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Senator asked to apologise for saying gay people and unmarried mothers shouldn’t teach

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  1. I don’t care if he apologises or not. We already know he meant every word so any apology would be incensere at best and more likely a cynical ploy to save his ass.
    It’s down to everyone else to demonstrate that being a sexist homophobic bigot isn’t a viable political platform and remember his reactionary opinions at the polling booth.

  2. “We need the folks that are teaching in schools to represent our values.”

    What – bigotry and intolerance? Nice.

  3. Apologise? The guy shouldn’t be a senator. If he said that about any other minority, he would not be in a job, but once again, a homophobe can say what he wants and get away with it.

  4. Old white male bigots should not be senators

  5. Jock S. Trap 6 Oct 2010, 4:46pm

    This always comes from such religious people who believe they can teach better their, bigotted, hateful, discriminating ways and by being dishonest to get their points across.

  6. Bring it on. I think these nutters are helping to bury the GOP as it now is.

  7. another John 6 Oct 2010, 6:15pm

    “This always comes from such religious people who believe they can teach better their, bigotted, hateful, discriminating ways and by being dishonest to get their points across.”

    Jock: as a “religious” person, whose views you may well disagree with, let me say that in the case of my children, all educated in state schools, I really don’t know or I don’t especially care if their teachers are gay or unmarried mums. What I do care about is that they are educated (rather than indoctrinated) by good teachers who recognise the importance and reinforce the practice of good discipline and good manners. I suspect some of the best teachers I have come across are not those who share my philosophy of life and I would expect in a secular society an “equal opportunities” approach to be taken.

    But I also feel that education should be the primary responsibility of parents and that having good values are v.important. If parents choose to send their children to private schools they will understandably have more of a say in the values they expect to be taught and whether the teacher’s who are employed will reinforce those values or not.

  8. Peter In Brisbane 6 Oct 2010, 8:31pm

    This is the irrationality that Jim Dement want’s to teach his children.
    At 9 a.m. you were told that 2+2=4. At 9.30 a.m. you were instructed in certain physical Laws. Yet, at 10 a.m. 2+2 made thousands as men multiplied bread, rose from the dead, strolled on seas and parted oceans.

    Wonder why our children are so confused.

  9. Where’s Harvey Milk when you need him?
    If teachers really influenced kids to be just like them to such a great extent then there would be an awful lot of nuns running around.
    Jim DeMint sounds like he belongs back in the era of politicking bigots like Anita Bryant.

  10. 21stCenturySpirituality 7 Oct 2010, 12:28am

    @ another john. I agree with you to a degree but I do wonder if you are talking about teaching politics rather than supporting a person towards being able to think for themselves which would be more in line with the text book definition of the purpose of education. I am reminded of a quote from Kahlil Gibron:

    ” Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”

    I hear alot about parents choices and parents rights in debates on this issue but what about young peoples rights and choices?

  11. 21stCenturySpirituality 7 Oct 2010, 3:04am

    @ another john… and what makes you think that we don’t have values in common? Are we really so different? And whats wrong with having different values anyway? Why should one set of values be presented as superior to another? Wouldn’t it better serve the purpose of education to allow the exploration, analysis, and questioning of different sets of values?

  12. Jock S. Trap 7 Oct 2010, 8:33am

    I strongly believe forcing children to side with any religion before the age of 16 should be treated the same as abuse.

    Wouldn’t it be much better for children to be taught to be open minded and to be able to make up their own minds about how They wish to proceed in life.

    Life’s values come from common sense not closed minded religion dictated hate and fear.

  13. another John 7 Oct 2010, 10:45am

    “Wouldn’t it be much better for children to be taught to be open minded and to be able to make up their own minds about how They wish to proceed in life.

    Life’s values come from common sense not closed minded religion dictated hate and fear.”

    Hi Jock and C21: there is lot you both say that I will go along with, including the above statement to a large extent, but not everything.

    My view of education is that children (and adults come to that) should be taken outside of their comfort zone and encouraged to explore outside of the box the wonders of the universe without pre-conceptions and prejudice, relying on the evidence etc. Teachers who help toward this end need to be encouraged.

    But there is no such thing as a valueless education! The question is where do we derive those values from? I doubt whether relying on common sense is enough. After all we see unprecedented levels of substance misuse, mental health isses, under-age pregnacies, anti-social behavior among the young, and part of this is down to them not having suitable values instilled in them.

