Go Dr. John J. You have a strong case and keeping quiet surely would amount to complicity. We need to challenge unfair treatment in our lives individually if we must achieve a better world.
Too many lay back and take this kind of crap.
It only take one to make a difference…. a positive difference.
Go for it, Geoff. Let’s hope it triggers off what should have happened years ago – Disestablishment and fragmentation into two or three different churches who acknowledge their huge theological differences instead of constant denial and papering over cracks. It will then also be easier for the rest of us to ignore the lot of them.
Indeed and show the bigots up for what they really are… and show them too so we can all see.
1. Nobody has an automatic right to be appointed a bishop, there is – or should be – a sound process for appraising their suitability to lead a diocese, whatever that leadership may involve.
2. No potential bishop should be judged by their choice of spouse or partner, even if he/she (the spouse/partner) is a bit of a shrew, nor by any presumptions of how they conduct themselves in bed. For all I or the appointing body may know a married would-be bishop may indulge nightly in consensual anal sex with his wife whereas a civil partnership would-be bishop might simply cuddle his partner each night. Just not relevant to fitness for office.
3. As to whether you should sue, who knows.
4. His name, by the way, is Jeffrey, not Geoff.
“No potential bishop should be judged by …. presumptions of how they conduct themselves in bed.”
Do you know anything about the CofE, or any religious organisation for that matter?
I agree legal and consenting sexual conduct in a committed relationship should not be part of the decision making process in promotions (including in the church ) – even less so when the person being considered states they makes choices to be in a celibate relationship …
No one has the “right” to be appointed to any role, whether bishop or otherwise … however, everyone who makes an application should have a reasonable expectation to be considered fairly and on merit …
I would argue that Dr John has both been treated onfairly given the documentation alluded to – in that the Archbishop has welcomed and encouraged his application then cruelly and callously prevented the application continuing (despite many feeling he was the best candidate for the role – on paper). This did not happen once, but twice …
It will be an interersting one if it should come to ET, ecclesiastical court or other legal platform as, no doubt, the church may well try to argue (again) that the church …
… does not employ a single member of the clergy – but that they are employed by God – although I understand that English law does not share that view …
Correction to above comment “been treated UNfairly”
“Nobody has an automatic right to be appointed a bishop”
Maybe but nobody has the right to be refused if they can do the job, any job. Sexuality should never come into it.
This out-dated institution needs to modernise or sink.
There were extremely high hopes for Rowan Williams when he was appointed. The hope was he would be able to modernise and move the church on. Under him all we have seen is dithering and indecisiveness. The treatment of Jeffrey John is appalling and I believe that this issue should be blown out of the water. They need a honest debate about sex- they need to get over it. The church is obsessed with sex.
The Church of England appears to care more for the opinion of Nigerian or Ugandan bishops than it does of UK citizens, and yet the same Church of England has bishops sat on our Parliamentary benches. Should we really permit such an obviously foreign controlled group to have sway over official government policy?
Very true but then that is the way thinks seem to go in this country anyway no matter where people are from UK citizens come second.
Indeed but he leaves this year. Lets hope they get someone who can actually make a positive difference.
As a life long member of the C of E I agree totally with you. Narow minds unable to see God,s greatness.
He has been badly wronged by the church of England, those who vetoed his appointments 2x will have an opportunity to defend their anti-gay prejudice under oath in court.
“Wah, wah, wah. I work for an organisation that actively promotes homophobia. I’m quite happy to buy into that homophobia because although I’m gay, I make it known I’m celibate – because gay sex is evil. In spite of buying into the whole homophobia deal, I’m now miffed that I’m not getting promoted probably because I’m gay.” What a tool.
I agree. This Dean appears to be suffering from a sort of Stockholm syndrome. If he doesn’t like the rules of his bigoted club he should leave. As the old saying goes: Turkeys don’t usually vote for xmas.
I completely agree with David and Angela above. Whenever I see gay priests and deans talking about their lack of promotional prospects and how they’re not given equality in the workplace, I think of the famous Groucho Marx line, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member” [4.20 into this clip...]
If achieving workplace equality is at odds with homophobic church dogma, then perhaps it’s just time to vote with your feet.
