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Comment: Our leaders must question the Pope’s teachings in person

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  1. john adams 17 Sep 2010, 3:41pm

    “Our political leaders appear to be showing him undue reverence.”

    Agreed, and so too is the media! I’ve watched quite a bit of the visit on BBC News and Sky News and it all seems to be a “happy smiley” affair. Seriously worried that all this positive media coverage is sidelining the many concerns the public have about Church teachings. If this man was vociferously racist to the same extent as he is homophobic, the media would have been in an hysterical frenzy by now. Not wanting to dismiss all the other issues, but this is blatant evidence that homophobia is not taken seriously by the media, or the govt. We’re being humoured methinks.

  2. Tony Konrath 17 Sep 2010, 3:41pm

    No way will I ever give an iota of respect to a man, church or congregation that is trying to eliminate me.

    To do otherwise is to give in to a long historical attempt by this church to silence and, criminalize, torture and burn GLBT people.

  3. john adams 17 Sep 2010, 3:46pm

    If this visit is anything to go by, God plc is in kahoots with the govt & the media. Religious homophobia is going nowhere fast.

  4. Did any else notice the BBC coverage yesterday? as soon as they got near the protesters the, camera angle changed so the so the public couldn’t see them, i did however manage to the get the rainbow flag up in time for it to be seen, even if it was brief! :-) one thing i did notice was when he approached the the protesters Survivors network of those abused by priests, they received looks of utter hatred from the security guards & speeded up to get away from them……..

  5. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 17 Sep 2010, 3:59pm

    And all this in a multi faith/ secular/ cultural country, to an man who has condemed LGBT’s and equality and from an institution that has done more damage than anyone for gay rights.

  6. I agree with all this.

    I know this isn’t directly linked with the pope but I’m also concerned about Baronesses and Lords (non elected) signing declarations such as the one below (the para about marriage is pretty offensive). These actaually have voting rights and can clobber LGBT rights yet they aren’t elected. Why do we still have bishops voting in the house of lords? Why do we have relgious groups having any say on LGBT equality issues….

    http://www.westminster2010.org.uk/declaration/

    We pledge to support marriage – the lifelong covenantal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife. We believe it is divinely ordained, the only context for sexual intercourse, and the most important unit for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all…..

    , afterall they are the ones who will actually vote on our rights in the UK, who are unelected and speak out so much against gay partnerships etc.

  7. john adams 17 Sep 2010, 4:54pm

    This is pissing me of now, just watched BBC News and the lady reporter said “There are a lot of protesters who are shouting here shame on you shame on you anita, a lot of protestors at this end. Unfortunately we’re not allowed to go too far into the road now for security reasons, but you can see some of their banners there, a lot of them talking about sex abuse in the Church, and also about the fact that women don’t have a true place in the Catholic Church in the clergy…”

    The protesters are being sidelined and made out to be disturbers of the peace. What a complete disgrace this media show is.

  8. My gut feeling is Cameron will not spell it out for Ratzinger. Homophobia and kow-towing to religious cults is rife within the Tory party and to a lesser extent Labour. Blair and Brown weren’t much better.

    John, I’ve been espousing the abolition of the House of Lords for years. Its anachronistic, undemocratic and has absolutely NO place in British political life. Its about time we ended state religion to diminish the religious hold on government. Cameron and others would rather defer to them than do the right thing by LGBT people. If he were that supportive of full equality, why hasn’t he come out in support of full marriage equality? I think he’s been listening to StonewallUK for far too long, an organisation which by its refusal to support same-sex marriage, has proved it does not believe in full equality but wholeheartedly supports legal segregation under a different name. Well, let him continue….he’ll be a one-term prime minister with far fewer gay votes coming his way and you can bet the Liberal Democrats won’t be supporting him next time around, now that Labour is making noise about marriage equality. That alone will siphon away votes from the Tories. So be it.

  9. To make things equal, will the gov’t now be inviting Richard Dawkins to hold a £70 million jamboree for us non-theists? I’m sure it will piss off the the Christians as much as this farce has pissed us off but equality etc…no expense spared and all.

  10. I’ve just watched BBC news and am saddened by how postively they are showing this sad jamboree. Most of the time the Pope looks robotic – I laugh as he lunges towards young people who then seem to think he knows who they even exist – should have gone to specsave.Do young black girls think he’d ever have them doing anything other than washing Vatican floors.
    What really gets me though is how up his arse the media are being – its so obvious we really do have little support for our cause unless it is a low news day and the media are trying to sell stories.
    Shame on you media – sad that some of you are family and deserve the rights Catholism denies.
    Please ignore this sad group of old men determined to protect their own interest at any cost. There is much wrong with the UK but Catholism is not the answer and never will be.

  11. Mihangel apYrs 17 Sep 2010, 11:13pm

    grovel, grovel, lick,lick

    Either the media/politicians are blinded by the inability yo cirtique religion, OR they’re in thrall to the power he ostensibly can wield.

    It’s effectively a religious event funded by us!

  12. You have to admire the hypocrisy of articles such as this, and of the supporters of such sentiments. Apparently everyone must respect your right to be what you are and live your lives as you choose, but you, in return, need not show the same tolerance to others.

    The pope does not condemn homosexual people in any sense, he and the Church disagree with the choice of lifestyle by those of such a persuasion. The Pope and Church are explicity against any persecution by the state or individuals of homosexual individuals, calling this a grave sin against the rights of humanity.

    The Pope disagrees with your choice of lifestyle, without encouraging any form of persecution. You call this intolerance. I call it the model of intolerance when one can disagree with another yet not advocate means to prevent their living as they choose.

    It is not persecution to believe that marriage should be an exclusively heterosexual institution, it is a belief based position. Should homosexual partners choose to form a civil partnership or other, the Pope nor the Church advocates any form of chastisement or punishment.

    It is for you to show the same tolerance that the Pope shows you ie to disagree but not to mistake your disagreement with a right to persecution via vitrolic press or otherwise.

