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Bishop of Wakefield says church must listen to gay people

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  1. Nice one Stephen, nice one son!

  2. Lets hope some of his peers take note and realise the damage that can be done by religion not accepting same sex relationships or those who identify as LGB. Well done for starting the ball rolling

  3. I can only applaud this man. It is people like this who really do make a difference, so congratulations to Rvd. Platten.

  4. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but in a sense that’s the problem. Well-meaning let’s-have-a-cup-of-tea-and-a-chat Anglicans have no teeth and never see the opposition’s teeth until too late. The takeover of the Church of England by sectarian Bible-bashing nutters will continue because other strands of Anglicanism just don’t have their ruthlessness. Doctrinaire bigotry is wholly out of place in a supposedly ‘national’ Church, which is why Disestablishment will become irresistible before long. A pretty good outcome, actually.

  5. I’m lucky to live and worship in Stephen Platten’s diocese. This story reflects what seems to be his attitude generally. Gays are in fact represented at quite high levels in the diocese.

    It’s nice to have something good to say about the church of England for once and encouraging to see a bishop prepared to put his head above the parapet. I’m grateful to him for a public statement like this.

  6. What? Church of ENGland? Why, that’s not the REAL church. Just ask the pope.

  7. “He said that after the meeting, his diocese had begun to “engage” with gay people and discuss what the Bible says about sexual orientation.”

    Well, if he’s referring to Leviticus then there’s not much point in discussing it. That’s why his cult opposes its own gay clergy in civil partnerships from engaging in sex. That’s all the bible says about homosexuality not about sexual orientation per se, but then who actually said or wrote that verse? There is no evidence that it was uttered by a supreme deity and in the new testament, sexual orientation isn’t even mentioned.

  8. Peter & Michael 4 Nov 2010, 7:56pm

    Well. perhaps some of his patriots whom sit in the House of Lords will understand the damage of their harmful comments that they spout, can be insulting to LGBT people. After all, one is not born religious, one is brainwashed into it!

  9. Mixed feelings as an atheist. On the one hand I applaud the Bishop for trying to get a dialogue rolling and actually starting to listen to the experiences of gay people. There’s little point either side preaching to the choir.
    In the flipside I’m still dubious whether religion has a role to play in gay equality as traditional Abrahamic religions have invested so much time and effort in stripping it away.
    Is the Bishop of Wakefield speaking for the majority of clergy here or is he no more than a lone voice in the wilderness?

  10. THANK YOU.

    Flapjack – I suspect he’s pretty much on his own here, but all it takes is one to get a movement started – it wasn’t so long ago that the Church supported sexism, slavery, racism etc. Of course it’s not going to happen overnight, but the church could come around.
    Robert – au contraire, the New Testament does mention us in a few places, but the references are open to interpretation. As for th Leviticus verses; a lot of Christians just reject the whole Old Testament law (except probably the 10 Commandments) because that’s kind of what Christianity’s supposed to be about – Christ (clue’s in the name) as opposed to a whole bunch of rules.
    Of course, Jesus never mentioned us. This is why the jury’s still out on us in a lot of churches.

  11. Yes, agreed clearly means well, but this Damascene discovery of his just emphasises how far behind the rest of society they are – the tone of slightly patronising social responsibility leaves a rather yukky feeling despite the good intentions. All that communing with God, and he’s just spotted that gay people might not be dreadful. No sh t Sherlock…

  12. Oscar – am biblically ropey but:

    “Of course, Jesus never mentioned us. This is why the jury’s still out on us in a lot of churches.”

    Isnt it so that he did make it pretty clear he was against divorce? But the C of E nevertheless got over that one some time ago? I’ve never thought all this church narrow mindedness had anything whatever to do with the Bible, that’s just the excuse…

  13. What? Church of ENGland? Why, that’s not the REAL church. Just ask the pope.

    Comment by Gew — November 4, 2010 @ 19:06

    GEW – I’m glad you are proud of the Pope and the RC –

    I’m sure you are also very proud of the statement by:

    Head of Belgian Roman Catholic church says AIDS is ‘justice’ for gays.

    Take that to the Vatican.



  14. Mihangel apYrs 5 Nov 2010, 8:26am

    Edward @13

    I think Gew was being ironic – pointing out that as far as the RCC church is concerned, the CoE is actually heretical, and in illegitimately in conflict with the holy father (sic).

  15. But jesus did mention marraige, as a man/woman issue. He said ‘therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one…’

  16. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2010, 9:32am

    It’s always nice to be surprised by one of the good guys in religion. It makes a change for someone like this to actually stop, listen and see the damage they do. He, and some others, now have it in their power to make a difference and whilst I suspect he will have hurdles from some of the nasty elements of the church, I believe this will probably make him more determined.

    I applaud the Rt Revd Stephen Platten. It took guts to do this knowing he would face a backlash from many. In many ways it gives faith knowing these people are out there and who are willing to listen.

  17. I have seen so many little rays of hope like this Bishop’s statement from religious people of the Abrahamic tradition over the years but the the misogyny and homophobia continue unabated. And recently they have added transphobia.

    How could an intelligent Englishman not have known of the degree of suffering his church’s teachings have caused? Did he not go to school? Does his area not have church schools that have had to implement anti-bullying policies? Has he not participated in welfare schemes where young people made homeless because of their sexuality or gender identity have sought help? Has he not visited hospitals where victims of assaults and suicidal people are treated? Has he not previously wondered at the effects of hateful evangelicals working in his diocese, perhaps even running alpha courses in its schools? Did he really see all that and simply not listen?

    Still, if he didn’t, but has now not only taken them as truths but is calling for others to learn too, that’s welcome.

    The most hopeful thing might be him mentioning, in the context of “discuss(ing) what the Bible says about sexual orientation”, “the possibility of a change of heart, if not a change in our own moral outlook”. As ever, that’s a bit vague, but when he also says “We all have a responsibility to break down homophobia, just as we have to tackle racism or sexism”, it could mean that he sees the hatred in the bible as up for question, and then rejection. It is the ancient hatred in the supposedly unchangeable holy texts of the Abrahamic tradition that have done most to maintain the hatred, the anathematisation (literally “outside the church”) everywhere that the Abramahic religions have held power. But there is no mechanism to formally change them.

    The Jewish faith has always studied and reinterpreted its books but the christian bible just gets retranslated, and the few but stark nasties are pretty proof against translation out of existence. And the Koran, which it is forbidden to even translate, is stuck forever as it was written.

    But I suspect most of the remaining members of his religion just aren’t listening. That’s the thing about most religions: the adherents only hear what fits their doctrine.

  18. It took the Church Times to publish this story; I know for a fact that this was submitted by the Bishop of Wakefield to the Yorkshire Post – a well-known homophobic right-wing newspaper – and they refused to print it. May one ask why?
    It’d be good were the Bishop to be applauded for his open-mindedness and his sincere expressions of regret that he hadn’t considered the plight of gay teenagers in our world.
    So let’s stop knocking him and support him, just as he’s promised to support us.

  19. I was being facetious. I’m an athiest who managed to escape from fundamental Christianity.

  20. Is it churlish to point out that this is the year 2010 (almost 2011), 41 years past Stonewall, during which homosexuality and the rights of homosexual people have never left the headlines, and he and his diocese have just now “begun to ‘engage’ with gay people . . . .”?

    Shall we expect this happy dialog to consume another 41 years?

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