Or maybe he’s someone who just wants to make a positive difference?!
Isn’t that a bit like trying to stop a tsunami with a bucket?
I always find it funny how it’s always the one that bitch alot that cannot come up with realistic alternatives… and I do mean realistic ones not mere fantasy.
If we don’t change opinion from within then how?
Well I’ll play Devil’s advocate here and say “Frankly, why the hell not”? The best way to make change is from the inside. If their own people demonstrate that homosexuality is acceptable, and part and parcel of the real world, then they will help convince the churches how behind the times they are and that if they want to keep congregations they will have to drop their bigoted attitudes.
If they are just left to themselves, all they will do is fein injury and point out that they are being persecuted for their beliefs; if one of their own Bishops tells them they have it wrong, then they cannot use that feeble defence.
I want to go with David and Angela above. But as long as any church wields power within society, especially for harm, I think it’s necessary to attempt correction when possible.
In a way, it’s hard to feel sympathy for Jeffrey John as a cleric. He bought in to a system that he knew does not accept him as he is. He tried to blunt the rejection by imposing celibacy upon himself (and his partner), thus removing the issue of sexual behavior outside marriage. The effort failed; the institution prevails. Big surprise, huh?
But John does cleanly expose the intolerance at the base of his “failure”: homosexuality itself, even when celibate, disqualifies the person. John’s experience makes this fact abundantly clear.
So, as long as the church can (and does) use its power to cause harm to gay people in local society, and in the world, I say more power to those inside who can–using their own experience–expose and bring to question the behaviors of the church.
Being a gay man in an openly homophobic organisation gives credence to there love the sinner hate the sin argument. I have often heard people use gay priests as a sign that the church is not homophobic.
Are you saying that one should never seek to change an organisation from within?
Not an organisation which is inherently homophobic! I will believe in there ability to be fair and reasonable with people no matter of there differences at about the same time I take up a belief in god. The church is founded on discrimination of some sort and wouldn’t function very well without it, therefor we shouldn’t try and change it it merely gives apologists a leg to stand on.
We live in a society which mainly realise’s that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is wrong but seeing gay men put themselves into roles where they are discriminated against (i.e. having to be celibate in a civil partnership) blurs the boundaries between “acceptable” discrimination and unacceptable discrimination.
So what you are really saying, is that because they have a different ideiological view to yours – that no one else should try to change from within … because that is contrary to your world view, and no other viewpoint on it matters?
Just because other people believe in God does not make them less valuable humans …
I disagree …
The underlying message I am getting from your argument is that gay people should not have a religious belief and even if they do they sould just lie down and accept discrimination …
That is homophobic in my view …
It’s fair enough to have rational and calm debate about theological and ideological issues and profoundly disagree ….
However, to then say that someone who believes something different to you should accept discrimination on the grounds of their orientation and belittle them when they speak out against such discrimination is saying that those people do not matter and they should nto be afforded respect or fairness.
I find you entire proposition wrong, unfair, prejudiced, and homophobic.
Disasgree with them because you profoundly disagree with their ideology, thats reasonable … but to say they then are unable to challenge discrimination against them is inhumane, wrong and immoral
I guess that would be a reasonable counterargument.
But this leaves me in two minds… on the one hand in an ideal world there would be LGBT equality all round and no pockets of resistance, but given the deep hostility that certain Christian sects demonstrate to gay equality I’m never quite sure whether their homophobia is a bug or a feature.
Do you stick with your homophobic sect in the hope that eventually they throw you a bone after seeing the error of their ways or do you take your business elsewhere? Other sects are available.
Leaving to one side the use of vocabulary which I find unnecessarily provocative …
I have two thoughts on what your response …
Firstly, leaving Dr Johns personal decisions about his denominational allegiances to one side for a second … LGBT people have been urging gay Christians and those who are strongly supportive of LGBT people in Christian circles (regardless of denomination) to stand up and be counted. There have been a number of examples of Christians doing this over recent months – taking a public and strong stance to support LGBT people and rights. This is an instance of Dr John standing up to prejudice against himself (in a semi public manner – and I do not blame him for being cautious on attributable statements whilst potential legal recourse is ongoing) on the grounds of his orientation. Its clearly stating that prejudice by the church on grounds of orientation must not happen. Its sad that the immediate response of some is to say that he should …
… not raise such concerns as he is employed by the church and should cave in to such discrimination.
