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God-fearing policeman sacked over emails about sinful homosexuality

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  1. Quite right too.

    This deluded chap needs to understand that his job is to uphold the law of the land, not his infantile interpretation of “gods law”.

    This bloke would be better off becoming a priest!

  2. Good result
    Awaiting islington’s appeal !!

  3. I feel kinda chilled at reading that because I cant help but think one thing: What can of help would you have recieved from this guy if you’d been assaulted or victimised for being gay? I doubt the word professionalism would enter into it somehow..

  4. The proper result … this officer really should have paid more attention to Christ’s advice to the Pharisees – “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. He was happy to accept the police paycheck, therefore he should have been happy to abide by the police code of conduct – personal opinions should be left in the locker and the law of the land should be applied without fear or favour!!
    I’m fed up with the self-righteous thinking they are somehow above the Law – they aren’t!!!!!

  5. Simon Murphy 26 Nov 2008, 3:31pm

    This policeman (regardless of his personal opinion) would NEVER have even considered posting mails about black people or muslims or women. Despite his religious beliefs he would have known and understood that these wouild cause instant dismissal. I think police recruits need to be told at the recruitment stage that if they have any religious or moral objection to homosexuality then they are not welcome in the force. We need to start expecting the same respect as other minority groups expect. And the police need to know that if they have a religious or moral objection to homosexuality and if they express that then it is grounds for instant dismissal – with no exceptions.

  6. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Nov 2008, 4:03pm

    Simon, I can understand your feelings, but to ban people from the police force or any other government employer just because their religious beliefs conflict with our sexual orientation is not the path we want to travel down. What needs to be done is to prohibit the exercise of religion or religious beliefs in the workplace, a totally inappropriate place anyway. A contract of employment should be drawn up specifiying that if an employee has issues with a person’s race, colour, gender, religion or sexual orientation, either keep the opinion to one’s self or find alternate employment or face dismissal for violation of their terms of employment, simple as that.

  7. While I believe wearing the pink ribbon should be optional to those who feel it goes against their religion (as I’m guessing this was), that is no excuse for posting ex-gay ministry b###ocks on a police noticeboard.
    I’m pretty sure atheist police aren’t allowed to tell devout christian policemen to read “The God Delusion” on the office noticeboard or while on duty because it would be deemed culturally insensitive, so the same respect is due the other way. What you believe when you’re off duty is up to you.

  8. Har Davids 26 Nov 2008, 4:23pm

    If this man is so unhappy about this society’s indifference to his and other’s beliefs, he should ask for a transfer to, let’s say, Saudi Arabia; if they overlook his being a Christian, he might be very happy there.

  9. Simon Murphy 26 Nov 2008, 4:23pm

    Robert – I should have clarified. Of course objection to homosexuality is not a sackable offence. What I SHOULD have said is that police recruits need to be informed at the training level that if they EXPRESS any moral objection to homosexuality and they try to justify it by saying it is part of their religion then this is an instantly sackable offence. Membership of the BNP is a sackable offence in the police. Membership of a facist religion needs to be regarded in the same manner.

  10. No doubt this copper will be most welcome to join the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, as they have NO problem continuing to employee numerous police officers with known homophobic attitudes & practises towards gay persons and have caused harm & trauma to gay people.

    The police = Still the problem & NO part of the soloution to Homophobia in the UK

  11. I have to say, for once I agree with Robert, Ex-Brit.

    Opinions and beliefs are irrelevant as long as they do not expressly conflict with one’s work. If they do, then you are in the wrong job. The fact the man is either, (or both), a devout Christian, or a member of the BNP, should not stop them from being a conscientious police officer. The moment people consider this a threat is the point where true democracy goes down the drain.

    Who decides which political, religious or lifestyle option is acceptable, and which isn’t? Its the thin end of the wedge. Accept them all, or accept none. That is what democracy is all about. The truth will always float to the surface, whilst the sh*t sinks.

  12. Just answer me this one question? Why is the police officer required to show politeness and tolerance when the homosexuals are allowed to threaten, pour hot coffee and the whole ordeal in San Francisco? Why are you failing to apply the reaction that you are expecting from Christians…?

    1. What? Yes, gays are allowed to pour hot coffee in San Fransisco…… What?

  13. Simon Murphy 27 Nov 2008, 9:04am

    But Rob N – the police is a public service. It’s job is to protect the public and uphold the law. A religious facist or racial facist is 100% free to believe what they like. But they cannot be free to express their opinions as they like as if they do then they undermine the public service they have commited to. A police officer cannot be openly known to be a BNP member as quite rightly he would not be trusted to carry out his duties impartially (not only by black and jewish people but also by most white people). Likewise a police officer cannot advertise the fact that he is a drooling homophobe as it undermines the police at large as it calls into question their commitment to equality and fairness of service. Freedom of religion and political belief is absolute. But that does not mean that expression of religion or political belief is absolute. When entering the force they agree to abide by a code of conduct. Expressing racism or homophobia is breaking that code and thus a sackable offence.

  14. @elijah:
    perhaps because he’s a public servant, being paid for by us queers who perhaps feel we have a right to expect our public servants to be polite, courteous, helpful and supportive of our legal rights.

    perhaps it’s also because this is the UK not the US, and aour rights haven’t been curtailed by a coalition of fundies (of usually mutually antagonistic cults) and the ignorant. Violence is wrong. Angry protest is a right

  15. “He was sent to a disciplinary tribunal who fined him 13 days pay and barred him from using the internal messaging system.

    Despite the ban, PC Cogman posted a link to an American Christian helpline.”

    It seems that he was aggressively pushing his religion for some purpose (and I don’t imagine it was to save the souls of us poor ‘sinners’). I don’t know all the details, but it’s possible he was making a point like Lillian Ladele did, in order to claim that Christians are some how being persecuted or denied their freedom. I’m sure no-one would have objected to him sending an internal message about some harmless event at his church, but, as I read it, his messages were more venomous than that – hence his dismissal. I’m sure there are many Christian police officers who have no problem treating the general public with fairness and respect whatever their sexuality. What would he have done if someone had reported a homophobic attack to him?

  16. I think it is absolutely right that this PC has been sacked. The comment that struck me was “The blatant support for homosexual rights in Norfolk Police makes being a Christian officer extremely difficult.” Why?
    My understanding of Jesus is that he never excluded or judged anyone. The people he was angry with were the self-righteous religious leaders of his day. Jesus immersed himself in the culture and the people of his day. He ate and drank and partied with, what the religious leaders called ‘sinners’. If Jesus were walking around here today I think he would be in the gay bars, the local pubs and the homes of us ‘sinners’.
    Followers of Jesus need to ACTUALLY follow his love and example and be like Him.

    Joe (A committed follower of Jesus)

  17. Why does this policeman assume you can’t be homosexual and a christian? The two are by no means equally exclusive. Provided you are one of the few christians who actually does take to heart the commandment of ‘love thy neighbour’. Some of these ‘religious’ fanatics try to push us out of the space which is just as much our own.

  18. Joe- hate to point out the obvious, but being tolerated ‘although I am a sinner’ by anyone purporting to be your friend is a mark of low self esteem.
    Jesus by your terms was still singling out people he thought were sinners to hang out with in order to save them, which is nonetheless a value judgement imposed from on high. If anyone takes that condescending attitude with me on the basis of my sexuality I tell them to take a running jump.
    If anyone befriends me not because I’m worthy of friendship but as some kind of hellbound freak that requires saving, I don’t need that type of friendship. I don’t see that person as being any better than Constable Graham Cogman or Iris Robinson.

  19. Simon Murphy 27 Nov 2008, 11:10am

    Joe – you sayt the following : ‘Followers of Jesus need to ACTUALLY follow his love and example and be like Him.’

    Now I’d like you to answer a question. I respectthat you believe in Jesus as the son of God. Do you equally respect the fact that I believe Jesus is a fictional character? Do you equally respect the fact that Scientologists believe that Xenu is the alien prince. Basically do you accept that your point of view or belief is merely 1 belief and is in no way superior to another belief. And do you accept that if you are in a public service position then your religious belief MUST come second to the standards and codes of conduct of the public service in question?

    My big trouble with religion is that despite their claims to love and respect they are extremely bigotted towards people who don’t share their views. And the fact that they actively campaign to undermine democracy by trying to force their interpretations of morality into law.

  20. Flapjack, I could not agree more.

    Two more points.

    Firstly, this officer quotes his “faith”. In that case, does he object to wearing his uniform which nowadays consists of high-performance mixed fibres. Thought not. Just another pick n mix bigot.