    But from where do we derive those values? Surely, those aspects of the current system where evolution is promoted at the expense of creation or contreception at the expense of abstinence, imply values, which in the opinion of some (including me) are not the right ones. By all means present alternatives but …

    I do not apologise for believing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, that wisdom can be found in the teachings of Jesus, that we need to teach a child the way he/she should go, and take that responsibility seriously as a parent and do not rely on others to do so, especially if their value system is flawed.

  14. “Surely, those aspects of the current system where evolution is promoted at the expense of creation or contreception at the expense of abstinence, imply values, which in the opinion of some (including me) are not the right ones.”

    John, as a teacher I assure you that it’s part of the rules that one DOESN’T promote one’s own personal values in any way, or even hint at them. Same goes for things like politics – and religion actually.

    You say that evolution is promted at the expense of creationism, but that’s untrue. Evolution is covered in science, creation in religion but there IS some overlap and both are referred to sometimes when the other’s mentioned. Teachers are extremely careful not to ‘indoctrinate’ so if anything we err on the side of caution.

    As regards contraception and abstinence – again you underestimate teachers. Abstinence IS mentioned as a possible choice and it’s made very clear that sex is not compulsory nor is losing your virginity by a certain age or anything like that, and that sometimes choosing NOt to have sex is the mature and responsible choice.

  15. Just because bigots would press their values on others and attempt to manipulate vulnerable, young minds, doesn’t mean everyone else would….

  16. Bill Stickers 7 Oct 2010, 12:37pm

    @13: As it’s directly relevant to your comments, here’s something you should read another John
    “Wilfully ignorant fundamentalists losing faith in science”
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2010/1007/1224280562239.html

  17. another John 7 Oct 2010, 9:35pm

    “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein” Psalms 111v2 (inscribed over the entrance of the old and new Cavendish laboratories – boasting 29 Nobel prize winners)

    Bill: I know we are going a bit off topic, but I want to assure you that this fundamentalist has no problem reconciling faith and religion, based on my belief that good science (i.e. that which follows the “scientific method”) and an orthodox Christian faith is entirely compatible, a view shared by some of those Cavendish scientists of old. Science tries to explain how things work which can lead to huge benefits to us all whereas religion (and philosophy) asks the great why questions, which according to Douglas Adams the answer is 42.

    I did read the article and as for me I see no conflict. I confess, I don’t have all the answers but right now I see my position as a believer in intelligent design, without being a hard and fast creationist, yet recognising the veracity of some aspects of evolutionary theory. Interestingly, the more significant part of the article was to do with global warming. Myself, I feel the jury is still out. My fear is that certain high placed people can use the fear of global warming to control our lives in a sinister way.

    If you want to sift through some writings that addresses some of these issues and in a way that I feel I can endorse then read:
    http://www.creationandevolution.co.uk/

    Iris: thanks for making your point. I take on board what you say but from what I have read and teacher friends have told me, I remain to be convinced. To be honest though: when what now seems an age ago I taught science in a secondary school, I did not feel what and how I was meant to teach ever conflicted with my value system. My fear is that we live in a culture that seems to convey the notion that all beliefs are equal, truth is what you want it to be, and there is no absolute right and wrong. While as a teacher in the state system, I recognise teachers have to strive for neutrality and present all view points (although I have doubts this is as rigorously done as you suggest), I would argue a neutral mentality reflects a value system and it is one that conflicts with my own. I fear we have gone too far away from our judaeo-christian heritage without replacing it with anything of worth and we are now reaping the consequences.

  18. another john – judeo-christian enocurages homophobia and everything and secularism is a lot better then bigoted lies

  19. another john – judeo-christian enocurages homophobia and everything and secularism is a lot better then bigoted lies
    truth is still truth but many religions lack truth and love lies and evil

  20. Another John, I feel you’re contradicting yourself somewhat there. On one hand you say that you doubt teachers are as neutral as I say, on the other hand, in your last sentence you seem to bemoan the lack of specifically CHRISTIAN teaching. That seems to be worryingly close to what DeMint is saying – ‘You mustn’t indoctrinate children with values, unless they’re MINE’.

    You’re swallowing the propaganda. Schools tread carefully so as not to offend the differing religious beliefs held by their pupils, and teachers make sure that on such matters children learn and can make up their OWN minds. Yet that does NOT mean that we imply ‘anything goes’ morality-wise. For example, in teaching evolution I might refer to creationist beliefs in a ‘Of course, some people believe….’, yet if we’re covering a news story involving, to use an extreme example, murder then I certainly don’t say ‘some people think murder’s bad, some people don’t’ That’s what you’re implying by a lack of values, an ‘anything goes’ approach.

