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Archbishop of Canterbury: Changing culture with gay marriage laws would be wrong

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  1. Cultures adapt and change. It is the church that is failing in this respect.

    1. Correct it does. Such as the fact that before the current form of Christian marriage in Britain a man chose his wife by kidnapping and raping her. Or in ancient greece paedophillia (but not gay marriage) was widespread. Cultures might change but truth, beauty and goodness Don’t.

      1. billy wingartenson 29 Feb 2012, 11:29pm

        the babblings of an old man who is watching his empire crumble under his feet. One of these days the state church and the catholic church will have to declare bankruptcy. Someone needs to find a good nursing home for the last of the english church;s “popes”

        and most of Europe and the western world will sing hallelujah.

        Religion – the curse of mankind, cause of most wars, source of division rather then bringing us together

        And what gave us torture and burnings at the stake lest someone dare to challenge the fairy tales of the “faith”

        UNtil Jesus returns and brings eg our dead relatives back alive, the churches should be proscecuted under corruption laws for selling insurance based on words from a time of ignorance and superstition.

        I think its going to be a very long wait.

    2. True and may I add,

      “Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights”


    3. The Church is doing more to drive a wedge between people and cause hate crimes today more than ever with it’s hate speech and anti gay talk and actions. These cause people and children to act out against gays and are the criminals who are harming gays by beating them up and calling them names and killing them. The people who do these crimes need to be arrested and put in prison so they can not harm people in the name of their religion, much like removing a terrorist from society to keep them from harming people because of their beliefs that they force on others.

  2. There was a time (before he became archbishop) when I had a fair bit of respect for Williams’ liberal stance on things, but this is ridiculous.

    Does he not realise that a lot of the advances in terms of equality have been made by laws pushing culture forward to a more positive place? Without a push, for example, for equal treatment in providing goods and services, we would likely still be in the situation where people could freely (and without any consequence) refuse to serve memebrs of the LGBT community.

    I despair when even an allegedly liberal Christian spouts this rubbish.

    1. Goose/gander time: If religion wants to tell the people – through their elected representatives – what to do in the civil arena, it’s time for the people to start interfering in all religious matters. First, no more funny hats and men’s dresses in churches. Second, update all this silly thee/thou nonsense to the 21st century. Third, no more male genital mutilation on religious grounds. You get the idea – I’m sure you can come up with some initiatives that would counter “religious freedom” with “atheist freedom”! BTW, Why isn’t the Archbishop elected by popular vote of everyone just like all the other politicians?

    2. He wouldn’t want to offend his Sharia law friends now would he?

  3. “positive “change” must come from cultures themselves”

    Actually you stupid bearded twit.

    That is exactly what is happening and you and your god bothering ilk are standing in the way of it.

    1. I have to say I despise the LGBT supporters and apologists of these organisations. They may enjoy the socials but that does not justify paying your subs to an organisation that despises you, or at best regards you as an harmless but lost soul.

  4. How they responded to this story on last night’s Sky News paper preview

    1. Thanks, Carole Malone, but I think people who have civil partnerships are most certainly making a declaration of love.

      1. I don’t think she was saying that those involved in in Civil Partnerships aren’t making a declaration of love, but the legal set up comes across as a much more frigid Marriage, which sounds a little more romantic – and therefore why should Gays be denied that right.

    2. James Max wipes the floor with the bearded one.

  5. We pay the same taxes as everyone else, give us the same right to marry as everyone else.

    1. Actually the churches pay less tax than anyone so we should have more rights than them lol

  6. 2 champers sips to being a diva 29 Feb 2012, 10:31am

    There is a seedy conditionality espoused by all tones of Christians these days. What a lot of energy they waste in both failing to question the nature of their own motives and failing to engage with the concept of what we talk about when we talk about love.

    When they talk about this about being a struggle for power? They made it thus.
    Sick of these numpties and their apologists.