    The ‘gay’ accusation towards Cardinal Newman is pretty low by any standards. Are you truly suggesting that two men cannot share a close bond without being homosexual? I’m sorry to inform you that there exist forms of intrasexual relationship which do not require sexual intercourse whatsoever.

    Similarly with contraception, whilst no doubt some of the ‘local’ advice in certain parts of the world coming from RC representatives has been lamentable, that coming from the Vatican has been very consistent. Look into the Culture of Life Humanae Vitae for the general position. Further there is actually good evidence to show that changing attitudes to sex is far more potent than free condoms in slowing the spread of HIV.

    Rights of Women? Where does the RC Church oppose the rights of women in the modern age? Would this be the issue of female clergy? We go back to the issue of tolerance. Why exactly must every organisation or person subscribe to your vision of a ‘fair’ environment? Is it discriminatory that we don’t have mixed sex teams playing in the Premiership? Or does that simply reflect the traditions and rules of the FA without being in anyway derogatory to women?

    Lastly, you use the word discriminatory as if it, in itself, is an insult. You are mistaken. If one does not discriminate one accepts everything indiscriminately. You are discriminating when you condemn the positions of the Pope and RC Church. Britain discriminated when it rejected Hitler’s offers of alliance, I like to think we’d all agree that was a good choice.

    The Pope discriminates without condemnation of the persons you believe to be his ‘victims.’ You, however, appear incapable of reciprocating this sentiment.

    Tolerance works in two directions, universal acceptance of your choices in life is not a human right. Freedom from oppression by others in light of those choices, however, is.

  13. Edit: I call it the model of ‘tolerance’ not intolerance. Apologies.

  14. 21stCenturySpirituality 18 Sep 2010, 5:50am

    So saying that the mere state of being gay is an intrinsic moral evil and scapegoating gay people for the child abuse scandal in the Catholic church doesn’t amount to fostering and promoting prejudice for you. Well it does for me and I think you’re being incredibly naive if you think that beliefs have no serious consequences and that we can all believe what we want and thats all fine and dandy. Beliefs underpin and create behaviours. What do you think the motivation was for 9/11? I’ll tell what it was, it was beliefs. Beliefs about life and beliefs about God. The beliefs that religion fosters and promotes have real and tangible geo-political and social consequences. If you deny that then you are not looking at the world and you are ignorant of history.
    I am a very tolerant person, but when I see beliefs creating real suffering in the world, I feel that I have every right and indeed a responsibility and duty to question such beliefs.

    Oh and excuse me!!! My ‘choice’ of lifestyle. So now having a sexual orientation towards the same gender is like choosing a career is it??? I woke up one morning did I and consciously made myself attracted to men, without there being any underlying drives in that direction within me to begin with then? Absolute nonsense!

    I have every right to question and criticise and respond to the views expressed by the Pope concerning my personal and private life, my ethics, politics, morality, spirituality and religious views, and such. In my book thats not being intolerant, its called standing up for yourself. I give as good as I get. If the Pope wants my respect and my tolerance I expect him to accord the same to me and this for me does not include calling me intrinsically evil, or perverted or deviant, or a latent child molestor.

  15. john adams 18 Sep 2010, 8:05am

    Will, you must be extremely naive to think that beliefs like those of the Pope don’t have any consequences. There are people who see their “Holy Book” and the positions of their religious leaders as “God’s infallible word”. We should be concerned when those beliefs lead to women and gay people being seen as lesser human beings. We can see the effects of extreme beliefs like these in Uganda today where gays now face the death penalty, and in Sharia countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the rights of women and gays are trampled over.

    These atrocities against human rights are being championed by leaders who believe their actions to be “God” or “Allah” ordained, in complete denial of their own fallibility. It is harmful and dangerous when discriminatory beliefs seen as sanctioned by an invisible sky fairy are filtered into the political system with absolutely no admission of human error, there are real consequences for real people. Those who act upon beliefs like these don’t accept they are wrong until someone protests and makes a noise!

    “The Pope discriminates without condemnation of the persons you believe to be his victims.”

    Will, what are you on about? He’s been quoted as saying that gay marriage is more dangerous than the destruction of the rainforests, and that was one of his nicer comments! While we may well laugh this off in the west, this sentiment filters into places like Africa where we can see the consequences very clearly. It is wrong. I’m yet to see the Church give an outright condemnation to what’s happening there.

    “Should homosexual partners choose to form a civil partnership or other, the Pope nor the Church advocates any form of chastisement or punishment.”

    Don’t be silly Will, it was Church leaders who were most vocally opposed to civil partnerships and have lobbied and campaigned against every single LGBT right at every single step of the way. The Church is by no means an innocent bystander when laws are being passed. It’s as much a political mouthpiece as it is religious. Regretfully, Church and state are still fused together in the UK when we have bishops with automatic voting rights in Parliament. The Pope is advocating for more of this and we paid for the privelege of his Westminster lecture.

    I, for one, think Britain is going backwards, and it’s a disgrace.

  16. I had to read right to the end of Will’s post to realise it was actually a Poe! You had me going there for a minute buddy (I could imagine the Holy see actually trotting out these kind of unconvincing arguments. The only one which gave it away was the Neville Chamberlain school of diplomacy line!)
    [Poe’s law (religious fundamentalism) — “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humour, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.” named after Nathan Poe who formulated it on christianforums.com in 2005. Although it originally referred to creationism, the scope later widened to religious fundamentalism.] (Wikipedia)

  17. @12, Clearly Will is doing a drive-by hit and run here, he expresses a totally cock-eyed view that gays, the victim of papal discrimination, are actually persecuting the church because they refuse to shut up and quietly accept their church given status as scapegoats.

    How does the Pope show respect for our right to be what we are and live our lives as you choose? He does not… and until he does the Pope deserves zero respect in return from us.

    Choice of lifestyle?…you are being disrepectful and homophobically biased, homosexuality is a sexual orientation not a lifestyle, gays live as many different lifestyles as there are gay individuals.

    Civil marriage equality has no intrinsic religious connotation whatsoever, it has no need to conform to religious dogma of either one man & one woman or one man & several women.

