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Comment: Evangelical has no place on equality commission

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  1. Grey Malkin 6 Nov 2007, 6:18pm

    The man is a class-A bigot and has tried to undermine LGBT rights at every opportunity for years. He has a bare and immature grasp of scriptual hermeneutics and as far as I am concerned is not a Christian. The evangelical alliance are nothing more than a political pressure group hiding behind charitable status. They haven’t even the courage to admit what they really are, or more sinisterly, what they really do.People like this pervert the message of Christ.

  2. The appointment of this person as a Commissioner to the Equality and Human Rights Commission is a massive mistake. I have emailed the Commission and made my views clear, I would encourage others to do the same. The email address is:info@equalityhumanrights.comMake your opinion known.

  3. Maybe this nasty little homophobic bigot should remember that it was only in the last century that some States in the southern USA would discriminate against blacks AND claim the Bible gave them the right to do so!A vile man who should not be anywhere near the Commission.

  4. I have to say I am really shocked by this man’s appointment to the EHRC. I have e-mailed the EHRC, expressing my feelings about the matter, and have copied it to Stonewall and my local MP, Kelvin Hopkins MP.Who makes these decisions anyway? It just beggars belief.

  5. So: “we’ll look at the evidence, but base our beliefs on a Bronze-age myth.”. The oxymoron of the century. When will we learn….we will keep on making these miskates, and elevating the wrong people for jobs like these, because we respect religious belief too much. Not only that, we daren’t ask people “why do you believe what you believe. Do you have a reason to do so, or is it just because of how you were brought up by your parents?” It was said by Jesus himself that his own followers should expect mockery, because people will see their beliefs as ridiculous. This is true, and when it comes to religious lobbying, it becomes a moral imperative. (In many cases, a conversation about how old the Universe is, is a good start.)The religious trade thrives on ignorance, and for the last 500 years has put its energies into subverting science (‘intelligent design’ being the latest attempt, which will also fail.). That’s because science has disproved just about everything in the Bible – bar of course, existence of a cosmic creator.Scientific evidence shows that homosexuality is found in over 500 species, and all professional bodies, from national psychiatrists associations to the World Health Organisation regard it as a natural phenomenon. There is no chance these people will base their decisions on the facts, which prove gay people are equally competent, equally capable of love etc. That is because they hold to the babyish principle that we are “for” something (clouds are for raining etc). And more over they have the arrogance to claim intimacy with the mind of ‘God’ and ‘his plan’ for you and me.Mind you, with faith schools sprouting up all over the place, expect more children to be indoctrinated like this. I think religious hate laws stop people from deriding such people. Meanwhile Mr Edwards might want to read a book called “The Selfish Gene” – it would be a revelation, I can assure him…..

  6. He says, disingenuously, in the interview that he can’t understand why lesbains and gays (“homosexuals”) always bring the subject round to sexuality. This is a severe drawback in a commisioner who doesn’t understand that we’re not talking about sex but rights – the right marry (pax Sister MC), the right not to be discriminated against in our day to day lives – as demonstrated by the “boys on the bus”. If Xians were treated as second class citizens in their lives they’d scream blue murder.And his talk of having gay friends – I’m always a bit sceptical…

  7. Sister Mary Clarence 7 Nov 2007, 2:43pm

    “The key point to be stressed here is that sexual orientation human rights are to be regarded as on a par with religion and belief human rights – not with rights relating to race, sex and disability. Both homosexual practice and religion and belief involve choices ….” – Evangelical Alliance.Read the response from The Evangelical Alliance to Getting Equal: Proposals to Outlaw Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Provision of Goods and Services:Nice one Gordon!

  8. Tom Forrest 7 Nov 2007, 3:02pm

    Summerskill as a Commissioner?, whats the difference, surely all opinions must be heard.

  9. Sister Mary Clarence 7 Nov 2007, 3:55pm

    Is he actively campaigning to have equality rights removed from religious groups then?

  10. i’m appalled…who is responsible for this appointment…this is on a par with Ruth Kelly being appointed equality minister…atleast she didn’t last long. Surely membership of the evangelical alliance should automatically bar him from the comission in the same way being a member of the BNP or National Front would. I intend to email the commsion and my MP too.

  11. The appointment of such an individual who confirms the view that religious faith is a mental illness is appalling. He clearly should be in a lunatic asylum

  12. Foxtrot Mike 9 Nov 2007, 6:25pm

    If the person appointed happen to be pro LGBT (Or even gay themselves) but was on the slightest bit racist or anti religion I’m sure that this person would have not even been allowed near the door.I’m disgusted at the ECHR and have written to them with my views.

