Should clergy promote traditional church values on LGBT issues?

This topic has been raised in the Styx by @ThunderBunk today, but earlier I saw a comment by Premier Radio on Twitter, linking to this story (link to Premier Radio page) expressing disappointment that neither the Archbishops of Canterbury or York were supporting a school chaplain:
Rev Dr Bernard Randall was made redundant from Trent College, a Church of England school near Nottingham, after he gave a talk encouraging pupils to question the school’s LGTB policies arguing everyone has the right to hold traditional views on marriage, sexuality and gender identity.

The chaplain is being supported by Christian Concern, unsurprisingly as this is the sort of case they like to take up, so much of the article quotes Andrea Williams, who has apparently asked both archbishops to back the chaplain publicly to no avail

Should the Church of England be expected to uphold "traditional Christian values" on LGBT issues? How does this work in a secular setting, such as a school, where the Equal Opportunities Act (2010) outlaws discrimination against people based on their sexuality or gender?

Posted in Epiphanies in the, probably vain, hope that any discussion will have consideration for the feelings of LGBT shipmates.
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Comments

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Something I learned several years ago that what we know as the Office of the Keys allows the church to determine new values over time. An example would be the first council in Jerusalem where one party insisted that in order to be saved gentile converts had to submit to circumcision, but Paul and others challenged that demand. The council decided for Paul's position. More contemporary examples would be to allow for women priests, or even banning slavery.

    When it comes to LGBTQ issues, science has given us more information to consider over the years. Even looking in the Bible we have found that the Hebrews allowed for non-binary gender differentiation. There is the story of Jesus healing the servant who the Centurian loved dearly. The word used there is pias which suggests a male sex slave. And then there is his statement about certain men who have "chosen" to live celebrate lives. Nor should we forget Phillip and the Eunuch.

    So what are the values the church should practice? I would say we need to be welcoming and accepting. Past practices were wrong. Let's learn from the past.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Problem is these "traditional views" have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. They cause pain for LGBT+ people and have no discernible benefit to anyone. It's very hard to defend them, except by saying "thing is, God's a massive bigot so we have to avoid pissing him off". Church schools provide education to the general public; LGBT+ children need defending from bigotry and hatred and a message of "yes Julie is a wicked sinner for saying she's a boy called John but don't actually beat her up; wait for God to burn her in Hell" isn't credible.
  • What a Thorny Thicket this is.

    FWIW, I'm not LGBTQ+, but I do hold very liberal views that don't...ahem...coincide with those of the rather traditionalist clergy I happen to know (both Anglo-Catholic, and Evangelical, BTW).

    Our Place had, as a regular attender for some time, a student from (I think) Africa. One Sunday, when our Evangelical FatherHelpingUsOut was preaching, he mentioned *transgenderism* as one of the currently fashionable *isms* that went against traditional Bible teaching.

    The student quietly got up and left. We never saw them again. I don't know why I think it, but I guess they may have been transgender, or non-binary.

    Father HelpingUsOut would have done better to keep away from such sensitive subjects - as @Gramps49 says...*we need to be welcoming and accepting. Past practices were wrong. Let's learn from the past.*
  • Dunno. Traditional views were used to support colonialism and slavery too.
  • Should the Church of England be expected to uphold "traditional Christian values" on LGBT issues? How does this work in a secular setting, such as a school, where the Equal Opportunities Act (2010) outlaws discrimination against people based on their sexuality or gender?

    Arguments about whether the "traditional Christian values" are correct or not tend to get conflated into the question you pose here. Because for those of us that think that the "traditional view" on sexuality is wrong, it's easy: the traditional view is wrong, and is harmful, so get rid of it. Several posters have already expressed this opinion.

    But that's not the official line of the C of E. The C of E has consistently demonstrated that it's happy to allow the "traditional" anti-gay line to flourish. It doesn't quite go as far as to say that you must promote the traditional line, but it certainly seems pretty comfortable with it.

    Is a school a strictly secular setting? I know it's a rule more often honoured in the breach, but aren't schools still supposed to have a daily act of corporate worship of a broadly Christian nature? And when the school in question is a faith school, it doesn't seem accurate to call it a secular setting at all.

    It seems to me as though there are religious exceptions to the Equal Opportunities Act precisely because it's not possible to simultaneously satisfy traditional religious beliefs and modern beliefs in equality.
  • Well, let's just see what the Equality Act 2010 (link) actually says about religious schools:
    This paragraph allows schools which have a religious character or ethos (often referred to as faith schools) to discriminate because of religion or belief in relation to admissions and in access to any benefit, facility or service. It means that faith schools may have admissions criteria which give preference to members of their own religion and it allows them to conduct themselves in a way which is compatible with their religious character or ethos. It does not allow faith schools to discriminate because of any other of the protected characteristics, such as sex, race or sexual orientation. Nor does it allow them to discriminate because of religion in other respects, such as by excluding a pupil or subjecting him to any other detriment. (para 868)

    And Stonewall's advice to schools on teaching LGBT issues under the act (link) says:
    The Public Sector Equality Duty requires all schools to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between people. And the Equality Act 2010 lists ‘gender reassignment’ and ‘sexual orientation’ as protected characteristics, as well as religion or belief. This means that all schools have a duty to make sure that their students are not discriminated against, either because of their faith and/or because they are LGBT.

    so colour me unconvinced that the chaplain was acting legally under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Just because the chaplain was acting legally, it does not mean the chaplain was acting correctly, or even morally.

