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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Queer bashing

■ Peter Tatchell:  “Traditional hetero masculinity
oppresses women and gay people, with sexist
jibes, domestic violence, rape, homophobic taunts
and queer-bashing assaults.” 
Source: UK Gay News
Readers may have noticed that I was taken to task by a commentator following the 'Morgan's organ' entry for interpreting 'gifted queer' as a slur rather than a badge of honour. Forgive my ignorance and my apologies to all those queers, gifted or otherwise, who glorify in the appellation while choosing to read this blog if only to find offence when none is intended. For others who are similarly ill-informed in matters queer, there is some preparatory reading on "The New Sexual Radicalism" here.

Lest there be any doubt, I have no problem with 'queers' as such. But let me be clear. I have little if any sympathy for queer bishops who put themselves first by promoting their gay agenda at the expense of the Church. The damage they have caused to the Anglican Communion in particular has been immense yet the promotion of their self-centred movement has been described as progress! The first openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church, Gene Robinson, attributes this to "decades of activism and of gay people identifying themselves as such" (story here). The reality can be read here. Shrinking congregations hardly equate with progress.

 Earlier this year the House of Bishops announced that they would allow gay clergy to become bishops if they promised to be celibate. I had no problem with that in principle but the policy created a conflict between intrusion and Gene Robinson's "gay activism" which puts bed sharing above house sharing. Activists did themselves no favours with supporters of civil partnerships when it became clear that we had been used by people who regard civil partnerships only as stepping stones to their true goal of same-sex marriage. Same sex people living together for companionship is nothing new. Being able to benefit from the legal safeguards provided by the civil partnership legislation was a matter of justice, not a sexual liberation free for all. I campaigned for civil partnerships on the basis that security should not be denied to people living together for companionship simply because they are of the same sex. But that was not good enough for same-sex marriage campaigners. They demanded that marriage should be redefined. Dave fell for it and made one of his biggest mistakes.

How people behave in the privacy of their own homes, regardless of their sexuality, is not something that should concern others but actively promoting homosexual preferences does not indicate celibacy. The latest rumours have it that the Pilling Report will suggest a further relaxation of the guidlines: "Clerics should be able to follow Church teachings without having to make a solemn vow", what amounts to a "don't ask, don't tell policy" leaving sexual matters to conscience and the mercy of God. The difficulty with this approach is that clerics such as Gene Robinson queer the pitch for others by making it clear that their sexual proclivities are paramount creating open conflict within the Church in a campaign of stealth leading to same sex marriages in church and blessing civil partnerships.

When Prince Charles let it be known that he was to marry Camilla Parker Bowles with whom he had been having an adulterous affair, it was decided that she would be known as the Duchess of Cornwall, not the Princess of Wales for fear of offending people's memories of Princess Diana. It was also misleadingly suggested that she would become the Princess Consort on the accession of Charles to the throne for fear of offending loyal subjects who couldn't bear the thought of 'that woman' being Queen Camilla. Not so according to experts. Unless legislation is enacted, which is most unlikely, when Charles is King we will also have Queen Camilla. This strategy of progression by stealth is the same process which Women and the Church have used in their campaign of self-advancement regardless of the fate of others and is being used by the LGBT movement to advance their objectives.

Homophobia, like Islamophobia, has become a common charge against anyone who dares to have a contrary opinion. So let's get this in proportion. "LGBT people constitute at best 1 percent of the entire globe’s population. Their “rights” are largely non-essential things such as the sentimental need for acceptance, the joy of throwing a wedding banquet, the delight in showering with people of different genitalia, and the ambition of having children without having to share property with a partner of the opposite sex. Yet the campaign for such “rights” has received 6 percent of all generosity in the world, from a pool that also meets the needs of orphans, paupers, refugees, and victims of famine and natural disasters." See Witherspoon Institute report on Sexual Radicalism here.

Gay bishops: Episcopal Bishops Gene
Robinson (New Hampshire, retired, left),
and Mary Glasspool (suffragan, Los
Angeles) with Guy Erwin Bishop of
Southwest California Lutheran Church
(Gene Robinson via Twitter)
Not content with the decriminalisation of homosexuality in this country, the introduction of civil partnerships which many non-queers supported, and 'same-sex marriage' which many queers and non-queers alike did not support as Dave rammed it through parliament, queer bashing continues. But queer bashing has been reversed in this country. It is the queers who do the bashing if they take exception to anything they don't like. From UK Gay News: "Gay Activist Says Straight Male Machismo Underpins All Tyranny". If that sounds familiar, it is the same strategy used by the feminist movement to blame all the world's ills on opponents of the ordination of women, see here and here to give two examples.

