Tag Archives: Gay Marriage

‘Biblically Correct’ Independent Candidate Susan-Anne White Is Back With More Anti-Gay Rantings

Posted: 30/04/2015 12:55 BST
An Independent candidate standing for election in Northern Ireland has enhanced her “biblically correct” reputation by claiming to have “proof” that gay people are 40 times more likely to abuse children.

Devout Christian Susan-Anne White is one of nine candidates standing in West Tyrone on 7 May.

On Tuesday she appeared at an election debate in Omagh where she made the claims as part of her defence of Democratic Unionist Jim Wells who last week made comments linking gay marriage and child abuse.

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Susan-Anne White’s message caused one candidate to place his head in his hands

Wells has since apologised and resigned as Health Minister.

White, whose manifesto includes pledges to close abortion clinics and make adultery a punishable offence, told the audience on Tuesday: “In the main, what Jim Wells said was correct and I can prove it.

“Are you interested in the truth? Is anybody interested in the truth?”

Ignoring boos and jeers, White continued, stating: “Studies have shown that homosexuals are 40 times more likely than the general populace to abuse children.”

(At this point the candidate to White’s right places his head in his hands in apparent disbelief.)

White continues, citing a handful of cases where gay people were convicted of child abuse in the United States and Britain. She is cut short by the chair who cites fears of libeling those she has named. White continues, urging the audience to Google them.

At one point, the chair of the debate asks White to cheers and applause: “Did you Google heterosexual abuse?”

White responds: “The question we are discussing at the moment is not about heterosexual abuse.

“Heterosexuals can abuse children. Because the heart of man is depraved. Of course heterosexuals can and have abused children, but the subject we are discussing here are the comments made by Jim Wells. Keep on topic!”

White had earlier took a shot at the Conservative candidate standing for the same seat.

Attacking the party’s support for gay marriage, she said: “Gay marriage is a contradiction in terms. It is not normal or natural. The Bible speaks of men acting against nature and burning in their lust one for another.”

“It’s a shame that Claire-Louise (Leyland’s) party legalised sodomite marriage.

“That is something she should hang her head in shame about. She should not be proud about that.”

In an interview earlier this month, White told the Belfast Telegraph: “I don’t consider myself extreme – not at all.

“It is society that has moved. Not so far in the past, most people would have shared my views.

“My views only seem extreme because society has moved away from God’s principles.”

Here’s a re-cap of White’s manifesto:

‘Biblically correct NOT politically correct’

I pledge to:
• Close Marie Stopes Abortion clinic
• Oppose the extension of the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland
• Remove state-sponsored amoral sex education from schools
• Restore corporal punishment to schools
• Uphold parental rights to discipline children, including the right to smack
• Raise the age of consent to 18
• Make it an offense for doctors to give contraceptives to underage children
• Oppose the LGBT agenda, while showing compassion to those who struggle with gender confusion
• Oppose the redefinition of marriage
• Ban gay pride parades and recriminative homosexuality
• Stop the state funding of LGBT organisations
• Make adultery a punishable offense
• Abolish the Equality Commission NI and the Human Rights Commissions NI and give all the money they receive to the NHS.
• Oppose feminism and restore dignity to the stay at home mother
• Restore the concept of a family wage with the father as the breadwinner
• Oppose the legalisation of dangerous drugs
• Protest the NHS and increase funding by abolishing unnecessary and money wasting bureaucrats and quangos
• Withdraw from money wasting and decadent Europe
• Oppose the global warming fanatics and their pseudo-science
• Imprison those found guilty of animal cruelty including those involved in dog fights
• Install CCTV in all abattoirs
• Ban halal slaughter
• Oppose the Islamisation of British culture- no more mosques and no more extensions
• Restore capital punishment for murder, including terrorist murder

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“Prepare for Martyrdom!”

