Tag Archives: homophobic Christians

Great dads and fail dads

Among the many books he edited, as a “first reader,” were all of mine, every single one. He was my biggest fan, and believed in me more than anyone I’ve ever known. He never disrespected the power of sexuality, erotic language, or the magnitude of sexual politics. He was so proud of me and his granddaughter, Aretha. His sense of social justice, and the power of poetry and language to change the world, has inspired me all my life. Susie Bright: Bill Bright, 8/13/28 – 10/15/06

This morning in quick succession I stumbled across two stories about fathers, Nils Pickert and Tom Smith. So today’s links-roundup is about fathers and children.

Nils Pickert:

My five year old son likes to wear dresses. In Berlin Kreuzberg that alone would be enough to get into conversation with other parents. Is it wise or ridiculous? “Neither one nor the other!“ I still want to shout back at them. But sadly they can’t hear me any more. Because by now I live in a small town in South Germany. Not even a hundred thousand inhabitants, very traditional, very religious. Plainly motherland. Here the partiality of my son are not only a subject for parents, they are a town wide issue. And I did my bit for that to happen…

Tom Smith, Republican candidate for Pennsylvania:

Pressed by a reporter on how he would handle a daughter or granddaughter becoming pregnant as a result of rape, Smith said he had already “lived something similar to that” in his family.

“She chose life, and I commend her for that,” he said. “She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to … she chose the way I thought. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape.”

When a reporter asked Smith to clarify what kind of situation was similar to becoming pregnant from rape, the candidate responded, “Having a baby out of wedlock.”

He added, “Put yourself in a father’s position. Yes, it is similar.”

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Filed under Children, Healthcare, Human Rights, LGBT Equality, Women

Religious freedom in the workplace

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.

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Filed under Education, LGBT Equality, Religion, Unanswerable Questions

Religious Priorities

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.”

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For the love of Christ, let me give you a hug

This blog is about love, fried chicken, incest, the Benedictine order, Saint Aelred, marriage, and the Bishop of Aberdeen. Not necessarily in that order.

The Bishop of Aberdeen, Hugh Gilbert, entered Pluscarden Abbey at Moray in 1974 and was ordained a priest in 1979: he became Abbot of Pluscarden in 1992 and is celebrated for his support of Latin liturgy:

wonderful to see that … Aberdeen will soon have a pastor known for his understanding of liturgy and the “reform of the reform” currently sweeping through the Universal Church. The Divine Office and the Mass are both sung in Latin (using Gregorian chant) at Pluscarden, and devotees of the Extraordinary Form and traditional Catholicism have always been made to feel welcome there.

Gilbert left the monastery to be ordained Bishop of Aberdeen on Monday 15th August 2011.

“The rule of St Benedict says ‘prefer nothing to the love of Christ,’” he said. “I would like to think I take a firm sense of that with me, a sense of Christ and a certainty of Christ.”

On Friday 2nd September 2011, less than three weeks after Gilbert became Bishop of Aberdeen, the Scottish government launched their consultation on gay marriage. Monica Baldwin wrote a book about her experience of entering the secular world, I Leap Over The Wall: A Return to the World after Twenty-eight Years in a Convent – she entered her convent in 1914, a few months before WWI, and came out in 1941. In 1974, when Hugh Gilbert entered his monastery, the first international conference on gay rights was held in Edinburgh: sex between men was still illegal in Scotland, and had barely been decriminalised in England and Wales.
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They have run out of ideas

Willie Beck, aged 79, who plays the bagpipes to newlyweds at the Gretna House Hotel (the original marriage hotel built in 1710):

“We’ve been doing gay marriages in Gretna since it became legal. Gay marriages or marriages between a man and a woman – they’re all the same. It isn’t a big deal for us. It’s just another wedding. I’m open-minded about it. I just play the pipes the same whether it’s a man and a woman getting married or two men or two women. When they want a picture with the piper, the guys cuddle up to me as much as the lassies.”

The process of legislation in the Scottish Parliament isn’t speedy, even though there is no second chamber. This autumn the Scottish Government will produce a draft Bill legalising same-sex marriage. There will be a consultation on the draft Bill. In 2013, the legislation will be put before the Scottish Parliament, be read by Committees, and Westminster will be requested to make a change to the Equality Act to make sure any religious celebrant who doesn’t approve of same-sex marriage can refuse to conduct one. Because marriage is a complicated set of legislation, though the Act itself will likely have passed by 2014, the Scottish Government have said they are not likely to make the Act law until early 2015.

But there is really nothing much the Catholic Church in Scotland can do to stop gay marriage now. They shot their bolt when in 2011 they had 200,000 postcards pre-printed with anti gay marriage messages and sent them out to all the 200,000 Mass-going Catholics across Scotland’s 500 parishes… and then only got 28,000 of them back.

