Christian foster carers Eunice and Owen Johns and the gay issue

OK, get your tin hat on folks it’s legal challenge time.

The Telegraph is reporting on the the case of Christian foster carers Eunice and Owen Johns, who had their fostering application withdrawn due to their stance on homosexuality. Put simply, the council discovered they would not teach a child that homosexuality was acceptable and normal.

Well, on Monday, Eunice and Owen Johns will have their day in court

On Monday 1 November 2010 the Johns are going before the High Court to ask for clarification on the council’s position on the suitability of foster carers who have traditional beliefs regarding sexual ethics. This is a vital case for Christian freedoms. The council has an obligation to respect the Johns’ religious beliefs, but also to comply with equality law, which prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation. The case will decide whether the Johns will be able to foster without compromising their beliefs.

This is the first time that a court have been asked to decide how local authorities should deal with foster carers who have traditional views on sexual ethics. The implications are huge. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of Christian foster carers and adoptive parents hangs in the balance, and that the outcome of Monday’s case will have a direct effect on whether Christians decide to apply to be foster carers or adoptive parents. It may not be long before local authorities decide that Christians cannot look after some of the most vulnerable children in our society, simply because they disapprove of homosexuality.

The premise of the case appears to be sexual equality legislation trumping religious freedom.

It is of course the Christian legal Centre representing the couple.

Whichever way this decision goes, it will make big news. If the Johns’ fail, then the persecution narrative is further reinforced leading to more legal cases. If they win, then the LGBT community will be up in arms.

UPDATE: Bad news. Lord Carey has personally jumped into the fray:

Telegraph – Senior bishops have warned that the freedom of Christians to express their beliefs is being eroded following the introduction of equality laws.

Lord Carey’s intervention in the last legal challenge was counterproductive at best!

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160 Responses to “Christian foster carers Eunice and Owen Johns and the gay issue”

  1. Jim Says:

    Yet again, the CLC and the “Senior Bishops” seem to be overlooking the single most important thing here – the welfare of the fostered child.
    What happens if the child is itself homosexual?
    The defence that these people could have for their stance is that homsexuals are made, not born. A more widely held view amongst Christians is that they are born, not made – and this informs most people’s views on the matter.
    I cannot see any positive outcome to this case, which arguably should not have been brought in the first place. Cases like these, which attract such publicity, only make life harder on all those chidren (not just those who are adopted) who discover that they are themselves homosexual; and makes telling their parents about their sexuality that much more traumatic. Where is the compassion and concern for these children in all this?

  2. dennis barnes Says:

    The whole sordid thing wants to make one throw up

  3. Suem Says:

    Rather a sad case and I have mixed feelings about it. Jim makes the most important point, if that child is homosexual, placing them with this couple might well be disastrous for them and an infringement of that child’s right to grow up in an environment where they are not discriminated against. You would not put a black child with a couple who believed blacks were inferior, even if this was dressed up in “benevolent terms” such as “we think they are happier if they stay in their place.”

    I think social services are very rigid generally in the way they vet prospective parents. I believe that people have been turned down because of being overweight, smokers, because they have suffered mental health problems (even when this is only mild depression.) It isn’t just a “gay agenda” at work here.

  4. webmaster Says:

    Here’s the letter from the Bishops:

    SIR – On Monday the High Court is to be asked to rule on whether Christians are “fit people” to adopt or foster children – or whether they will be excluded, regardless of the needs of children, from doing so because of the requirements of homosexual rights.

    The case involves Derby City Council and Eunice and Owen Johns, both highly experienced foster carers, but whose traditional Christian views have left them penalised under legislation enacted by the former government in the name of equality.

    This “equality”, however, privileges homosexual rights over those of others, even though the Office for National Statistics has subsequently shown homosexuals to be just one in 66 of the population.

    In January 2007, the Johnses applied to Derby City Council to be respite carers for a single child aged five to 10 years old. However, in August 2007, their orthodox Christian views on the practice of homosexuality and their commitment to attending church with their children came to the notice of a social worker.

    As a result, they were withdrawn from the process and deemed “unsuitable” to foster through the council.

    The Johnses believe that the desperate shortage of foster carers, and the need for people like them to offer short-term respite care for parents in need of a rest, mean that denying Christians the opportunity to be carers will deeply affect children’s welfare.

    The Johnses are a loving Christian couple, who have in the past, and would in the future, give a stable home to a vulnerable child.

    Research clearly establishes that children flourish best in a family with both a mother and father in a committed relationship.

    A commitment to respecting conscience is the essence of civil liberty. The supporters of homosexual rights cannot be allowed to suppress all disagreement or disapproval and “coerce silence”.

    There is a “clash of rights”, which the court must settle. If the court believes that those with traditional Christian views on homosexuality can be discriminated against, the state has taken a position on a
    moral question, namely that such religious belief is problematic.

    However, despite the Sexual Orientation Regulations and the Equality Act, the courts are still able to establish jurisprudence.

    We trust and pray that common sense and justice will be done.

    Lord Carey of Clifton
    Former Archbishop of Canterbury
    Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt
    Bishop of Winchester
    Rt Revd Peter Forster
    Bishop of Chester
    Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali
    Former Bishop of Rochester

  5. Sophie Says:

    The Bishops’ letter says:

    “There is a “clash of rights”, which the court must settle. If the court believes that those with traditional Christian views on homosexuality can be discriminated against, the state has taken a position on a moral question, namely that such religious belief is problematic.”

    They’re missing the point. The state has indeed “taken a position on a moral question” but it has not directed at the church or any other religion. The moral position is that LBGT people have equal rights. The state – and most British people (including most Christians) – takes the view that homosexuals, like women and the disabled, should not suffer discrimination.

    This stance may conflict with a minority of Christians but the conflict isn’t about religion. To be blunt, the religious issue is an irrelevancy to the law-makers.

    We know various interest groups object to racial or sexual equality. This may be on religious grounds or simply because they’re racist. Makes no difference. The rationale behind such disapproval carries no weight with the courts. The principle of universal human rights does not allow any of us to damage another because of their race, gender or sexuality. Neither bishops – or foster parents – are exempt. Transposing their vainglorious statement “A commitment to respecting conscience is the essence of civil liberty” to cover discrimination on the grounds of race or sex reveals the inanity of their argument.

    As Jim so rightly points out, anti-gay foster parents are not morally neutral. I would be very concerned if people with these views were in charge of vulnerable children. I feel frustrated that none of the bishops seems to have tried substituting the word “black” for “homosexual” to see how it reads.

  6. webmaster Says:

    Thought you might like a slightly different take on all of this:

    Lord Carey DEMANDS the Right to Hate!

    I know I shouldn’t but I just can’t help myself at times ;-)

  7. Suem Says:

    What I do think is a bit strange is that this couple are wanting to foster children aged 5-10 as respite care. Now, my sister in law has respite care for her disabled child, social services matched her with a family who she had the chance to meet and get to know. A few points:
    1. Given that it is respite care, this couple are not going to be the main carers or the biggest influence on the child – the parents are.
    2. If the parents are happy for the couple to take the child to church, why is it a problem?
    3. Not many children aged 5-10 are going to strike up a conversation about homosexuality.
    4. Can’t we just have a bit of sense here? If the foster parents agreed that in the (rare) event of the subject arising they were to say something fairly low key, but also point out that different people do believe different things on this issue – wouldn’t that be a reasonable compromise?

    I personally don’t think a couple with their views is an ideal for long term care of a teenager, for example, but how far do we go? What if they were fostering babies only – would it still be an issue?

  8. Goy Says:

    Could be worse they could have refused to adopt/foster a schemie now what would the ultra-liberal chattering classes equality laws say about that.

  9. Goy Says:

    This nonsense reminds one of the Queen song,

    Hey I was just a skinny lad
    Never knew no good from bad
    But I knew life before I left my nursery – huh
    Left alone with big fat Fanny
    She was such a naughty nanny
    Heap big woman you made a bad boy out of me
    Hey hey!
    Wooh :)

  10. Gordon Says:

    Its interesting that the Christian Legal Centre ensure that the people they are representing don’t do media appearances on their own and rely on press releases and in house video and photographs. Presumably this is to keep things “on message”.

  11. webmaster Says:

    @Gordon, I appreciated you comment over at Cranmer today, feel free to replicate here.

  12. Gordon Says:

    OK. Here is a copy:

    This case actually goes back to 2008 but appears to have been “stoked up” by the Christian Legal Centre. It has also been misreported as relating to fostering when this couple actually applied to provide short term respite care (for 5 to 10 year olds).

    The issue here is not the couples beliefs, but whether they would tell a homosexual child their orientation was wrong.

    The question you have to ask is how likely that issue would be to arise in the provision of respite care to 5 to 10 year olds. Clearly it wouldn’t, but the Christian Legal Centre needs cases to promote and we can never be sure of how far their involvement has gone or how they have advised these people.

    There are large numbers of Christians who are foster parents. Clearly they are not being prevented from doing so, so there must be something special about this case.

    I note that the Nadia Eweida is now going to the European Court:

    http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2010/10/25/56784/ba-crucifix-case-goes-to-european-court-of-human-rights.html

    She lost her employment tribunal claim against BA partly because of behavioural issues:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jan/17/acrosstobear

    She was represented by an American organisation called the Alliance Defence Fund.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_Defense_Fund

    Its main funders include this man:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Prince

  13. Jill Says:

    Why is this rubbish being spouted about ‘gay children’? Children are not gay, they are not sexual beings, they are children. They do not have sexual ideations. They might feel ‘different’ in some way, but the idea that they are gay is being put into their heads by adults. I would describe this as child abuse. It can ruin their lives.

  14. Goy Says:

    Homosexuality what is the obsession, sometimes it appears that it is only inhibited homosexuals that are so voyeuristically obssesed with what is a sexual preference.

    This sick obsession has already destroyed the church are the voyeurs of homosexuality now moving to destroy childhood.

  15. Sophie Says:

    @ Jill: Describing children as gay is by no means rubbish. Most gay people report that they were aware of their sexuality from an early age. Most children do so by the age of 8. There’s an article here.

    Children do not have the same level of sexual interest as adults, but the idea that they are not sexual beings is mistaken, as most parents are aware. This is why sex education starting at five is considered good practice. Leaving it to secondary school age is far too late.

  16. Goy Says:

    @Sophie,

    You miss the point which is for children to define their own sexuality accepting or rejecting the sexual reference points that society may put in their path, to deliberately obstruct that path with the extreme politics of homosexuality and sexual psychobabble is criminal.

  17. Cabal Says:

    @Jill:

    “Children are not gay, they are not sexual beings, they are children”

    This is naive at best.

    “I would describe this as child abuse. It can ruin their lives.”

    No, child abuse is….abuse. Preventing them from being fed dogma is not abuse. And it’ll only “ruin their lives” if they grow up in a society which regularly vilifies homosexuals – now I wonder which group bears a large portion of responsibility for that?

  18. Jill Says:

    No, Sophie, children have no concept of sexuality. They are not sexual beings. That is paedophile-think. Many people who later self-identify as gay say that they ‘always knew’ but that is a different subject. A sensitive and/or possibly artistic child often feels ‘different’ but with proper parenting may overcome that feeling and go on to lead a normal life, or even be ‘different’ all his life without becoming ‘gay’.

    As for sex education for five year olds, I couldn’t disagree more. This is grooming, and leads to unhappy and confused childen. Over £200 million of taxpayers’ money has already been spent on projects like this, and the end result has been even more sexually-transmitted diseases, even higher levels of abortion and teenage births.

  19. Jill Says:

    PS If any other parents reading this are concerned about what their children are being taught at school, over which they feel they have no control or are not even being consulted, (and may not even know), there is a very good website which gives information about what is actually being promulgated in schools and how you can challenge it.

    http://www.spuc.org.uk/campaigns/safeatschool/

  20. Jill Says:

    Cabal, it is plain that you would like to blame Christians for what you perceive as homophobia, but please consider that natural law alone tells us that behaviours which damage the body, mind and spirit are not natural, and should not be taught as such to innocent children.

  21. Cabal Says:

    @Jill:

    “No, Sophie, children have no concept of sexuality. They are not sexual beings. That is paedophile-think.”

    No, this is a symptom of mass-hysteria over paedophiles. Pointing out that someone has a sexuality does not mean you want to have sex with them. Frankly I think you owe Sophie an apology.

    “Many people who later self-identify as gay say that they ‘always knew’ but that is a different subject.”

    No, it is the heart of the matter – because there is good reason to think sexuality is inherent (I wonder how many gay-bashers ‘chose’ to be straight – or perhaps deep down, they’re not sure themselves) so it is perfectly reasonable then to try and educate a person on such things as their sexuality develops, and it has been shown to develop early.

    “A sensitive and/or possibly artistic child often feels ‘different’ but with proper parenting may overcome that feeling and go on to lead a normal life, or even be ‘different’ all his life without becoming ‘gay’.”

    This is such a prejudiced statement I’m not even sure where to start with it.

    ‘Sure, I’ll just generalise the myriad developments of sexual orientation of people I don’t even know personally into some trite stereotype about being “artistic”. How can I get away with this? Can’t you see the Bible in my hand?’

    *facepalm*

    __________________

    “Cabal, it is plain that you would like to blame Christians for what you perceive as homophobia”

    Credit where credit is due (in part, at least) – and it is not a matter of perception.

    “but please consider that natural law alone”

    Whatever that is.

    “tells us that behaviours which damage the body, mind and spirit are not natural”

    Homosexuality does not do any of these things if carried out between committed and faithful people.

    Speaking of natural law, do you realise how common homosexual activity is in nature?

  22. Damien Says:

    “A sensitive and/or possibly artistic child often feels ‘different’ but with proper parenting may overcome that feeling and go on to lead a normal life, or even be ‘different’ all his life without becoming ‘gay’.”