Secondly, whilst I do not know Dr John, I suspect he is ardent in his beliefs. Reports state he is very capable at his work both as a cleric and manager. Surely, if it was any other organisation we would encourage Dr John to seek recourse for blatant orientation based discrimination – surely if we support challenging prejudice and discrimination in any workplace – AND if we are enocuraging Christians to speak out against homophobia, then he is EXACTLY the sort of case we should be encouraging?
Fair enough Stu. On reflection maybe my first response was a bit kneejerk.
On my more optimistic days I am persuaded by the notion of ‘change comes from within’, though it’s sometimes easy to forget as we seem to bring out the worst in the hardline Christian right.
Years of being treated as a political wedge issue does bring out my cynical side, so sorry if I came across as a git.
I guess a more positive example would be Father Paul Kelly’s recent campaign to end the Gay Panic defence, which I have to admire.
Perhaps Jeffery John could be seen as a kind of Rosa Parks figure.
I guess I’m open to being proven wrong on all this and if he can bring about change from within, good luck to him.
It is understandable that we become sceptical (which whether deliberately or not, is probably reinforced by a difference in ideological viewpoints) when the entire issue of homosexuality is used, as you rightly say, as a wedge …
I think in any organisation change management has to be both internal and external … there of course should be change within and Paul Kelly is a good very recent example (but there should be more of him) … but some change has to be almost imposed on organisations eg the MacPherson report forcing change on the police in response to racism (and whilst much good has been wrought there more needs to happen) …
I think Dr John could become a significant figure head in challenging church based prejudice and lead to external pressue for church to deal with their institutional homophobia (which like the insitutional racism in the police does not mean all clerics are homophobic – just some, and the institutions and processes).
I don’t think they’re being prejudiced; this is not about religious belief, but religious vocation. A man wanting to express his faith or belief is one thing, a man choosing to actively become a member of a religious organisation is different. I’d say it’s a human right to hold a belief but not a human right to be a member of a private club. As such, it’s entirely valid to suggest he brought this on himself. It’s not to say he should “accept” discrimination; rather that he should “expect” it and be prepared, as he clearly is, to fight against it when it inevitably arises. So I don’t sympathise with him because any fool would know this would happen, but I do respect him for challenging a deeply ingrained homophobia. Either it will result in failure and exposure of the church as truly repugnant, or it will succeed and we’ll have a more moderate church. Either way is a win for us, so he has my support if not my sympathy.
I agree with some and disagree with some of your comment …
Firstly, where I agree … I agree it is a human right to hold a belief or “faith” – whatever semantics one wishes to use to describe it …
I can see your argument about a private club, and it holds water to a point, but not entirely …
If that club (for example a gentlemans club) employs people then they must abide by the law of the land including employment law and the Equalities Act.
Now, whilst I appreciate there are exemptions (which I personally disagree with) for religious organisations – they are not total. I would argue that it appears in this case that there is not only discrimination on the grounds of orientation but also general unfairness, in terms of the alleged behaviour of the Archbishop by originally supporting then blocking appointment and failing to appoint on merit.
If the evidence supported the claims that a similar employee of a working mens club or private gym had been discriminated…
… in such a way – it is likely that a tribunal etc would find in favour of the employee. If such a private club has to abide by the law, then so should the church. There is also established case law which requires the church to recognise that they are employers and required to abide by employment law (in most respects).
Like you, I recognise this case will either bring a more moderate and inclusive church or expose bigotry in a remarkable manner. This is another reason, why I endorse and empathise with Dr John and his action.
Excellent comment sven, totally agree.
And yet it’s having Gay people in such organisation that can make a difference for the better.
Like anything it just takes time.
If you are black it’s probably not a good idea to sign up for the KKK.
Bart: [low voice] Hold it! Next man makes a move, the n|gger gets it!
Bart: [high-pitched voice] Oh, lo’dy, lo’d, he’s desp’it! Do what he sayyyy, do what he sayyyy!