Lynda Denton owns Gretna Green’s Blacksmith’s Shop, which conducts more than 1000 weddings a year, and the Smith’s Hotel.
She said:

“If gay couples want to be married by a minister, we’ll be pleased to provide the service. Since 1754, when young couples first began running away from England to get married in Scotland, we have been all-embracing and we always will be all-embracing. People love the romanticism and the heritage of the place. It’s a lovely place to get married.”
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Haters hate: marriage is still love

Marriage is when two people make a legally binding vow to love, honour, and cherish each other lifelong: making each other into their closest next of kin.

Know that the haters are just trying to silence us because of bigotry. Huge waste of their time and a sad state to be in. We are actually doing things to help others. That’s a good use of time and a happy place to be. So ignore them when you can, mock them when you want a laugh and report them to the police or FBI whenever you see a credible threat and most importantly, keep doing good things. (Ask Surly Amy – How To Deal With Hate)

On Sunday afternoon over a post-gym coffee and a pastry in the new I ♥ Cafe in Leith Walk, I read a kind but muddled (and in places factually incorrect) article about marriage.

The Gay Agenda
1. Gym
2. Buy yellow mangos – they’re in season! – from Najak
3. Coffee and pastry
4. Undermine the unique importance of marriage in the world
5. Blog

Kevin McKenna writes:

My beloved church is not enjoying its finest hour as it steps up its opposition to the SNP government’s plans to permit same-sex marriages. Continue reading

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Evolution of bullying

Michael Gove has approved three Creationist-run state-funded “free schools”: Exemplar-Newark Business academy, Grindon Hall, and Sevenoaks Christian school. All three schools promise unblushingly that they will teach Creationism / Intelligent Design in RE, and stick to the facts in science classes.

However, Grindon Hall has a policy document on its website that says just the opposite:

However, we vigorously challenge the unscientific certainty often claimed by scientists surrounding the so-called “Big Bang” and origins generally.

We believe that no scientific theory provides – or ever will provide – a satisfactory explanation of origins, i.e. why the world appeared, and how nothing became something in the first place.

We will teach evolution as an established scientific principle, as far as it goes.
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Leaked email: no equal marriage

The SNP’s Yes Scotland declaration:

“I believe that it is fundamentally better for us all, if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland, that is, by the people of Scotland.

Being independent means Scotland’s future will be in Scotland’s hands.

There is no doubt that Scotland has great potential. We are blessed with talent, resources and creativity. We have the opportunity to make our nation a better place to live, for this and future generations. We can build a greener, fairer and more prosperous society that is stronger and more successful than it is today.

I want a Scotland that speaks with her own voice and makes her own unique contribution to the world: a Scotland that stands alongside the other nations on these isles, as an independent nation.”

The quasi-legal argument some religionist objectors make to same-sex marriage is:

  • They claim that people who “speak out against it” might need special protection.
  • There’s no evidence for this. Neither in any of the countries in which same-sex marriage has been made legal, nor in any example of a religionist saying hateful things about LGBT people in the UK.

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Filed under Elections, LGBT Equality, Scottish Politics

Gay marriage: a question that expects the answer Yes

How students at a Minneapolis-St Paul Catholic high school reacted to a presentation against same-sex marriage only a couple of months ago:

“The first three-quarters of the presentation were really good,” said [Matt Bliss, senior student at DeLaSalle High School]. “They talked about what is marriage and how marriage helps us as a society. Then it started going downhill when they started talking about single parents and adopted kids. They didn’t directly say it, but they implied that kids who are adopted or live with single parents are less than kids with two parents of the opposite sex. They implied that a ‘normal’ family is the best family.”

“When they finally got to gay marriage, [students] were really upset,” said Bliss. “You could look around the room and feel the anger. My friend who is a lesbian started crying, and people were crying in the bathroom.”

Bliss was one of several students who stood up to argue with the representatives from the archdiocese. One girl held up a sign that said, “I love my moms.”

A married couple in South Africa, a civil partnership in Scotland
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Filed under Epetitions, LGBT Equality, Religion, Scottish Politics

Skip to the end: gay marriage

George Takei interviewed on 18th June 2008:

As a matter of fact, we were expecting the ruling from the California Supreme Court. We didn’t know which way it was going to go, although the indication was that it was going to be favorable, so we had CNN going all the time. I just happened to be eating a sandwich and the ruling came down. Suddenly Brad fell down to his knees and I said, “What are you doing?” And he said, “George, will you marry me?” And I said, “Darn it! You beat me to it. I was going to ask you.” So that’s how it happened, the moment the word came down.

George Takei and Brad Altman

Here’s the the real problem for Churches who have declared they don’t believe in same-sex couples getting married: most people just plain don’t agree with them. The most recent poll (published today) says that 68% of Scots think churches and religious organisations ought to have the right to celebrate gay marriages if they want to.

For just lifting the ban on same-sex marriage – civil or religious – 64% say they support the change: the breakdown by gender shows women much more supportive than men and most worryingly of all for any church that’s thinking about its future:

Whilst there was a majority support amongst all age groups, people under 55 support same-sex marriage by a margin of over four-to-one (76 per cent agree as opposed to 17 per cent who disagree).

There are eleven countries in the world where same-sex couples can marry, if we include the US. Continue reading

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Filed under American, Equality, LGBT Equality, Scottish Culture