  13. Bishop Umbongo 9 Nov 2007, 6:44pm

    Look on the bright side; if they want to know what Bible bashing, obsessive, self-righteous bigots from the retarded third world think about equality, they only have to ask across the table, rather than waiting for the next edition of Watch Tower or the Daily Mail.

  14. I see no reason why this man should sit on the commission for any reason other than his race. His own personal superstitions should have no influence over the human rights of others. I didn’t choose to be gay, he chose to be religious, therefore I have more of a right to be on the commission than he does.

  15. Robert, ex-pat Brit 14 Nov 2007, 5:27pm

    Lou, its called “tokenism”. He’s a token black, nothing more and its done more for political expediency rather than in the interests of LGBT equality. Its so transparent. Politics are dirty business, nothing new there.

  16. Thomas in London 14 Nov 2007, 11:45pm

    The only way to let those in charge know what a total mistake this is, is to tell them. Email your views to the Commission:info@equalityhumanrights.comUnless people speak out, everyone thinks everything is ok. In this case it is not ok.

  17. Barry Clarke 15 Nov 2007, 12:58pm

    “Why is anything which is not from the gay position defined as homophobic,” asks Joel Edwards’Well, I could ask the question: ‘Why is everything which is not from the black position defined as racist?’ – because it certainly is. Reverse-racism seems to be ignored totally.

  18. “Simon Barrow of Ekklesia has a silver tongue when it comes to making excuses for the disgraceful behaviour of some of his co-religionists.”Silver tongue, or brown nose?

  19. We must have sympathy for Joel Edwards as he is clearly mentally ill, as are all of those who profess religious faith. I have said several times that religious faith is a mental illness.

  20. Trial by media indeeda) if them man is such a bigot as he is claimed to be – then he will not be able to stay on the Commission for longb) be careful not to over-gild the lily – all hysterical protest (as opposed to measured debate) will only strengthen Mr Edwards positionc) Do not tar all “evangelicals” with the same brush – there are church denominations and congregations that are both evangelical (in the meaning of actively promoting the Christian faith) and fully inclusive.d) by whipping up “anti-evangelical” fervour and thereby demonising all evangelical Christians, are people not guilty of sinking to the same level as those who would demonise LGBT people and their communitiese) There are LGBT evangelical Christians you know. I am one. I do not seek to foist either my faith or my sexuality on others, but seek to enlighten people when and where appropriate to the good work done by both communities and where possible, to help those who feel alienated from one or the other, or both.

  21. Thomas in London 16 Nov 2007, 12:36am

    In response to JOanna…Whilst you may not wish to foist your religious beliefs on others, the real life evidence shows the rest of us in British society that the majority of evangelical christians (of which there are few anyway) try any possible method to do exactly that.The protests when Civil Partnerships were introduced, the protests at the introduction of the Equality Act including sexual orientation, the protests over gay adoption.Evangelical christians have attempted (and basically completely failed) to apply their fundamentalist religious beliefs to many acts of parliament in the UK.Keep religious extremism out of my country and ry integrating into our society or live elsewhere. Frankly religious extremist hatred is neither welcome nor legal.

  22. As a gay man with a christian faith , I feel that any form of intolerance toward another person is unacceptable. I do not agree with him or his views at all but I will defend his right to have those views, even if they distasteful or down right appalling.He may have strong views against gay people and the gay community, but isnt it better that he is ‘in sight’ and we know he is there rather than being’ under the radar’ and insipid. Keep your friends close and you ‘enemies/detractors’ closer.It is when you don’t know what they are saying or doing that intolerant/homophobic/racist people can be truly dangerous to others and society in general.

  23. Sister Mary Clarence 16 Nov 2007, 9:40am

    Peter it is wonderful to hear that you feel that any form of intolerance toward another person is unacceptable as a gay man with a Christian faith. Clearly some people Christians can use the moral compass they were given (by God) to make rational judgements.In response to your comment “but isn’t it better that he is ‘in sight’ and we know he is there rather than being'”. I don’t really think its a question of being ‘in sight’. The role of the EHRC goes a little bit further (on paper at least) than being a visible presence. To quote their website ….”The Equality and Human Rights Commission champions equality and human rights for all, working to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society””champions equality'”working to end discrimination””protecting human rights'”ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society”He has failed to show the ability to work to these goals thus far and I am at a loss to understand how he was considered in the first place.When I recruit for a new member of staff I provide a job description and a person specification, detailing what the position entails and the qualities that are essential and others that are desirable in the successful candidate. Someone who is not able to demonstrate that they have the qualities I need for the job does not even get shortlisted for interview.Why is going to be next – Ian Paisley … or his son?

