gay marriage
Theology

Theresa May did not instruct the CofE to allow gay marriage

‘Prime Minister: The Church should “reflect” on allowing gay couples to marry’, declares the Telegraph; ‘Theresa May Suggests Churches Should Consider Conducting Same-Sex Marriages’, says Huffpost UK; ‘May: Church should reflect on stance on gay marriage’, the Daily Mail repeats. Then the same-sex marriage tweets proliferated, beginning with the Telegraph‘s Chief Political Correspondent Christopher Hope, followed by hundreds of other activists and churnalists fanning the same ember of mandatory ecclesial emancipation: a preponderance of prime-ministerial ‘shoulds’ lecturing the Church of England on what it means to be free, giving the impression that Theresa May believes that it is for the Government to instruct the Established Church in matters of dogmatic theology and sexual morality.

Except she said nothing of the sort.

In an interview with LBC‘s Iain Dale, this is what he asked, and this is how she responded:

INTERVIEWER:

We all know your father was a vicar in the Church of England. Do you think that, I mean, many years on he would have been sympathetic to the idea of Church of England vicars being able to bless gay marriages? Because under the law at the moment they’re not allowed to do that.

PRIME MINISTER

Yes, I mean, it’s very difficult to say what somebody who, you know – sadly my father has now been dead for gosh, you know, getting on for well over 30 years, over 35 years. But I think as an individual he very much valued the importance of relationships of people affirming those relationships and of them – of seeing stability in relationships and people able to be together with people that they love.

INTERVIEWER

Is that the next stage though? Because – and there are many gay Christians. There are many gay clergymen who would like to be able to do this but at the moment aren’t able to. Would you like to see the law evolve on that?

PRIME MINISTER

I mean, this is – this has to be a matter for the – for the Church. I mean, it is important that the Church is able – and the Church – the Church of England has itself come a distance in terms of looking at these issues.  And obviously they will want to reflect as attitudes more generally change, as society changes.

Do you see a ‘should’, a ‘must’ or an ‘ought’ in there regarding the future of gay marriage or blessing? “This has to be a matter for the Church,” the Prime Minister said. Could she have been any clearer? Has her position on this not been utterly consistent? “I strongly support equal marriage, and I know that these debates will continue, but it will have to be for the church as a whole to decide if it wants to make a change to its canon law,” she said only a few months ago. The church as a whole: Theresa May has absolutely no intention of forcing the Church of England to perform gay marriage (or blessing), and absolutely no desire to lecture it in the way it should go.

What Theresa May did articulate was a rather more nuanced way of doing theology – practical theology, which some term applied theology. “And obviously (the Church) will want to reflect as attitudes more generally change, as society changes,” she said. And of course that is exactly as it should be, for the Christian faith is a living, contextual, cooperative faith, concerned with the theology that needs to be done where the people are at. It is a religion of pastoral care, counselling, compassion and spiritual direction; the forming and maintenance of community; the teaching and learning about sin and salvation in real-life situations.

If the Church does not reflect on how theology is affected by human interaction, it is dead. A religion which considers itself immune from mutability in the light of human experience will find no relevance at all in any culture. What the Prime Minister advanced in this brief exchange is the importance of the dialogical process of mutual change – the institutional reflection and self-critical meditation that may both reform Church praxis and transform human practice. The balancing of value-directed action with pastoral accommodation is not always easy to get right, but that is no reason or justification for paralysis. Note that she makes absolutely no prescriptive judgment at all on how the Church’s reflections should conclude: she simply exhorts the need for the Christian life to be rooted in the real world; for the Church to find relevance in relation to wider society.

So all those fevered ‘shoulds’ are #FakeNews: Theresa May’s Christianity stems from a pragmatic, practical grasp of theology which pursues the question of Christian witness in relation to cultural context. This includes reflecting on how the Church of England’s structures and practices help or hinder that witness. And that, presumably, is a very useful thing for the Church to do, and a laudable thing for a Christian prime minister to contribute to.

  • Gregory Morris

    The Church needs to stand as a bulwark against the tide. She might not be able to stop the tide of apostasy but she can prophesy against the soothsayers who say that all is well and we have just got to go with the flow along the broad road that leads to destruction. Strait is the gate….

    I refer here to the church generally. The Anglican Church in these Islands is institutionally ripe for judgement in its Laodicean state – even there the Lord is gracious and calls on each individual to respond to his voice.

  • magnolia

    Amazing how carefully the media shuns any depth of analysis or thought at all on this matter. Probably because they know their construction has as much toughness or ability to withstand thoughtful contradiction as a castle made up of multicoloured meringue with sparkly pink sprinkles glued on with glucose.

