Bishop of Grantham 2
Church of England

The Bishop of Grantham is gay and celibate – so bloody what?

 

It will come as a surprise to many to hear that there is a Bishop of Grantham; moreso that he is no relation of the Dowager Countess. But to read all over today’s media (really, all over and over and over and over) that Bishop Nicholas Chamberlain is gay is a little strange. Why is this news, exactly? How does this amount to a gauntlet thrown down? The Church of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury were fully aware of his same-sex attraction when he was appointed a year ago. He is celibate, and lives alone. He therefore obeys church (and, indeed, Church) teaching in this matter, and that really ought to be the end of it.

After all, some very fine and upstanding Christian leaders have been in “committed, long-term relationships” with other men, even to the point of cohabiting (which Bishop Nicholas is not doing). One thinks of the Blessed John Henry (Cardinal) Newman and his fellow Oratorian, Ambrose St John, with whom he longed to be buried. And then there’s Pope Emeritus Benedict and Archbishop Georg Gänswein, not to mention Sir Cliff Richard and former Roman Catholic priest John McElynn. Surely a relationship between two men which is not sexual is friendship? If eros is absent, there remains only philia, storge and agape, all of which are noble and virtuous amongst and between friends and family. What is the problem with a strong, deep emotional bond between two men?

“People know I’m gay,” said Bishop Nicholas, “but it’s not the first thing I’d say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.” Well, quite. Why should a profession of sexuality be the first thing a bishop says to anyone? How does this affect his ability to preach, teach pastor or lead? Where is the inquisition into other bishops’ Friday-night drinking, their love of money or propensity to lie? What is this obsession with sexual identity? Why is this relevant to Christian ministry?

If Nicholas Chamberlain fulfils all the biblical criteria for being a bishop (1Tim 3:1ff), and lives in accordance with church’s teaching on sexual ethics and other areas of personal life and discipline, what’s the problem? There is no question of formalising this relationship in a same-sex marriage, so we are left with an overseer who is in a committed, long-term relationship with another man, and there is no sexual activity involved.

So, a bit like David and Jonathan, Orestes and Pylades or Amis and Amiles? Platonic, not intimate; or intimate, but not genital; more homosocial than homosexual, but that’s a relational nuance lost on homomanics. For wherever two are three are gathered, there’s bound to be sex. As CS Lewis observed in The Four Loves: “..to the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it.”

Perhaps we don’t so much ignore it as fear it, for what love may one man now express for another (or a woman express to another) which is not greeted by immediate speculation of sexuality or smeary innuendo? What repudiation of sexual activity is not met with cries of ‘bigot’ or ‘homophobe’? The obsession with the former makes the rebuttal inevitable: God forbid that anyone might think you love someone of the same sex who’s not your actual family. Good grief, no. But surely, as we become more Christ-like, we must become closer to one another, for the trajectory of communion forges the bond of fellowship, and demands truth, trust, honesty and face-to-face vulnerability.

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved..‘ (Jn 13:23). If this were the unmarried Bishop Sharon in a committed, long-term relationship with Gavin, no one would bat an eyelid, and no Sunday tabloid would taunt and threaten. And if this were Father Alexander cohabiting with Sister Mary Clarence, no one would mind much about that, either. Motes and beams, motes and beams.

  • Malcolm Smith

    What is a non-sexual “committed, long-term relationship”? That is can be long-term and a relationship no-one can dispute, but what is the commitment involved?

    • sarky

      What is a non-sexual committed, long term relationship?

      Erm………marriage.

      • The Explorer

        Marriage as non-sexual? All the married couples I’ve known have had sex until age or infirmity rendered it impracticable.

        • Dick Hughes

          As defined in law, homosexual “marriage” is specifically implied to be potentially non-sexual, as “non-consummation” is not allowed as grounds for “divorce”. If anyone wants to have a commitment comparable to marriage, that’s fine in my book – but we need a new word to describe it; to call it “marriage ” is like saying an apple is a pear.

          • The Explorer

            Interesting how the law had to be changed. Non-consummation used to be grounds for divorce, and non-consummation meant non-penetration. Straightforward enough between a man and a woman, but what constituted ‘penetration’ between two women or two men? Equality – ie equivalence – broke down.

  • chefofsinners

    This matters.
    It matters because Nicholas Chamberlain is an ideal person to be a bishop. In an culture where sex is regarded as the all-important life force, he is counter-cultural and exemplifies the church’s teaching.
    He will need and deserves much support to endure the vicious backlash which will come from those who will hate him for being celibate.

    • Coniston

      Can we please have an authoritative a pronouncement on the meaning of the word ‘celibate’. My dictionaries all say it simply means unmarried (so a prostitute could well be celibate). The meaning of the word has been totally changed in recent years.

  • Martin

    Actually, to say you are ‘gay’ is to have already surrendered to sin. To say you are ‘gay’ is to say that it is a natural part of your nature as opposed to being sin. Since the CoE’s teaching is inadequate to be ‘celibate’ is beside the point since we are told to

    Abstain from every form of evil.
    (I Thessalonians 5:22 [ESV])

    to say you are ‘gay’ and celibate is not enough. It raises into question the whole moral standing of the CoE hierarchy. In the same way, that Justin Welby tells people to be nice to ‘homophobes’ implies that he has already chosen the side he is on.

    • chefofsinners

      What if I say ‘I am a sinner’. How is that different?

      • Martin

        CoS

        It’s not justifying your sin.

        • chefofsinners

          Neither is it justifying your sin to say ‘I am heterosexual’ or ‘I am homosexual’. It is simply a description of your temptation.

          • Martin

            CoS

            No, calling yourself homosexual is not just a description, it is like calling yourself a thief.

          • chefofsinners

            A thief is a person who has stolen something. I am a thief. You are almost certainly a thief. Jesus was crucified between a pair of thieves- could have been us.
            Saying you are homosexual is saying you are tempted to that sin, not that you commit it.

          • sarky

            Let he without sin etc etc

          • Phil R

            Let he without sin etc etc

            It went on to say cast the first stone.

            Not

            Let he without sin accept what she did and ask if she has any evenings free…

          • sarky

            What?????

          • Phil R

            The woman was caught in adultery.

          • sarky

            It’s the principle not the protagonist.

          • carl jacobs

            Sarky, if you are going to cite the principle, you should at least understand what it is first. The Scripture does not teach the suspension of all judgment.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You weren’t judging me by any chance? How hypocritical of you.

          • sarky

            Only god can judge you Martin.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            And God will, as He will judge you.

  • Anton

    One might be forgiven a certain amount of scepticism over a comment like “gay, living with a man in a committed long-term relationship, yet celibate” when all the perks of being a bishop are at stake. Those who accept the view of homosexual activity stated by God in the Bible are not entitled to call a man a liar without proof, but are clearly entitled to answers to questions such as:

    Why does he expose himself to temptation?

    What is his theology of homosexual activity?

    What is the history of this relationship? Did they and do they share a bed(room)?

    And so on. What has not been said, but desperately needs to be, is that stories like this strongly deter heterosexual men – the great majority – from joining the Church of England.

    • Inspector General

      Let’s pose YOU a question Anton, if you could break from your rage for a moment. Do you find any difference between a homosexual and a homosexual activist? And why not?

      • Anton

        Come off it Inspector, if a man described himself as “heterosexual, living with a woman in a committed long-term relationship, yet celibate” what chance he’d be made a bishop?

        • Inspector General

          One agrees, Anton. After Welby’s appointment of Rachel Treweek, she who cannot utter Christ’s constant reference to our Creator as our FATHER in Heaven, the Inspector wouldn’t trust the man to do his food shopping. Lest the blighter bring back a bag of cement instead.

          Now, with that out of the way, you are free to answer the question posed you…

          • Anton

            One is an activist, the other isn’t. I don’t see what you are getting at.

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    I totally agree with his Grace. The total obsession of the media with anyone gay speaks volumes about the media’s bias, bigotry and contempt.

  • Inspector General

    Bishop Chamberlain seems to believe he is ‘gay’. He is not. Anything but. To be gay means you have to buy into this recent phenomenon of the self. Wave the flag. Talk the talk. And most importantly of all, undermine the Christian and family way.

    He’s not alone. There are legions of the same out there. Just getting on with it. And not lending their support to this humanist narcissist project driven by imagined outrage of its devotees…

  • The Explorer

    I remember some years back Elton John sued a newspaper for inventing a story about his involvement with a rent boy. As he said, they can call me a fat poof, but they can’t tell lies about me.

    The media climate has changed since then. As far as I can see, being gay elicits universal media applause.

    So why the excitement about a gay bishop? It can’t be disapproval. Perhaps it’s hope: the stepping stone to greater things. Tomorrow, it will be the C of E blessing same-sex unions. The day after, it will be the C of E conducting them.

    • Phil R

      ” The day after, it will be the C of E conducting them”

      And the day after we will see the CofE proposing the next great liberal initative. We could make a list. Polygamy must be near the top as must incest.

      However, my bet would be on blessing dishonesty, theft, gluttony, greed, selfishness.

      Opps … accepting selfishness is the where the problem started.

      • Sybaseguru

        Not to mention getting rid of the Age of Consent which is very inconvenient for the Bishops at the moment (both Anglican and Catholic) as they have to buttress their staff with several expensive “consultants” to deal with the fallout. (I estimate the C of E has employed at least 3 in each of the 40+ Diocese)

  • Phil R

    “People know I’m gay,” said Bishop Nicholas

    That is the nub of the problem. He has accepted the current theory that this particular desire is different in some way. It is something that is fixed and somehow hardwired into the person and cannot be changed.

    If I told you that my desire for …..(whatever) …. was overwheming and was hardwired into my personaility and could not be changed you would not be sympathetic. Because you know you should not be.

    • sarky

      If I told you that my desire for……stupid comments…

      • Phil R

        so oh great and wise one. Tell me why….

        • sarky

          Because if homosexuality isn’t ‘fixed’ then neither is heterosexuality.

          • David

            Err, biology and chromosomes, which cannot be changed, would totally disagree.
            Reality exists and cannot be denied.

          • sarky

            Isn’t that what I’m saying? Or have I missed your point?

          • The Explorer

            Most people are born right handed, but some are born left handed. Left handers can function as well as right handers.

            Most people are born sighted, but some are born blind. Is that equivalent? Most would argue that blind people are at a disadvantage in a society geared to the sighted.

            So where has Nature gone wrong: with the sighted, or with the blind?

            (Not quite the point David made, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.)

          • Eustace

            Pathologising homosexuality and treating gays as though we’re diseased or disabled is one of the reasons we’ve been so easily able to outflank you.

            The medical profession realised a couple of generations ago that homosexuality is a normal variant of human sexuality and that any attempt to “treat” it would result in the same sort of harm that we see when left-handed children are forced to write with their right hand.

            Once the medical profession was on our side, it was only a matter of time before society as a whole started to reassess its attitudes towards us. Deprived of the “sickness” defence, homophobia has no leg to stand on.

            And that’s where your argument fails. We know we’re not sick. The overwhelming majority of medical opinion backs us up in that belief. And then you come along saying that gays are sickos or, at best, cripples. Who should the average man in the street believe? The Christian bigot who rambles on about pixies and fairies (or angels and god, if you prefer) and knows diddly squat about anything else, or highly trained and respected medical professionals whose job it is to diagnose, treat and hopefully cure disease and disorder.

            Go ahead and medicalise your bigotry if you want to. But don’t be surprised when you’re laughed out of the room as an amateur with an agenda who’ll stoop to any tactic, no matter how low, to smear and defame the objects of his hatred.

          • sarky

            Well said.

          • Phil R

            The problem is that medical science ignores their own data.

            Publishing unpopular data will mean you lose your job

            with this in mind it is not surprising that there is a consensus

          • Eustace

            Christian conspiracy theorists can always give you a reason why the data doesn’t confirm their pre-determined outcome. In this case it’s a wicked plot to discredit anyone who dares to disagree with the Evil Gay Agenda.

            When all the signs of paranoid delusion are present, what other name can you call it by?

            Ooh, I know! Christianity, of course…

          • DanJ0

            Scissors and can openers can be a bit of a problem, and writing in English too if the ink is not quick-drying. Luckily, we have adapted our social environment to suit rather than pretending left-handedness is unnatural.

          • carl jacobs

            Desire does not define ontology, sarky.

          • Eustace

            You fail to understand that homophobic bigots view homosexuality as a diseased form of heterosexuality. The nearest analogy would be cancer in a lung that prevents that lung from performing its natural role of oxygenating the blood.

            You and I might find such a way of thinking twisted and insulting, however you need to remember that the idea is a symptom of a narcissism so profound that it rejects any human trait, need or want that doesn’t correspond exactly to its own traits, needs and wants as wrong, immoral and/or broken.

            Such a personality type is forged in early childhood and may even be the result of a genetic predisposition. As such there’s nothing you can do or say that will change its mind. Gays are evil sinners and that’s that, as far as they’re concerned.

            As they don’t rule the world and can sound off all they like without it affecting anyone’s right to live his life as he sees fit, the only harm they can do is to insult and offend. It’s their safety valve for letting off steam when the rage of impotence builds to a level where they have to let it out or they’ll explode.

          • Inspector General

            Why don’t you understand the fear people have about gay activists. For example, unless we make a stand now, we’ll all be pissing in the same bucket in restaurants and pubs just so that a few sad men in wigs and dresses don’t feel excluded…

          • Eustace

            It’s not up to me to pander to your paranoia. Go piss in any bucket you like. Better yet, whip it out at the table and piss in your wine glass. No man or woman present could possibly be offended by the sight of something so tiny and wrinkled. Indeed they’d probably be highly entertained.

            Careful how you go though. Intermittent bursts of the kind of darkened liquid produced by an old man with liver problems and an enlarged prostate (nudge, nudge, wank, wank, say no more…) may make your dinner partner think you’re juicing a prune. What would you do if they asked for a taste?

          • Inspector General

            Seriously. Find out what peoples fears are, and address them. If you dare, that is. But you won’t. Like all homosexual enthusiasts, nothing must stand in the way of the cause. Such is YOUR bigotry…

          • Eustace

            Your fears are yours to deal with, not mine to allay. I have no responsibility for them whatsoever.

            If you fear gay people, it isn’t up to us to seek to reassure you. You wouldn’t believe us anyway. It’s up to you to deal with your own fear, in a way that doesn’t impinge on anyone else’s right to live his life unmolested.

          • Inspector General

            There’s a thing! If anyone should ask the Inspector what he believes is the motivation for you to come to this site, he would say it was his fear. He would say he tries to overcome said fear by acting the mongoose here…against the hetronormative, which he sees as a snake out to get him…

          • Eustace

            My motivation for being here has nothing to do with you. I don’t care what you fear and I know that no matter what I say you’ll continue to hate and despise gays. It’s who you are. Homophobia is an ingrained part of you.

            Others read these conversations however. Some of them may even be gay. If they see the arguments of homophobic bigots like you roundly refuted, it may well make them understand just what a fraud this religion of yours is.

            If I can help anyone see that, or even start a train of thought in their head that leads in that direction, I’ve done my duty both for my community and for humanity as a whole.

            That’s why I’m here. It’s certainly not for you or any other Christian bigot. You’re just a means to an end. Comic book villains who serve to illustrate the damage done to a human mind when it is duped into believing in religion.

          • Inspector General

            Then keep posting. If anything, you serve as a warning to others as to what can happen to a man who has unrealistic expectations about where he fits in society. A society that does not want gayism, yet still a society that tolerates it. You do realise that your cause peaked at gay marriage. That really made the unconcerned sit up and be concerned…

          • Eustace

            Too little, too late. Equal marriage exists and is here to stay. Trans people can use the WC that corresponds to their gender. All these “concerned” people don’t form a majority, so their opinions do not create our laws or govern our society.

            That you’re a small minority is shown by the poor showing parties like the one you support made in the last general election. Even your leader couldn’t get himself elected as an MP.

            Shout and rant all you like. Pipsqueak orators like you who represent small constituencies cannot change the course of history.

          • DanJ0

            I don’t think it’s homophobia exhibiting there. It’s one’s religious beliefs overruling the obvious interpretation. Similarly with young earth creationism. It’s bonkers to normal people but for some religious people bending reality to fit religion is easier than the other way around.

          • Eustace

            It’s religious belief being used to justify and support homophobic attitudes, which is homophobic whichever way you look at it.

            I don’t accept “but it’s my religion” as an excuse for anything. Christians believe what they want to believe, and what they want to believe is that they’re better than gays, so their god has to hate us in order to justify them hating us.

          • Phil R

            The bending of reality is usually the domain of the scientific community

          • Phil R

            All are fixed then. All desires?

          • Phil R

            All sexual desires are fixed?

            Think about it.

          • sarky

            And…..

          • Phil R

            Clearly currently unpopular sexual desires would also be fixed and so people who are currently subject to these unfashionable desires, would then argue that since homosexuality is approved of they should also have the opportunity to act on these desires and the “discriminatory” law(s) must change.

          • sarky

            They can argue all they want, but it’s never going to happen.
            Homosexuality is consensual, what you talk of most definitely is not.

          • Phil R

            Polygamy, incest, sex wih very young teenagers. Sex with animals all would claim that they were consensual

          • sarky

            I thought talking animals were only in the bible?

