Friday, 14 December 2012

Anglicans protest at exclusion from proposed bill

Report from The Guardian. read it all  here

Again, there are no surprises at this reaction - neither the Church of England nor the Church in Wales - as our (for all serious intents and purposes, erstwhile?) ecumenical partners are well aware - has now a settled moral theology as regards issues of  sexuality. Unfortunately, these protests seem not only to be prompted by concerns that the church (disestablished in the case of Wales) be free from state interference, about which many of us would be in wholehearted agreement.  From all the available evidence [and here] many of our church leaders also wish to be free ('open to the possibilities') to be able to change the Church's stance if and when it becomes synodically and politically possible.

Equally unsurprising is the response of former Labour minister Ben Bradshaw MP - according to his world-view - and also that of the Coalition Government itself, it would seem, ( an intolerant equality-trumps-all perspective * familiar to us all in the context of the women's ordination debates over the years) -  all opponents of the current marriage "reforms," whatever their expressed reasons may be, are by definition 'homophobic' - all philosophical or theological objections are merely dressed-up irrational prejudices unworthy of serious attention. End of debate: no further need to discuss the theological or social issues involved. This is the triumph of subjective unreason and it now sits in the places of power.
"...On Tuesday the culture secretary and equalities minister, Maria Miller, offered a comprehensive guarantee that neither church would have to marry same-sex couples. Although the move was intended to reassure Tory MPs who are threatening a rebellion over the proposals, it was greeted with dismay by senior figures in both churches, who said they knew nothing of the legal plans until Miller made her statement to the Commons. The Church in Wales said that it would push to have the proposals amended.The Right Rev Tim Stevens, bishop of Leicester and the Church of England's lead spokesman in the Lords, told a closed meeting of bishops, Lords and MPs that the government had not consulted the church on the proposal, adding that the church had never sought the government's so-called "quadruple lock" on gay marriage. He also expressed his regret at the government's lack of consultation.A Church of England spokesman confirmed that the church had not been consulted over the government's plans, saying: "Bishop Tim is correct that the first mention of a 'quadruple lock' came when the secretary of state announced it in the Commons. We had not been privately informed of this prior to the announcement.........
A spokeswoman for Dr Barry Morgan, the archbishop of Wales, confirmed that the Church in Wales had not been consulted over the "quadruple lock" either, saying it had come "completely out of the blue" and had left the church "completely shocked". The spokeswoman said: "We feel it's a step too far and we weren't consulted and we're now looking into what we can do. We will be pushing to have it amended, I would imagine."The spokeswoman said the church had submitted its views on the sanctity of marriage as part of the consultation, it had not anticipated that the government would act as it had."At that time, we thought that the government were saying that this law would be one that all churches would be able to opt into, so we were keen at that time to have sufficient legal safeguards around us to ensure that none of our clergy – or the church – would be prosecuted under equal opportunities [legislation]," she said. "But we had no idea that we would be completely exempt. There was no indication at all that, as a church, we would be completely exempt and it makes us look like we're exclusive and we're different to the other churches."....
Asked why the government had chosen to propose the "quadruple-lock" guarantee, [Ben] Bradshaw said: "The only explanation I can think of was that they thought it would help placate some of their homophobic backbenchers. But it seems to have backfired massively because the rightwing homophobes were out in force anyway and the Church of England now appears to be extremely upset that not only was it not asked, but it's added to [the] general misery over women bishops and now this. It makes the Church of England look much more reactionary and unreasonable than it actually is," he said."

* According to this report by 'an expert panel' [hmm] the BBC should feature more lesbian, gay and bisexual people in children’s television [here]   Why?  - in order accurately to reflect the percentage of LGBT people in the population at large, or in pursuit of a social engineering project all of its own? 

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