  • I just take the view that the CofE can make any decision it wishes. If this decision is contrary to my beliefs, I won’t be out there protesting, I will simply no longer attend the church. I would either attend a non-conformist church if there is one with traditional Christian views or, in the limit, simply pray at home, or privately in the parish church.
    Many people look towards their religion as a bulwark of stability in a mad, ever changing, world. Regrettably, the CofE no longer seems to supply this stability and has become part of the madness.
    One might argue that is one of the attractions of Islam, it doesn’t change with the direction of the wind, and its adherents seem to have no desire for change.

  • Anton

    She didn’t say it. Good. But she is a control freak, she is the most powerful person in the land, and she has said that she doesn’t believe homosexual relations are sinful. Given that combination, what confidence can we have in her on this subject? And is she exerting pressure behind the scenes?

    • Albert

      She may be the most powerful person in the land, but she is not very powerful.

    • bluedog

      ‘And is she exerting pressure behind the scenes?’

      Isn’t Cameron exerting pressure on TM behind the scenes, and that includes the presence of Gavin Barwell as her chief of staff?

      • Anton

        I don’t know; is he? I get the impression that he knows how to enjoy his private life and is probably doing just that. Decent chap over a dinner I reckon, just not a Tory. How he got to lead that party says more about it than about him.

        • bluedog

          He can’t stay away. He’ll be back at No 10 in time.

          • Anton

            If you know more than me about this, please share it!

          • bluedog

            Some people read cards, other people read tea-leaves, this writer reads personalities. It’s a character judgement and hopefully a bad ‘un.

          • Anton

            What you reckon about Cameron, I reckon about Blair. Thankfully Iraq has made him unelectable.

      • Hi

        From his £25,000 garden shed?

        • bluedog

          It’s bespoke and therefore cheap at twice the price. We had a shepherd’s hut on the farm when I was a kid. I think my father bought it for a fiver at a sale. We should have kept it, tarted it up and sold it to a Cameron.

    • Watchman

      What is it about daughters of clergymen that makes them so apostate? Angela Merkel is another one and they are both too old to put it down to adolescent rebellion.

  • Albert

    I strongly support equal marriage

    So do I. It’s also called heterosexual marriage. Anything else is unequal.

    • John

      The term ‘heterosexual marriage’ is bizarre. It’s like saying ‘wet water’ or ‘one storey bungalows’ or ‘invisible radio waves’. Marriage can only be between one man and one woman. Anything else isn’t marriage, never was, and never will be.

      • Albert

        Quite. But I wanted it to be clear what I meant.

        • Doctor Crackles

          You should not need to.

          Also, heterosexual is a word gifted to us by the subversives. Once more than two genders becomes heterosexual could mean anything.

          • Albert

            Good point.

  • “A religion which considers itself immune from mutability in the light of human experience will find no relevance at all in any culture.”

    Wonder what Church praxis to transform human practice would have looked like in Sodom. Clearly God has much to learn from the modern church.

    Jack read May’s comments as affirming same sex relationships and the idea of blessing same sex unions.

    • Albert

      The quotation just seems obviously wrong. Consider Islamism. It considers Islam immune from mutability in the light of human experience, but it seems distinctly relevant in most cultures.

      • For Christians it’s about the appropriate boundaries of mutability in praxis. There are “red lines” and Jack would say the church affirming same sex relationships as God given and pleasing in His sight is one of them.

        • Albert

          Fundamentally, it comes down to natural law. If you think there is such a thing, and a fixed human nature, then there is a limit to how much morality can change. If you think there isn’t, then in principle it could change, and it comes down to a matter of biblical interpretation.

          • “Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact—one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history—the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.”

            http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-x/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_19070908_pascendi-dominici-gregis.html

          • Albert

            Those were the days.

          • So good it appeared (miraculously) twice!

          • Albert

            Let’s see if any quotations from Luther or Calvin appear miraculously twice!

          • How about this from Luther:

            “Christ committed adultery first of all with the woman at the well about whom St. John tells us. Was not everybody about Him saying: “Whatever has he been doing with her?” Secondly, with Mary Magdalene, and thirdly with the woman taken in adultery whom he dismissed so lightly. Thus even Christ, who was so righteous, must have been guilty of fornication before He died.”
            (D. Martin Luthers Werke, kritische Gesamtausgabe [Hermann Bohlau Verlag, 1893], vol. 2, no. 1472, April 7 – May 1, 1532, p. 33)

          • Anton

            The reference, which looks like a “critical edition of Luther’s works”, is actually to the well-known compilation known as Luther’s Table Talk, written down by others. It never came from his pen. It is absent of context and, to be consistent with Luther’s freely expressed views elsewhere about Christ, and his knowledge of the Bible, is obviously a parody of some type. Anybody who has read Luther knows that he would not fall for the Mary Magdalene nonsense which is not in the gospels at all. His life’s work was to stick the church more closely to the gospels.

          • He didn’t say it, said it in jest or parody, he was possibly drunk, or he was misunderstood.

