Deconstructing Butt-hurt British Bigots

Today I want to analyse a story that I read on the BBC during my lunch break. It’s a story that… Well… It ground my gears. It’s a story about homophobic bigots who hide behind religion and claim that their intolerant, hate-filled bile is actually “morality”.

It’s this story. The basic theme is: Roman Catholic Bishop uses Christmas sermon to attack UK Gov plans to legally recognise gay marriage (as distinct from Civil Partnerships). I want to pick out some passages and pass my own (fair and unbiased as always) comments upon them.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

“Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols told the BBC the government had no mandate to push through same-sex marriage laws in England and Wales.”

This is a flat-out lie. A pretty well constructed Sunday Telegraph poll showed that 45% of respondents are in favour of gay marriage, 36% opposed and 19% undecided. The Telegraph has a conservative readership, so it should be noted that this means forty five percent of CONSERVATIVE British people support gay marriage. It’s no stretch at all to assume that the figure for liberals is close to 100%. This is strongly backed-up by a YouGov poll which found only 32% of respondents were opposed to gay marriage (including 15% who were also opposed to civil partnerships). A poll from Populus was completely unequivocal: 65% in favour of gay marriage, 27% opposed. The massively dishonest figure being quoted by the Roman Catholic Church is from this poll, in which the only question was whether respondents agreed with the statement “Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman” – Note that the question doesn’t even mention same sex marriage and it’s fair to assume that not all of the respondents (if any) would have considered that to have been the point of the question. The only other poll showing a majority against same sex marriage is this one, which has perhaps the most hostile wording of any of the polls, a Likert Scale on the following statement: “Since gay and lesbian couples already have the same rights as married couples available to them under civil partnership, they should not be allowed to redefine marriage for everyone else”. I don’t think I need to point out why that study is bullshit to this audience. Moving on.

“Speaking in his sermon at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Nichols said “the love of husband and wife, which is creative of new human life, is a marvellously personal sharing in the creative love of God who brings into being the eternal soul that comes to every human being with the gift of human life”.

And verily, I say unto the Bishop: Prove it. Seriously, if he’s using that as the basis of an argument to deprive actual real human beings of legal rights, then I’d say he’s got a pretty strong duty to prove it first.

“During his interview, Archbishop Nichols said of the gay marriage plans: “There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen’s Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation. ‘From a democratic point-of-view, it’s a shambles. George Orwell would be proud of that manoeuvre, I think the process is shambolic’.”

In the words of Bill Hicks: Fundamentalism breeds inability to grasp irony. The Catholic Church is an international cultish dictatorship. And yet their leader in England and Wales is criticising somebody else for being undemocratic. And it’s not even true. And he’s clearly never actually read any George Orwell books, or he’d know that Orwell would most certainly not be “proud” of any process that wasn’t democratic. Oh dear. This guy’s starting to look like a bit of an idiot, isn’t he?

“He claims during a ‘period of listening’, those who responded were ’7-1 against same-sex marriage’.”

I don’t know (though I can guess) who he was “listening” to, but I think I’ve already amply proven that it can’t have been a representative sample of the general public.

“The UK government has previously announced that the Church of England and Church in Wales will be banned in law from offering same-sex marriages, with other religious organisations able to “opt in” to holding ceremonies….

…Although the Church of England has opposed gay marriage and is expected to oppose the government’s bill, it has also said it was not consulted on a plan for the bill to include a specific ban on it conducting gay marriages. And the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said he thought the ban was a “step too far”.

But Muslim leaders have called for the same legal exemptions as the Church of England in gay marriage legislation, with the Muslim Council of Britain saying it was “appalled” by the government’s “utterly discriminatory” proposals.”

A few observations here: I strongly suspect that not only were the CofE consulted on the legal prohibition, but that it was probably their own idea. CofE is the state religion of the UK, and disputes over ordination of women and openly gay priests, as well as over gay marriage, have threatened to tear it apart over the last decade. By banning them in law from conducting same-sex wedding ceremonies, UK Gov may well have been trying to prevent the church from schisming any further over what is (to them) a very divisive issue.

The irony of the CofE saying it doesn’t want the ban (I think that’s probably an outright lie), while some butt-hurt Muslims scream “BAN US! BAN US!” is just delicious. Of course, the cynic in me can’t help thinking that if Muslim congregations weren’t left the ability to legally opt-in, some would still be screaming that they were discriminated against; victim mentality is amusing to watch but ultimately pathetic.

