Church and LGBTI

The Dean of Newcastle has signed a letter asking the Church of England to repent for discrimination against gay and lesbian Christians.

The letter that that has been written by the two leading archbishops in the Church of England. It asked for repentance and acknowledgement that the church has for too long seen those in the LGBTI community as second-class sinners.

Having been a member of the Church of England for over a decade I didn’t feel right at all that I could be open with the people who surrounded me. It was bad enough growing up in the eighties with the stigma of HIV and AIDS that still exists to this day. I cannot remember in the early days the subject of human sexuality being discussed at all in the church I attended. It wasn’t something that they were ready to discuss.

It is right for both Archbishops to acknowledge where the church has failed people but it is also up to the church to recognise that there are still within it’s walls those people who outrightly condemn same-sex relationships. The Rev’d David Holloway is a good example of someone still preaching that the scriptures specify that homosexuality is a grave sin. He works with the diocese of Newcastle and I am sure would have something to say about the Dean’s signature on such letter.

It is only when such people acknowledge and apologise for the continuing harm he is directly causing the LGBTI community. Parts of the church of England stretch across many continents and especially those in developing countries that have appalling human rights issues regarding the gay communities that are supposed minister too.

My faith died decades ago. It is replaced by rational thought. This means that I treat all human beings with equality. Regardless of their gender, race, and sexuality. The horrible and trite phrase that is often used that the sinner is somehow separated from the sin and therefore we condemn only the action but not the person themselves is utter crap. I am proud of who I am and I am not going curtail this for anyone. It is an intrinsic part of who I am and I believe made me a better person for realising how easy it is to be judgemental on things of which we may not understand.

There are people who have remained within the CofE whilst still in LGBTI relationships. Many in the clergy are gay and lesbian but in fear of being truthful and losing one’s position within the community.

I have good friends who have no issue with my sexuality and regularly attend church. They have been good examples of what the archbishops have called upon to do and is love those who are in any community whether it be gay or straight.

I acknowledge that some do not hold the same caring attitude but until those people have changed/repented (which also means moving away from their sin to which they are repenting) the church will continue to decline and be replaced by a smaller community of believers.

Equality

Some people are racist. We know this from looking at the world and society today. As much as I find these totally abhorrent we live in a society where people can have these views. The same goes for any religious or even non-religious belief. I can choose to follow a particular faith or religious value but your belief doesn’t mean that you can choose to actively treat another person as a 2nd class citizen based on their gender, race or sexual orientation.

We have witnessed legal cases brought against people who have tried to deny services to people who are gay. The have based their actions on “deeply held religious beliefs”. While as a society we respect these beliefs that cannot and must not be allowed to treat others with disrespect.

As a country we have come along way since the 1970s where openly on TV we saw racist terms being used and people being ridiculed.

If Ashers bakery had won their case it would leave open to all religions saying that they could deny something or someone because of their religious beliefs. There are laws protecting religions in equality laws just as much as sexuality and gender.

But the bakery isn’t a religious organisation. It isn’t a church or a religious establishment. It’s a business which is run by Christians. The law states that you cannot discriminate against people of their race, gender or sexual orientation.

Ashers bakery claimed that they had no knowledge of the persons sexual orientation. This is bullshit. They discuss within the family that they felt they couldn’t provide a service to someone who is gay. This is against the law.

The cake was never to be seen apart for the four walls of a party at the time who were campaigning for marriage equality in Northern Ireland. It’s not as if the cake was supposed to be seen by millions as a political statement. Because of the legal action obviously it has now been seen around the world.

What some people don’t understand is that just because you don’t believe gay people should have the same rights and privileges of straight people doesn’t make you right by placing your religion card. It doesn’t work that way that’s why we have laws to protect people.

Feel free to move to somewhere like Russia that doesn’t afford equality to those who have a different sexual orientation.

Equality laws are here to say. Get used to it.

Marriage Equality

A friend of mine said that marriage between two people of the same sex would never happen. They were wrong. Today we celebrate with those people in declaring their love for one another in the marriage ceremony. For myself I never thought the possibility of being gay and getting married would ever be even discussed. I said to myself that my time as a church goer would have to come to an end because people were telling me that being an practising christian and taking part in “homosexual relationships” had no place in the church. I knew that my sexuality wouldn’t change. So it had to go.

Here is a video from Christian Concern about their beliefs and opinions.

“Very little debate … and it’s happened so quickly…” – Month of consolation at all levels means nothing obviously.

“This is really a spiritual issue it’s a problem which goes way beyond what we think about the issues” He is implying that this is a direct disobedience on behalf of the people who believe that same sex marriage is right. He feel that this is evil and a sin.

” … we should look to god and say lord this is what’s happening we feel disturbed about it and we don’t really know what to do please help us … please have mercy on us if we have done something wrong if we are praying on behalf of the rest of the nation … ” – what disturbs me about this sentence is the complete arrogance that his man thinks about others in society. He beliefs that the whole nation has gone in the wrong direction and turned away from God’s laws. No other institution should have a say on marriage. One assumes he must think this about death and other major points in peoples lives.

I think it’s sad that the church has taken so much time, effort and notably money in campaigning against same sex marriage. I would like to know what the Rev Andrew Symes has done to campaign and highlight the suffering of the children in Syria? Or the often ignored problem of domestic violence in the UK, where one million calls where made to the police last year reporting domestic violence and two women a week lose their lives at the hands of an abusive partner.

No wonder the established church is in decline despite it’s denial.

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!