            Still, he was sound about Our Blessed Lady:

            “Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . “brothers” really means “cousins” here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers ….

            He, Christ, our Saviour, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that ….

            “God says . . . : “Mary’s Son is My only Son.” Thus Mary is the Mother of God.”
            (Sermons on John, chapters 1-4, 1537-39)

            “It is a sweet and pious belief that the infusion of Mary’s soul was effected without original sin; so that in the very infusion of her soul she was also purified from original sin and adorned with God’s gifts, receiving a pure soul infused by God; thus from the first moment she began to live she was free from all sin.”
            (Sermon: “On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God,” December 1527)

            “The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart.”
            (Sermon, September 1, 1522)

            “[Mary is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honour her enough. Still honour and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures.”
            (Sermon, Christmas, 1531)

            “One should honour Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honour of Mary is the honour of God, the praise of God’s grace . . . Mary is nothing for the sake of herself, but for the sake of Christ . . . Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God.”
            (Explanation of the Magnificat, 1521)

            “Mary is the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of all of us even though it was Christ alone who reposed on her knees . . . If he is ours, we ought to be in his situation; there where he is, we ought also to be and all that he has ought to be ours, and his mother is also our mother.”
            (Sermon, Christmas, 1529)

          • Anton

            He didn’t say it, said it in jest or parody”

            You were there, Jack? I never knew.

          • Jack has a special orb that allows him to travel through time and space.

          • Anton
          • Since his illness, Jack no longer drinks alcohol.

          • Albert

            Well he accepted polygamy in some circumstances…

          • Anton

            So did God.

          • Albert

            Yes – prior to the New Covenant.

          • Anton

            The new covenant is for the church, which is expected to have higher standards than the world and whose members are given grace to conform to those standards (if they did but know it and are serious).

          • Albert

            And so your point is?

          • Anton

            You can’t work it out?

          • Albert

            No.

          • Christians get in sailing ships and head off for distant shores to establish their own society based on Mosaic Law away from reprobate nations.

          • Anton

            The result was America, which worked out rather well until the 1960s.

          • Tell that to native Americans, Mexicans and African slaves.

          • Anton

            Most native Americans died of disease brought inadvertently by Europeans, and there is always going to be trouble over the notion of land ownership when a hunter-gatherer culture encounters an agricultural culture.

            It was the more northerly Puritan colonies which eventually fought the civil war that ended slavery, against the more adventurist-founded southern colonies. The Mexican border was a complex issue which involved Spain.

          • “Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact—one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history—the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles. I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.”

          • Albert

            You seem to like this quotation so much you’ve posted it twice! It deserves it!

          • Very mysterious! Nothing to do with Happy Jack.

  • Richard B

    The recent General Synod’s apostasy has set C of E in place for a HUGE shake-down

    • Anton

      Let non-Anglican Christians pray for the CoE’s evangelicals. They need either to commence militant spiritual action within the CoE or quit it for other protestant churches. I believe that God will honour either alternative, and it is not for me to say which any individual should do. But doing nothing won’t do.

      • Hi

        Maybe Tim Farron can lead the prayers ?

      • “Let non-Anglican Christians pray for the CoE’s evangelicals.”
        Let’s not be quite so sectarian in our prayers.

        • Anton

          I fully agree with what you obviously mean, but I think it is fairly clear that my comment refers to a particular situation and context.

      • John

        If the Church of England takes this route, Evangelical churches – and possibly some Anglo Catholic ones too – will feel they must cease to pay parish share to their diocese. Once that happens the whole edifice will collapse in a matter of months.

        • Anton

          The CoE has two revenue streams, from investments/rent and from the parish share. The bishops cannot be prevented from controlling the former. We need to know more about the actual numbers on balance sheets, and we need to work out what the likely response to any action would be in order to work out the best course. A leader able to coordinate such action is needed, in conjunction with a good website that provides advice, strategy and tactics, and assures individual evangelicals in parishes that they are far from alone. At parish level, flyers distributing comments by apostate local clergy and bishops, and assuring people that a parish within a few miles remains faithful, would help. A large letter-writing campaign to any liberal bishop by several thousand lay members of his diocese would make evangelical demands hard to resist. Time also to start challenging apostate sermons in real time, frankly. The response will obviously be “If you don’t agree, leave quietly” and should be met with “This is *my* parish church, vicar – YOU leave, just as you have departed from the traditional and scriptural faith!”

          • Merchantman

            I don’t know why evangelicals can’t get themselves organised and run a parallel
            oversight grouping within the church. They would need to have a council of elders and theologians to condemn abuse of scripture and appointments. It could be a messy business to be sure, but as things stand doing nothing is not an option.

          • John

            This is happening; it is called GAFCON.

