Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali apparently equates reconsideration of moral prejudices being “rolled over by culture and trends.”
He said the church welcomed gay people, “but we want them to repent and be changed.”
He was quoted as saying that people who depart from traditional Biblical teaching “don’t share the same faith.”
“We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the church,” he told the newspaper. “We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the church.”
That’s that crucial “moral guidance” we get from religion which characteristically cannot recognize the difference between a “cultural trend” and an urgent moral debate about allowing people to meet their fundamental pair-bond relationship needs in a way consistent with their natural love-inclinations and to be accepted as full and equal citizens.
This is the arrogance of religious fundamentalism—there is not even the ability to countenance that for some besides themselves, there could even be rigorously argued and passionately felt moral reasons for disagreeing with them—reasons that deserve respectful and thoughtful acknowledgment and engagement. No, there’s just the supposed opinion of God literalistically given thousands of years ago to ancient people who believed in the death penalty for every infraction of morality and blood-propitiation to the divine for their sins. And everything else is not even an ethical argument to be countenanced but something to dismiss as a godless fashion.
Because at the end of the day, gays’ abilities to live in harmony with their drives and be respected as equals is not something “morality” is interested in but something to be “repented of.”May this rank, mindless traditionalism which cites millenia old prejudices as authorities rather than engages in substantive and humane moral reflection or debate sink the larger enterprise of dogmatic, ossified, irrationalism that is religion itself. Because, make no mistake, the authoritarian and traditionalistic prejudice against gays is only a synecdoche reflecting the overall authoritarian and traditionalistic prejudice that is religious thinking’s distinguishing characteristic separating it from all other forms of thought.
For those who want to consider the possibilities for Christian religious traditions to be part of a constructive ethical discussion about how to incorporate into their religion a 21st Century recognition of the equality, dignity, and naturalness of homosexuality and a healthy ethics of homosexual identity and love, one can do little better than spending some time with this spectacular speech by Gene Robinson. It is long but rich with insight. This guy should have had the honor of giving the invocation at the inauguration (if there must be an invocation at all, that is.)
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