And this raises a further point: The Roman Catholic Church does not have to perform gay marriages. The law is very clear that, in order to do so, not only would individual churches have to opt-in, but so would the entire Roman Catholic Church, from the Pope and the Vatican on down. And that’s why I find the Bishop truly despicable; he’s not complaining that he will be forced to do something against his religion (in fact he knows he won’t), he’s complaining that everybody who doesn’t share his religion, will have the right to disregard the rules of his religion.

To me, we’re in Dutch cartoon territory. This is the exact same thing as Muslims murdering people for not following uniquely Muslim edicts (don’t draw Muhammed). In both cases, my response is the same: You can follow whatever rules you choose to follow from your religion, but DO NOT think that you have any right to enforce them on anybody else.

I think that will do for now. It’s over to you lot to pick my thinking to pieces.

  • Kevin Murphy

    Well said! These church institutions are flocking to the barricades that are dissolving under them. It’s clear that’s marriage equality is gaining here in the States; we’re just awaiting the tipping point. Please don’t be discouraged; continue to fight such blatant bigotry.
    Kevin Murphy
    Salem, Oregon

  • Yoav

    He just follow the lead of his asshole of a boss. According to our old buddy poop rarzi same sex marriage are a manipulation of nature.

    • FO

      Where “Nature” is defined as “whatever we don’t feel threatened about”.

    • Artor

      Actually, the CofE’s boss is Queen Elizabeth, but your point is taken.

      • Slow Learner

        And this Archbishop speaking up is the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, rather than part of the CofE, so his boss *is* Ratzi.

  • FO

    The government legislating on religion… Even if it is UK, is it legal at all?
    The government should definitely let the various religious organizations enough rope to hang themselves.

    • Michael

      The Church of England is a state religion, so my understanding is that the state can legislate whatever it wants about it. I don’t see how it could restrict other churches though.

    • blotonthelandscape

      CofE bishops are automatically peers of the House of Lords, so they have a say in passing legislation. Separation of Church and State isn’t really a thing in this country. Hence why the “ordaining female bishops” issue has been such a hot topic, and not just for the dwindling CofE members (it amounts to gender discrimination in the House of Lords). Secularity is more an agreed system than an enforced one.

  • Sunny Day

    You could always try this one out on bigots,
    “Since heterosexual couples already have the same rights as gay and lesbian couples available to them under civil partnership, they should not be allowed special rights such as marriage.”

  • Nox

    Makes more sense if you speak papist. What the archbishop of Westminster meant by “no mandate” is “the pope didn’t say you could”.

  • Erp

    I suspect the 7-1 is because the opponents submitted a petition with a lot of signatures while the supporters sent individual letters (the government was looking for letters with different opinions).

    The Muslims wanting to have a legal ban on Mosque same sex marriages aren’t thinking things through. The reason why the Church of England and the Church in Wales may need an explicit ban (or something similar) is because the law of the land requires them to marry parishioners (the CoE because it is an established church and the CiW because that bit was not removed when it was disestablished) with a few minor exceptions (the biggest being when one person is divorced then the minister can choose to refuse). Note there is no exception for one or both not being Christian (though the marriage ceremony will be standard Anglican) and that a parishioner is anyone living in the parish not just those attending the church. For the government to start saying who a particular religion _must not_ marry (assuming the couple is entitled to a civil marriage) is to allow the government to interfere with the internal policies of a religion to a much greater extent then it currently can (except in the CoE and CiW where it is already doing so) and may in future allow them to state who a religion _must_ marry. Do the mosques really want the government to have that power?

    Another oddity is that Church of England canon law which defines marriage as one male and one female is the law of the land (though it only applies to the CoE) which means that if and when the CoE decides to allow same sex marriage it would still have to go to Parliament to amend the canon law (the church’s General Synod would vote to modify, the modification would go to Parliament for approval and then to the Queen for her royal assent [the last is a formality]).

    • Custador

      Thank you for the knowledge barrage, it’s always useful :-)

  • Stonyground

    Some of you may need a bit of clarification here because the various names and the organisations that they represent can be a little confusing. Vincent Nicholls is the Arch Bishop of Westminster, the Chief Catlic in England, I’m not sure if Wales is included in his bit or not. Current boss of the Church of England is Rowan Williams, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, he is stepping down soon and I cant remember the name of the new guy. Queen Elizabeth is the Head of the CofE but only as a figurehead, I don’t think that the gets involved too much.

    • Custador

      Wales is mostly Chapel anyway, which is a pretty much unique brand of Christianity to them.