          • Merchantman

            It is always good to arrange these things grassroots up. No criticism but GAFCON can be discredited by its external establishment and few British roots. We need a home grown mustering of people and resources with impeccable credentials to step in and overturn the bad eggs.

          • Anton

            The problem is that Anglicans by definition are committed to the episcopal system.

          • Little Black Censored

            That is not in itself a problem. Whatever new arrangements unhappy Anglicans will commit themselves to must be episcopal. Several groups are emerging.

          • Merchantman

            I see today Gavin Ashenden’s latest interview #308 on You Tube that some Anglican evangelicals and traditionalists are joining in just such an oversight group.

      • Richard B

        Anton (et al) – agreed. No doubt body-wide intercession is underway but my thoughts of a likely schism/shaking were confirmed by at least one other who hears the Lord (ie not the usual clergy). Yes, I’m sure He honours those alternatives. (http://wp.me/p1Y1yB-9Zs refers)

  • Hi

    Theresa May is a politician and no doubt decided on her choice of words. To my mind her statement or thought process wasn’t about theology or sin , but for her and her party about political branding. The liberal conservatives believe that the conservative party has to detoxify from the nasty party . At least on social issues pertaining to middle-class “personal liberty” issues , rather than say looking after the mentally ill, disabled or retraining those on benefits. Therefore it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Mrs May or her successor pushed this through for political image purposes. ” Look we made the church of England change itself and we’re not bigots” or the nasty party ,oh and look were standing up to the DUP’. Something along those lines.

    • bluedog

      But where does it all end? There comes a time when there are no constraints at all, at which point the Left re-introduces those which suit its own agenda, such as the new blasphemy laws. Of course, they aren’t called blasphemy laws, but they serve to limit freedom of speech in exactly the same way as blasphemy laws.

      • Hi

        I agree, but politicians don’t think about long-term consequences and that’s why we have so many bad laws in this country.

        • Merchantman

          ‘We have so many bad laws in this country…’
          Made worse by liberal judges misinterpreting them where they can for the progressive agenda.

        • Linus

          You have bad laws because they were made by Christians.

          Want good laws? Take a look at secular France.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes – look at all those migrants queueing up at Dover to try to get to Calais.

          • Albert

            You mean, laws that mean a woman who covers up on the beach gets removed, but a woman on the same beach who wonders around showing all is fine.

          • Linus

            We have no laws that forbid a woman from covering up on a beach. Someone who gets his news from downmarket tabloids that don’t follow stories from start to finish might think we do. But that would merely be on account of his intellectual laziness and resulting ignorance. Or outright lies and animus.

            If you read quality broadsheets you might realise that the mayor in the South who banned burkinis from the beaches of his municipality was acting illegally. A woman can wear whatever she likes on a French beach as long as it isn’t a full burqa or niqab, both garments having been declared illegal (on beaches or in any other public area) several years ago for security reasons, given that they obscure the wearer’s face making identity checks impossible.

            If a woman wants to dress modestly on a French beach, no law will punish her for it. So stop slandering the Republic by telling lies about our legislation. It ill befits someone whose religion is supposed to respect the truth.

          • Albert

            What a lot of rot. All that just to get to this:

            A woman can wear whatever she likes on a French beach as long as it isn’t a full burqa or niqab, both garments having been declared illegal (on beaches or in any other public area) several years ago for security reasons, given that they obscure the wearer’s face making identity checks impossible.

            You don’t really believe that do you? Even in Trump’s US the burka isn’t banned, but in the land of Liberté it is. This has got nothing to do with security. It has everything to do with secular intolerance.

            If a woman wants to dress modestly on a French beach, no law will punish her for it. So stop slandering the Republic by telling lies about our legislation.

            It was the full covering I was talking about actually. So I wasn’t telling lies or slandering your Republic. I have no need, the evidence speaks for itself. France is not a land of freedom.

          • Linus

            Another typical Christian hypocrite. You condemn others for their sins while you yourself bear false witness without the slightest trace of shame or repentance.

            By all means continue to slander France and the French by telling lies about our laws, but if you check your facts, you’ll find that a woman can wear what she likes on the beach here. There is no law banning the Islamic “burkini” or any other modesty covering, with the exception of the burqa and the niqab, which may not be worn in any public place because they cover the face and therefore make identity checks impossible.

            There was a case recently when the mayor of a town in the South attempted to ban burkinis from the beaches of his municipality, but this act was judged to be illegal and not in conformity with French law.

            If you hadn’t been motivated by xenophobia and anti-Atheist prejudice and had made the effort to check your facts before making baseless accusations, I might take you a little more seriously. As it is, all you’ve succeeded in doing is proving (once again) just how bigoted, hypocritical and intellectually lazy you are.

            Not exactly a great advertisement for your faith, are you?

          • Albert

            Are you okay Linus? You seem to have made this point twice. My one answer will suffice. I don’t expect you to apologise for accusing me of lying, although if you were a decent person, you would.