    For me, the ship about LBGTQ issues has long sailed. As pointed out above, one of the reasons why young people have left the church is because the "traditional values" presented by the church doe not fit their understanding of sexuality.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited May 16
    I’d be interested to know what the content of the sermon actually was, given the private school he worked for is said to have reported him to the Prevent anti-extremism program.

    There seems to be some conflation of the right to believe what you like about sexuality, the right to act on those beliefs - e.g. by not acting in accord with the schools lgbt+ polices, and what was being represented as the traditional view.

    My understanding of the traditional view is; God loves you but if you are lgbt you should not act on those desires and perceptions. (I do not share this view.)

    It is not, to take a random example, you are gay cos a demon climbed up your bottom and you need to be exorcised. (Yes, some people apparently think this https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/03/christian-ex-gay-porn-star-the-devil-comes-out-of-your-anus-when-you-have-gay-sex/ but it would not be accurate to call it a “traditional” view.)
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    Half the time what people mean by “traditional” is “as far back as my grandfather could remember”.

    “Traditional” does not mean “for all time” even though people constantly fall into this error.

    In this particular case, “traditional” also tends to mean “derived from Bible translations and interpretations that don’t hold up that well to modern scholarship”, and I’ve never understood the tendency of some people to believe that if something is “traditional” it’s beyond reexamination. If you want traditional, let’s go with the quote from Cyprian to the effect that if something is ancient but not true, it just means the error was made a long time ago.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    orfeo wrote: »
    <snip>let’s go with the quote from Cyprian to the effect that if something is ancient but not true, it just means the error was made a long time ago.
    I love that. Do you know the source in more detail than ‘from Cyprian’?
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Clergy should promote traditional Christian values like loving your neighbour. That is incompatible with being beastly to your neighbour over their preferred traits in romantic partners, whatever your interpretation of a few passages of the Bible and church tradition makes of the matter.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Here’s a quote in that vein from Cyprian’s 73rd Epistle:
    Nor ought custom, which had crept in among some, to prevent the truth from prevailing and conquering; for custom without truth is the antiquity of error.
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    I noticed that for legal reasons the school isn't able to put their side of things, which is often the case with these kind of stories. I remember the one which was about a Christian child placed with Muslim carers (widely discussed on the boards) and this was how it turned out when the council's side of the story could be told;

    "Times distorted Muslim foster case, regulator finds - BBC News" https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43887481.amp
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    The trouble is, as others have pointed out, that there are no "traditional church values" about so many things that people like Christian Concern get riled up about. There may have been longstanding conventions/ prejudices but if you try to follow them back to the gospels you're likely to come up empty handed.

    In the case of the CofE in relation to people who are LGBGTQ+ the issue was demonised by the rise of Muscular Christianity: really odd considering the homoerotic undertones of so many of the institutions that sprang from MC, the obsession with "manliness", the hytsterical attitude towards masturbation, etc.

    What should the Church and the archbishops seek to uphold as "traditional" Christian values today? I'd suggest they need to look no further than Mark 12:28-34.

    What would I like the archbishops to do in this particular case? Support the school and uphold the law: grow a backbone and face down the bigots of Christian Concern.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    Dave W wrote: »
    Here’s a quote in that vein from Cyprian’s 73rd Epistle:
    Nor ought custom, which had crept in among some, to prevent the truth from prevailing and conquering; for custom without truth is the antiquity of error.

    That’s the one.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Thank you @Dave W and @orfeo
  • GarethMoonGarethMoon Shipmate
    Sorry, it's the mail, but his sermon (in the midst of a lot of sermonising by the "reporter"), middle-ish of the page, and pretty hard to find is here under the section:
    'You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology than be told you must be in favour of Brexit'. By The Reverend Dr Bernard Randall, Chaplain at Trent College

    Pretty tame stuff, albeit on the "trad" side, gives some kicks to "LGBT activists", and is squarely aimed at more conservative pupils rather than lgbt pupils but seems to fit within acceptability re:livinginfaith stuff?

    "Now when ideologies compete, we should not descend into abuse, we should respect the beliefs of others, even where we disagree. Above all, we need to treat each other with respect, not personal attacks – that’s what loving your neighbour as yourself means.

