Cristina Odone’s week: how many ways can you be smugly disapproving about religion, marriage, and gays being religious and wanting to be married if you try with both hands?
Cristina Odone on Monday, how appalling it would be if gay people thought they could be married just like us!:
I resent the way Cameron is ready to bulldoze over Tory and religious objections on this issue. It’s clear from his arrogant stance that the PM believes soon, even this bunch of hypocrites will embrace the Gospel according to Dave. They – Tories who live out in the sticks and not in fashionable metropolitan areas; people of faith who hold onto their traditional religious values – will experience a Damascene conversion to the PM’s way.
That’s Monday, with a side-order of I love my gay friends but they shouldn’t want to be my equals. (Why do homophobic bigots always claim to have gay “friends”?)
Cristina Odone on Tuesday, Christianity is great! not liberal at all!:
But I can’t help think – we’re not doing so badly after all. That, after a decade of Dawkinism, paedophile scandals and metropolitan secularism, the majority (59 per cent) of Britons should still cling to their faith strikes me as nothing short of miraculous. And that’s before the backlash to the atheists – it’s bound to happen – properly gets off the ground. If, after all the vicious kicks they’ve suffered from the liberal establishment, and their none-too-inspiring leadership, the Christian Churches in this country are still in existence, we who care about faith should celebrate.
Cristina Odone is a Christian. Christians aren’t liberal. Christians get kicked by liberals, and Christian leadership is none-too-inspiring. Muslims are all right, though. That’s Tuesday.
Once again, the Christian right is trying to kick up a fuss over nothing. Reverend Andrew Fothergil (Church of Scotland, Strichen and Tyrie Parish Church, Aberdeenshire) said:
“My personal position is that I think naturally, we have as celebrants, some concerns about the assurances that have been given by the Scottish Government about the safeguards it intends to put in place to protect celebrants who would hold a different position from what the future government legislation might become. I think many of us are a bit nervous about what protection it can actually offer.”
Reverend Fothergil has evidently not read the Church of Scotland’s admirably clear guide to people who want to have their marriage ceremony performed by a Church of Scotland Minister. That’s a shame, because it would calm him down from being “a bit nervous”.
Of the Frequently Asked Questions, the first one is: Q. Can anyone be married in a Church of Scotland church? The answer is:
The Church of Scotland is ‘national’, in that every district has its parish church. The parish minister is willing to discuss conducting marriage for any member of the parish. If you are not a church member, the minister will want to discuss with you whether a religious ceremony is what you are looking for, whether it will have meaning for you, and whether he or she agrees it is appropriate in your situation.
Well, I called it correctly six months ago when Barack Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage.
Yesterday Maryland and Maine made history: the first two US states to authorise equal marriage by referendum vote.
I asked some time ago why “Christian Concern for our Nation” was not concerned when Christians were being dragged from their prayers at the steps of St Pauls.
Giles Fraser was Canon Chancellor of St Pauls: he resigned because he could not tolerate the Church using the secular power of the state against protesters against economic injustice.
And he was nominated and won Hero of the Year at the Stonewall Awards by popular vote because he’d written in support of the freedom of same-sex couples to marry, but others have written in defense of the idea that Christianity’s central doctrine is not, as O’Brien claims, homophobia – Giles Fraser won because he is a hero: a Christian minister of religion who’d stood up to say that no, Christianity is not all about homophobia.
Stonewall has been holding a “Bigot of the Year” award, decided by popular vote, for six years. This year, unsurprisingly, the voters chose Cardinal Keith O’Brien.
Ed West in the Telegraph suggested:
Wouldn’t it be nice if Stonewall and other SSM supporters agreed to stop using such words, and in return opponents agreed to drop the dubious “slavery” or “Nazi” analogies.
In that West has it muddled. It has to happen the other way round. Someday, maybe, the Bigot of the Year award will be dropped because there won’t be enough write-in nominations because nobody’s publicly said or done anything bigoted.
On Sunday 4th November, BBC Sunday Morning Live is to debate “Is Stonewall’s ‘bigot of the year’ award inappropriate?” (You can register and vote Yes or No.)
In December 2009, the BBC’s Have Your Say staged an online debate on the question “Should homosexuals face execution?” After massive protest, the BBC changed the title of the debate to “Should Uganda debate gay execution?” but did not apologise for or retract the idea that putting people to death for their sexual orientation could be a matter for debate rather than condemnation.