          • Linus

            Your lies are clear for all to see. You have shamelessly slandered the French Republic by falsely claiming that it punishes women who cover up on the beach while those who go naked can do as they like.

            This is a bald-faced, out-and-out lie.

            Whether it’s based on your prejudiced ignorance or not, the effect of the lie is to make you a bearer of false witness. You unrepentantly sin and, when confronted with your evil actions, make no effort to repent and atone.

            Why?

            Because repentance and atonement are for “little people”, aren’t they? Not for likes of you, the sky pixie’s official spokesman who can do no wrong.

            And there we have it: the true raison d’être of your Christian faith. It’s a club to beat your opponents over the head with. But that club can never, ever be turned against you.

            Dirty hypocrite, I name you. Foul spawn of your sky pixie’s rebellious sub-pixie. The stench of “Do as I say, not as I do” pervades any church that you are a member of. And the really laughable thing is that you realise you’ve been caught in flagrante delicto but your overweening pride prevents you front publicly admitting it in case you lose face.

            This is the religion you peddle. Let all who read this understand what it truly is and who you truly are.

          • Albert

            Linus do remember I don’t bother to read your long rants. But you admitted that the Burka is illegal in France, therefore it is totally true that the French Republic punishes those women who cover-up. This is sad but true.

          • Linus

            No. You said the French Republic punishes women who cover up on beaches. You do not need to wear a burqa to cover up. In any case, women do not wear the burqa to go to the beach and none have ever been punished for doing so. They wear the burkini, which is NOT banned from public places under French law.

            Not only are you a liar, but when caught in the act of lying, you refuse to admit it and try to manipulate your way out of it by making further inaccurate and misleading statements.

            You really are a Jesuit, aren’t you? Who else could be so brazenly dishonest?

            And you wonder why your church is seen as a den of iniquity. Go gaze at your reflection in a glass, if you dare. There’s no sky pixie powerful enough to wash away your sins.

          • Albert

            No. You said the French Republic punishes women who cover up on beaches.

            I knew that Burkas are banned in France, therefore they are banned on beaches. The beach element is important because nakedness or just half nakedness isn’t. That’s the contrast. Now are you going to deny any of what I say is true?

          • Linus

            You said we had laws forbidding women from covering up on beaches. This is UNTRUE. Any woman can cover up on a beach using any garment she chooses provided it isn’t a burqa or a niqab.

            Are you going to deny that you told a lie in order to slander France and the French? Your original comment is just that: an untruth told with the express intention of misinforming and blackening a reputation in the process.

            Try to squirm your way out of it as best you can, but you’ve been caught red-handed bearing false witness and also attempting to manipulate your way out of the consequences of your sin. You give not the smallest sign of repentance or contrition. Why? Because YOU should never have to apologise to anyone like me, should you? Contrition is for mere mortals. Divinities like you can do what you like.

            I’ll say it squarely: you are a liar and a fraud who illustrates perfectly the exact reasons for the catastrophic decline of the church. You think you can lie and never say sorry. You think that threatening us with dire punishment by your sky pixie will cow us into obedience.

            Poor fool, not only are you entirely malevolent, entirely self-obsessed and entirely debased. You are also entirely deluded. This latest proof of your evil intentions won’t lower you in my estimation however. Nothing could. As far as rock-bottom is concerned, you and your rabble reached it long ago.

          • Albert

            You said we had laws forbidding women from covering up on beaches.

            Everybody knew I meant a burka. I’m surprised you’re carrying on with this – it’s not making France look good. In France, you can go naked on a beach, but you can’t wear a burka. What kind of priority is that? And what kind of freedom?

          • Linus

            The ultimate admission of guilt: a whiney “everyone knew what I meant!”

            Yes, they did. You meant to smear a whole country with lies. That’s how malevolent you are.

            For the information of any who may read these comments, burqas are banned in France because of the security risk they pose. Women (and men) can go naked on beaches because doing so harms no-one. If prudes are offended, let them look away. It is not the role of the Republic to comfort them in their religious prejudices and bigotry.

          • Albert

            That’s not an admission of guilt. The fact is, in France you can parade around in the nude on a beach, but you cannot wear a burka. Why is that?

          • Linus

            More lies. You really are pathological.

            “In France … you cannot wear a burka (sic).” Of course you can wear a burqa. Just not in a public place.

            Why? Because French law forbids covering the face in public. It applies to all garments that dissimulate the wearer’s facial features and prevent identification. Burqas, cagoules, balaclavas – they are all banned in public spaces.

            This is a security measure designed to give the police the power to arrest rioters who cover their faces to avoid indentification when rioting. The moment they set foot in a public space with their features covered, they can be arrested. Since the law was introduced, more than 1500 people have been thus detained and fined, the majority of them anarchists on the margins of demonstrations that are turning (or are about to turn) ugly.