    By all means discuss, have a reasoned debate about beliefs, but while it’s OK to try and persuade each other, no one should be told they must accept an ideology. Love the person, even where you profoundly dislike the ideas. Don’t denigrate a person simply for having opinions and beliefs which you don’t share.

    There has been another set of competing ideals in the news recently. You may have heard of the protests outside a Birmingham primary school over the teachings of an LGBT-friendly ‘No Outsiders’ programme.

    In a mostly Muslim community, this has been sensitive, because many parents feel that their children are being pushed to accept ideas which run counter to Islamic moral values.

    And in our own school community, I have been asked about a similar thing – and the question was put to me in a very particular way – ‘How come we are told we have to accept all this LGBT stuff in a Christian school?’ I thought that was a very intelligent and thoughtful way of asking about the conflict of values, rather than asking which is right, and which is wrong.

    So my answer is this: There are some aspects of the Educate and Celebrate programme which are simply factual – there are same-sex attracted people in our society, there are people who experience gender dysphoria, and so on.

    There are some areas where the two sets of values overlap – no one should be discriminated against simply for who he or she is: That’s a Christian value, based in loving our neighbours as ourselves.

    All these things should be accepted straightforwardly by all of us, and it’s right that equalities law reflects that.

    But there are areas where the two sets of ideas are in conflict, and in these areas you do not have to accept the ideas and ideologies of LGBT activists. Indeed, since Trent exists ‘to educate boys and girls according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England’, anyone who tells you that you must accept contrary principles is jeopardizing the school’s charitable status, and therefore it’s very existence.

    You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology than you should be told you must be in favour of Brexit, or must be Muslim – to both of which I’m sure most of you would quite rightly object.

    I am aware that there will be a good few in our community who will have been struggling, if they feel they are being told that they must accept ideas which run counter to their faith – or indeed non-faith – based reasoning about the world.

    So I want to say to everyone, but especially to those who have been troubled, that you are not obliged to accept someone else’s ideology. You are perfectly at liberty to hear ideas out, and then think, ‘No, not for me’....


    Whichever side of this conflict of ideas you come down on, or even if you are unsure of some of it, the most important thing is to remember that loving your neighbour as yourself does not mean agreeing with everything he or she says; it means that when we have these discussions there is no excuse for personal attacks or abusive language.

    We should all respect that people on each side of the debate have deep and strongly held convictions. And because, unlike Brexit, this is not a debate which is subject to a vote, it is an ongoing process, so there should be a shared effort to find out what real truth looks like, and to respect that that effort is made honestly and sincerely by all people, even if not everybody comes up with the same answers for now.

  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited May 17
    There are two aspects of that I would object to - though not to the point of saying the man is an extremist (assuming this is not coming on the back of history of promoting hostility toward lgbt folks).

    A ) The idea of LGBT "idealology" - whatever that is meant to mean.
    B ) The idea that Christianity as a monolith opposes this, rather than saying - one or even several Christian traditions says/believes etc.

    B particularly pisses me off because I am a Christian and gay and I do not share his interpretation of Christianity.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    edited May 17
    Yeah, "LGBT activists" and "LGBT ideology" do not sit well with me.

    What exactly makes an "activist"? Is it an LGBT person who actually stands up for themselves?

    And I'm similarly unimpressed with the notion of a single Christian viewpoint. Not least because I've spent a couple of decades having the Australian Christian Lobby parade around claiming to represent such Christian viewpoints, and an awful lot of Christians have gradually become louder in saying "excuse me, you don't speak for me".

    The sermon is pretty much based on the idea that there's a conflict between "Christian" and "LGBT", and that's not a proposition that should be accepted uncritically.
  • Sadly for the chaplain the Equality Act 2010 proscribes discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, gender or gender assignment in a faith school. The only discriminations allowed are on faith and certain activities - for example a catholic school can choose to visit catholic places of worship as part of their religious studies.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Imagine being a queer child under this idiot's "care". God embrace them with his love.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    Yeah, "LGBT activists" and "LGBT ideology" do not sit well with me.

    What exactly makes an "activist"? Is it an LGBT person who actually stands up for themselves?

    And I'm similarly unimpressed with the notion of a single Christian viewpoint. Not least because I've spent a couple of decades having the Australian Christian Lobby parade around claiming to represent such Christian viewpoints, and an awful lot of Christians have gradually become louder in saying "excuse me, you don't speak for me".

    The sermon is pretty much based on the idea that there's a conflict between "Christian" and "LGBT", and that's not a proposition that should be accepted uncritically.

    An activist in this context is anyone who is not a doormat.

    I've been very disappointed to see evangelicals I thought relatively moderate come out defending this pillock.
  • B ) The idea that Christianity as a monolith opposes this, rather than saying - one or even several Christian traditions says/believes etc.

    Clearly it is a factually false statement to assert that "Christianity" as a monolith opposes "all this LGBT stuff". My experience of preachers is that, when they're preaching a sermon, for example, they rarely distinguish between things that are believed by pretty much all Christians, and things which are only believed by their particular brand of Christian. They just tell you "this is what you should believe" or "this is what this bible passage means" etc.