RIGHT WING WATCH

Sandy Rios: ‘You Must Prepare For Martyrdom’ If Gay Marriage Becomes Legal
SUBMITTED BY Kyle Mantyla on Thursday, 3/19/2015 4:58 pm
Religious Right activists and pastors gathered today for a conference titled “U-Turn: A Conversation with Pastors on Society, Culture and Leadership” that was organized by the Pennsylvania Pastors Network.

Among the participants was Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s director of governmental affairs and daily radio host, who repeated her warning to those in attendance that they had better “prepare for martyrdom” if marriage equality becomes legal throughout the country.

“There is persecution afoot,” she declared, citing various examples of Christian business owners who are supposedly being persecuted by laws banning discrimination in public services. Eventually, she warned that the push for marriage equality would gravely impact “your wives, your sisters, your children who now are going to be forced to go into public restrooms and share them with men dressed like women.”

“In Massachusetts, where homosexual marriage has been legal for ten years,” she said, “the stories would make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.”

Rios went on to state that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage, it will force every Christian in American to make a choice and so they had better be prepared to take a stand.

“You must prepare for martyrdom,” she said. “I don’t know what it ‘s going to look like, but it’s coming”:

 

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Gay marriage will change the Church of England forever

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Blog by Damian Thompson March 29th, 2014
Damian Thompson is Editor of Telegraph Blogs and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. He was once described by The Church Times as a “blood-crazed ferret”. He is on Twitter as HolySmoke. His latest book is The Fix: How addiction is taking over your world. He also writes about classical music for The Spectator.

Gay marriage will change the Church of England forever
As of today, their power is broken

The first British gay weddings today face the Church of England with a perfectly simple question to which it can only reply with embarrassed throat-clearing. Do we go along with this or not?

David Cameron’s promise to safeguard the established Church from same-sex ceremonies rings pretty hollow when you read a story like this one, from our religious affairs editor John Bingham:
Gay clergy should follow their conscience and defy the Church of England’s restrictions on same-sex marriage, a prominent bishop has said as the most radical change ever made to the legal definition of marriage in Britain comes into force.
The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said priests should be “creative” to get around restrictions on blessings for same-sex couples and that gay clergy who wish to marry should do so in defiance of the official line.
He also claimed that several current serving bishops are themselves in gay partnerships, and urged them to publicly acknowledge their status for the sake of “honesty and truthfulness” and even consider marrying

Joined by an alliance of seven retired bishops, he condemned the Church’s position on gay marriage as “morally outrageous” and said it made him “ashamed”.
Bishop Wilson is a suffragan, not in charge of a diocese – but, really, that doesn’t matter. He’s a serving bishop with, it would appear, a ruthless streak: not so long ago, it was only Peter Tatchell who would state publicly that C of E bishops were in gay partnerships and should out themselves. And if they choose not to? Bishop Wilson won’t do it for them, but he must know that others will.

The Church’s real problem, however, is not the hypocrisy of closeted prelates. It’s that so many priests are perfectly content to solemnise homosexual marriages in church and will indeed be “creative” in finding ways to do so.

How will Archbishop Justin Welby respond? “I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it’s the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being,” he told the Guardian in best Rev J C Flannel mode. Uh-huh. Oh, and there will be “structured conversations” to help resolve the problem

Here’s my prediction. As of today, pro-gay clergy will begin to unpick Cameron’s “triple lock” banning parishes from holding gay weddings; during the next Parliament it will cease to exist. Priests who want to marry same-sex couples, or indeed marry their own gay lovers, will just do it. Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical parishes that reject the whole notion won’t be forced to host such ceremonies, but both these wings of the C of E are moving in a liberal direction, and in the long run demographic change will finish the job.
It’s hard to overestimate the weakening effect this will have on the central structures of the Church. The General Synod’s deliberations will be rendered irrelevant. The fiction of the “Anglican Communion” will be abandoned. Conservative provinces in Africa will repudiate the C of E; the last Lambeth Conference’s disciplinary action against the anything-goes American Episcopal Church will cease to mean anything.
In the 1990s, when I started reporting on Anglican affairs, gay marriage was regarded as a non-negotiable horror by most clergy and churchgoers. The shattering of that consensus has happened far more quickly than even the most optimistic Christian gay campaigners thought possible

.And if the centre cannot hold, one has to ask: what is up for negotiation next? Belief in an afterlife? The divinity of Jesus of Nazareth? After today, one thing is uncomfortably clear: the Church of England has lost the power – and even the inclination – to draw a line in the sand.