  24. I am a student of Exeter University, whose Evangelical Christian Union actively attacks the LGBT society, holds regular, rigged “debates” (where your right to speak is given only to those who sign a doctrinal acceptance document, so any different view is effectively gagged). Homophobic literature was put on the LGBT stall on Society’s day by their members. Oh, and since they took the whole student body to court, they now expect everybody else to be “tolerant” of their despicable excuse to be allowed to denegrate us.Stop the bloody christians.

  25. Matt,always remember what I said in my earlier posting: religious faith is a mental illness.

  26. Thomas in London 17 Nov 2007, 12:52am

    To Matt at Exeter University… From what you’ve said, I really recommend the LGBT Society at your university contact Stonewall, the NUS and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. All three organisations will support you.

  27. Matt from Taunton 17 Nov 2007, 9:03am

    I am appalled by this decision. I have been through the evangelical alliance churches and been kicked out for being a gay man ! I cannot understand why anyone would want to appoint such a person who is not able to see both sides of the argument. Surely this is a case of banging a head against a brick wall. I have written to stonewall and the equality commission. I am disgusted with this decision !

  28. Having an open Christian as a commissioner will ensure people from all walk’s of life are better protected. Sometimes people with religious convictions are required as they will be less likely to back down over infringements on everyone’s right to hold voice private beliefs and opinions.His personal beliefs will only be able to go so far when determining any from of policy. Do not get hysterical go o.t.t in thinking that huge piles of discriminatory legislation will start to appear! He is simply one of many. And is bringing yet another view to the table.Also do not fall head over heels in being so eager to criticise the Evangelical Alliance as a whole. It encompasses Christians from every part of the church. From fundamentalists to liberals and is a body that works hard in ensuring their voices are heard; much the same as various lgbt organisations.Finally some of the comments above are simply ridiculous rants.. why not post something constructive??

  29. To Matt;It’s hard to hear of the destructive clashes between your lgbt and the christian union.When wishing for open debates however, you need to realise what it says in the Bible.. so although their attitudes towards your members may well be wrong; it is often hard for people to demonstrate love to all whilst disagreeing with same sex relationships in a debating scenario. It says what it says in the Bible.Perhaps you also need to be less accusative.. was the literature definitely homophobic? Or was it just stating their view, not ‘in your face’ with the fundamental beliefs of Christians overarching..?

  30. Sister Mary Clarence 17 Nov 2007, 9:03pm

    Aby, Emma – its has been debated on here many times the actual content of the Bible in relation to homosexuality. In modern times it is well documented that Saudi Arabia is subtly changing the original text of the Koran for its own ends, Increasingly there is a belief that the same thing has occurred with the Bible. More and more it appears that understands that we have for a number of texts are the result of abiguity of the original words. Often to most logical translation of a word has not been applied.To quote a posting I made on another thread ….Adultery and adulterer are mentioned 47 in the King James version of the Bible and therefore it could be expected that other sins would be mentioned a similar number of times in the Bible following normal sanity protocols. Condemnation of liars/lying occurs over 70 times, murder is condemned over 35 times and stealing is condemned over 70 times also. Homosexuality, in the common terms used in those times is not mentioned once. The scarcity of mentions on homosexuality means that the sanity test failsOn the very few occasions that homosexuality is purportedly mentioned there is a viable alternative meaning that could be given to the wording. For example ‘arsenokoitai’ is taken is to refer to homosexuality in places yet it in Timothy and Corinthians it is also used to describe Adam having sex with the serpent God Naas, which one would hope you would agree is more akin to bestiality than homosexuality.As time moves on our understanding of history and the ancient languages used in the time of Christ improve. Ancient treasures are uncovered that give us further insight and better understanding. The word of God has been interpreted by man and man is fallible. The church has set its stall on homosexuality based on the best translations available at the time. Having been so staunchly opposed to homosexuality for so long it is an all but impossible feat to now accept that a mistake has been made. It would rock the very foundations of Christianity and would lead many to questioning the authenticity of the entire faith.”And Emma, you are correct when you say “It encompasses Christians from every part of the church. From fundamentalists to liberals”. However it is not one of these liberals who was selected to sit on the commission. It is hard to understand how a man who has doggedly fought against equality can be selected to sit on the commission responsible for ensuring it. He will most certainly bring another view to the table, and that my dear is precisely what all the fuss is about.

  31. William - Dublin 18 Nov 2007, 2:00pm

    I’m sorry, but using the bible as a basis for moral objection to gays is like using Barney the Dinosaur as a basis for proving the fossil record. The bible is full of contradictions, and questionable “moral” laws. Leviticus alonbe uses the word “abomination” 16 times. The SAME word used to condem homosexuals is also used to condem those who eat shellfish. So, should we start stoning people who like oysters??? If you support the bible as literal defence of your beliefs, then you must also condone slavery, human sacrifice, filicide all mentioned as part of “gods word”.Saying the bible is a defence of ones dislike of gay people because its a sin, is absolutely no different as saying that murdering Jews is fine, because the bible says its so. And we all know where that ended up in 1943. Religious people are fooling themselves to think the bible is some sort of panacea for their petty hates and holier-then-thou attitudes.