Will Sunday Morning Live debate whether it’s “appropriate” for the BBC to allow a platform for bigots to discuss whether gay people should be killed or imprisoned for life?
I was disappointed when the SNP voted to join NATO if Scotland became independent on Friday. The only positive reason I have for voting Yes so far is that the SNP’s policy was to get rid of nuclear weapons if Scotland became independent. That policy would have been tough to maintain in the face of rUK opposition, since it would be impossible for rUK to build another base for its nuclear weapons at Faslane in the time planned between vote and independence, but it will be impossible if it’s attempted in a kind of “we want to join NATO but we’re getting rid of nuclear weapons: we don’t care that this means rUK loses its nuclear weapons” game.
As the Scotland on Sunday rightly notes, this is unrealistic: the movement in the SNP to reverse their anti-NATO policy is a means of reversing their no-nukes policy without officially saying so or needing a vote.
The other issue is the unrealistic basis of the entire debate, which was only about membership of Nato. This was endorsed, but without the SNP abandoning its opposition to nuclear weapons based in Scotland. As things now stand, the SNP is committed to Nato membership – but with the proviso that Nato’s nuclear weapons are not hosted on Scottish soil. To remain anti-nuclear while professing loyalty to Nato is an untenable position.
The Sunday Times poll noted that winning 50%+ support for independence is fundamentally dependent not on anything the SNP or Yes Scotland have announced they’re doing or campaigning for, but on whether Labour can win the 2015 election. There’s a hard core of support for independence, and from my own experience, the hard core are generally better at convincing themselves than anyone else. There’s a fairly definite proportion of people who are likely to vote No, and there’s about 17% who identify themselves, like me, as undecided.
The Monkeysphere for humans is about 150 individuals: the number of people you think of as being in your social group.
I think it only fair to say that the phrase the Monkeysphere came from Cracked.com, though it’s based on serious scientific research done at the University of Liverpool:
Humans are primates, too – so do they fit into the pattern established for monkeys and apes? This is the key question which Robin Dunbar sought to answer by using the same equations to predict human social group and clique size from neocortex volume. The results were… ~150 for social group size, and ~12 for the more intimate clique size. He subsequently discovered that modern humans operate on a hierarchy of group sizes. (Research Intelligence)
The number of people in Scotland who are willing to tell any researcher with a clipboard that their sexual orientation is lesbian, gay, or bisexual, has been calculated to be 47,923. Continue reading
Revd Matthew Firth preached at St Matthew’s church in Ipswich, where he was Curate, on 13th May 2012. As of the new term, he will be working Chaplain to the University of Cumbria in Carlisle:
There is something which I believe the Lord has been speaking to me about for a few months now, and it’s based on what I think is one of the most chilling verses in the Hebrew Scriptures. Judges 21:25 says this: ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.’ I therefore want to say something about The King, the Kingdom, and rebellion against the King and his Kingdom…and of course I’m talking about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
(For full text, see Matthew Firth’s Sermon.)
(For Matthew Firth’s tweeting against equal marriage in January, see Firth’s Tweets. For the rebuttal of his scientific nonsense, jump to Narth Science.)
The chaplaincy page at the University of Cumbria website says:
While the chaplaincy has a distinctively Christian flavour to it and seeks to provide opportunities for students and staff to explore the Christian faith, we also want to be a pastoral service which is well and truly open to everyone, regardless of faith or belief. So, if you do want to explore the Christian faith, we would love to accompany you on the journey. But if you are simply seeking a safe space, a listening ear or personal support, we would love to be of help in that too.
Yesterday, all Catholic Churches in Scotland were directed to read out a “Pastoral Message on Marriage and Family Life” from the Bishops of Scotland on Marriage and Family Life from the Bishops of Scotland which was explicitly intended to let LGBT people in Scotland know that our families, and our marriages, are considered by the Catholic bishops to be unworthy and wrong. It announced a new Commission to “promote the true nature of marriage as both a human institution and a union blessed by Jesus” from which everyone not cisgendered and heterosexual is banned.
Cardinal O’Brien showed little faith in it, arguing that if same-sex couples can marry legally, this will “alter or destroy” the marriages of people to whom the Catholic Church is willing to provide pastoral support. (He doesn’t explain how.)
“The church’s teaching on marriage is unequivocal, it is uniquely, the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that governments, politicians or parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.”