          • Phil R

            Lol

    • chefofsinners

      If you described your sexual desires in that way then I would be sympathetic.

      • Phil R

        Men desire many things. Desire alone is no justification.

        • chefofsinners

          No indeed. I just said I would be sympathetic, because as you say we all have sinful desires. Whatever those desires we are responsible for resisting them. Whether certain ones are hardwired, or they all are, or none is a secondary matter. Bishop Chamberlain is obeying, exemplifying and therefore supporting the teaching that he should live a celibate life.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    The way or Western culture sexualizes things does not go down well everywhere:

    Hold hands in friendship – and be proud to be an African

  • Sigfridiii

    If it was announced that a male bishop was living with a woman in a “committed, long-term relationship” then he would be forced to resign. Clergy in general and bishops in particular ought to be modelling Christian marriage. Scripture says that a bishop should be the husband of one wife.

    • sarky

      Is it talking about a women or the church?

  • TIME to CTRL ALT & DEL

    Your grace.
    The language of your tweet is under becoming of your office.

    Then it matters because our lives are to be epistles read of all people.
    What does this life say about the Bishops respect for the scripture he preaches from or the God he commends to others. How can he commend the righteousness of God when he lives outside it?

  • David

    All is confusion, as Cultural Marxism intends.
    What does this word “gay”mean ? If there is just friendship, between two men, but without physical sexual activity, then why does he call himself “gay”. Friendship is friendship whereas “gay”, means just one thing to the media and the political activists, it means same sex sexual activity, which our faith calls sin.
    By using the “gay” word, he is doing two destructive things. Firstly he is assisting, making himself hostage to, a political agenda that is deeply anti-Christian and anti-family, in the normal, hetero-sexual Judaeo-Christian orthodox and traditional sense. Secondly he is failing to ensure that his primary identity is, in Christ, so he is drifting away from the Bible, the Ordinal and God.
    I fear that the bishop is promoting rebellion against God and failing deeply in acting as a centre of unity and building up of the Church. True orthodox, Biblically led, Tradition respecting Christians should not allow themselves to be led by such blind guides.
    What was Welby doing when he consecrated him bishop ? Welby was honouring the secular understanding of false notions of “equality”, above that of the Christian requirement to have our primary identity in Christ; as such he was assisting those sources that aim to destroy the Judaeo-Christain tradition. My disappointment in Archbishop Welby increases by the day.
    The day when there is a separation of those Anglicans that follow the conservative, traditional faith, as was handed down to us since the earliest days and great Councils of the Church, from the secularised, theologically liberal following the prevailing culture draws ever closer.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Well said David. I think any heterosexual man (or woman) can feel a strong emotional bond with someone of the same sex without the urge for sexual activity with them. The word “gay” implies something that goes beyond that. It does imply at least the urge for sexual activity. I am sure some men experience that urge but keep it restrained. The bishop may be in that category. But what would he preach on homosexuality? Would he follow the Scriptures or would his teaching be compromised by his sexual orientation? The problem is that the sevulatised CofE would offer no checks or balances on the issue

    • chefofsinners

      Is he failing to ensure that his primary identity is in Christ? He is subjugating his homosexual temptation to his faith.

      What exactly has this man done wrong? Used the word ‘gay’ instead of ‘homosexual’ seems to be the most anyone can come up with.

      • carl jacobs

        Your posts have been exceptionally good on this thread, CoS.

        • chefofsinners

          Thanks, Carl. I’ll let you down soon enough.

      • David

        “Is he failing to ensure that his primary identity is in Christ?”
        We will never know. Only he and God knows.
        However let’s not be naive. The point is that he is now seen as upholding “being gay”. He is dancing to the tune of the secular PC press, that hates Christianity. Therefore he is advancing the world’s cause, not Christ’s. Such a position is unwise especially for a bishop, who is meant to be a fulcrum for unity and building up the Church.

        • chefofsinners

          I think he will suffer greatly at the hands of the secular PC press, because he is upholding Christian doctrine on this matter. He is handling his sexual urges as he should. The zeitgeist says that his urges are natural and therefore good and right. Nicholas Chamberlain is standing against this.
          Those who are harming the church are those who display a judgmental lack of empathy with people facing temptations which they have never had to resist.

          • Eustace

            He’s telling the world that gays have to suppress all sexual expression in order to be saved by their homophobic god.

            While that’s the message that most Christians preach, coming from a gay man it has more impact. We’re used to dismissing straight Christian bigots because we encounter them all the time. But gay Christian bigots are more of a rarity and all the more shocking for that.

            Who wouldn’t be shocked by a Jew singing the praises of Nazism? Or an African American trying to convert other black people to the cause of the Klan? A gay priest who supports his church’s homophobic doctrine is every bit as shocking – and tragic – as that.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, you need to dismiss this man because his very existence challenges your world view. Or, you could think about it a bit more. Allow him to momentarily disturb your very fixed views of Christianity.

          • Eustace

            What, you mean like you dismiss every out and sexually active gay man as a sinner because our very existence challenges your Christian world view? You could think about it a bit more. Allow us to momentarily disturb (your split infinitive, not mine…) your very fixed view of Christianity.

            But you won’t. You have faith, and faith is the very antithesis of considered reflection. You live in a black and white world where your views are conditioned by an ancient book written by tribal herdsmen. Everything you believe is seen through the lens of those myths and stories and rejected when it doesn’t accord with what they establish as unbending moral absolutes.

            And you accuse me of rigid and doctrinaire thinking!

            There’s nowt as myopic and unseeing as a Christian…

  • Orwell Ian

    Such a relationship is unwise for any Christian and particularly so for a someone of senior position. At best it teeter’s on the edge of morality and will inevitably leave him open to ongoing suspicion and innuendo. The real villains are those unseen. The cowards behind this exposure who will exploit it as another opportunity to pressurise the CofE to conform to unbiblical sexual attitudes including performance of same sex marriages.

    • David

      That’s the point exactly – well put !

  • Alfie

    Homosexuality is a sin in God’s eye, To much PC in the world. Both the Archbishop and this guy, should leave office and reflect.

  • TIME to CTRL ALT & DEL

    An alcoholic needs to stay away from the drink.

    • chefofsinners

      But the alcoholic will die if he drinks nothing.
      By which I mean that Nicholas Chamberlain still needs human company.

      • TIME to CTRL ALT & DEL

        Then he must drink that which is wholesome rather than that he desires.

        • chefofsinners

          Do you have any evidence that Bishop Chamberlain is doing otherwise?

  • Dreadnaught

    Cut the man a bit of slack – convince yourselves its his cross to bear in life or some such nonsense and keep your noses out. Its a matter between him and God; not him and baying mob.

    • Alfie

      If it was a matter between him and God, then it would not have been made public, and open to opinion, The man should resign.

      • carl jacobs

        What charge would you levy against him that he should resign?

        • Alfie

          Timothy 3.1.13

          • sarky

            Soooooooooooooo…does that mean anyone single is illegible as well?

          • The Explorer

            Ineligible?

          • Alfie

            nice one 🙂

          • sarky

            Yeah coz picking up mistakes on predictive text is soooooooooooooo cool.

          • The Explorer

            At least it shows we’re reading what you say.

          • sarky

            Ha ha that as well!

          • chefofsinners

            Single people can commit adultery with a married person. If neither is married it’s fornication. Different names, but it’s all sexual sin. And Jesus said that anyone who looks on a woman and lusts after her has already sinned in his heart. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace.

          • sarky

            Was thinking more of the ‘managing family and children bit’,
            Obviously single people will have no experience of this, so do they still qualify?

          • chefofsinners

            I would take the requirement to manage the family well to mean ‘if they have a family’, but yes, you could reasonably and consistently argue that heterosexuals and homosexuals without families should not be bishops.

          • sarky

            My point is there is no fuss about single Bishops. Just find it all hypocritical.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, I would agree with you that a lot of the fuss is hypocritical. That’s also the gist of Cranmer’s article.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Obviously single people will have no experience of this”

            Is is obvious? They may have siblings with young children whom they help. Or, as is my mother’s case, a much younger sibling whose rearing they share with their own parents (or even take over completely if the parents prove incapable or absent)..

          • sarky

            You know full well that’s not what is saying.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s not a charge. What is his crime?

          • Alfie

            Legally none, but biblically open to moral interpretation,of the understanding of the term normality,as previously mentioned in my last comment.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t understand. You find no fault in him but you think he should resign. Why?

          • Alfie

            The biblical morality,Carl is, can a gay person in office, commit themselves unto God, and all his works a %100 ? beyond reproach, in their teaching and thinking ? If the answer is yes, then ok.

          • carl jacobs

            All “gay” means is “greater propensity for homosexual temptation”. It’s not an ontology. It’s no different from the temptation to commit adultery. Each man is responsible to face his own temptations. We all have them.

      • Dreadnaught

        What do you mean ‘if’? It was made public because the likes of you would have accused him of being a closet creeping Queer. You should get a life of you own instead of sitting in judgement and disparaging the lives of others.

        • Alfie

          Calm down dreadnut, everyone is entitled to express there own opinion.including yours truly

          • carl jacobs

            That’s “Dreadnought” to you. He’s earned that measure of respect.

          • Alfie

            Opps,Sorry Carl, must have spelt his name wrong!

          • carl jacobs

            Fair enough. 🙂 Glad it was a mistake. You didn’t present as someone who would engage in cheap insults. It was surprising.

          • IanCad

            I note your correct spelling of those fortresses of the deep.

      • DanJ0

        I read that he was about to be outed by a newspaper.

  • Revd Robert West

    If the friendship is celibate then I do not see a problem: it is the practise of unnatural affections which is heaven-barring.

    • David

      Yes, but let’s not be naive. The problem is the implications contained within the word “gay”. It is essentially a word coined with a specific political agenda in mind, involving the destruction of the hetero-normal male/female marriage and the resultant nuclear family, upheld by the Judaeo-Christian spectrum of faith.
      If your primary identity is in Christ and you have a non-sexual friendship with a member of the same sex, why slot into the place prepared as a trap by the secularist PC media ? In confirming that “being gay” is fine, he assists in undermining the Kingdom, not building it . Bishops especially have a duty to consider how their actions will be perceived by the vulnerable and unsure. Their lives should point to wholesome living. Sadly he fails that high, test.

      • chefofsinners

        Perhaps the man was just trying to communicate and connect with the public. Particularly with those who experience homosexual attraction and therefore think that Christians do not understand them. Jesus went out of His way to spend time with those who felt He would never accept them.

      • Alfie

        I agree, David

  • The Explorer

    Science seems to be currently saying there is no evidence that you are born gay.

    Let’s look at this in relation to talents. Skinner, founder of Behaviorism, thought you could train anyone, allowing for intelligence, to be anything. Handel’s parents wanted him to be a merchant. Concerned at his interest in music, they locked his piano in the attic. Handel would sneak up there at night to play. Why, when social input discouraged this? The parents failed, and we have ‘The Messiah’. but could Skinner have turned Handel into a businessman rather than a musician?

    If talents are innate, why can’t sexual orientation be as well?

    • chefofsinners

      Whether sexual orientation is innate or nurtured, some commenters here seem to blame people for their orientation. If I am tempted to heterosexual sin and another is tempted to homosexual sin, it is our response which matters, not the nature of the temptation.

      • The Explorer

        Agreed, but my point is that you can be blamed for it more if its nurtured than if it’s innate. If it’s nurtured, there’s more chance of changing it.

        • chefofsinners

          Yes, if you have nurtured it deliberately. I wonder if many do that?

        • carl jacobs

          Is paedophilia less blameworthy if it is nature rather than nurture? Does anyone in fact give a damn either way? We don’t even know what desire is. How can we say where it comes from?

          The assertion of “nature” is a shell game to justify behavior against its self-evident perversity. The real argument is this:

          1. I’m an autonomous being.
          2. I can do what I want so long as I inflict no harm – but I get to decide what harm is.
          3. The ultimate moral principle is the expansion of human freedom to act on desires.
          4. So long as there is consent, there is no moral problem because human freedom is maximized.

          You will notice a complete absense of any reference to nurture vs nature.

          • The Explorer

            “Is paedophilia less blameworthy if it is nature rather than nurture? ”

            Yes, for the individual concerned has no choice in the matter.

            The Bible rejects biological determinism as an excuse. Your defect (theft, foul temper, whatever it is) is to be resisted rather than given in to.

            And there’s then the question of how far your nature can be changed by the indwelling spirit.

          • carl jacobs

            Behavior is always a matter of choice. You choose what to think about. You choose how to act. You are morally responsible for your choices. The source of the temptation does not change your moral responsibility.

            The fault that attributes to the paedophile is not mitigated by claims of nature. “My genes made me do it” is not mitigation – not least of which because there is no necessary connection between genes and moral decision making.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      Redflagnews cites eight studies of identical twins showing there is no genetic influence on sexual orientation. As to Handel, his determination to pursue music could be down to being a persistsnt personality rather than genes.

  • “So bloody what”?

    Why describe himself as “gay”? And why say he has a “partner”? Why would a priest or bishop identify himself by sexual interests which the Church views as morally disordered?

    Basing itself on scripture, the Church believes we are created men and women and that rightly ordered sexual attraction and behaviour is between the opposite sexes. Therefore “sexual orientation” is the language of those opposed to Church teaching, as are the words “gay” or “straight”.

    The Church teaches that acting on same sex attraction – like fornication, adultery, consorting with prostitutes, bestiality, and all other sexual sin – is morally disordered behaviour. It also teaches that the desire to behave in this way is also not what God intends. It’s called consupience: i.e. an inclination to commit sin that arises from our human desires.

    Are the bishop’s comments implying that but for his commitment to celibacy he would engage in sexual acts with his live in partner? If so, even if he is faithful to this, has he placed himself in a situation where committing this sin is probable? He also leaves himself open to the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” of the enemies of the Church and will cause scandal within the Church.
    Apart from being a bishop, would he see anything wrong with acting on his attraction? Jack takes the term “gay” to mean a person who is proud of their same sex attraction and sees nothing inherently wrong in acting on this. That means he’s tacitly supporting the lifestyle and promoting it publicly as somehow natural and good. It’s a word that carries political connotations too.

    It’s unnecessary to assign such the social constructs of “heterosexual” and “homosexual”, “gay” or “straight” to our sexual interests and relationships.
    The term “heterosexual” was first used in a publication in 1892. It came into use as a neologism after the word “homosexual” was used in 1868. These terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual” are relatively recent inventions which seek to categorise people in an attempt to remove morality from sexual behaviour.

    • carl jacobs

      That’s a good argument, Jack. If his commitment to celibacy extends no further than a priestly vow, and is therefore not tied to an understanding of the immoral nature of homosexuality, then you would have a fair charge against him. His position would be heterodox.

      Do you have any evidence that this is the case?

      • Guglielmo Marinaro

        If his commitment to celibacy is not tied to a belief in the immoral nature of homosexuality, then so much the better.

        • carl jacobs

          And that assertion reveals the core conflict at the heart of this argument. “What is the purpose of human sexuality? What boundaries are placed around it? How do we know the answers to these questions?”

          • The Bishop f Grantham is dicking and diving:

            Stressing that he did not want to become known as “the gay bishop”, he said he hoped that the impact of his openness would be “that we can say the bishop of Grantham is gay and is getting on with his life and ministry”. However, as a member of the C of E’s College of Bishops, which meets this month to discuss the next stage of the church’s discussions about sexuality, Chamberlain may come under pressure to be a representative for LGBT rights.

            I will speak [at the meeting], and this part of me will be known. I hope I’ll be able to be a standard-bearer for all people as a gay man. And I really hope that I’ll be able to help us move on beyond matters of sexuality. It’s not to say this isn’t an important matter – I’m not brushing it aside, but the church needs to focus on issues such as deprivation, inequality and refugees”

            Asked whether other bishops might follow his lead in openly declaring their sexuality, he said: “I really can only speak for myself. If I’m an encouragement to others, that would be great.”

            Chamberlain said the C of E was “still at the beginning of a process of learning” about issues of sexuality, describing it as a struggle. “I don’t think we’ve reached a position where the church is going to be marrying same-sex couples,” he said. He declined to express objections to the C of E’s celibacy rule for gay clergy. “My observation of human beings over the years has shown me how much variety there is in the way people express their relationships. Physical expression is not for everyone.”

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Can’t see any objection to any of that.

      • A few comments he has made are suggestive of him embracing the “gay” culture and seeing homosexuality as acceptable:

        “Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.”

        During the process of being appointed as bishop of Grantham, he said: “I was myself. Those making the appointment knew about my sexual identity.”

        Chamberlain has said he adheres to church guidelines – “gay” clergy must be celibate and are not permitted to “marry”. During his appointments process: “We explored what it would mean for me as a bishop to be living within those guidelines.”

        He’s heterodox.

    • chefofsinners

      Your interpretation of the word ‘gay’ is not everyone’s. In the absence of clarity on what the bishop intended to convey by this word, you are simply thinking the worst. There is no evidence that the bishop is attempting to remove morality from sexual behaviour. Quite the opposite: he is exercising restraint not required of heterosexual CoE clergy.

      • “There is no evidence that the bishop is attempting to remove morality from sexual behaviour.”
        Except the reason he is celibate is that he is following Church guidelines – not God’s law.

        • chefofsinners

          Is it? Did he say that? In any case are not church guidelines an attempt to agree what God’s law is?