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The utterly unpleasant Franklin Graham (son of Billy)

exclusive interview with Huff Post

In just the first 60 seconds of this interview with Franklin Graham, the son of charismatic preacher Billy Graham, viewers are treated to his condemnation of gay adoption as “recruitment,” fear-mongering about a political gay agenda, as well as a strong endorsement of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s harsh policies towards LGBT individuals.

The interview, conducted by Charlotte Observer religion reporter Tim Funk, stands in stark contrast to the statement released earlier this week by major Christian charity World Vision, which announced that it would treat gay job applicants the same way that it would consider straight ones.

“Gays and lesbians cannot have children,” Graham commented. When Funk pointed out that they could adopt, he retorted, “Yeah, they can recruit.”

He went on to imply that gay adoptions are tantamount to exploitation of children:

You can adopt a child into a marriage, but you can also recruit children into your cause. I believe in protecting children, OK? From exploitation, all exploitations.
During the interview, Graham insisted that he was simply speaking out the way his father once did, despite the unpopularity of his views.

“You talk about controversy – my father stood with Martin Luther King in the early 1960s,” Graham told Funk, according to the Charlotte Observer. “My father never worried about polls. I don’t care about them, either. And with the issues we are facing today – if my father were a younger man, he would be addressing and speaking out in the exact same way I’m speaking out on them.”

Dartmouth professor Randall Balmer, author of The Making of Evangelicalism: From Revivalism to Politics and Beyond, questioned Franklin Graham’s assessment of his father’s civil rights record in an email to The Huffington Post:

Billy Graham, to my knowledge, never stood publicly with MLK. He did invite King to give the invocation one evening at one of the gatherings during his 1957 revival campaign in Madison Square Garden, but Graham was conspicuously absent during the March on Washington or the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in the wake of the police shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson in nearby Marion.
For Franklin Graham to compare the Civil Rights movement to his opposition to gay and lesbian rights is not only laughable, it is, frankly, odious.

Graham’s comments over the course of the interview are not limited to jabs at the LGBT community — he also warns of the threat posed by American Muslims, the left-wing media, and the Obama administration.

Watch it above, if you can stomach it.

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March 27, 2014 · 08:53

Nurse destroys archbishop’s gay marriage stance with a stroke of her pen

A 65-year-old former nurse has told the leader of England’s Catholics to ditch the robes, the Latin and activism against gays and start helping the needy
19 FEBRUARY 2013 | BY TRIS REID-SMITH, JOE MORGAN

A 65-year-old former nurse has delivered a withering telling off to the Archbishop of Westminster – England’s most senior Catholic – for his stance on gay marriage.

The woman, who now works with animals and lives in northern England, says she has been married for 30 years but gay marriage doesn’t threaten the status of her relationship whatsoever.

And she says Archbishop Vincent Nichols and his church have become obsessed with gay sex, ignoring the real problems of society – the economy, schools, hospitals and our children’s future.

She tells him the so-called ‘Princes of the Church’ should ditch the ‘silk, the gold, the Gucci shoes, the ridiculous tall hats’ in favor of a simple pilgrim’s staff and get on with helping real people.

And she says Jesus ‘appears to have happily shared meals with prostitutes, drunkards, lepers, Gentiles and I do not doubt with people of same-sex orientation’.

Nichols has campaigned vigorously against same-sex marriage but she warns him the church’s propaganda calling homosexuality ‘disordered’ and ‘evil’ makes it impossible for the LGBT faithful to feel at home in Catholicism.