    We have a right to comment critically on the Pope’s declarations and dodgy doctrine and it’s essential that we do, he is a ridculous but dangerous individual who deserves to be lampooned at every opportunity

    Cardinal Newman so loved the man he shared his life with that his final wish was to be buried with him, it is no slur to call this profound same-sex love a gay relationship whether it was platonic love or otherwise nobody can know.

    You are out of step with the science on contraception. For real people contraception provides protection against STD’s that neither impossible intellectual ideals of abstinence/faithfulness nor prayer can.

    Rights of women in the Catholic church? perhaps I’ll let a woman respond to that one regarding female clergy but the church denies women autonomy over their own reproductive rights.

    We all discriminate but we do not all push for the privilege of having that discrimination enshrined in law to the detriment of others.

    To say the Pope discriminates without condemnation is sheer nonsense and is quite frankly the opposite of the truth.

  18. another John 18 Sep 2010, 2:04pm

    John: I don’t mind you plagarising some of my stuff as long as you acknowledge your sources and get your facts right. The Wesminster decalaration is loosely based on the US Manahattan declaration and anyone can sign up to it. I have. It has nothing to do with unelected people having a say in our parliamentary democracy and everything to do with Christians playing a responsible role in our society in order to promote the common good. I agree there is still a debate to be had about the composition and role of the House of Lords. The whole point of our British Constitution is to have check and balances and a second chamber is one way to achieve this. The question I suggest is it the most effective. I couldn’t help reflecting on some of the Popes homilies these last few days is to do with life, liberty and the insitution of marriage. I would say – I am not one of your flock but God bless you, your holiness, for speaking much needed truth to people who desparately need to hear.

    Will: surely you can’t be my old friend and nemesis unless you have recently had a “Damascus Road” experience!? I pray to God you have / had. Anyway, I like the points you make :-)

  19. john adams 18 Sep 2010, 2:35pm

    “John: I don’t mind you plagarising some of my stuff as long as you acknowledge your sources and get your facts right.”

    John, was that comment to me? If so, I wasn’t referring to the Westminster Declaration at all, I was referring to the recent speech that the Pope gave at Westminster Hall. I think you have your wires crossed, lol.

    “The Wesminster decalaration is loosely based on the US Manahattan declaration and anyone can sign up to it. I have.”

    Can I ask why you signed something you critised earlier in the debate? Or is this a third John I’m talking to now?

  20. another John 18 Sep 2010, 3:30pm

    Hi John Adams: I was referring to John in post 6 – too many Johns eh!? :-)

    It was not me who was criticising either (probably the other John). I like the Westminster declaration and like even better the Manahattan declaration that spawned it.

    I feel passionately about the rights of the unborn child and worry that the route society appears to be taken may be an ulimately disasterous one, not least because it is overriding the religious aspirations of a significant minority.

    A realise the marriage point is one that particularly concerns folks that frequent this forum because by upholding traditional marriage it might appear to be attacking gay folk – that is never my intention and don’t believe it was of the authors either (else I would not have signed). It is in fact upholding an institution that is fundamental to the wellbeing of society.

    I am heartened that the Pope is saying much the same. While I have no problem with “our leaders must question the Pope’s teachings in person”, I feel there is a bigger need that these same leaders be taken to task over their (imo) distorted world view and their policies and practises that are opposed to the revealed wisdom of God.

    I don’t have all (or most) of the answers and realise I should say what I say with humility and respect to those who see things differently, However, it is why I am happy to argue my point in the public square (including this forum), why I urge fellow Christians to be prepared to do the same and, as his his holiness said, still be focusing on practically helping the poor and be looking for ways to reconcile faith and reason.

  21. @20. John, as you say you are happy to argue your point would you care to outline how marriage equality would undermine traditional marriage or indeed how it would affect it at all?

    Also, you imply that the religious aspiration of a significanmt minority is to remove reproductive choice from women… so you are not so passionate about women’s rights as you are about the rights of a bundle of cells called a foetus. Presumably your intention would be to criminalise those women who for their own personal reasons would choose to terminate a pregnancy whether or not they share the same religious beliefs that you hold.
    Or are you implying that religious believers are presently being forced to terminate pregnancies against their will by society… thereby overriding their religious aspirations?…surely not.

  22. john adams 18 Sep 2010, 6:47pm

    Good questions Pavlos. I just want to add that I was a bit disturbed by this comment in the Pope’s Westminster Hall speech…

    “If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.”

    The literal definition of democracy is “rule of the people”, in other words social consensus is an absolutle necessity! It was after this comment I realised that the Pope doesn’t really grasp the concept, and if given his way would have us living in a dictatorial theocracy. Also interesting to note that he repeatedly distinguished “the world of reason” with “the world of faith”, also echoed by a self confessed Christian above.
    This would imply that faith is unreasonable and that is one thing I can agree with the Pope on!

  23. John – the one who signed the westminister declaration – I don’t know who the author of the declaration is nor do I care and I simply quoted the link and what it said about marriage, which yes, I find personally quite offensive. I have no other comment about the rest of the declaration. I objected to the fact the legislators (lords and baronesses) sign up to this without even a hint of discussion as yet in parliament. I also object very much to the church being involved in legislation and I particulary object to ancient peers and bishops ,who are unelected, are part of the voting system on LGBT rights.

    As for the rest of the so called Christian people who sign it, in particular their agreement to what it says about marriage, then I find their objection to a marriage equality not unexpected, since this is what some of the Christian orgs (not all!) have always been saying. I do object that they have any say on equality rights for gay people and sincerely hope that they are not involved in any discussions that may happen in the future on our rights. In my opinion telling a gay couple that they can not get civilly married in the UK of 2010 , just becuase they are gay, is totally unacceptable.

    As for the Pope, I’m not his greatest fan, but since we are not a Catholic country nor do we have a huge catholic popultion I find the whole episode of him coming to the UK at huge expense a total farce and irrelevance. I hope that any campaing that shows him up to be the total arse he his, is successful!