          • Are the guidelines an attempt to agree what God’s law is or a parking bay until they agree?

            “Sexuality is part of who I am, but it’s my ministry that I want to focus on.”

            During the process of being appointed as bishop of Grantham, he said: “I was myself. Those making the appointment knew about my sexual identity.”

            Chamberlain has said he adheres to church guidelines – “gay” clergy must be celibate and are not permitted to “marry”. During his appointments process: “We explored what it would mean for me as a bishop to be living within those guidelines.”

            As a member of the CofE’s College of Bishops, which meets this month to discuss the next stage of the church’s discussions about sexuality, he said this:

            “I will speak [at the meeting], and this part of me will be known. I hope I’ll be able to be a standard-bearer for all people as a gay man. And I really hope that I’ll be able to help us move on beyond matters of sexuality. It’s not to say this isn’t an important matter – I’m not brushing it aside, but the church needs to focus on issues such as deprivation, inequality and refugees”

          • chefofsinners

            ‘A parking bay until we agree’ is the only basis on which any Christians can have any fellowship this side of heaven.
            At present it seems that Chamberlain is acting in accordance with guidelines. If there is a problem, it is with the guidelines, not the man.

          • Majority vote it is then. Never mind scripture and 2000 yeas of Christian understand.

          • chefofsinners

            That is quite a leap from what I said.

          • “‘A parking bay until we agree’ is the only basis on which any Christians can have any fellowship this side of heaven.”

            Where does this inevitably lead when the established teachings of the Church are up for renegotiation by each generation?

    • carl jacobs

      Btw, Jack. I owe you a debt of gratitude. I took your advice and blocked the latest incarnation of Linus this morning. It’s quite liberating. The blog is somehow brighter and more pleasant.

      • Inspector General

        Really! You can’t see his postings here on your contraption? They’ve been filtered out?

        • carl jacobs

          Correct.

        • The Explorer

          Go to one of his posts. Left click the down arrow at the right and select ‘block’. You can unblock by going to your disqus profile.

        • Orwell Ian

          With two mouse clicks the troll can be cast into cyber darkness where his wailing and gnashing of teeth will never be heard again.

          • Inspector General

            Oh, we can’t let the demon post here unopposed…

            Besides, he won’t be here for ever. The Inspectorate has him down as a probable future suicide…in the ‘not too distant’ category…

          • Block him, Inspector. Your exchanges with him are not … let’s just say … wholesome and, in Jack’s opinion, don’t advance the Christian message.

          • Inspector General

            Fight the Good Fight, Jack. As for wholesome fare, let’s just say we are using live rounds on this site…

          • Imagine he’s your younger brother who you care about treading a dangerous path, and speak to him accordingly.
            Don’t give ground on the immorality of same sex acts or underestimate the power of habitual sin, but don’t descend into personal abuse. There’s no need and it’s exactly what he wants. It gives him oxygen and the attention he craves. In his mind, it justifies his behaviour because he can dismiss you as a homophobe and bigot.

            If you can’t do that, block him.

          • Inspector General

            Imagine if the Inspector doesn’t care whether he lives or dies…

          • Then there’s even more reason not to communicate with him as he’s drawing you into sin.

          • Inspector General

            Ridiculous comment….

      • Yes, it feels cleaner.

        • The Explorer

          Don’t know what he’s saying. Ignorance is bliss.

    • It’s a “come on down boys” call to say it’s OK to join the Church now.

  • sarky
    • The Explorer

      No. We are told that Nimrod was “A mighty hunter before the Lord”. He was also associated with the Tower of Babel, and could be blamed for that, but not for his hunting. But nowhere does it say that anyone was a mighty homosexual before the Lord.

      • sarky

        Did nimrod hunt for pleasure?

        • The Explorer

          Well, he certainly enjoyed his work.

          Did he eat what he hunted? Yes, but he also hunted pests. Did he hunt purely for recreation? No. The French don’t either. When I lived in France, my neighbour had four guns: bird, rabbits, wild boar and deer.

          • sarky

            Just highlighting how Christians seem to pick and choose their morality.

  • Eustace

    Chamberlain may be celibate by choice, as a sacrifice to God or a penance, not because he’s gay but just from a general desire to suffer for his God. He may feel he has to emulate Christ … who knows but him? He may be functionally asexual and although romantically attracted to men, not experience any sexual desire for them. He may even have some kind of medical condition that makes sex impossible or inadvisable for him.

    On the other hand, he may be suffering from a case of internalised homophobia and accept the Church’s view of his sexuality as broken and twisted.

    While any of the reasons in my first paragraph may be true, I suspect that if they were, explanations and justifications would have been forthcoming. The appearance of scandal must be avoided, therefore anything that would make his celibacy more credible would of course be used as an argument in his support.

    It’s therefore far more likely that his celibacy is explained by my second paragraph. And if this is the case, and I will assume it is until I hear evidence to the contrary, then Chamberlain is both a tragic figure and a traitor in equal measure.

    Tragic because in he’s sacrificing the joy of an intimate relationship for no good reason except to appease the purely imaginary homophobic monster he believes in. Which of course is entirely his own problem. Some people just like to suffer for no good reason. One can feel sorry for them, but they’re masters of their own fate, so they only have themselves to blame. There’s only so much compassion you can feel for a determined self-harmer.

    No, the slight amount of pity I feel for people such as Chamberlain merely serves to increase the anger they provoke because of their betrayal of all gay people.

    Uncle Tom is not welcome in my circle of friends, although I’m sure the man has many straight acquaintances who enjoy taking their pet gay for a walk and showing off his obedience to their every command. Sit, gay bishop! Beg! Cross your legs! If you’re a good boy we may toss you a bone and let you share it with another neutered doggy, but no funny business or we’ll have to torture you for all eternity and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT, you naughty boy!

    • Inspector General

      He’s a traitor, you say. To YOUR cause, not Christ’s.

      The more one discovers about your cause, the more the disgust. It’s quite natural and normal to experience disgust.

      • Eustace

        Christ doesn’t have a cause. If he was a real man and walked the earth 2000 years ago, he’s long dead. Corpses don’t have causes.

        The cause you’re talking about belongs to the assorted nutcases and deluded fools who believe this dead man still to be alive in a place nobody has ever seen called “heaven”. Part of the raison d’être of this cause is to punish gays for being gay by imprisoning them in solitary confinement for their entire lives.

        This is the cause that Bishop Chamberlain espouses, only he doesn’t like taking his punishment and thinks that he should be allowed to have a special live-in friend as long as they promise not to have sex. But as the comments on this blog post show, that’s not going to satisfy the bigots and homophobes who form the backbone of Evangelical Anglicanism. Chamberlain is gay and has to pay for it! No special friend! Lifelong abstinence and total emotional isolation are not negotiable.

        That’s the bed this man has made for himself. Let him lie in it.

        • Inspector General

          Now you’re just being silly. Or is it your paranoia. But if you are trying to make the point about gay influence not being welcome in the church…and you and Big Gay and the BBC and the humanists and certain government ministers who should know better can’t do anything about it. Nothing at all.

          • Eustace

            “Gay influence” has already influenced many Anglicans to change their minds about homosexuality, so to say that nothing can be done about Christian homophobia is a manifestly false statement.

            What can’t be done however is to eradicate homophobia from Christianity altogether. It’s written into your holy book, so there will always be some Christians who will believe it.

            In that case, our interests are best served by marginalising you and presenting you as extremist weirdos and figures of fun. It isn’t hard to do. In fact all we have to do is engage you in conversation and let you speak for yourselves…

            Your antics convert people to the cause of “Big Gay” every day. Bravo! See, you do have a use in life after all.

          • Inspector General

            Will you be marginalising us before or after anus sex with some teenage stranger you’ve met on your app thing?

          • sarky

            ……if you ever needed an example of how to lose an argument.

          • Inspector General

            What a killer line, though!

          • sarky

            Not at all. As Eustace said, you proved his point.

          • Inspector General

            ‘sarky’ just isn’t enough. Do consider posting as ‘sarcastic degenerate’

          • Eustace

            And it’s exactly that kind of remark that plays right into our hands. Keep on revealing yourself as a sex-obsessed maniac who spends his time fantasising about what gays do in bed. You only confirm the general public’s opinion of you as a deranged homophobe who’s probably also a closet case, and whose own telephone could almost certainly tell a story or two.

            So who do you have lined up to do the deed with tonight, J. Edgar? Some bit of immigrant rough looking to make a quick buck and get his rocks off at the same time?

            If he’s fresh off a lorry from Calais, make sure you have a delousing product at hand to deal with any little parasites that may decide to attempt their own perilous crossing when the Syrian boat docks in the mouth of the Liffey.

          • Inspector General

            Oh, there’s plenty of ‘homophobes’ out there just waiting to be convinced….

            {RING, RING!}

            “Yes! Inspector speaking”

            “Inspector, please pass a message onto Eustace”

            “Off you go”

            “Tell him to stay away from my young chicken”

            “What?”

            “My schoolboy son, Inspector. Eustace will know the description”

          • Eustace

            Know all the lingo, don’t you? Or at least the lingo of several decades ago, which is clearly when you first took to haunting gay bars and public toilets looking for casual and anonymous sex.

            Of course if you tried it now, they’d run screaming from the room. Straight men and the closet cases who masquerade as them do not age well.

            Gay youths are known by another name now. Pity you’re too senile to understand what the links on all those gay porn sites you keep consulting (for research purposes only, of course) actually mean.

          • Inspector General

            “What do you think, Spock?”

            “Fascinating, Inspector”

          • Eustace

            And now he’s just raving.

            Is it senility, full blown Alzheimer’s or some form of psychotic break?

            Of all who post here, you really are one of the most pitiable cases. A thoroughly thwarted, impotent and angry bigot with a pathological need to abuse and insult those who have forced his beliefs beyond the pale of polite society.

            Go right ahead. If it relieves your feelings of rage to rail against the victors in what extreme right-wing Americans call the “culture wars”, be my guest. It doesn’t alter our victory. Dealing with bitter and tremulous losers is all part and parcel of a victor’s role.

        • What’s he or any homosexual for that matter doing as a member of the clergy anyway is what I’m thinking?
          This is the wolf whistle for all the other homosexuals to join up.
          First the women, then the homos, what next?

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            If you seriously imagine that homosexuals either in the church at large or in the clergy are a comparatively recent phenomenon, then you are really quite astonishingly naive.

          • Of course clergies were peppered with secret homosexuals in the past, now they are becoming truly infested with these sinners.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            In other words, the need for gay clergy to hide in the closet is now rapidly evaporating. Let us thank God for that.

          • In a way it’s good that they no longer have to hide, but it’s wrong that they have been allowed to become members of the clergy.

            I agree with Gavin Ashenden for an alternative jurisdiction of orthodox bishops with full legal authority as he says in his interview on Anglican Unscripted posted here by Jill.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Nothing wrong with having gay members of the clergy, any more than with having straight members of the clergy.

          • Eustace

            If you think that Chamberlain is the carrot that will make gays flock to church, you’re even more deluded than I thought.

            The man is a repulsive sell-out. He reconciles gays to your offensive religion in the same way that Uncle Tom reconciles African Americans to slavery.

          • Where does the comparison to African American slavery come from? I don’t think there is a comparison.

            Betrayed by another one of his own more like and then blackmailed by a Sunday newspaper so he told it to a rival paper.

          • Eustace

            Chamberlain is an Uncle Tom figure for the gay community: the masters’ apologist who accepts his inferior status and tries to persuade the rest of it to accept it too.

            There are many Chamberlains in the Church. Gays who want all gays to live in servitude to a straight ideal imagined by straights, for straights.

            The parallels with slavery are only too clear. One group paying with its suffering in order to reinforce the dominance of the other.

            When it all comes crashing down around his ears, as it always does for these Uncle Tom types when the cognitive dissonance caused by trying to live in a manner that’s in total discordance with their nature catches up with them, and he needs help and support from the gay community, I hope he isn’t surprised when all doors slam in his face. Ostracism has always been the fate of the traitor.

          • He’s been used as a poster boy by the gaystapo clergy who think it’s their right to be in jobs they are not really suited for.

          • Eustace

            Any gay man who wants to be a priest is quite simply sick in the head.

            Stockholm syndrome, I think they call it.

    • chefofsinners

      Yes, that’s what you have to say. Because this man’s life destroys so many of your excuses for not being a Christian.

      • Eustace

        The little I know about Chamberlain’s life illustrates perfectly why no gay person with even a modicum of self-respect and concern for his fellow man can possibly be a Christian. The god who could do that to him can only be a human invention.

        • chefofsinners

          You hate him because he is the answer to your continual whinging. To sustain your false logic you are compelled to place him in one very narrow pigeon hole.

          • Eustace

            I condemn Chamberlain because he’s allowed himself to be suborned by the enemy and now actively campaigns for the enslavement of all gay people to the homophobic Christian ideal.

            In this I am no different from any Christian who condemns pro-gay churchmen. But of course if you say it, it must be true, whereas everything that comes out of my mouth is an absolute lie, isn’t it?

            The false logic that compells you to place me in a very narrow pigeonhole is entirely of your own fabrication.

  • pawnraider

    It is interesting if not disappointing that His Grace in justifying the bishop’s office refers to 1 Tim. 3:1ff yet ignores the rest of the qualifications which includes that he (!), a bishop, must be the husband of one wife, or are the distinctions of what a wife is being blurred and/or ignored as well? Such a qualification is being actively ignored in order to appear more accommodating while the Bible is gradually being treated as a relic of a bygone era and attaining the appearance of being archaic and therefore as having no more relevance to our lives.

    Are we to let “Christian leaders” who “have been in ‘committed, long-term relationships’ with other men” to define what a Christian is much less let them dictate what Christian practices and beliefs should be? I rather hope I don’t need to tell His Grace what one’s authority as to what one’s beliefs, practices and authority are to rest. Man is after all fallen and we should beware when man dictates or advises what current practice and beliefs should be when his authority lies in himself.

    The thin edge of the wedge has long ago been applied and is now as was then being constantly hammered to allow for an even larger crack to allow for even more questionable practices. The Church has long since drifted from guiding people onto the straight and narrow and has become one of accommodation.

    In defending the bishop His Grace is trying to deflect the issue from that of the bishop being gay to that of the bishop’s cohabitating with another man thus attempting to make this issue a non-issue. While I agree that two mates living together should not be an issue the sexual orientation of an office holder, or any Christian for that matter, in the Church should be.

    Since His Grace makes a reference to Scripture this begs the question: On what authority must church teaching be based? The ever shifting sands of cultural relativism or the Bible? It cannot be both. One will forever be at odds with the other. “And be not conformed to this world…” Romans 12:2.

    • chefofsinners

      The requirement to be the husband of one wife can be reasonably understood to mean that the person must have a wife. However this falls down if the man is widowed, or his wife leaves him through no fault of his own.
      A more sensible understanding would be that the man should not be a bigamist.

      • pawnraider

        Agreed. But the fact remains that he must be married when he assumes office.

        • Inspector General

          Must he be married? It was not unknown in the past that abbots were consecrated as bishops…

          • pawnraider

            Problem is there is no biblical justification for the office or abbot as there is for bishop.

        • It’s widely understood Paul was not married and neither was Christ.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Well some argue Christ was married…Christ was addressed as ‘Rabbi’ and in his day a rabbi had to be married.

          • Pubcrawler

            It’s not as clear-cut as that.

            by the time of Jesus, the title “rabbi” and correlates were not exclusively used in a formal manner as it is today in judaism in reference to authorized clergy. On the contrary, it was sometimes used in reference to non-clergy and non-pharisaic individuals who had acquired a religious following as a means of attributing honor. Also, not all recognized pharisaic authorities (that time’s rabbis) had the rabbi title attached to their names, as was, for example, the case for Hillel The Elder. Later rabbinc authorities also don’t always have the title, as is the case for the Sage Shmuel, and many others.

            All this to say that: even if it could be proven that in rabbinic judaism historically one would have to be married to be a recognized rabbi, it does not follow from it that Jesus was married just because he was called a rabbi, since the title was not exclusively used in this formal manner by that time, being some times attributed to religious leaderships independent of formal training, recognition and, needless to say, any other requirement for official ordination as a rabbi.

            http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8175/is-a-rabbi-required-to-be-married

          • It was certainly very common, but Jack can find no requirement in the Talmud, written in the few hundred years around Jesus’ life, that this is the case.

          • sarky

            It would have been the absolute norm for a young Jewish man of that time to be married. Not going to get into the whole Mary magdalene conspiracy, but it does make sense in accordance with the culture of the time.

          • pawnraider

            Irrelevant. After all, neither became a bishop. It’s understood that Paul was a Pharisee and for a person to become one he had to have been married. And Jesus was and is the only Christ so it cannot be passed on to others.

          • “Not everyone can accept this word,” Jesus answered, “but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way; others were made that way by men; and still others live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

          • chefofsinners

            Paul could have been widowed, although the phrase ‘I would that all were as I am’ (1 Cor 7:7) then takes on a certain significance.

          • True ….

          • “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9).

            History tells us that a member of the Sanhedrin was required to be married. However, Paul never stated that he was a member of the Sanhedrin.

          • pawnraider

            I have no idea what you’re trying to say in this and your other reply but as I stated for Paul to be a Pharisee he had to have been married.