She has requested to remain anonymous but asked GSN to share her letter. We understand that she has received a reply from Nichols, but it failed to address the substance of her comments.

You can read her letter here:

Dear Archbishop,

I listened to your letter of Sunday 3 February in which you asked us as a matter of urgency to either send a postcard provided or write to our local MP to request him to vote against the government’s proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. I came out of the church with two thoughts and one resolve. Firstly I thought ‘Lord pity and help any gay person sitting listening to that letter’ not a word a charity or understanding did it contain. Secondly I thought or asked ‘Where in that is the love of Christ for all humankind?’ My resolve was not to contact my MP.

That decision was not made because of the tone of your letter however. I do not find it at all easy or even possible to uphold the church’s teaching on homosexuality. Among gay people of my acquaintance are those who have a deep spiritual life, to have one’s sexual orientation, an orientation that one is born with, described as an ‘objective disorder’ and to hear homosexual acts described as ‘intrinsically evil’ surely makes it almost impossible to feel at home or welcome in the church. It is utterly unrealistic to expect homosexual people to live celibate lives (We all know that many priests find this very difficult and sometimes impossible). The revelations of clerical sex abuse have led many of us to look with a very critical eye on the so-called celibate life and to realize that it has all to often lead to warped and destructive behavior.

To return to same-sex marriage, can it be abhorrent that two people of the same sex would wish to experience that emotional and physical closeness that marriage offers? We believe that God is love and so it must follow that in every loving and committed relationship God must be present – or does this, in your understanding, only apply in heterosexual relationships? Is heterosexuality more valued by God and by the church than homosexuality? You are, I suppose, aware that there are more than a few homosexual men in the priesthood and that nowadays heterosexual men are much less willing to embrace the celibate life. Is the good work done by such men less valuable in the eyes of this church? If so is it further evidence of its dysfunctional state?

I am 65 years of age and have been married for almost 30 years. I would so have appreciated an explanation from you or any of the hierarchy exactly how my long and happy marriage will be threatened by the union of gay couples. When I meet people in my day to day existence they talk about the economic climate (bad), lack of employment (bad), uncertain future for their children (bad), state of schools, hospitals (bad) – never ever has anybody expressed concern about a threat to their marriage by the proposed legalizing of same-sex marriage. You, the church, claim that marriage is the bedrock of society and indeed it is but you also seem to consider it so fragile that allowing a few gay people access to it will endanger it forever. Here the implicit homophobia cannot be ignored.

Sadly you still think your pronouncements will be accepted without question by a meek credulous herd. You have spent far too much time telling us just how sinful we are while drawing veils of respectability over your own grievous wrongdoings.

I sometimes despair of this church, this institution. It seems to me in my reading of the Gospels that Jesus had no problem whatsoever with those who were considered outsiders or exceptions. He appears to have happily shared meals with prostitutes, drunkards, lepers, Gentiles and I do not doubt with people of same-sex orientation since such an orientation has existed since time began. The church seems much happier with its version of order over compassion and love towards the so-called exceptions. It has an appalling history of excluding and torturing those who do not think or subscribe to its definition of ‘right’.

The world is facing disaster on all levels and this church, when not obsessing about matters sexual, spends an inordinate amount of time on pointless activities such as changing the liturgy back to a correct translation of the original Latin – a language not spoken by Jesus but spoken by the oppressors of his time and country. Do you imagine that this obsession with precisely translated texts will win you a single new adherent? To me, you (particularly but not exclusively the hierarchy) appear to be a frightened group of men preoccupied with titles, clothing and other religious externals. You seem, with some wonderful and brave exceptions, to pay only lip service to ecumenism and matters of social justice. I would love to see the so-called ‘Princes of the Church’ (Where did all these triumphant, utterly anti-Gospel titles you award yourselves come from?) get rid of the silk, the gold, the Gucci shoes, the ridiculous tall hats, croziers, fancy soutanes etc etc and substitute bare heads and a simple pilgrim’s staff on all liturgical occasions and that might be taken as a small outward sign of your inner acceptance of fundamental Gospel values.