    (Which is to say that I think there's a difference between what you say in a preaching context, and what you claim that "Christians believe" in an RE context.)
    Sadly for the chaplain the Equality Act 2010 proscribes discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, gender or gender assignment in a faith school.

    Can you explain why you think the statements we've just read in this thread constitute "discrimination"? The chaplain used the example of being Muslim. His case seems to me to be that it's perfectly acceptable to believe that Muslims are wrong about God, and that therefore a person shouldn't be Muslim, but should be Christian instead. And that this doesn't mean that you should discriminate against people who are Muslims, or not allow them to practice their faith freely or whatever, but you're not obliged to think that Islam and Christianity are just two equally-valid alternatives.

    I don't see anything in that statement that constitutes discrimination.
    Imagine being a queer child under this idiot's "care". God embrace them with his love.

    Is there a loving way to care for a queer child whilst expressing "traditional" views of sexuality? I really don't think there is. It seems to me that at some point, you inevitably end up back at "hate the sin, love the sinner" and we know that doesn't work.

    Which is, I suppose, one reason I don't hold the "traditional" view.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I think your final two paragraphs provide a response to your antepenultimate.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    It is not much of a jump from bemoaning LBGTQ activists and bemoaning Black activists, or environmental activists, lets throw in Palestinian activists while we are at it. Sometimes I like to rephrase the story of the Good Samaritan to the Good Queer or the Good Black. It is not about who is my neighbor. It is about being neighborly.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited May 18
    orfeo wrote: »
    And I'm similarly unimpressed with the notion of a single Christian viewpoint. Not least because I've spent a couple of decades having the Australian Christian Lobby parade around claiming to represent such Christian viewpoints, and an awful lot of Christians have gradually become louder in saying "excuse me, you don't speak for me".

    The sermon is pretty much based on the idea that there's a conflict between "Christian" and "LGBT", and that's not a proposition that should be accepted uncritically.

    My impression is that amongst the traditional Christian churches here, the Catholics and Orthodox hierarchies are the only ones which uniformly espouse the "traditional" position. Even then, and going purely from personal contact with otherwise devout and obedient Catholics, I'd say that the formal church teaching is not necessarily in line with what many in Catholic pews believe. The Uniting Church is generally liberal, as are most Anglicans outside the Sydney school. Perhaps the only real exceptions are Ballarat and The Murray. And things change. 30 years ago, St Sanity was starting towards liberalism, and has now reached that especially in regard to LGBT. Even some Baptist clergy now seem quite comfortable with liberal views.

    It's when you get to the Hillsong and similar groups - the Australian Christian Lobby being a prime example of a loud and regressive body - that you find hate preached to and accepted by the congregation. And despite their noise, these are not particularly large, at least going from the last census. They just get the headlines.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    And I'm similarly unimpressed with the notion of a single Christian viewpoint. Not least because I've spent a couple of decades having the Australian Christian Lobby parade around claiming to represent such Christian viewpoints, and an awful lot of Christians have gradually become louder in saying "excuse me, you don't speak for me".

    The sermon is pretty much based on the idea that there's a conflict between "Christian" and "LGBT", and that's not a proposition that should be accepted uncritically.

    My impression is that amongst the traditional Christian churches here, the Catholics and Orthodox hierarchies are the only ones which uniformly espouse the "traditional" position. Even then, and going purely from personal contact with otherwise devout and obedient Catholics, I'd say that the formal church teaching is not necessarily in line with what many in Catholic pews believe. The Uniting Church is generally liberal, as are most Anglicans outside the Sydney school. Perhaps the only real exceptions are Ballarat and The Murray. And things change. 30 years ago, St Sanity was starting towards liberalism, and has now reached that especially in regard to LGBT. Even some Baptist clergy now seem quite comfortable with liberal views.

    It's when you get to the Hillsong and similar groups - the Australian Christian Lobby being a prime example of a loud and regressive body - that you find hate preached to and accepted by the congregation. And despite their noise, these are not particularly large, at least going from the last census. They just get the headlines.

    Apropos of nothing: does Australia have outposts of the more nutty forms of Presbyterianism or has the Uniting Church successfully absorbed them?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    When the Uniting Church was formed in the late 70's, almost all Congregationalists, most Methodists and around 70% of Presbyterians joined in. The Presbyterians who remained out were pretty conservative generally, but I'd not have called them nutty. But a few weeks ago, we'd had a pre-church coffee with some friends and on our way back to St Sanity were invited to join a group meeting in a nearby hall. They called themselves the Presbyterian Reformed Church, a group which was formed 50 or so years ago, decrying the liberalism (!) of the Presbyterian Church. I don't want to be unkind, but suspect that apart from having tiny numbers, they tend to the nutty end of the spectrum.