    Secondly, the definition of faith is to hold a belief in something in spite of all evidence to the contrary. One would hope that in order to facilitate the proper execution of the law and to avoid miscariages of justice, a police officer, of all people, would appreciate the need to follow the evidence in order to arrive at conclusions.

  21. Speaking myself as a public servant and an ex police officer, this chap broke his Oath as a constable which we all have to swear upon being granted the Queens Warrant. I take it he swore this Oath in his Christian faith? Therfore he is not only a bigot and a homophobe but he has broken his promise to his God(!)Therefore this is considered a sin…….

  22. FAITH: noun 1. trust or confidence. 2. strong belief, eg in God.

    Ivan: “the definition of faith is to hold a belief in something in spite of all evidence to the contrary” – That’s absolute cobblers. One can have faith in one’s ability etc.

    The bottom line is everyone has opinions. It is not illegal to be racist or homophobic or many other things. However, it IS illegal to manifest these beliefs so that others may view, hear or read them. George Orwell’s “Thought Police” are not here yet, and I have the right to think what the hell I please.

    The fact that ‘some’ Christians are homophobic is irrelevant as long as they do not treat homosexuals any differently than anyone else. Equally, I think it wrong that many public service workers are banned from the BNP. They are a legitimate political party in this country, along with many others. I’m sure you would not want to be sacked because you were a member of the Labour Party. You may not agree with their political stance, but until/unless they are denounced illegal, (like the IRA), I see no reason why people should be ostracised and treated like paedophiles because of their political views. Again, if police officers are members, that should be fine, but they keep their opinions to themselves.

  23. Flapjack – I completely agree with you. If friendship is based on something other than love for each other then it is no friendship at all. I married my wife because I love her, no other reason than that. My mates are my mates because we love each other.
    My understanding of Jesus is that he loved people which is why he spent time with them and became friends with them. It was not a case of toleration. He didn’t judge people on their appearance, sexual orientation or anything else. He simply loved people for the sake of love.
    The love I have for my daughter is unconditional. My love for her means that I desire her to have a full and abundant life. Which means sometimes I have to challenge her on her attitude to things and guide her along because somethings in our lives de-humanise us. But, it is her life and I simply want to love and protect her and will always love her regardless of what she believes or does. Jesus’ desire for us to follow him is so that we might have a full and abundant life. In other words, so we might truly discover ourselves and discover who God is. That’s what I believe Jesus came to do. Saving us from a false image of ourselves and a false image of God. Doesn’t matter if I’m gay, straight, black, white, rich or poor, what matters is do I love God, love my neighbour and love myself?

    Simon – I completely respect your view that Jesus is a fictional character. I’ve got no problem with you thinking that at all. I completely respect anyone’s viewpoint on faith. I have family who are Buddhists, friends who are atheists, spiritualists, agnostics, Christian. I love my friends and family not because of their faith or otherwise, but because I love them.
    I believe that whatever your job is, if you are unable to carry out certain duties that are essential to that job because of your faith then you need to question if it is right to be in that job. My faith in Jesus is not some lifestyle choice. It determines how I live my life and therefore whatever job I am in is determined by following Jesus. If you are a police officer and have agreed to the code of conduct then you MUST follow that code of conduct. If you are unable to do that on the basis of your faith then you must leave that job. You have no right in breaking the code of conduct. You are a professional and must act as a professional.

    Ivan – I have faith in God because I believe all the evidence points TO God. I haven’t got my fingers in my ears singing la la la hoping that I won’t hear all the damning evidence. I believe in God because I have think there is so much that points to God and His existence. I recognise that there are mysteries and unanswerable questions in life, but these are true whatever your beliefs.

    Peace
    Joe

  24. Rob N

    Dictionary:

    Faith – noun – strong belief esp. without proof.

    Quotes:

    “Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable…. A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass: he is actually ill.”

    H.L. Mencken, New York Times Magazine, 11 September 1955

    “Faith is nothing more than the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail.”

    Sam Harris, Author and philosopher

    “Faith is like a piece of blank paper whereon you may write as well one miracle as another.”

    Charles Blount (1654-1693)

    “Faith is the antithesis of proof.”

    NY State Supreme Court Justice Edward J. Greenfield, 1995

    “Faith is believing something you know ain’t true.”

    Mark Twain (1835-1910)

    “Faith is an absolutely marvellous tool. With faith there is no question too big for even the smallest mind.”

    Donald Morgan (b. 1933)

    “Faith,” said St. Paul, “is the evidence of things not seen.” We should elaborate this definition by adding that faith is the assertion of things for which there is not a particle of evidence and of things which are incredible.”

    E. Haldeman-Julius

    “Faith is deciding to allow yourself to believe something your intellect would otherwise cause you to reject — otherwise there’s no need for faith.”

    Unknown

    “Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.”

    Dan Barker

    “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

    George Seaton

    “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”

    Richard Dawkins

    “Faith is all knowledge with zero evidence”

    Anon

    “Faith is nothing more than a willingness to await the evidence. It is knowledge on hire purchase, belief on easy terms”.

    Anon

  25. Stewart Cowan 27 Nov 2008, 7:36pm

    The homosexual agenda never was about equality.

    The bloke promoting ‘Gay History Month’ was allowed his say (what did this have to do with the police anyway?), but the man introducing colleagues to his interest in helping those struggling with their sexuality has been sacked.

    That’s not equality. Maybe this was the website in question – “We respect the right of all individuals to choose their own destiny. NARTH is a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality.”

    Norfolk Police and nearly all posters here are therefore DISCRIMINATING against people who have unwanted sexual desires and want help.

    I understand the mentality. I know it must be upsetting for some that there are people struggling with their sexuality and seeking help to remove themselves from the ‘gay’ clan.

    It is a tribal thing, isn’t it? PC Cogman was deemed to have ‘dissed’ the tribe so had to be kicked about by homosexuals and by others groomed to be intolerant by diversity ‘training’.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

    Those posting here also have no humanity when they would see somebody’s career ruined for this. For daring to favour his conscience above base instincts. No wonder the police are so useless these days when they get their knickers in a twist like this.

    How guilt and hate-ridden must those who complained feel to want a colleague sacked?

    Equality? Tolerance?

  26. Stuart Cowan – Gay history month was not an attempt by the gay officer to force other officers to be gay, or to do anything except support the gay community. PC Cogman by contrast was not happy with the arrangement and decided to speak for a minority group he wasn’t part of. If a work colleague had gone to PC Cogman and told him “I see you’re a Catholic – here’s a book by Richard Dawkins you should read that will make you an atheist by the time you put it down” I’m pretty sure the same diciplinary procedure would’ve applied.
    And for your information, not that you care, Ex-gay ministries have a long history of leaving psychologically damaged individuals in their wake, after they attempt to ‘cure’ them. And one of the big contributary reasons that gay people aren’t comfortable in their own skin in the first place is religious intolerance from their immediate family and peers.
    You can stuff you ex-gay ministry where the sun never shines, it’s simply preying on gay people’s vulnerabilities. Unless you consider it reasonable for me to go through a church posting copies of “The God Delusion” on the noticeboard.

  27. “Norfolk Police and nearly all posters here are therefore DISCRIMINATING against people who have unwanted sexual desires and want help.”
    Stewart – I still can’t get over the sheer contorted logic of your last post. Did anyone in that police station ask to become an ex-gay, or state that they needed help? No. That’s your projection (and a telling one at that).
    “I understand the mentality. I know it must be upsetting for some that there are people struggling with their sexuality and seeking help to remove themselves from the ‘gay’ clan.”

    You understand only the workings of your own warped mind, and believe it or not the world is not made of Stewart Cowan clones.
    Narth is a scientific organisation in the same way that shampoo contains previously unknown substances called Pro-vitamins. Just because someone said it was, doesn’t make it so.

    “It is a tribal thing, isn’t it? PC Cogman was deemed to have ‘dissed’ the tribe so had to be kicked about by homosexuals and by others groomed to be intolerant by diversity ‘training’.”

    You patronising bastard – “it’s a tribe thing”. I’d say it’s no more tribal than anything you’re bringing to the table. I’m guessing there’s a right wing religious agenda here. You know religions, they gather in clans and insist that theirs is the one true way. Go back to your Narth tribe, before I stick a spear in your head.

  28. Stewart Cowan 28 Nov 2008, 12:17am

    Flapjack – “I see you’re a Catholic – here’s a book by Richard Dawkins you should read that will make you an atheist by the time you put it down” I’m pretty sure the same diciplinary procedure would’ve applied.”

    PC Cogman isn’t a Catholic, but anyway, I’m sure if this scenario did happen both people would appreciate the chance to discuss matters – an option denied by the PC engineers.

    I get people spouting atheistic things to me on blogs – incl my own.