  • http://www.katav.co.uk John McKeown

    You’re right about misuse of polls, the most prominent word in that question is “life-long” and that would shape responses. What annoys me about the Archbishop of Westminster’s sermon (taken alongside his interview) is that he links marriage to being “creative of new human life” i.e. defined by reproduction, by which he devalues and denigrates all those marriages in which the wife and husband never have any intention of having children. jpmckeown

  • John C

    His divine nature, which was ours too in the beginning, and re-Gifted to us once again in Christ, is the offer, is His promise. [2 Pet 1:4]

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, love you guys.

    • UrsaMinor

      Merry Christmas, John!

    • Sunny Day

      Re Gifted?
      Who knew divinity could be passed around like an unwanted Vanilla Ice album?

      • Michael

        Unfortunately, I don’t know anybody to whom it would make any sense to regift such an album.

        Fortunately, I don’t know anybody who would give one to me in the first place.

  • Stonyground

    Oddly, when other people make typos I’m pretty cool about it, you can usually work out what they meant to say anyway. When I spot them in my own post though, it drives me daft. The word cant should read can’t obviously, and, further down, it should read ‘I don’t think that she gets involved too much’. Anyway, the new ABofC is going to be Justin Welby. We don’t know too much about him yet, he seems to side with the conservatives with respect to women being bishops and gay weddings etc. and he looks a bit like a lightbulb.

  • FO

    “You said the same shit about divorce.”

  • smrnda

    I don’t see why the undemocratic church ought to be able to impose its vision of marriage on a democratic society. If the church thinks ‘penis in vagina’ is the most important thing about a union in terms of whether its a marriage or not (unlike something like love, commitment, or compatibility – silly immature secular ideas that just aren’t as meaningful as ‘penis in vagina’) it’s free to think what it likes, but they don’t get to define marriage for the rest of society.

    • UrsaMinor

      They certainly do get to define marriage when their adherents constitute a powerful majority.

  • Robster

    Their main worry is about losing this “battle”. For decades the church(es) have been discrininating and hating gay people, now with the tide turning heavily against them, they’re feeling threatened and are sh*t scared to lose this battle. If they do and they will, it’ll again prove that their god and jesus fantasy is as useless as it actually is. This god/jesus thing is a dangerous fraud, the deity is a failure. Their absurd doctrine is slowly being relegated to where it belongs, the dusty pile of forgotten history. God/jesus/mo does one thing well and that’s nothing. A dismal, embarassing failure.

    • Rich

      “For decades the church has been discriminating and hating gay people.”
      No. Absolutely not. It is perceived as such through a huge lack of understanding by people who refuse to accept that a homosexual lifestyle is immoral. And simply because I said that, you will say I hate gay people. Well I don’t.

      God and Jesus fantasy?
      You are seriously having a laugh.

      Dangerous fraud?
      Rubbish.

      Deity a failure? Absurd doctrine?
      No , no, no, no, no.

      I am truly sorry you feel that way.

      • Kodie

        You refuse to accept homosexuality as not immoral. Your post did not make any arguments, you just denied all the accusations. Where is god that you can point to him and he tells you that it’s your duty to tell other people their relationships are wrong? I say, if it’s wrong according to god, it’s none of your business or the law’s.

        • Rich

          If it’s wrong according to God, we all need to listen.

          • UrsaMinor

            Only if you’ve picked the right god. There are thousands. Please establish that your choice is the correct one.

          • Kodie

            If it’s wrong according to god, you need to prove god exists, or you can also choose to leave it between god and the homosexual.

          • Troutbane

            Please add in the Bible quote specifically where God says is is wrong.

            And, yes, this is a trap.

            • Frank

              If you plan on trotting out the ” Paul did not know about committed homosexuals” or ” it’s different today” or ” Paul made up a word” or ” David and Jonathan or Ruth and Naomi” then the traps for you since they have all been discredited and dismissed ad nauseum.

            • Troutbane

              Nice roll to dodge answering the question. Natural 20 for you! +1 Internetztroll Factor

            • Frank

              Since we all know what verses people would quote in response to your “trap” please enlighten us as to what point you were going to make.

            • Troutbane

              Keep rolling, keep dodging. Still havent answered.

            • Frank

              You are the one dodging now. State your point or admit you have none.

            • Troutbane

              “State your point or admit you have none.”

              Now you are being obtuse:

              Please add in the Bible quote specifically where God says it is wrong.

            • Custador

              He can’t, because I’ve banned him.

            • Troutbane

              Aww, cmon Custy. I was just getting the last spear trap set. You never let me have any fun.

            • Custador

              I think that trap had failed mate. Not that you needed to set a trap for anybody that wilfully ignorant. All he did was make assertions with no reasoning and no evidence. I’m minded to simply deny people like that a platform from the outset; debating them adds nothing and legitimises them by giving them undeserved attention. The sum and total response they deserve is: “Fuck off and educate yourself, then come back when you have something constructive, or at least well thought out, to add”.

