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.
I sit here on Maundy Thursday thinking about this holiday weekend, or holy weekend. To Christians it is the most important time in their religious calendar. A time when they remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.
A much talked about event on social media has been the leaders debate. A time where political leaders have their say on the matters that concern them and field questions from the public. All these running up to the general election in just over a months time.
I have always voted in every election I am eligible it a privilege that a democratic process is followed allowing the people to have their say in who runs our country. The laws in this land have been made by our parliament for centuries and this way should continue.
I look at the situation in Indiana. It has brought in a law where businesses have been allowed to turn away anyone who they think is part of the LGBT community. This being under the guise of “religious freedom”. The similar case to the bakery in Northern Ireland where they have refused to make a product which supports gay marriage. They have claimed they cannot do so because of their relgious conscience.
I think of Jesus’ life and trying to come up with situations where he “turned people away” or decided certain people should be excluded from society. Quite the opposite is what the bible tells us. If we are to believe the gospel accounts then he welcomed those who had been “cast aside” and those who were seen as inferior.
What will be the message of the church and its people over this weekend? We don’t mind you coming and being part of our community as long you renounce your “sinful lifestyle”.
This is why I cannot be a part of a group of people who treats anyone as inferior or doesn’t understand what it’s like to grow up in a world where people say you are inheritantly broken or evil. I didn’t choose to be gay just as much as you chose to be straight. Maybe just maybe the church and its followers might think the damage they cause on the holy weekend.
Despite being a humanist now I still take time to reflect on things during Holy Week. Habits that formed during my time as a member of the Church of England seem to die hard. It is something I have done for on and off for around 30 years.
What am I doing with my life? Are there anything things that need changing. These are questions I do ask myself but it always seems easier to criticise and point out other failings rather than my own.
It’s easy to look at others an judge. I don’t like the way you talk or what you are saying. I don’t like your lifestyle or the priorities you have in life and not worthy of any time.
Do the things that others do have any consequences that could affect your life? If someone steals or murders then it could. This could end in the person being convicted and having to spend time at our majesty’s pleasure and that costs money in an indirect way.
Are we giving to others that would make their life better? Do we give our time and money to help those who are less fortunate that ourselves? If you are making an excuse while you reading this you probably need to.
Reflecting in rather than on Holy Week is a good thing. It makes me think of spring time and new possibilities and chances that we have been given.
What will I try to do more off to better others lives and less of that makes me more of a selfish person. Surely that has to be a good thing.
Christians believe that sin was brought into the world by Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden. Man is now separated from God and therefore cannot have a relationship with him. The ultimate punishment is eternity without God. God gave his son so as a sacrifice for the bad things that people have done. A pardon or someone to take the blame.
I struggle with the concept of sin. Not that I don’t understand it but the fact that some Christian’s seem to regard some sins worse than others. As a humanist do believe that actions do have a consequence. Those actions that Christians believe are the most sinful seem to be to have the least consequence. The fact that two men or two women living together will have some sort of consequence on society. To fundamental / evangelical christians they believe that society will break down and the traditional view of marriage is destroyed.
In the UK we have had Civil Partnerships for nearly a decade. It was at the early part of 2014 that marriage equality was given legal assent. But some parts the church still continue to focus their energies on fighting gay rights. I think now it has become an unhealthy obsession to some.
Some of the most damaging of “sins” seem to be over-looked; Domestic abuse, theft, drug trafficking, fraud and sexual crimes. These all have long-lasting consequences for the victim of these acts. Yet the perception is that church isn’t interested in talking about an condemning these in the way that it condemns those people who cannot help who they fall in love with.
“Currently, regular church attendance in the United Kingdom stands at 6% of the population with the average age of the attendee being 51. This shows a decline in church attendance since 1980, when regular attendance stood at 11% with an average age of 37. It is predicted that by 2020, attendance will be around 4% with an average age of 56. This decline in church attendance has forced many churches to close down across the United Kingdom, with the Church of England alone being forced to close 1,500 churches between 1969 and 2002. Their fates include dereliction, demolition and residential conversion.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_the_United_Kingdom)
We are a post-christian nation. More people recognising that they have no religion. The concept of sin is an outdated one soon to become a historical notion or philosophical stance.
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.
It’s always a matter of time before someone pipes up and blames natural disasters on gay people and their wicked and dastardly ways. The UKIP councillor David Silvester is perfectly entitled to his opinions. I am also entitled to say that he is completely wrong.
One assumes that a god is ready to flood indiscriminately and even god-fearing people cannot escape because of a law that has been passed in parliament. Poor old Mrs Smith at number 32 had had her house flooded. She is a Christian who attends a weekly service; she gives to the poor and has a good heart. Surely god should have spared her in his pursuing of wrathful vengeance?
It is lunatics like Silvester that give Christianity and religion bad press in the eyes of the gay community. One assumes that places like Gran Canaria should have been wiped from the face of the earth by now.
Utter nonsensical garbage. It should be utterly condemned by all parties and politicians should remove themselves from speaking in such a way. It is for this very reason David Cameron was right in making sure that equality is for all.
When I was a ‘church-goer’ many years ago there was always a hushed moment if you mentioned the word Hallowe’en. If people were to speak about it then it would be in condemnation. No Christian should participate in this unholy of days. I just remember a time when I was young carving out a turnip (no American use of pumpkins) and the smell of the burning as the candle burned the lid. I would plague my neighbours asking ‘penny for hallowe’en’. That was it. There were no sacrifices or drinking blood.
It was only when I became a member of the local church was I discouraged from such practices. It was not something I really thought about until the past few weeks. I have been doing some research and reading into the background of Hallowe’en and tried to grasp perspective from all sides.
I read a book by Owen Davies “Paganism”. Even though it was a short introduction to the subject it was rather dull and many times stated that the facts the author was supposedly presenting about pre-Christian religion most of it were conjecture. What it did though was explain that according to Christian beliefs than any other religion that wasn’t backed by the belief in Jesus Christ as God and saviour were seen as pagan beliefs.
Unfortunately, there is a belief that “a pagan” is someone who believes in devil worship and an occultist. This simply isn’t true. Some of the church teachings seem to throw in a mix of Hollywood’s portrayal of the devil and stories that have popularised demons and other horror stories.
Looking back Hallowe’en is more about the ending of the agricultural year, giving thanks for the harvest and lighting fires to symbolise the welcoming of the darker part of the year and to remember souls of those who had died. It was seen as a time when the people had the clearest connection between this life and the next.
I have very little superstitious belief. I cannot believe harm can come from this time. I believe humans inflict horrible harm on each other more than supposed ‘demons’ and the ‘devil’.
So whatever and however you are celebrating make sure you have a good one.