    Grown ups discuss. Others turn into snitches and bullies.

  29. Stewart Cowan 28 Nov 2008, 12:24am

    Oh, flapjack, your second comment doesn’t really deserve a reply, but it reveals a raw nerve has been touched, so I hope you will explore this further and ask yourself why.

    “I’d say it’s no more tribal than anything you’re bringing to the table.”

    I don’t call for people with a different opinion to mine to be sacked or to have a spear stuck in their head.

    1. If you’re gay, which I doubt, you’re the biggest “know your place” gay I’ve ever seen!

  30. Stewart – You’re not here to discuss, you’re here to troll and win ex-gay converts. That to me is bullying. I spent 15 years trying to tow a religious line enforced by outsiders such as yourself and from my experience the bullying is pretty much all on your side of the fence. To you the only good gay is an ex-gay, and your blog confirms that. Nothing I can say will change your mind, so you’re not worth the effort. Just to remind you, you came here to a gay website. Why?
    PS. The spear comment was ironic, seeing as how you believe we’re all backwards tribespeople who have yet to be civilised.

  31. Stewart, you lost all credence the second you uttered the stupid phrase “DISCRIMINATING against people who have unwanted sexual desires and want help”

    Who said they’re unwanted? Not me. I like being gay. Its part of who I am. All of us here feel the same too.

    Can you say the same about your self-worth? Clearly you have some kind of issues, or else you wouldn’t be on a gay site. If you’re *truly* straight, then you’re just sad, and I pity you enormously.

    Flapjack is right, you’re just another one of those pathetic freaks who thinks we can “change”, or even want to. Not all of us, Stewart, are as weak of character as you. Perhaps you need to pray to your god for the strength we all have?

  32. Oh, by the way, “NARTH is a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality”

    NARTH is nothing of the sort. I *AM* a scientist, and NARTH’s methodologies are anything but scientific. One of their so called “studies”, actually used an obituary section of a newspaper as “proof” that gay’s die younger. What a load of laughable nonsense. You would expect better scientific methodologies from a 5 year old and a chemistry kit.

    NARTH are widely denounced by the scientific community and have no real standing obeyond idiots like you. By backing this load of tripe, Steward, you only demonstrate you lack of true scientific understanding. All scientific evidence, actually points to sexuality being fixed before birth.

    I suggest reading a book before making outlandish suggestions like this.

  33. Joe (Comment 23).

    1. Please state which god you believe in. There are hundreds of possibilities.

    2. Present your evidence for the existence of this particular god and why this evidence is superior to that for all the other gods in respect of which you are an atheist.

    3. If this evidence constitutes proof, do you accept that religion is scientific fact and therefore requires no faith?

    4. Do you conceed that by the mere fact of engaging in this exercise you are admitting the supremacy of evidence based scientific method and enquiry as opposed to belief based on faith?

  34. Simon Murphy 28 Nov 2008, 11:13am

    “We respect the right of all individuals to choose their own destiny. NARTH is a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality.”

    Really. Who are they? Are their opinions about homosexuality accepted by the General Medical Council or the International Psychiatric Foundation? Are there religious groups involved in ANY way with this group?

    “I know it must be upsetting for some that there are people struggling with their sexuality and seeking help to remove themselves from the ‘gay’ clan.”

    Fair enough. But it is not the police’s job to assist that. This policeman broke his oath of office by placing his religious agenda above his duties thereby rendering him unfit to carry on as a policeman. Just like a policeman who thinks it is acceptable to tell muslims that they are immoral because of their religion are unfit for their jobs.

    “PC Cogman was deemed to have ‘dissed’ the tribe so had to be kicked about by homosexuals and by others groomed to be intolerant by diversity ‘training’.”

    Incorrect. He broke his contract of employment by placing his personal religious belief above his commitment to perform his duty as laid out in the codes of conduct for the police. Therefore he made himself unfit for office. He is free to hold whatever opinion on homosexuality as he likes but as soon as he expresses it then he has broken his contract to serve ALL the public. Just like a racist policeman – he is free to believe what he likes but as soon as he starts speaking about his racial superiority he makes himself unsuitable for his job as the public won’t trust him.

    “Those posting here also have no humanity when they would see somebody’s career ruined for this. For daring to favour his conscience above base instincts.”

    As a public servant he is OBLIGED not to place his conscience above his duties. A policeman who advertises the fact that will not perform his duties as laid out in the code of conduct is unsuitable to continue his work.
    “How guilt and hate-ridden must those who complained feel to want a colleague sacked?”

    They probably didn’t. They just realised that this man’s religious opinions were incompatible with being able to perform his duty.

    The police is a PUBLIC SERVICE. Ideas about freedom of speech or expression are not applicable here as these rights will always be secondary to their role in serving the public. When that breaks down you can end up in a situation like Nazi Germany.

    “Equality? Tolerance?”

    Absolutely. I am 100% behind this policeman’s right to be a member of a church and to express his religious beliefs in his personal life. But when you break your contract of employment like he did then he must be sacked.

  35. I fully support what Simon has said above. We live in a diverse society and our public servants have a duty to serve all of it. I would like to add to what has been said here by picking up on what Cowan has said previously:

    “Grown ups discuss. Others turn into snitches and bullies.”Grown ups discuss. Others turn into snitches and bullies.

    How dare he accuse those of protecting our best interests of being bullies! GLBT people are often on the receiving end of bullies, so we will take no lectures from him about bullying.

    Discuss? Discuss what? Gay rights are not a concept to be debated or justified, for goodness sake! The best course of action for Messrs Cowan and Cogman is this: stop fretting about the sexual habits of others, mind your own business, and get on with running your own lives. Can it really be any more complicated than that?

  36. Simon, ursus262, I agree.

    I have to say, I have little time for this ex-gay nonsense. If these people truly wanted to help, then they’d work to help gay people overcome the discrimination people like them inflict and accept what and who they are. The very notion of ex-gay implies that gay is wrong, bad or undesirable.

    Maybe the esteemed and knowledgeable Stewart Cowan could look up another of his kind, the enlightened Richard A. Cohen… he got married after his “conversion” to “ex-gay” than after having 2 kids promptly went off to have a 3 year affair with a another man. Straight? Ex-Gay? No, just a deluded queer with issues.

  37. Ivan – I believe in the One God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, revealed in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

    The whole argument of science versus faith is a non starter in my opinion.
    I believe that there are things that clearly point to the existence of God such as the birth of my daughter, the sun rising and the capability human beings have to love. I believe in God because he transformed my life and changed me from an alcoholic womaniser to someone filled with purpose in life and love for life.
    But I suspect that you wouldn’t see these as evidence of the existence of God.

    The problem is that you can reel of a load of things saying why you don’t believe in God and I can do the opposite. Either way neither of us are going to prove we are right until death. If your right then there will be nothing to prove as we won’t feel or know anything as we will cease to exist. If I’m right then when you die you will know that God exists.

    I believe in the importance of science. I believe it is a gift. I believe that science teaches and shows us so much and is valuable, but God is not something you can dissect and put under a microscope.

    I engage in discussion and debate about God because I believe it is a healthy and helpful thing to do. I want to engage with people from various beliefs and backgrounds because i believe it enriches life when we know such a variety of people. It is not healthy when people slander and attack each other though, which you haven’t done Ivan, I’m just making a point.

    The thing is, faith, like love, can never be bottled or understood in scientific methods. I believe it is something other than science. Yet I believe science can help affirm faith and love.
    When science tells me how improbable it is for life to exist on earth and how incredible it is that everything is exactly where it should be for life to exist, it affirms my faith in God.

    Peace
    Joe

  38. 1. You believe in Yahweh (various spellings) then.

    2. Please try to answer this question again. Instead of evidence you have provided belief. You can believe something all you like but that does not make it true. You further state that I will not see your examples as evidence. Actually, by your standard of argument, I do see your examples as evidence for the existence of quite a few of the Greek gods: Demeter (fertility), Apollo (the Sun) and Aphrodite (love). Ditto many other polytheistic belief systems. Which brings us onto the second part of this question: Why are you an atheist in respect of these (and hundreds of other) gods and why could exactly the same arguments not apply to Yahweh? And because I can say one thing and someone else can say another is neither here nor there. Some people say that Vishnu exists. Some don’t. This does not make them equal propositions. One proposition is clearly more likely than the other. And we would agree on the answer.

  39. Stewart Cowan 29 Nov 2008, 12:38am

    Simon Murphy – thanks for your replies, including: “As a public servant he is OBLIGED not to place his conscience above his duties.”

    How very Nazi. All the other officers are just obeying orders.

    A police force without a conscience. If that’s what you want, it looks like that’s what you’ve got.