            Muslim women – or anyone else, because the law applies to everyone – who want to cover themselves on the beach – or anywhere else classified as a public space – have the right to do so, as long as they don’t cover their faces. Islam has no requirement for facial dissimulation, therefore the law in no way restricts religious freedom. If a Muslim woman – or anyone else – wants to wear an abaya or a burkini or any other garment that covers her body fully on the beach, she – or he – can.

            This is the truth of the matter, which of course you will still dispute, because having uttered a belief, no matter how prejudiced and erroneous it may be, your pride and narcissism require you to defend it to the death. Because how could YOU possibly be wrong? YOU, from whom proceedeth all light and truth. How could YOU, the creator of almighty god, get anything wrong? Besides, if you admit defeat and apologise for spreading malicious slander, you’ll lose caste among the other bigots who post here. And that would never do, now would it?

          • Albert

            More lies. You really are pathological.
            “In France … you cannot wear a burka (sic).” Of course you can wear a burqa. Just not in a public place.

            If in order to defend your position, you have to make such distinctions, when the distinction is obvious, then I think I can see why we are disagreeing. The French state is a jealous god. It is too big too intolerant and therefore has some bad laws, as I said at the beginning.

            Incidentally, burka is a perfectly legitimate spelling for what is, after all, an Arabic word. And that’s as far as I am reading of your post.

    • Anton

      But somebody save me from the “tyranny of nice”, for I WANT a nasty party who will cut benefits and I want Francis Urquhart as Prime Minister.

      • Hi

        It’s George Osbourne and his ilk, who want to recast the conservative party as a 19th century style liberal party, hence the push for socially liberal and economically liberal politics .

      • Linus

        You really do live in a fantasy world, don’t you? God, Jesus, Francis Urquhart … all fictional characters in a world that only exists in your head.

        Here in the real world it won’t be long before the CofE accepts same sex marriage. All the bigots will shriek “Schism!” and go scattering off into their nasty little nests of bigotry where they’ll nurse a hatred for the “libtards” who destroyed their church before dwindling away to nothing as old age picks them off one by one.

        And the world will go on…

        • Anton

          It won’t go on. The modern Western promiscuous lifestyle has yet to prove that it can sustain its values down generations and it looks increasingly like it can’t and will be supplanted by Islam. Where will you be then? Committed Christians *expect* persecution, but all you can do when they come for you is shout “It’s not fair!” (or “bigot”) and nobody will be listening.

          • Linus

            Islam is a complete red herring that desperate Christians try to drag across the path of secular society in an attempt to scare us into choosing your religion instead of theirs.

            But it’s a false choice. The real choice is between secularism and religion. And that choice has already been made. The West is secular and will stay that way. People raised in a secular society will never support the yoke of religion.

            Your time is over. Squirm all you like. Shriek about Muslim bogeymen. Nobody’s paying any attention.

          • Anton

            I’m ready. You clearly are not. Plenty of secular (and gay!) people see the threat, like Douglas Murray.

          • Linus

            You’re paranoid. I am not. Secularism is however no sure protector against paranoid fantasy. It helps, but if you’re naturally prone to believing in conspiracy theories and dark plots, it can’t make you entirely rational.

          • Anton

            Murray paranoid too?

          • It’s really the Lizards we need to be afraid of – very afraid.

          • Anton

            I had a pet slow-worm once.

          • dannybhoy

            You practiced your punch lines on him?
            You say he was slow; did he understand that he was a pet?

          • Anton
          • dannybhoy

            A man I admire enormously for his courage and integrity. Just bought his latest book…

          • Marty The Legend Continues

            I like Douglas Murray, even if he is a poofter.

          • bluedog

            With Islam, you cannot afford to take a risk. If you are wrong, there is no prospect of recovery. There is not the slightest chance of western secularism, a highly feminised code, prevailing against Islam, a religion that plays to the worst instincts of young males. Once Islam races through the non-Islamic migrant communities it will start to attack the youth of the white working class. When your army is Islamic and not even token Christian, you will lose the France you know.

          • Linus

            Ah the Muslim Peril, it spreads like a disease, doesn’t it?

            Islam is like any other religion. It only spreads in the presence of ignorance. Educate the people and it withers and dies, just like Christianity is in the process of doing.

        • Inspector General

          There are two things that are without end, Linus. One is God’s kingdom. The other is homosexual demands. The CoE knows it cannot acquiesce to militant gays because once the door is opened, the needs will flow in like water in a flood.

          The world will go on, as you say, but none of your crowd will be in the driving seat…

      • dannybhoy

        We need leaders with convictions not concerns..

        • Anton

          Urquhart managed to avoid conviction, but only by being assassinated…

          • dannybhoy

            You are being funny yes?

          • Anton

            In which post?