    The school I went to was Presbyterian when my father, uncles and I were there, but in the great division of assets it went to the Uniting Church.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited May 18
    Can you explain why you think the statements we've just read in this thread constitute "discrimination"? The chaplain used the example of being Muslim. His case seems to me to be that it's perfectly acceptable to believe that Muslims are wrong about God, and that therefore a person shouldn't be Muslim, but should be Christian instead. And that this doesn't mean that you should discriminate against people who are Muslims, or not allow them to practice their faith freely or whatever, but you're not obliged to think that Islam and Christianity are just two equally-valid alternatives.

    I don't see anything in that statement that constitutes discrimination.

    There are bits in the quoted sermon that I am pretty sure are wrong and giving the impression that the school can discriminate against LGBT young people - choosing the relevant section from the sermon as posted by @GarethMoon above:
    GarethMoon wrote: »
    "And in our own school community, I have been asked about a similar thing – and the question was put to me in a very particular way – ‘How come we are told we have to accept all this LGBT stuff in a Christian school?’ I thought that was a very intelligent and thoughtful way of asking about the conflict of values, rather than asking which is right, and which is wrong.

    So my answer is this: There are some aspects of the Educate and Celebrate programme which are simply factual – there are same-sex attracted people in our society, there are people who experience gender dysphoria, and so on.

    There are some areas where the two sets of values overlap – no one should be discriminated against simply for who he or she is: That’s a Christian value, based in loving our neighbours as ourselves.

    All these things should be accepted straightforwardly by all of us, and it’s right that equalities law reflects that.

    But there are areas where the two sets of ideas are in conflict, and in these areas you do not have to accept the ideas and ideologies of LGBT activists. Indeed, since Trent exists ‘to educate boys and girls according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England’, anyone who tells you that you must accept contrary principles is jeopardizing the school’s charitable status, and therefore it’s very existence.

    You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology than you should be told you must be in favour of Brexit, or must be Muslim – to both of which I’m sure most of you would quite rightly object.

    From the quoted section of the sermon, the phrase
    you do not have to accept the ideas and ideologies of LGBT activists. Indeed, since Trent exists ‘to educate boys and girls according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England’, anyone who tells you that you must accept contrary principles is jeopardizing the school’s charitable status, and therefore it’s very existence.
    I am aware that there will be a good few in our community who will have been struggling, if they feel they are being told that they must accept ideas which run counter to their faith – or indeed non-faith – based reasoning about the world.


    I am certain it is not against a faith school's charitable principles to accept "contrary principles" when those are the acceptance of LGBT pupils or their needs, it's actually illegal for the school to take a discriminatory stance against LGBT pupils. So that false threat in the sermon is telling the pupils to reject LGBT principles - which I understand to be a catch-all that includes rejecting anyone saying they are non-binary or queer or anything else that comes under the LGBT umbrella.

    Now he does also say
    that loving your neighbour as yourself does not mean agreeing with everything he or she says; it means that when we have these discussions there is no excuse for personal attacks or abusive language.
    By all means discuss, have a reasoned debate about beliefs, but while it’s OK to try and persuade each other, no one should be told they must accept an ideology. Love the person, even where you profoundly dislike the ideas. Don’t denigrate a person simply for having opinions and beliefs which you don’t share.


    So not only has he said that the pupils in front of him are not allowed to be LGBT because it's against the charitable aims of the school, but he's tried to cover his backside against bullying by saying that when they reject their fellow pupils they are not allowed to use abusive language or personal attacks, but you can try and argue them out of it. Which again is against the Equality Act 2010.

    I am not sure where the school felt this fitted into something that should be reported under the Prevent Guidance, because that's all about radicalisation, unless the school felt that the positive comments about Islam might encourage students to investigate the Muslim faith?
  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    Remember again that we've only one side of the story and no idea what else might have been said that isn't being reported.
  • Louise wrote: »
    Remember again that we've only one side of the story and no idea what else might have been said that isn't being reported.

    True, and a timely reminder. But I think we can have a discussion about a particular set of reported views, without having to assume that that set of reports represent the whole picture of an individual case. And I think discussion the issues around a particular report is almost more useful for a discussion, as it lets us explore where we think the boundaries should be without being sidetracked too much by the motivation or character of specific individuals.

    In this case, @Curiosity killed argues that the sermon as posted by @GarethMoon constitutes a statement that the school can discriminate against LGBT pupils, because the particular brand of Christianity held by the chaplain thinks that homosexuality is sinful.