  24. 21stCenturySpirituality 18 Sep 2010, 7:36pm

    I’d like to explore this notion of expressing preferences and choices being represented as discrimination as it is an arguement I have heard before and we should look at it. First of all lets look at some definitions of the word ‘discrimination’.

    1.a distinction; discernment, the act of discriminating, discerning, distinguishing, noting or perceiving differences between things.
    2.The state of being discriminated, distinguished from, or set apart.
    3.(sometimes discrimination against) distinct treatment of an individual or group to their disadvantage; treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality; prejudice; bigotry sexual or racial discrimination
    4.The quality of being discriminating, acute discernment, specifically in a learning situation; as to show great discrimination in the choice of means.
    5.That which discriminates; mark of distinction, a characteristic.
    the act of making a distinction, noting differences between things
    6. Distinct treatment on the basis of prejudice

    Having done that we can see that there is a degree of difference between choosing what color to paint the dining room (i.e-noting or perceiving differences between things – the act of making a distinction, etc) and the kind of discrimination where individuals and groups of people are villified, judged, condemned, excluded, segregated, not treated as equally and fairly as another group and denied the same rights and priviledges.
    As a person of faith myself, I find the notion that the divine actually advocates and calls us to engage in such prejudices utterly comtempable and ridiculous.

  25. another John 18 Sep 2010, 9:43pm

    (possible duplicate)
    Pavlos: re. your “how marriage equality would undermine traditional marriage or indeed how it would affect it at all” question, I would first say that given my understanding of what marriage is, “marriage equality” is an oxymoron. Anything that does not conform to such definitions as implicit in the Westminster declaration is NOT marriage. As for whether “gay marriage” would undermine “traditional marriage” I can’t say to what extent, for while I don’t support “gay marriage” because I see no evidence that is what God intended to be or it benefiting society, I recognise there will be many “good” couples, including people I care about, who would want to enter into such a union.

    What worries me is that we are increasingly seeing marriage breakdown and with it family breakdown and the degeneration of society. What we need is a reaffirmation of the importance of traditional marriage in order to reverse this disturbing trend. I can recall the days of a married mans tax allowance. While I can see practical obstacles to reverting back to this, it did seem to me one small example of society recognising the importance of traditional marriage. I would say we would do well as a society to encourage traditional marriages.

    Regarding the “rights of a bundle of cells called a foetus”, these must always take precedence over the rights of any woman who might entertain having an abortion. That bundle of cells as your call it is in fact LIFE (evidence by ultrasound and other methosd, that in most cases, but not all, cannot survive outside of the mother’s womb) and no-one should have the right to destroy innocent life! Just as William Wilberforce fought to free the slaves, I believe the same effort is needed to save the unborn.

  26. marriages and families breakdown due to the family or couple itself, that doesn’t mean same-sex couples should be denied marriage, there’s no proof of God unlike the big pile of proof of the pope and many religious people’s bigotry and ignorance

  27. Will, what are you ON? The pope has said he considers us a greater threat than global warming. The sad fact is that there IS no respect for GLBT in the RCC and other relgiously fascist groups and they deserve none.

  28. 21stCenturySpirituality 19 Sep 2010, 1:53am

    Dear another john. I understand where you are coming from but surely in a truly civilised and evolved democratic society there would be room for honoring different forms of loving, committed relationships between consenting adults? Yes I agree that we should be supporting and encouraging committed relationships but I think we should be taking an inclusive rather than an exclusive approach and the way I see it this would enlarge and expand marriage rather than subtract anything from it and degrade it. I would like to see marriage upgraded, evolved, expanded to embrace not just committed relationships between a man and a women but also between two men or two women. And why could we not also honor the traditions of other cultures and religions where a man or women can take more than one partner in marriage? Would this not be truly democratic? In a truly civilised & evolved democratic society why does marriage have to follow such a primitive and parochial one size fits all formula? When was the last time you heard two people in love describe thier relationship as ‘traditional’?

  29. Keep watchful eyes on your brothers and sisters who sold you to the ConDem Coalition. They’ll little by little, drop by drop, erode your rights.

  30. gay people still can’t get married, gay people still can’t walk safely holding hands the strees. the condem coalition is talking about giving more power and recognition to faith communities. your only defence againt discrimination will be your own faith against theirs. the pope comes here to try to intimidate secularism and enlightenment. your bondage is expensive to yourself. and you pay the bill.

  31. @25: Marriage equality already exists in several countries, it does not have to be invented in UK, we simply introduce a gender neutral definition of civil marriage. Gays being a part of society would benefit by having their relationships acknowledged as equal and not inferior to same sex relationships, something that would enrich society rather than diminmish whole segments of the population simply to appease tyrannical religious extremist’s.

    Christian Dominionist’s (like yourself I suppose) would like to see an extreme form of fundamentalist Christianity written into our laws to impinge on the lives of all of us whether or not we share or respect Christian religious beliefs…the very benchmark of religious extremism…it is something to be forcefully rejected and resisted by separation of church & state as far as it is possible in a country with the Lords spiritual presently enshrined in Westminster.

    I see PHILIPPA STROUD’S husband David is a signatory of the WESTMINSTER DECLARATION, he who believes a wife should accede to the husbands will, and who both apparently believe that gays are possessed by demons and that nonsense that the gay can be prayed away.

    A lot of religious fundamentalists appear to have their own private often narrow definition of words and concepts that do not square up to generally accepted definitions, words like homophobia for example, so often we hear anti-gay folk who would discriminate against lesbians and gay men say they are not afraid of gays so they can not be homophobes, a denial that helps to facilitate cruelty while sidestepping conscience.

    Marriage does not have any religious comnotation at all for many people.

    Women must always be in charge of their own reproductive rights and choices and provided with the best non-judgemental medical care.

  32. another John 19 Sep 2010, 8:17am

    Chester (26): “marriages and families breakdown due to the family or couple itself,”
    to a large extent you are correct but while I would not cast the blame on the fact society is more accpting of gay relationships it doesn’t entirely explain why we are seeing far more marriage breakdown than ever before!?