          • dannybhoy

            Above.
            What did you think I meant by ‘leaders with convictions’?

          • Anton

            Yes, I was being funny in that one.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, I’m glad we got that sorted out.
            I think the moment has passed now, don’t you?

          • Anton

            I was never at risk of being offended. I thought you might have been asking if I really wanted someone like Urquhart as PM, to which I couldn’t possibly comment.

          • dannybhoy

            Have we now moved to the twilight zone? Who mentioned being offended?

          • Anton

            Evidently I misinferred something. Let’s forget it, I’m off to the pub.

      • Chefofsinners

        Linus will save you from the tyranny of nice.

        • Anton

          That’s not very, er…

          • Chefofsinners

            In keeping with the Nicene creed?

  • Chefofsinners

    What a load of utter, utter bollocks.
    The suggestion here is clear, both from the PM and from Cranmer: move with the times. Change theology to suit society.
    No, no, no.
    God is immutable. Morality is absolute. Build your own God if you want. It will be a false idol.

    • Bernard from Bucks

      No, no no, no!
      I agree we must not change these “boundaries of mutability”.
      Who is it that thinks that mutations are acceptable?

      • Chefofsinners

        ‘Tis Mr Darwin. To the evolutionist mutation is the basis of all progress.
        An perfect, immutable God is irreconcilable with a progressive world view. Did the world begin perfect and go into decline, or begin as nothing and progress towards the heights at which we now find ourselves?

        • Bernard from Bucks

          Through the eyes of a child, my world was perfect.
          Now, seventy years on, everything seems in decline.

          • Chefofsinners

            Newton’s second law of thermodynamics.

          • Anton

            Downtick

          • Chefofsinners

            For why?

          • Anton

            Ah, I presumed your comment was a deliberate parody. There is Newton’s Second Law of Motion and there is the Second Law of Thermodynamics but there is no such thing as Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics.

          • Chefofsinners

            You are overwhelmingly generous. I was just being ignorant.

          • Anton

            The three laws of thermodynamics have been summarised as follows:

            First Law: You can never win (and get energy from nowhere) – the best you can do is break even.

            Second Law: You can break even only at absolute zero temperature.

            Third Law: You can never reach absolute zero.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            And the Fourth Law: Everything takes longer and costs more.

  • Father David

    I can just picture the scene now in the withdrawing room of Wheatley vicarage:-

    “Daddy, do you approve of those who favour their own gender being married in church?”

    “Splutter! Well, my dear, you know how much I approve of relationships and people being together with people they love, just like Mummy and me, darling child.”

    I do even hear that Mr. Charles Darwin has now evolved into Ms.Jane Austen! Has the world gorn completely mad?

  • Doctor Crackles

    Well she may well have said it. It is what she believes.

    • Chefofsinners

      Her morality is always for sale to the highest bidder in the political expediency sale rooms.
      People saw through it at the election “like they see through the water that runs down their drain.”

  • dannybhoy

    “I mean, this is – this has to be a matter for the – for the Church. I mean, it is important that the Church is able – and the Church – the Church of England has itself come a distance in terms of looking at these issues. And obviously they will want to reflect as attitudes more generally change, as society changes.”

    She is then accepting the idea that where (secular) society leads, the Church must inevitably follow?

  • Inspector General

    TM is a former Home Secretary. One would guess hardly a month went by during her term without some bizarre demand or other from madcap organised buggery arriving on her desk. Needless to say, she won’t be contaminated by the thing after that ordeal. It ruined the lightweight and somewhat silly Farron. The same won’t happen to her. Not now…

    One can picture the horror on the face of any Home Secretary when confronted by those unsettling communiques…

    : – <

  • Anton

    Whatever has happened to our politicians’ command of the English language?

    • American influence ….

    • dannybhoy

      When they’re on uncertain ground, they tend to hedge and it comes out as stuttery part sentences..

      • Anton

        Never happened to Enoch.

        • dannybhoy

          Because he was a man of conviction – convictions?

  • Chefofsinners

    Theresa May is about as good at theology as she is at leading the Conservative party.
    Day by day we discover new depths to her incompetence. Two days ago she told her ministers to stop briefing against each other, apparently blissfully unaware that the reason they are all jostling for position is the weakness she has created and the inevitability of her demise.
    Now, not content with completely ballsing up Brexit and the Conservative government in general, she is trying to tell the church what to do. It is heartening to hear that she “shed a little tear” when confronted with the personal consequences of her own stupidity in calling an election. No sensitivity to anyone else, though – no tears for Grenfell tower victims, public servants with shrinking real incomes, or patients on waiting lists and hospital trollies. Theresa May would break the heart of her late father if he were alive. She is a vampire of a politician, sucking the life from all else in order to sustain her vanity.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      The writing was on the Home Office wall some time ago…nobody took notice

      • Chefofsinners

        I think I saw that. It was on the wall of the toilet and it said: “Call Madame Theresa for SSM S&M.”