    - This is odd… I was neither particularly sensitive nor artistic during my formative years, in fact I was often accused of being tactless and crass – and as for being artistic! If I attempted to paint a circle it’d end up looking like a square!

    In fact my best subjects were (and are) The Sciences and Maths… yet I was still only attracted to boys, despite my best efforts to will myself straight as a result of my perceived world view at the time everyone had opinions like yours.

    Can you please explain how someone as ‘typically male-minded’ as I managed to be a poof? (I’m confused – feels like I’m 12 again!)

  23. Jill Says:

    Oh dear, Damien, no good at art? Well, never mind, I’m sure you make up for it elsewhere. :) However, I come from a long line of artists and musicians – one members of my family is exceptionally gifted (not me, alas) and our social circle has always contained a far larger than average number of gay people. I won’t bother to enumerate homosexual people who have provided the world with masterpieces.

    I can’t answer your question, of course I can’t, nobody can. But that is irrelevant really to this particular post. We are talking about freedom of thought and religious liberty.

  24. Suem Says:

    Homosexual people have provided the world with masterpieces? You seemed to imply earlier that artistic people can be deluded into believing they are gay, because they are artistic? You seemed to think they were just sensitive straight people, who just needed careful handing – or “proper parenting”, or something like that to stop them assuming they were gay!

    A friend’s son is a straight professional ballet dancer. His parents are separated, very pro gay, non churchgoers – I don’t know how such a potential homosexual turned out straight!!! Surely you don’t define “proper parenting” by whether a child turns out gay or not? What about parents with one gay and one straight child, did they do a proper job with one but not the other?

    Do you actually think about what you are saying, Jill, because it really doesn’t make a lot of sense?

  25. Cabal Says:

    Those black people sure do have rhythm etc…..

  26. Jill Says:

    Oh silly me, what a mistake to make! Of course gay people are not over-represented in the arts! However did I come to think that?

    Did I say that every single gay person is artistic, or even that every single artistic person is gay?

    Do think what you are saying, Sue, you don’t make a lot of sense. You know perfectly well that sensitive kids are often bullied and that gay people often start off as sensitive kids, thus thinking that they are different.

    What has any of this to do with the price of fish, pray? I thought this post was about the Johns. Please let’s not start off yet another argument about how people come to be gay. We all know that sexuality is fluid and can be influenced, and we now know that children brought up by same-sex couples are more likely to be gay themselves, surprise surprise, so let’s not pretend that it is all down to being born that way.

    Much of the gay rights legislation is built on sand. Children are far safer being brought up by a married Christian couple such as the Johns than they are by same-sex couples, who the agencies seem determined to shower with kids, trampling over people like the Johns in their haste.

  27. Cabal Says:

    @Jill:

    “We all know that sexuality is fluid and can be influenced, and we now know that children brought up by same-sex couples are more likely to be gay themselves, surprise surprise, so let’s not pretend that it is all down to being born that way.”

    Citation needed – most studies show that parental sexual orientation is profoundly irrelevant to the child’s. Have they been recently overturned?

    “Children are far safer being brought up by a married Christian couple such as the Johns than they are by same-sex couples, who the agencies seem determined to shower with kids, trampling over people like the Johns in their haste.”

    Uh, not even close:

    http://news.pinkpaper.com/NewsStory/4125/23/10/2010/adoptions-by-gay-and-lesbian-couples-up-by-a-third.aspx

    120 adoptions by gay parents, out of about several thousand?

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=592

    Yeah, those gays, they’re just dominating the system right now….

  28. Suem Says:

    I do think what I am saying, Jill. I don’t assume simple causal links between sensitivity and sexuality, bullying or sexuality and parenting and sexuality. When you say “gay people often start off as sensitive kids” – do you mean men only? Do lesbians start off as sensitive and artistic, or do they start of as tough and butch and so get bullied and end up gay?

    You didn’t answer the point about how “careful parenting” could stop an “artistic” (but not gay?) child from turning out gay? Or, how come the same parenting could turn out one gay and one straight kid?

    It is relevant in a way, because I am starting to wonder if the Johns spout this sort of drivel?

  29. Jim Says:

    Jill
    If you make controversial and unsubstantiated statements of “fact” that outrage those who read your posts you must expect people to come back at you about the topic that you brought into the thread. You cannot just dismiss these comments be saying that this is not relevant to the thread. You yourself have made it relevant.

  30. Jill Says:

    Here’s your citation, Cabal.

    http://www.aolnews.com/discuss/study-gay-parents-more-likely-to-have-gay-kids/19668089#gcpDiscussPageUrlAnchor=&gcpCommentsWidget%5Bp%5D=2&gcpCommentsWidget%5Bs%5D=new

    Not sure if you are a Brit, but gay adoption has only been legal here for about five years.

    Sue, I have already said all I have to say about possible/probable causation and nature/nurture. I don’t have the answers, nor does anybody else. I merely repeat my own experiences of the many gay people I have known in my own social circle, added to that of a number of therapists and counsellors I have connected with in this particular field.

    For most people, and I suspect the Johns, the question of homosexuality never even enters their heads as far as bringing up or looking after children is concerned – why would it? – until it is put there by the social services. They have already said that the question has never arisen in their years of fostering. It probably never would have, so they are really being punished for their thoughts.

  31. DM - London Says:

    I agree with Jim in the sense that the welfare of the child should be paramount! I was fostered as a teenage, one of the couples – a Christian couple. I have discovered through therapy that they severely damaged me. Fostering is about facilitating the needs of the child NOT foster parents indoctrinating foster children with their belief systems!! By the way, I am someone who has done Alpha THREE times and have learned that basically, the essence of Christianity (or indeed any religion) is ‘believe what we believe otherwise you’re wrong and will be punished’. How is that ‘energy’ positive for a vulnerable and more often than not, hurt foster child!!!!

    This Christian couple, as with all Christians that I’ve met and know now, are pushing against others (the very essence that I talked about above). It makes you wonder what they are going to force on the child!!

  32. Gordon Says:

    Of my three gay friends one is a political journalist on TV, one is a minister of religion and the other is a recruitment consultant. Just throwing that in as a random fact. None in the arts or interior design.

  33. Gordon Says:

    First Gay adoption in Scotland was in 1996 by the way.

    Predates most internet news archives but see:

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=S3EWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gBUEAAAAIBAJ&dq=gay%20adoption%20edinburgh&pg=5003%2C3349531

  34. Goy Says:

    The comments have digressed from the post/case, do christian carers have the right to conscience or are they to be barred for what is a politically correct thought crime.

  35. Gordon Says:

    What is “political correctness”? I find this term confusing as a lot of the things branded as such are actually issues of social justice.

  36. Jill Says:

    Gordon – it’s Marxism writ small.

    Read this article on the Frankfurt School of the 1920s and see how much is relevant today. Here is a clip:

    Basically, the Frankfurt School believed that as long as an individual had the belief – or even the hope of belief – that his divine gift of reason could solve the problems facing society, then that society would never reach the state of hopelessness and alienation that they considered necessary to provoke socialist revolution. Their task, therefore, was as swiftly as possible to undermine the Judaeo-Christian legacy. To do this they called for the most negative destructive criticism possible of every sphere of life which would be designed to de-stabilize society and bring down what they saw as the ‘oppressive’ order. Their policies, they hoped, would spread like a virus—‘continuing the work of the Western Marxists by other means’ as one of their members noted.

    To further the advance of their ‘quiet’ cultural revolution – but giving us no ideas about their plans for the future – the School recommended (among other things):

    1. The creation of racism offences.
    2. Continual change to create confusion
    3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
    4. The undermining of schools’ and teachers’ authority
    5. Huge immigration to destroy identity.
    6. The promotion of excessive drinking
    7. Emptying of churches
    8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
    9. Dependency on the state or state benefits
    10. Control and dumbing down of media
    11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family

    One of the main ideas of the Frankfurt School was to exploit Freud’s idea of ‘pansexualism’ – the search for pleasure, the exploitation of the differences between the sexes, the overthrowing of traditional relationships between men and women. To further their aims they would:

    • attack the authority of the father, deny the specific roles of father and mother, and wrest away from families their rights as primary educators of their children.
    • abolish differences in the education of boys and girls
    • abolish all forms of male dominance – hence the presence of women in the armed forces
    • declare women to be an ‘oppressed class’ and men as ‘oppressors’
    Munzenberg summed up the Frankfurt School’s long-term operation thus: ‘We will make the West so corrupt that it stinks.’

    http://www.catholicinsight.com/online/features/article_882.shtml

    Wise up, people!

  37. Goy Says:

    @Gordon,

    Political correctness
    William S. Lind and Patrick Buchanan have characterized PC as a technique originated by the Frankfurt School, through what Buchanan describes as “Cultural Marxism”.[34][35] In The Death of the West, Buchanan says: “Political Correctness is Cultural Marxism, a regime to punish dissent and to stigmatize social heresy as the Inquisition punished religious heresy. Its trademark is intolerance.” [36] –Sourced from Wikipedia

    Definitely NOT social justice.

  38. Cabal Says:

    @Jill, Goy:

    You’re asking us to accept the “true” definition of PC as Marxist from a couple of American right-wingers? You do realise most of them demonstrably wouldn’t know communism if it hit them in the face?

  39. Sophie Says:

    @ Jill: Have you any idea how poor an advert for Christianity you are? Your attitudes are truly repellent. But I’m comforted by the fact that they are also absurdly illogical and you seem wholly unprepared to support them by reference to inconvenient fact. Seems facts are the work of the devil, in your world.

    I suppose regular participants can be grateful that you’ve picked up on the widespread disapproval of the vile way in which you expressed yourself in previous debate, but your underlying message still isn’t something I can imagine Jesus feeling a lot of sympathy with. As it is, I’m pleased to see that you’re fighting a bit of a lone battle here, well, apart from Goy. So a bit of a lone battle, then…

  40. Goy Says:

    @Cabal,

    Pray do enlighten me on the “true” definition of PC and communism.

  41. Cabal Says:

    @Goy:

    I would, but they’re irrelevant to the topic at hand.

  42. Jill Says:

    Oh good, Sophie. I love it when people resort to personal abuse. It means that they do not have one single reasonable argument to put forward. It just happens that I think your undermining of the Christian faith as it has always been understood is pretty repugnant too, but hey ho, I’m not as rude as you.

    A lone battle? I don’t think so. Plenty of people will not dance to the revisionist tune, as can be seen in parts of the world where decent people are deserting the churches in droves to join the faithful elsewhere.

  43. Gordon Says:

    What’s happening here is that people are making a right wing political position part of Christianity. This is an American import. Christianity is neither left or right wing politically and you did not get this polarisation in the UK until 20 years ago.

  44. Goy Says:

    @Gordon,

    Not right wing more “traditional conservatism” a movement that in a way transcends politics a counter to the “Cultural Marxism” and the ultra Liberalism that has captured the political spectrum from the left to right and dare I say Christianity.

    This is not an American import but a spontaneous grass roots response to extreme left and right wing ultra Liberalism.

  45. Sophie Says:

    @ Goy: There’s a rather better than usual article on political correctness at Wikipedia. Reading it will make you better informed though whether you’ll be any the wiser is another matter. ;-)

  46. Sophie Says:

    @ Jill: Rudeness? Are you totally without self-perception? You accuse me of thinking like a paedophile and then complain about my personal attacks? Don’t be ridiculous!

    The opinions you’ve expressed on this topic are no more than mindless malicious prejudice, unsupported by research or logic. What comes over again and again, however, is just how much pleasure you find in condemning others. Your obvious revulsion at the very idea of homosexuality makes it hard to have any sympathy with your position. However we do not make social policy based on this sort of bigotry, thank God.

    We are put in this world to love one another. The cruelty and prejudice you express are not good for the soul, and offer poor testimony to a God of infinite compassion.

    As a more general contribution to the debate on these foster parents, I do not think any rigid or self-righteous religious expression is suitable when caring for vulnerable children – other people’s children – who have not been brought up with such views. Kids need foster parents for countless reasons, but the central one is inevitably that the natural parents cannot cope. People like the couple described are unlikely to provide the non-judgmental support such children require. Their certainty of their own moral rectitude makes them unsuitable for such a sensitive situation, for which respect and compassion are the main qualifiers.

  47. Jill Says:

    Well, I haven’t got time to argue with those who will not hear. I did not liken you to a paedophile – read again what I said. Smear smear. All my material is carefully researched, and I produce evidence when necessary.

    Here is a rather good video which illustrates how leftists argue. A pity it is American, but nevertheless.

    http://frontpagemag.com/2010/11/04/how-leftists-argue/?utm_source=FrontPage+Magazine&utm_campaign=158d3b5894-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email

  48. Gordon Says:

    What is wrong with being leftist? Its a legitimate political position in a democracy.

  49. Cabal Says:

    @Jill:

    “Well, I haven’t got time to argue with those who will not hear.”

    Given the usual standard of your responses, this is rich coming from you.

    “I did not liken you to a paedophile – read again what I said. Smear smear.”

    If it’s thinking that Sophie holds to – which is not unreasonable to conclude seeing as she put the links about child sexuality forward without couching it in a devil’s advocate argument – then you effectively did accuse her of paedophile-think. It may not have been intentional, but that’s how it comes across.

    ” All my material is carefully researched, and I produce evidence when necessary.”

    More like when prompted, eventually.

    “Here is a rather good video which illustrates how leftists argue. A pity it is American, but nevertheless.”

    Wow, so you’re stereotyping those who disagree with you as “leftists” and yet you’re accusing them of poor argumentation? I wonder how many more stereotypes we’ll extract from you before the day is done?

  50. Sophie Says:

    @ Jill: All my material is carefully researched? In which case why not produce this research?

