we were at risk of being raped and that this behaviour was a test to see how we would behave.

It does feel to me that making this specifically about gay men does minimize what females go through and it buys into the idea that it doesn’t really matter if men physically overwhelm us because it’s all part of the natural order of things.

It seems to me that there are three choices here: 1) Say all women should be lesbians (sorry, cheap shot); 2) Act like this is about gay men specifically and that heterosexual men never behave this way (untrue); or 3) Hold up certain standards of behaviour as being the norm for everyone (and no, heterosexuals get to marry and gay people never get to marry is not the same standard).

Being propositioned by a guy in the street has as much to do with marriage as dog food has to do with a 4-star gourmet meal.

54

Tony Buglass 04.02.11 at 12:34 am

Doug: “don’t ever correct me in relation to my interjection on someone from their personal experience…. It seems to me by your latest response on this compared to similar defenses in the past that there is a double standard.”

Not for the first time - read what I wrote. The beginning of the next paragraph of my response to Jogger was: “I accept entirely your experience - yes, such things do happen”

I will reiterate my point: that was his expereince of certain homosexual men. It is NOT the general way of homosexual behaviour. One of the towns where I minister has a fairly sizeable ‘alternative’ community - gay men, lesbians, hippies. I have met a fair number of them in my work in the town. I have ever been propositioned, there have been no cases of gay rape or assault, there is some promiscuity but no more than can be found among heterosexuals looking for partners. What I was objecting to was the caricature and generalisation which suggested that all gay men are predatory or paedophile. They’re not.

So, your accusation of double standards just proves you didn’t read what I said, that’s all. My response to Jogger wasn’t even comparable to your response to PamBG. You want to call me a hypocrite, you need a better case than that. I don’t do double standards. I have a very clear understanding of my faith, and a very strong pastoral approach to the people with whom I interact on the various blogs and egroups I use. That’s part of my ministry, and part of my service to God. So I suggest you read more carefully before you indulge in kneejerk responses.

55

Earl 04.02.11 at 12:57 am

“heterosexuals get to marry…” Up to that point you had it right. Heterosexual marriage is the uniform expectation of New Testament faith. Suggested alternatives are covered in Romans 1:18ff, etc.

56

jogger 04.02.11 at 12:58 am

PamBG- I have a massive amount of empathy for women who feel overwhelmed or seen as only objects.

Mr. Kim - I just love your criticism of me. like I’m getting smacked from the monitor screen. I’m a sucker for punishment. In fact I enjoy a bit. (though not enough to call me a Mas)
Though if I was insipid you would not be talking about me! Jogger is full of colour and aplomb. full of admiration for god’s design and his creation. A lifelong vegetarian and someone who refrains from alcohol completely.
I’m not intellectually shabby or morally odious Mr. Kim. Very cruel to the colourful jogger.

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PamBG 04.02.11 at 2:50 am

Earl, then I wish the Christian Right would just be honest about the fact that their ethical system is about obeying rules and stop pretending that there are values that have inherent worth over and above obedience.

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Earl 04.02.11 at 3:44 am

No reference was made to the Religious Right nor was anyone from that perspective quoted. The quoted reference was to what Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans. The post-modern world is living in a twilight zone not unlike that period that passed between the dark ages of Israel and the establishment of David’s kingdom. There Samuel brushed aside Saul’s excuses for incomplete obedience and protest of innocence as he plainly stated that obedience was better than even laudable sacrifice and that disobedience was rank sin. In this new dark age, what Samuel said bears repeating.

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Kim 04.02.11 at 6:21 am

It’s 5:45 a.m. I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking of the gay friends Richard and I have who visit this blog, along, no doubt with other gays and lesbians. They tune in and see someone who later describes himself as “full of colour and aplomb” (Who talks about himself like that?), and then adds that he is veggie and TT (Is that for moral extra-credit?), referring to “predatory poofs”. I can’t shake that phrase. What if this guy had been beaten up by a gang of black men and now referred to “predatory niggers”, adding that black men have a predisposition to violence while generously conceding that, of course, not all black men commit violent acts? Would we give him a get-out-of-jail-free card? No, we would not tolerate it. He thinks I am “very cruel”. I think he is very vile. I think he should be barred, Richard. I really do. Henceforth I shall try to ignore him. He certainly does not deserve acknowledgement as a credible conversation-partner. But if he keeps hanging around, blighting this blog - well, I really don’t know what I will then do. I really don’t.

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Richard 04.02.11 at 7:46 am

I’m still troubled by Jogger’s comments too, Kim. Jogger, I really do need to hear that you don’t condone or excuse violence against homosexuals.