    Any problems you might see in society are not the result of a move away from Christianity (although some churches might like to pretend that’s the case). There are personal and social reasons for society’s problems. Too long a discussion to get into now, of course, but morals are a HUMAN thing not a religious one.

    You mentioned parents earlier.Yes, parents sometimes do a poor job of raising their children but the reasons for this are many, and not being religious isn’t one of them, in my opinion.

  21. Religion isn’t a prerequisite for being a moral person or a good parent.

  22. Bill Stickers 8 Oct 2010, 10:23am

    another John,are you a teacher? if so it concerns me that you are a believer in Intelligent design.
    Intelligent design is faux-science to dress Creationism up as something that might legitimately be taught in the classroom, it is however sheer bunkum scientifically and does not conform to the rigours of the scientific process.

    The main point of the article I linked is made in the final paragraph.
    “So far significant rejection of science by fundamentalist religious groups has been limited to evolution and Big Bang theory, but who can be sure what the future will bring – if people reject scientific evidence in one area there is a danger that they will distrust science in other areas, even when biblical texts are not challenged. The competence to explain the natural world, including physical origins and climate change, lies exclusively with science and contrary explanations from religion, philosophy or ideology must cede the floor to science. It is therefore deeply worrying when the findings of science in these areas are so widely rejected.”
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2010/1007/1224280562239.html

  23. another John 8 Oct 2010, 3:31pm

    I think with respect Bill we may be talking at cross purposes. Let me explain … when I looked up Wikipedia (not necessarily the best source I agree) it said about Intelligent Design that it “is the proposition that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection”.

    It is not the same as creationism although creationists believe in intelligent design of course. If you read the paper I gave you a link to you will find an eminent scientist arguing that God did indeed create everything and the Genesis account is accurate but that it need not be interpreted strictly literally and there is a place for evolution and big bang (some would say that the Genesis account to an extent mirrors some big bang ideas) in the overall scheme of things. While “fundamentalists” likely believe intelligent design, not all are creationists and quite likely most have not given that much thought or come to a firm view on the matter.

    I can’t speak for others and do not accept some of the generalisations implicit in this article. While I am not a creationist myself, I am open to the possibility because of God is God then he can do anything. As I said before, I see no inconsistency in following the scientific method and accepting its findings whatever these are (bearing in mind there are still major aspects of popular evolutionary theory that are as yet unproven) and in fact I love science and feel genuine scientific enquiry is what we should be doing and encouraging the next generation in.

    Let me put a question to you. There is as you know the second law of thermodynamics, which I take it you accept as do I. Part of that is to extrapolate you can’t get to order from disorder (needed if you accept big bang with no guiding hand) – rather it is the other way round. Even if you can explain that, how is something created from nothing? It is an age old question and I happen to believe “In the beginning God …” makes eminent sense.

  24. another John 8 Oct 2010, 4:37pm

    “Religion isn’t a prerequisite for being a moral person or a good parent.” – I agree!

    “Just because bigots would press their values on others and attempt to manipulate vulnerable, young minds, doesn’t mean everyone else would….” – sadly popular culture, especially the media and some secular actvists, does press bad/wrong values on impressionable minds, albeit subtly and by stealth, which makes not sharing good/right values an act of irresponsibility. Young minds do need to decide but we are naive if we think they will decide rightly if not guided.

    Iris: as usual you challenge me to think through and even modify my views, so thanks. I can see how my earlier statements appear to contradict so, while trying not to dig a bigger hole etc., let me explain what I really think.

    While I am old, I am not old enough to remember the judaeo-christian consensus that once existed and the values taught in schools reflecting this. What I do remember, and this process has accelerated, is the drift toward multi-culturalism and secularism.

    Having sent my son to a CofE primary school because I had hoped our own Christian values as a family will be reinforced, I am slightly disappointed because the school did not deliver as I had hoped. I am grateful he now goes to a good grammar school where educational excellence, good discipline, good manners and a respect for the diversity in our society are refinforced despite no obvious concession to any Christian ethos.

    I suppose given the present paradigm, that is the best that could be expected from a state school. At the risk of someone I respect (i.e. you) thinking me to be a bigot, I would in an ideal setting like Christian values to be reinforced more than they are.

    As I say, and it is what I honestly believe to be true, by not teaching those values or doing so in a half-hearted way that is a significant factor for a number of society’s ills. While I cannot impose the teaching Christian values on others, this is something we encourage in our home (we have regular prayer and bible reading times for example while trying but not always succeeding to be good parents) and always I impress on my 12 y/o that there is a plethora of beliefs etc. out there and he will do well to understand this and respect and honour others who think differently to us.