I must give credit for this entry to a persistent critic who prides himself on being "queer" and who opined in response to a comment: "gifted queer" is not in any way a slur - queers (like myself) have reclaimed the term into a positive self-description. It's the true genuis [sic] of us homosexuals to take an insult and redeem it into a label of self-idenitification [sic] (something almost Christian there). I'd be happy if someone called me a "gifted queer". That is on the same lines as voiced by the 'gifted' but offensive queer, Peter Tatchell who along with other queers invaded the pulpit while the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, was preaching an Easter sermon in his Cathedral, story here. Nothing is sacred any more. The Church is being used from without and within.

The way homosexual people were treated in the past and are still treated in many countries is abominable but so is their treatment of straight people now. To protest in a Cathedral on Easter Sunday showed an astonishing insensitivity but so does the use of the Church by bishops who choose to advance their own cause at the expense of the Church . It has been widely trailed that the Pilling Report, in addition to relaxing the rules on celibacy, will also recommend that "a formal form of liturgy is introduced by the Church for couples entering into same sex ‘marriages’ or civil partnerships". The tail is now wagging the dog. How queer is that!


  1. This entry is full of contradicitons. It claims to be accepting of queers and then goes on to criticise the way that I intelligibly pointed out that "queer" is a label that gays have self-redeemed. Add to that the logic enshrined here that as only 1% of the population are gay, then why seek justice for such a small minority (which is the tenor of this entry) and you have here one of the most homophobic entries on thise site to date. The words of Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) come to mind ...

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me

  2. Dear Gifted Queer - Tatchell is full of contradictions - I would remind you that in 1995 he publicly outed ten Bishops and caused some of them significant pain and harm in doing so - nothing like being harmed by friendly fire is there!

  3. Tatchell outed one Bishop who I in fact know (married but gay). I also happen to know that this Bishop knowingly accepted for ordination a guy who was living with his partner of many years (both of whom had been invited by the Bishop for supper on more than one occassion) but then, on the night he was due to be ordained (after years of training) the Bishop withdrew his support and refused to ordain him in case there was a scandal. You can imagine the sadness and pain that that caused. The truth is that nobody prospers in a climate of "don't ask, don't tell" and I believe that what Tatchell did was helpful (however painful) for signalling the end to that degree of duplicity within the life of the church. We don't seem to have moved on, of course, because there are still gay Bishops too afraid to be honest - they must often feel compromised in saying no to gifted (but gay) candidates for ministry when they know that they themselves are gay. It's just a shame that people can not just be honest. It's also a pity that when they are blogs like this make out that gays are "asking for too much" or are somehow persuing a radical agenda. I hope we never return to the days of don't ask, don't tell - other insitutions have made the move (armed forces, police etc). Move on. Debate over. Stop rationalising homophobia and dressing it up as right religion. When that day comes then Tatchell's job will have been done. I really do see him as a gifted prophet and priestly in his activity. Much rather hear him from the puplit than Caey.

  4. What worries me about 'gifted queer' is that he sees to be obsessed with his sexuality and the same goes for Peter Tatchell. I hasten to add that this does not seem to be the case with all of a same sex orientation. But in other words the gifted queer seems to have an immature approach to his orientation. I imagine he is a priest? Now that is also worrying . We need mature men as priests .A man who understands he is part of the Apostolic succession , and in his life should be striving to emulate Christ in his work and in his judgement . At the Altar the priest is representing Christ in the celebration of the ultimate sacrifice. In his life we look to the priest for guidance and a pattern of moral behaviour. We hear the words in sermons which is our teaching of the Faith. Come on....what is priestly about Tatchell's rudeness in interrupting the ceremony of Easter Day ? To refer to the beginning of GQ's entry, it is sad to read a report of 'hear-say'. GQ may think he happens to know about the sexuality of a particular Bishop ; has it occurred to GQ that the said Bishop was,during the dinner invitations, assessing the potential ordinand being concerned that the candidate had the same immature attitude to his sexuality as held by such as himself and Tatchell.

    1. I regret that what you call "hearsay", as you put it, was my attempt at being discreet rather than blurting out the identity of the said bishop (or indeed the ordinand). My point was simple - my friend was willing to be open and honest about his life (part of which is/was his sexuality) and the Bishop (for understandable reasons) was not. The result - my friend was punished, and the Bishop - well he had a sleepless night or two, but ultimately he acted in duplicitous fashion. The connection with Tachell? I think this is precisely what he was calling the Church to face up to and move on from. We tie ourselves up as a church in knots with our "don't ask, don't tell" approach to sexuality. As for thinking me a priest - afraid I am not one - failed the selection process some years ago when they discovered I was queer. Not to worry, I think I have been able to do more good for God by working in the caring profession than many a priest has been able to. Please don't attack me for that or indeed call me immature. Reality is, that in my everyday life my sexuality matters not one bit, it's just when I go to church that I seem to have to leave my sexuality at the church door (and thus when I comment here it probably seems that I wear my sexuality on my sleeve). Hope that helps explain.