Do you think the Church of England is comparable to the Ku Klux Klan? I assume that you are white?
I think it was fairly clear that I was exagerating to make a point.
Go for it mate and let nothing stand in your way.
God knows their is injustice against LGBT people around the world. It seems the only way to get justice today is hit them in their bank accounts by suing them for all they got for such injustice. If we all sue every time we can where there is an injustice against us we will change the world. At least this way it will be better than using more aggressive tactics to get Justice but even then there comes a time for that. Look at the African Americans in America who had to fight in the 1950′s and 1960′s to get their Equal and Civil Rights in a country who tells the world they are free.
As a gay Christian, I find this completely absurd. You can be free to find your own way around religion and around sexuality, but a bishop is a representative. Many Christians believe homosexuality to be ungodly, so why would they support him? This isn’t homophobia, it’s a question of finding an appropriate representative.
Why should a gay man not be representative? It sounds to me a lot like the “Good Samaritan” where even the priests cross the road to avoid the leper.
I think the dual role of MPs can be a useful metaphor in this context …
There will be that area where some constituents profoundly disagree with their MP eg a Labour MP with a Conservative consitutent or vice versa …. but nonetheless that would not (or should not) stop the MP campaigning on behalf of their consitituent when they are in genuine and real need eg injustice, disaster etc etc …
In the same way some clergy will profoundly disagree with the theology of their bishop but this should not and does not prevent the bishop providing necessary management and pastoral support for those clergy coming under their responsibility, including recognising that they should secure assistance from others where appropriate (this is the sign of a good manager) …
Its disingenuous to say that someone is not capable of managing others because the others disagree theologically with their orientation …
I wish Dr John well in his legal case …
Exactly. It is these particular Christians that are choosing to discriminate when they should be more accepting of humanity.
And many don’t find it so. Many think the world was made in 6 days. Leadership is not about pandering to some factions against others.
Absolutely. Given that there are many strand of theology within even one denomination eg CofE … then it would be a sign of extremely poor strategic level leadership if oversight of one manager (bishop) was removed from a subordinate (priest) because there was disparity between ideological viewpoints. Surely, it should be incumbant on a manager to lead whislt recognising differences in viewpoint? Unfortunately, the church took a weak and divisive decision in allowing leadership to be diluted when allowing some priests to choose not to be led by someone whose ideology did not match their own (issue of women priests). It was inevitable that there would be further dilution of leadership when challenge came on other theological issues.
However, none of that should divert us from the fact that Dr John has been outrageously discriminated against by a weak, callous and devious archbishop.
Yep and more fool them.
It’s blatant homophobia, end of.
And as another gay christian, I support it wholeheartedly. Bishops don’t just represent the homophobic parts of the church, they represent the whole church. The fact that he’s being blocked because of homophobia is a pretty clear sign that we need more tolerant leadership.
Well, as an example, take Rabbi Lionel Blue, an openly gay Jewish preacher who doesn’t tub-thump, but just quietly gets on with his job, and people love him for it. I am not Jewish, let alone religious, but he comes across as a warm, sensible, well-balanced human being. We need more like him in all faiths.
I hadn’t heard of him until now, but that could be due to my age. I suspect there are a lot like him in every religion, but they are getting on with it so quietly that no one knows about it.
What a disgrace! Sue the pants off them. We live in the 21st Century and we are still stuck on what goes on in someone’s bedroom – or what dirty little minds think goes on. The bigger shame is that the church misses out in the end. Close the Church of England down – it is archaic and irrelevant!
Some would, no doubt, withhold the kiss of fellowship from you.
It is worth pointing out that we yet to have our first female bishop in the Church of England, let alone a gay one. CofE traditionalists quote the Bible and it’s stance on women in church. Time for the CofE to move into the 21st Century and become all – inclusive – men (gay or straight) and women should be able to become bishops not on their gender, but on their ability to do their job.
I do not wish to see the Church fragment as there is a danger that we may end up with a homophobic right-wing faction. I am not a Christian myself (I am agnostic) but I acknowledge that there are gay Christians out there and some do contribute to this column.
By the way, one cannot help noticing that Jeffery John looks a bit like Elton John (no relation!).