I seem to have digressed somewhat but to return to where I started, same-sex marriage. I will always be unsure of the validity of any principle or opinion that makes one act in an unkind or intolerant way. Toleration, of course, has its limits, I want you to cry out against injustice and cruelty. Explain to me please exactly how marriage will be ‘changed forever’ by the proposed new laws, specifically tell me how my marriage will be threatened.

I admit that I am not very well versed on biblical texts and I know that there are those who can find a text to confirm any prejudice without having to resort to any sort of reasonable debate but surely if we accept one piece of scripture (Lev 18:22) which declares homosexuality to be an abomination, to judge what is right or wrong, we must accept them all. Following this logic we are therefore forbidden to wear garments made of two different kinds of thread (Lev 19:19), men must never have their hair trimmed especially around the temples (Lev 19:27). According to Lev 25:44 I may possess slaves provided they are purchased from neighboring nations, not sure if this applies to non-members of the EU! As for organizing the stoning of transgressors – well, a logistical nightmare!

Archbishop, we have grasped the principles of evolution, stopped burning witches and holding heresy trials, discounted the flat earth theory. Do you now think we could move the debate about equal human rights for people of same-sex orientation and also the status of women in the church on by a few millennia please?

 

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Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Timothy Cardinal Dolan says he’s ready for gay marriage battles

In an interview with ‘Meet the Press,’ the cardinal said the Catholic Church had been ‘caricatured as being anti-gay.’ He also said the church was not going to give up fighting to stop the ‘stampede’ to legalize same-sex marriage.

Monday, December 2, 2013
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Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Meet the Press, Sunday Dec. 1, 2013.

NBC News

Cardinal Timothy Dolan appeared Sunday on ‘Meet the Press,’ addressing his position — and Catholic Church’s — on gay marriage.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan brushed off criticism of his gay marriage stance Sunday — saying he’s ready for a long culture war just like the abortion battle.

“We get backlash from those who think we are too gracious, and compassionate, and loving, and accepting of gays,” Dolan said after celebrating Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

RELATED: TIMOTHY CARDINAL DOLAN: CHURCH ‘OUT-MARKETED’ OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

“And then we get backlash from gay people who feel that we are not tolerant enough of them.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan presides over Mass on Sunday at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Alec Tabak for New York Daily News

Cardinal Timothy Dolan presides over Mass on Sunday at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In an interview with “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday, Dolan said the Catholic Church had been “caricatured as being anti-gay.”

He also said the church was not going to give up fighting to stop the “stampede” to legalize same-sex marriage.

“When Roe v. Wade came through in 1973, everybody said, ‘This is settled, no use in fighting it anymore, it’s over with, the government has decided.’ And we say, ‘Oh, no, no. This isn’t going to go away,’” he said. “Of course, now the abortion debate is more vigorous than ever.”

 

 

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Renounce your “sin”

After same-sex couple victory in Collegedale, church ousts gay detective’s family

 

                                                                by Kevin Hardy

Detective Kat Cooper, right, and her wife, Krista, listen as Collegedale city commissioners discuss extending benefits to same-sex partners. The commission voted to approve the benefits. Cooper has been with the Collegedale Police Department for over 11 years, and she and Krista were married in Maryland in May.

Detective Kat Cooper, right, and her wife, Krista, listen as Collegedale city commissioners discuss extending benefits to same-sex partners. The commission voted to approve the benefits. Cooper has been with the Collegedale Police Department for over 11 years, and she and Krista were married in Maryland in May.

                                                                                                                                                                                 Photo Doug Strickland
This story is featured in today’s TimesFreePress newscast.

Collegedale’s decision to grant benefits to same-sex couples was a victory for Kat Cooper, a gay detective who championed the months-long effort that made the Chattanooga suburb the first city in Tennessee to offer benefits to same-sex spouses of its government employees.