  5. Dear Gifted Queer - thank you for your response to my original Tatchell observation (1995). A few thoughts:
    (1) You seem to use the notions of Orthodoxy and Homophobia as if they are interchangeable. I suspect that you equate Orthodoxy with the worst aspects of Christian fundamentalism. However, I would make the following important distinction: fundamentalism is moving from text to application without exploring a world of meaning. Orthodoxy is the daily exertion and search for right belief and right glorification of God. Most orthodox Christians would deplore homophobia - but equally could not subscribe to the long-established and received biblical understanding of the sacrament of marriage being rewritten to include same-sex marriage. That does not mean that they condemn those who would describe themselves as 'queer'. There are other ways of covenanting relationships without having to use the sacrament of marriage premised upon the ordered and complementary anthropology of men and women as conveyed throughout the OT and NT.
    (2) Tatchell had no right to violate the privacy of those ten Bishops - if they wished to keep their sexuality a private matter - then that has to be respected. This is where liberalism runs into difficulties - it is not supposed to infringe the thoughts and beliefs of another - yet scratch the surface and you find a fanatical fundamentalist underneath. Professor Higgs used this argument to devastating effect against Richard Dawkin's militant New Atheism (bear in mind that Higgs is a self-confessed atheist)!
    (3) Your arguments are clearly premised (wittingly or unwittingly) upon a consequentialist ethic (and more specifically there are elements of utilitarianism in your arguments). However, this ethical lens has to be criticised on a number of levels (Nelson, 1995):
    (i) An effective practical application requires the ability to predict the long-range consequences of our actions with some degree of accuracy - this seems to elude even the greatest academic minds.
    (ii) The form of consequentialism you offer requires goods and ills to be measured according to some common scale - but how is that ever to be established.
    (iii) Consequentialism relieves God of his overall responsibility for ensuring the best cosmic ordering of our universe by devolving it to humanity. You cannot separate epistemology from the doctrine of creation and the nature of complementarity (cf Barth in the imago Dei).

    1. Yes I would consider myself a consequentialist (more situationist, truth to tell) when it comes to ethics. My experience is that most people are. As for the practical application, there is some degree of prediction involved, but usually it's around "what will promote the most degree of love", and often that prediction is quite straight forward. As for measurement, the common scale I would refer to is the one established by Christ: love. Lastly, the consequentialism I follow does not so much relieve God of his overall responsibility as join Him in attempting to order the universe around the dictates of love and human kindness. However I'm not antinomian but I cannot quite join you in your legalism either. I guess that makes me a good Anglican after all - the via-media - middle way.

      You mention Barth. I've always felt Barth a bit too heavy weight for me, mind - all those Dogmatics. That said, I do believe that Barth’s view of ethics negates any inclinations one might have to decide ahead of time that homosexuality is always wrong. Doesn't he even say that humanity’s tendency to formulate such presuppositions is actually the real problem. Forgive me, and I might be wrong here, but my reading of Barth is that he actually encourages moral deliberation and that even in light of the specificity of God’s revelation, he could just as easily accept homosexuality as reject it. And at the end of the day, Barth was clear that Christian has to keep open the possibility of making a leap of faith beyond what sometimes seems reasonable. So I don't think Barthian theology necessarily eschews consequentialim in quite the way you suggest - things are not as clear cut. But then who am I to speak like this - I am not a priest, you are?

  6. Dear Gifted Happy Not Straight - thank you for your thoughtful response - it is appreciated. However, the criticism of legalism that you you level at my arguments above are precisely the criticisms that have been levelled against Fletcher's construction of Situation Ethics which has brought this construct into significant question. Its odd legalism lies in its universal (and uncritical) application of one rule in light of four presuppositions (pragmatism, relativism, positivism, and personalism) and six propositions. A further criticism is that the existential arguments underpinning Situational Ethics stress the freedom and autonomy of the individual; what I want I get - a little dangerous don't you think? I would also point out that this paradigmatic lens derives its force, from hard, exceptional cases which cannot be a sound basis for making general rules (cf Cook). I would be interested to know how you would justify Fletcher's assertion that adultery is ultimately good? The problem with situational ethics is that we can ultimately end up defining as good that which is actually evil. I must stress that I am not insinuating that your arguments are good dressed up as evil (far from it) - but history has shown us how situational ethics can have a worrying outcome - Nazism and its horrific consequences are a classic case. Once again, thank you for the academic exchange - although, I am only a simple-minded soul!