          • And as Jack replied, this was required for a member of the Sanhedrin, not to be a Pharisee.

          • pawnraider

            Paul stated that he used to be a Pharisee and said nothing about being a member of the Sanhedrin.

        • chefofsinners

          Does it? Or does the text mean that he should not be a bigamist?
          Why would it be necessary for a bishop to be married when assuming office, but not for the duration of that office? To ensure he was not homosexual? But many homosexuals and bisexuals do marry.

          • pawnraider

            The reason for being married is given later in 1 Timothy 3:4-5, “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, but if a man does not have a family then he is not condemned by his inability to rule it.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I can hardy believe anyone wants to argue this point. It is a virtue to live a celibate life. It is strongly connected to living a holy selfless life that use to be expected from those who chose a religious life.Admittedly it would not be for everyone.

            Homosexuals and bisexuals do marry and often keep it a secret from their spouses, ruining lives of women and their children when returning to their old ways. The women find out too late.With the anti discrimination laws this happens a lot less. A good thing…but SSM is a bridge too far …with cohabitation rights offering the same protection as marriage it is unnecessary anyway.I can only think it is a hostile act by the shrill’d militant faction to the detriment of other homosexuals who do not want to be part of mainstream family life and value their difference being free of it.

    • sarky

      Ooh we don’t want ‘an even larger crack to allow for even more questionable practices’.

    • If Paul “The bishop must be married.” The term one indicates that he is limiting the number, not mandating marriage.

      Paul in 1 Timothy 3 is not requiring bishops to be married. If Paul had meant this he would have said: “The bishop must be married.” Most commentators understand the text as meaning monogamy and that Paul is not making marriage a requirement for the bishopric. The ancient position – Apostolic in origin and found in written form in the late second century – says this text is placing a limitation on the number of marriages a bishop may have in his lifetime i.e. he could only have been married once.

  • God has inscribed on all our hearts His Truth about how we should live for our own happiness and the common good. This can be accessed by a properly formed conscience through the use of human reason. Scripture reveals who created us, why we don’t behave the way originally intended and how we can overcome this. This knowledge needed God’s revelation. If your conscience tells you some behaviour is acceptable but scripture and Church teaching says something different, you have a choice to make. Grace enables us all to recognise sin and to leave it behind – if it’s not resisted. God’s love and mercy will do the rest if we persist.

    Tendencies are not sinful. We all have tendencies. Being proud of them and acting on them is different. No one knows how homosexual desire develops. However, God would not make a behaviour He has condemned intrinsic to anyone’s nature or leave them unable to overcome the desire to sin. If He did, there would be no sin in the world.

    • chefofsinners

      “God would not make a behaviour He has condemned intrinsic to anyone’s nature…”
      No, Adam did that. In Adam all die, for all are born in sin and shaped in iniquity.
      The result is that we have a sinful nature. Some are kleptomaniacs, some paedophiles, most of us just boring mainstream sinners. But we have all sinned. All need the redemption that is only found in the second Adam.

      • The sin of homosexuality is not intrinsic to a person’s nature as is sex between a man and a woman. We have a sinful nature but we are not born with an identity, or an orientation, as a thief, murderer, liar or adulterer.

        • chefofsinners

          We are born with an identity as sinners and an orientation towards sin. That plays out in different ways in different lives. Nature and nurture combine. In the end, though, all sin is sin. Homosexuals are not a special group of worse sinners.

          • Rule and Raven

            Never said homosexuals were a group of better or worse sinners. Where it’s different nowadays is that people want to construct a case defending it as natural and therefore good.

            Our bodily instincts are not created intrinsically evil by God, but if unchecked and not regulated by our conscience and soul, which is wounded, they can be misdirected into sin.

          • chefofsinners

            That is why Nicholas Chamberlain’s stance in so commendable. He does not defend homosexuality as natural or good. Instead he remains celibate. This is why our dear friend and homosexual commenter Eustace hates him so much.

          • There’s a certain sub-text to his comments which could suggest one of two things: he’ll stay celibate because, and only because, it’s the his Church’s guidelines (for now); and secondly, he feels no for a sexual expression of intimacy anyway.

            Take either of these away and what would he do? A clear statement from him about the immorality of homosexuality would be good. Instead he deflects and says let’s focus on deprivation, inequality and refugees.

          • Phil R

            “Homosexuals are not a special group of worse sinners.”

            I used to think that also. However, in the OT Homosexuality is treated harshly by God in comparison with other infringements of the law. Furthermore, there are instances of Jesus intervening to mitigate punishment for heterosexual sex outside marriage, he is not recorded as showing any leniency for homosexual behaviour.

            African Christians I worshipped with some years ago certainly thought so. At the time I took your line, but now I think that maybe they were right.

          • chefofsinners

            On the cross, Jesus intervened in prayer to mitigate punishment for those who had crucified Him. Where would you rank crucifying the Son of God in your personal hierarchy of depravity? More acceptable than homosexuality?
            Or maybe we should let God be the judge.

          • “It is one thing for the Father, to be willing to forgive; it is quite another thing for the sinner to actually take in, to receive the forgiveness. For what is forgiveness? It is not, as Luther thought, a merely forensic or external thing, declaring innocent or “acquitting” one who really is still totally corrupt inside. Rather, forgiveness means the infusion of grace into the soul, to really make it holy; forgiveness does not mean simply “acquitting” the guilty, while leaving them totally corrupt.”
            (Father Forgive Them; Fr. William G. Most)

          • chefofsinners

            Sanctification is what you describe. This is a work of God and as such is outside of time, but is described in a threefold way:
            i) as complete, upon the new birth, Christ’s righteousness having been imputed.
            ii) as ongoing in a Christian’s life, by the power of the Spirit
            iii) as a future transformation of our bodies and natures

          • If it’s complete then how can it be ongoing? Justification begins at the new birth. Sanctification is ongoing in this life and we can lose this by habitual grievous sin.

          • chefofsinners

            Just telling you what the scriptures say. ‘How?’ is above my paygrade.

          • But you did – “imputation” i.e. a forensic covering.
            Jacks believes our transformation begins at the new birth through an infusion of grace, thus life, into the soul.

          • Phil R

            As happy Jack says.

            Forgiveness is not a subsitute for punishment.

          • chefofsinners

            No, he said forgiveness does not purify.
            Forgiveness does imply the removal of punishment. When Jesus forgave sins, people were healed. “Which is easier?” He asked.
            Jesus’ prayer on the cross “Father forgive them” is not much different to His words to the woman taken in adultery “neither do I condemn you”.

          • Forgiveness is a given – if we accept and access this through grace.

            Here’s the William Most article:

            https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/most/getwork.cfm?worknum=77

          • Phil R

            There is always a price to pay for sin.

            If I come over your house and smash up your car. Either you get the police etc and i pay or else you forgive me and you pay. Either way someone pays

            Jesus does not condemn the woman. But she would still have a price to pay for adultery. His next sentence makes clear that he does not condone her behaviour

          • My actual point is that it’s not a substitute for repentance and when we turn to Christ we will experience this and His forgiveness.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Our world is highly and unnaturally sexualised. Through the indoctrination of the media and current opinion, everyone at every age is compelled to be seduced by sex. One of the commenters said and rightly so that it is possible for persons of the same sex to have a loving but non sexual relationship (agape) It is also possible for persons of the opposite sex to have the same type of relationship. There must be a percentage of the population that thinks above the basic. Not every man sexually desires every woman . Some can actually
          befriend and respect them without lust or carnality entering into the equation.

          • Yes, but if you have self-identified as “gay” and are in a life-long relationship with a “partner”, then it is likely it is more than agape. Fair enough if he’s honouring his word to those who appointed him bishop. However, he’ll now become a hero of the progressives and a villain for the traditionalists.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I suppose if he is living with another gay man it makes a difference. If he was living with a heterosexual very close house mate it would be acceptable. I dont give these C of E matters a lot of thought. They are not real Bishops or priests anyway.
            More interesting is to me …what’s the story with Cardinal Newman and his friend ? Anglican converts…Tsk !

          • Cardinal Newman never identified as “gay” and certainly didn’t define his relationship as a life-long partnership.

            Reflecting on St John’s death in 1875, Newman compared their love to that of a married couple: “I have always thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband’s or a wife’s, but I feel it difficult to believe that anyone’s sorrow can be greater than mine …This is the greatest affliction I have had in my life.”
            This is what Peter Tatchell concluded:

            “To be fair and to err on the side of caution, given both men’s rather orthodox religious beliefs, they probably did not have a sexual relationship. It is likely that they had a gay orientation but chose to abstain from sex. Sexual abstinence does not, however, alter a person’s orientation. A person can be gay and sublimate their gayness into spiritual and artistic pursuits, and into strong, intense platonic same-sex relationships, which is probably what Newman and St John did,” said Mr Tatchell.”
            Who knows?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Thanks Jack. Life should be much more simple and uncomplicated than it is. It’s just all too murky.Have a lovely Sunday and think daffodil thoughts. Laters
            x

      • dannybhoy

        “most of us just boring mainstream sinners…”
        Hence the curly wig, moustache and glasses…

    • dannybhoy

      My own observation is that the more we obsess over our failings the more they paralyse us in our spiritual life.
      Better to accept salvation through Christ and trust the Holy Spirit to work in us and change us as He sees fit. The more we rejoice in our new life the less power these things have to cripple us.

      • Recognition is not obsession; and we can resist the Holy Spirit.

  • dannybhoy

    “Don’t ask, don’t tell.
    The man is homosexual, but he is celibate.
    His sexuality is but a part of him, and what’s important is whether he loves God and recognises Christ as his Lord.
    It’s really any one else’s business, and incidentally, this ‘outing’ of people is to me a form of group bullying that has no place in our society.
    The problem as I see it is that this man is getting caught up in the Anglican Church’s already shaky commitment to the Christian faith and its embrace of secularism.
    I feel very sorry for him.
    1 Corinthians 6>
    “9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous[b] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practise homosexuality,[c] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

    • David

      Well said.

    • chefofsinners

      There you have it. ‘Men who practise homosexuality’. Not men who are tempted, but men who practise. Nicholas Chamberlain lives in accordance with this text. Shall we leave him alone then? Maybe we could find a fat one to pick on and call him greedy?

      • And if his ambiguous comments to the press and his refusal to say active homosexuality is sinful, leads others into sin? What then?

        • chefofsinners

          I am unaware of ambiguous comments and refusals, but if, then… he should be removed from his post. But until then he should not.

          • He wants to be a standard bearer for all people as a “gay” man.
            His sexuality and identity is “gay”. As a bishop, he’s living within Church guidelines. He wants us to “move beyond “ matters of sexuality and focus on poverty, inequality and refugees.

          • chefofsinners

            Does that mean he wants to commit homosexual acts though? Or is encouraging others to do so? It could equally mean the opposite. As is often the way with bishop speak.

          • Bishops should speak clearly. This is modernist speak.

          • chefofsinners

            No doubt clarification will be forthcoming, one way or another.

          • dannybhoy

            There was a great comment by a Church man on LBC radio yesterday. He said that “the Bible knows nothing of gay Christians. If they have confessed and received salvation, they are Christians; nothing more nothing less.”

          • Indeed, but confession requires metanoia and also a focus on the good of the whole Church. Paul knew about all the sins of Christians and warned the communities he guided about falling into sin once they had been justified.

          • dannybhoy

            Don’t throw words like ‘metanoia’ at me Jack. Danny is a simple soul, and I had to look that one up.
            conversion (being born again as in John 3) leads to a Holy Spirit led metanoia.
            What we do is allow the Holy Spirit to continue that work, and I see it as God starting a work of salvation in us and us ‘cooperating’ with Him. Along with the act of new birth comes a love for God, and a desire to worship Him.

    • chiaramonti

      “The Fort is betrayed even by them that should have defended it.” – John Fisher Bishop of Rochester ,who died, principally, in defence of marriage.

  • I’ve not read all the comments so this may well have already been discussed. I take it a homosexual inclination results in sin immediately it is indulged. Indulging, however, is not limited to sexual acts. Surely to acquiesce with feelings of romantic/erotic attraction is sinful. I may have someone of the someone of the same sex as a friend, even live with them as a friend, but when friendship becomes romantic attachment then I have sinned.

    • dannybhoy

      Look, we all struggle with stuff. Might be sexual, might be temper, might be greed, whatever. We are all imperfect, and that’s why Christ Jesus died so that we can be forgiven and have new life.
      It’s like the old chorus says,
      “Jesus take me as I am, I can come no other way…”

      • chefofsinners

        That counts as a modern chorus where I come from.

      • The rest indicates that once Jesus receives us it is to change us.

        “Take me deeper into you
        Make my flesh life melt away

        Make me like a precious stone
        Crystal clear and finely honed
        Love of Jesus shining through
        Giving glory back to you”

        • chefofsinners

          Yes, well, let’s not start taking our theology from choruses lest we get onto the abysmal ‘Lord you put a tongue into my mouth’.

          We are all work in progress, and as James says “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…”

          • Yuk …. who’s tongue?

          • chefofsinners

            If you haven’t eaten recently:

          • Jack will resist the temptation to look.

          • chefofsinners

            No you won’t.

          • Oh, yes, Jack will.

          • chefofsinners

            What if Lienus told you to?

          • Then maybe ….

          • carl jacobs

            You looked, didn’t you.

          • No … is it bad?

          • carl jacobs

            It’s one of the more theologically vacuous happy-clappy worship songs.

          • Ah, Jack imagined it was a picture of a tongue.

          • carl jacobs

            I suspect Chief secretly likes the song – which would explain the sunglasses and the moustache.

          • Pubcrawler

            I did so that you don’t have to. Don’t.

          • You took one for Jack. Thank you.

          • Pubcrawler

            Oh dear. Hardly Venantius Fortunatus, is it?

          • chefofsinners

            No, we can agree that Pange Lingua Gloriosi Proelium Certamnis is a more accomplished treatment of the subject.

          • dannybhoy

            Romans 6>
            “12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

            It seems to me the process of sanctification is central to our development as Christians. As Jack mentioned somewhere, we can resist the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we can ourselves halt that process of renewal, but submission to the Holy Spirit is the only way to grow and bear spiritual fruit.

            2 Timothy 2>
            20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honourable use, some for dishonourable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonourable,[a] he will be a vessel for honourable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
            22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

          • chefofsinners

            Exactly right.
            Resisting temptation generally reduces temptation next time around. Ultimately we might cleanse ourselves from urges as well as acts, but in general the temptation to sin is with us until the end of life.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, and that is because we are flesh or carnal, or as Eustace says, ‘animal.’
            I agree that we are in a very real sense a tribal animal, and that those desires and urges that cause us to fall are exaggerated because we are sentient beings and the Fall has resulted in a distortion of our passions. Only repentance and salvation can change that.
            I’m not quite sure of the theological implications though: I believe God created man, and accept that there are similarities between us and the primates.
            Regarding temptation and giving in to it, resisting and falling again, I find it interesting that giving in only ever provides temporary pleasure, yet the desire to give in to temptation is so strong and persistent. The Fall allowed into our world – or gave opportunity to the corrupting power of sin.
            One might say that when Adam fell it was a gradual descent into more evil, and in Jesus it is a gradual overcoming of sin, but as you say we will face temptation until the day we die.
            I think Paul has it right in Romans, but it isn’t easy to understand.

      • Pubcrawler

        Or, for those who pray the ‘Jesus Prayer’:

        Κύριε Ἰησοῦ Χριστέ, Υἱέ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐλέησόν με τὸν ἁμαρτωλόν

        Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

      • Dominic Stockford

        We all struggle with stuff – but that is the point here. This man DOESN’T struggle with it, he proclaims it as normal and ok. He denies that his temptation is indeed a temptation, he denies that what is declared as sin by God’s Word is indeed anything of the sort. That is his problem, that is why he shouldn’t be a bishop, that is why he should be removed.

        • dannybhoy

          Dominic, we don’t know what struggles the man went through in his life; we only know the headlines and soundbites. You mentioned you had been to a synagogue in Richmond. Why not visit Hannah’s blog. A Jewish Sephardi girl who has struggled to come to terms with her sexuality whilst wanting to follow her Jewish faith.
          St Paul makes it quite clear that there were saved homosexuals in the church at Corinth.
          Halleluia!
          But we don’t know what their journey to faith entailed do we? We don’t know if there was deliverance involved or ‘reprogramming’ of the mind; or perhaps they simply responded to the message of salvation and found their place in the congregation?
          I rather think we Christians concentrate too much on homosexuality and not enough on sinfulness…

          • Dominic Stockford

            The Bible equates homosexuality with sinfulness – he does not. God’s law has no place for human “aw diddums-ness”. His possible “suffering” is not a get-out clause. And as other posters have pointed out, we know full well where the gay lobby is trying to take this. Do not open the door to sin by allowing human emotions to disguise its entrance.

          • dannybhoy

            You know that this man is a part of the gay lobby?
            Is he promoting it?
            As I understood it he never made a public issue of his homosexuality.
            And I am not saying the Church should insist that its members should publicly denounce their homosexuality, any more than it should insist adulterers should denounce that particular sin.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I did not say he is part of the gay lobby. I did say that he proclaims that what God has declared sin is in fact not.

            And it can in no way be described as progressive to be any part of any movement which takes people away from God and His truth.