Cooper’s mother, Linda, stood by her side throughout the process. She held tight to her daughter’s hand at a July meeting over the issue. And the two embraced after the City Council’s 4-1 vote on Aug. 5.

But those small acts of support translated into collateral damage that left Linda Cooper and other relatives separated from their church family of more than 60 years. And one local advocate for gay families says the church’s stance was the most extreme he’s heard of in years.

Leaders at Ridgedale Church of Christ met in private with Kat Cooper’s mother, aunt and uncle on Sunday after the regular worship service. They were given an ultimatum: They could repent for their sins and ask forgiveness in front of the congregation. Or leave the church.

Their sins?

“My mother was up here and she sat beside me. That’s it,” said Kat Cooper. “Literally, they’re exiling members for unconditionally loving their children — and even extended family members.”

But the family’s support of Kat Cooper was as good as an endorsement of homosexuality, said Ken Willis, minister at Ridgedale Church of Christ.

“The sin would be endorsing that lifestyle,” Willis said. “The Bible speaks very plainly about that.”

Willis, a father himself, said the church didn’t expect the Cooper family to disown their daughter.

“But you certainly can’t condone that lifestyle, whether it’s any kind of sin — whether they’re shacked up with someone or living in a state of fornication or they’re guilty of crimes,” he said. “You don’t condone it. You still love them as a parent.”

Hunt Cooper, Kat’s father, said his wife is still too distraught over the church’s actions to comment.

“She is just so traumatized and so upset,” he said. “It has been days and she’s still crying. It’s almost like losing a family member.”

Linda Cooper’s parents were practically founding members of the Dodds Avenue congregation, Hunt Cooper said. Her father was a church elder and his picture still hangs on the wall there. Kat Cooper grew up helping her grandfather clean the pews and helped her grandmother hang bulletin boards for Sunday school.

“This is not just some casual church they dropped in on,” he said.

Hunt Cooper said his family rejects the notion that being gay is a lifestyle choice. And his wife, along with her brother and sister, believed repentance would be hypocritical. So the decision to leave, devastating as it was, was a simple one.

“There’s no sin to repent for,” he said. “And she’s not going to turn her back on her daughter.”

Church of Christ congregations are mostly independent of one another, with church elders and ministers setting the tone at each. So the Coopers suspect church authorities are mostly behind their confrontation. Many congregation members didn’t even know of the situation, Hunt Cooper said.

In the South, it’s not uncommon for families of gay people to feel unwelcome or shunned at church, said Matt Nevels, the presiding officer of PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Nevels was a longtime minister at Red Bank Baptist Church, but left in 1995 because of the church’s hard-line stance on homosexuality. His own views on the matter were shaped by his son, Stephen, who announced he was gay before dying of AIDS.

Through PFLAG, Nevels regularly meets with parents and other family members of gays and lesbians. And it’s commonplace for the revelation of a gay son or daughter to put family members on the rocks with their church communities.

“Most of the churches in this area are homophobic,” Nevels said. “So it’s not unusual for things like that to happen.”

But usually the distance grows subtly. A cold shoulder. A sense that you no longer fit it. It’s uncommon that people are delivered such an overt message, as was the case for the Coopers.

“I’ve never heard it extended to other family members like that,” he said. “That is definitely an extreme case.”

But Willis, Ridgedale’s minister, says the church regularly approaches people to repent for all sorts of sin. Church leaders have given other members a similar choice to repent or leave for sins such as living together before marriage, he said. And the Coopers’ battle was public, captured by television cameras and newspaper stories, giving the church no choice but to take action.

“When a person is in sin they are asked to repent, to make a statement, renouncing their participation in sin,” he said.