            • Sunny Day

              If you did that who would I have to throw rocks at?

            • Sunny Day

              I think your banning is too high handed and wish it would stop.

              If you can’t make fun of idots , I mean what else is there to do on this site?

            • Kodie

              If you can’t make fun of idots , I mean what else is there to do on this site?

              Yeah.

      • Troutbane

        “people who refuse to accept that a homosexual lifestyle is immoral”

        Please explain and defend why this is immoral. Remember, if you try a theistic path, I am happy to show you religions where they don’t give a rats ass if you are gay or not. If you are going a naturalistic path, I am happy to show you other animals in nature that display homosexual behavior.

        Go ahead please, I am all ears.

        • Rich

          I don’t need to defend why it’s immoral.
          Would you ask someone to defend why slander or theft or lying is immoral?

          • Kodie

            You do need to defend why loving someone of the same sex is in any way comparable to a crime or that which causes harm.

          • Troutbane

            “Would you ask someone to defend why slander or theft or lying is immoral”

            Yes, I would, and you (or I) could defend the immorality of those. But in regards to homosexuality, you cannot. Dont be an ass.

          • Troutbane

            Also, you still have not explained how it is immoral. Please, still waiting. Please stop trying to dodge the question.

        • Frank

          Are you sure you want to use the defense of “living like an animal?” Animals also eat their young and throw their feces.

          • Kodie

            Humans are animals. If you don’t believe me, have you pooped yet today?

            • Frank

              Yes I know. I was responding to the ridiculous argument that since in nature there are species that exhibit same sex behavior ( of course it’s not about sex but power and domination) then it must be ok for humanity.

            • Custador

              “of course it’s not about sex but power and domination”

              Yeah, citation needed for that one. I used to keep geese. Two of them were a same-sex couple. I’m being entirely serious – I had two male geese that demonstrated perceptible affection (including sexual) toward each other. So if you’re actually going to assert that it’s really all about “power and domination”, then I want a link to the research that proves it.

            • Kodie

              Humans rape each other too. Hetero- and homo-sexual people rape or are raped. You are not really making a lot of sense so far. Plus what Custador said.

            • Troutbane

              “ridiculous argument that since in nature there are species that exhibit same sex behavior ( of course it’s not about sex but power and domination) then it must be ok for humanity.”

              Umm, that wasnt the argument. The original argument was that gays are immoral. I then asked for why that is so. Obviously, as you point out, the naturalistic point is invalid. Then we are left with a theistic point, which as so many others have pointed out, fails when we have to determine which religion to use for defining its immorality. This ultimately leads to a specific religious argument and so we fall back onto the “prove your religion” argument, which you simply cannot.
              Therefore, homosexuality is only immoral if you have unprovable belief in a specific interpretation of a bronze age myth. Thats it. Now, why such a narrow point of view should be forced onto others and restrict their civil rights is beyond me.

            • Frank

              The problem is when we anthromorphosize animals. It leads to all sorts of erroneous conclusions.

              Power and dominance is one main reason but there are others like population control.

              http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3980720?uid=3739832&uid=2460338175&uid=2460337935&uid=2&uid=4&uid=83&uid=63&uid=3739256&sid=21101596160197

            • Frank

              You say myth I say truth. You are correct we are at an impasse.

              Aside from theology there are non religious reasons to support heterosexual marriage only.

              http://www.harvard-jlpp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GeorgeFinal.pdf

            • Kodie

              But humans are animals, you notice there are species and we are a species with our own range of behaviors and needs, many of which we have in common with other species and many which are unique to our species – like all animals do.

              You cannot justify religious impositions saying we would otherwise act like animals, as if that were not already true, and a negative thing. Even working with the false premise that homosexuality (but NEVER heterosexuality!) in the broad category of “animals other than humans” is about power and dominance – human animals do partake of power and dominance sexually AND homosexuality between consenting adults is not an example that fits your premise. So what, who cares what you are saying? What it boils down to is you don’t know very much on your own, can’t say anything without being told, and you’re just simple, that’s about it. The superstition that you have driving your ignorance is showing loud and clear, so you do have to justify imposing those beliefs on other people with proof.

            • Frank

              The last resort of someone losing an argument: the ad hominem

            • Kodie

              You don’t even know how to apply logic or accuse of logical fallacies. I called you simple, my evidence is everything you said so far. It did not come from an intent to discredit your argument by calling you a name – you did it to yourself.

            • Troutbane

              “Aside from theology there are non religious reasons to support heterosexual marriage only.”