          • dannybhoy

            But you would agree that committing adultery and engaging in homosexuality are equally sinful?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Indeed, and many other matters, from stealing a biro to speaking sharply are equally sinful. But we must never say that which God declares sinful is not.

          • dannybhoy

            You misunderstood me Dominic. I wasn’t trivialising the issue, simply pointing out that we don’t know the man’s heart. If in all good faith he went forward as a vicar and so on, the leadership must have been satisfied that he was an honourable man who would indeed remain celibate.
            Heavens! I have met people in the Anglican Church -including a Bishop, who don’t even believe the basics of the faith.
            Yet there they are, in their frocks…

    • chefofsinners

      Romantic attachment. Tricky to define. Partly a social construct of our times. Cranmer deals with the various Greek words for love. Where exactly does romantic attachment fit in?

      • I suppose it is a subset of Eros. But what matters is not the nuances of a Greek word (which have created lots of controversy) but whether the observation is true.

        • chefofsinners

          Without a definition, we cannot know whether the observation is true. When we are talking of something as serious as barring a man from church office, definitions matter.

          • I did not deny the need for definition merely the need to identify it precisely with a Greek word. But it is interesting to try and decipher the elements of the kind of love of which we speak; the love that causes a man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.

            It has undoubted sexual elements though these may be unrecognised as such. There is an attraction that excites deep emotions calling for reciprocity. Admiration, fascination, preference, a demand for exclusivity are part of it. It is a love that clamours for priority and insists on commitment. It bestows upon its recipient a value that eclipses all other human relationships.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I would also say that to have a inclination to commit a sin (like the temptation to steal) is natural for sinful man – but to celebrate that temptation/inclination as NOT being sin (as this man and his ilk do) is in fact sinful in itself.

  • Inspector General

    Fellows, here’s some context for you…

    When it comes to homosexuality, only 3% of the population identifies as such.

    Of those, and this is just an educated guess by the Inspectorate, only 3% are militants who want to queer the country.

    Of those, half are womyn, and, God bless them, they are harmless shrill types who in their shouting and agonising are likely to wet themselves, so they don’t.

    That leaves around 26000 militant gay types, though one is not sure whether the men with wigs and dresses are to be included in there.

    26000! There are housing estates in this crowded land with bigger populations, probably…

    But don’t worry. To paraphrase the words of the late great Shaw Taylor – You are more likely to be be gagged and sodomised by someone lying next to you in bed, than by a stranger off the street…

    “Keep ’em peeled, and mind how you go…”

    • IanCad

      Thanks for those figures Inspector.
      A small number, but they punch above their weight because they have so many promoters among the smartest and most enlightened of the general population.

  • wisestreligion

    Indeed, as Cranmer says, a Christian can resist temptation to sin, whether that be stealing or sodomy, and continue to minister and serve God faithfully. Apparently Bishop Chamberlain lives a celibate life, so that is fine.

    However, two points give concern in the Bishop’s interview. First, he self-describes as “gay”. OK, it is good that he emphasizes that it is not his whole identity, but it is regrettable that he did not say that he suffers from same sex attraction. Many admirable Christians who face this temptation prefer to use the SSA term. Secondly he compares homosexuality in the clergy with women priests, and says that it needs time to be accepted. It would appear that he does not see homosexuality as sinful and expects the Church of England to agree with his position in 30 years’ time.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Quite so sir. This is exactly the problem, and one that bedevils much of the church. They seek a redefinition of what is and isn’t sin, based on personal feelings and desire rather than on God’s Word.

  • Pubcrawler

    Well, I think the Mirror’s latest allegations re the unctuous Keith Vaseline MP will knock this one off the news agenda…

    • It most certainly will. Disgusting bugger!

      • Well, he’s well and truly buggered.

        • Hi

          I’m guessing the MP will be in confessions for a long time with his priest.

        • Pubcrawler

          Looks like this is one hole he won’t be able to slime his way out of.

          • CliveM

            Good!

    • Ivan M

      Does this mean Corbyn is a shoo-in?

    • The Explorer

      Consorting with male prostitutes while revamping the country’s laws on prostitution. I think a declaration of interest would have been in order.

      • Pubcrawler

        Declaration, perhaps, but spare us the detailed description.

        • The Explorer

          Anyway, Vaz has now resigned as chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.

      • …. he also wanted to decriminalise drugs.

    • Anton

      Some of us remember him in university politics as Nigel Vaz, but he later insisted on being called Keith because Nigel was a cissy Tory name.

      PS Isn’t “popper” a philosopher?

      • dannybhoy

        Karl.
        Verifiable -or popperbly not, at….
        https://explorable.com/falsifiability

        • Anton

          I know, Danny, I know. An over-rated thinker in my view, certainly in the philosophy of science where the late David Stove shredded him. What scientist would recognise a methodology of his profession in which the highest aim is to be proved wrong?

          • dannybhoy

            Dunno. It’s beyond me.

          • Anton

            The aim is to be proved provisionally correct.

          • dannybhoy

            I struggle with, “In its basic form, falsifiability is the belief that for any hypothesis to have credence, it must be inherently disprovable before it can become accepted as a scientific hypothesis or theory.”
            Isn’t it a given that all hypotheses can be questioned and subsequently amended -or am I missing something?

          • Anton

            The correct criterion is that a theory must be TESTABLE, meaning that the probability that it is true (or false) must be capable of being changed by experimental data. Popper however rejected inductive logic, and since inductive logic done correctly IS probability theory done correctly (often these are done incorrectly!), he got stuck and came up with the silly criterion of falsifiability. He was also intellectually incoherent, as he accepted probability theory while rejecting induction.

      • Pubcrawler

        Hmm. Whereas ‘Keith’…

  • David

    There is as usual a well reasoned, short statement from GAFCON (the global conservative Anglican alliance) regarding the appointment of this bishop. It’s to be found on http://www.anglicanmainstream. Basically it expresses sympathy for the man but finds flaws in his appointment as a bishop, ideas with which I agree wholeheartedly. Anglicans who are unaware of the excellent work of GAFCON would be well served by informing themselves.

    • TropicalAnglican

      Many thanks for the link!

      • David

        Glad to be of help !

  • IanCad

    “A faithful and loving relationship” So said the good bishop to the BBC in reference to his relationship with his partner. A little later he used the same phrase “A faithful and loving relationship” with the teaching of the church.
    Sorry Bish – you can’t have it both ways.
    The AofC displayed bad judgment in the appointment of Nicolas Chamberlain to the Bishopric of Grantham
    Schism looms.

    • Eustace

      Schism? O frabjous day!

      Having a ringside seat at the mise à mort of your heretic church must be making the Catholics here think that all their birthdays have come at once.

      It’s certainly entertaining viewing from an atheist’s perspective.

      • IanCad

        I’m sure, Eustace, that it will become even more entertaining to you as the church wrestles with itself.

      • dannybhoy

        There are no heretic churches Eustace…

  • Jill

    Well, it didn’t take long for the outworking of all this tolerance to take effect. We now have a letter in The Times from 14 gay clergy urging greater inclusion (i.e. preferment, presumably) and activists are claiming that there are already 11 gay bishops, so we just wait for them to be ‘outed’.

    It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out where this is taking us.

    • Eustace

      Towards the Christian version of a lobotomy?

      Great news! A zombie church is exactly what’s needed to hasten the decline of your unpleasant religion and push all the zealots out into fractured and infighting little cults.

      “Follow the shoe!”

      “No, follow the gourd, the Holy Gourd of Jerusalem!”

      “Heretic!!!”

      • Phil R

        Hasten the decline?

        There is no decline. World wide Christianity is growing and far faster than atheism who’s max growth rate was around 1910 and 2%. Worldwide atheism is growing at less than 0.1%

        • David

          Now there’s a useful presentation of the statistics pointing to the reality regarding the global situation. The “progressivists” live in a tiny bubble, mainly of their own making.

        • The Explorer

          Pointless arguing with Linus/Eustace. On topics such as Christian growth or decline, NT reliability, the dangers of heterosexual sex, or that demographic change is not an illusion you simply go round in circles.

          • He sends the blog down rabbit-holes. Block him.

          • The Explorer

            I have. Because I’ve come to the conclusion it’s pointless arguing with him. The same arguments recur, and if you comer up with evidence he doesn’t like he doesn’t respond. You may have noticed I haven’t responded to him on this thread, or the one before it.

          • We need to persuade the Inspector to adopt the same course of action. .

          • The Explorer

            It would annoy Linus like nothing else, since his choicest insults, as I remember, have been reserved for the Inspector. Concentrated venom wasted on a target unable to read it: like a spitting cobra wasting its poison on a target behind protective glass.

            But the Inspector would never agree.

          • Inspector General

            No, he bloody well wouldn’t!

          • The Explorer

            Useful option to have, though. It’s only come on stream very recently.

          • Inspector General

            Futile putting your fingers in your ears when that blighter’s about. He’s won then, he’s chased you away. Hit him back hard is what he needs. He doesn’t reserve his darkest bile for the Inspector for nothing…

          • The Explorer

            It might be an issue if he had anything new to say, but it’s the same old stuff endlessly regurgitated.

          • Inspector General

            The most important thing is that he’s suffering…

            : – >

          • The Explorer

            Do you remember the story of Hercules and Antaeus? Antaeus got his strength from contact with the ground. Every time Hercules knocked him down, he bounced back up, refreshed. Hercules realised that the way to deal with him was to hold him aloft until he suffocated.

            That may be the solution with Linus. Linus thrives on the responses he gets from goading people. If he gets no responses because no one’s reading him, it’s the equivalent of cutting off Antaeus’ air supply.

          • Inspector General

            He walks away wounded every time, Explorer. There’s a trail of blood leading to the nearest public toilet…

          • carl jacobs

            You don’t lay a glove on him, Inspector. You respond exactly as he expects, and confirm every stereotype he possesses. You thus act as both justifier for his behavior, and as straight man for his jibes. You are doing exactly what he wants.

          • Inspector General

            He comes out of here wild eyed with anger, Carl. He likes it that way it seems…

          • carl jacobs

            Linus comes here to justify himself. He needs to confirm to himself that he is right. So he seeks to provoke stereotypical reactions that validate his own prejudices. It’s a simple equation. “I’m right because they react true to my expectations”. Thus feeling confirmed, he indulges himself with a continuous display of schadenfreude over the decline of that which condemns his perverse desire. That is Linus’ blog offerings in a nutshell. It’s all he ever does, and it’s why his offerings are so tiresome. He doesn’t seek to engage. He seeks only to display scorn and contempt. And you play right into his hands.

          • Inspector General

            He may well come here for a bit of company, odd that it may sound. He needs to be, well, appreciated. You have to see him for what he is: An ageing poof who has long bought into a lifestyle that venerates youth. He’s on the margin now, and no longer has the company his old hide would have attracted in the past…

          • He’s bitter over a deeply felt rejection, but not because of his age.

          • The Explorer

            Linus longs for God to accept him as he is, and God won’t: as He will not accept any of us in our unregenerate state who refuse to repent.

            The God of liberal theology will accept him, of course, but Linus is intelligent and honest enough to know that that God is not real. So he reserves his hatred for the real God, and the real God’s followers.

          • When we’re young, we project onto God our images of our parents.

          • Middle Aged Man on a Window Sill

            sits alone frozen
            seething angry bitterness
            scared of living
            spitting spite at God above
            and venom at men below

          • Cressida de Nova

            Nice tanka Jack!

          • Why thank you.

          • Sorry to say it but he’s brighter and more articulate than you. You don’t know his weak spots.

          • carl jacobs

            No, he would have lost. You don’t understand why he is here. He isn’t looking to win. He is here to piss on people. The most effective punishment you can inflict is to ignore him. If no one responded to his posts, he would get frustrated and leave. It wouldn’t be any fun for him anymore.

          • CliveM

            I note that ironically that by blocking him, it has generated a lot of Linus based comment!!

          • Eustace

            And the truth shall set you free…

            Whether I’m blocked or not, I’ll keep on commenting here. Those who block me merely highlight the weakness of their own faith. If I am not speaking truth that sears their consciences, what do they fear from my comments? Why get upset about them if they know what is right and good?

            Everyone who has blocked me here is an apostate in the making. One of those who cry “Lord! Lord!” and prophesy in his name without believing deep down that he really exists, or at least that he’s anything more than an aspect of their own personalities.

            In any case, if I there’s less need to defend my comments, I’ll have more time to concentrate on demolishing theirs. So again I win! Yay for the blocking function and the morally bankrupt Christians who use it.

          • carl jacobs

            And where have you been?

          • magnolia

            Four sweet words keep recurring, and it feels good!

          • Phil R

            Linux would not be an issue in a country with a strong church.

            Our liberal church causes far more damage to society than any athiest

        • sarky

          Except in the uk where atheism has overtaken the religious for the first time.

          • The Explorer

            The title is a bit misleading since ‘no religion’ and atheism are not quite the same thing. ‘No religion’ can mean not a follower of any official religion. I remember Benjamin Zephaniah saying he didn’t follow any religion, but he had a feeling, “There’s something out there”. I’ve come across that view time and time again. It’s almost the default position of the liberal wing of the C of E, for those who aren’t out-and-out atheist.

          • sarky

            You can polish it all you want, but people are turning their back on religion in unprecedented levels.

          • carl jacobs

            Do you think there is some necessary correlation between the “Truth” & the “Crowd”? Don’t follow the crowd, sarky.

          • sarky

            I turned my back on it long before it became ‘acceptable’.
            I never followed a crowd, but must admit that with modern technology it is easier to converse with like minded individuals.

          • …. and here you are.

          • sarky

            Because I find it fascinating (not in a searching for something way)

          • Like the Inspector and Pink News?

          • dannybhoy

            Fascinating?

          • carl jacobs

            Quite frankly, sarky, you are standing flat in the middle of the crowd. It takes no courage to say what you say in this day and age. You speak the words of the crowd. And the only reason that you would talk about “more and more people” turning their backs on religion is to imply that modern people are getting too smart for it. What is that but a direct appeal to the crowd. In fact, your whole concept of morality can find no other foundational source but the crowd. You have no other authority to which you may turn.

            You are far more invested in it than you think. And it will lead you to death.

          • sarky

            I agree and I’m glad that unlike in certain areas of America, I face no consequence for my lack of belief.
            It’s also not about ‘being smart’, but these days it is very easy for people to access the arguments for and against religion and to be honest the arguments against are just stronger and people can see that at the click ofor a mouse. As someone once said ‘the greatest enemy of religion is education’.
            As for death, at least we have one thing in common.

          • IanCad

            Never mind America Sarky. Try spouting off in this country about diversity being a crock, or positing that homo relationships are unhealthy and shorten life.
            How about telling people that fat folk live longer than thin, and really, everyone would be better off with a little more weight on them. Eat more sugar!? What about sending a letter to the Norfolk Police telling them that you do not like their rainbow police car?
            Americans have the shield of their First Amendment, we have no such surety.

          • dannybhoy

            “Despite the increasing persecution of Christians in China, the Communist country is on track to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030, according to Rodney Pennington who studies religious trends for OMF International.
            http://www.christianpost.com/news/china-largest-christian-population-world-200-million-believers-despite-crackdown-166718/
            I don’t think we will see the end of religion or faith any time soon Sarks. People still feel a need to worship.

          • sarky

            I was talking specifically about the uk.

          • dannybhoy

            Well that’s a bit different, but even here we know that people are still seeking for meaning aren’t they. Take the growth of the Mind, Body and Spirit events around the country. That shows that even if you satisfy the material needs of people many are still on a quest for meaning.
            Astrology. Numerology and all the other ‘ologies, point to the fact that people need something more than consumerism can provide.
            The problem for the Church in most of the UK is that we have failed to live out our beliefs, and in part fallen back on the comforts of Songs of Praise and dear old Aled.
            The unrelenting theological and humanistic attacks on our faith has damaged us, but it is our failure to live out and stand up for what we believe that has damaged our witness to the nation.
            But I think the Lord is rectifying that…. :0)

          • sarky

            The problem is you don’t have any satisfactory answers to the attacks and remain largely invisible in everyday life.

          • dannybhoy

            “Elijah replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too!”
            1 Kings 19:10
            God is longsuffering Sarks, We pray for revival, God will do what He sees is necessary.

          • chefofsinners

            There are plenty of answers to the attacks. They are satisfactory to me, although apparently not to you.

          • carl jacobs

            A friend of mine once related to me the following anecdote from an interaction he once had:

            Atheist: If your god is real, let him levitate this desk right here in front of me!”

            Friend: But of course if He did levitate this desk right in front of you, then you would immediately deny divine agency and seek for a natural explanation of the levitating desk.”

            Such is the heart of man.

          • sarky

            The supernatural is never a satisfactory explanation.

          • magnolia

            Such a stark and sweeping statement needs a bit of back up, surely. You don’t even define what you mean and don’t mean by “supernatural” which leaves it suspended……

            And what do you mean by “satisfactory” in this context?

            Whatever do not mention the scoundrel Randi, dabbling in the dark manipulative arts while offering some putative prize he has no intention whatever of ever parting with to the “enemy”. All just PR.

          • Eustace

            Unenquiring minds are easily fobbed off with partial, incomplete, deliberately vague, misleading and even patently false answers.

            That’s your problem. All someone has to do to satisfy you is stroke your fur in the right direction and murmer reassuring words about your divinity in your ear.