    Thanks a lot.

  40. Stewart Cowan 29 Nov 2008, 12:48am

    ursus262:

    “Gay rights are not a concept to be debated or justified, for goodness sake!”

    What a peculiar statement! Are you saying that there should never have been a debate and therefore no legalising of homosexual behaviour? Or that everyone should now put up or shut up?

    “The best course of action for Messrs Cowan and Cogman is this: stop fretting about the sexual habits of others, mind your own business, and get on with running your own lives. Can it really be any more complicated than that?”

    It is far more complicated because it’s not ‘in the bedroom’ anymore, it’s in the classroom and the media and in everyone’s face the whole time.

    The homosexual lobby makes sure that their ‘lifestyle’ is everyone’s business.

    You want a one-way street of indoctrination – you can’t have it.

  41. Stewart Cowan 29 Nov 2008, 12:54am

    I implore you to understand more about the actual agenda and that homosexuals are being USED to wither society
    Now, Heterosexuals are in the Closet.

    1. This is quite pathetic. I feel very sorry for you having to live in such a paranoid delusional world.

  42. “You want a one-way street of indoctrination – you can’t have it.”
    Finally we get the bottom line from you. You think we’re actively recruiting and have the power to turn hetrosexuals gay.
    Let’s explode that myth once and for all.
    I couldn’t make straight people gay if I tried. I’m not Derren Brown, I do not exercise mind control, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
    I don’t know of a single gay person who was “converted” against their will. Many however come to that conclusion after years of painful denial.

    If you imagine denial is a fun place to be, try to imagine keeping your straightness a secret from your friends, family, work colleagues, teachers etc. on pain of complete social isolation. Imagine self loathing on a massive scale imposed by people who would happily see you top yourself rather than be “straight and proud”.
    Fortunately for you, hetros don’t have to worry about that, or “gay conversion” ministries, set up to make you feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with being straight, that can be fixed for a sky-high fee.
    All we want is equality, but because your paradigm is one of converting people to your religion you assume the same goes for making straight people gay.
    That is why it’s “In your face”. Not because of some Machiavellian recruitment drive dreamt up by the Daily Mail, but simply for the right to be who we are, no questions asked.

  43. Stewart Cowan 29 Nov 2008, 2:27am

    “You think we’re actively recruiting and have the power to turn hetrosexuals gay.”

    Even Tatchell says homosexuality is not all genetic.

    Believe me, I can understand what you are saying in the rest of your post. I am not making light of suffering. We all suffer in our own ways – it is how we resolve those issues that matters.

    I look at it this way. I am an alcoholic. I am clean over ten years, but I was drinking for ten. I could have convinced myself that my genetics made me alcoholic and perhaps sometimes I did. I was certainly looking for excuses and reasons to carry on drinking.

    After serious illness caused by alcohol, I was detoxed. I was tempted to return, but am now set free from the devastating effects.

    Why is ‘sexuality’ any different to other problems? Why the obsession?

    The Bible says that worldly things war against the spirit. It’s right.

    We don’t live in a world where “no questions” are asked. There would be anarchy otherwise.

  44. Stewart – That’s as maybe, but as an atheist I see no moral imperative to be straight. And that’s not because I’m a lawless heathen. I simply believe in the golden rule.
    Leviticus is often trawled out by the religious right wing as biblical justification for being against homosexual rights. This is the same book in the Bible that tells us wearing clothes of mixed fibres is an abomination, as well as planting wheat and barley in the same field. So no poly cotton socks for you, or variagated agriculture. Such justification as there is for being anti-gay stems from a basic premise that “God said it” end of discussion. But the Bible can be used and cherry picked to justify any arbitary moral standpoint under the sun, and the Old Testament is the worst for that. There are even citations that insist you should sell your daughter into slavery, or carry out a programme of ethnic cleansing. I spent years at a christian bording school getting daily sermons and RE lessons, plus seven years of weekend visits to Sunday worship so I know the territory like the back of my hand.
    The burden of proof is on you to prove that sexuality is a problem or disease.
    I often hear the “If we tolerate this, then our children will be next” argument. For most kids (about 90%) the default position is that they’re straight and nothing will change that, not even a visit from some LGBT organisation spreading awareness of gay rights issues. For a small minority there is a natural tendancy to be gay that will most likely be browbeaten and bullied out of them well into their teens.
    However after 25 years stuck in the closet watching my straight friends score with whoever they wanted, I started to resent straight people quoting the bible at me to justify hostility to something which was of zero concern to them.
    And once I learned what dogma was there was no going back.
    There is a simple test for gayness I devised. Imagine you are driving down a road (for the sake of argument you’re breaking the speedlimit, so your reactions are split-second). On one side of the road is a wonderbra hoarding poster with a drop dead gorgeous girl in black lace underwear. On the other is a Calvin Klein poster with a guy in tight boxers, also drop dead gorgeous. You only have time to take in one poster, because you’re driving so fast. Which way does your head turn? “I’d keep my eyes on the road because I don’t succumb to temptation/ Driving requires my full concentration” are both irrelevant cop-out answers.
    After years in the closet I had to realise that I couldn’t turn myself straight by some act of will, and when I realised that the burden of guilt and shame was lifted. The Calvins guy won hands down every time.
    Regretably the “ex-gay” ministry business sees people like the old me as part of their stairway to heaven, so they never stop badgering gay people to “pray out the gay” or resort to psychologically damaging electrotherapy. Even people that have run those places have come to realise they’re doing more harm than good. This is something else you may want to look up on Tatchell’s website.
    You wouldn’t say to a black person “with £200,000 worth of skin treatments you could be white like Michael Jackson and gain more acceptance from the white population”, so why are gay people still fair game? What’s the worst that could happen?

  45. Ivan – What do you believe?

    I believe Yahweh revealled Himself FULLY through the person of Jesus.
    I therefore believe that GOD revealled Himself FULLY through the person of Jesus. I believe that if we want to know who God is then we have to look at Jesus. I believe there is only one God and He showed who He is in and through Jesus. This is why I reject all other expressions of God, whether it is greek gods, Allah or whoever, because I only look at Yahweh as revealled through Jesus.
    I believe in Jesus and what he said. He said that he is the only way to God.

    BUT, I believe God is a a God full of grace and truth and therefore do not and will not ever make jugements or assumptions about who will be with Jesus for all eternity when He brings heaven to earth. That is up to God, not humans.

    For me, any question begins and ends with Jesus. Any mystery or truth begins and ends with Jesus.

    Peace in its fullest sense
    Joe

  46. Mr Cowan!

    I can tell from the tone of your response that you are rattled. Maybe it is because you know, as do most of the other contributors to this thread, that the debate about gay rights has moved on.

    There was a debate about gay rights in the past, but we have moved beyond that now. Other than that brief comment, I will say this: I don’t feel the need to debate with you or anyone else of a similar “bent” on this thread or any other – on your terms or anyone else’s. I simply won’t do that. And if you don’t like the diverse nature of our society, then you are perfectly entitled to go and live somewhere else. An amish community in the US perhaps?

  47. “Even Tatchell says homosexuality is not all genetic.”

    Mr. Cowan, Tatchell is not a scientist, and neither are you. What’s YOUR obsession with the ex-gay crap? All scientific evidence points to a genetic or hormonal origin, most likely a combination. There is *NO* scientific evident to point to the contrary… only in the minds of fools with a bibles… like you. Trying to pass that collection of silly stories for the mentally weak as some kind of proof.

    Grow up.

  48. Stewart Cowan 1 Dec 2008, 12:04am

    Thanks for your comments, Flapjack and sorry your spear gag flew over my head.

    No offence intended, but if you are an atheist, you are a heathen by definition.

    You may be right that an atheistic worldview entitles you to have whatever sexual life you desire, but does it really?

    Going back to the tribal stuff, why do you think homosexual behaviour was taboo in most cultures? Do you know? Hint: we have responsibilities to the tribe.

    You make the mistake of relying on Leviticus. My answer to this is simply that I am not Jewish! The Jewish law was put in place for of a variety of reasons.

    E.g. the laws of sacrifice were there for guidelines to atone for sin, but as Christians we have Christ’s blood to atone.

    Other laws were to remind the Hebrews that they are God’s chosen people and to keep themselves separate from others, but after Christ, gentiles could also, through repentance and faith, become part of the Almighty’s people. E.g. the food laws were no longer of effect; same with circumcision.

    Other laws were for health and sanitation.

    Why do you think that homosexual behaviour was outlawed?

    The whole of Creation exhibits evidence of both a Creator and His instruction to go forth and multiply and fill the earth. Only possible with heterosexual couples, of course.