  25. Bill Stickers 8 Oct 2010, 5:42pm

    Trying to break through the armour of nonsense that you fundamenatlist’s cover yourself in is pretty futile.
    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink.
    If willful ignorance is your choice I am not going to enter into a debate about something as nonsensical as Intelligent Design, you will always play the unreason card (God can do anything).

  26. Bill Stickers 8 Oct 2010, 5:55pm

    @23:
    Shorter version of “How daft is the creationist Thermo claim”;
    Entropy is not about chaos. On a molecular level, it’s roughly akin to “all mixed up”. Two separated gasses has less entropy than the same two gases mixed. But mostly, entropy is about where the heat goes. And if you (shock horror) look at how entropy is calculated, you’ll notice it’s all about how hot things are. The second law of thermo is a detailed and scientific statement that essentially quantifies the more common sense statement that hot things loose heat towards colder things, not the other way around. That’s it. Nothing magical.

  27. “I would in an ideal setting like Christian values to be reinforced more than they are. ”

    I can understand why you might be disappointed that a C of E primary wasn’t promoting Christianity more, but I’d guess that many of its pupils aren’t practising Christians and don’t take it as seriously as you, so schools like that have to cater to and respect a variety of people. I went to a C of E school and religion certainly made frequent appearances – visiting bishops, monks, missionaries, various other Christian denominations, religious assemblies, etc – but that was a secondary school. I’m not happy about primary schools promoting ANY religion. I’m guessing what I’m about to say is the reason why some religions wish to do so – it’s very easy to take something as fact when trusted adults tell you about it and you’re very young.

    A probably rather forward question just occurred to me: do you not worry that your children will actually be turned off Christianity by making it such an everyday part of their life? I’m not criticising your lifestyle there or your motivation. I think that sometimes the most vehement rejectors of religion come from very religious backgrounds. By the way, I’m very happy you’re teaching your son respect for others who believe differently :)

    Another question – is your fear of a secular society because you feel society will fall apart without Christian values, or is it more than that? Myself, I’d prefer a secular society where people’s beliefs were kept personal and private. I imagine you may sympathise with the ‘victims’ of ‘persecution’ that the Christian Institute seem to find every month or so, saying that they’re being persecuted because of their Christian beliefs, but to me they’re people asking for special treatment and certainly not victims of persecution.

    I think it’s true that our society has become more secular, but part of the reason for that is natural progress as we learn more about the world rather than rely on religion to provide answers like we did centuries ago – and another reason is the fact that many people, especially younger ones, see religion as being out of touch and, sometimes, very unappealing. That’s why people are rejecting religion, I feel.

    As for this specific story, I’m hoping you’ll agree that banning gay people and unmarried mothers from being teachers is offensive and illogical?

  28. another John 8 Oct 2010, 9:51pm

    Iris, you won’t let me of the hook – will you? :-) but I suppose I should thank you for making me think through the issues and having to explain my views clearly – I suppose it would be a good thing all round if more of that happened.

    “do you not worry that your children will actually be turned off Christianity by making it such an everyday part of their life?”
    yes and no. I worry more if my son should hear me talk the talk but not see me walk the walk – as has happened to many a child brought up in a strong religious setting. We are both pushy and lenient at the same time as parents of our 12yo insofar we expect him to be well behaved and disciplined, do his homework and household duties and take part in lots of extra-curricular activities. While we try to reinforce Christian values, e.g. in family devotions, we also give him lots of freedom to do what he wants and encourage him. At the moment he is into all sorts of techie stuff to do with computers and that is fine by us providing it is regulated. Eventually my son will have to decide for himself whether he follows the faith etc. Whether or not he does, we will continue to love him. A wise secularist once told me I should live my life through my child and I agree entirely. I will do (I hope) everything I can to bring my son up in the best way possible but firmly believe that not only should he make up his own mind but that with certain safeguards he should be exposed to beliefs etc. that differ from my own.

    “is your fear of a secular society because you feel society will fall apart without Christian values, or is it more than that?”
    fall apart is a good phrase and I do see signs of that happening all around. Of course the reasons for this are many and complex but an important part at least is the rejection of Christian values. Part of this as you intimate is that people, the young especially, see a lack of life (and therefore relevance) in Christian worship etc. This saddens me immensely and addressing it should maybe be top of my priority list. Strangely, having just read a piece by Richard Dawkins of all people, I can see certain advantages in a secular society but I will be honest when I say I do have grave concerns at the rising tide of wickedness which often often does seem to be coupled with godlessness, notwithstanding there are some very good people who have no faith.