  7. So, institutionalised discrimination against gays has “no justification” unless it’s discrimination that this silly old man approves. What a shallow, false argument this git puts forward to justify his own prejudices. The world will be a better and more just place after he’s dead.

  8. TWhen the Archbishop says that “human rights law “falls short of a legal charter to promote change in institutions””, here the Archbishop is entirely wrong.

    Human rights are inate. They go beyond the boundaries of organisations or states. They even go beyond the laws themselves. The laws help quantify them and identify them. The rights remain regardless of how they are quantified.

    Organisations or states can restrict rights or prevent people from being able to exercise their rights, but that is what is wrong. That is what is immoral. That does not prevent the rights existing, just uses inhumane, unloving and draconian measures to prevent those rights being responsibly exercised.

    Yes we are seeking a cultural change. A change to a position where the religious no longer have special rights. Where they have equal rights with every other person and relgiious belief of affinity does not grant exemption from reasonable laws.

    Equal and fair law. Properly protected human rights.

    1. There is a danger if religious organisations have special arrangements that this is tantamount to several different strands of law similar to Sharia law. Its a destiny that ends in chaos and tragedy.

      Fairness and respect for human rights and ones fellow humans ensures the best possible framework for imparitality and integrity.

    2. theotherone 29 Feb 2012, 10:42am

      ‘Human rights are inate. They go beyond the boundaries of organisations or states. They even go beyond the laws themselves. The laws help quantify them and identify them. The rights remain regardless of how they are quantified.’

      and that’s the final word on this and it should be printed backwards on the bishop’s head so he sees it every time he looks in the mirror.

  9. Christine Beckett 29 Feb 2012, 10:39am

    The problem is that like of lot of Anglican “liberals”, he is a moral coward, unwilling to face down the fundamentalist elements in his own church.

    He has become obsessed with the idea that his “duty” is to keep the Anglican communion together, and so is prepared to bend over backwards to the hard-liners, in the mistaken belief that they will meet him halfway.

    They won’t, of course, and because he lacks the courage to stand up to them, he ends up spouting puerile arguments like this instead in order to placate them.

    The end result will be his church dies even faster, but he is too much of a fool to see that.

    1. Alas I have to agree with you. This was the same man who spoke out against the Church jumping on the popularist homophobia wagon in the late 1980s and signed the Cambridge accord – yet he silent when his own views and words are needed.

      A pity really.

  10. Mumbo Jumbo 29 Feb 2012, 10:39am

    What has a civil marriage got to do with religion?

    And what right does he have to dictate who other religions choose to marry?

  11. Irrelevent people trying to be part of the discussion.

    No one cares what you think you silly old git

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  13. The Archbishop doesn’t seem to have noticed that early Christianity endorsed same-sex relationships. *facepalm*
    And he is wrong to say that laws do not seek to change culture. Of course they do. When slavery, bear-baiting, and other evils were made illegal, those things were still happening, and the law sought to change that. When women were given the vote, it may have been in response to changing culture, but it changed it even further still. But anyway, as someone else commented, culture has already changed and the majority of people want same-sex marriage.
    There are loads of Christians (including Anglicans) and other people of religion (Unitarians, Quakers, Pagans, Liberal Jews) campaigning for marriage equality, so you can’t say they’re all retrogressive idiots.

    1. Could you substantiate your claim that early Christianity endorsed same-sex relationships? What evidence do you have and is it reliable? And may I remind you that it was Christians who worked themselves to the bone to abolish New World slavery, even getting the country to the agree to voluntary econocide to pay off slave owners. Who says the majority of people want same-sex marriage? Who’s asked the 12 million plus in the UK who are or have been married? In addition, I would question that same-sex marriage is even feasible, as the point of marriage is diversity in unity i.e. the different genders in complementarity. No gender difference, no marriage. If we don’t have the same understanding of what marriage entails, then how can we be sure that people know whether or not they want it for same-gender couples?