    And curing the homosexual is not necessarily a ticket to Heaven for the likes of me. The benefit of finding peace with God belongs to those who repent of their sins. If I can facilitate that, then great, but I don’t expect my soul to burn for eternity if I don’t, so don’t think I’m expecting people to change to do me a favour; they do themselves a huge favour.

    The black thing is a complete straw man-cum-red herring, although it has been used to great effect, but I’m too wise to fall for it.

    A person’s colour depends upon the amount of melanin in the skin. Nobody is really white – we are all a shade of brown – try putting a clean white shirt against a ‘white’ person’s skin!

    That is genetic – nature, not nurture.

  49. “Why do you think that homosexual behaviour was outlawed?”
    Hmmm. I’m guessing it was bigotry in the first instance. Perhaps the personal distate factor. Also the fact that most ancient laws and religions were written by bigoted hetrosexual males speaking on behalf of everybody, whether they liked it or not.
    As for responsibility to the tribe, which specific responsibilities do you think us gay people are shirking?
    And as for the old “we must be fruitful and multiply” argument, the world is currently suffering from unsustainable overpopulation , which will affect us all as resources grow scarcer. The planet will soon deteriorate into one big garbage heap, and every new born miracle grows up and adds yet more detritus to that heap. I think the fact we generally don’t breed is doing straight people a favour by not adding our own offspring to this already overstretched ecosystem, not that you’d think so from some of the feedback we get.
    “You may be right that an atheistic worldview entitles you to have whatever sexual life you desire, but does it really?”
    Yes, so long as it’s between consenting adults. The burden of proof is on your doorstep, not mine. Besides, citing a god who is never available for soundbites when you need him to back up your arguments is about as convincing as me telling you that Apollo dragged the sun into the sky this morning. He is a god of the gaps, and that’s all he ever was.

  50. Flapjack, this guy is a waste of time. When people like this fool use statements like “Creator and His instruction”, it means a lost cause. As you quite rightly say, God won’t appear sometime in a court of law to back up these outlandish claims, and usually these all-knowing statement from people claiming to know the will of god are cover ups for the lack of proof and evidence to support their discrimination.

    Lets this ex-gay troll go about his merry way, flapjack… you’re only leading him on in thinking he has a “convert”. His god will judge him one day for wasting the brain he was given and his bigotry.

  51. Tom- starting to think you may have a point there. As a wiser person than me once put it, never argue with a crazy person – onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.
    And Stewart… I’m glad you’re off the alcohol, I just wish you’d chosen a less toxic opiate to replace it with.

  52. Tom, well said.

    Flapjack, I agree with Tom, your arguments are, as usual, well scripted, balanced and intelligent… and unfortunately wasted on this Mr. Cowan.

    I love the line “Why do you think that homosexual behaviour was outlawed?”

    Well, lets see…. witchcraft was once outlawed. The rights of women were once outlawed. Slaves were one legal. Burning people at the stake was legal.

    Is history of “traditional” law a reason to maintain an injustice? No, its not. The simple answer is that religion needs a scapegoat to work. On its own, religion cannot not offer the hope to the masses without instilling fear of diversity. In hard times, religion needs an emeny, a group of people that are easy to persecute, to be the reason for all ills in the world.

    Historically, this has been the neighbouring country (how many times was a war started with the words, god is on our side and he will smite our enemies), or women, or black people. Today, in the western world, homosexuality is the latest reason, as its harder to persecute race, gender and creed as in the past.

    If two gay people love each other, why is this a problem? They don’t hurt anyone else. They are contributing to society. They pose not threat to families, marriage, or other relationships. So, why? Its because we’re a minority, and historically its been easy to persecute us. “Sex is bad” has always been quick win for “the path for evil” and add a little bit of paranoia about paedophilia, and you have a ready-to-exploit minority that can be the cause of everything from the wart on your hand to hurricane Katrina.

    Unfortunately, this obvious logic is wasted on people who are religious in nature. Is a sad fact, religion is usually the recourse of the weak minded or the fearful. Mr. Cowen, fits the bill nicely, doesn’t he?

  53. I raise my hands and readily admit the atrocities caused in the name of religion. I know that the Church has done some unforgivable things. I would like to apologise for bigoted and hateful behaviour caused. I would like to apologise for the bigoted and hateful behaviour that still poisons our world from religious fanatics.
    I would like to apologise for the Church failing to reflect who Jesus is, someone of love and compassion. God is not waiting to ‘smite’ us for any and every sin. God is love, not hate.

    Will – please don’t put every religious person in such a small box, assuming we’re all weak-minded and fearful. I recognise that there certainly are those who do not help the stereotype, but the majority of Christians I know are not like the stereotype.
    Bigoted and fearful people can be atheist, agnostic, religious or whatever. Making a blanket statement is not helpful. You’ve obviously come into contact with people who are bigoted, but there are many of us who love Jesus who are not bigoted and seek to be at peace with everyone. Yes we hold firmly to our beliefs, as you do, but in holding firmly to what we believe we respect the diversity of belief all around us.
    Like I said earlier, I do not go around with my hands over my eyes and fingers in my ears hoping I will always believe in God. I believe in God because I believe life and creation point to Him.

    Peace
    Joe

  54. Joe, unfortunately, you acknowledgement of the true message of Jesus is in a minority. I wish more were like you.

    However, as for my “blanket” statement, I’m afraid it isn’t anything of the kind. There is a clear and proven correlation between religion and intelligence:-

    In 2008, researcher Helmuth Nyborg examined whether IQ relates to denomination and income. His results, published in the scientific journal Intelligence demonstrated that on average, Atheists scored 1.95 IQ points higher than Agnostics, 3.82 points higher than Liberal persuasions, and 5.89 IQ points higher than Dogmatic persuasions.

    And another:-

    In 1975, Norman Poythress studied a sample of 234 US college undergraduates, grouping them into relatively homogeneous religious types based on the similarity of their religious beliefs, and compared their personality characteristics. Religious Believers as a group were found to be significantly less intelligent and more authoritarian than religious skeptics.

    I’m afraid that nearly all scientific study, study that is not tainted by one faction or another at least, shows a such intelligence/education and religion correlation.

    I don’t mean to insult, but the *general* result of religion is invariantly prejudice and fear and a lack of tolerance.

  55. Joe- I’m fine if you take a live and let live attitude to religion, and like Will I wish more religious folk shared your outlook.
    I see no particular reason to stop religious people such as yourself believing what they believe, that’s entirely up to you. I probably won’t change your mind anyhow.
    However on occasions where they choose to talk for me and lobby on my behalf and legislate on my behalf , I demand a more rigorous logical basis for any resulting assertions, because proof becomes the bottom line.
    Without this caveat, religion can easily become a fait-accompli philosophy, bulldosing anyone who doesn’t agree with strident views by invoking some unproven divine decree, which acts as a philosophical ‘get out of jail free card’.
    I don’t count you as being a zealot Joe, and hope this discussion hasn’t caused you undue offence.

  56. Will, what an excellent post, one of the better I’ve seen on this fourm. You’re not a physiologist by any chance are you?

    Joe, I don’t think Will is trying to tar you with this brush, but to follow on from Will’s points, there is also a relationship between prejudice and education. But as has been mentioned already, your particular tolerance and understanding is not shared by organised religions throughout the world.

  57. Not sure if that’s a complement or an insult, Tom :)

    But no, I’m not. I have a scientific background, but actually work as a manager, but I suppose there is a certain element of physiology in management… a bit of a stretch of the old imagination, I agree :)

    Joe, I second Flapjack’s statement that no offence is intend to the individual here with any of my statements. As we have all agreed, if more like you would were in organised religion, it would probably mean the end of the gay rights movement, as we’d already have the equality we seek.

  58. I honestly don’t know who is the worse of the two groups on here: the religious cultists who seem to seek out Gay websites such as this (which says a lot, really); or those armchair philosophers who engage in a debate and, thus, encourage “the faithful”.

    What I know is not complicated: that to discriminate against GLBT people is wrong. It is wrong because it destroys lives, shatters dreams and creates unhappiness. The agenda’s purpose, is to make our lives better and to protect our interests. We are becoming more visible, for we pay our taxes, vote, and consume like anyone else. And of course, we have sex in different ways too – ways in which others might have a problem with, yet that is not our problem.

    Sex is power, so the saying goes. By taking back ownership of our own bodies and our own sexuality, we are taking back power for ourselves.

    Religion was never about spirituality: it was only ever about power.