            The truth doesn’t interest you. Only confirmation of the shield of myths you’ve constructed around yourself in order to allay your fear of death and the anger you feel towards anyone who refuses to obey you can do that.

          • The Explorer

            On private religion, or public religion? More and more people, in my experience, seem to be creating a pick n’ mix god made in their own image. Spirituality is in, and it’s what you want it to be. It’s not Christianity, but it’s not atheism either.

          • sarky

            Mostly it’s just stupidity.

          • Eustace

            Spirituality is more like atheism than Christianity. It’s a denial of one true god, because everyone’s concept of god is different, and within that diversity, freedom of conscience and respect for dissent are built in.

            I laugh at spiritual people just as much as I laugh at Christians, but the spirituals don’t then gang up on me and try to impose their spirituality on me. They’re too lost in their own personal fantasy worlds to worry about skeptics like me.

          • In parts of the West perhaps though even here it is more institutionalised religion than some form of faith. The explorer is surely right. There is a God-consciousness in humanity that atheistic rationalising finds virtually impossible to suppress. God knows, some atheistic tyrants have tried. But even ruthless murderous cruelty on a scale such as the world has not seen before or since could not extinguish faith.

            However, I am not in the business of defending mere religion or vague God-conscious faith ( such as even the devil has). My defence is for gospel faith and I freely admit it is in a minority. It always has been. Jesus himself promised no less. The broad road that leads to death has many on it. While the narrow gate with the steep path that leads to life is found by few.

            This, I observe with great sadness and heaviness.

          • Inspector General

            Chin up, JT. We are naturally programmed to respect a higher authority. The less thoughtful worship a football team; us brighter types, our Creator…

          • sarky

            But isn’t that the problem? You just observe.

          • Phil R

            That is correct. We also have mainly liberal churches. Decline and consequental increase in atheism are very much connected

          • The present trend could so easily be reversed. Churches are growing in Russia and China (where it was first abolished in the 846 AD and then following the Communist revolution) – and post atheistic societies seem particularly hungry for the gospel.

            “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 ESV)

          • sarky

            A church on a rock? That will make a nice restaurant.

          • IanCad

            The “Rock” is Christ Sarky. Christianity has been, and is,the most influential and powerful force the world has ever known.

          • Eustace

            Actually the rock is Peter, from the Greek “petros” meaning stone or rock.

            If Christians actually knew anything about their own faith instead of following it blindly, perhaps the rest of us would have more respect for them.

          • IanCad

            Well, certainly that is the Romanist view; and used to justify Papal Succession. It is not however Biblical.
            Peter – petros. A small rock, a pebble. Christ – the chief cornerstone.
            The church is not built upon Peter.

          • Eustace

            You mean Protestantism is based on a series of similar hair-splitting and meaningless interpretations?

            Wow. Swift certainy got it right when he told his story about the Big Endians and Little Endians.

            Not my quarrel however, although it’s interesting to know just how futile and sterile religious disagreements can be.

          • IanCad

            Protestantism generally cleaves to the Written Word. Hairsplitting is incompatible with the clear teachings of scripture.
            You seem to be attracted to unscriptural doctrine.
            A few days ago you referred to the diabolical invention of an eternal hell.
            Today it is Peter.
            What’s next? Will you subscribe to Sunday Worship?

          • sarky

            I do know!!!!

        • Eustace

          Christianity is growing in the Third World. But I live in the First World, and here it’s in indisputable decline.

          Christianity flourishes among the poor and ill-educated. Deal with those two problems and you attack it at its root.

          As standards of living rise across the world and Western culture replaces tribal superstition, Christianity will fade away, just like it’s fading away in the West.

          • Dreadnaught

            I think you are probably correct that Christianity is on the wane in the UK at least, but the prospect of the vacuum being filled by Islam is more threatening to an atheist/humanist as I am, and will no doubt be doubly so for yourself and others in the future.
            I am concerned for the future generations that I have founded, but as a homosexual, you may feel less aggressive towards Christianity if in pursuing its demise it means propagating Islamic fertility. Unless of course, you have children yourself, or any concern for the well being of others in the future of a similar orientation as yourself.
            Does this not give you a reason to reflect on your position? Or is it that you simply enjoy winding up the usual suspects on this blog who as much as they deny it, closetly enjoy responding to your teasing barbs?

          • Eustace

            If our only bulwark against Islam is Christianity then the battle is already lost.

            Look at how Christianity caved in on itself in the West in little more than a couple of generations. It wasn’t capable of perpetuating itself within its own culture. What chance do you think it has of winning any kind of conflict with Islam?

            When the corpse of Christianity has finally rotted away, the secular society that has replaced it probably will enter into conflict with Islam. Some say it’s already happening, although extremist forms of the religion do not represent all Muslims, therefore to talk about a general conflict between secularism and Islam as a whole is premature.

            In saying that however, if it does come, secularism will face down Islam and triumph over it just as it has faced down and triumphed over Christianity.

            Yes, your descendants may feel the effects of that conflict. But if it’s coming, supporting Christianity will do nothing to stop it, or even delay it.

            Christianity is a spent force with a discredited priesthood, untenable doctrine and elderly, declining congregations. The few prospering churches in the West are based around immigrant groups and as such are incapable of influencing society as a whole.

            If you want to oppose Islam, put your faith in secular government. If you think that Christians are going to be of any use in the battle, you’re sadly mistaken.

          • Inspector General

            Christianity is part of the solution. We have Islam to thank for that. The country is sliding to the right, resulting, and about time too! Unpleasants like you who hope for Christianity to fade away as a force will have to look elsewhere. But who will share a platform with you, you sexual odditie?

          • Eustace

            Christianity is on life support and can’t help anyone. Infighting in every church is destroying it from within.

            Liberal Anglicans against Evangelicals. Supporters of Bergoglio against the Burkes and the Mundabors. Orthodox churches that can’t seem to agree about anything. Protestant sects that are even worse.

            The trajectory is clear. It’s schism and fracture and the further division and dimunition of the Church.

            As a defence against Islam, you’re already useless. And it can only get worse.

          • Inspector General

            Islam is in its way a blessing for the church in the West. You cannot know good without bad nearby…

          • Dreadnaught

            I think there are better examples you could have chosen to promote your Faith.

          • Dreadnaught

            The situation we[ the West] are in, there has to be a united front that includes all who value Western freedom. Our Country has removed the direct Christian link but not replaced it with any other co-ordinated cultural philosophy that cements in common cause. Secularism is ill defined and less understood by the general public because cultural marxism is so completely pervasive in academia and main stream media that it has sapped this Country of any social cohesion.
            Democracy is being used to destroy its self because we have surrendered the arms of argument and free speech for the warped ideology that minority interests outweigh proportionality.
            I don’t know what you understand of Islam, but you appear to see Christianity as a worse option: something that you have yet to experience I imagine, but hundreds of thousands of innocent people (millions if you take the historical context) in our lifetime have and are still suffering miserably with no end in sight, because of Islam.
            Christianity should be the lesser of your concerns.

          • Eustace

            So what you’re saying is that we should use a faith you don’t believe in as a shield against another faith you don’t believe in. A cynical ploy if ever there was one.

            Your reasoning seems to rest on self-interest. There’s nothing in Christianity to bother you or prevent you from living your life as you choose, and who cares if it harms minorities that you don’t belong to? That’s their problem, not yours. As long as you and your offspring are safe, what does it matter what happens to the gays and the transgender community? Their submission to the Christian ideal is a price worth paying for your security.

            Thanks for trying to throw us under the bus in order to save your own hide. But don’t be surprised when we refuse to be thrown. We know what living under Christian control is like and we won’t willingly submit to it again. Yes, Muslims might want to kill us, but what difference is there between death by execution or death by suicide as the only way out of the status of Untouchable inflicted upon us by the twisted doctrine of a twisted Church? Man either lives free or dies in chains. Whether those chains are Christian or Muslim makes little difference to those forced to wear them.

          • Dreadnaught

            My view is not strictly of self interest although apart from being wrong in wishing to throw you under a bus much of what you say is fair comment. You are however wrong that life in a future Islamic world would be of little difference between now and then. The evidence of others less fortunate are there to bear witness. The West is legally bound to be inclusive and non-discriminatory to minorities, which is something with which I wholeheartedly agree. To say that this situation would be unchanged in a Shariah based system is absurd.

          • dannybhoy

            ” Whether those chains are Christian or Muslim makes no difference at the end of the day.”
            That has to be one of the daftest statements you have made Eustace.
            You cannot compare the two. Get hold of a copy of “The People versus Muhammed” by JK Sheindlin, and then take a look around the Islamic world. Ask yourself why so many Muslims want to move to the West.

          • Eustace

            Read the following and ask yourself why so many gay kids would rather kill themselves than live under the uncaring and abusive yolk of Christianity.

            https://sojo.net/articles/christian-exorcism-leads-gay-teens-suicide

            Would this man be any more dead if Muslims had thrown him off a building?

          • dannybhoy

            Good points Dreadders, As Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” and as you say the West is destroying itself with its own freedoms based as they are without any firm foundation.
            Eustace is correct to point out that bad things have been done in the name of Christianity, but then religion is always used to validate ambition or control. I suspect (although of course he will deny it), that Eustace has had some bad experiences at the hands of people professing Christianity.

          • Dreadnaught

            I had a similar thought when I began responses to him this morning. You can’t fake such a degree of bitterness without just cause.

          • Eustace

            Of course I had bad experiences at the hands of the Church! I’m gay. What other kind of experience could I have?

            Priests, nuns and anyone else associated with the institution went out of their way to try to convince me that I’m an evil and disgusting factory second who doesn’t deserve anything except misery, suffering and loneliness in life. They didn’t succeed, but it wasn’t for want of trying.

            I was never physically or sexually abused, but the mental abuse was constant and unrelenting. This is how I know just how dangerous the Church is. My independent and skeptical character was able to withstand the onslaught, but a more tractable and docile child would have caved and allowed himself to be brainwashed.

            If there’s any better example of pure evil than the Catholic Church, I’d like to see it. Islam perhaps. And a whole range of other religions. But Christianity is the one I know best because I had to live with it.

          • dannybhoy

            You suffered at the hands of the Catholic staff for being homosexual, I suffered at boarding school for having eczema; although I concede that your experience was probably worse than mine. But I bet there are folk on this blog who experienced discrimination or rejection too, and perhaps worse than yours.
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2273961/Ireland-says-sorry-10-000-women-slaves-Catholic-workhouses-locked-brutalised-nuns.html

            I think of a book my wife read entitled “A Boy named It.” He had it really tough.Your view of God (or religion as you don’t believe in God), has been poisoned by those who should have known better.
            What makes your situation bad is that the people who were supposed to be caring for you were representatives of the Catholic Church.
            But the Scriptures do not give us licence to persecute or reject anybody Eustace. We can condemn behaviours but that doesn’t condone ill treatment. Frankly I can’t understand how anyone calling themselves a Christian could ill treat another human being.
            At least I now understand why you target Jack.
            I am genuinely sorry for what you have experienced.
            I know this is going to really irritate you but I’m going to say it anyway. I believe that for every bad thing that happens to us, for every experience of rejection and abuse God is able to make something wonderful in us.
            If we let Him.
            (You can rant now and call me a mealy mouthed Christian hypocrite!)

          • Eustace

            Believe what you like. Unless you can present me with compelling evidence that proves the validity of your belief, it’s nothing more than opinion. A mawkish opinion too. Why would you being sorry for what some other Christians did? Does excusing their behaviour make everything alright again? This isn’t about you. It’s about them.

            What those Christians did was show me exactly what their religion is really like. I saw beneath the pious veil to the narcissistic self-worship that really motivates these people. And you too. It comes through in everything you write. Only a narcissist could imagine he could apologise on behalf of someone else, someone he’s never met and probably (in fact certainly,
            given that most of them are dead now) never will. Who do you take yourself for? God?

            A stupid question, I suppose. Of course you do. You created him in your image, after all…

          • Paul Correa

            So you say Christianity said you (or more accurately, your sinful desires) were evil and disgusting, making them bad, yet you are free to call Christians evil and disgusting? How are you any different?

          • Eustace

            Christians have a choice when it comes to condemning others. They can choose not to without that choice impacting their lives negatively. They won’t live alone and miserable because they choose to remain silent about other people’s lives. In fact a choice not to complain and bitch about what other people do in their private lives (which of course has no effect whatsoever on Christians’ ability to live their own lives as they choose) may well improve the quality of their existence. Nobody likes a moaner. How many potential friends and valuable acquaintances avoid contact with Christians because of their reputation as narrow-minded and hypocritical moralisers?

            I on the other hand will experience a severely negative impact on my life if I avoid what you say I should. If I choose to remain celibate, I will live a life of isolation and loneliness. If I avoid criticising Christians for their anti-gay prejudice, I will allow their condemnation to go unchallenged, which will contribute towards its negative impact not only on my life, but also on the lives of all LGBT people.

            Our respective situations are therefore in no way similar. My criticism of Christians is entirely justified because of the entirely unjustifiable nature of theirs.

            The maxim “your business becomes mine when you try to turn people against me” is perhaps something that should be taken into account by busybody Christians before they start interfering in other people’s lives. Attack me and you will meet not only a spirited defence, but your own life will be subject to attack in its turn. Which of course you hate. Like all bullies, you can dish it out, but you sure can’t take it.

          • Anton

            If Christians had half the faith in Christ that you do in secularism then the church would be in clover. Trouble is… Stalin, Mao, Hitler were all secular.

          • Eustace

            And Vlad the Impaler, Innocent III, Torquemada and Bloody Mary were all Christians. Had any of them had access to modern technology, the slaughter would have been just as great.

          • Dreadnaught

            Out of those three, at least Vlad the Lad had a point or two to make.

          • dannybhoy

            Boom Boom!

          • Anton

            How do you know who’s a Christian? I might claim that I’m ten feet tall, but saying so doesn’t make it so.

          • Eustace

            How do you know who isn’t a Christian? Any one of the men you deride as atheist mass murderers may have believed in Christ and believed his deeds to be justified in Christ.

            Each one of the Christian mass murderers I listed was a self-confessed Christian. It’s not up to me to judge whether they really were or not. I have no criteria to judge by. You’ll say they have to be A, B and C to be a Christian, someone else will say they have to be C, D and E. Who am I to believe? What makes you right and them wrong? And who can be the judge of that?

            All I know is that the people I mentioned described themselves as Christian and were generally accepted as such by others who lived at the same time they did.

            Christians can be mass murderers too.

          • Anton

            That’s not “all you know” about the subject, as you have repeatedly made clear here. Don’t be so coy. As to whom you believe, that is a matter for you, but it is me with whom you are presently debating.

          • Eustace

            I see no reason to take your definition of what constitutes a Christian any more seriously than anyone else’s. Just as you do not define who is a Christian, neither can you say who isn’t.

            My list of Christian mass murderers is based on a consensus of opinion about the faith of each individual who appears on it. You claim they were not real Christians, but that’s just your opinion, which I am not obliged to accept. So it alters nothing.

            As I said before, Christian mass murderers can and have existed. Criticise atheist regimes all you like, but they did no worse than Christian regimes would have done had they possessed the technology to do it.

          • Anton

            As you are doing your utmost to ignore, there are some reasonably well-defined criteria in the Bible. I am, moreover, free to take the best secular men as Christians according to your criteria, should I wish to. Reductio ad absurdum…

          • Eustace

            Biblical criteria for defining Christians are open to interpretation. I see no reason why your interpretation should be accepted as the only possible one.

            Even interpretations that garner a wide consensus of agreement cannot be held to be infallible. As you and others remind me so often, mere majority support does not make something right and true.

            If you cannot tell me who is a Christian, then you also cannot tell me who is not. The only clues we have to judge their beliefs by are therefore their own statements and the events of their lives.

            Bloody Mary, for example, made several public statements of fervent Christian faith. She attended Mass publicly, one might almost say ostentatiously, virtually every day of her life. She died in the Catholic faith and received its extreme unction. She clearly thought of herself as a Christian, and the victims of her Christian zeal were killed in the name of Christ.

            Tell me all you like that she wasn’t a real Christian. That’s just your interpretation and nothing about it carries more weight than mine.

            If you want to claim Stalin as a Christian, go ahead. I think that given his public statements against Christianity, his persecution of Christians and his recorded lack of Christian observance, you’ll have a hard time persuading anyone you’re right.

          • Anton

            Take the trouble to contrast how Queen Mary of England behaved toward people who peaceably disagreed with her, with how Jesus did. I mean Jesus Christ, from whose title we get the word “Christian”.

          • Eustace

            So you therefore pronounce the embittered old hag not to be a Christian, eh?

            Whatever happened to “judge not lest ye be judged”?

            But of course, I forgot. That only applies to mankind, doesn’t it? You as the holy father of God are already divine and can judge at will.

            Careful how you go. If this sock puppet of a god of yours turns out to be real and not just an extension of your ego, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when he asks you why you expressly disobeyed his commandments while claiming to be a Christian. “Lord! Lord!” you’ll cry. But will he know and save you?

          • Anton

            “So you therefore pronounce the embittered old hag not to be a Christian, eh?”

            Where did I do that? I exhorted you to work it out for yourself from what the Bible teaches. I do not fear the day of judgement.