  32. Robert, ex-pat Brit 18 Nov 2007, 3:14pm

    William, the old testament also says its ok to kill your wife and children, and to take more than wife too and it also forbids marrying your brother’s widow, banishing your wife during menstruation, the list is endless. Of course, the right wing christiand bigots dismiss the old testament because it didn’t apply to them. Yet, they’ll select one questionable reference in Leviticus to use in their agenda to discriminate against and villify us. How convenient and how transparent! Ex-gay cults also cherry pick the bible for its own ends too. But then so does organised religion in general, the RC and C of E notwithstanding.

  33. William - Dublin 18 Nov 2007, 4:13pm

    Indeed, Robert. Karl Marx said “religion is the opium of the people”… it seems also to the the opium of the petty, the fearful, and those without common sense!

  34. William - Dublin 18 Nov 2007, 4:32pm

    Although having said that, Bishop Tutu certainly raises the bar for all those who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus but spout their own brand of intolerance instead. He’s an impressive individual… if only there were more of his kind.

  35. Robert, ex-pat Brit 18 Nov 2007, 5:10pm

    William, I second that, he’s a champion and a credit to his church. He it was who was instrumental in getting the Supreme Court of South Africa to enact legislation granting legal, full marriage equality for same sex couples in South Africa and influenced passage of legislation enshrining gay and lesbian rights into his country’s constitution, the ONLY country in the world to do it, unprecedented for any leading clergyman anywhere on the planet. Truly courageous and brave and a shining example of what being a christian is all about. He’s done far more for equality than most and he’s not even a politician. Truly amazing, outstanding! I’m in awe of him.

  36. Simon Barrow 19 Nov 2007, 8:31am

    Terry Sanderson and I are wholly in agreement that homophobia, discrimination and anti-gay prejudice are intolerable and must be rooted out. So I’m saddened that he feels it necessary to try to portray my article as wishing to ameliorate the stance of anti-gay religious prejudice. The idea that I am making excuses for such behaviour is plainly untruthful. My record and Ekklesia’s is demonstrably clear in that regard. However, dismissing those Christians, including evangelicals, who have campaigned against homophobia is prejudice of a different kind and suggests a desire to make enemies more than to make change. Our actual disagreement therefore seems to be over approach. I think that transformation as well as confrontation is needed, and that combating discrimination is about changing the hearts and minds of discriminators as well as ensuring legal protection against discrimination. The issue is whether Joel Edwards’ appointment can be employed to positive ends in the struggle against prejudice. I can well understand why many would think not, and my article was very strong in saying that attempts to get previous naysayers on board should not lead to any watering down of the comprehensive equalities agenda. But how things pan out partly depends on how people choose to act. Let’s see rather than pre-judge. After all, that’s what we’re tying to get other people to stop doing!

  37. The appointment of Joel Edwards makes a mockery of the Commission on Equality and Human Rights. I assume they they would not invite Nick Griffin of the BNP to be a commissioner but when it comes to LGBT issues it doesn’t seem to matter that they can recruit someone from a homophobic organisation. Following hot on the heels of Ruth Kelly’s questionable stint as Minister for communities this once again shows the contempt in which the LGBT community is held by politicians and legislators

  38. I think it truly astonishing that this man should be given a post on the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The post should go to someone who believes in equality for ALL and who will support that equality. I believe that he should stand down from this post as it is in conflict with his religious views

  39. Dominick J. 22 Jan 2008, 1:31am

    For the life of me I don’t understand why on earth this person even got an appoinment to the HRC. He knows what the commision is all about and he purposfully got on that committee to create division and dismantle it . He can be removed and should be removed ASAP. Thank you Thomas for the address. info@equalityhumanrights.com

  40. Dominick J. 9 Sep 2008, 4:33pm

    If you let them, these radical Religious Right groups will move in and take over. Beware of wolves dressed in sheeps clothing OR of certain Evangelical folks with Flashy smiles and a history of bestowing pain and sorrow on certain groups of diversity, in our case the LGBT families!
    Dominick

  41. That’s right get rid of him. Let’s stamp out and silence anyone who does’t share our views; better still put him in prison and make him wear a yellow cross so we can see what he is and how he is different. People like him should really learn to be tolerent of peole who are different to him, just like we are……….hmmm

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