    Hard facts are what you constantly evade, your statements are baseless spite and some of them are ludicrous. Gay people are more likely to be artistic? I expect you think black people have natural rhythm too… I give up.

    Cabal said “Frankly I think you owe Sophie an apology”, but I shan’t hold my breath. I don’t imagine you ever see a reason to apologise. I’m just glad I don’t live in your head – I can just turn away – and I’m glad that I’m only one of many posters here whose views are fuelled by tolerance and compassion. Oh, and facts…

    Face it, Jill. Whatever you say; however much poison you pour – people of goodwill have moved on. The gay debate is over in society at large. Same with contraception and abortion. The man in the street, thank God, is kinder and more rational than you.

    However people with your sort of views give Christianity a bad name, and deter open-minded souls who might be interested. With you as a representative, who would want to join? Do you not understand that we are not here to malign and condemn? God is our judge.

    The things that really make me angry are cruelty and malice, for which our beliefs give no excuse. Gay people are already a vulnerable group: they still face prejudice, even physical attack as well as a certain amount of economic discrimination. How dare you try to make their lives more difficult?

  51. Jill Says:

    Cabal, that is a joke! When you guys stereotype everyone who doesn’t agree with you as bigots/racists/homophobes or whatever.

    Just watch the video, Gordon. My point is that people who put up perfectly reasonable positions, backed up by myriad evidence, are merely labelled as bigots/racists/homophobes by lefties, obviously hoping to cow them into silence.

    Well, things are changing. We are learning how to deal with this kind of thing. I am very encouraged by the American midterm election results when ordinary people have wiped the floor with Obama and his band of crazies.

  52. Gordon Says:

    But a right wing position is not the only possible political position for a Christian.

    You seem to be presenting a conservative economic and social policy as being a prerequisite of being a Christian. This is demonstrably false. I just cam from a meeting at work with a minister who is also a labour candidate in the next Scottish parliament elections. He is not any less of a Christian due to his political views.

  53. Cabal Says:

    @Jill:

    “Cabal, that is a joke! When you guys stereotype everyone who doesn’t agree with you as bigots/racists/homophobes or whatever.”

    Only when they’re being bigoted, racist and homophobic – hope that clears things up. By comparison, you are clearly stereotyping purely based on the fact they are disagreeing with you, regardless of content.

    And even if there was hypocrisy on this issue from your opponents calling you on stereotyping people – that doesn’t justify you doing it, so why do you persist with it?

    “Just watch the video, Gordon. My point is that people who put up perfectly reasonable positions, backed up by myriad evidence, are merely labelled as bigots/racists/homophobes by lefties, obviously hoping to cow them into silence.”

    There is little left to conclude but prejudice when people cling to their views in spite of their evidence being inadequate. On that note:

    http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/2010/10/17/27400

    “Well, things are changing. We are learning how to deal with this kind of thing. I am very encouraged by the American midterm election results when ordinary people have wiped the floor with Obama and his band of crazies.”

    You are kidding – we do not need more American-style right-wing rhetoric over here, thank you very much.

  54. Sophie Says:

    @ Gordon: Any one who uses the phrase “Obama and his band of crazies” is clearly extremely right-wing, as the American system is consistently far further right than ours, with the Democracts resembling our Conservatives and the Tea Party coming across to British onlookers as total nutters.

    It’s shocking to see politicians in the richest nation in the world frothing at the mouth at the very thought of universal health provision, which is a given in other developed nations.

    N.B. Did anyone see Andrew Neil’s documentary about the Tea Party this week? Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas – here was a group of people demanding that legislation to protect their air and water quality be abolished.

    @ Jill: Are you American? You seem very out of step with even conservative British thinking. Most of us hold the NHS very dear to our hearts, and recoil from the brutality and inequity of American society. Mainstream commentators here describe Obama’s achievements so far as equalled only by the US Civil Rights Act of 1964.

  55. Gordon Says:

    Indeed, the conservatives in the UK are pro NHS. They have different views about how it should be managed, but they are still in favour of universal healthcare. I don’t know of any political party in the Uk that is opposed to universal health care.

  56. Sophie Says:

    @ Cabal: The link you provide gives a very nice explanation of meta-analysis. It also highlights yet another example of the misuse of science by anti-gay activists. So prevalent has this abuse of data become in America that researchers in the field have felt impelled to launch their own web presence (Respect My Research) protesting against the relentless misrepresentation of their work.

    They write “Anti-gay activists and their organizations are co-opting legitimate scientific research to support their discriminatory political goals. These various offenders have distorted, cherry picked or misquoted research from esteemed academic scholars across the world.”

    Another fairly reliable way of checking whether scientific claims are bogus is establishing where a quoted paper has been published. Anti-gay groups often quote what they present as scientific evidence but when the references are followed up it’s clear this supposed proof hasn’t made it through peer-review or been published in a journal with mainstream academic status. You can claim anything if you don’t submit it to external scrutiny.

    Some groups misrepresent science so consistently that anything they say is automatically suspect. Hate groups like NARTH and the Family Research Institute are infamous in this regard. The head of the FRI, Paul Cameron, has the dubious honour of having been either being expelled from or formally repudiated by the American Psychological Association, the Nebraska Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association and the Canadian Psychological Association. Quite a record.

  57. Jill Says:

    Tea party is about small government. Rather than let the Marxoids (who think they are our masters but are in fact our servants – I am thinking of the last Labour administration) take most of our money and spend it on their crackbrained projects, bringing the country to the brink of ruin, we get to keep most of our money and spend it on what WE want. We can then decide our own morality rather than have to bend the knee to the false gods the Marxoids worship. In a Christian country this is liberty, freedom and fairness for ALL, not just selected (by them) minorities.

    Bring it on!

  58. Cabal Says:

    @Jill:

    “Tea party is about small government.”

    But funded by big business.

    “Rather than let the Marxoids (who think they are our masters but are in fact our servants – I am thinking of the last Labour administration)”

    Yeah

    “take most of our money and spend it on their crackbrained projects, bringing the country to the brink of ruin, we get to keep most of our money and spend it on what WE want.”

    “We can then decide our own morality rather than have to bend the knee to the false gods the Marxoids worship.”

    So the alternative you offer is bending the knee to your own selfishness? Bravo.

    “In a Christian country this is liberty, freedom and fairness for ALL, not just selected (by them) minorities.”

    Christians are SUPPOSED to look out for the marginalised – or did all that stuff about widows and orphans and the Beatitudes pass you by?

    And my backside would a Christian country run by Tea Partiers be about liberty. They’d impose their morality given half a chance, they sure didn’t avoid trying during the Bush admin in the US and the Tea Party is essentially a rebranding hoping people won’t notice that it’s the same ignorance and bigotry that has always been endemic among the American right.

  59. Cabal Says:

    Urgh, hit the button too soon…

    @Jill:

    “Rather than let the Marxoids (who think they are our masters but are in fact our servants – I am thinking of the last Labour administration)”

    Yeah, like this is little more than bluster. If they were servants, they wouldn’t have pushed the country around for eight years.

    ALL governments, right or left wing, should be servile to the people – but neither wing has a particularly good track record of that.

    “take most of our money and spend it on their crackbrained projects, bringing the country to the brink of ruin, we get to keep most of our money and spend it on what WE want.”

    Right – you do realise that in the US, the Bush admin wrecked the deficit and allowed the US to fall into ruin? Or is the wrong kind of right-wing “Marxoid” now?

  60. Goy Says:

    Is it Marxists posing as Christians or Christians posing as Marxists on the comment sections of this site?

  61. Jim Says:

    Neither Goy.

    Cabal, Gordon and Sophie – I was sorely tempted to jump in with both barrels after Jill’s first few posts, which I found outrageous – but I don’t think anything we write here will significantly alter her views.

    One of the things I like about this blog is that it attracts comments from such a broad cross section of society – even the ones I find outrageous or sadly misguided. Let’s just accept that we all have different views. I think it’s abundantly clear exactly where some of us lie in this spectrum.

    Jill – From my perspective you present yourself as someone who is very arrogant, someone who hankers after the “good old days” before what people sometimes disparagingly call the era of political corectness, and who is not too picky about what research she uses, provided it supports her prejudices; and that you will then fight to the death to protect. You’re not a Daily Mail reader by any chance are you?

  62. webmaster Says:

    Looks like the Barnabas Fund are using this case as an example of creeping Christian persecution in the West:

    Christians in West told to ‘prepare for persecution’

    Hardly on a par with Iraq right now….

  63. Cabal Says:

    @webmaster:

    Yes, as always, the irony that they’re freely posting online about being “persecuted” (in a country which democratically allows for people to appeal both court orders and for legislation reform, if the will and the reason are behind it) has escaped them. It’s quite sickening in many respects.

  64. Jim Says:

    Hmm. This persecution complex is hardly the best way to earn respect from others!
    I was encouraged however by another article on the Barnabas site headed: ‘Christians and Muslims issue joint statement condemning Iraqi church attack’.
    Nice to see some collaboration against a common probem of thuggery disguised as religion, rather than bickering at each other! I do hope we see more of this!

  65. Goy Says:

    So are only preferred groups to be applauded for exercising the law, remember government departments are almost untouchable and breach there own laws everyday when they deal with the man from the scheme, there are no multi-million pound ultraliberal human rights lawyers queuing up to defend them.

    @Jim,

    ‘Christians and Muslims issue joint statement condemning Iraqi church attack’.

    This ‘Holy Lying’ is known as taqiyya (sometimes spelled taqiya or taquiya) – This may take many forms, including outright lies, feigned moderation, and condemnation of terrorist attacks to the Infidel while rejoicing with fellow Muslims.

  66. Jim Says:

    Lightening this up a bit, I just came across the following definition attributed to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown when referring to Stephen Fry:
    “heterophobia – the real, visceral repulsion felt by some gay men when they imagine what men and women do in bed.”
    ;-)

  67. Goy Says:

    ” … when they imagine what men and women do in bed.”

    Sometimes conceive homosexual offspring.

  68. Clare Says:

    Bravo to Jill for her spirited, lucid, consistent and, apparently, single handed defense of reason!

  69. Jill Says:

    Why thank you Clare! But the Gospel IS clear and consistent; it is only when people rail against it and try to rewrite it in their own image that chaos ensues, as can be seen from some of the posts here, and indeed from the growing chasm in the Anglican Communion (I am an Anglican).

    And please, no more tirades of oooh aren’t you horrid/right wing/arrogant. It is very tedious, and I am none of these things.

  70. Clare Says:

    Jill
    I first discovered this site a few days ago when I was Googling 40 Days For Life ( a pro life prayer and fasting initiative) I was taken aback firstly by the unbalanced way it was initially reported upon here ( lifting the story from secular pro choice sources who are hostile to movements like this, and putting it to the readers that the campaign was “crossing a line”) I didn’t expect to see that on a “Christian” blog.
    And then the comments that followed were indistinguishable from the bile about Christians that you would expect to find on a Dawkins forum.

    Reading through here again, the comments appear to be those of anti church secularists who have drunk deeply of the cultural KoolAid.

    You were spot on about the gay issue Jill, and I was cheering when I read your comments.
    . Children are not sexual beings, this is certainly paedophile think. Much of the sex ed agenda is in fact grooming and a form of crypto paedophilia. ( children, 8 years and even younger, are encouraged to explore their sexuality, given information about erogenous zones and told how pleasant those parts are when they are stimulated)

    Our primary sexual identity is ( or should be) that we are male or female. Sexual orientation is fluid. The evidence supports this much more that the idea that we are “born gay”. In fact there are certain envitonmental factors common to most gay people which suggests that SSA is related to the operation of nurture upon a pre existing ( but not of itself “gay”) natural temperament.
    It is harmful to a young person who is confused and worried about feelings of Same sex attraction to tell him that his anxiety is rooted in a reluctance to accept that he is gay. Our culture has become so gay affirmative that the gay label is thrust far too hastily upon young people rather than helping them to understand how these feelings can be on the spectrum of normal in a fundamentally heterosexually orientated person.
    I’m pretty confident that the commenters above will have long since stopped reading this with an open mind and will be scorning my comment , as they did yours, as that of a “right wing fundie” ( ooh a terrible thing indeed!).
    That is because their deepest love affair is with the secular culture rather than with the Truth.
    I recommend this website for more info about the gay issue:
    http://www.narth.com/

  71. Suem Says:

    I spoke just recently with someone who was considering suicide because of the very strong message from their church that they must remain celibate and not act on their homosexual attractions. This was someone in their twenties who had been through the “reparative therapy” mill (True Freedom and all that) and was at their wits end because it had had not the slightest impact – other than to make them desperately try to lie to themselves and those ministering to them.

    This person told me they rated their attraction to the opposite sex as “zero”, although they had many friends of the opposite sex and no aversion to them as human beings! You write,

    “these feelings can be on the spectrum of normal in a fundamentally heterosexually orientated person.”

    Well, I would agree that a fundamentally heterosexual person *can* sometime have homosexual impulses – though I think the majority don’t, but some people are completely homosexual.

    If sexual orientation were completely fluid we would all know about it, because we would all have the experience of fancying both men and women! You write, “sexual orientation is fluid” – a very cut and dried statement! Obviously, your own sexuality IS fluid, or you would not assume it is for others, but what happens to be true for you is not true for everyone. If you talk to some of your heterosexual acquaintances, you will find they have never been sexually attracted to both genders or desired a sexual relationship with their own sex.