  59. Will, Tom and Flapjack – Thank you for the kind words and the tolerance of my own beliefs.

    I have not taken offence, just like to try and give a balanced view. I don’t offend easily! I like to stay chilled out. :0)

    C’mon Will! Helmuth Nyborg’s results are flawed and very controversial. These tests can never give us a true understanding of society, for in these tests we bring our own biased starting points. We are not blank canvasses interpreting data. we come with our own beliefs and background and persuasions. No matter how ‘neutral’ we want to be, we never truly can be. That’s human nature.

    I know a lot of different people who hold a lot of different beliefs. The most intelligent people I know are Christian, agnostic and atheist.

    It is those who are ‘militant’ who I struggle with, whether it is atheist or Christian or whatever. I think in these instances intelligence gives way to blind faith. This can be said of atheists as well as Christians.

    Ultimately we can all hold firmly to what we believe and be sure of what we believe, but no-one can be 100% sure of what happens when we die. No-one.

    Flapjack – I agree that we need to THINK and have common sense in all areas of life, especially when it comes to our society.

    Whatever happens guys I want to say I hope during our lives here and now we can help make society a great place where we live in harmony with one another. Unity in diversity. I would call it heaven on earth. Too many ‘religious’ folk concentrate on what happens after we die. I think we should be worrying about brining peace to the here and now. We all have a responsibility to make this world a better place.

    I have enjoyed chatting with you guys immensely.

    Shalom
    Joe

  60. Tony Lambert 1 Dec 2008, 3:20pm

    “By taking back ownership of our own bodies and our own sexuality, we are taking back power for ourselves”

    I have no idea what you are talking about here!!! Don’t project onto us. I already own my body, and my sexuality. It was never anyone else’s to take back from. My “power” was always mine to have, mine to control, and mine to give, and never to “take back” from anyone. Not all of us need a spiritual trip through this mumbo-jumbo to feel self worth.

    Sounds like your the one engaging in “armchair philosophy”. The others here are engaged in healthy debate, and its through debate we might be able to see all points of view. I for one have enjoyed the exchange, some very insightful points made here.

  61. Ursus – While I’m an atheist and share many of your concerns, I don’t think encouraging debate is the same thing as the Neville Chamberlain school of diplomacy. I’m not about to be straight because of some unproven remit, and even if God was a provable entity it wouldn’t change that. I think Old Testament God and me would probably have to have words. If he smites me for seeing things differently then that would just show what a petty tyrant he was! I don’t aquiese to anything with the psychological profile of Joseph Stalin.

  62. Actually, now I look at my last post, I think Tony said it better. Mine derailed somewhere on the way to making a point :)

  63. “I already own my body, and my sexuality. It was never anyone else’s to take back from. My “power” was always mine to have, mine to control, and mine to give, and never to “take back” from anyone. Not all of us need a spiritual trip through this mumbo-jumbo to feel self worth.”

    I’m pleased to hear that. For many people throughout the world, however, empowerment is far off.

    Healthy debate? Insightful? I don’t think it is healthy at all. I make no bones about the fact that I am extremely hostile to religion, but that is only because I have witnessed the damage it has done to people.

    As for the accusation that I have “projected” onto others, maybe we should consider how the sexually-repressed (and there are loads of them in organised religions – the Catholic Church in particular) often project their frustrations onto us. So please don’t attack me, as I am on your side!

  64. Ursus – “So please don’t attack me, as I am on your side!”
    The feelings mutual…
    “I honestly don’t know who is the worse of the two groups on here: the religious cultists who seem to seek out Gay websites such as this (which says a lot, really); or those armchair philosophers who engage in a debate and, thus, encourage “the faithful”.”

    I don’t deny that religion has done plenty of damage and I’ve even witnessed much of it first hand. Hell I’ve even suffered from it. But once you shut down dialogue, the religous demagogues who want to turn the clock back on gay rights find it that much easier to dismiss us as sub human, and lobby others to take our rights. Sometimes dialogue is the best tool in our arsenal, so long as it doesn’t decend into Stockholm syndrome. There comes a point where you have to stand firm, but I prefer to use reason first. It’s a thorny issue.

  65. ursus262, while I think Tony made his point a little too forcefully (no insult intended Tony), I do agree with the sentiment, and especially the one expressed by Flapjack. Organised religion is not healthy, and none of us subscribe to it, especially me. I “defected” from the Catholic Church years ago. However, people like Joe are the ones that we can make connections with, being gay I was already a “lapsed” catholic to begin with. Joe has given us his point of view in a fairly calm way, and I assume he is straight, and we have given ours being gay. Only good can come out of that. Its a pity there aren’t more like Joe in organised religions who are willing to see beyond the dogma to the true message of their faith.

    As I said, I am no lover of religion… it has spent millennia tying to suppress truth. It has incarcerated people who would advance mankind, and probably set back humanity countless years. The almost laughable expression of this is that in this last 100 years, we have made more discoveries than one can count, and yet there are many people think the world is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs lived in the garden of eden. Truly frightening. But the sad truth of all this is that if Jesus lived today, whether you believe him to be man or god, his message of tolerance and love would STILL be ahead of his time.

    So, there’s nothing wrong with swapping ideas with people like Joe…. we have so many disturbing extremists points of view (on both sides of the equation! Hank, and Bill Perdue to mention a few) on this site regularly, I for one welcome a “believer” that isn’t screaming fire and brimstone at us.

  66. OK, Point taken. I don’t know really why I find this all so frustrating. I guess it’s because I’ve seen this debate played out many times over the years, and I just don’t see how anything positive can come of it. There is an element of intellectual laziness on my part, I think. However, I am a simple man who focuses on the consequences of religion and the damage it causes. Remember Matthew Shepphard? Remember the callous and brutal way he was killed? His death came about as a consequence of religion’s influence on our society. And Iran – where a holocaust of sorts is taking place, and has taken place, over the last twenty years or so. Remember the two young men who were hanged? They died as a result of slow strangulation. Can you even begin to imagine the terror and suffering that they experienced in the last few moments of their short lives? I can’t.

    It is a truth that, while we are here, online, in relative safety, debating the philosophy of human existence and human sexuality, people are actually suffering.

    By all means, debate as much as you like. But never forget the suffering that is so frequent all over the world.

  67. Ursus – you make a valid point. It’s easy to forget that bigotry has dire consequences, and petty everyday intolerance is just the thin end of a scale which ends in lynching and genocide.

  68. Simon Murphy 2 Dec 2008, 10:11am

    Stewart – why aren’t you actually responding to people’s arguements. Avoiding answering questions simply makes you look crazy. Are you religious by any chance? If so then please accept my condolences.

  69. Simon – Stewart has said he saw the light after a right-leaning Christian Ministry cured him of his alcoholism. I find this pertinant, because it does appear to be a common religious indoctrination method – Scientologists use drug-rehab programmes for the same reason.
    It breaks down like this… find a desperate person with dependancy issues, low self esteem and a fried brain from prolonged exposure to the drug of choice, then ween them off the drug they were on and replace it with your dogma under the guise of rehab. Because they were emotionally vulnerable already they’ll swallow whatever you tell them after that. It’s like taking candy from a baby.
    In the hands of reponsible people, this just results in a little light praying and some brotherly love. But if you have a pernicious message you want to slip in, like “gay people are intrinsicly evil and must be stopped by all means at your disposal” that’s the least you can do to thank those nice people who got you off the drugs and booze.

  70. GOOD! Tell him to go get a job in his church and pontificate from there. Good riddance.

  71. Stewart Cowan 3 Dec 2008, 12:15am

    Simon #71 – I didn’t say that, though the Lord did save me from a certain death.

    I was a believer before I ever had a drink.

  72. Stewart Cowan 3 Dec 2008, 12:21am

    “If two gay people love each other, why is this a problem? They don’t hurt anyone else. They are contributing to society. They pose not threat to families, marriage, or other relationships.”

    Tell that to the militant activists who set out to destroy marriage as a main part of their agenda.

    When all is said and done, let me return to the original point – should the PC have been sacked for believing that homosexual behaviour is a sin? For emailing a link to a website?

    ursus262: the PC wasn’t discriminating against anyone. I do wish people would cease equating disagreement with discrimination, hatred, etc.

    If you care so much about discrimination, why are you not contacting Norfolk Constabulary to complain about this man being discriminated against? Do you even care he has lost his job? That his children will suffer? I have seen no evidence here.

    Joe: “Too many ‘religious’ folk concentrate on what happens after we die.”

    There is nothing more urgent!!!

    “I honestly don’t know who is the worse of the two groups on here: the religious cultists who seem to seek out Gay websites such as this (which says a lot, really); or those armchair philosophers who engage in a debate and, thus, encourage “the faithful.”

    I found the story on this website via Google News as I was researching the story of PC Cogman and looking to write a piece for my website.