    This quote includes the statement
    There are some areas where the two sets of values overlap – no one should be discriminated against simply for who he or she is: That’s a Christian value, based in loving our neighbours as ourselves.
    so I think the argument isn't quite so straightforward, as the sermon explicitly states that people shouldn't be discriminated against because of who they are.
    From the quoted section of the sermon, the phrase
    you do not have to accept the ideas and ideologies of LGBT activists. Indeed, since Trent exists ‘to educate boys and girls according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England’, anyone who tells you that you must accept contrary principles is jeopardizing the school’s charitable status, and therefore it’s very existence.
    I am aware that there will be a good few in our community who will have been struggling, if they feel they are being told that they must accept ideas which run counter to their faith – or indeed non-faith – based reasoning about the world.


    I am certain it is not against a faith school's charitable principles to accept "contrary principles" when those are the acceptance of LGBT pupils or their needs, it's actually illegal for the school to take a discriminatory stance against LGBT pupils. So that false threat in the sermon is telling the pupils to reject LGBT principles - which I understand to be a catch-all that includes rejecting anyone saying they are non-binary or queer or anything else that comes under the LGBT umbrella.

    I think this is the crux of the matter. There is a significant difference between being told "you must accept that people have the right to be X, Y, and Z" and being told "you must accept that is it right for people to be X, Y, and Z". I read the sermon as trying to draw a line between these two points.

    I find it challenging to keep my arguments straight when the topic is sexuality, because I don't think that the chaplain is right - I happily affirm that the gay couple in the next pew have a marriage that's just as right, and sacramental, and Godly as mine, and that trans people are formed in God's image just as cis people are.

    And that's why I'm trying to make the parallel argument about faith, because I do think Muslims are wrong - and also that they think that I am wrong. And I'm happy to agree with the statement "Muslims are entitled to be free to pursue their faith, and we should accommodate that", but I'm not ever going to agree with the statement "Islam is correct".

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    @Leorning Cniht can I point you back to one of your own paragraphs?

    "Is there a loving way to care for a queer child whilst expressing "traditional" views of sexuality? I really don't think there is. It seems to me that at some point, you inevitably end up back at "hate the sin, love the sinner" and we know that doesn't work."
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    This is the problem here. Conservatives assert a right to hold views in the abstract which simply does not exist. Religious teachings affect the lives of real people, and if the purpose of Christianity is to promote abundant life, then telling people that they are wrong to love in the way that is natural to them is working contrary to the purposes of Christianity.
  • So I think in the case of Christianity vs Islam, we generally make it work by agreeing not to talk about it. The Christian believes that they are right about God, the Muslim believes that they are right about God, and we agree to talk about what each believes, but not to argue about it.

    But how do Christian schools in the UK deal with little Mohammed coming to the school chaplain and saying "I want to be a Christian"? It's not the same situation, but I think it has some similarities. (Let's assume that "little Mohammed" is a teenager in secondary school, and let's also assume that Mohammed's parents are not supportive of his desire to investigate Christianity.)
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited May 18
    So I think in the case of Christianity vs Islam, we generally make it work by agreeing not to talk about it. The Christian believes that they are right about God, the Muslim believes that they are right about God, and we agree to talk about what each believes, but not to argue about it.

    That's not where I am. I think that, when considering the Abrahamic faiths, we need to listen to Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that we all see through a glass darkly, and I am not so certain that I can be assured that Christianity is right and Islam wrong.
    But how do Christian schools in the UK deal with little Mohammed coming to the school chaplain and saying "I want to be a Christian"? It's not the same situation, but I think it has some similarities. (Let's assume that "little Mohammed" is a teenager in secondary school, and let's also assume that Mohammed's parents are not supportive of his desire to investigate Christianity.)
    Christian schools in the UK need to tread very, very carefully in this situation, particularly for students who have links to their home country, as there are a number of Muslim countries that do not welcome Christians, particularly Christian converts from Islam. I can't see that going down well with the current Home Office either.

    When my daughter lived in Nottingham a decade ago, there were some concerns expressed by the UoN Islamic Society who were aware of vulnerable Muslim students without the greatest of English language skills, who had been baptised by overenthusiastic evangelising Christian churches, and as a result had put their safe return to their home countries in jeopardy.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    This vicar needs to leave the world of education and find a church that agrees with him.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    This vicar needs to leave the world of education and find a church that agrees with him.

    I fully agree.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Preferably not mine.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Preferably not mine.

    Would your church agree with him ?
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    Agree on free speech - yes.
    Agree on marriage, homosexuality - no.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Agree on free speech - yes.
    Agree on marriage, homosexuality - no.

    He wouldn't be coming to your church then
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Louise wrote: »
    Remember again that we've only one side of the story and no idea what else might have been said that isn't being reported.

    True, and a timely reminder. But I think we can have a discussion about a particular set of reported views, without having to assume that that set of reports represent the whole picture of an individual case. And I think discussion the issues around a particular report is almost more useful for a discussion, as it lets us explore where we think the boundaries should be without being sidetracked too much by the motivation or character of specific individuals.

    In this case, @Curiosity killed argues that the sermon as posted by @GarethMoon constitutes a statement that the school can discriminate against LGBT pupils, because the particular brand of Christianity held by the chaplain thinks that homosexuality is sinful.