  72. Jim Says:

    Clare (and Jill)
    This is indeed a Christian blog, written by a very thoughtful and committed Christian, who welcomes those of all religions and none to discuss issues that matter to us all. We certainly don’t all agree with him or with each other, but most of us learn a great deal from the exchnage of views, and either become firmer in our convictions or change our point of view. There is very little thoroughly bad behaviour – though there are sometimes heated exchanges. Isn’t that what the best blogs should be about?
    If you want a blog where everyone agees, and there’s a collective bemoaning of the terrible things being done by “other people”, then I’d suggest this is not the blog for you.
    I’m an atheist, but that does not mean I can’t learn things from religious people, and I certainly do on this blog – all the time. Isn’t it better to engage with people like me, rather than pretend we don’t exist?
    You speak with great certainty about your opinions, and that sometimes annoys people that don’t share your opinions because you appear (whether true or not) to have very closed minds.
    To take an analogy: I can’t know that God does not exist, but that is what I believe. You cannot know that God exists, but that is what you believe. If either of us writes as if our belief was an unassailable fact, then we can expect to attract flak.
    I do agree that there is no call for gratuitous rudeness. But we are all fallible humans, and the very strong views about the sorts of topics posted by our webmaster do sometimes cause us to lose our temper.

    Our positions are poles apart Jill. I disagree with just about everything you write. However, I accept that I may be wrong. That does not stop me trying to explain why I think you are wrong. I hope this comment is useful. Jim

  73. Jill Says:

    Sue, we have been through all this 100 times before, but I think it is still worth pursuing as there will always be new readers who are confused about this issue.

    First of all, the prohibition of homosexual practice is actually in the Bible, it is not something we have made up ourselves to spoil people’s fun. It is there for a very good reason – leaving aside for the moment that marriage (between a man and a woman) is the only place for sexual relationships, which it cannot be denied is what the Bible consistently affirms.

    Homosexual practice is not good for individuals, or for society. It belongs to the ‘culture of death’ along with euthanasia and abortion, and all the other ills associated with family breakdown. If carried to their logical conclusion, these would see the end of the human race.

    You talk about suicide. The rate of suicide is very high amongst same-sex attracted people. It is much, much higher in gay affirming societies, so cannot simply be put down to homophobia. The human body is not designed for homosex – in males this is the primary cause of many diseases, not just HIV/AIDS, although this is the worst and most lethal. Violation of the body in this way also violates the mind in the same way that pornography does. The brain changes, and people become addicted, and need more and more to satisfy the craving. That is why there are high levels of promiscuity in the gay community – the cravings can never be satisfied, so there is always the moving on, the ‘seeking’ satisfaction, which is unattainable. Please understand that I am talking about patterns and trajectories, not individual people – of course there will always be exceptions.

    This is very sad. As a Christian I strongly believe that we must all walk this walk with our SSA brothers and sisters. As things are at present this is very difficult, as there is hostility and anger on both sides. When I was young we had many same-sex attracted clergy in the C of E, just as we have now. The difference is that they were then merely ‘bachelors’ or ‘not the marrying kind’ and everyone accepted that. I don’t recall anybody being troubled by it. We just understood that people had their own furrow to plough; no-one wanted to snoop on their private lives. It was up to each individual to account to God for his or her own actions. I had a priest like this for several years, and he was loved and respected by all. It was known as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Although far from perfect, this has worked reasonably well for many generations.

    This has all changed, however. This person might by now have installed his boyfriend (or one of them) in the vicarage and would be demanding acceptance. This we cannot do. This is where the fault line is. Christians know that they are all sinners called to repentance, but when one group is not repenting, or at least trying to, but demanding acceptance of their sins, it cannot work, and never will.

    It seems harsh to insist on chastity for SSA people. Everyone wants to be loved, and intimacy is a very basic need. But the Church cannot and must not affirm that which God has forbidden. What churches need to do, but are far from equipped, is to work with SSA people towards their ultimate goal, which is the ultimate goal of all of us – to become more Christ-like. This does not mean that we will not sometimes stumble and fall. We all do this, in our various ways. But to deny that this is what is needed is a travesty of Christian doctrine, and does no favours to SSA people.

  74. Jill Says:

    Clare, you and I are obviously coming from the same place. I am very much part of the pro-life movement. I am also involved in reparative therapies (though in an administrative role rather than a professional one) but I sit in on many strategy meetings with therapists and post-gay men and women and I know what God’s love can do for people if only they trust in Him. I also know that it is far from easy to be obedient to God’s Word – much harder for some than for others. But I know people from True Freedom Trust and other organizations working in this field, and they have a very good rate of success.

    I have been involved in the organization of two conferences bring Joseph Nicolosi from NARTH to the UK, and have heard what he has to say, and have seen for myself the impact he has made on many gay men and women. These people came voluntarily, they were not dragged off the streets – they themselves wanted change, and to deny them help and support (which gay activists tried to do when they attempted to prevent the visit) would be downright wicked. Many SSA people, whether people of faith or not, know that it is not a right way of living, and want to change.

    You are right that sexuality can be fluid. Many people will admit to having youthful ‘crushes’ on those of the same sex, but grow out of it. Others change their sexuality (in both directions) in adulthood. There is not one single scrap of evidence that people were born gay – even those trying hardest to find such evidence will admit that.

    Our latest conference in London earlier this year was on sex education, focusing on what children are being taught in schools. You might even have been there, if you are in the UK. There were many professional educators there as well as parents and other concerned people. We heard talks from a number of groups who present vibrant and youth-centred talks in schools such as the Challenge Team, Lovewise, the Family Education Trust. Children need to be told that it is not a good idea to become sexually active at an age when they are not psychologically equipped to cope with it. Although the conference did not specifically focus on gay issues, naturally this came into the equation as it is being pumped into children’s heads under the guise of ‘anti-bullying’ initiatives.

    Parents are often shocked when they find out what is actually taught in their children’s schools, and the purpose of these events is to equip them on how to deal with these issues in a constructive way. You will know that while schools are not allowed to administer aspirins to a child with a headache, they are able to arrange abortions without the parents’ consent or knowledge.

  75. Jill Says:

    I would just add that I agree with Jim that our webmaster on this site is thoughtful and intelligent, but I suspect youngish (???). I find that the older I get the more I understand the rightness of Christian teaching on marriage and the family. I was one of the original bra-burning women’s libbers, and it was not until much later that I started to understand how much damage feminism has done to the family and to children, and that insisting our own individual ‘rights’ comes at a cost to others; in this case children.

    There is hope for him yet! (Sorry Stuart! Don’t be cross with me! I don’t mean to patronise.)

  76. Phoebs Says:

    @Jill, yes there is hope, he’s swimming the Tiber!

  77. webmaster Says:

    I’m not at all cross Jill, not one iota, I appreciate all of your comments! Simple as that.

  78. Jim Says:

    Jill,
    I respect that you have a fundamentally different view to me, but I would also agree with you that you do tend to come across as patronising.
    see what happens if I slightly rephrase some of the words of your last post to express my (actual) views, as follows:

    “…I find that the older I get the more I understand the wrongness of Christian teaching on so many things, including marriage and the family. Whilst you were apparently burning your bra as a women’s libber I was a deeply conservative traditionalist, and it was not until much later that I started to understand how much damage conservative religious views do to people’s self perception, and that insisting on imposing our own religious ‘rights’ comes at a cost to others; including children. …”

    How does that make you feel? It does actually reflect my views, but the apparent arrogance with which I expressed them will probably put quite a few noses out of joint.

  79. Suem Says:

    “We just understood that people had their own furrow to plough; no-one wanted to snoop on their private lives. It was up to each individual to account to God for his or her own actions. I had a priest like this for several years, and he was loved and respected by all. It was known as ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.”

    We’ve still got plenty of closeted priests and bishops in the church, Jill. I happen to know a few who have very active private lives. I didn’t realise you were OK with it as long as people lied about it. It is still known as don’t ask, don’t tell, by the way. Some people see that as hypocrisy. Some people have pointed out that it is dishonest. Some people think it is wrong for the church to collude with something it “officially” says is wrong. Some people think it is wrong for the church to expect their gay clergy to live a lie.

    I am one of those people who see it as dishonest and wrong, but that is part of my perception of what it is to live with integrity and you clearly have different ideas about that.

    By the way I do know people who are gay and celibate because of their convictions, I have the greatest respect for them and don’t assume they have been coerced into their decision – but some people do feel they have been coerced and damaged by their churches or by ministry.

    Do you really think everyone’s sexuality is fluid ( even if only at some point in their lives?) Quite a few “heterosexual” people do report some homosexual attractions or fantasies, of course, but the majority don’t – honestly! Do you really believe that nobody is ever 100% heterosexual or homosexual and that everyone has entertained fluid feelings and desires ? Do you really believe that me, and everyone on this blog, and yourself and your husband (if you are married), and your family and friends have, each and every one of them, experienced feelings towards both men and women at some stage?

  80. Jill Says:

    Sue, I think you will find that I said ‘some people’ when I was talking about sexual fluidity.

    I disagree with you about hypocrisy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. Never having got into the practice of the confessional, (though perhaps I should) I don’t force my own sins onto others for their approval or disapproval. They are between myself and God. We are always being told that homosexual practice is no worse than other sins, so why make a special case for it? If I were to tell you that I am addicted to pornography and have no intention of changing my ways, or even trying to break free, that would force you to either approve or disapprove – in other words, to be judgmental, which is something else we are told we must not be. (I’m not, by the way! Addicted to porn, that is.)

    This is what openly gay clergy do. They force us to choose between approving and disapproving. They are effectively sticking two fingers up to the clear teaching of scripture and asking us to approve. The same applies to those clergy who collude with them by their teaching.

    I too know clergy who are same-sex attracted but who strive, and sometimes struggle, to live chastely. I would be very angry if I thought they were living the gay scene, whether they kept it to themselves or not. But I know such people exist, and am glad that I am not required to judge them. They will be answerable for their actions eventually.

  81. Jill Says:

    Sorry, Jim, I don’t get what you are saying. This is a Christian blog. I don’t feel we have to explain ourselves to atheists.

    I do appreciate your thoughtful posts, though. All my working life has been amongst mainly non-believers, and it is an uphill struggle, which is why I hardly ever frequent non-Christian blogs now. Too many vile and abusive people. It is too wearying. It is wearying enough trying to explain ourselves to fellow Christians!

    Perhaps I am just tired!

  82. Suem Says:

    So, some peoples’ sexuality is fluid, but most people do not experience this sort of fluidity. So, whether people are born or made that way is irrelevant. It is also irrelevant if you truly believe it is prohibited by scripture – but then so are a lot of things, which you and I probably both do, and so is divorce and remarriage, and we have divorced and remarrried priests…

    I think if gay priests want to be honest and open, that is their right. The church then has the right to sack them if they so wish. This is laid out in the Equality Bill – but it would cause bad publicity for the Church. Frankly, a large proportion of the C of E is pretty tolerant of gay people and gay priests, we just can’t admit that. The hierarchy of the C of E is in the closet about their liberal attitudes!

    Some gay clergy are celibate, some may “live the gay scene”, but you have forgotten that there is a place between these, clergy in committed relationships who love and faithfully support each other and who prefer to be honest about the role of that person in their lives.

    I’m very uninterested in whether you are addicted to porn, or anything else, Jill. Why would it force me to approve or disapprove anyway?

  83. Jill Says:

    We are not answerable to ‘most people’, we are answerable to God.

    Peter Ould made a very good point about this case on his blog. If the Johns lose, then it makes the Church of England subservient to the state. In other words, we will have to render unto Caesar the things which are God’s.

    The only solution would be to disestablish.

    Your last paragraph is unworthy of you, Sue.

  84. Clare Says:

    Suem
    “I think if gay priests want to be honest and open, that is their right.”
    What do you mean?
    To an extent this makes perfect sense, but not, I think, in the way you intend it to.
    If one wants to be open and honest about anything, from constipation to armed robbery, that is their right. I don’t think that is what is under discussion here.

    Openess and honesty are positive virtues associated with integrity and so I assume that is why you are framing your argument this way. However, to be a minister of religion who embraces a sinful lifestyle willingly, intends to continue doing so, and who is the open and honest about it as though the sin was really a morally neutral thing about which God is indifferent, is to give grave scandal to the faithful.
    And I use the word scandal in the Matthew 18 sense rather than in a “Ooh gasp! Whatever next!” sense.

    But the real crux of the matter is that you see a homosexual relationship as being a morally neutral thing about which God is indifferent.
    Furthermore, you mischaracterise those who don’t affirm that lifestyle as being guilty of causing SSA individuals to feel bad about themselves. You refuse to see that this strong tendancy towards depression may be deeply rooted in the condition of homosexuality itself.

    Most active gay men know that there is something inherently wrong about their lifestyle. In addition they usually also suffer with a deep wound of rejection which is partly why they are so insistent about being affirmed .
    I think we should respond to that very real need, and of course we should affirm them and love them and defend their dignity and human rights both as citizens and as children of God.
    But it is not a kindness to affirm someone in their sin. It is a spiritual work of mercy to admonish the sinner. That doesn’t mean that we get to wag our finger and tut at those bad ol’ sinners. Quite the contrary, it means that we have to identify with them, it means that we have to allow our own sins to convict us also. And that is not some self flagellating guilt trip, it’s the gospel truth.
    We have to allow our sin to convict us. There are no short cuts, and trying to make our sin ok doesn’t work either, the human heart isn’t decieved.
    God’s judgement is mercy, but there is no mercy without judgement.
    Affirming the gay lifestyle as an option for a Christian is robbing them of the true peace that we all desire.
    We can do lots of religious things and be very good in many ways, and say lots of nice sounding things, but until we live in the truth we will never know the peace of God.

  85. Clare Says:

    I was also struck by this:
    ” It is also irrelevant if you truly believe it is prohibited by scripture – but then so are a lot of things, which you and I probably both do, and so is divorce and remarriage, and we have divorced and remarrried priests…”

    Well quite.
    But then I’m not an Anglican I’m a Catholic.