    “I’m hoping you’ll agree that banning gay people and unmarried mothers from being teachers is offensive and illogical?”
    Let me say first that one of my son’s best teachers was an unmarried mum and secondly I would feel honoured if you were to be one of his teachers. Yes banning gay people and unmarried mums would seem offensive and illogical in most circumstances. While I wouldn’t necessarily endorse such a stance, I can imagine circumstances where a religious school, in order to preserve its particular ethos (having a right ethos is important for a school), does ban such people.

  29. another John 9 Oct 2010, 9:07am

    correction: “I should live my life” should be ” I should not live my life”

    Also, re. my third answer, and at the risk of upsetting you (never my intention), I wanted to say that I do not regard upholding “equal rights” (so called because sometimes it is at the expense of someone elses rights) as being a more important consideration than the (considered) welfare of children or other vulnerable persons or those with a concern due to a reasonable religious objection.

    I do agree with the position of organisations like Christian Institute and Christian Concern for our Nation on some of the well publicised cases where people have fallen foul of the anti-discrimination law / sentiment that have arisen in recent years. Yet with my equality and diversity interest and practice, I know all too well its significance and importance, but I am not sure the equality trend, especially in law, is going in the right direction (the very question that drew me to Pink News in the first place).

    Often there is a fine line to tread and always I am learning and trying to understand the various perspectives. While I respect the two organisations mentioned and feel they are approaching their work in the right way, I do fear there is bigotry etc. among so called Christians and have personally had to the face flak from this as well as some of the folk in this forum. Such is life eh – have a nice day :-)

  30. @29
    “Reasonable religious objection” …that just has to be an oxymoron. Religious faith is not based on reason but rather the suspension of reason.

    Religions and their followers never fully support equal rights, their interest is geared toward maintaining and securing religious privileges for themselves … always at the expense of another group.

    Childrens human rights as individuals so often go unrecognosed by religions and their followers who view the young as raw material to be indoctrinated in their own sect schools before they are of an age to make informed judgements or choices of their own.
    Instead children should be given mandatory lessons in critical thinking and as far as is possible an unbiased comparative introduction to the major world religions including humanism and atheism as part of the national curriculum…then I might be more convinced that the religious had childrens best interest at heart rather than the furtherance of their own interests.

  31. Furthermore another John, an objection can be either reasonable or unreasonable, the addition of the word religious is irrelevant.

    A religious objection claiming to have the backing of religious scripture is not amenable to reasoned argument and is therefore not a reasonable objection but merely a claimed religious objection.

    The objection to gay teachers and to teachers who are single mothers is simply an unreasonable objection.

  32. Another john – on a previous thread you wrote the following . . .

    “About my past attractions, these have been mainly to the opposite sex although some for the same sex. That has not been a problem for me personally as my inclinations are predominantly straight, I haven’t struggled in this area as some have and because of what I believe. I suppose, if anything, I should have been bolder in the past (after all enjoying friendship is one of the greatest of life’s joys) but now that I am married, I take seriously the vow of fidelity, so taking my being attracted to someone onto a physical level is a definite no no.”

    A few comments

    1.You state that you have been attracted to the same sex sexually in the past

    2. You state that you haven’t struggled in this area as some have because of what you believe

    3. You use Pinknews to constantly explain why same sex sexual attraction is forbidden

    A few more comments

    *Because you constantly keep reiterating the forbidden nature of same sex attraction, on gay website; it is quite clear that the only person that is not convinced about this is yourself.

    *We do not come on to pink news to discuss whether or not our sexuality is wrong – you do

    *Moreover, If you were comfortable with your sexuality; you would not constantly be trying to convince others that they are wrong.

  33. Hear,hear! John…that’s telling it like it is.
    Some people like to come here to dish it out but can they take it?

  34. Hi Pavlos . . . “Another john” is a Plymouth Brethren minsiter from Essex.

    “Another john” reveals more about himself towards the end of the Archbishop thread below:

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/?comments_popup=19885

  35. Paul Cann 9 Oct 2010, 1:59pm

    Dear anotherJohn,
    I feel sorry for you. You are a fundamentalist christian that doesn’t know he is – the saddest type in my opinion. You are interested in Christianity, not because of any spiritual belief, but because you like rules, and you think that christianity provides discipline and order to the world. You are very confused about your sexuality, and even though you come on pink news to attempt to make yourself feel less confused, every time you leave comments it confuses you even more. You need some help. You should go down to the local LGBT centre, not to try and convert them to christianity, but to accept that you have homosexual desires. You should get in touch with your homosexual desires, because you have them, and there is nothing wrong with them, instead of trying to get gay people to get in touch with a desire they do not have – to believe in the religion that you come on here to evangelise.
    Best Wishes.