    “that doesn’t mean same-sex couples should be denied marriage,”
    I follow your logic although as I said marriage by definition can only apply to same sex couples although you/elements of our society can/do wish redefine it.

    “there’s no proof of God”
    people have argued this point for yonks. I would say the evidence of creation of history points to God’s existence but ultimately God and his teaching is to be received by faith … but as for marriage the traditional understanding has until recently overwhelmingly been accepted by those of faith and no faith.

    “unlike the big pile of proof of the pope and many religious people’s bigotry and ignorance”
    sadly bigotory and ignorance can be found in every quarter and is as you infer unacceptable but I would say that the pope and many religious people are not bigoted or ignorant.

    21stCentruySpirituality (28): forgive me for being sceptical and I would suspect your name somewhat encompasses your views. The Catholic faith (and my own come to that) is a confessional one based upon the tradional teachings of the church (in the case of Catholics) and a traditional understanding of holy scripture (for most other Christians).

    I do recognise that this understanding is changing and there are many who recognise the importance of the spiritual dimension think differently, no doubt because of cultural and other influences and the understandable desire to adapt, but it does not make people who do so right. I see modifying one’s belief based on how we feel and external pressures and the adoption of relativism as being on the slippery slope (although to apply our beliefs to the changing climate is a noble challenge). Of course we must respect those who act differently to us. I have family members who are in loving heterosexual relationships yet who are not married and friends in a loving homosexual relationships. I do not accept that what they are doing is right but I don’t love or think badly of them because of it.

  33. @31: Excuse typo, obviously I ment opposite sex not same sex in paragraph 1, it should have read
    “Gays being a part of society would benefit by having their relationships acknowledged as equal and not inferior to OPPOSITE SEX relationships, something that would enrich society rather than diminmish whole segments of the population simply to appease tyrannical religious extremists.

  34. another John 19 Sep 2010, 8:28am

    Pavlos (32)
    “Marriage does not have any religious comnotation at all for many people.”
    Possibly true but please don’t redefine it or introduce irrelevances such as equality. Choose your own term and in a democratic society let the people decide what they wish to recognise / support or not.

    “Women must always be in charge of their own reproductive rights and choices and provided with the best non-judgemental medical care.”
    And society should not murder just because the LIFE happens still to be residing in the mother’s womb.

  35. another John 19 Sep 2010, 8:32am

    correction: “murder” change to “allow muder to take place even by those who don’t see it as such”

  36. @34:
    In my opinion Marriage, for civil purposes, is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.
    Although nothing should affect the freedom of officials of religious groups to refuse to perform marriages that are not in accordance with their religious beliefs.

    We disagree on women’s right to control their own bodies and reproductive functions.
    I am a man and in my opinion a woman is better able herself to make judgements about her own situation at the time.
    I respect a woman’s ability to make the difficult decision herself about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy or to continue through to full term.

  37. What utter tripe – bringing in marriage for gay people shouldn’t be done because we CAN’T redefine a word. Bringing in marriage equality will lead to the breakdown of society. Hinting that tax breaks for straight married guys was a good thing to reaffirm and encourage marriage. The image of keeping marriage between straights is the most important thing in Christian teaching and that Christain believe in all this. It’s certainly not what I, my partner and my family got from our Christian background.

    Is this objection to marriage equality simply on academic grounds or/and a vague , untested theory that marriage equality will bring down the destruction of society and mankind. The Bishops objected to the CP in the house of lords pretty strongly, I guess they weren’t too happy on letting relgious aspects into CPs as well. I don’t know but I suspect they have always voted against any new LGBT rights. Improving LGBT rights and bringing in equality into UK society have caused no harm or destruction to soceity one bit. That the fact. We have living proof of that, it’s not simply a feeling, a vague theory that giving gays equal rights will destroy the UK and society.

    PS – glad to hear that there was a huge protest march against the Pope. Next protest , kick the Bishops out of the house of lords!

  38. marriage is always changing but re-introducing same-sex marriage is the right thing to do

  39. another John 19 Sep 2010, 2:07pm

    Pavlos: Thank you for making your point in such a respectful way although we strongly disagree. I don’t feel I have anything more I need to add.

    John: In one way I agree the issue is not one of semantics and I think the points I have already made should suffice. What changes (good and bad) would occur if gay marriage is introduced no-one can say. I do feel and believe that history bears this out and that the further a society turns its back on God the more it and the people affected will suffer. Thats is why I feel to argue my point still as well as trying to do good in this world by practically helping the poor.

    Re. bishops in the House of Lords, I much rather they were there than many of the new (unelected) intake. At least there is a chance that the views of the silent majority is represented, our judaeo-christian heritage is not forgotten and government tyranny is checked.

    Chester: as far as I am concerned marriage as I understand it has not changed since God ordained it in the Garden of Eden. Up to now we (the UK) have never recognised same sex marriage although I believe there is case for civil partnerships and that gay folk who feel the need to marry should be treated with respect.

  40. as there’s no God then it’s impossible to show any evidence of anything resulting from it,
    science flies you to the moon whilst religion flies you into buildings! you don’t know much about your bibull then

  41. Another John – thanks for the patronising comments put so coldly and calmly but I still wonder why on earth you post comments on PN. Surely there would be a more appropriate so called “Christian” website for you.

    I’m sure some “poor” old sod would more greatly appreciate your Christian charity and words of wisdom.

    Apart from what you think God has written down somewhere or whispered in some bishop’s ear about gay marriage, everything you say about marriage equality doesn’t actually have any basis at all, does it ? I’m aware of no “history” saying that marriage equality will destroy soceity and since none of us truly know what God (if there is one) feels about marriage equality or whether he really would think that having it would be turning his back on him then what you say is utter bollocks.

    Apart from that , my relgion (Quakerism) is all for gay marriage so I truly find your comments about God and what he thinks about marriage equality not only insulting but from my relgious teaching not correct. Your relgioun and the Bishops relgions in the house of lords is not the only one in the UK and we should not be bullyied into your relgious way of thinking. Relgion should not be part of government.