  86. Clare Says:

    We are always being told that homosexual practice is no worse than other sins, so why make a special case for it?
    My thoughts exactly. I think Suem, that THAT, rather than dishonesty, is what Jill was driving at when she mentioned “don’t ask don’t tell”.

  87. Jim Says:

    Jill,
    It was not my intention to ask you to explain yourself to me. I’m sorry if that’s the impression I gave. Actually it was the responses from your fellow Christians that most demanded you to justify yourself.

    I can only apologise for the very puerile abuse by some people who call themselves Atheists, but who are in the main part just having sick ‘fun’ baiting Christians. It’s despicable behaviour and I disassociate myself from these hooligans completely. Actually I have also noticed some strident internecine squabbles within Christianity, which has been quite an eye-opener for me!

    I’ve also received some gratuitous abuse from some so called religious fundamentalists. But as you’ve alluded to earlier, once the abuse starts flying then you know the other side has lost interest in rational argument, and it’s just water off a duck’s back!

    I hope people here will just accept me for what I am, and try to understand my point of view, as I try to undersand yours, even if we do not agree. I can’t pretend to be something I am not. But whilst I do not believe in God, that does not stop me having great respect for much Christian teaching. As a way of life it has a lot going for it, and I am daily inspired by much of what I read here – which is one of the main reasons I hang around….

  88. Jill Says:

    Jim, I appreciate your post. I’m sorry if I sounded tetchy, but you can understand that it does get tiring trying to explain the tenets of the Christian faith to people who just want to knock you down rather than hear what you have to say. I am accustomed to pitying or scornful glances from colleagues (I worked in the City of London) who think that Christians are straight-laced and priggish, and bound to obey centuries-old teaching which they think has no relevance today. (Once they got to know me, they found that this was far from true!) It is sometimes not until people actually become Christians that they realise just how relevant this teaching is, and how it frees and liberates you rather than binds.

    Just as an illustration, as we are on the subject of marriage and morality, just imagine for a moment that everyone in the UK was converted to Christianity overnight (and we were hermetically sealed from outsiders bent on making trouble!) Once they had all accepted that sexual activity should be contained within marriage between a man and a woman, just think of the societal ills of today which would fade away. AIDS and other STIs would be gone within a generation. We would not be having 200,000 abortions every year. Violence, drug and alcohol use would fade into insignificance, as society becomes more stable, with fewer and fewer broken homes and damaged children. Really, one could go on and on. Think of the huge savings to the NHS alone if these ills were averted, not to mention millions of broken lives.

    Of course this will never happen, and is hugely over-simplistic, but it must be understood that marriage is the cornerstone of a stable society. You cannot get away from this. Yet people even within the church are chipping away at it. The last government made commendable attempts to wreck it completely.

    People like the Johns understand this. They are not ‘homophobic’, that vastly overused word, they simply recognise that marriage is between a man and a woman and they will not tell children that this is not so.

    You may not believe in God, Jim, but his Word is true. You are the inheritor of a Christian legacy – education for the poor, the end of slavery, the nursing profession – all these things and many others were put in place by Christian men and women. You only have to accept these things, and ask God to come into your life, and He will. I hope that doesn’t sound too preachy!

  89. Jim Says:

    Thanks for that Jill. I think the gulf between your world view and mine is enormous, but that should not stop each of us reflecting on the ponts made by the other. I have come to atheism from being a conscientious Christian. I can’t imagine going back but I hope I keep an open mind. A part of me still desires the comfort of belief, but that in itself is not sufficient cause.

  90. Gordon Says:

    Me too. I was a Christian and a preacher who discovered he no longer believed. I fully understand the Christian position. In fact I work for a Christian organisation and have just been appointed to a post within one of the larger denominations. I still don’t believe in God, or at least the God that evangelicals believe in.

  91. Jill Says:

    He hasn’t quite let either of you go, though, has he? :)

    O Love that wilt not let me go,
    I rest my weary soul in Thee;
    I give Thee back the life I owe,
    That in Thine ocean depths its flow
    May richer, fuller be.

    O Light that foll’west all my way,
    I yield my flick’ring torch to Thee;
    My heart restores its borrowed ray,
    That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day
    May brighter, fairer be.

    O Joy that seekest me through pain,
    I cannot close my heart to Thee;
    I trace the rainbow thru the rain,
    And feel the promise is not vain,
    That morn shall tearless be.

    O Cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
    I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
    And from the ground there blossoms red
    Life that shall endless be.

  92. Suem Says:

    Dear Jill and Clare,

    I think the root of the problem is, as another commentator said, that we are arguing from completely different premises. You see I don’t believe gay relationships are sinful and I would have no problem with having an openly gay priest minister to me, whether in a relationship or not.
    As far as porn is concerned, I think it is damaging to those involved. I wouldn’t use it myself, but I really don’t see why it would be any of my business if Jill used it ( I appreciate that you don’t.) I wouldn’t ” personally approve”, even if you asked me to, but then I don’t “personally approve” of your attitudes to gay people – but they are not ultimately my business either!

    Clare writes,
    If one wants to be open and honest about anything, from constipation to armed robbery, that is their right.

    You see to me a loving relationship with another person is not something to be hushed up. Nobody should have to hide it. It is not like porn, or constipation or armed robbery. ( There might be contexts by the way where it was extremely important to be honest about constipation – or even porn or armed robbery!)

    I actually think that respect for all and a sense of responsibility for our actions is the cornerstone of a stable society, not just marriage per se. Of course, strong marriages based on that respect and responsibility are an important element of society – but there are many other aspects.

  93. Mark Says:

    “just imagine for a moment that everyone in the UK was converted to Christianity overnight (and we were hermetically sealed from outsiders bent on making trouble!)”

    Jill, that’s a basic category error! When a society, Christian, Muslim or totalitarian-but-atheistic believes it has the sole moral compass then it will, inevitably, become abusive of the minorities which it has identified as those bent on making trouble. Our identity as individuals or as communities is not handed to us on a plate but is built up by our desiring of what we understand to be good. This identity needs to be confirmed by rejecting what is ‘other’ and, unless you’re Jesus, that involves violence.

    Jill, you make all sorts of claims for ‘Christianity’ and its morality which, should you be unfamiliar with the texts, claims for the Church the ability to present a monolithic and pristine doctrine. Christian morality isn’t like this and our understanding of Scripture positively presents such a simplistic and naive moral narrative.

    You present ‘gay’ as involving an addiction to promiscuous sex and multiple partners; a fundamental unsuitability to be around children based on their confused identity and your confused use of the word ‘grooming’; and a basic moral culpability that you ground in a refusal to collaborate with an abusive world-view.

    I don’t imagine for one moment that you will engage with my world view. You have demonstrated a single-minded pursuit of your own narrative on this page which has exhausted other commentators. I would like you to think briefly about the LGBT experience in the light of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Lot, himself an alien in the city, received strangers into his home. The city dwellers violated Lot’s hospitality but he, preferring his male guests over his own family, offered his virgin daughters to the mob. God destroyed the cities of the plain for their sinfulness which the story makes clear included their inhospitality towards Lot and his guests. LGBT people find that, just like Lots daughters, they are used as scapegoats to offer up to those who believe ‘boundaries are being crossed’, ‘things are changing for the worse’. God’s lesson on hospitality has, ironically, been the one used to persecute a vulnerable part of our Church.

    Like I say, you won’t change your mind – but it might make you think about the reality of the lives of those you condemn – and maybe even talk to one or two of us!

  94. Jill Says:

    I think you have not read some of my earlier posts, Mark. You will find that I have talked to many ‘of you’ – and still do, all the time.

    This is not the point at issue, though, is it?

  95. Jim Says:

    Jill
    You said: “He hasn’t quite let either of you go, though, has he?”

    My initial reaction was one of annoyance that you again appeared to be patronising us. But as you believe in God I have to admit that your expression of faith is an understandable point of view.

    For a non-believer however, there is no God. Therefore there is no God to let me go.

    I appreciate the thought behind the verses but the more I study the psychology of religion, the clearer is my conviction that all religions are created by humanity, to fulfill an understandable need for many people. And overall, humanity may not be worse off as a result.

  96. Clare Says:

    Suem
    “I actually think that respect for all and a sense of responsibility for our actions is the cornerstone of a stable society”

    On what basis do you believe that?
    This concept of “respect for all” is a post modern novelty and in practice fairly woolly and meaningless because of course we should not and certainly don’t respect all lifestyles and habits.

    Marriage is a human institution, not a specifically religious one, and it goes right back to the dawn of time. Children NEED marriage, not some flabby concept of “respect and responsibility”.

    Your re- imagining of the basis for a stable society is a pop psychology invention with no basis in the history of humankind.

    What makes you think your novel foundational principles are going to work better than those of every tribe and nation under the sun since the history books were written?
    That is: The faithful lifelong bond between a man and a woman for the purposes of nurturing and raising the next generation?

  97. Clare Says:

    Mark
    You present ‘gay’ as involving an addiction to promiscuous sex and multiple partners; a fundamental unsuitability to be around children based on their confused identity and your confused use of the word ‘grooming’; and a basic moral culpability that you ground in a refusal to collaborate with an abusive world-view.

    So you didn’t actually read her posts then?

  98. Suem Says:

    Your re- imagining of the basis for a stable society is a pop psychology invention with no basis in the history of humankind.

    No, Clare, those are simply your assumptions about my views and not the reality.

  99. Clare Says:

    @Suem
    Hardly an assumption. You said it :
    “I actually think that respect for all and a sense of responsibility for our actions is the cornerstone of a stable society”
    This idea is not uniquely yours, it’s very “progressive 21st century” and it is a pop psychology novelty in terms of the history of humankind.

  100. Suem Says:

    “Your re- imagining of the basis for a stable society is a pop psychology invention with no basis in the history of humankind.”

    No, Clare, the words ABOVE are your assumptions about what I said.

    I stand by every word I said and am sorry you do not value respect or responsibility. Of course those ideas and values are not “uniquely mine” – it would be very strange if they were, wouldn’t it?

  101. Clare Says:

    @Suem
    sorry you do not value respect or responsibility
    You have lost the argument frankly, when you start twisting other peoples words.
    Of course I never said this.
    You said that you believe that “respect and responsibility” not marriage, is the cornerstone of a stable society.

    THE CORNERSTONE OF A STABLE SOCIETY.

    That is quite different from merely “valuing” those ideals.
    And yes, that notion is a popular novel invention which would be completely foreign to our forbears.
    That is not an assumption it is simply the plain fact.
    But you know all this really don’t you?
    You are trying to misrepresent my point in order to deflect attentin away from the fact that your claim is rather silly and untested in the history of mankind.

    I stand by every word I said and am sorry you do not value respect or responsibility
    Honestly, perhaps I’m wasting my breath :sigh:

  102. Jill Says:

    Clare, I am tempted to say that I could have told you you were wasting your breath, as too many people have closed ears, but I don’t think you are. There a numerous people who have been cowed and intimidated by the screams of ‘homophobia’ but who think exactly like you and me, the Johns, and the majority of Christians and others worldwide, but who do not know how to articulate this.

    Having said that, I am going to have to retreat from this thread sometime soon as it is old and I don’t suppose too many people are still reading it, and the ones already here are never going to agree. Nor do I still want to be here in twenty years’ time.

    You have already observed that our opponents (for want of a better word) will use all sorts of devious tactics in attempts to discredit. Such as Mark, who hints that I might feel more kindly disposed towards gay people if I knew some. Well, most of us know some, me perhaps more than most, and I already feel kindly disposed towards the ones I know who are for the most part funny, talented and likeable, and whose private lives I feel are none of my business. It is the activists I don’t feel kindly disposed towards, especially the ones who are trying to get their hands on our children to brainwash, and the politicians who violate consciences by forcing them to submit to promoting immoral practices, and the churchmen who collude with all this.

    The old cliche of ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ which seems a bit hackneyed now, is virtually useless when people will not accept that their sins are sinful, even if the Bible says they are.

  103. Clare Says:

    Jill
    Thank you for articulating your points so clearly here.
    The truth clearly and unambiguously spoken is like a drop of cool water in a desert of shallow sound bites that pass for “thinking”.

    I agree that it’s time to bow out, and I would like to add one more observation to those who think that homosexual relationships, including those between ordained christian ministers, are perfectly valid and equivalent to heterosexual marriages:
    Dying to oneself and striving towards personal holiness of life is not an option in a smorgasbord of lifestyle choices for the Christian. The cross is not a cute cultural talisman, and calling oneself a Christian is not a pleasantly banal identity which can vaguely means “good person”.

    Lord have mercy on us all.

  104. Suem Says:

    Respect is not a 21st century concept, nor is it “pop psychology.” These are your( rather dismissive in my view) assumptions and assertions.

    I strongly agree with Emerson (poet and Writer) who said , “Men are respectable only as far as they respect others.” (1803-1882 – not at all 21st century!)

    Marriage is extremely important, but it is not, in my view, the cornerstone of society. It is values such as respect and responsibility which are the cornerstones of society.

    Ladies, this an entirely reasonable view that I am expressing and does not warrant such an extreme reaction!

    I will not comment again, seeing as you feel you are wasting your breath etc . I would ask you to consider whether the hysterical outburst and rantings above really necessary just because I have expressed an entirely reasonable opinion and one to which I am entitled?

  105. Cabal Says:

    @Clare:

    “Dying to oneself and striving towards personal holiness of life is not an option in a smorgasbord of lifestyle choices for the Christian. The cross is not a cute cultural talisman, and calling oneself a Christian is not a pleasantly banal identity which can vaguely means “good person”.

    Dying to oneself and striving towards personal holiness of life does mean agreeing to the letter with you or Jill, either.

  106. Jim Says:

    I suppose we all want the last word, and I suspect this will not be it, but I was reflecting on this thread on the train to work this morning and it struck me that were it not for the many British non-religious visionaries such as John Stuart Mill in the 19th Century, many of those contributing to this thread would be unable to do so.