  73. “I was a believer before I ever had a drink”

    You should go back to drinking, might lighten you up a bit, or stop you typing this shit.

    Just because you’re a loser, and you think jesus “saved you”, doesn’t mean we have all fallen between the cracks of society.

  74. “Tell that to the militant activists who set out to destroy marriage as a main part of their agenda”

    We’re not destroying marriage, we’re broadening the definition. You can still get married. You don’t have to get divorced just because gay people are getting in on the act. It’s not like some exclusive country club that gets devalued just because “any old riff-raff can join now”. That’s just plain snobbery talking. It boils down to “there goes the neighbourhood” thinking for bigots.
    If you enjoy the benefits, I don’t see why we can’t.

  75. “ursus262: the PC wasn’t discriminating against anyone. I do wish people would cease equating disagreement with discrimination, hatred, etc.

    If you care so much about discrimination, why are you not contacting Norfolk Constabulary to complain about this man being discriminated against? Do you even care he has lost his job? That his children will suffer? I have seen no evidence here.”

    I return to my point about Michael Jackson. If someone came to a black guy and said “we could turn you white with extensive plastic surgery and then white people would accept you more” that would be discrimination. You say it isn’t the same because gayness is a choice. Shows how little you know about gayness then. Alcoholism is a misleading parallel. There are definite health benefits to kicking the booze. The only health benefits to turning straight are that bigots stop pestering you in the street and harassing you in the workplace. I’m sorry but PC Cogman was being passive agressive when he posted those pamphlets, he knew what the consequences would be and he did it anyway. Racist police officers get the same treatment.
    Just as an example, I used to work for a firm which made shopping Mall displays with atrocious health and safety in terms of the storage of toxic chemicals, the cleaning up of dust, even the roof was made of asbestos. When I pointed some of these legitimate problems out to my colleagues, the Health and safety notice board which was coated in dust from decades of neglect suddenly got new notices.
    Not notices about storage of fibreglass resin [which causes all types of cancer] in sealed containers as you might have hoped, but alarmist pamplets dating from 1985 about AIDS in the workplace. Why they thought that was more important than what I’d brought to their attention was obvious – the had a ‘gay troublemaker’ on staff and they wanted him back in his box.
    That’s the type of descrimination which Cogman was rightly sacked for. He should have thought about his wife and kids before he did it – they’re not a get out of jail free card for bigotry.

  76. Mr Cowan!

    “Tell that to the militant activists who set out to destroy marriage as a main part of their agenda.”

    And what about the militant religious cultists who set out to destroy our human rights?

    You will never win the anti-gay cause, because you are simply displaying a wilful ignorance – an ignorance of the facts and an ignorance of the fact that you appear to have a problem in accepting variations in human sexuality and the human condition.

    Also, before you spout off any more rubbish on here, think: Matthew Shepphard. I bet you don’t even know who he was! Pathetic!

  77. Ursus – I followed a link from Mr. Cowan’s blog to an article which mentioned Matthew Shepphard by name. It appears Mr. Cowan does know who he is. The article in question tries to insinuate that we’re milking the Matthew Shepphard incident, and that gay people sometimes murder people too, so that somehow makes Matthew Shepphard a cynical propaganda exercise.
    What it fails to mention is that Matthew Shepphard is far from being an isolated incident. Gay bashing is still deemed an acceptable passtime for bigots everywhere, in fact in such countries as Jamaica and Iraq it’s a national sport.
    The other thing it neglects to mention is that straight lynching is not something gay people do from an ideological standpoint. We don’t wait in dark allies or underpasses for straight people to pounce on and beat to a bloody pulp. We certainly don’t justify murder by saying “he was straight, so he was asking for it”.

  78. I have just taken a look at his website. It would seem to me that this man is having a hysterical reaction to the changes in the world around him. More than ever, it appears (to me at least) that he seems to resent empowerment of people. Not one of his statements have any intellectual weight: instead, they are an endless rant about what he regards as the wickedness of simply allowing people to experience their lives in the way that they see fit.

    Most cynical of all is the way he uses children as a way of propagating his prejudices. Of course children are not being sexualised! What a ridiculous thing to say!

    His website is nothing more than a rant. Period.

  79. Ursus- Well, at least he has a potential a career as a Daily Mail journalist then!

  80. Nah, I’d say he’s fallen off the wagon… everything he has said is more indicative of a drunken buffoon.

  81. Stewart Cowan 3 Dec 2008, 10:10pm

    Flapjack, I don’t know who Matthew Shepphard is and I have never written about him. You must have clicked on a tag on my blog and reached another site?

    “We’re not destroying marriage, we’re broadening the definition.”

    The definition of a marriage is one man and one woman; period.

    You wouldn’t build a house using two roofs, would you? You need walls as well – an extra roof instead doesn’t make a house.

  82. Stewart Cowan 3 Dec 2008, 10:13pm

    …and Flappy, please stop jumping on the racism bandwagon. It is dishonest and I am not racist.

  83. Stewart Cowan 3 Dec 2008, 10:34pm

    Ursus, “And what about the militant religious cultists who set out to destroy our human rights?”

    Did PC Cogman do this?

    Who sets the ‘human rights’ agenda?

    Do you know you don’t really have any human rights under the UN Charter, in the sense that what you thought were your rights must be forfeited if they interfere with the UN’s greater plans?

    The equality/diversity/human rights industry is a divide and rule tactic.

    “you appear to have a problem in accepting variations in human sexuality and the human condition.”

    I have a problem with sin, if that’s what you mean, especially when children are expected to believe that sinning is acceptable.

    “it appears (to me at least) that he seems to resent empowerment of people.”

    I wish to empower people to make a stand against sin. Your blinkered worldview makes you think the opposite of the truth in this case.
    “Most cynical of all is the way he uses children as a way of propagating his prejudices. Of course children are not being sexualised! What a ridiculous thing to say!”

    Again, you have it the wrong way round. The ‘gay’ lobby has managed to make a big deal about homophobia in primary schools. When I went to school, we were left alone to be children not brainwashed about ‘sexuality’. We were concerned about climbing trees and finding conkers, playing with toy cars, etc., not learning how to put a condom on a banana.

    “His website is nothing more than a rant. Period.”

    Well, hundreds tune in each day! I think a rant is justified the way this country is spiralling out of control economically, spiritually and morally.

    1. Equality/diversity/human rights is a “divide and rule tactic” hahahahahaha I’ve heard some delusional crap in my time but this one takes the cake.

  84. “Sin” as you put it is highly subjective. For example, according to Leviticus, you’re bound for the fiery pit if you wore poly cotton socks at any point in your life, or if you trimmed your beard.
    In fact there are some zealots (and not just in the middle east) who’d consign you to hell for simply touching alcohol, regardless of whether you’d quit the bottle. They may even chop your hands off. But apparently your sins are either lesser sins or ones we’re not supposed to take seriously. Unlike ours which are the worst type of sin imaginable. But who gets to define which are “real” sins and which are “oh come on, no-one takes that bit of the Bible seriously anymore” sins? You? The Pope? Any punter with an opinion?
    I always thought Wrath was traditionally one of the 7 deadly sins, along with Pride and Jealousy, but check out the Old Testament and guess what, God is portrayed as a vain, jealous rageaholic. I guess he must be a kind of “do as I say, not do as I do” deity.
    You are already cherry picking what you accept and what you don’t. Admit it, your moral code is no more based on the teachings found in the bible than mine is. You just take the highlighter pen to whichever verses suit your pre-conceived notion of what you find abhorrent. And we can all play that game, it’s just that we’re honest enough not to pretend a celestial father figure is the reason behind our personal bias.
    Whatever cranky belief you have about the nature of sin, there’s always a bible verse you can find that’s mad enough to back your argument.

  85. Here’s a song that kind of sums it all up for me…

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=MyE5wjc4XOw

    It pretty much reminded me of your blog…

  86. Stewart Cowan 4 Dec 2008, 1:00am

    I’ve already tried to explain the Mosaic Law, Flapjack.

    “Whatever cranky belief you have about the nature of sin, there’s always a bible verse you can find that’s mad enough to back your argument.”

    It’s a black and white case: homosexual behaviour is abomination.

    Plus, nature makes body parts more than obvious. You wouldn’t pour hot coffee down your ear, would you?

    1. Dad, what’s the prostate for?

  87. No, because my g-spot isn’t in my ear, and hot coffee would burn it anyhow. Whereas gay sex is actually pretty good thankyou, thanks to the way that ‘god’ designed us all with a g-spot up there. Wonder why he chose to do that?
    Anyhow, the mosaic law is only brought to bear by people who actually believe it to be the only way of determining right and wrong. The rest of us have several thousand years of moral philosophy to draw on.
    Nice try though.