  42. The Coalition’s Programme for government states:

    We will use our relationships with other countries to push for unequivocal support for gay rights and for UK civil partnerships to be recognised internationally.

    Wonder whether the government raised the issue of gay rights with the Pope when he was here? Hopefully Pink News will try to find out the answer.

  43. 21stCenturySpirituality 19 Sep 2010, 8:18pm

    @ another john. First of all I want to respond to the point you make about changing ones beliefs because of external pressures and how one feels, etc. I have not arrived at my views without considerable and diligent study and reflection. I wonder about some of our ideas about God, they just seem to add up somehow. Over the last 20 years I have explored and considered various perspectives around this complex matter of God and life and how it all works. I’ve looked to theology, to philosophy, science, religion, anthropology and I find that the deeper one looks the less some aspects of the traditional religious perspective stand up to scrutiny. Thats not to say that we should do away with traditional religious perspectives, or that I’m trying to make it worng, but I think if we are really honest with ourselves they don’t provide us with the whole picture, with the complete truth. There are gaps, they are incomplete, they can only provide a partial understanding. I understand the appeal of a belief system that negates the need to think, that seems to provide concrete answers and certainties, but that just doesn’t work anymore to create a peaceful, harmonious, evolved society and it probably never did. I acknowledge that there are concepts and ideas put forward by traditional religious perspectives that do work to create positive circumstances and conditions in the world and I honor those and wholeheartedly support those and I think we should hold onto these and celebrate and share and honor them. But there is alot of stuff, if we are really honest about this, that doesn’t work and is actually counterproductive to creating a peaceful harmonious society and we need to acknowledge that and move away from those ideas and concepts that clearly dont and never have worked. Exclusivist philosophy and seperation theology is killing us. These notions are poison and the hatred and violence and tribalism they have spawned will push the human species to extinction if we continue to entertain them in the way we have been doing. We must transcend and outgrow them. When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child and I thought as a child…thats kind of where we are in our religious understandings at the moment, we’re a bit like children playing with matches. If we want to reach maturity and grow as a species and as individuals we need to put away childish things, understandings, thinking and speaking – religiously, politically, socially, ethicly, the whole shbang. Its time to grow up.

  44. another John 19 Sep 2010, 9:54pm

    John: I am sorry if I have come across as patronising. That really wasn’t my intention. As for commenting only on those sites where the visitors are more likely to believe as I do, what is the point of that? I would like to challenge/inform and be challenged/informed and so I have been!

    21stCenturySpirituality: I appreciate you have thought long and deeply about these issues in order to arrive at the position where you now are. While I agree there is much we do not know and there is enormous scope to learn more and the need to do so with an open, enquiring, humble mind, I believe that some of the axioms stated in the Bible are non-negotiable and regarding these I have to respectfully make my stand, even if it means being vilified.

  45. The God Delusion !!

  46. 21stCenturySpirituality 19 Sep 2010, 10:36pm

    @ another john. I hope you don’t think that I am trying to vilify you. I understand why you and many others believe as you do. I entertained the same beliefs myself for many years having been born into and socialised into a similar thought system. Ok, so lets take a look at the axioms in the Bible which you consider to be non-negotiable and why you consider them so. Lets talk about them, look at them, think about them, analyse them. In my experience faith has nothing to fear from thinking so tell me about these axioms you consider non-negotiable and why. I would be very interested to dialogue with you and to consider your perspective. Perhaps not here though. Folks get a bit finnicky when we stray off topic. Dialogue with me privately. spiritquest0175@yahoo.co.uk. Unless of course no one here has any objections to this dialogue continuing here in this thread…

  47. We never forget how gay people suffered and still suffer at the hands of people who’d like to portray themselves as religious.

  48. 21stCenturySpirituality 19 Sep 2010, 10:59pm

    @ Bebert. So there is no spiritual dimension to the human experience? And on what basis do you make such a claim? Prove it. Show me the evidence and lets analyse and consider it. I’m open to persuasion if you can prove that love does not exist. There are no double blind tests that can do that and yet it is clearly an aspect of the human experience. And yet we cannot reproduce it in a laboratory to see if it is ‘real’ as we have defined that term. So, lets hear what you have to say and lets open the dialogue, and lets look at that.

  49. Are you looking for love?

  50. 21stCenturySpirituality 20 Sep 2010, 12:19am

    Aren’t we all? Isnt love just another word for God?

  51. The Crown Jewels.

  52. another John 20 Sep 2010, 7:11am

    21stCenturySpirituality: I didn’t have you in mind when I made my “vilification” comment. In fact you have made your comments courteously yet with forthright earnestness, even when you have been challenged. That is what I would expect or at least hope for when engaging in a discussion.

    I think there is an understandable tendency to react and furthermore to resort to personal attack when people say things we strongly disagree with or feel threatened by and we must be prepared for that. I have also come to realise that some of the topics of discussion do touch a raw nerve and any hint of a suggestion that homosexual behaviour might be sinful frequently does eleicit a strong reaction. But as one person once said to me: “you can’t enter into the lions den and not expect to encounter lions”.

    Thanks for explaining a bit more of your own journey. As for these “non-negotiable axioms”, I suppose I could start with the ancient creeds (Nicene, Apostles) of the church. Without having a solid foundation for what we believe we find ourselves on shaky ground, without any sound basis to believe anything – at least imho. Thank you for kind offer for us to dialogue outside this forum. I will pass for the time being but this is something I might take up in the future. Best wishes in your spiritual quest.

  53. love isn’t another word for God – I have some but they’d be censored as pink news censors stuff

  54. @53, John wrote: “…any hint of a suggestion that homosexual behaviour might be sinful frequently does eleicit a strong reaction.”

    I’m sure homosexual acts are sinful for you according to your beliefs just as homosexual acts are not sinful for most of us according to ours, the simple solution is for you not to engage in homosexual activity or relationships yourself … can you manage that John?
    Not for all but for many LGBT’s… to engage in heterosexual activity ourselves would be totally repulsive, still we don’t fret over heterosexuals engaging in heterosexual activity themselves nor do we harrass them or call them sinful merely for being heterosexuals, that’s something they can’t change.

