Friday, February 25, 2005

Church News

No organisation exemplifies the British cultural collapse better then the Church of England. Described within living memory as 'The Tory Party at prayer', it is now 'engaging with the issues of the 21st century' - or in other words, abandoning a Bible-based theology in favour of an inclusive, user-friendly Christianity more suited to a liberal, Godless society.

The ancien regime are struggling grimly against this tendency, the current battleground being over whether (open - people like Mervyn Stockwood just got on with it) homosexuals should become Bishops of the Church.

On the one side - organisations like Reform, Anglican Mainstream, most of the Anglicans in Africa.

On the other, Rasputin, the bishops of Worcester, Oxford, Southwark, the massed ranks of the BBC, Guardian, Indie, and all right-thinking, tolerant people.

Like Christina Odone, who writes in the Times of "a world full of no-nos: no sex before marriage, no feminism, no abortion and no gay sex".

I'm not sure about the feminism bit. But she's right - tragically, the Church has throughout its history been generally against these things.

Those on the side of light against the dark forces of bigotry and homophobia like to use this "killer argument".

"In much of Europe, in the USA, and in Canada, discrimination against gay people is now being consigned to history, along with slavery and the lack of universal suffrage. It is only shameful that the Church, which was in the forefront of the campaign to free slaves, still treats women and gay people as being less than fully human, with impaired human rights."

You've hit all the right buttons there - not just for liberals, but for everyone. Add in a few words to the effect that your opponents are funded by the American Religious Right, try to ignore the African view, mention George Bush if you can, and bingo - how could any right-thinking person not support you ?

Only one teensy problemette. No-one should be condemned because of the way they were born (I'll leave nature vs nurture for another day). But this argument fails to make the distinction between who you are and what you do. In practice it turns out that the evil reactionary bigots don't hate people with homosexual desires. But they do think it's wrong to act on those desires.

After all, we all have desires of all kinds. If I gave in to all of them, I would by now either be Supreme Dictator Of The Universe, dead, or (more likely) serving a lengthy prison term for crimes ranging from mass murder to serious sexual assault.

Yes, but these desires aren't at the core of your being. As John Humphrys on Radio 4 said incredulously to Archbishop Peter Jensen of Sydney (I paraphrase - can't find the link) "But that would mean being celibate all your life !"

We're back to Christina and her no-nos again. No one ever said it was easy. Christian literature is full of tales of broad, pleasant paths and stony, steep and narrow ones. We're all sinners. I certainly am.

Top coverage of the whole sorry caboodle at Thinking Anglicans. Presumably their opponents are unthinking, but an excellent site nonetheless.

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