  88. The definition of marriage can be altered at any time. That happened in Belgium, the Netherlands and in Spain. All of these countries are democracies, and a collective decision was made to amend that definition. No doubt in these democracies, there were those who opposed that change, but it was the rule of the majority that prevailed. Support for that very change of definition was supported by a majority of the electorate in these countries. Mr Cowan stated his opinion and that was not, in itself, a statement of fact.

    Matthew Shephard was beaten up, and tied to a fence and abandoned. He froze to death. This was as a result of hatred against gay people on the part of his attackers. I challenge anyone to say that his death was justified, or that the manner of his death was none other than brutal or callous.

    Mr Cowan thinks homosexuality is sinful, and his view is informed by his religious faith. He is entitled so to do. I, however, am not a Christian. I have no faith, and conduct my affairs by a different set of values. That means I have a partner of the same sex. I have sex with him. I am a citizen, a voter and a consumer and, to be perfectly frank, there is nothing Mr Cowan can do about that.

    It is a historical fact that Jesus of Nazareth actually walked this earth, and his message was one of love, compassion, tolerance, kindness and forgiveness. His death on the cross is an inspiration to me, if only because he suffered – like Matthew Shephard – simply because of who he was. Yet, I reject Christianity. I do this not because of Jesus’s central messages, but because of the corruption of that message by others.

    There are certain values that I treasure: truth; courage; compassion; integrity; committment and humour. Those are the values that I treasure, and you don’t have to a Christian to do that.

    The days are long gone when people of faith imposed their policies on the general population because they felt that their view of the world was superior to anyone else’s. Mr Cowan can think and say what he likes, because in the end it will make no difference.

    And for that, I am truly grateful!

  89. “It’s a black and white case: homosexual behaviour is abomination.

    Plus, nature makes body parts more than obvious. You wouldn’t pour hot coffee down your ear, would you?”

    What a load of utter nonsense.

    You see Flapjack, this fool does not warrant a civilised argument, he has not got the capacity or capability to do so. He has answered none of your points, and addressed nothing but the base line “black and white” argument of religion. Religion is anything but black and white.

    Steward Cowen makes a fools argument in his definition of what is “natural”. Is living beyond 30 natural? Is curing a blind person natural, or curing a person who cannot walk? Is the PC he used “natural”? Is drinking yourself into a stupor with alcohol, technically a poison, natural? No. Yet he seems to take all these as such. How odd.

    Logic dictates that if 5-10% of the population are gay, then its *IS* natural by definition of our existence. But logic is wasted on people who make such foolish remarks like his.

  90. Will’s exasperation is clear for everyone to see. Earlier on in this thread, I was criticised for not wanting to engage in a debate. Can you see now how this engagement can be fruitless?

    Of course we should, as a community, reach out to people. No point in debating with the Cowan’s of this world. He gets his kicks from winding people up. What we should be doing instead is going out into the world and saying:”This is our case! Hear us out!” Tell the world about how Matthew Shephard died, tied to a fence in the depths of winter. Tell them how we suffered over the years. Tell them about the unhappiness caused by the rejection of others. That’s the leverage we need to protect our hard-won rights and freedoms.

  91. ursus262, I agree that debate is fruitless with people like this buffoon (as Tom so nicely put it). However, I do not put all religious people in this category, just those who cannot or will not listen. I think the point was made that people like Joe are the ones we can swap ideas and thoughts on, and perhaps have more people of faith on our side, as opposed to people of pompous dogma as our dear friend Stewie here. Alas, Mr Cowan is not as advanced mentally as Joe, perhaps the years of excessive drinking have had something to do with that.

    Mr. Cowans “assessment” on the Matt Sheppard attack is deplorable. I’d suggest he read the bible, rather than just a few out-of-date quotes, for a more fuller appreciation of the meaning of “christianity”. Although its always clear to me that these dogmatic intransigent kind tend to focus more on the old testament, which seems more line line with their hateful stance and make them feel one bit better about their sad lives…. why should an alcoholic be any different:- “I dont have to believe drinkin’ and wife abuse if bad, coz the bible says that dem der queers are the problem”. Indeed.

    While I enjoy a lot of the discussions here, including yours flapjack, lets all agree no to engage this twit again. He is incapable of dialogue outside screaming a few stupid biblical lines.

  92. Tony Lambert 4 Dec 2008, 11:54am

    I have been reading this all with some delight, I must say.

    I’ve also read that woeful drivel of a blog of his. He can barely write.

    You’re all wasting your time. I personally don’t take spiritual direction from people like Steward Cowen who’s answer to life’s little woes is in a gutter with a cheap bottle of gin.

    Good for your Steward that you’ve kicked the bottle, but don’t pat yourself on he back for it. Its not a big achievement that you’ve managed to stop poisoning yourself and beating your family. I’ve been contributing far more to society than some ex-drunk blogger with delusion of being a mouthpiece for the divine, thank you.

  93. Ok Ursus, Will, Tony… I think you were right. I’m talking to either a brick wall or a broken record of the Old Testament. If a valid argument won’t win him round I’ll let him debate it within the confines of his own head. I for one haven’t budged an inch, and it’s not from a position of ignorance either. I’ve been religious before now, but to my knowledge, Mr. Cowan has never been gay.
    I’m sure Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail is lying quaking in his boots that Stewart Cowan is out there gunning for his job.

  94. Stewart Cowan 5 Dec 2008, 8:52pm

    #87 Flapjack: “moral philosophy”? There’s no such thing. Well actually, I suppose there is and it depends who is doing the philosophising. The problem is though: if we are just mutated pond scum/apes got lucky, then who is to say what is right and wrong?

    Hitler was into eugenics of course and survival of the fittest. His philosophy was that anyone not fit to be in the master race, including homosexuals, should be killed.

    You’ll be glad to know I do not share his views, but surely, if you have an atheistic/evolution worldview then you have to admit that Hitler had a very good argument?

    Nazi sympathizer, Marie Stopes, opened the first birth control clinic in Britain in 1921.

    Moral relativism = sin = death (the wages of sin is death)

  95. Stewart Cowan 5 Dec 2008, 9:11pm

    #88 Ursus – “The definition of marriage can be altered at any time.”

    In this 1984 world, lots of words are being changed. It doesn’t mean the original meaning was flawed or needs upgrading.

    Thank you for explaining about Matthew Shephard. It was obviously a horrendous and unjustifiable thing that happened there.

    It amazes me, though, how some people involved in sexual sins think that somehow I would rather they were dead. Is it the way I tell ’em?

    “there is nothing Mr Cowan can do about that”

    Actually, there is. The Almighty gives us the means.

    “I reject Christianity. I do this not because of Jesus’s central messages, but because of the corruption of that message by others.”

    Why do you let ‘others’ decide this for you? I’ll tell you a secret: I was a Mormon for a couple of years before I found out that they corrupted the message. I could have done as you and rejected Christ.

    In these last days, everything is becoming corrupted, including churches. It was meant to be, to sort the sheep from the goats.

    “The days are long gone when people of faith imposed their policies on the general population”

    I know.

    “Mr Cowan can think and say what he likes, because in the end it will make no difference.
    And for that, I am truly grateful!”

    Eternal suffering is an impossibly high price to pay for temporary gratitude.

    I want you to know that, out of pure love.

  96. Stewart Cowan 5 Dec 2008, 9:17pm

    Will, I wasn’t going to engage with you, but you have made a false statement by saying that 5-10% of the population is gay.

    Are you still using the discredited Kinsey data?

    For some reason the fact that I was a drinker tickles you. I only mentioned it to say that just because I am predisposed to being an alcoholic does not mean I should give in to it.

  97. Please, I couldn’t care less if you engage me or not.

    Its irrelevant what the percentage is, I’m here. I’m gay. I’m proud of who I am.

    The more concerning thing is why you seem to care so much.

    I’m fully with Tony on this:- You’re an alcoholic. You admitted it. And I will not take spiritual direction from people like you who’s answer to life’s little woes is in a gutter with a cheap bottle of gin.

  98. I echo the above. Let him rant. I couldn’t care less. I’m going to live my life my way, and if I burn in hell, then so be it.

  99. ursus262, you’re not going to burn in hell. This is just something put against us to make people, like this twit, feel one bit better about himself for pouring a bottle of vodka down his gullet and smacking his wife around.

    If there is a hell, none of us are going there because some halfwit with delusions of authority says we are not allowed to love our partners.

  100. George Carlin quite neatly sums up my perspective on it…

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

  101. Well, exactly. The video reminds me of one of the Marcus Brigstock monologues on the Now Show on Radio 4.

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