              Swing and a miss.

              Im not talking about marriage. Outside of religion, why is homosexuality immoral?

            • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

              Frank, your research amounts to a magazine article published in 1997 and a philosophy paper by a doctrinal student and his colleagues that begins with the sentence “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman” and immediately accuses alternative interpretations of being ‘revisionist’.

            • Troutbane

              Oh my Science! I finally finished that Harvard Law article about why marriage should be between a man and a woman.
              Well written and researched, clear, concise.
              And loaded with enough logical fallacies to sink a battleship. Really wonderful piece of shit. What amazes me is that the author(s) are connected with legal academia (and, I should point out, also evangelical and right wing politics) and still put out something so muddleheaded, I am simply stunned.
              These people teach? How can they not see the inconsistency and stupidity of their arguments from straw men to circular arguments to begging the question. The worst is when they quote someone from a “left” point of view and then misconstrue and distort what that person said.
              Please read, I know its long, but its just so…so…so self aggrandizing and patronizing, and really lays out the best case against same sex marriage. And that case is pure shit.

            • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

              I did read parts of it, and really just a skim of the contents page is a litany of logical fallacies and the entire premise of the thing is based on begging the question and just plain ignoring historical reality. It concerns me as well that its authors teach and have a pretty consistent platform to express their very poorly thought out position with a pretense of authority, but it is somewhat heartening to realise that this them giving their best shot. This is as good as it gets when it comes to apologetics for being against marriage equality. They even made an attempt to explain why it’s ok to let infertile couples marry even though marriage is only for making and raising children (a hilariously pathetic attempt that amounted to transparent special pleading and again begging the question regarding heterosexual marriage being magically the right type). It’s as bad as William Lane Craig. When they turn the magnifying glass of academic inquiry on themselves, they wind up setting themselves on fire.

      • Custador

        Yeah, see the thing is: You can SAY that you don’t hate homosexuals until you’re blue in the face, but when you also say that homosexuality is immoral, then you’re a fucking liar. The two statements are mutually exclusive. Saying that homosexuality is immoral is exactly the same thing as saying that being black is immoral; they’re both inherent traits that you’re either born with or you’re not. Your inability to grasp that simple truth makes you more than just a hate-monger, it makes you a stupid, ignorant hate-monger. Ten fucking seconds on Google Scholar could educate you, but you’d rather take your cue from one passage from a 4000 year old book that’s been translated, mistranslated, interpreted and altered so many times that it would no longer have any meaning to the 4000 year dead people it was originally aimed at, let alone to a modern population who have the benefit of infinitely more actual knowledge.

        Do you know what people do to demographics they hate? They make huge, sweeping generalisations and judgements about them and what they do, born out of pure ignorance. And that is exactly what you just did about homosexuals, and that is exactly why you are fooling absolutely nobody.

        In summary: Fuck off you horrible, peon minded little hate monger. Educate yourself properly before you come back.

        • Rich

          Being black cannot be compared to being homosexual – the colour of a person’s skin has nothing to do with morality, but a person’s behaviour does.

          • Troutbane

            So you chose to be heterosexual? Is that what I am understanding? Since it is a chosen behavior, one must chose how to behave, so you chose to be hetero, correct?

            • Frank

              Yes he chooses to engage or not engage in heterosexual relations.

            • Custador

              A large part of what dictates whether you choose to engage in homosexual activities is: Are you attracted exclusively to members of your own gender?

              Tell me Frank, did you choose to only be attracted to women? Because if you really did have to make that choice, then boy I’m going to have to open that closet door and give you some news!

            • Troutbane

              Yes, but do YOU , Rich, admit that you CHOOSE to engage in heterosexual activity and CHOOSE to be straight? When did YOU choose this lifestyle?

            • Troutbane

              Oops, got Rich and Frank confused.

            • Custador

              It’s not hard to see why.

            • Frank

              Custardor I believe that who someone is attracted to is not something we choose. What we do with that attraction is a choice.

            • Custador

              Congratulations, you’ve just admitted that being gay is something you’re born with.

            • Kodie

              Then I ask you, what’s it to you what they choose? Unless they are having an affair with your spouse, or raping or fondling anyone without or under the age of, consent, then what is it to you or the government?

            • Frank

              Exactly. Choose away, no one is restricting your choice of whom you want to love.

            • Kodie

              They are restricting marriage. You are either playing stupid now or actually stupid.

            • Troutbane

              ” no one is restricting your choice of whom you want to love.”

              There are some Ugandans that may want to discuss this with you.