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Pam 04.02.11 at 8:18 am

Not that my contribution will be worth much.
jogger’s comment #34 was truly horrible to read, he’s a homophobic bullyboy who thinks violence is justified.

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PamBG 04.02.11 at 1:48 pm

The post-modern world is living in a twilight zone not unlike that period that passed between the dark ages of Israel and the establishment of David’s kingdom.

And I’m asking how you are going to establish God’s Kingdom with the approach “monogamy and faithfulness are not inherently good in and of themselves, but are sinful when committed by gay people”?

It’s a legitimate question that many non-churched people will ask.

You can, of course, continue to assert to me - “a church person” - that only your reading of the bible is the correct one, that God said it and that’s the matter closed, but you are philosophically and logically still faced with the fact that you are proclaiming that fidelity and monogamy are sins in the hands of gay people. And you still have to explain it.

I truly believe that you are actually contributing to the phenomenon of individuals of all sexualities holding monogamy and fidelity as worthless and meaningless.

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PamBG 04.02.11 at 1:50 pm

Here’s a post by an American female colleague: thank God for straight people:

http://tinyurl.com/4yp5olc

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Earl 04.02.11 at 3:11 pm

“And I’m asking…” etc. God establishes His Kingdom. He makes the rules for His Kingdom. His Kingdom is not a democracy. Mankind does not get a vote. We make a choice to obey or disobey. Now when it comes to what will be the consequences of those choices, the Judge of all the earth will do what is right.

In the New Testament heterosexual relationship is the norm of marriage. This is uniform. Along with other forms of sexual aberration homosexuality is condemned as sin to be condemned and shunned and most certainly not a lifestyle to be affirmed, tolerated or embraced. In a pluralistic secular society, this truth is inconvenient as was the uncompromising affirmation “Jesus is Lord” to imperial Rome. In marriage monogamy and faithfulness are good. In sin, monogamy and faithfulness are irrelevant.

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Bob Gilston 04.02.11 at 4:16 pm

Earl - There was a time (about forty five years ago) as a seafarer where I encountered homosexuals and took a “take it or leave it” attitude towards them. I had no hard thoughts about their sexuality even though I couldn’t understand how or why they were that way.
There was a time (about thirty five years ago) when I revisited my faith and I took exactly the stance you advocate about homosexuality. I really was drawn into the “hate the sin love the sinner” brigade.
My faith has developed over the years and I have aligned my thinking to that advocated by all those who have argued against you on this blog for the reasons they have eloquently stated. I count among my friends a number of homosexuals whose sexuality now has no relevance to me in my embracing them in the name of Jesus. You can quote your Scripture til you are blue in the face, but I will not go back to where I was in my understanding thirty five years ago.

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Tony Buglass 04.02.11 at 6:50 pm

Pam@ “he’s (Jogger) a homophobic bullyboy who thinks violence is justified.”

To be fair, he’s been affected and possibly wounded by his experiences. I don’t think he’s actually advocating that any gay person should get a smack in the gob, so much as recounting that he felt it necessary to respond in that way in that situation. It has clearly affected his attitude to gay people in general, which may or may not be fair. But I don’t think he’s saying that all gay people deserve such a response.

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Earl 04.02.11 at 9:16 pm

“There was a time…” etc. Feelings and experience are trumped by Scripture. To substitute either in the place of Scripture is to bow to current politically correct thought and make void the word of God. Hate is a ugly unpleasant word. Yet that is the precise word used in Scripture to describe God’s attitude toward sin. Believers cannot legitimately walk contrary to Scripture and embrace what God condemns as sin. To love the sinner while hating the sin is a succinct statement of how Believers can best deal with sin and at the same time reach out in Christian love to those who are lost in sin.

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jogger 04.02.11 at 10:20 pm

@Tony Buglass

Thankyou for your comment. You are right. Pam I am more of a bookworm than a bullyboy. That’s the truth. More reclusive than loud. More of an ironic loner than a gregarious, joyful person.
It has probably has affected my attitude as you say Tony.

Thankyou again for your comment.

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Richard 04.02.11 at 10:38 pm

Earl — you’re speaking as though the meaning of scripture is plain, unaffected by the experience and context of the reader. You must know that isn’t true. To take just one example, that passage from Romans 1 that you’re so fond of hasn’t always meant what you are now so certain it means. There are lots of other examples. “Love the sinner hate the sin” has too often been used to exclude and villify for it to have any use to us now.