We have had gay bishops – just not an open Diocesan one, the late Derek Rawcliffe – however I believe he was not in a relationship.
Indeed the Church of England equats being totally devisive which is why they should change the way religion is funded and sourced. They do nothing for freedom or democracy.
Great news! I am glad he is planning action, after all the queen had already approved his appointment as Bishop of Reading before he was forced to step down by the other old queens.
You’re a “member of the scat” community? Who is your sponsor? Fybogel? Metamucil? And who else is in the “community”? Dung beatles? I’m sorry Mr Rimmer, but you do not practise a “loving expression”; rather, you indulge in a paraphilic practice that should be discouraged. Shame on you for sullying this site with your depravity.
Oh Keith, you so sad!!
You’re a “member of the scat” community? Who is your sponsor? Fybogel? Metamucil? And who else is in the “community”? Dung beatles? I’m sorry Mr Rimmer, but you do not practise a “loving expression”; rather, you indulge in a paraphilic practice that should be discouraged. Shame on you for sullying this site with your depravity! And I’ll say it again!
Say it as much as you like your still a very sad and I’m guessing lonely person.
You anti-gay Christian trolls are truly disgusting, you exist in a mental hell of your own making.
See ya!… Wouldn’t wanna be ya!
About time…he’s obeying the CofE rules and he still doesn’t get his promotion. He’s gay and he’s celibate and he is in a CP. None of these are against CofE rules. Gay sex only is against their rules???.
Why hasn’t he had promotion. The only reason I can see is becuase he’s gay. That’s discrimination in my books and I hope he get as much support from Stonewall etc as her deserves.
I thought the CofE, Church of Scot, Catholics were at pains to say they weren’t homophobic and homophobia was a sin. Well if that’s the case then why hasn’t he been promoted?
Glad to see that tolerance reigns. For the second time on this site, I have posted against the prevailing mood and been denigrated without a rational debate. I love the smell of irony in the morning!
Churches have a right to discriminate when appointing staff with doctrinal responsibilities, and can hold bishops to different standards than clergy (e.g. banning women). The CofE’s problem is that it didn’t forbid gay bishops.
The courts may be asked whether churches have only the right to discriminate as necessary to conform to church doctrine, or a broader right to discriminate as they see fit, even if that goes beyond the official church position.
Your line of reasoning is a risky one for the church, because it’s common in discrimination cases in all walks of life: “We’d love to appoint someone black/gay/female/transgender, but our customers wouldn’t stand for it and so s/he wouldn’t be able to do the job.” Tribunals give this short shrift – invalidating this type of reasoning is a key purpose of discrimination law.
The courts are likely to accept that bishops have a special role, but may ask why, if a gay bishop is unacceptable, the CofE didn’t say so officially.
The anti-gay tradition of the church is not supported by scripture, homosexuality per se is not condemned by Christ nor in scripture, other than the possibility of David and Jonathan there is no description of homosexuality per se nor of homosexuals per se in the Bible.
Discrimination based on anti-gay prejudice can sometimes best be seen for what it is when scrutinised in a court of law.
I agree that its a tough precedent, but I do believe that there should be discretion. It is necessary to allow gay bishops, if only for the sake of PR and to facilitate the debate, but for me, the clincher is that they would be expected to offer spiritual leadership to people whose spiritual beliefs would set them against their bishop. Although the ‘customer is always right’ philosophy is dangerous, I think there is a case for it when the core responsibility is potentially compromised (an analogy would be appointing a white middle-class individual to head a charity for poor black youths).
Personally I’d rather see more openness from the Church – I believe in their right to block the appointment, but they should be honest in that the beliefs of the many matter. Gay bishops should be a theoretical possibility (as the official position is that celibate homosexuality is fine) but there is a valid scriptural argument that it is a sin and those who believe it should not be marginalised.
Keith, get a life.
Will be interesting to see if the Equality & Human Rights Commission wishes to express any views about the case. Perhaps Pink News should ask them.
I would striongly encourage PN to seek comment from the EHRC, Lambeth Palace and the Diocese of Oxford (under whom the Bishopric of Reading comes)
Good point dave, well worth looking out for.