    This quote includes the statement
    There are some areas where the two sets of values overlap – no one should be discriminated against simply for who he or she is: That’s a Christian value, based in loving our neighbours as ourselves.
    so I think the argument isn't quite so straightforward, as the sermon explicitly states that people shouldn't be discriminated against because of who they are.
    From the quoted section of the sermon, the phrase
    you do not have to accept the ideas and ideologies of LGBT activists. Indeed, since Trent exists ‘to educate boys and girls according to the Protestant and Evangelical principles of the Church of England’, anyone who tells you that you must accept contrary principles is jeopardizing the school’s charitable status, and therefore it’s very existence.
    I am aware that there will be a good few in our community who will have been struggling, if they feel they are being told that they must accept ideas which run counter to their faith – or indeed non-faith – based reasoning about the world.


    I am certain it is not against a faith school's charitable principles to accept "contrary principles" when those are the acceptance of LGBT pupils or their needs, it's actually illegal for the school to take a discriminatory stance against LGBT pupils. So that false threat in the sermon is telling the pupils to reject LGBT principles - which I understand to be a catch-all that includes rejecting anyone saying they are non-binary or queer or anything else that comes under the LGBT umbrella.

    I think this is the crux of the matter. There is a significant difference between being told "you must accept that people have the right to be X, Y, and Z" and being told "you must accept that is it right for people to be X, Y, and Z". I read the sermon as trying to draw a line between these two points.

    I find it challenging to keep my arguments straight when the topic is sexuality, because I don't think that the chaplain is right - I happily affirm that the gay couple in the next pew have a marriage that's just as right, and sacramental, and Godly as mine, and that trans people are formed in God's image just as cis people are.

    And that's why I'm trying to make the parallel argument about faith, because I do think Muslims are wrong - and also that they think that I am wrong. And I'm happy to agree with the statement "Muslims are entitled to be free to pursue their faith, and we should accommodate that", but I'm not ever going to agree with the statement "Islam is correct".

    Isn't the difference, though, that you think (I presume!) that Muslims are factually wrong, but not necessarily morally wrong, whereas religious conservatives think gay sex is morally wrong?
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Islam started about 600 years after Christianity and is currently where Christianity was a few hundred years ago.

    Attitudes will change, but not in my lifetime
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    The important thing in religion is faith which links both fact and morality.
    Christians and Muslims (and Jews and indeed others) woship the same God although they may not always be aware of this
    Both Muslims and Christians (and others) believe that their beliefs are factually correct.It is difficult to prove factually that either is right or wrong.
    The same with those who believe that gay sex is either right or wrong

    Some would point to the undoubted fact that it is heterosexual sex (practiced in a certain way) which provides for the next generations and that that is the important fact about sex.
    Others would say that each person has a right to love and to be loved in the way that they consider to answer their needs and that that is a fact as well as a right.
  • Telford wrote: »
    Agree on free speech - yes.
    Agree on marriage, homosexuality - no.

    He wouldn't be coming to your church then

    I admire your optimism. Our place has definitely had an appointment of someone with very conservative views on sexuality, which I strongly suspect were in difference to many of the congregation. But that’s the patronage system for you.

    Going back to the vicar, I think his role in a school is particularly important. I feel he has a duty to do no harm, first and foremost. And the point he made about the principles of LGBTQ “activists” (whatever that means) having views “contrary to Christian principles” is harmful. That’s one of the problems often in debates about sexuality, to one set of people it’s a theological position (however dearly held) and to another it is their lived experience. It is very wrong to set them out as if they were opposing sides in a debate, like a game of table tennis.

    The point that worried me most though, is his purported response to “all this LGBT stuff”. I would want to know what the student in question meant by LGBT “stuff” and why it bothers them. Is it discussions about relationships in class? The existence of a club for LGBTQ kids?
    This has been on my mind particularly over the last couple of days. Kid A is on the head student team at school, and has as her particular area of responsibility all things LGBTQ. We’ve been calling her gay fromage (as opposed to grand fromage) and we’ve been very proud. She’s been in charge of running that club for LGBTQ kids (or would have been, away from lockdown), has put together lists of useful books etc. Under her pic, which all the HS team have, it says “Mary Jones, LGBTQ” Or it did, until someone crossed out the LGBTQ bit.

    It’s not beating her up, stealing her lunch money, or shouting abuse at her in the street. But istm that someone might have felt they were expressing a view that they were having too much LGBT “stuff” forced on them by “activists”.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited May 27
    It’s not beating her up, stealing her lunch money, or shouting abuse at her in the street. But istm that someone might have felt they were expressing a view that they were having too much LGBT “stuff” forced on them by “activists”.

    Probably - you get the same sort of people complaining in the cesspit that is youtube comments any time there's a gay character on a show. They don't seem to mind so much gay characters in shows where being gay is a central plot point - they object to the idea that some random character in a show just happens, incidentally, to be gay. Basically, they object to the portrayal of being gay as an entirely normal part of the variation in human behaviour.