  55. another John 20 Sep 2010, 7:47am

    I just wanted to add another “axiom” if that is ok …

    Fundamentalist Christians (and I define these as people who try to adehere to the literal teachings of the Bible) do frequent this forum from time to time (and btw often end up being “vilified”, partly due to their own lack of wisdom and sensitivity). More often than not they argue against gay marriage and a homosexual lifestyle and use scripture to substantiate their claims. I suspect probably all the main texts that might allude to homosexuality have been quoted and invariably one of the theologically astute readers would offer a counter argument why the text is being misapplied and scipture does not condemn homosexuality.

    I note this with interest and have come to modify my own position as a result. However, if I were to cite a text, and bear in mind one text is dangerous because as we know people come up with all sorts of crazy notions based on a single text, it would be Genesis 2v24:

    “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

    I honestly believe that marriage, and this is what this text is really all about, was meant by God to be a union of one woman with one man and permanent. Other texts would reinforce this and, if I were a Catholic, I might also add Natural Law. So here you go, this is my axiom for the day … and I offer it thoughtfully and respectfully and sincerely not wanting to be patronising.

  56. In other words John “I’m not being patronising but…”

    You would do well to consider that you are not addressing only those people who believe in or even respect Bible scripture here, we each of us tend to have our own beliefs based on material we may find more truthful and compelling than the much edited, added to and rearranged scripture based on a selected fragments of primitive bronze-age writings from which you quote.

    Marriage, for civil purposes, the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others.

  57. @56, also in response, there were many forms of marriage in the Bible, women often had little say in arrangements made.
    “Exodus 21:7-11: Fate of a woman sold into slavery: If a father decides to sell his daughter as a slave, she is not automatically released after 6 years service; she is a slave for life. (The term “maidservant” in the KJV has become a mistranslation in modern English; it really means female slave ). If she does not satisfy her owner, then her father (or a close kinsman) may buy her back. If the woman’s new owner takes her as a wife or concubine, then she is no longer considered his slave. If her owner gives her to his son as a wife or concubine, then she becomes a daughter of the original owner, not his slave. If she becomes a wife and her husband marries another woman, then he must maintain her standard of living and level of sexual activity. Otherwise, she can simply leave her husband at no charge, and become, in essence, a divorced woman.”

  58. another John 20 Sep 2010, 9:57am

    Pavlos: I would need to think how best to respond to your comment (58). Such points and similar ones are often raised and sometimes done as a “red herring” but even so anyone who quotes the Bible ought to be prepared to respond.

    But I was thinking how to respond to your comment (55) that crossed with my comment (56) (at which time I had to go out) … I was thinking of that passage in the Bible (John 8vv2-11) when the religious folk brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery and tried to get him to condemn her. He made the point that the person without sin should be her executioner but no-one stepped forward. Jesus, who was without sin, told her that he would not condemn either and that she should go and sin no more.

    My point is that we are all sinners and no-one has the right to condemn another. By sin, I include everything between murder and unkind words. I would include homosexual sin (and here we will differ in our understanding), heterosexual sin (more prevalent) and the way we neglect the poor and needy (more prevalent still).

    All I can do is to respectfully point out God’s standards (declared in His Law – natural and written), our need to turn from sin, and His remedy for sin (and gift of salvation) – by virtue of His Son dying for our sins and coming back to life.

  59. Another John – Lest we forget – we are on a gay website aren’t we… our rights as gay people, including marriage, is NOT NEGOTIABLE. Relgion has NO SAY WHATSOEVER on our equal rights in the UK of 2010. I sincerely hope none of us are wanting to go back in time for no-one, not even for GOD (if he exists!). It’s great you can have such meaningful, theological ideas about GOD but for most gay people their equality in soceity comes first and foremost – I suspect you, the pope, the bishops have always been against any form of gay partnerships and I presume also straight cohabitations ones as well, so we’re not only taling about marriage (civil) equality here … I again repeat why do you post here ? are you trying to convert gay people, gain respect or an understanding why we should be considered less than straight people….? From your comments you seem set on your beliefs and it’s pointless to change them. It’s as though your brain has been surgically removed by God and you are unable to think for yourself, have any feeling or opinions of your own. Everything you say appears to come from what you think God believes. It’s great that you seem to be so polite and all that old chap but the message you give is offensive, partronising, homophobic and disgusting …

  60. @59, John wrote;”My point is that we are all sinners and no-one has the right to condemn another.”

    I do not agree with yout point and we are not all sinners.
    Sin is a religious concept that threatens consequences for the “sinner” in an alleged life to come, it is certainly not a concept we all share.
    Also, I think we really do have a right and an obligation to condemn those who are doing harm to others.
    I would like some indication shown that you understand and accept that your religious beliefs belong only to you and to your fellow believers but mean little to persons who hold other beliefs or world views for whom they have no relevance.

  61. natural law is only about survival etc and not religious hokum

  62. it seems none challenged him from the major parties and that he got away with pushing his evil agenda

  63. He (pope) certainly did have an agenda and I for one disliked his comments about legislators… NO way should legislators be influenced by his agenda!

    http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=12369

    In a statement in Germany just on the 13th, just before coming here, he stated something similar

    “…He criticized legislative initiatives that “suggest a reevaluation of alternative models of the life of couples and the family,” saying they contribute to the weakening of principles of natural law and to the spread of moral confusion in society…….”

  64. You are free to behave as you wish. The tone of your site and your protest demonstrates your hate-filled and diabolical position. You are obviously the hater in these matters. The Church is not trying to eliminate you, just pointing out what brings a human being true and eternal happiness. It never condemns any of us. Hat the sin not the sinner.

    Keep on doing whatever your flesh desires. The Church is correct in these matters and it is torturing your warped conscience.

    By the way, when was the last time you held an anti-muslim protest? They actually teach they you should all gays killed–the Catholic Church does not.

    History has proven that the sexual revolution has brought death, disease, depression and divorce. The Church is absolutely correct in its teachings.