  36. another John #28 – I’m pleased that you allow your son to be familiar with beliefs that differ from your own, and that you accept that the choice of whether to follow your faith ultimately rests with him.

    May I ask a question? I hope you don’t take offence at this because it’s personal. If it helps, consider it a theoretical question rather than a personal one about your son. You say you’d still love him whatever belief he chooses to follow, but would you still love a child of yours if they were gay? That’s not a trick question or one to make you feel awkward. It just leapt into my mind when I’d read what you’d written.

    I understand what you’re saying about a school not employing teachers who conflict with that school’s ethos. You mean that if they teach that being gay is wrong then how can they employ a gay teacher because it would seem to undermine what they teach. But to me, that only proves that this discrimination is illogical. If a Christian school were to have a very good teacher, a person who was respectful, hard-working and well-liked by children, staff and parents – and then they found out he or she was gay, then the school should stop and think “Hang on a moment. This person’s a good man. Let us think over and revise our beliefs” That would be the logical thing to do (and that’s totally ignoring the fact that, as you know, I don’t believe the Bible actually condemns same sex relationships at all).

    Any combination of wickedness and godlessness could easily be a coincidence. I don’t need to list the horror done in the name of religion, nor will I pretend that atheists can’t be bad either. The point is that people are good or bad REGARDLESS of their religion or lack of it. I think that sometimes people look back to a golden age and see it as a better time, which may or may not be true, but because more people went to church, etc then they connect the two things and think that modern society’s ills are due to a lack of religion. In my opinion, it would be just as logical to say that the invention of the car caused society to ‘go downhill’.

    You said: “I wanted to say that I do not regard upholding “equal rights” (so called because sometimes it is at the expense of someone elses rights) as being a more important consideration than the (considered) welfare of children or other vulnerable persons or those with a concern due to a reasonable religious objection.”

    I know you meant no offence – none taken :) But I wholly dispute the idea that ‘equal rights’ means depriving someone else of rights. All LGBT people want is to be treated equally. Granting equal rights doesn’t deprive anyone else of them. For example, giving women equal rights, eg suffrage, did not deprive men of rights – it merely meant that both men and women were treated equally.

    Christians aren’t being victimised. They’re being asked to obey the same laws as everyone else. But they want special treatment and an exemption from the law. That’s wrong. The right to discriminate isn’t a very worthy thing to fight for at all. I find it abhorrent that Christians should wish to do so. And where would it stop? Should I flick through my Bible to read up on the Curse of Ham so I can act in a racist way and say that it’s my belief? Should people use those bits in the Bible to say that black people shouldn’t be teachers? No, of course not That’d be sick. It’s horrible to even write it.

    How would you feel if you trotted off to the shop to buy some milk and the person at the till refused to serve you because you were a Christian? How would you feel if you hadn’t been permitted to marry because you were a Christian? How would you feel if you and your family went on a nice break and were turned away from a hotel you’d booked because you were a Christian?

    I don’t discriminate against Christians even though I hold different beliefs and I would support you if you were genuinely being discriminated against because fair’s fair, but I wouldn’t support you if you demanded special treatment.

    Gay people don’t want special treatment, we want to be treated like anybody else and be entitled to the same rights as anyone else. Your beliefs don’t trump my rights to be treated as an equal human being and they don’t allow you to be exempt from obeying the law.

    I know some people have had a go at you, but I hope you can see where that anger and frustration is coming from?

  37. another John 9 Oct 2010, 9:47pm

    This (likely) last posting in this thread is to generally address some of the points recently made and answer some specific questions.

    Pavlos: there is a lot of what you say I agree with, like teaching children to think critically and the wide range of worldviews. You seem to think religious folk (like me) are here to do gay folk (like you) down. That is not true as I have often tried to say so in these forums. As for taking it (given I, as you say, dish it out) I am up for that but it would be nice if folk kept to the facts rather than distort them or are personally insulting.

    JohnK: you really have a problem with a lack of integrity and discretion. I hope you can get it sorted my friend.