    There is something of a tension between students being told that being LGBTQ is indeed a normal part of the human experience, that they have LGBTQ classmates and neighbours, and that those people have every right to live their lives, just like everyone else; and the student who wishes to affirm a "traditional" view of homosexuality as being sinful. And the tension arises most strongly when you realize that "those people" aren't different from the student's classmates - they're the same people. Christians and gay people are not disjoint sets.

    In the process of teaching that LGBTQ is a normal part of the human experience, you'd like to teach that the "traditional" view of homosexuality wrong. Not doing so requires to to perform some quite intricate mental gymnastics to avoid miring yourself in inconsistencies. But can a CofE school really tell a pupil who wishes to uphold the current CofE teaching on sexuality that they are wrong?
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Recently, my daughter came out as Bi. She has a daughter who is 18 and a husband who has been with her for just as long. But she did have a female lover on the side. That lover ended up deciding to marry someone else, It has caused my daughter a lot of pain. She went to her minister whom she trusted. Unfortunately, the minister fell back into the old role which did not help at all.

    I believe millennials are more open to bi relationships than any previous generation, and there is strong evidence that Gen Z is also much more open to bi and same-sex.

    While people will dispute me, I find sexuality is quite fluid.

    We need to be more open to new expressions of sexuality accepting people where they are at,

  • In the process of teaching that LGBTQ is a normal part of the human experience, you'd like to teach that the "traditional" view of homosexuality wrong. Not doing so requires to to perform some quite intricate mental gymnastics to avoid miring yourself in inconsistencies. But can a CofE school really tell a pupil who wishes to uphold the current CofE teaching on sexuality that they are wrong?

    Just to say baldly “wrong”, I don’t think that’s helpful. But what I think they can and should do is to discuss it in a context which supports the LGBTQ members of the school community (I’m not a fan of the phrase safe space, but that’s the sort of thing I mean) and which looks at that teaching in a historical context - the CofE used to teach that marriage after divorce was absolutely wrong, that’s now changed - and within the context of the church as a whole - some parts of the Anglican communion now conduct same sex marriages.

    One of the beefs I have with the chaplain’s view was the subtle swipe at LGBTQ activists, as a powerful but nebulous force which the brave individual soldier can stand up to. I don’t think it’s right to make characterisations of “the other side” like that. (Though heaven help me, I do to the conservatives). The power dynamics are really important, and those should be taken into account in any discussion. My teens go to a pretty standard comp, and fa***t is used daily as an insult - it’s within those contexts that discussions take place, and anyone wanting to espouse a traditional view should be sensitive to that.
  • GarethMoonGarethMoon Shipmate
    edited May 28
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Recently, my daughter came out as Bi. She has a daughter who is 18 and a husband who has been with her for just as long. But she did have a female lover on the side. That lover ended up deciding to marry someone else, It has caused my daughter a lot of pain. She went to her minister whom she trusted. Unfortunately, the minister fell back into the old role which did not help at all.

    I believe millennials are more open to bi relationships than any previous generation, and there is strong evidence that Gen Z is also much more open to bi and same-sex.

    While people will dispute me, I find sexuality is quite fluid.

    We need to be more open to new expressions of sexuality accepting people where they are at,

    Would she have expected the pastor to have been supportive of her had she been straight and her lover had been male?

    If so I can understand the disappointment. If not then surely the minister was being consistent?

    Of course, if sexuality is fluid then that can open the doors to making conversation therapy or 'marry the opposite sex and you'll fall in love/attraction over time' seem a legitimate course of action, can't it?
  • Just to say baldly “wrong”, I don’t think that’s helpful. But what I think they can and should do is to discuss it in a context which supports the LGBTQ members of the school community (I’m not a fan of the phrase safe space, but that’s the sort of thing I mean) and which looks at that teaching in a historical context - the CofE used to teach that marriage after divorce was absolutely wrong, that’s now changed - and within the context of the church as a whole - some parts of the Anglican communion now conduct same sex marriages.

    Implicit in the way that you frame this is the assumption that those parts of the Anglican communion that conduct same sex marriages are correct, that this is the way that things are moving, and that although the CofE's official position hasn't got there yet, it's going to.

    That's an assumption I have a lot of sympathy for, because it describes my personal position quite well, but it's not an assumption that a person who does believe the traditional view can make.
    GarethMoon wrote: »
    Of course, if sexuality is fluid then that can open the doors to making conversation therapy or 'marry the opposite sex and you'll fall in love/attraction over time' seem a legitimate course of action, can't it?

    There is a considerable body of evidence that says that "conversion therapy" both doesn't work, and causes harm to those who take part. So regardless of any theoretical speculation about whether it might be possible, the evidence is that, in practice, it at least mostly isn't.
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