The Church of England and same sex relationships: articles and comments

Apr 4, 2014 by

Facilitated Conversations   Changing Attitude Letter to Bishops and Statement   Anglican Mainstream Statement in Response to Changing Attitude     House of Bishops Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage, Church of England Website   Church offers prayers after same-sex weddings – but bans gay priests from marrying by John Bingham, Telegraph No blessings, no same-sex marriages for clergy: Bishops keep the door shut as Act comes into force by Paul Handley, Church Times Church of England offers prayers after gay weddings but no same-sex marriage for vicars by Lizzie Dearden, Independent Gay marriage: I don’t dismiss bishops’ dishonest compromise out of hand by Andrew Brown, Guardian Statement commenting on the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage by Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream The last six days: the story so far and the implications by Andrew Symes, Anglican Mainstream House of Bishops prioritise discipline not love from Colin Coward, Changing Attitude Press Release from LGBT Anglican Coalition House of Bishops’ same-sex dog’s breakfast from Cranmer C of E Bishops say church members should ‘welcome’ ‘married’ same-sex couples into the church community by Peter Saunders, CMF Homosexuality to remain a sin for the Church of England by George Conger, Anglican Ink The Church of England: Permitting Pastoral Malpractice by Matt Kennedy, Stand Firm Untheological, incoherent, unhelpful – Bishops, think again! by Thurstan Stigand The Opening Shots by Peter Ould Some interesting comments on Cranmer, Titusonenine and Thinking Anglicans Statements from the Bishop of Manchester , Bishop of Oxford,  Eurobishop and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali Letter to clergy from Bishop of Oxford Anglican Evangelicals unite in calling for clarification from Bishops on same sex marriage The House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage Part I – Engaging with the Critics by Andrew Goddard Bishops’ Speak and The Pilling Report by Bishop Wallace Benn...

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The Religious War Against Marriage

May 6, 2008 by

By Bill Muehlenberg, Culture Watch That there are plenty of secularists who are happy to push the homosexual agenda is not so surprising. What is surprising, and sad, is when Christians get on the bandwagon. When they totally ignore or reject their own biblical absolutes and instead embrace the latest trendy fads and crusades, then things are going downhill fast. There has been a growing chorus of religious folk singing the praises of the homosexual agenda, even pushing for same-sex marriage. The most recent example was in today’s Australian when Anglican writer and feminist Muriel Porter had a piece entitled, “Highest Praise for Nuptials” in which she blasted other Christians for daring to stand up for Biblical morality on this issue. The whole article was one tired exercise in homosexual apologetics. It could have been written by any secularist or atheist. It trotted out all the tired clichés and red herrings. A secularist writing nonsense about what the Bible says concerning sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular might be excused for being out of his or her depth. But when someone who claims to be a believer writes such patent nonsense, then the deed is all the more dastardly. For example, Mrs Porter makes this quite ludicrous claim: “Yes, there are a few (contested) Bible texts that condemn certain homosexual practices. But there are far more uncontested texts that denounce divorce.” Sorry Muriel, but there happens to be at least nine quite clear passages on homosexuality – every one of which condemns the behaviour. And they must be read in the light of the entire biblical teaching on human sexuality, which always insists on heterosexual marriage as the only acceptable context for sexual relationships – end of story. As to divorce, there are around the same number of passages on the subject, and some in fact are highly debatable. The grounds for divorce, if any, and the place for remarriage are topics that some believers can and do strongly differ on. But given that theology and biblical studies are obviously not her strong point, Mrs Porter spends most of her article appealing to pity and emotion. For example, she goes on about how practicing homosexuals do not feel all that welcome in some churches. She does her best to portray them as pitiable victims, who are being rejected by hard-hearted Christians. But she is both confusing the issue and distorting the picture here. All sinners are welcome in the Christian churches, but always with a view that they be willing to listen to and receive the Christian gospel. Sinners as seekers are always – or should be always – welcome in church. But that is an altogether different matter from those who have embraced the gospel, and are now seeking to walk in obedience to Christ and biblical teachings. When people claim to be a followers of Jesus, they renounce claims to being the boss, and now submit to the Lordship of Christ, and the Word of God....

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Marriage Debate: How SSM leads to 'special rights'

May 5, 2008 by

From IMAPP I’ve been corresponding with some people who complained to me that people like myself who want to keep the present definition of marriage are abridging their rights. I’ve been responding that same-sex marriage advocates are actually the ones limiting people’s rights. In Boston, if your church has a deeply held moral belief that children need both a mother and a father, and you want to help parents adopt, you are required to either violate your principles or to stop helping children find loving families. That’s what gay "marriage" has wrought in the first state to fall victim to tyrannical judges and selfish gay activists. Virtually everyone agrees that the real victims of the shut-down of the highly praised Catholic adoption service in Boston are poor orphans of color. But the gay community literally doesn’t care. Being celebrated and stroked as "equal" is far more important to them than the welfare of abandoned, abused, and impoverished children. If LGBT people want to help gay parents adopt, I’m all for it. Let them set up their own adoption agencies and heck, give preference to lipstick lesbians and reject all show tune queens. Or let the show tune queens adopt and tell the lipstick lesbians they’re not butch enough. I don’t care. Each group should be allowed to behave consistently with its values as long as they’re not hurting anybody. But no – the gays convinced the government to demand that Catholics either embrace gay and lesbian values they think are wrong, or face civil and criminal penalties if they dare employ Catholic values in bringing a smile to the faces of underprivileged children who have no one to tuck them in at night. And gays squeal when people say they want "special rights." But they do. What’s more special than being able to arrange for a child’s adoption based on your value system – one that happens to be at most one or two generations old, whereas the Catholic Church with its centuries of tradition is forced to violate its principles if it wants to rescue abandoned children. Boy, those Massachusetts gays really sound like admirable people. Let’s throw them a parade! Oh, never mind. They already throw themselves...