            • Frank

              Don’t you know love and marriage are not the same thing. No one is restricting you from loving anyone. You want it to be called marriage so it’s up to you to convince everyone why it should be. That’s what playing out right now in governments and courts. Time will tell how it will end up.

            • Custador

              “You want it to be called marriage so it’s up to you to convince everyone why it should be.”

              No it isn’t. It’s up to opponents like you to prove why it’s any of your fucking business. I’m still waiting for you to do that.

            • Frank

              There is no scientific proof that people are born gay.

              What I admit to is that whom someone is attracted to is not something that people “choose.” Not that they are born hard wired to that choice.

            • Custador

              “There is no scientific proof that people are born gay.”

              Firstly, science works on balance of evidence, not proof. Secondly, as it happens, you’re dead wrong:

              Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation
              Physical Development and Sexual Orientation in Men and Women: An Analysis of NATSAL-2000″
              Sexual orientation, fraternal birth order, and the maternal immune hypothesis: A review

              That’s point one roundly spanked. Next:

              “What I admit to is that whom someone is attracted to is not something that people “choose.” Not that they are born hard wired to that choice.”

              Read that self-contradictory paragraph back to yourself, will you? It says: “I admit people don’t choose who they’re attracted to. But they do choose who they’re attracted to.”

              Your doublethink skills are impressive, Oh Cognitively Dissonant One.

            • Frank

              It’s in humanities best interests to keep marriage and family as man- woman, father-mother-child.

            • Custador

              “It’s in humanities best interests to keep marriage and family as man- woman, father-mother-child.”

              Why? You’ve stated an opinion, and you haven’t justified it. So: Why?

            • Frank

              [RAMPANT MORON SPEW DELETED]

            • Custador

              Well, I did warn you. Bye bye, Frank.

          • Yoav

            It wasn’t that long ago when christianity used the buybull to claim that being black is exactly that, talking about the curse of Ham.

        • Frank

          There is no proof whatsoever that people, are born gay. If there is and if it is true it supports the biblical position that we are born sinners,

          • Kodie

            There’s no proof whatsoever that the bible is true. There is no proof whatsoever that there’s anything wrong with being gay. If homosexuality were an inborn trait, that in no way supports the bible as true or even useful in any way.

            • Frank

              If you reject the bible then all biblical positions are also rejected.

            • Custador

              Only if they’re unique to the Bible.

            • Kodie

              Not if the law imposes them on you.

            • Frank

              The government forces beliefs upon people all the time.

            • Custador

              The government is chosen by the people to represent the people. Religious leaders choose themselves. There’s a big difference.

            • Kodie

              Like what.

            • Frank

              Every law has a belief attached to it.

            • Kodie

              Is it a belief that can be proven or a belief in a superstition? Superstitious beliefs should be eliminated from law. There is no reason to deny homosexual couples the recognition, status, and benefits of marriage because of “I think it’s a sin and god don’t like it!”

            • Frank

              If people decide that marriage is whatever a person wants it to be then it will change.

      • Nox

        That a statement does not accurately reflect how christians prefer to think of themselves, does not mean that statement does not accurately reflect what christianity is.

      • Jabster

        Rich,

        Honestly … you’re just a bit of a cunt.

        • Rich

          LoL :0)

  • Frank

    There is very little thinking in this post to pick apart.” Throw away” would be more appropriate . The bishops position is sound.

    • UrsaMinor

      His position is sound only if his religion is the true and correct one. That point hasn’t even been addressed, so the most definitive statement you can make about his position is that it is either consistent or not consistent with a particular set of religious beliefs.

      • Frank

        Yes of course if you deny the bible then the words or position makes no sense.

        • Custador

          Then since you seek to enforce your views on others, you have a duty to prove that the Bible really is the word of God, starting with proving empirically (though I’d also accept a flawless logical chain) that God exists. Homosexuals aren’t seeking to enforce their views on you. The sum and total effect on society of legalising gay marriage is simply this: Gay people will get married. Effect on religious institutions that don’t want to marry gay people: Zero, they are free to refuse to do so. Effect on heterosexual people: Zero, their rights remain totally unchanged.

          In fact, Frank, since you’re here and commenting, can you please answer that point for me? Exactly what effect does legalising gay marriage have on anybody except gay people? Bear in mind I’ll expect you to justify your response.

          • Frank

            I don’t have to prove anything. You can choose to accept or reject the Word of God.

            The onus is on those that wish to change something to prove why it should be changed.

            • Kodie

              You also have to prove why it should stay the same, given that the majority oppose it staying the same. You can’t point to god without imposing your religion on people who don’t believe it, and you have no proof.