    Paul: I am interested in Christianity because it is true. As far as I am aware, I don’t have a problem with my sexuality. But thanks for offering a sympathetic response from the gay community if I were to come to them for help. I don’t come here to evangelise any more than in any other communication, rather to understand and contribute – I really don’t want to upset anyone and am sorry if my comments give rise to undue distress. I will happily refrain from posting further if that is what folk want. I do feel though given all the talk about having an open mind, honest enquiry etc. that you will be the poorer if the only people who do post happen to agree with each other.

    Iris: Do you remember that link I gave you of how a strong Christian couple handled their children’s gay lifestyle? At the time I reflected how moving I found the way they were so supportive etc. and felt if I were ever in their position I would handle similarly. Love is unconditional. I won’t respond further to your other questions, some of which I think are rhetorical and some have been part of earlier discussions. I have said repeatedly that I merely try to act in accordance to my Christian beliefs (and would like others of faith to be free to do so), and that includes loving my neighbour as myself, even if he/she happens to be gay!

  38. “Another john wrote” . . .

    “JohnK: you really have a problem with a lack of integrity and discretion. I hope you can get it sorted my friend”

    1. No where on these threads have I claimed to be a friend of yours, or treated you in a friendly manner.

    2. I have a problem with integrity and discretion . . . Explain

    3. I need to get the above sorted. . . What needs sorting exactly

  39. @37 another John wrote:
    “Pavlos: there is a lot of what you say I agree with, like teaching children to think critically and the wide range of worldviews. You seem to think religious folk (like me) are here to do gay folk (like you) down. That is not true as I have often tried to say so in these forums. As for taking it (given I, as you say, dish it out) I am up for that but it would be nice if folk kept to the facts rather than distort them or are personally insulting.”

    You make a divisive distinction between gay folk and religious folk that doesn’t exist, there are many religious gays (or plenty of gay religious folk… if you will).
    Anyway although I am in a long-term gay relationship that I happily intend to stick with, I am bisexual (perhaps like you? although you may have never expressed your bisexuality physically with another male).
    My partner is and has always been exclusively homosexual but previously I have been in long-term monogamous relationships with both males and females, roughly evenly.

    I hope I have not been personally insulting, didn’t mean to be and mostly I intend the subject of my criticisms to be a generic religious group or faith based opinion, not so much personal at all.

    As for keeping to the facts, we are back to what I see as your problem …of combining religious unreason into otherwise sane discussion, alongside some reasonable and rational writing you flip to religious unreason as though the two were in any way compatible, that are not really.
    The whole thing falls apart unless I and others here are willing to compromise on reason and rationality to acommodate your unevidenced beliefs…
    For my part, this is no more likely to happen than that I would compromise reasoning and rationality to acommodate the predictions of an astrologer or someone who read the tealeaves.

  40. That should have read “accommodate”

  41. “another john” . . . thinks he can come on to a gay website and:

    1.Evangelise

    2.Call us sinfull

    3.Attack our personhood

    . . . and then he thinks he can avoid being criticsed, and challanged; by throwing a tantrum becasue we won’t relate to him in a civil manner.

  42. Yes, many of my questions were rhetorical, another John. But thank you for answering the personal one, and in a way that shows your humanity.

    All I would say is that people are free to hold whatever beliefs they want (talking generally now) but they should not always be free to act on them. Again, a general statement.

    Pavlos is right in saying that the division between gay people and Christians is a false one. I personally believe it’s been knowingly manufactured to cause dissent and ‘bolster the troops’ against this (unreal) perceived threat. I also believe that this and subsequent pronuncements by some Christians have contributed to the decline in Christians in this country. I never really cared enough to bother to identify myself as an agnostic until these last few years of attacks on LGBT people from Christians. These Christians – who don’t seem at all Christian to me – have done more to turn me off religion than anything else. I’m sure the same’s true of many, many other young people.

  43. You seem a more moderate, more thoughtful Christian, another John, so I hope you’re able to spread your attitude amongst your church to shout down those who would spread hate. I sincerely wish you success if you attempt to do that :)

  44. another John 11 Oct 2010, 3:48am

    Thanks all for these further comments etc. whatever the motive :-)

    I had resolved to make my previous post my last but I felt in the light of recent comments that I should respond. I am loathe to go over old ground as that should not be necessary or to restate for the umpteenth time my view on homosexuality which, while imo is relevant in commenting as I do in these forums, I am aware can be hurtful and offensive to some readers – something I am loathe to do even though I seem to do it.