        • Inspector General

          The Inspector has found a home for you, for the duration, Chief, that’s a long time in both our books. You’ll grow to love the place, one is sure. It’s a Scottish island. And how’s this for a bonus. They reckon the anthrax is probably no longer active…

    • CliveM

      Bit unfair several papers reported that she was in tears when she visited the flats after the fire (times, sun, mail maybe more).

      Not claiming she’s competent however!

  • David

    The source of Christian authority is the inspired Word of God expressed in the Bible. That Word makes it abundantly clear that sex is reserved for marriage and marriage is between a man and a woman. All else is a departure from God’s instructions to us on how we should live our lives. For the orthodox, conservative Christian this is the position.
    Of course all those that struggle with any illicit sexual matter be it heterosexual adultery, pornography or same sex attraction should be offered Christian pastoral support, love and understanding. Like Jesus we are asked too get alongside them, without judging them whilst always pointing to God’s truth.

  • Inspector General

    Dearly Beloved

    Let us give thanks for Theresa May, whom has unselfishly come to the nations assistance as care taker PM while we get the hell out of the EU. May she be supported in her burden by us all (Note from the Inspector. His silver topped cane will be visiting any who cannot find it in themselves to do that).

    And come the day this country is once again a fully sovereign and independent you know (and the blessed Theresa has also freed us from the European Court of Terrorist Rights) may she be free to resign and bask for ever more in the glory that will be accorded her by all.

    • Chefofsinners

      You may wish to grease the silver top of your cane, because if it comes anywhere near me you will end up resembling a man with three legs.

      • Inspector General

        Worry not, Chief, the Inspector cares for you. If he had his way, you would be well taken care of…

  • Royinsouthwest

    Recently there was a survey of the opinions of British adults on the subject of “extremism.” The survey was carried out on behalf of the Evangelical Alliance and the results have just been published.

    One of the questions was about attitudes to marriage and an astonishing 41% agreed that it was “extreme” to say that marriage should be between a man and a woman. In other words nearly half of British people think that their parents, grandparents, great grandparents and almost everyone who ever lived was an extremist.

    According to the survey 28% of respondents thought that Jesus was an extremist. Almost as many, 25% each, thought that Gandhi and Martin Luther King were extremists.

    The survey shows that the government’s plans for tackling extremism have already been sabotaged by politically correct people who apply the description to any idea that they disagree with.

    EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE EXTREMISM SURVEY
    http://www.comresglobal.com/polls/evangelical-alliance-extremism-survey/

    • Inspector General

      It’s an on-line survey, Roy. Between you and me, there are some real daft buggers who do nothing else other than on-line…

    • The politically correct people are extremist of the extremists. They’re a bunch of bullies really.

      • Manfarang

        Jemima Wilkinson claimed to have been sent by God to preach his message. She believed that Christ had entered her body during her illness and that she was now neither female nor male. She claimed to be “a holy vessel of Jesus Christ and God and the Holy Spirit”. Wilkinson said that she was the “Publick Universal Friend” and never again responded to her original birth name. Her followers established the town of Jerusalem in New York state.

  • Father David

    I recall that the last British Prime Minister to shed a tear was that Thatcher woman, the coal miners’ friend. That was when she was on her way out of Downing Street. Now that the vicar’s daughter has shed another tear after a disastrous result for the Tories in the June General Election can her departure be much delayed? Which one of her colleagues in her “united” Cabinet will be the one to wield the dagger? Little Gove is quite good at that sort of thing, ask Boris. But, be warned Theresa, the vultures are circling and Jeremy is sitting on the sidelines waiting his turn.

    • dannybhoy

      “and Jeremy is sitting on the sidelines waiting his turn.”
      Courtesy of that wally Ed Miliband…

    • Terry Mushroom

      Vultures always hover where there’s power.

  • Lain Iwakura

    Nuanced theology? It sounds like the PM gave a very faltering response trying to please everyone – can’t be too forthright in supporting it in case it upsets the last few genuine conservatives, can’t say no because that’s political suicide. Typical political slipperiness.

    The message seems quite clear: the CoE has ‘come a distance [towards the right answer]’ and might like to reflect on how to further align their views with society and modern attitude.

  • len

    To ‘come out ‘ as being gay is seen by our secular humanist society society as a mark of courage.
    To ‘come out’ as a Bible following christian for anyone (especially one in the public arena) is to be seen as a bigot, judgemental,and divisive,.This is because the public have been conditioned by the media over the last few decades to perceive Christians as such.

    The media is controlled by a small group of men who’s intention is to’ normalise’ their behaviour and to ostracise Christians.The church has failed to see this and has tried to comply with the new liberalised attitude of society rather than remain true to their beliefs.
    T May is only doing as the Church does.