    What do you offer? Show me something productive that your views of the world bring to civilization. Pornography, promiscuity, disease, selfishness, hedonism, vanity. I was trying to be nice and polite, but the way you disrepect my Church and my Pope. You are what you are. ANIMALS!!! You will bring death upon yourself. Do you really think condoms is the answer? Fools, all of you!!!

    Go stick you genitals wherever you can. That’s all you do. Lightbulbs, fists, hamsters, cucumbers, horse penis. Whatever your anus desires!! And drink some urine while you are it. That’s all you bring to the world. What a shame, and a sad people you choose to be. I wish there would be a documentary on your dark lifestyle.

    You realize that those sad priests that molested kids and have caused scandal are guilty of being unfaithful to their vows. It’s because they have given into your message of “feel good, do it” ideology that they have committed such atrocius crimes.

    Your behavior disgusts me and any decent human being.

  65. john adams 20 Sep 2010, 7:08pm

    yawn @ antonio64

  66. @65, antonio64,
    A typical pseudo-religious nutbag with a head full of imaginary filth. The lightbulbs, fists, hamsters, cucumbers, horse penis etc are all inside your very grubby and small mind antonio64. What a sad wanker you are.

  67. 21stCenturySpirituality 20 Sep 2010, 11:57pm

    @ Chester 54. I would be interested to hear what other words you have for ‘God’ and to engage in dialogue with you on the issues they raise about religion and the nature of reality and divinity and all that stuff. I think I have an idea what some of those words might be and I can understand why you would feel that way given some of the weird, vindictive, angry images of divinity we are presented with by religion. But I would question those images and ideas and even go as far as to say that they are false teachings. There do seem to be contradictions within them between visions of unconditional love and unity on the one hand and hatred and condemnation on the other and that doesn’t make much sense to me. I’ve wondered for some time about how much of this is a result of our projections of fear and there does certainly seem to me to be a great of fear based thinking in religion. Certainly there is in some of the more legalistic and authoritarian forms of religion but not all religion is authoritarian and legalistic. Sadly though its the legalistic and authoritarian kinds of religion that get the most attention in the media nowadays it seems so in the public consciousness thats the only type of religion people think exists and that thats all that religion and spirituality are about. But actually thats not true. If there is an exception to a rule then its not a rule and there are plenty of exceptions – the Unitarian Church I go to being one of them.

  68. 21stCenturySpirituality 21 Sep 2010, 12:26am

    @ antonio64. Is there actually a point to your un-christian hate filled rant? I dont recognise anything about my life in your remarks about promiscuity, selfishness, vanity, etc. You sound like a major cherry picker of scripture to me, puffed up with your own self willed pride, self righteousness and conciet, but nothing of substance to cash the cheques your mouth writes and if I were you I would consider carefully why you look at the spec of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. And about judge not and neither condemn for that which you judge will judge you and that which you condemn you will one day become.

  69. 21stCenturySpirituality 21 Sep 2010, 1:10am

    @ antonio64. Would you care to present your arguements and the evidence to support them in a more rational and adult manner please, since none of us here respond well to insidious hate filled ranting and its not really conducive to an open minded and mature dialogue so have another go and try to present your arguements with logic and sound reasoning and evidence rather than petty name calling and spurious jibbering. Thank you.

  70. Forget all that stuff about condemnation about gays and misinformation about marriage and the world’s sex lives. That’s just minor stuff. The Pope is a criminal, all of which is well documented by the Vatican’s own records. As the primate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger directly oversaw the perversion of the course of justice by repeatedly protecting child rapists from the police in every country around the world where the Catholic Church is present. And it was not a case of subordinates working without informing him. Ratzinger himself signed directive documents transfering offenders to safe haven, often to repeat their offenses on fresh victims, and issuing instructions for systemizing further protections in cases yet to be committed. Yet, because he’s the head of state of an imaginary kingdom, every world government protects him from exposure because of protocol and the politeness of keeping up appearances. It’s an outrage. He is a figurehead of curruption and CEO of the worlds oldest and most corrupt corporation. Enough, already. Justice, now!

  71. 21stCenturySpirituality 22 Sep 2010, 11:05pm

    @southpaugh. Read ‘The Kingdom Of God Is Within You’ by Leo Tolstoy. It was written over 100 years ago but it makes so many bang on the money points about exactly where your coming from.

  72. Katie Murphy 16 Oct 2010, 4:24am

    the pope is a monster. The only reverence he deserves is the end of a rope.

    For his condemnation of gay people that leadss to so many suicides and bashings.

    His hiding of the endless molestation of the children he was sworn to protect.

    His UNexommunicating of a holocaust denier a bishope williamson. Of course, williamson has 600000 mad followers and the church needs their money to pay off the victims of endless molestation.

    When a church is founded on the greatest lie ever told, it has to do everything it can to keep the people from beginning to question that lie.

    and one of those things is to have an enemy, and play the we’re being attacked game.

    Exactly what his mentor hitler did. Got elected on the hatred of the Jews by the church over a thousand years. And said that poland attacked germany as his justification for starting the reign of terror called ww22

    Don’t let the apologist for hitler and the catholic church fool you. its all about power, money, and sustaining the lie of lies- the divinity of a child born of a woman who said she had known of no man.

    a woman who lived in the time when if you were not a virgin, or you were raped, it had to be your fault. (just like islam today in some places).

    So to save her ass from being stoned to death she told a lie.

    And in the ignorance and superstition of the time,the lie
    flowered and poisoned most of western society.

    And if there was a God, this monstrosity would have been swallowwed up into a new Vesuivius. A fitting end for the church that threatens people with burning in hell, and in th past to keep the male power over the female, burned an estimated million women to death as witches, in the name of God. Of course witch craft was a competing religion, and the church couldnt take it.

    Tell me that the church does not make the mafia look like god himself by comparison. The catholic church, and yes some of he christian churches are the devil in disguise.

    As Goebbels said – tell a lie often enough and outrageous enough it will be seen as the truth. Gobbels – he came back to life- named RATZInger

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