          • Eustace

            Ignorance is bliss…

          • Eustace

            Why should I go to the trouble of working out anything about Christianity?

            This reminds me of the disagreements one sometimes encounters among obsessive fans of various books, films or TV shows. Two trekkies at loggerheads about whether the tribbles who threatened the Enterprise had blue fur or green fur might appeal to me for support for their points of view. But to choose between them I’d have to watch an episode of Star Trek, and quite frankly, life’s too short to fritter away over fairy tales and fantasy fiction. Why should I care if tribbles are green or blue when I know they don’t exist, and therefore can be of no colour at all?

          • Anton

            “Why should I go to the trouble of working out anything about Christianity?”

            So you admit that you don’t know what you are talking about here most of the time!

          • Eustace

            Of course I’m familiar with the basics of Christianity. But the hair-splitting disagreements of the Big and Little Endians who bicker about the right way to eat an egg leave me cold.

            I have read the Bible. I’ve also read The Lord of the Rings. If a deranged Tolkien fan tells me that elves have pointy ears and that if I refuse to admit that fact, I’m not a real Tolkien fan, my response won’t be to re-read The Lord of The Rings to confirm or refute his claim. My response will rather be to wonder what makes him such a fanatic about something that’s so patently a fairy tale.

          • Anton

            Where do you think Tolkien got his creation myth from, in The Silmarillion, with the fall of Melkor/Morgoth? Or the drowning of Numenor? Or the fall to the innermost depths of the earth of Gandalf to be resurrected in white? Or the first appearance of the true king of men as a man of lowly rank having a mission against evil? Ring any bells?

          • Paul Correa

            Nonsense, Muslims in India killed about 100,000,000 Hindus about the same time as the Inquisition, which BTW killed about 20,000, including many evangelical Christians. Is this where you try to smear Christianity by highlighting those who acted contrary to Christ’s teachings?

          • Eustace

            The Inquisition was carried out by the Christian Church. In the name of Christ. You say it was against Christ’s teachings. Those who perpetrated it would robustly disagree.

            It isn’t my place to decide who the real Christians are. And quite frankly an individual blog commenter carries little weight when set against the policy of the largest Christian denomination.

            You “know” (i.e. are convinced, because it suits you to be convinced) that acts of violence and murder perpetrated by self-avowed Christians mean that they’re not really Christian. You’re the real Christian, aren’t you?

            In your own head…

          • Paul Correa

            Yawn, people like you have been predicting the end of our faith for 2,000 years. As they saying goes, the church is an anvil that has worn out many a hammer.

          • Eustace

            Look at the figures and weep. History has never known such a spectacular collapse in a religion’s numbers without that religion effectively disappearing.

            Of course the three last Christian believers will claim that numbers don’t matter. Except when they do. Christians quote Third World growth whenever it suits them and then explain away First World decline by saying that numbers don’t matter. Which means that Third World growth also doesn’t matter.

            You can’t have it both ways. If numbers matter then First World decline should worry you because as Third World living standards increase, it will start to follow a First World pattern. An increase today followed by a catastrophic decline in the future means the Church ia in trouble.

            Of course if numbers don’t matter then the last three Christians will still consider themselves to be the One True Church. But there will only be three of them. So who’ll care?

          • Phil R

            Examples of Christian growth

            Korea 2% to 60% in 50 years

            And then there is China. Growing at a fantastic rate in the cities

            All educated people not third world

          • sarky

            Erm not quite. The growth is primarily in those who have achieved significantly less than a degree.

          • Phil R

            Obviously not clever enough to be atheists. …

          • sarky

            Not educated enough to make a considered choice.

          • Phil R

            The degree makes all the difference then……….

          • Eustace

            The post-war growth of Christianity in Korea can be largely put down to the activities of American missionaries targeting a population severely traumatised and impoverished by years of foreign occupation.

            As the tutelary power in the post-war years, the US spearheaded the Korean economic recovery and American culture of the time became associated with prosperity. This explains the runaway success of Evangelical Christianity among the enterprising layers of Korean society and the corresponding collapse in Buddhist worship, this form of religion being associated with defeat and occupation.

            The gap between the old and new religions was filled by Roman Catholicism, which appealed to poorer and less well-educated Koreans as a form of worship that wasn’t Buddhist, but retained many Buddhist customs in that peculiary syncretic fashion Catholicism has of adapting itself to lower class prejudices and traditions. Protestantism remains the faith of the aspirational classes who adapt themselves to a way of life they strive to achieve. Catholicism is espoused by conservative and provincial Koreans who, like all lower earning socio-economic groups, are suspicious of anything that smells of change or a break in their rituals and routines.

            And as for China, Christianity is a politicised faith espoused by those who oppose the regime. As such its rapid growth must be seen as more of a political than a religious phenomenon.

            In any case, growth of Protestantism in Korea has plateaued and the aspirational classes are becoming more and more secular in their outlook. You only have to look at the massive cultural phenomenon of the highly sexualised and totally unChristian K-Pop to realise where Korean youth is heading. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk to secularism … gangnam style. Oooh, sexy lady…

          • Phil R

            Have you ever been to a Chinese or Korean Church?

            What you say about China at least is crap. (I cannot comment on Korea but with50% plus it is premature to write it off just yet…..!)

          • Eustace

            The figures speak for themselves.

            A couple of generations ago, far more than 50% of the British were observant Christians. It took just a few decades for that number to collapse, and this in a country with a 1500 year history of Christianity.

            Your traditions and institutions are all founded on Christianity, and still the religion can only just cling on among the elderly and socially conservative.

            Imagine how much more catastrophic the collapse will be in a country like Korea where Christian tradition is skin-deep at best.

          • Dreadnaught

            Your traditions and institutions are all founded on Christianity
            A fact of historical immutability that can’t be denied but everything in human life and the history of life is a product and process of evolution.
            Its where we are now and where we will be tomorrow that actually matters.

          • Eustace

            Quite. However that doesn’t contradict my point that even deeply ingrained customs can be cast aside in a very short space of time.

            If British Christianity could collapse so spectacularly despite being built on solid foundations, how much more fragile must Far Eastern Christianity be?

          • Dreadnaught

            I cant comment on your assertion regarding the Far East having little interest in something I have no possibility of experiencing or influencing. But my guess is you could be right and more so that it will undoubtedly be a religio-cultural fusion of sorts.
            Humanity in part will always invent some abstract concept to mollify the mind from perceived conflict that it can not immediately comprehend.

          • Eustace

            I’ve been to Korea and seen how Christianity works there with my own eyes. I’ve spoken to Chinese Christians, who, in typically Chinese fashion, refuse to give a direct answer to a direct question, but who nonetheless leave one in no doubt once all their seemingly unrelated allusions and anecdotes are taken into account, of exactly what motivates their religious faith.

            For someone who claims to reject cultural Marxism, you don’t ‘alf trot out the lingo. What you wrote above is basically Marx’s maxim: “religion is the opium of the masses”.

            There’s a grain of truth in that proposition. If you could ask Constantine the Great why he chose Christianity as the vehicle for his imperial despotism, and if he was inclined to give you an honest answer, his response probably wouldn’t be substantially different from Marx’s pithy phrase.

            So why, if you find more truth in the words of politicians than you do in Christian doctrine, are you promoting Christianity as the answer to our problems?

            It all comes back to self-interest, doesn’t it? Whatever’s necessary to protect you and yours, no matter how dishonest or intellectualy bankrupt it may be, is fine by you.

            As one of those you’d be willing to sacrifice in order to get what you want, let me say how very unimpressive I find your stance to be. Like most straight men obsessed with posterity, you’re talking with your gonads. The fruit of your loins is your god and its gospel is one of survival at all costs. It’s a faith as unappealing as anything Christianity can come up with and I shudder to think what your rituals must be like. I sincerely hope they don’t involve dancing about naked or anything else that puts your straight dad body on public display. Think of the children!

          • Dreadnaught

            you don’t ‘alf trot out the lingo. [cultural marxism I assume].
            Let me assure you I am not seeking to impress you in any part; we don’t know each other and are of equal unimportance. I will engage with anyone who is prepared to read my words simply for self entertainment if that is the correct terminology on an anonymous blog comment section.
            Not sure what you mean by you quote above or what statement I have made that takes you to this position.
            In times of national survival, politics and philosophy have to be temporarily suspended for the sake of common interest and focus. Nothing profound in this; its common sense.
            As for posterity being self interest or the assertion that I indulge in mystical ritual at all, is also a bit of extreme if not even slightly amusing.
            As for what Constantine may have said I’ll leave you to play alone with that to your hearts content. The concept is irrelevant. Truth is amorphous at best and in the mind of the beholder until proven otherwise.
            And as I and yourself have no influence over gender or sexual orientation I can’t see a logical reason for its inclusion other than the signature rhetorical exuberance of your prose.
            Must dash.

          • Eustace

            In other words, in times of national emergency, use the gays as a human shield to hide your precious children behind.

            That’s what your idea of solidarity amounts to.

            Any idea why I might find that objectionable? No, I thought not. Like most parents, you assume that everyone worships your children like you do.

            If you refuse to show solidarity with me, expect the same lack of solidarity in return. You want Christians as allies? Fine. Then expect the LGBT community to consider you an enemy.

          • Phil R

            You are at best 1%.

            In the long run you cannot afford to create enemies……..

          • Eustace

            That’s right. Lull yourself into a false sense of security by repeating the right wing bigot’s conviction that we only represent 1% of the population.

            If we’re so few, how did we manage to get so far?

            In any case, however many we are, our friends are more powerful than our enemies. And that’s all that matters. Your threats are empty and you know it. Christians are hardly more numerous than gays and considering their marginalisation in society, clearly a whole lot less intelligent.

          • Phil R

            If not 1% what ratio then?

            Are we all gay. Just not intelligent enough to realise?

            The abandonment of Christianity will be with a new worldview.

            Athiesm is no protection for minorities as we have seen in communist/athiest states.

            Democracy has past its sell by date. I dont lnow what will replace it but ot will not in Europ

          • Eustace

            Christians are not 51% either. If you were, we’d be living in a theocracy.

            Since the fall of Thatcher, the majority has elected parliaments that have been increasingly favourable to the LGBT community. Be the government left wing or right wing, our concerns have been addressed and our equality enshrined in law.

            Whatever percentage of the population we comprise, and estimates vary, we punch well above our weight and have been vastly more effective than Christians at lobbying for our cause. Our success is the fruit of hard work and determination, which of course makes Christians hate us even more, just like they hated the Jews (and of course, still in some measure do).

            Our success means your failure. So that fact that we have succeeded means you have failed. And like all losers, you rush about squawking about how the sky will fall if you don’t get your way.

            It’s hysterical nonsense. Yes, radical Islam is a threat. Yes, it will be dealt with. No, more Christianity is not the way to deal with it. Less religion all round is the best way of assuring peace and prosperity: even for religionists.

          • Phil R

            Christians do not hat you we will try to curb your actions. That is different to hate

            I agree that you have punched above your weight but that will not last for ever. I see subtle changes. E.g. in France the younger Le Penn has already spoken out in favour of families and restricting LGBT (etc) “rights”

            militancy in this climate is counterproductive

          • Eustace

            If you see change in the extremist statements of Marion Maréchal-Le Pen then you’ll never want for moonshine.

            The stupid little girl is only a député because of her grandfather’s name and the fact that she has a reservoir of embittered and aged refugees from French Algeria to draw on for votes in the deeply conservative district she represents.

            The current immigrant crisis is increasing support for the FN, but when push comes to shove the French won’t vote it into power. To do so would require a swing so immense that never once in the history of the Republic has it ever been recorded. No party has ever gone from having just two seats to winning either a parliamentary or a presidential election. That’s just not how politics works.

            So this “change” you talk about is all in your imagination. Fantasize away and make our punishment as cruel as you like. What difference do the dreams in your head make to me?

          • Phil R

            Lets be clear here. I will not be doing any punnishing. Neither will any Christian. Whoever/whatever might follow on from Christian values, I would not be so sure.

            I also would not write off the FN yet. You could have wrtten off a Britexit a year ago.

          • Eustace

            Single issue campaigns like Brexit tell us nothing about how parliamentary and presidential elections will go.

            Support for Brexit was always substantial and although few predicted the late surge that made the Leave campaign win, it was always within the bounds of possibility.

            The FN’s total reservoir of possible votes does not exceed 30%. This could get them to the second round of a presidential election, but will ensure that whoever their opponent is wins with a crushing 70/30 majority.

            Claim whatever you like about a great wave of conservatism sweeping over Europe, but this basic electoral arithmetic can’t be ignored. The FN polarises the vote. One third like it. Two thirds loathe it. They can’t form a government on that basis and no other party will enter into a coalition with them.

            The best they can do is maybe win a couple more seats in the Assemblée Nationale. But like Ukip’s poor showing at your last general election, even at the height of their popularity, nothing could be less sure.

            Sorry to disappoint you, but la blondasse will not be forming a government, forcibly divorcing same-sex couples and putting us all in concentration camps.

          • Paul Correa

            How did that ‘less religion’ work out during the Soviet Gulag?

          • Eustace

            Soviet Russia bore all of the hallmarks of a religious state. Unquestioning obedience to an all-powerful philosophy was demanded, which meant that dissidents were treated just like the Church treated heretics.

            Modern secular states do not demand absolute adherence to one philosophy. You can believe what you like as long as you respect other people’s right to believe what they like.

            The first secular states were an intermediary step between religion and true secularism. Poisoned by the absolutist nature of the religions they succeeded, terrible excess was to be expected. Now however we’ve moved beyond that.

          • Dreadnaught

            That’s what your idea of solidarity amounts to.
            No. That’s the position you would prefer.
            You know nothing about me or my family or their sexual orientation.
            Any idea why I might find that objectionable? No, I thought not.
            I don’t understand why you answer your own questions.
            I’m sure you were once precious to your own parents, organic or adoptive. I’m sure Elton and David love their children as much as anyone else.
            No call for solidarity (whatever you mean by that purpose or to what) from me.

            Then expect the LGBT community to consider you an enemy.
            I can live with that but…
            How can you possibly speak with any representative authority or confidence for an undefinable group identified only by a pseudo-political label.

          • Eustace

            I don’t speak for the LGBT community, but as a member of it, I’m familiar with the widespread and justified attitude of hostility towards Christianity that pervades it.

            Most gaypeople know that if they support Christianity over Islam, all they’re doing is asking the wolf to save them from the tiger.

            And it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that the concept of solidarity means nothing to you. Why would it? All that matters to you is protecting yourself and your family against Islam. It doesn’t matter who pays the price for that protection, as long as it isn’t you.

            By supporting Christianity you validate its homophobic positions and make it that little bit more able to influence society and government against us. That makes you an ally of our enemy, which makes you our enemy too.

          • Dreadnaught

            Most gay people know that if they support Christianity over Islam, all they’re doing is asking the wolf to save them from the tiger.

            Don’t be such a pathetic cry-baby: public acceptance of homosexuals as part and parcel of society has advanced and largely accepted beyond all recognition during the last 40 years. Compare that to what advances have been made in the Islamic world.
            Of course if being a perennial victim is your default position in life thats a problem of your own making – get over yourself.

          • Eustace

            It’s exactly that kind of insufferable and patronising arrogance that marks you out as the self-important tosser I take you for.

            In order to protect your own skin, you want to make common cause with a religion whose aim is reduce the LGBT community to the status of second-class citizens to be discriminated against and punished merely for living our lives. They don’t just want to crush us under their religious jackboot. They want to erase our very identity and force us to live as outcasts in a society they control. This their stated agenda and you want to help them make it happen in return for their cooperation against Islam.

            Go ahead. Try. We didn’t win the freedoms we enjoy today without having to fight for them. And if we have to fight to retain them, so be it.

            We’ve already beaten the Church, so an unholy alliance of Christians and extremist atheist Islamophobes shouldn’t be too difficult to see off.

          • Paul Correa

            Our motive isn’t to ‘reduce the alphabet people to 2nd class status’, it is to offer them salvation and healing through Jesus Christ. You sound like a very bitter, unhappy people, not ‘gay’ at all.

          • Eustace

            Offer us all the fairy tales you like. We won’t take them seriously because they’re not real. If they are, prove it.

            We’re not happy when we’re surrounded by bitter, carping and condematory Christians. Who could be? Our parade is a joyful thing when you’re not raining on it. But you only ever see us when you are.

            Shut the f&€4 up about your fairy godfather and how he hates us for 5 minutes and then we might forget you’re there and you’ll see our true colours. Keep on moaning and complaining and condemning, and don’t be surprised if you’re met with anger and indignation in return.

          • Paul Correa

            OK, now I get it, you’re a lesbian who hates Christianity because you don’t want to give up your perversion. Makes sense. Always interesting when those who say they don’t believe in a personal God hate Him in a personal way.

          • Eustace

            And perhaps soon enough they’ll be throwing Christians off roofs. Will that cause you to convert suddenly to secularism.

            (Some) Muslims kill openly. Christians prefer a more covert approach. Attacking those they hate with words like “perversion” to try and instill self-hatred in their targets, hoping that we’ll save you the trouble and take our own lives.

            Welcome to the wonderful world of Christian “love” and “mercy”. Boy does it stink. And the psychopaths who promote it smell even worse.