            • Frank

              First of all the majority does not think it should change. Secondly there was a time when the majority in the US approved of racial based slavery. The majority is very often not right.

              If and when the majority does approve the laws will change.

            • Custador

              Like the Roman church changed the definition of marriage in the twelfth century to make it a religious construct instead of the civil contract it had always been up until that point, you mean? Or like the Church of England did when Henry VIII wanted a divorce?

              The majority does aprove of gay marriage, and the laws in Britain will change. Almost any MP who votes against will be unelectable, and they all know it.

            • Custador

              And to restate the question you ignored: Exactly what effect does legalising gay marriage have on anybody except gay people? Bear in mind I’ll expect you to justify your response.

            • Frank

              Your expectations are irrelevant to facts and truth.

            • Custador

              You wouldn’t know facts or truth if they bit you on the ass.

        • UrsaMinor

          And if you deny the Qur’an, then the words or positions of Islamic scholars make no sense. What’s your point here?

    • Custador

      I’ve already proven that it isn’t. His opening position is: “British people in general don’t support gay marriage”. I have amply demonstrated that British people in general DO support gay marriage. Therefore, the Bishop is wrong. His position is not sound.

      • Frank

        No you have not. You simply choose the data you want that supports your opinion.

        • Kodie

          The same way the bishop chose to ignore the data and lied that it did support his position?

          • Frank

            Yes we all tend to choose data that suits our opinions. When the data is truly overwhelming in one direction then the laws will indeed change.

            • Custador

              I summarised every poll I could find on the issue. The Bishop data mined ONE of them, and it was the poorest one. I’m actually quite well trained in deconstructing statistics, critiquing polls, research, etc. It’s something that doctors and nurses get taught at an early stage of training. I’ve demonstrated what all of the data says, and I’ve proven the Bishop to be a liar. And now I’m proving you to be either wilfully ignorant or deliberately disingenuous.

            • Frank

              You have proven nothing. The bishop has referenced the most relevant data. Not all data is the same.

              Tell us where you practice so we can avoid it.

            • Custador

              I already demonstrated why the data he referenced was not only not the most relevant, but was in fact completely bogus. Go and read back. I gave an explanation of why that’s the case. You’re just giving assertions of your unqualified opinion.

            • Custador

              “Tell us where you practice so we can avoid it.”

              Keep insulting my professionalism and I’ll ban you. Also, I seem to recall you saying:

              “The last resort of someone losing an argument: the ad hominem”

              The hypocrisy is strong with this one.

        • Troutbane

          Yes, reality has such an atheistic bias.

      • Rich

        I have no problem with the fact that, according to the Sunday Telegraph poll results which you quoted, 45% of those polled supported gay “marriage.”
        It is not surprising, since, in my opinion, traditional moral values are being laid aside in favour of what is known as “tolerance”, and many people are likely to simply accept the majority view, perhaps because they fear being labelled homophobic.
        A question I have regarding homosexuality is that if it is so obvious that there is nothing wrong with homosexual practice in a commited relationship, why would anyone ever have thought otherwise – why would someone’s mind think it unnatural or not right??

        • Custador

          “why would someone’s mind think it unnatural or not right?”

          That’s what we’re asking YOU. In the same vane: Why would somebody ever think that women are inferior? That Jews are subhuman? That black people are a different species? Human being are naturally xenophobic; we have a visceral fear response to that which is “other”. The fact that people responded that way and never thought to get past the emotion and look at the reasoning, is not a good argument in favour of homophobic legislation.

  • Rich

    I understand what you are saying regarding a visceral fear response, but I don’t see how it relates to homosexual people; yes their sexuality is different from the norm but I don’t think “fear” would be the correct word to use. In my opinion as an evangelical christian , not a liberal, I have just always had a sense that to practice homosexuality is not right.
    I wonder if there are people out there who believe, for whatever reason, that to practice heterosexuality is wrong.
    I can see that the way you look at the world centres on logic and reasoning, but have you any views on where a sense of right and wrong has developed from?

    • Custador

      “I have just always had a sense that to practice homosexuality is not right.”

      Then you are a homophobe. I don’t mean that ad hominem, just a simple statement of fact.

      • Rich

        No offence Custador, I am, however, not a homophobe according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary which says homophobia is the irrational fear of , aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals.
        I just see homosexual practice as sin, and this is a deeply held conviction. This doesn’t mean I have a fear or aversion to homosexuals as people.
        Morality is an evolved trait. Well I guess I knew you’d say that.

        • Custador

          Yes, you are. You regard homosexual relationships as wrong, heterosexual relationships as right. That is an aversion to homosexual relationships, and therefore it is homophobia.