Jogger — I’m sure the things you say about yourself are true, but I’m asking once more: you don’t condone or justify violence against homosexuals, do you?

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jogger 04.02.11 at 10:58 pm

Richard, I do not condone or justify this against anyone.

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Richard 04.02.11 at 11:01 pm

I’m glad we cleared that up. I hope you can see why your previous comment might have put that in doubt.

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Earl 04.02.11 at 11:46 pm

“You’re speaking as though…” etc. In the New Testament understanding of marriage, the meaning of Scripture is plain. The experience and context of the reader is immaterial.

The passage in Romans 1:18ff is a closeup word picture of sin in manifold expressions that characterize a world desperately in need of God. Of course this text stands in its context. So continuing on through chapter 2, Paul describes Gentiles and Jews and indeed the whole world as guilt “under the power of sin.” The whole world is held accountable to God. The same principles of judgment apply to all men, Gentile and Jew (2:1-16). For both Gentile and Jew there is one means of salvation and that is through faith in Jesus Christ.
he same means of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

“’Love the sinner hate the sin’ has too often been used to exclude and vilify for it to have any use to us now.” Absolutely do not agree. In the Gospels, Jesus always loves people, regardless of their station or condition in life. But in the Gospels, Jesus never loves sin. Love of sinners is always right. Love of sin is always wrong.

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PamBG 04.02.11 at 11:55 pm

@Earl. I understand your opinion. I disagree. What else do we have to say to each other?

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Earl 04.03.11 at 12:19 am

“I understand your opinion…” etc. In this matter we are not of one mind. There are those who sharply disagree of other issues. Just before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus prayed for his disciples and for the Church. Of all the things he prayed for, he never once prayed that we would walk in uniformity of thought. He did pray that we would walk in unity. There is nothing new in the Church disagreeing over a matter such as this. Acts and the entirety of the New Testament reflect that the primitive Church had to face many challenging issues. It may be that we will never be of one mind on this matter. But we can as far as possible walk together in Christ.

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Pam 04.03.11 at 12:25 am

Jogger, I’m glad to hear that you do not condone violence against anyone. Our experiences have a very powerful effect on us that’s for sure. Also, glad to hear you are a bookworm - I’m one too.

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PamBG 04.03.11 at 1:11 am

But we can as far as possible walk together in Christ.

That would be fine with me.

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Kim 04.03.11 at 7:09 am

Jogger, Earl, and PamBG: Good. Very good.

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Kitty Wakefield 04.03.11 at 10:21 am

Jogger - what a terrible story….you sound like a very violent and over sensitive grown up man who hates “poofs”….many of us have had propositions put to us that we haven’t wanted and not necessarily from gay people, we don’t react like you, we simply reject them with a simple no thanks…

Personally I wish they would simply bring in marriage equality and let civil partnership be totally “civil” and as someone as alread pointed out the actual registering of the partnership is going to remain civil .. let marriages (both civil and religious) be open to all and let the churches fight it out amongst themselves as to who is going to perform them. It shouldn’t have nothing to do with the government and any change will simply be one where churches will always have their precious religious opt out clause…

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Alec Macph 04.03.11 at 11:15 am

Maybe it’s a few close escapes as a teenager from predatory poofs that’s either blurring
or making me lucid on this issue. Where was that blade when I needed it that time.

You are a Ugandan minister referring to anecdotal tales and I claim my five pounds!

~alec

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Tony Buglass 04.03.11 at 4:31 pm

Nice, one, Alec! ;)

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Doug 04.04.11 at 8:29 pm

Tony, I said the same thing in relation to PamBG’s comment about her experience in relation to Evangelicals. I said the exact same thing as you in regard to your response to jogger, “We mustn’t overgeneralize” and I even acknowledged PamBG experience and you corrected me by asking “How can you say such a thing and not acknowledge the personal experience of PamBG?” (paraphrase) I agree we mustn’t overgeneralize homosexuals but we must also not overgeneralize Conservative Evangelicals no matter what the personal experience people have had. That is not to put aside ones own “personal experience”.

I was persecuted by atheists for my Faith in Christ in high school but I never overgeneralize atheists as being “violent” because an individual atheist was violent with me. The same goes for anyone who has had violence against them. No overgeneralization should occur.

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Tony Buglass 04.06.11 at 12:04 pm

The difference is that I wanted to affirm the validity of Jogger’s experience while challenging the validity of his interpretation; as I recall that exchange, you seemed to be denying PamBG’s experience.

Are you saving up all the times I’ve challenged you to bring up whenever I challenge or don’t challenge someone else?

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