    1. You're welcome - always enjoy an academic exchange. I think you mistake Fletcher's approach when you comment on adultery. Fletcher believed that one cannot talk of "ultimate good" (or, for that matter, ultimate bad) other than saying - one thing alone is good, and that is love. And so when he was asked "Is adultery wrong" he responded "I don't know, give me a case, maybe - describe a situation". One assumes there are some (most) situations where Fletcher would say it was wrong but there may well be others (rare though that might be) where it was not wrong. Situation ethics does not define good what is ultimately evil precisely because it avoids such absolutist ways of thinking. Furthermore, I can't quite see how you can move from the suppositions of situational ethics to argue that Nazism is one of its worrying outcomes. That's too simplistic a view of his rigorous approach to contextual ethics.

  7. This particular blog has the advantage of discussing the 'gay matter' theologically and hopefully with nothing less than Christ like love. Let us all keep it like that.
    GQ should ask all of us and himself :
    whether we live for our sexuality or through it;
    whether living for it and being defined by it, is a form of idolatry of our own making;
    whether living for it flies in the face of practical reality (receiving the sacrament is not a sexuality issue nor is eating biscuits); how much of our time and being is actually taken up by our sexuality.
    what is the relationship between my body and the Body of Christ:
    whether Gene Robinson put his body before the Body of Christ ;
    whether a queer sexuality is an absolute (Gene Robinson at the moment of his daughter's conception deviated from the gay norm, did he not? but why? why breach your 'nature' and possibly God's will) :
    whether conceiving a child is a quintessential heterosexual act;
    whether the putting aside of the act of coitus in the new definition of marriage puts children further away from a theology of creation in marriage:
    what are the boundaries between pure homosexual love and porneia;
    what are we to do about the anomalous situation where a heterosexual priest cannot live with a partner before marriage/civil partnership whilst a homosexual priest can.
    whether there can ever be such a thing as 'homosexual scandal':

    We must all ask and answer the difficult questions in order to find the common Christian ground. Our age believes in self-expression of which the gay question has been a part. The followers of Jesus who are gay need to provide a moral framework to get the debate back on track though Peter Tatchell might well scream at them for it.
    Jesus' self-expression sprang from self-surrender. He has to be part of the starting point for us all.

  8. I recommend althus Reid's indecent theology - it is a fantastic read in that it makes clear that we cannot cut off our sexuality from our sacramentility in quite the way you suggest. Please read it and get back to me

  9. Does nobody read the Scriptures? Both the Old Testament and the New Testament make it absolutely clear that the only moral sexual relationship is that between male and female husband and wife. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality because he agreed with what was stated in the Law. But he did affirm that the only kind of marriage relationship which is blessed by God is that of husband and wife.

    One of the reasons the Anglican Church in Wales is doing so badly is that it does not teach or live by the scriptures, but indeed encourages every kind of secular deviation from what is taught in the Bible about human sexuality. It therefore has nothing to say to a society which is obsessed with sex of every kind.

    1. Scripture and theology go hand in hand when teaching and preaching the faith. Unfortunately, today, the Church in Wales gives the impression that it has neither, save only a leader obsessed with sexuality and his own self righteousness - Morgan the Organ.

      In the name of God - go!

  10. I think his obsession is justice and equality - I really do consider him a remarkable Archbishop and he has made the Church in Wales a safer place for the likes of me to be. Non-church people also speak warmly of him. Of course, he comes from the liberal wing of the Church - not everyone's cup-of-tea, but given the alternative (e.g. an anti women-priest candidate or an anti-gay one) then I think we can count our blessings. Which of us would relish his job anyway - in my experience, clergy are not the easiest of individuals to motivate/enthuse/manage/inspire. I genuinely like him and consider him with huge fondness - he combines firmness with kindness.

    When he does retire, I genuinely hope he has time to write because I think his leadership comes at great personal cost to him. I'd look forward to reading his thoughts and reflections on the church he has helped hold together (you can argue against that, but in reality, how many priests and lay people have left over the ordination of women issue (very few)). What I don't think we appreciate here in Wales is that he is held in huge regard across the Anglican Communion, not in a self-promotion sense, but just in terms of his common sense vision for the church and his passion to stand up for those who have felt marginal to the life of the church.

    Let us also remember that he did not elect himself as Archbishop - the Holy Spirit did, through the auspices of the electoral college of the Church in Wales. One is given to understand that he came to Llandaff once again at some considerable cost to himself (and his partner).

    In the name of God - thank you. And when you do go, may God go with you.

  11. Oh dear, the old self patronizing Doctor again! The fraud who fled to Llandaf at 'great personal cost' (Please stop laughing).

    Another 'Ghost Writer' ready and waiting? Sounds as if he's ready to go fellas!