    Amongst Mills’ many ideas (which were considered revolutionary at the time, and often opposed by the clergy) were:
    * there should be limits to the power that ‘society’ can exercise over an individual
    * each individual has the right to act as they wish, provided that their actions do not harm others
    * women should have equal rights to men
    * freedom of speech should be protected
    * slavery should be abolished
    * the natural environment should be protected

    Were it not for visionaries such as this, the country would probably be very different today, and the Church would most likely have retained more power. But I doubt many would agree that it would be a better place.

  107. Clare Says:

    RESPECT
    This word is not a novel pop psychology invention.

    RESPECT IS THE CORNERSTONE OF CIVILIZATION
    This concept is a novel pop psychology invention .

  108. Suem Says:

    Please be accurate. I did not say that “respect is the cornerstone of civilisation”. What I said was,

    “I actually think that respect for all and a sense of responsibility for our actions is the cornerstone of a stable society”

    Perfectly reasonable opinion.

  109. Clare Says:

    Sorry.

    “Respect for all and a sense of responsibility for our actions is the cornerstone of a stable society”

    This concept is a pop psychology invention.

    ( And please be accurate yourself, I did not say that I “do not value respect or responsibility”. That was your assumption Suem ;-) Ironic isn’t it?)

  110. Suem Says:

    Well, Clare, the concept of “pop psychology” is a pretty empty concept in itself with scarcely any meaning other than, “I think this is modern and I will reject it.”

  111. Suem Says:

    What do you think of Emerson’s idea that,
    “Men are respectable only as far as they respect others.”

    Written long , long before the 21st century?

    Bright chap, wasn’t he? Or perhaps just a “pop psychologist.”

  112. Marcella Says:

    I agree totally with Jill, she could have been writing for me. Hope she is cheered by the fact, that although she plans to leave this thread, she has received new responses!!

  113. Clare Says:

    Suem
    I can hardly believe you are being serious.
    Do you really think that in disputing your concept of the notion of “respect” in relation to being the cornerstone of society, that I was trying to claim that it’s a new word?

    Let me try to explain.
    I recognise the significance of values such as respect and responsibility.
    I hope I can say that I strive to embrace, endorse and model these values in my own life ( “strive” being the operative word)
    However, these are values that are purely conceptual until they are rooted in the concrete reality of life.
    Marriage, on the other hand, is an institution, not a value.
    It is within a family, where two parents are committed to eachother in the bond of life long marriage, that children are raised.
    The family is the natural institution where values ( such as respect and responsibility) are passed on to each generation.
    This is the microcosm of society where flesh is put on the “good values” and they are practiced and lived out.
    It is impossible to claim that a “value” is the cornerstone of society.

    Children desperately need us to make a strong defence of marriage and the consequences of the collapse of this institution ( in favour of espousing general “values” such as respect and responsibility which are easy to talk about and harder to practice) is very evident in post modern society.
    Tinker with marriage, and make it one of a smorgasbord of choices, and you devastate the next generation and “society” falls apart.

    In sum, Your Emerson quote was not shattering news to me. I am aware that the notion of respect and respectability is not a novelty. What I was trying to say all along was that I simply reject, not the value itself, but the idea that you can set marriage aside ( and leave it as a good option among many) and build a society on that value instead.

  114. Suem Says:

    Hi Clare,
    First of all, it is perfectly valid, semantically and conceptually to identify an abstract noun as a cornerstone. You can find numerous examples of this in the writing of many other people. Take, as just one example, this website which starts by saying “equality is the cornerstone of society in Sweden.” I read elsewhere that Aristotle saw justice as the cornerstone of society.

    http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Work/Life_in_Sweden/Equality_in_Sweden/

    So, it is not impossible! (honestly, I am an English teacher.)

    Some might argue that to identify a value as a cornerstone is in many ways more searching as it looks to the underlying ideologies that might inform society, thus providing the basis for its structures and codes. I do not see marriage as the cornerstone of society per se. In truth there are many things which contribute to a thriving society – marriage is one of them.

    I have never said anything against marriage, which is a wonderful institution and to me a sacrament and vocation. If you read my posts you will never find me saying that you can “set marriage aside”. It may surprise you to know that I am very aware of the devastating effect divorce can have on children and personally believe marriage is not something to be lightly entered into. I think the responsibility we have to our spouses and to our children is a very serious one.

    But respect for others, irrespective of their gender, race – even their sexuality – is not mutually incompatible with marriage! It is true that we live in an age when many people live together rather than marrying. But I am always aware that there is a complexity in these issues. I have a very close colleague who has brought up two delightful, well adjusted children with her boyfriend. I am full of admiration for the commitment her and her partner have shown, I suspect they are “better” parents than I am. I also have friends who have divorced and managed that situation well and their children have done well in life (although I have seen a lot of children suffer during “train wreck” divorces, I am not saying divorce is nothing.)

    So, I think these issues are complex, and I avoid making sweeping assertions . I would also suggest there is no perfect society, or at least not until there are perfect humans! So, I live my own life with as much integrity as I can and I try to take others as I find them. I can’t see that it is my businsess if they are divorced, cohabiting, in a civil partnership or whatever. I’ve never been in their shoes, I don’t know how I would have acted if I were them.

    I guess you think this is too tolerant – but I would rather err on the side of tolerance and concern myself with my own shortcomings than those of others.

  115. Clare Says:

    “THE BODY DOESN’T LIE, BUT MODERN CULTURE DOES”</B.

    One of the great errors of our day is the implicit rejection of the truth that our bodies have something to tell us about who we are and what we are called to do and be. Most moderns see the body merely as a tool of sorts and assertions are made that “I can do as I please with my own body.” Further, that a person is male or female is purely incidental and merely an arbitrary quality one “happens to have.” That our sex should speak to anything deeper than genitals and other “mere” physical differences is set aside to one degree or another. Or so it is said. In effect, it would seem that our bodies have little or nothing to say to us. According to modern culture they are incidental.

    ( Our bodies have a nuptial meaning. The church has a lo to say about this and it is often referred to as The Theology Of The Body.
    The piece I quoted from is a good introduction to what that means.
    Read the rest here:
    http://blog.adw.org/2010/11/the-body-doesnt-lie-but-modern-culture-does/

  116. Sophie Says:

    @ Jim: “I suppose we all want the last word, and I suspect this will not be it, but I was reflecting on this thread on the train to work this morning and it struck me that were it not for the many British non-religious visionaries such as John Stuart Mill in the 19th Century, many of those contributing to this thread would be unable to do so. ”

    That resonates with me. It seems somewhat ironic that the women expressing their bizarre views on sexuality on this thread wouldn’t have access to the wider world, computers, even to literacy, without the emancipation which was spearheaded by groups they despise. Ditto Eunice and Owen Johns, who are black. Without the anti-racism campaigns and equality activists of past decades they also might be in a very different position today. It’s sad that those who should know just how bad discrimination feels – women, blacks – have no insight into their willingness to impose it on others.

    @ Mark: (replying to Jill) wrote: “You have demonstrated a single-minded pursuit of your own narrative on this page which has exhausted other commentators.”

    How very well put. Elegant and accurate.

    @ Suem: Loved all your posts, but the last one the best.

    “I would rather err on the side of tolerance and concern myself with my own shortcomings than those of others.” Absolutely!

    I showed this thread to a friend who was staying for the weekend. She said it was a horrifying example of what had put her off religion. “These people define themselves by who they can disapprove of. They use what they call religion as a stick to beat others.”

    I’ve been following this blog since February and am increasingly depressed by the uncharitable, even malevolent, views expressed by some supposedly Christian posters. I know I shouldn’t take it to heart, as the internet draws out extremism that you never come across within the flesh and blood church. I remind myself that despite being middle-aged I’ve only once come across homophobia dressed up as faith among RL Christians.

    I gave up posting because I couldn’t respect the views expressed by the extremist anti-gay posters. Anyone who can praise NARTH, or support (let alone be involved in) the discredited “gay cure” is in the lunatic fringe. My comfort in this is that Clare and Jill’s views, however toxic they may be, are extreme and have no relevance to majority opinion in the UK. Oh, and that they’re unlikely to be chosen as foster parents to any poor kid.

  117. Gordon Says:

    According to the Press Association the Owens’ were not stopped from being respite carers (not foster carers), they withdrew their application believing they were “doomed not to be approved”:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5gNstY2CZurkB9d4KxxmjgmLJZIlg?docId=N0097141288620121126A

    This makes me think again that there is more to this than a couple having a bad experience and then taking action in court. It smells of a situation that has been artificially created by them withdrawing their application.

  118. Jim Says:

    Could I suggest that anyone who longs for a utopian State inspired by the Bible should read Margaret Atwood’s: “The Handmaid’s Tale”, or at least look up its Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Handmaid's_Tale
    When it was written in 1985 I suspect people would not have believed just how parts of society had developed in the early 21st century. It s perhaps a salutary warning of what could happen without healthy dissent.

  119. Sophie Says:

    As this debate draws to a close, I’ve collected some information about this so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy in case anyone’s interested. It’s long, but it needs to be to provide the supporting evidence, of which there is an abundance.

    Anti-gay activists insist that sexual orientation can be changed. Any onlooker can appreciate just how central this claim is to the anti-gay narrative. If people can be “cured” of being gay, homosexuality can then be described as voluntary – an act of will – and therefore it becomes possible to label it “sin”. Because if sexual orientation is like eye or hair colour it’s no longer possible to condemn it as intrinsically sinful. Blaming someone for being gay becomes as unjust as blaming them for being black. It’s natural variation and therefore part of God’s plan.

    Mainstream research confirms that sexual orientation is indeed largely inherent. The Royal College of Psychiatrists states:

    “…there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heterosexual or homosexual orientation. It would appear that sexual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of genetic factors and the early uterine environment.”

    It has also been observed that homosexuality, far from being “unnatural”, occurs across the animal kingdom and is therefore clearly not a social construct.

    The mass of such research across various disciplines informs modern legislation and social attitudes. General acceptance that sexual orientation is inherent means that most industrialised nations now endorse equal rights for gay people, just as they promote racial and sexual equality.

    This fact-based approach is anathema to those who wish to classify homosexuality as a disorder and a sin. In an attempt to justify their agenda activists have been obliged to create a parallel universe of pseudoscience. Like the junk science of Flood Geology, claims that sexual orientation can or should be changed are not only unsupported by evidence but are opposed by professionals across the developed world.

    The RCPsych says: “..LGB people are open to seeking help for mental health problems. However, they may be misunderstood by therapists who regard their homosexuality as the root cause of any presenting problem such as depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, therapists who behave in this way are likely to cause considerable distress. A small minority of therapists will even go so far as to attempt to change their client’s sexual orientation. This can be deeply damaging. Although there is now a number of therapists and organisations in the USA and in the UK that claim that therapy can help homosexuals to become heterosexual, there is no evidence that such change is possible.”

    In July the British Medical Association approved a motion rejecting conversion therapy and calling on the NHS to “not fund ‘discredited’ conversion therapy for homosexual people.” The American Psychological Association has also taken a stand, citing research and ethics. One of the doctors who put forward the motion to the BMA commented:

    “Sexuality is such a fundamental part of who a person is that attempts to change it just result in significant confusion, depression and even suicide.”

    The world of therapy is barely regulated and full of wild unproven theories. Bizarre ideas like past life regression have free rein. For health professionals to take the step of calling for a ban on a specific therapy is unprecedented and provides some idea of how deeply concerned mainstream therapeutic groups are about the safety and ethics of this practice. Here’s a link to further statements on the topic from other professional associations.

    The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) official position statement on the issue states “In the last four decades, ‘reparative’ therapists have not produced any rigorous scientific research to substantiate their claims of cure. Until there is such research available, APA recommends that ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals’ sexual orientation, keeping in mind the medical dictum to first, do no harm.”

    Further: “…potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by a patient.”

    The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association formed the “Just the Facts Coalition” in 1999 in response to the NARTH agenda.

    The Coalition’s guide for educators says:

    “The most important fact about ‘reparative therapy’, also sometimes known as ‘conversion’ therapy, is that it is based on an understanding of homosexuality that has been rejected by all the major health and mental health professions. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Social Workers, together representing more than 477,000 health and mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus there is no need for a ‘cure.’

    “…health and mental health professional organizations do not support efforts to change young people’s sexual orientation through ‘reparative therapy’ and have raised serious concerns about its potential to do harm.”

    No one reading my account will be surprised to learn that many, maybe most, of those who practice this discredited therapy have been expelled from mainstream professional bodies to which they may have belonged. They have therefore founded their own organisations, with which they attempt to cloak their work in some measure of scientific respectability and you’ll find they reference each other to pad out otherwise unsupported “research”. These groups are nearly all American, as the idea that you can “cure” homosexuality hasn’t really caught on in other developed nations.

    The American group NARTH, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, is the only professional group in the developed world that considers homosexuality to be a “sexual disorder.” Its leadership is beset with the scandals that inevitably occur when people live a lie – the most recent being earlier this year when George Rekers, a board member who has appeared as an expert witness opposing gay adoption, was caught on holiday with a young male escort he found through rentboy.com. Other groups promoting gay cures include Exodus International, Love Wins Out and the Family Research Institute. Scandal dogs these groups too.

    A number of sites offer the heart-breaking testimony of young men, “ex-gay survivors”, who have been compelled by pastors or parents to engage in conversion therapy. Among them are beyondexgay.com and Truth Wins Out, a site “fighting anti-gay lies and the ex-gay myth”, which reports:

    “NARTH relies on outdated studies and frequently confuses stereotypes with science. Dr. Nicolosi, for example, often tells audiences that people are gay because they have a rift with a same-sex parent or a have domineering opposite sex parent. It has been decades since any serious scientific body subscribed to these views and there is no contemporary research to uphold these anachronistic theories. Yet, NARTH’ co-founder Dr. Joseph Nicolosi repeats the empty mantra, “We advise fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.”