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Was Canadian same-sex marriage a mistake?

Apr 17, 2008 by

Michael Coren on Canada’s biggest mistake: Gay marriage For National Post What makes the national mistake of legalizing same-sex marriage unique in Canadian history is that to even discuss the issue is considered by many, particularly our elites, to be at the very least in extraordinarily bad taste. Although this is a valid and vital debate about social policy, anyone critiquing the status quo is likely to be marginalized as hateful, extreme or simply mad. Social conservatives aren’t just wrong, they’re evil. The discussion, we are told, is over. Which is what triumphalist bullies have said for centuries after they win a battle. In this case, the intention is to marginalize anyone who dares to still speak out. In other words, to silence them. It’s important to emphasize that this is not really about homosexuality at all, and has nothing to do with homosexual people living together. Opponents of same-sex marriage may have ethical and religious objections to homosexuality, but they are irrelevant to the central argument. Which is not about the rights of a sexual minority but the status and meaning of marriage. Indeed, the deconstruction of marriage began not with the gay community asking for the right to marry but with the heterosexual world rejecting it. The term “common-law marriage” said it all. Marriage is many things, but it is never common. Yet with this semantic and legal revolution, desire and convenience replaced commitment and dedication. The qualifications, so to speak, were lowered. And one does indeed have to qualify for marriage; just as one has, for example, to qualify for a pension or a military medal. People who have not reached the age of retirement don’t qualify for a pension, people who don’t serve in the armed forces don’t qualify for a military medal. It’s not a question of equality but requirement. A human right is intrinsic, a social institution is not. The four great and historic qualifications for marriage always have been number, gender, age and blood. Two people, male and female, over a certain age and not closely related. Mainstream and responsible societies have sometimes changed the age of maturity, but incest has always been condemned and, by its nature, died out because of retardation. As for polygamy, it’s making something of a comeback — and here begin the objections. Whenever this is mentioned by critics of same-sex marriage we are accused of using the slippery-slope argument. Sorry, some slopes are slippery. Polygamy is an ancient tradition within Islam — and was in Sephardic Judaism and some Asian cultures. When the precedent of gay marriage is combined with the freedom of religion defence, the courts will have a difficult time rejecting it. At the moment, the Muslim community is not sufficiently politically comfortable to pursue the issue; and the clearly deranged polygamous sects on the aesthetic as well as geographical fringes of Canadian society cloud any reasonable debate. But the argument will certainly come and the result is largely inevitable. If love is the...

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Legalizing gay marriage will spark lawsuits against churches

Apr 8, 2008 by

By Roger Severino, The Examiner WASHINGTON – After years of litigation and debate, the California and Connecticut supreme courts are about to decide the question of marriage. If, as some suspect, the courts redefine the institution to include same-sex couples, they will have entered a minefield of unintended consequences — especially with regard to religious liberty. The experience of legalizing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and of civil unions elsewhere, cannot be ignored. It shows that, even with the best of intentions, legalizing same-sex marriage will seriously undermine the religious freedom citizens have enjoyed since the founding. Although the First Amendment protects dissenting houses of worship from being forced to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies against their will, that is not the end of the story — it is barely even the beginning. Simply changing the definition of marriage opens the door to a flood of lawsuits against dissenting religious institutions based on state public accommodation and employment laws that prohibit marital status and sexual orientation discrimination. Additionally, religious institutions that refuse to recognize a new state-imposed definition could be stripped of access to government programs, have their tax exemption denied and even lose the ability to solemnize civil marriages. We need only look at Massachusetts for a preview of what to expect. There, in 2004, justices of the peace who refused to solemnize same-sex unions due to religious objections were summarily fired. It did not matter that other justices of the peace were available to do the job because, by Massachusetts law, same-sex unions were now entitled to equal treatment. A religious belief became a firing offense. It is but a small step for the state to impose this rationale on churches and other houses of worship and end legal recognition of religious marriage ceremonies that do not comply with the state’s expanded definition of marriage. This is not the only example of what is to come. Massachusetts, like many other states, strictly regulates private adoption agencies through licensing. Historically, this has not posed any difficulties for religious institutions, but Massachusetts now demands that all licensed adoption agencies be willing to place children with legally married same-sex couples. However, Catholic Charities, the largest private social service provider in the state, could not in good conscience place its orphan children into homosexual households. After a bitter struggle, Boston Catholic Charities was forced out of the adoption business because it refused to embrace the state’s new definition of marriage. The result was doubly tragic because both orphan children and religious liberty took the hit for this misguided attempt at equality. Two more real-world examples illustrate the danger. In New Jersey, the city of Ocean Grove recently yanked a Methodist institution’s real estate tax exemption because it refused to perform civil unions in its outdoor wedding pavilion. In Iowa, the Des Moines Human Rights Commission found the local YMCA in violation of public accommodation laws because it refused to extend “family membership” privileges to a lesbian couple that had entered a civil union...

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