I suppose Jeffrey John suffers from ‘battered wife syndrome’. Despiten the hatred and abuse and bigotry from his disgusting cult, like a battered wife Jeffery John cannot realise that he needs to escape from the cult’s toxic clutches and therefore cannot escape.
It’s sad that he is still attempting to stay involved in this absurd sect.
It has been his career up to now and by all accounts he has done what was required of him well but has simply hit a wall of prejudice blocking further promotion.
Jeffrey may not be qualified to do a proper job so what is he going to do if he leaves the church?… sign on for jobseekers allowance?… apply for a job at a local supermarket?… become a Quick fit tyre fitter?
I agree with everything else you say, but being a member of the clergy is very much a ‘proper job’, and being a bishop more so. Few other jobs require you to be prepared at all hours to be called out to sit with someone as they die, and to expect people to turn up at your house looking for help or refuge out of the blue, and to maintain and preserve listed buildings without sufficient funding, and to work with every age group, and do all of that without a single bad day.
And that’s before we get onto working with the PCC, the challenges that many vicars face of managing multiple parishes, the rare and short-lived holidays and the long hours.
You said it Galadriel.
Your a strange one sin’t ya!?
If it is strange to want to escape from an abusive relationship then yes, I suppose I am strange.
Jeffrey Johns seems determined to say in a vile cult which hates him.
But he’s NOT strange?
So realistic alternative please….
That’s his job. Don’t hate the priest, hate the religion.
Good. Maybe this will go some way to helping the religious bigot think again or twice before spouting out their vile crap.
Here’s hoping he is successful.
Mind you watch the Christian Institute over this, I bet they’re gearing up for some classic bigotry.
I am not an Anglican and the way it fudges issues such as homosexuality is one reason why. I have friends who are Anglicans, however, who believe bishops should both be doctrinally orthodox and spiritually sound.
Dr. John fails on both counts and that imo that ought to settle the matter as far as the church goes.
Strange the Archbishop actively encouraged his application and many thought his achievements and ability better than any other candidate …
Strange he was even announced as the Bishop of Reading …
So one would suggest any variances on doctrine or spirituality were deemed of such insignificance that he was an appropriate person to be a bishop, then people whinged about his homosexuality (his celibate homosexuality at that) …
Then the church, to put it bluntly, shafted him …
Stu: you may be right – if I was running the CofE (just as well I’m not) I would a person’s doctrinal position and spirituality will be high on my priority list (and that includes adopting the historical teaching of the church on marriage and sexuality).
Sad to say that is often not on the priority list when appointments are made, as you point out. It seems political expediency and placading the “whingeing” are higher on the list.
I have friends who are Anglicans who believe that bishops should represent their congregations and embody Christ’s teachings of tolerance and acceptance. Whose Anglican friends trump whose?
I hope that LGBT people in the UK do not waste one breath or one penny on assisting this man’s cause. He has had his skin in the game for 30 years, has known about their bigotry for that time, participated in it, collaborated in it and now he has made his bed he has to bloody lie in it. I would be considerably more concerned about the immediate peril to the lives and safety of LGBT people in nations where his odious sect has exported their bigotry without censure than one man’s bleating about not being able to join the big boy’s table.
Brilliant. As a life long member of the C of E and a PCC member I hope he receives large damages against the homophobic hiearchy.With one or two exceptions they do not deserve to be in the church let alone leading it. more power to your elbow Dr John.
Geoffrey John us a good, honest and accaemically brilliant man with a deep spirituality and belief. He’s a wonderful theologian and for this to happen to him twice, beggars belief.
That the sort of man he is, is reflected in the stance he is now taking – the C of E bigots need shaking up and made to realise that they just can’t live in their ivory towers, many of them denying themselves the pleasure of their own sexuality (many of them not though!) and laying down the law for those very people who have a need of a spiritual base in their lives.
Good on yer, Dr John, let’s kick a*se!
“This is not a case of demanding something he is not entitled to but a way of resolving the flawed voting process that prevented him being made the Bishop of Southwark.”
How is it flawed, he was previously appointed Bishop of Reading by the same process.
This blog from changing attitudes casts an interesting light on the situation: http://changingattitude.org.uk/archives/4974