    Dr. Nicolosi’ regularly jokes with audiences at Focus on the Family’ Love Won Out conference that, “If the father drops the kid and the kid gets brain damage, at least he’ll be straight. Small price to pay.”

    Another disturbing aspect of these organizations is that they seek to “prevent” toddlers from becoming gay. If a child shows signs of atypical gender behavior, NARTH suggests ex-gay therapy. Indeed, the group takes clients as young as three years old.”

    I offer the conclusion reached by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in its Submission to the Church of England’s Listening Exercise on Human Sexuality:

    “..the evidence would suggest that there is no scientific or rational reason for treating LGB people any differently to their heterosexual counterparts. People are happiest and are likely to reach their potential when they are able to integrate the various aspects of the self as fully as possible. Socially inclusive, non-judgemental attitudes to LGB people who attend places of worship or who are religious leaders themselves will have positive consequences for LGB people as well as for the wider society in which they live.”

    I hope regulars will forgive this epic post, but I feel it’s important to understand how reputable clinicians and scientists see the issue. It’s their evidence which informs my position and that of many other liberal Christians.

  120. Jill Says:

    Too many points to address here, but please read this.

    http://www.narth.com/docs/addresses.html

    There are gay ‘guardians at the gate’ at the APA and nothing gets past them. But truth will always out eventually.

    Marcella – if you are still reading here – a strange question, but are you a Guide leader?

  121. Sophie Says:

    @ Jill: And these gay guardians are stopping NARTH-friendly data from getting past the BMA and the Royal College of Psychiatrists too? And all those other learned societies in Europe, Australia, Canada… These guys don’t half get around.

    The classic advice to someone in your position is “stop digging.”

  122. Mark Says:

    @Clare

    “Tinker with marriage, and make it one of a smorgasbord of choices, and you devastate the next generation and “society” falls apart.”

    You raise a point that I’ve never been able to understand; why should the state/church sanction to same-sex stable, monogamous relationships undermine the institution of heterosexual marriage, as it is a monogamous relationship which seeks social stability from exactly the same mechanisms?

    There is much blogging from Peter Ould et al about Ephesians 5 and the Theology of the Body of Christ which contorts the Scriptures to support an exclusively heterosexist reading. I don’t find it convincing. Yes, Jesus is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride but analogy is fruitful only if you understand the patriarchal and sexist assumptions that inhered in marriage in the first century. I don’t know if you’re married and have permission from your husband to express yourself in public? But the idea of a woman contributing in this way to a public discussion would have been anathema to the writers of Scripture and the Fathers of the Church.

    One of the problems with Marriage Preparation courses is that there is much theology about the marriage service but precious little in the Tradition to say about being married (unsurprising as many clergy have been celibate) apart (obviously) from women being obedient and men not hitting their families too hard. With this poverty of theological reflection is it surprising that commentators make fools of themselves by suggesting that a same-sex couple are engaged in something capable of undermining the very foundations of western civilisation if they are allowed the same legal, financial and social privileges whilst they get up, make coffee, feed the cat, walk the dog, volunteer in the community, look after elderly relatives, march to the Council to protest about cutting the School Crossing Lady, etc. I can find nothing in these activities that are theologically privileged simply because of a persons sexual orientation.

    People are people, made in God’s image and we are all, irrespective of the way in which God wired up our eroticism, called to become the likeness of Christ. That’s what this debate is about not ‘society’, ‘Christendom’ or the final defence of pseudo-Aristotelian science!

  123. Daniel Mann Says:

    I’m so surprised to see that so many of you British are taking the position that homosexuals are born that way. Not only is the scientific evidence wholly lacking — perhaps one can argue for a pre-disposition is this direction — but much of the gay community finds this attribution very demeaning. They don’t want others to regard them as a product of their DNA but instead the product of choice!
    http://www.MannsWord.blogspot.com

  124. Gordon Says:

    I can’t say I have ever come across anyone like that. I have two fairly close gay friends (one is a relative) and neither of them would take that opinion. I used to be head of fundraising with an HIV/AIDS charity and this brought me into contact with lots of gay men. During that time I never heard anyone claim it was a choice they had made to be gay or that it was chooseable.

    I think where you are getting confused is that sexuality is not an either or situation. Its a spectrum so some people will be entirely homosexual and some will be entirely heterosexual. People in the middle of this spectrum may fall in love with someone or be attracted to someone of the same sex. This is where people can appear to be changing sexuality when they are actually being true to their sexuality.

    The other area of confusion is “men who have sex with men”. When men are deprived of sex with a woman they may eventually consider having sex with a man. This was common in the navy in the days of sailing ships and its still quite common in prisons (I worked occasionally with someone who was involved in HIV prevention in prisons). These men are not homosexual, they are choosing to have sex with men.

    So, Daniel, do you have any evidence that homosexuals are choosing their sexual identity?

  125. Simian Says:

    Daniel
    Yours is surely an example of the wishful use of non-religious fiction to support religous doctrine. I would suggest that the reason most homosexuals do not take the position you advocate is that it simply is not seen as correct. I have yet to come across someone who believes they had a choice, and like Gordon, I have come across many at work. Where are all these people of which you write?

  126. Jill Says:

    Daniel is right. Many gays resent being squeezed into ‘straight’ boxes. Have a read of Peter Tatchell’s blog, and you will get a better understanding.

    A clip: ‘While the conservative gay equality agenda is restricted to law reform, the visionary queer emancipation project reaches beyond equality. Instead of merely securing equal rights within the prior-existing parameters of straight society, it has the more radical aim of a broader sexual liberation that expands erotic boundaries in sex-positive directions. Queer activist organisations like OutRage!, for example, campaign for the age of consent to be reduced to 14 for everyone (gay and straight), the repeal of the puritanical laws against prostitution and pornography, the introduction of explicit sex education in schools from primary classes onwards, and for greater legal rights for all unwed couples (hetero and homo), rather than the conformist demand for gay marriage.’

    http://www.petertatchell.net/lgbt_rights/queer_theory/beyond.htm

    So instead of wanting to become more like us ‘straights’, they want us to become more like them – i.e. more ‘sexually liberated’. They resent being told that it’s okay to be gay if you pretend to be like straights (gay marriage, etc) which is patronising – ‘Act like us, and we will tolerate you.’

    Only they know that they have to put up with this to be accepted by society at large. It won’t remain that way, though. Read ‘After the Ball’ by Hunter & Madsen.

  127. Gordon Says:

    “They” seems to refer to quite a small number of people in that article you quoted.

  128. Daniel Mann Says:

    Jill,

    Thanks for providing the link. I’ve read this so often but didn’t have any of the references at my fingertips.

    Nevertheless, I do agree that many gays don’t have any attraction for the same sex. Nevertheless, sexual attraction is known to be quite a fluid element. there have been numerous cases where heterosexual attraction did suddenly arise when the gay person met the right match. Actually, the deeper attraction is not a matter of matching complimentary body parts but a love for the other person.

    In other words, many gays have found that they are not as locked in as they had supposed. I had heard a sad story about a guy who had a sex change and then met a woman who he fell madly in love with, but now “he” lacked the appropriate organs. http://www.MannsWord.blogspot.com.

    You might be interested in visiting a dialogue I’m having with a gay friend: http://dseiple.blogspot.com/2010/10/society-and-homosexuality.html

  129. Mark Says:

    @ Jill

    In exactly the same way that I find it impossible to dismiss the lives of all straight people because of the wretched behaviour I see around me I don’t think it’s beyond the bounds of reason to expect straight people to refrain from treating all gay men and women as if they are the same. I don’t judge Christian straight people by the behaviour of pagan straights – so why do you?

    Isn’t this stereotyping the product of the ‘state-ism’ that ignores the evidence of sexuality as culturally conditioned and focuses exclusively on gender? Precisely the prism which would make Jill’s contribution, in many cultures past and present, invalid simply on grounds of her gender?

  130. Simian Says:

    Jill,
    I think you misunderstand both Danial and Peter Tatchell. Amongst other things you say “Many gays resent being squeezed into ‘straight’ boxes.” That is not what either is saying.

    Daniel’s point is that most homosexuals make a conscious choice to become one, and could, given the right guidance, equally become ‘straight’.

    So by that logic, you or I could just as easily be homosexual if we chose to be so. You just choose not to because the Bible says its wrong, and I choose not to because I have no desire to be victimised. It sounds wrong doesn’t it; but that’s the dead end you’re led down if you believe that people have a choice of sexual orientation.

    Many people in the Europe disagree with that point of view. Indeed, in some countries there are huge disadvantages in declaring oneself Gay, and yet people still do.
    Peter Tatchell’s main point on the webpage you link to, is that Gays should be seeking full integration rather than just acceptance as a separate group outside the conformist heterosexual mainstream. He is not seeking to make the rest of us more like him. He is seeking something much more ambitious – To persuade us to accept Gays as part of the mainstream.

  131. Simian Says:

    Daniel
    I scanned through your discourse with David. I have to say that I perceived him to be running rings around your arguments, which all in the end seem come down to ‘because God says so’. That may hold some sway with some Christians, but others would openly question your interpretation. You have a very civilised opponent in David, but for those of us who are not Christian, it’s not at all persuasive.

  132. Sophie Says:

    @ Gordon: I’m not always in agreement with Peter Tatchell but I think there’s a lot to be said for “a broader sexual liberation that expands erotic boundaries in sex-positive directions.” The phrase “sex-positive” is useful shorthand.

    I’ve seen the wreckage created by someone denying their sexual nature. Living a lie typically has terrible consequences not only for the liar, but for their spouse and children.

    A striking feature of anti-gay groups is how relentlessly their leaders are eventually exposed as gay themselves. Two male co-founders of Exodus International (slogan: Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ) famously eloped, and a subsequent Chairman was removed after a scandal involving a gay bar. That’s just one group, but none of them are exempt. Gay sites gleefully list multitudes of these scandals – and the details can be amusing, but not when you consider the pain caused to other people.

    Most homophobic men have repressed homosexual desires. All this pretence is very bad for them and their families. And, in terms of public life, the sheer dishonesty of some of these guys is a sight to see. They do a lot of damage before they’re exposed. Dr George Rekers being a prime example.

    It seems to me the world would be a far better place if, so long as their relationships are legal, people could just be who they are. I don’t care what other people get up to in the bedroom, as long as they’re nice, kind people. I’m glad to say this seems to be how most people feel.

  133. Daniel Mann Says:

    Simian,

    You’re right to note that I lean most strongly on the Biblical arguments against homosexuality.

    However, neither you nor David have responded to the empirical arguments — the many findings that demonstrate that the gay lifestyle is terribly self-destructive.

  134. Sophie Says:

    @ Daniel: So are sky-diving, mining and working in the catering industry… Do you genuinely think people coolly select sexual orientation on the basis of health and safety? And then, of course, lesbians are at much lower risk of cervical cancer (and lots of other things) than straight women.

    Seriously, though, why do you think there’s a homogeneous “gay lifestyle”?

  135. Daniel Mann Says:

    Sophie,

    (I don’t know what your first line refers to??) While many do select a gay lover or lifestyle, I agree that many are much more inclined to same-sex attraction.

    In short, many are destroying themselves by abusing themselves through illicit sexuality, whether they are strongly inclined in a certain direction or not. This also includes adultery, incest, pedophilia, or just casual sex.

    Depression has exploded in the Western world and many investigators are attributing this to sexual license. Interestingly, this finding also accords with Biblical warnings:

    • 1 Cor. 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

  136. Sophie Says:

    @ Daniel: I was referring to your statement “the gay lifestyle is terribly self-destructive.” I don’t think this is true, but even if it were, there are lots of activities of which the same could be said. Racing driving, for example. Or free diving. Joining the SAS…

    I can’t see any similarity between homosexuality and adultery or paedophilia. A loving gay couple aren’t exploiting or cheating anyone. It seems about as logical as equating rape and making love.

  137. Sophie Says:

    @ Daniel: Sorry, just noticed your phrase “illicit sexuality.” I’d agree with you on adultery, etc. but homosexuality isn’t illicit. It’s not compulsory, though. Mind you, you’d think it was going to be made so from the unholy fuss some people make.

  138. Simian Says:

    Sophie
    Before you reply to Daniel: count to 100, pour yourself a drink, count another 100, put on some soothing music, count another 100. Then reply…. That’s what I should do, but what the hell – I’m going out on a limb…

    Daniel – There IS no reputable link between what you regard as immoral sex and depression, except for people who believe as you do, and have to live with their pointless, misguided and destructive guilt. Heck, I have suffered from severe clinical depression and my sex life is about as normal and ‘moral’ as it comes…

  139. Sophie Says:

    @ Simian: I wish sexual orientation were a conscious choice! It’d solve all my problems.

    Due to family commitments my social life is sparse and I seldom meet suitable single men. I do, however, have lovely women friends, several alone with children like me. If we could just opt to become lesbians, I know which of them I’d choose… We agreed on it this morning. When we’d stopping laughing we went shopping.

    Honestly, how anyone can keep a straight face while claiming people choose to belong to a still fairly persecuted minority, with all the obstacles and challenges it presents, is beyond me.

  140. Sophie Says:

    @ Simian: Thank you. You’re very thoughtful. Yes, Daniel’s claim is utter piffle. Such a silly thing to say, I didn’t even go there. I suggest he tries it on the RCPsych who, though a serious bunch, will probably wet themselves laughing.

  141. Phoebs Says:

    This was interesting… for those unaware of the London gay scene.

    British homosexual journalist Fanshawe admits that his documentary on the London gay scene is likely to “burn every bridge in the gay world I’ve got.”