    Firstly, Pavlos, you are right when you say that you can be both religious (Christian even) and gay and I should have made that clearer. The pastoral implications together with that which can and does arise in my community role is an important factor why have I have remained in the lions den for so long rather than sought association with those of like mind who are more sympathetic.

    Something that did strike me though is that most (not all) who post here seem to be not only non-religious but decidedly anti-religious. I suppose one reason is that religious folk especially those of the “fundamentalist” variety are deemed as the enemy and the human response tends to want to fight the enemy.

    Strange as it might seem, “gay issues” don’t arise all that much among Christians in my experience although I do suspect there is a degree of prejudice when many individuals are pressed as well as a large element that goes with the flow without thinking through the implications – theological and otherwise.

    For some more thoughtful Christians (and I include myself) this is an issue only because of the implications of the equality agenda and the cultural climate veering away from the judaeo-christian consensus that once existed and of course wanting to respond compassionately yet truthfully to gay folk.

    Touched on a lot in these forums is the reasonableness (or otherwise) of faith. While I have tried to say it, I don’t think people who have responded to what I have had to say have properly understood, is that my main motivation is finding out where the truth lies and getting the balance right.

    Seeking out truth whether scientific or religious is of paramount concern to me and I feel there is absolutely no contradiction even the consequences of doing so can mean having to travel through the storms before coming out to more tranquil climes, possibly not something I will experience in my life-time.

    Finally, on the subject of fundamentalism, this is not the place for me to defend or otherwise the fundies that visit this forum, and no there is no collusion among us when we do post. But as you know the term is often used in a pejorative way, often by those whose definition is different to my own. If when using the term the picture of a narrow-minded, bigoted, rabid, insensitive, religious fanatic is conjured up then that is not me I hope. If on the other, it is one who places the being true to the teaching of scripture above that of human tradition, culture, reason etc. then I will happily raise my hand.

    Finally, and without wanting to leave the impression I am being patronising etc. I have enjoyed the stimulation of being in these forums and have genuinely learnt a lot, which I hope to put to good use. I wish those, including my adversaries, a happy and peaceful life :-)

  45. @44 another John wrote “it is one who places the being true to the teaching of scripture above that of human tradition, culture, reason etc. then I will happily raise my hand.”

    Happily unreasoning another John? says it all really doesn’t it, you’ve just been wasting everyone’s time here.
    I’m afraid as long as you place scripture above reason there can be no meaningful dialogue with you, there lies the cause of the aggravation and conflict all round, you claim you are trying to be reasonable and want to explore rational arguments all the while knowing you will reject anything that conflicts with your scriptural beliefs… the armour of nonsense you wear is fitted too tightly.

  46. Your response is much appreciated, another John. No, you’re not a ‘fundie’ :D That’s why I tried to use the more neutral ‘traditonal’ as it doesn’t have such a pejorative meaning. Best wishes to you too and best of luck with your search for the truth :)

  47. P.S – the answer’s 42 ;)

  48. another John 11 Oct 2010, 11:49am

    “P.S – the answer’s 42″ – that’s what I agreed with my son’s Y8 RE teacher when I told her I felt he was being asked all sorts of philosophical questions and taught too little by way of religious content … but let’s settle on 42 for the time being and best wishes to you too Iris (it has been a pleasure) :-)

    PS Thanks Pavlos – I think that is a fair comment coming from a basically fair person (at least to some extent) but what if scripture is truly God inspired (meaning God should have the last word) and can be reconciled with science etc. and any other quest for truth and rational argument (bearing in mind even the collective pool of human knowledge only has a tiny part of the big picture and none of us was there when it started from NOTHING (I hear someone say) – “do you feel lucky punk?” :-)

  49. Another John –
    You believe in Christianity because it is true (assertion unsupported by evidence).
    You place ‘Scripture’ in opposition to ‘human tradition, culture…’etc. (a priori assumption, undefended, that ‘Scripture’ is not a product of human culture and tradition, or bears no relation to it).
    Your postings here are not a waste of time because anyone disagrees with you. They are a waste of time because nearly everything you say is based on such as the above. Reasonable discussion with you is not possible.

  50. wot an idot. wots next? people who step on the cracks in the pavement cant have driving licences???? Somedays i despair for the human race, i really do…..

  51. Another john wrote

    “Finally, and without wanting to leave the impression I am being patronising etc. I have enjoyed the stimulation of being in these forums and have genuinely learnt a lot, which I hope to put to good use”

    Another john . . . I was wondering what you hope to put to good use, and how do you might use it.

  52. agreeing with christian institute etc shows you are another victim of the homophobes

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