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Rowan

from The Guardian

Rowan Williams tells ‘persecuted’ western Christians to grow up

Former archbishop of Canterbury says UK and US Christians exaggerate ‘mild discomfort’, and gay friends may feel let down

 

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Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer
The Guardian, Thursday 15 August 2013 18.52 BST

Former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams at the Edinburgh international book festival in Scotland. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian
Christians in Britain and the US who claim that they are persecuted should “grow up” and not exaggerate what amounts to feeling “mildly uncomfortable”, according to Rowan Williams, who last year stepped down as archbishop of Canterbury after an often turbulent decade.
“When you’ve had any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word very chastely,” he said. “Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable. ‘For goodness sake, grow up,’ I want to say.”
True persecution was “systematic brutality and often murderous hostility that means that every morning you wonder if you and your children are going to live through the day”. He cited the experience of a woman he met in India “who had seen her husband butchered by a mob”.
Lord Williams’s years as archbishop of Canterbury were marked by turbulence over the church’s stance on the role of gay priests and bishops; gay marriage; and homophobia in the wider Anglican communion – with many members of the church expressing disappointment at a perceived hardening in its position on homosexuality.
Asked if he had let down gay and lesbian people, he said after a pause: “I know that a very great many of my gay and lesbian friends would say that I did. The best thing I can say is that is a question that I ask myself really rather a lot and I don’t quite know the answer.”
Sharing a platform at the Edinburgh international book festival with Julia Neuberger, president of the Liberal Judaism movement, Williams launched a withering critique of popular ideas about spirituality. “The last thing it is about is the placid hum of a well-conducted meditation,” he said.
He said the word “spiritual” in today’s society was frequently misused in two ways: either to mean “unworldly and useless, which is probably the sense in which it has been used about me”, or “meaning ‘I’m serious about my inner life, I want to cultivate my sensibility'”.
He added: “Speaking from the Christian tradition, the idea that being spiritual is just about having nice experiences is rather laughable. Most people who have written seriously about the life of the spirit in Christianity and Judaism spend a lot of their time telling you how absolutely bloody awful it is.” Neuberger said she found some uses of the word self-indulgent and offensive. Williams argued that true spirituality was not simply about fostering the inner life but was about the individual’s interaction with others.
“I’d like to think, at the very least, that spiritual care meant tending to every possible dimension of sense of the self and each other, that it was about filling out as fully as possible human experience,” he said.
Asked by Neuberger whether he felt organised religion encouraged the life of the spirit, he replied: “The answer is of course a good Anglican yes and no”. While it can pass on the shared values of tradition, it can also operate as simply “the most satisfying leisure activity possible. It can also be something that you use to bolster your individual corporate ego.”
Discussing the relationship between church and state, he said the established church was “an odd business, a very messy and complicated business” but that he was “bloody-minded” about the notion of disestablishment. “I am not in a hurry to see the church disestablished if the pressure is coming from what I regard as the wrong kind of secularism.”
On Prince Charles’s apparent desire to be known as “defender of faith” (as in all faiths) rather than “defender of the faith” (as in simply Anglicanism) on his accession to the throne, the two clerics disagreed.
Neuberger said she believed “defender of faith” was exactly right. Williams replied: “You’re wrong … defender of the faith is just one of those historic titles that is part of the stream of things; it means almost what you want it to mean.” Neuberger replied: “What’s important about what Prince Charles has said is that it assumes parity of esteem, which for my lot is quite important.”
Williams was asked whether the Church of England ran the risk of functioning merely as a well-meaning NGO.
Referring to the current archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s recent statements on wanting to compete with payday lender Wonga, he said: “If the church or some of its representatives make remarks on matters of public interest, it can trigger the question where does that come from?
“Can you trace back your attitude to, say, credit unions or the environment to something that is distinctive in the religious heritage? And that means pursuing the conversation a bit.
“The risk of being reduced to an NGO, another woolly, well-meaning liberal thinktank or ambulance service – that’s not a fate I would relish for my church,” he said.

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Gay Dope

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June 16, 2013 · 00:54

Marriage

Marriage

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April 28, 2013 · 10:16