    Fanshawe says he is horrified at the lack of emotional involvement and at the willingness of men to engage in “unsafe sex.” The film includes statistics that show the deadly consequences of the homosexual lifestyle. One in nine gay men in London is HIV infected and new cases of HIV have doubled in the city in five years. Incidences of syphilis have increased in the same time period 616 per cent.

    “Unsafe” sex, he says, is not the only way in which gay men are self destructive. “If there’s a new drug, gay men will find it and take it,” he states.

  142. Phoebs Says:

    I forget to mention the film …..

    Simon Fanshawe is a writer and broadcaster who created the documentary “The Trouble With Gay Men” after becoming increasingly alarmed at the shallowness and destructiveness of the “gay lifestyle.” The film, made for BBC 3 television, questions the emotional and psychological immaturity, narcissism, nihilism and self-destructive tendencies of many in the homosexual community. Fanshawe says he wants homosexual men to “grow up” and get beyond their state of “extended adolescence.”

  143. Sophie Says:

    @ Mark: “…the prism which would make Jill’s contribution, in many cultures past and present, invalid simply on grounds of her gender?”

    Abso-flippin-lutely! In the “good old days” Jill wouldn’t have been literate, let alone allowed to hold forth in public.

    I find much in your posts to agree with. Though I would say that my preparation for marriage sessions were lovely; not directional or sexist at all. Good thing too, as both of us were passionate feminists. Well, I still am. He’s no longer with us.

  144. Mark Says:

    @Phoebs

    I live in London and like many other gay men in the Metropolis I don’t go into Soho or Vauxhall so I’m never counted by those taken up by ‘the London gay scene’. SF’s statistics are skewed.

    Obviously, my problem is I’m just not glamorous enough – singing in a local community choir, volunteering for a local refugee charity, shopping in Asda – just not gay! Taking a pot-shot at the party scene is easy (I know I’ve been thoroughly judgemental about the causal sex and drug cultures) but Fanshawe’s programme shouldn’t be taken as a thorough encounter with the one and only gay culture (partly because there isn’t one) any more than Madonna or Beyonce represents monolithic heterosexuality.

    Where I get excited about big stuff is Church and church – not in the pub – and I’ve never had God tell me that he didn’t make me love people this way (though others have tried to fill His shoes and speak in what they imagine his voice to be). It’s hugely exciting to me that LGBT Christians who are living and loving their lives are able to bring others to Christ because the transfiguring love of God is for everyone.

    But why is it then, on this blog and others, that being passionate about the Kingdom is seemingly enough to have me classed as non-threatening/straight…. if it weren’t for the boyfriend (!) and the threads go quiet?

    @ Sophie, thanks for your generosity! It’s very nice to be complimented – thank you.

  145. Sophie Says:

    @ Phoebs: And your point is?

  146. Marcella Says:

    “Quote Jill Says:

    November 1st, 2010 at 10:44 pm
    Why is this rubbish being spouted about ‘gay children’? Children are not gay, they are not sexual beings, they are children. They do not have sexual ideations. They might feel ‘different’ in some way, but the idea that they are gay is being put into their heads by adults. I would describe this as child abuse.”

    I agree with Jill and Sophie’s views. I think it very wrong to put sexual ideas (about any “orientation” into young children’s heads. It certainly is a form of sexual abuse, similar to grooming by paedophiles. Read the school literature on the subject! The latency years (pre-adolescent) are extremely important for human beings. During this period, their sense of self develops better if sex is not forced into their thinking. It develops at their pace, which might be earlier or later than most of their peers but that is not important. What is important is that they develop at their own pace. Anything else is a criminal invasion of innocence.

    No adult ever discussed the sex act with me, yet somehow I learned how it happened. I have no memory of the event and I remember I was not in the slightest bit interested in knowing more than I did. Today’s school children cannot get away from the topic; they are almost persecuted with information, not just at school but in childrens’ magazines, on TV, at the cinema even in films rated for 12 years olds. (In my view, no young child will think about their sexual ORIENTATION unless prompted to do so by someone else who usually much older.) I imagine that Christian foster parents who are looking after a young child who seems worried because someone has told him he is gay, will do the right thing because their faith teaches them to be kind. Certainly all the Christians I know are very kind. For example, they will lovingly explain that it is highly unlikely and he is too young to know what his true feelings are yet; not to worry about what other people say or what they are doing; when he is older, he can decide for himself; in the meantime, God loves him just as he is and always will. The law should allow good people to get on and foster whatever their religious views. If gays are only one person in 86, as I read today, the chances are good that Councils can find enough carers who don’t care about such issues.

    Sop

  147. Phoebs Says:

    @Sophie, my point is that Daniel’s claim is not utter piffle. The lifestyle lived within the gay scene, is destructive and dangerous. Did you know that 1/3 of HIV positive men, do not know they have HIV.

    @Mark, I love Church too. The Eucharist is the reason why I go to church.

    Although you say that Franshawe are skewed,I am not so sure.

    Health Protection Agency 2006 estimates 9% of gay men in London have HIV.

    University College London anonymous HIV testing survey on the London gay scene (2004) found 13% (around 1 in 8 ) had HIV.

    In Sigma Research’s 2005 Gay Men’s Sex Survey 12.5% (1 in 8 ) of men living in London said they had HIV.

  148. Marcella Says:

    Sorry, I wrote “I agree with Jill and Sophie”. I meant to write I agree with Jill and disagree with Sophie. I have reads a lot about the promiscuity of gay men, and of a tendency towards self-destructiveness including risky behaviour inviting infection from HIV of which I profoundly disapprove, and I have heard before that a lot of gays confess that they chose their lifestyle, they could have been “straight” but find gay sex more exciting because it carries an aura of “wickedness”. Their words, not mine. I wish I could find the source I got this from, I read it about three years ago but it quoted many gay men and psychologists too. Anyway, I was pleased to see that this information is affirmed by Fanshawe.

  149. Cabal Says:

    Maybe I’ve missed something, but what exactly does the HIV status of SOME gay men have to do with the topic?

  150. Caral Says:

    @Cabal. This isn’t Premier so comments don’t have to stay on topic. :

  151. Gordon Says:

    I have worked with Simon Fanshawe. His argument is against the commercial gay scene not homosexual orientation. The commercial gay scene came into existence during the times when homosexuality was illegal and therefore underground.

    In any case I am not sure that Fanny has many bridges with the gay scene to burn. Its not really his sort of thing. IIRC that film was an idea from someone else and they went looking for someone to do it. A friend of mine turned it down as a bit of a poisoned chalice.

    It represents a small part of homsexuality, even here in Edinburgh, which I would divide up into:

    The club and pub scene.
    The stable couples scene (suburban life)
    Men who have sex with men / outdoor anonymous sex
    People who happen to be gay but define themselves by other aspects of their lives.

    Men (whether heterosexual or homosexual) are more promiscuous than women so many of the claims of promiscuity levelled at gay men can equally be levelled at men in general.

  152. Sophie Says:

    Phoebs: Sorry, perhaps I wasn’t clear. The point both Simian and I were responding to, and I called piffle, was Daniel’s claim:

    “Depression has exploded in the Western world and many investigators are attributing this to sexual license.”

    @ Marcella: The Freudian concept of the latent period lost favour as it became clear that it wasn’t entirely accurate. I imagine you’re a mother, and I know Jill is. If you are, you’ll know that children start to fondle themselves in infancy; that little girls show off like mad to handsome visitors; that well before puberty both sexes play doctors and nurses. This is natural and healthy.

    So yes, children are sexual beings but their sexual ideation is childlike, just as their ideas about life in general are childlike. They also show a keen interest in sex, though they ask very different questions at different ages. I’ve been asked “How did the baby get in your tummy” from a toddler and “How do you avoid getting too serious?” at age 15. This is why sex ed in schools starts young, with very simple information, and becomes more about feelings and ethics as they mature, which seem sensible to me.

  153. Clare Says:

    The appropriate place for children to learn about sex is the same place they learn how to wipe their bottoms.
    It is a peculiarity of our society that we delegate this job to strangers or someone who has been on a “course”.
    It is inappropriate to have some other than the childs own family involved in passing on this information. And it is abusive to deliberately break down the childs natural shyness and reserve around their body to require them to learn about these things in the classroom.

    And if you think that my attitude is niche and peculiar and yours is more mainstream, consider history. Not the parodied version of scared ignorant peasantry that is often peddled by people who need to justify the overwhelming noise of sex “education” that surrounds us on all sides (Were our ancestors really sexually sicker than we are? How did the human race manage not to die out without lessons on how to do it “safely”?).
    Schools were not intended for this multiplicity of social purposes. In taking on sex ed they are usurping parents and harming children in abusing their natural modesty.
    The diocese of Lancaster has developed a sex ed programme for schools called ( i think) “This Is My Body”. It is designed to be delivered BY THE PARENTS.
    Wake up people! It might be normal for us, but it’s not NORMAL in the span of history .
    We are in the middle of a huge freaking social experiment!

  154. Sophie Says:

    @ Clare: In theory totally agree. In healthy loving families sex ed is provided by parents as the children grow. This way the answers can be tailored to the child.

    Trouble is, not all families are healthy or loving. Some families have very weird attitudes. Others simply won’t – or can’t – discuss the matter. Too many tragedies have been caused by faulty or absent sex ed within the family. That’s why the Government decided sex ed in schools was a must.

    My own children learn what they need from me but I feel the additional information from school is helpful. My children probably don’t need formal sex ed, but the classes are for those who do. I’m very much in favour of discussions about sexual ethics and responsibility among their peers in a classroom setting, which I see as a welcome addition to my input.

  155. Clare Says:

    Too many tragedies have been caused by faulty or absent sex ed within the family. That’s why the Government decided sex ed in schools was a must.

    But the situation we have now, with the govt taking it into their own hands, is the greater of two evils.
    Why not support parents to help their children rather than bypassing them altogether?
    That looks like contempt to me.

  156. Sophie Says:

    @ Clare: Why do you think it’s the greater of two evils? Which two evils do you mean?

  157. Cabal Says:

    @Caral:

    Well, the reason I asked was that the comment discussions here usually do stay on topic despite there being no rules against drift – ironically, the complete opposite to Premier ;)

  158. Marcella Says:

    Hi Sophie et al re sex-ed in schools. I was shocked when I saw the material schools are using. To me it is pornographic, not – as Sophie sees it apparently – simple and at the age level. I agree that children show an interest in sex very young and that is natural. What is not natural is encouraging children to explore and focus on something they are not old enough to understand properly. They should be left alone and encouraged to sublimate sexuality until they are much older by being given the exciting, absolutely without sex, books for school reading that I devoured when young, books that inspired the imagination. One flew to the moon, became a famous doctor, discovered a wonderful earthly paradise no one else knew about, one could be anything. Talking to my grand-daughters I find out that every “normal” girl they know spends every weekend hopping in and out of bed with boys as soon as parents are out of the house! This info was given to me when we had just passed some poor girls of about ten going on forty and I commented, “Thank goodness you two are normal, and don’t tart yourselves up like those poor kids.” Well, did they put me straight…They apparently are not normal, but fortunately they don’t care! They also told me their small circle of equally abnormal friends say they find the sex-ed lessons horribly embarrassing and they wish they their parents would be like my daughter and not make them attend them. Chaste, good girls and boys instinctively feel that some things are better left for later and they are right. Sensible children, stupid parents and teachers. One Kildare show I watched years ago had a group of sexually active boys on it who, with one voice, agreed that the sex lessons aroused them so much that they began practicing it that very afternoon after school. After all they had been shown exactly how to do it. One said he blamed the teachers for teenage promiscuity.

    I’m going to leave this comment board, I feel so depressed at the blindness of adults who sincerely believe that children can cope with the minutely detailed explanations of sex and relationships that are being forced down their throats all the time. I wish you well, and I hope you will come one day soon to see how wrong you are. Bye.

  159. Clare Says:

    Marcella
    I don’t know if you are still following along, but I do understand how depressed this makes you feel. But please know that “abnormal” though they may be, in terms of mainstream culture, your grandchildren are not alone.
    I have 6 children the youngest is a baby and the oldest is 20 and they are all being raised to be “abnormal” in that sense, too.
    When my oldest son was leaving sixth form the rugby team, of which he was the captain, had a tradition of passing round some book that everyone signed as a memento. One of the comments in his book made some apparently light hearted but slightly crude reference to him being frigid ( this was a rugby team after all) they were all good mates and it wasn’t intended as anything more than joshing, but he explained to me that they all knew that he didn’t chase girls for sex and intended to remain a virgin until he married. I was pleased that he felt secure and confident enough to make no secret of that, and also that he is certain enough of the weakness of the prevailing myths about “safe sex” to be able to defend his corner and challenge his friends to rethink their own attitudes.
    Thanks be to God, he understands the truth and meaning of human sexuality,and the mainstream view is so banal, utilitarian and myopic by comparison.
    My other two sons ( 16 and 12yo) have been learning about John Paul ll’s Theology of The Body through a course designed for teens. I highly recommend something like that for your daughter if she isn’t doing that already.
    So your grandchildren are not alone, there are many other families like theirs.
    But yes, like you, reading this thread depresses me.
    I feel incredibly sad for those children who are being cheated out of knowing the full truth and meaning of their bodies. A beautiful, life affirming truth that is their best hope for their future.
    Because of that, I am impatient for people to wake up to the harm that this great sexual experiment is inflicting on our children.

  160. Cabal Says:

    ” One Kildare show I watched years ago had a group of sexually active boys on it who, with one voice, agreed that the sex lessons aroused them so much that they began practicing it that very afternoon after school. After all they had been shown exactly how to do it. One said he blamed the teachers for teenage promiscuity.”

    Oh, sure. Because teenage boys never exaggerate their prowess in this regard ^_^

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