          • Rich

            I do regard homosexual relationships as wrong. Whether I am referred to as a homophobe or not isn’t really what bothers me. What I am more interested in is that, whilst I retain my own convictions, I do not display a judgmental attitude toward those with whom I disagree. And this is not always easy, but since I regard myself as a sinner saved by grace , I have no wish to, or right to be purposefully hurtful.
            Best wishes.

            • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

              If you have no desire to be hurtful, why refer to marriage between homosexuals with derisive scare quotes around it, denigrating their very real loving commitments to each other? Why do the same for the word tolerance, suggesting you actually have a problem with tolerating people who are different from you? You are very definitely displaying a judgmental attitude towards those you disagree with.

        • Kodie

          No, you already said you had a sense that it was wrong, and it was irrational. Instead of thinking things through, you found some other thing to affirm you by calling it a sin. It’s called confirmation bias, and it doesn’t stop you from being a homophobe, and it doesn’t justify it rationally.

        • Kodie

          Your religious beliefs providing you a sense of shared moral conviction are also irrationally biased against homosexuals and homosexuality. If you want to say your conclusion was arrived at rationally, you do have to have proof that god is real and the bible is true. Otherwise, it’s just a big group of homophobes.

          “Nuh-uh! I’m just saying it’s wrong ’cause god said it’s wrong!” doesn’t make you NOT a homophobe. It just means you joined a homophobia club.

    • Custador

      “have you any views on where a sense of right and wrong has developed from?”

      Sure. Morality is an evolved trait. That’s why it’s so subjective.

      • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

        Exactly.

        Also, if we’re going to start going down the garden path and pretend that morality came from some superbeing, then that’s not morality, that’s might makes right. God’s petty prejudices against having sex in one manner rather than another is not relevant to morality, and offending god is not in and of itself a reason to not do something. We do or do not do things in the moral sense based on whether they cause harm. We didn’t evolve to decide shellfish and clothes of mixed fibres are immoral, but we evolved to largely find incest and murder abhorrent, and there is a reason for that – it causes harm at the population level if allowed to go on unchecked. Homosexuality doesn’t really do that, unless everybody were homosexual as well as hedonistic enough to not even try to procreate, which is both highly unlikely and completely different from the simple prohibition of any homosexual acts at all found in patriarchal religion.

        • Rich

          @JohnMWhite

          I put marriage in quotes simply to indicate that in my view, the definition of marriage does not include that between couples of the same sex . In UK law, the Church of England and the Church of Wales are banned from conducting “marriages” between same-sex couples. You seem to be making judgments about my attitudes which are incorrect.
          Regarding putting the word tolerance in quotes, this was not indicating that I don’t tolerate those who hold differing opinions and beliefs to my own, I was suggesting that there is a pressure created by government and media directed towards those who hold that homosexual relationships are wrong, whereby it is considered intolerant to simply state that you disagree with homosexuality and other issues that are accepted by the majority of the population.

          • Custador

            @ Rich: They aren’t banned yet; this is about a new law that has yet to pass Parliament and the House of Lords (Britain’s lower and upper houses, for Americans and other aliens). They WILL be banned when the law passes – But what’s very interesting to me is that the leader of the Church in Wales has been very vocal against the ban, because he (and a lot of his parishes) want to be allowed to marry same-sex couples. I wonder if this is the reason why the Church in Wales is still pretty relevant to life in Wales, while the Church of England loudly proclaims to represent a majority who do not, in fact, give a tinker’s fart about them or what they think. I’m not complaining, though. Failure to adapt to modern realities is ultimately why religions die; the various sects of Christianity which fail to accept homosexuality as a biological imperative and women’s equality as desirable, are ultimately doomed to extinction. And that’s a good thing.

          • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

            I don’t believe a word you say, you lying liar. You said 45% of people support gay marriage, which would be legal should those supporters get their way, which was the object of the poll. This was nothing to do with the current definition of marriage in the Church of England. You could not help yourself but denigrate the very idea of homosexuals having a married relationship and belittle their love and commitment. Your attitude is on your sleeve and you’re too engrossed in your revulsion for homosexuals to even rein it in enough to have a conversation about them that doesn’t make it abundantly clear. It is intolerant to state that you disagree with homosexuality and you know it, you moral coward. You are under no obligation to not disagree with people being exactly who they are, but the English language is under an obligation to have words that mean things, and being against homosexuality means not tolerating homosexuality. Pretend this is political correctness gone mad all you want, you are (ironically) simply trying to change the definition of words because you’re too much of a coward to accept the consequences of your position and too much of a homophobe to leave people to live their lives in peace.


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