          • Paul Correa

            You are clueless, Eustace, Christianity is projected to grow 35% between 2015 and 2050. See “The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity” by Prof. Philip Jenkins. Yes, it is fading in the dying West, at least til the next Great Awakening. The fact most are not serious Christians, Jesus talked about the broad road that leads to destruction. Sounds like you are on it.

          • Eustace

            Third World growth heralds Third World decline. Rising living standards will see to that, just as they did in the West.

            You’re living through the last gasp of your religion. It isn’t a second wind. It’s the rally before the end.

      • Inspector General

        Do you still work as a prostitute, Eustace?

        • Eustace

          You really know an enemy is vanquished when he starts betraying his own principles in order to get back at you.

          Go right ahead with the slander and bearing of false witness, old bigot. If your God exists, you’ll be judged and condemned for it. And if he doesn’t, no amount of poison spat at me will relieve the bitterness of your defeat.

          • Inspector General

            Good evening Eustace. Ready for tonight’s thumping?

          • Eustace

            Thumping? That’s hardly fair. You keep walking into my fist, old fool. Anyone would think you enjoyed it.

            Which of course you probably do. What did those Irish Christian Brothers do to you to make you enjoy being smacked about so much?

          • Inspector General

            Do you know, you have been the subject of much talk here lately. It seems that many cannot bear your virtual presence on this site and have blocked you! Rest assured the Inspector will NEVER do that. Fight evil wherever it raises it’s unpleasant head is the Inspector’s philosophy.

          • Eustace

            Let them block me! If they don’t read my posts, my arguments will stand unchallenged to influence those who do read them, which is the whole point.

            And of course the Bible clearly states that Christians should, when challenged, throw a tantrum and flounce off like spoiled children, refusing ever to talk to the beast who dared to contradict them. It must do. Otherwise why do so many of them do just that?

            If the likes of Jack and his fat American evangelical alter ego want to behave like children in the schoolyard and send me to Coventry, all it does is reinforce my argument that Christians are childish narcissists.

            Oh yes, it’s all going beautifully to plan…

          • Inspector General

            The bible states that St Peter carried a sword. When challenged, he famously cut off the ear of a temple official. Christ would have known he carried a sword, and said nothing, except at the amputation. “Leave it out, Pete, he’s not worth it” or similar…

            Walk your way as you must do, but beware of what Christianity is capable of…

          • Whereupon Jesus said to him, “Put thy sword back into its place; all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.”

            And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more” of this! And He touched the man’s ear and healed him.

          • IanCad

            Have to say it Eustace; I agree with you.

          • dannybhoy

            Carl?

          • IanCad

            I suppose it must only be him. Never given us any indication as to his weight though.
            Eustace’s assertion may be based on a study of Americans through the lens of “People of Wal-Mart.”

          • dannybhoy

            He’s based it on this….

          • IanCad

            That’s brilliant Danny. More truth than poetry I’m afraid.

          • Mathew 7:6
            “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

            Proverbs 9:8
            “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you. Reprove a wise man and he will love you.”

    • Martin

      Jill

      Since the CoE fails to apply church discipline, except on dead bishops where the evidence is poor, it is natural that the wicked will want their wickedness reinterpreted as righteousness.

    • dannybhoy

      Buying a bigger closet for the vestry?

    • The Explorer

      As Graves’ Emperor Claudius put it, “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.” Let’s have the dozen gay bishops out in the open, and know where we are.

    • Inspector General

      The Inspector recalls the phrase “working together, we can do it!”

      The best way to deal with this is to sack those involved. They’ve defied Anglican regulations, which is ‘gross misconduct’ in the workplace in the ‘real’ world…

      • Inspector General

        http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/09/04/fourteen-gay-priests-reveal-they-have-married-to-defy-the-church-of-england/

        “We encourage you to be bold … to what you know to be increasingly the direction of travel, not just in our church but in many churches in this country.”

        And so it starts. A church within a church. The demands come in, and come in, and come in…

      • dannybhoy

        I have just had a thought though. The CofE is an equal ops employer. There can be no discrimination under the law of the land, and so these fine fellows in leadership are in a cleft stick.
        Which often happens when you trade loyalties and become a willing puppet for the secular State.

        • CliveM

          The Clergy aren’t employees and aren’t covered by the requirement.

          • dannybhoy

            Ahh, you’re back are you!
            Get everyone wondering where you are and what’s happened to you, then “Ta Dahhh!”
            you return, and chuck your five penn’orth into the ring…
            Nice to see you back Clive. Trust all is well.
            “The Clergy aren’t employees and aren’t covered by the requirement.”
            I didn’t know that, although I rather think that for all practical purposes they are, as they are paid and are provided with housing and a pension. There may be some concessions as it is a calling, but the Church authorities still have to follow the law of the land.
            (I’m sticking to my theory!)

          • CliveM

            Formally they are office holders, not employees. Th was confirmed by the Courts 2012.

          • dannybhoy

            (Danny chews on wasp and grudgingly..)
            I looked it up and it seems you are right. I looked this up….
            TOWARDS GOOD PRACTICE IN THE APPOINTMENT OF CLERGY TO PAROCHIAL POSTS IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND..
            https://www.churchofengland.org/media/1291742/towards%20good%20practice%20for%20the%20web.htm

        • Inspector General

          As far as one is aware Danny, the CoE has significant protections under the law as a church. Just as well, otherwise it might be obliged to queer itself…

    • magnolia

      Oh dear…..

      Nevertheless there is prayer, and more prayer.

      Signally unimpressed by this letter

      Mad world.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The headline asks ‘So what?’ Simples really. This man denies that what God’s Word states as sin is in fact sin – indeed, he positively glories in it. That’s what.

  • Jill

    The best comments on why this is so important, in my opinion, come from Canon Gavin Ashenden.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p046rbgm?ocid=socialflow_twitter

    • Gavin Ashenden can be the separate judicial orthodox Archbishop in charge of his separate set of judicial orthodox bishops with full legal authority.
      Interesting interview on Anglican Unscripted.

    • David

      Agreed, on both accounts.

  • Quote from Premier ‘Christian’ Radio website:

    Bishop of Lincoln Christopher Lowson said: “I am satisfied now, as I was at the time of his appointment, that Bishop Nicholas fully understands, and lives by, the House of Bishops’ guidance on Issues in Human Sexuality.

    “For me, and for those who assisted in his appointment, the fact that Bishop Nicholas is gay is not, and has never been, a determining factor.

    “I understand that in some parts of the church, locally, nationally and internationally, this news will be challenging. My prayer for the church is that we will continue to seek to work together to understand difference with respect and dignity; to embrace and nurture our diverse gifts as disciples of Jesus Christ and in the service of God and neighbour; and to enrich and enable fulfillment in the lives of all God’s people, whatever their background, race, faith, gender or sexuality.”

    Baffled that you confuse the clear admission of this deviant bishop (at least he is being honest!) with platonic brotherly love. Surely if his friendship is purely platonic he would be vigorously refuting the press articles, not confirming his ‘gayness’. Now, the sin begets more sin as it is reported that:

    “More than a dozen clergy in the Church of England have revealed they’ve defied teaching by entering into gay marriages.

    An open letter is signed by 14 gay and lesbian clergy, along with other members of the laity calling for “diversity” of beliefs within the church.”

    Apparently there are up to eleven other bishops in these shameful relationships. Presumably Archbishop Wellbeing and the House of Bishops of ill repute knew of and approved their relationships and see them as ‘irrelevant’?

    GAFCON’s comment surely gets to the heart of the matter:

    “We remain opposed to the guidelines for clergy and Bishops, permitting them to be in same sex relationships as long as they publicly declare that the relationship is not sexual. This creates confusion in terms of the church’s teaching on the nature of sex and marriage, and it is not modelling a helpful way to live, given the reality of our humanity, and temptation to sexual sin.”

    “God is not the author of confusion”. That title belongs to the father of lies who is currently well advanced on his Last Days schedule of the virtual destruction of the church. This latest scandal only multiplies the confusion in the church and in the world. Most who follow this blog will not need reminding that “if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived”.

    Lord, Oh that your people would continue to shine a light on all sin and the promotion of it.

    • magnolia

      Great post.

      I am also confused about these supposedly celibate co-habiting partnered gay men. Why the need to co-habit if it is just a friendship? Isn’t that being a stumbling block to other Christians who long to think the best of their leaders but cannot be blamed for harbouring completely logical doubts here, as they would with their heterosexual equivalents…. I had also thought clergy could not sublet houses they live in for legal reasons, as the church does not want tenants who have rights of habitation. Does this not apply if you are gay? Genuinely puzzled here.

      I feel the suggestion that one should understand difference, embrace diversity and look for the fulfilment of those of differing sexuality is just employing codewords for going slowly in one direction, and a wrong one at that.

      I have encountered those who are just playing a waiting game, while engaged in a degree of deception and using any leeway going. Not surprising really, but certainly not sincere and transparent nor a matter for celebrating.

  • Jill

    Well this is interesting. It now appears that the Bishop was not in fact blackmailed by a Sunday newspaper. According to Colin Coward it is (a) impossible to ‘out’ somebody who is already ‘out’ and (b) the Sunday Times (it was they, according to CC) could not have done so within the law, and they in fact offered to keep his name out of the proposed article, making it much more general. This puts a rather different light on why he chose to ‘out’ himself to the Guardian (interesting choice of newspaper). He needn’t have done anything at all. Sounds like part of an orchestrated campaign to me, especially with reports of 11 other supposedly gay bishops, the open letter from 14 gay ‘married’ clergy, and the fact that there is a meeting of Bishops next week to discuss such matters.

    The church has already sold the pass on ‘gay’, accepting it as an identity rather than a pattern of behaviour, and it is quite difficult to back-pedal on this. But now that it has happened, it DOES matter that those entrusted with handing the Christian faith AS RECEIVED to the next generation should be seen as beyond reproach. How can we possibly witness to an unbelieving world authentic Christian teaching on marriage when its leaders are openly and unashamedly flaunting it. I do think we fail to see the bigger picture sometimes – we may argue about celibacy, chastity, etc, but to the outside world the bishop is gay, and the rest is merely semantics.

    • magnolia

      Great sleuthing. There is also a strong whiff, some might use a stronger word, of manipulation, machination and dishonesty if you are correct, and I believe you are; these are never propitious for the sincerity and gentleness and concern not to be a stumbling block to others that are the mark of those seeking to follow their Lord, and to take their instructions on who they are from Him alone.

    • Anton

      Quite. The last two Archbishops of Canterbury have both suggested that the Old Testament legislation relates only to men seeking recreational widening of their sex lives beyond heterosexual activity, rather than to self-identified homosexuals. Which ignores the fact that it is particular ACTS that God legislates against. What would these slippery Archbishops say about that?

      • carl jacobs

        What would these slippery Archbishops say about that?

        That you are a hateful homophobe who should be silenced either by social stigmatization or by legal punishment.

        Or something like that.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      “The church has already sold the pass on ‘gay’, accepting it as an identity rather than a pattern of behaviour…”

      Which church are you talking about, Jill? If any church has accepted ‘gay’ either as an identity or as a pattern of behaviour, then either way that church is wrong, since it is neither. It is a colloquial word for homosexual, just as ‘straight’ is a colloquial word for heterosexual, and both are sexual orientations, which may or may not be expressed in sexual behaviour, or even patterns of behaviour. Both are, however, perfectly legitimate ASPECTS – and merely aspects – of a person’s identity.

      “…but to the outside world the bishop is gay…”

      Well, there’s nothing wrong with that.

  • carl jacobs

    And your phone? Have you no phone as well? Even Canadians have phones these days – albeit with land lines. But still …

    • CliveM

      It was a phone she didn’t pack the charger for!

      Still nothing much has changed, Linus is still talking about himself I see.

  • Richard Emery

    As I read both this article and the recent article headed “Same-sex marriage/blessing confronts Church of England with “a structural flaw of fatal proportions”” I find myself realizing that we are stumbling because we don’t have a common understanding of the words that we are using.

    Perhaps we are all being very ‘British’ and refusing to say what we really mean when it comes to sexual behaviour because it means using words that we are uncomfortable with.

    Or perhaps we are being unclear because we just don’t want to be clear.

    But if we don’t understand what we mean by the words that we use then how can we even hope to present a clear message to the world with whom we are commanded to share the gospel?

    So let’s start with, what do we mean by ‘Gay’? To me it means that the individual is actively seeking to engage in intimate sexual activity with someone who is the same sex; be that oral sex or anal intercourse. (I don’t intend to offend but these are words that I feel we need to use.)

    In my view anyone who chooses to be celibate is not ‘Gay’.

    Guys who prefer the company of other guys or girls who prefer the company of other girls are not ‘gay’, they just prefer the company of other people who are the same sex as themselves.

    We need to understand, and clearly communicate, that when the Bible says “love one another” it means agápe, philía, or storgē love and not eros love. But most people will not have even the foggiest idea what we mean by these words so:

    Love is agápe – to whole heartedly want the best for another person.

    Love is philía – affectionate regard and friendship, usually between equals.

    Love is storgē – affection, especially of parents and children.

    Love is eros – intimate sexual relationship.

    Agápe, philía, and storgē love are wonderful. They all involve giving of ourselves to others in a way that is really positive.

    Eros love, an intimate sexual relationship love, is also really positive but it is reserved exclusively for one man and one woman in a life-long relationship which we call marriage.

    And so the Anglican church faces at least two questions:

    1) Are we prepared to say, clearly and unequivocally, that the Bible teaches that the only context for intimate sexual behaviour is between one man and one woman in a life-long relationship which we call marriage?

    2) And then are we prepared to discipline everyone who rejects this teaching? If the individual is a lay member of an Anglican church this could mean the withdrawal of the invitation to share at the Lord’s table. If the individual is employed, whether ordained or not, then their employment should be suspended unless and until they fully repent and turn back.

    And then we come to the question of unmarried people living in the same household, which takes us right back to the question of the meaning of words. What do we mean by co-habiting?

    I hope that we can all agree that this means: “living together and having a sexual relationship without being married.”

    But this article includes the following comment: “After all, some very fine and upstanding Christian leaders have been in “committed, long-term relationships” with other men, even to the point of cohabiting” but then continues by saying: “Surely a relationship between two men which is not sexual is friendship? If eros is absent, there remains only philia, storge and agape, all of which are noble and virtuous amongst and between friends and family. What is the problem with a strong, deep emotional bond between two men?”

    Have I misunderstood what the author was saying? If so then I apologise.

    And so we come to the question of appearance. Paul wrote: “Now the overseer is to be above reproach” (1 Tim 3:2). I understand this to mean that in most circumstances it would be unwise for two unmarried people who are in Christian leadership, whether of the same sex or opposite sexes, to live together in the same household. But I only say ‘unwise’ because it may be either appropriate or simply the only option, in some circumstances.

    In closing may I just share a final thought on the consequences of sexual sin? We don’t like talking about the consequences of sin but God’s word is very clear that there are often very severe consequences. After all, 40 years wandering in the desert rather than going into the promised land was the consequence of sin.

    I encourage you to open your eyes and consider the cost of sexually transmitted deceases, AIDs/HIV, teenage pregnancies, abortion, single parent housing and benefits. Why are their 12million AIDS/HIV orphans in Africa? Isn’t all this because people have turned their backs on the Biblical teaching of celibacy before marriage and heterosexual monogamy after marriage?

    God says: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:14.

    Our land needs healing – but it has to start with those of us who have a personal faith in God.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Good post..well researched and coherent. I know the term cohabit has sexual implications but does it necessarily follow. What is the term for two people who share a house…they may even be relatives or just good friends…have a close relationship without a sexual relationship? I think a new term needs to be coined.

      • Paul Correa

        It is inappropriate for a bishop, whom the Bible says must be ‘above reproach’. It would be the same if a heterosexual bishop were to live with a woman.

        • Cressida de Nova

          I think the problem is our world is over sexualised. Catholic priests used to have female housekeepers looking after their domestic needs. In fact it is balanced and healthier for a male to have a female presence in his life .There are other types of relationships apart from sexual ones. I agree that a male homosexual bishop should not be sharing with another male homosexual. It is not appropriate for the position.

  • len

    At the foot of the Great White Throne Judgement before the Creator of the Universe. I don’t think “So what!” will quite cut it…

    • dannybhoy

      There I have to agree Len.

    • magnolia

      I also think that in terms of church pastoral discipline the ground is shot away under him. If a parishioner of the- putative- Rev’d AB (who has a very attractive lady CD obviously besotted and wearing an eternity ring living under his roof and just chipping into some household expenses, or maybe paying full rent) complains about the set up to him, what can he say or do?

      If they say “oh we’re just celibate friends with an understanding” what can he say that is not hypocritical? Can he doubt that that is likely? Can he administer any church discipline whatever? Can he demand they be upfront?

      These things matter, and it seems they are being systematically sidelined.

      • Mikhail Ramendik

        …what church discipline?

        • magnolia

          Fair question; in the Anglican church it varies form diocese to diocese, and area to area. It still happens, though on average it is considerably harsher towards heterosexuals than to homosexuals. An awful reality that cannot be sustained.

          Are you Orthodox? If so I fully agree that your church discipline in such matters is far, far more in line with the NT than ours at the moment.

  • Anton

    Bishop Chamberlain has recntly stated, “my sexual identity is part of who I am.” Given that the identity of Christians is found in Christ, that is disturbing…