      1. There are numerous examples Gail, I shall dig out some references for you and get back to you later on. However, one of them includes marriages of same sex couple conducted by the church in the Vatican (in the Vatican official records)

      2. May I also remind you that other “Christians” worked others to the bone in defence of Slavery also? You can’t pick and choose which bits of history represent Christianity, it’s a very broad church – has been for nearly all of its existence. No sect has the right to tell the other what to think or do let alone tell those of altogether different religions and of none what to do!

      3. @Gail

        Whilst I am digging out the historical examples of church supporting, encouraging and endorsing same sex marriage. I would remind you that a recent poll put 61% in favour of supporting equal marriage in the UK and around 70% in Ireland.

      4. FranklyBewildered 29 Feb 2012, 11:45am

        only 12million people out of nearly 70million in this country are married or have been married? if that’s correct, then a very small minority of people have any say in the matter at all. What are the rest doing, incidentallhy?

      5. And there was me thinking that marriage was about two people, irrespective of whether they are same sex or not, declaring their love for one another. What a fool I have been all this time!

      6. Gail,

        There is a long history world wide of same sex unions. These unions have varied between informal “unsanctioned” relationships through to those that have been formalised with highly ritualised unions.

        There is clear evidence of significant numbers of same sex unions in Ancient Greece and Rome and in China (particularly in the Fujian province).

        Same sex unions continued in the time of the early church and the first recorded prohibition was in Theodisian Code around 342 AD by the emperor Constantius II which prohibited same sex marriage in Rome and ordered all those so married to be executed. Some of those married in same sex unions include the emperors Nero and Elagabalus.

        Famous ancient Greeks in same sex union include Harmodius and Aristogiton, Pelopidas and Epaminondas and Alexander and Bogoas. It is true that the ancient Greeks did not use the Greek word for marriage in connection with these partnerships, but they were clearly given the respect and understanding …

        1. … of marriage. The Romans however clearly did understand many of the same sex unions as being actual marriages.

          In the early Roman Empire there are numerous recorded same sex marriages. For example, Nero married Sporus in a very public ceremony with all the solmenities of matrimony and lived with him as his spouse. A friend gave away the spouse as required by law. The marriage was celebrated in both Greece and in Rome in lavish public ceremonies.

          There are also the cases of St Serge and St Bacchus, the church publication from the 10th and 11th centuries (Office of Same sex Union), the same sex marriage of Byzantine Emperor Basil I (867-886), the chronicling of same sex formalised unions in Ireland in 12th-13th century by Gerald of Wales etc

          Also, Boswell found records of same sex unions in such diverse archives as those in the Vatican, in St. Petersburg, in Paris, Istanbul, and in Sinai, covering a period from the 8th to 18th centuries. Nor is he the first to make such a …

          1. … discovery. The Dominican Jacques Goar (1601-1653) includes such ceremonies in a printed collection of Greek prayer books.

            While homosexuality was technically illegal from late Roman times, it was only from about the 14th century that anti-homosexual feelings swept western Europe. Yet same sex unions continued to take place.

            At St. John Lateran in Rome (traditionally the Pope’s parish church) in 1578, as many as 13 couples were “married” at Mass with the apparent cooperation of the local clergy,

            “taking communion together, using the same nuptial Scripture, after which they slept and ate together,” according to a contemporary report.

            Another woman to woman union is recorded in Dalmatia in the 18th century. Many questionable historical claims about the church have been made by some recent writers in The Irish Times newspaper.

            or much of the last two millennia, in parish churches and cathedrals throughout Christendom from Ireland to Istanbul and in the heart of Rome itself, …

          2. … homosexual relationships were accepted as valid expressions of a God-given ability to love and commit to another person, a love that could be celebrated, honoured and blessed and celebrated with the Eucharist.

        2. Dr Robin Guthrie 29 Feb 2012, 1:48pm

          You do know you are unlikely to get a reply.

          Most religous types that put up manufactured strawmen, always scurry away when their arguments are blown apart.

          Truth, reality and facts is something they have difficulty with.

          This is probably why they succumb to religion in the first place,

          1. Nice to back up arguments with facts though, Dr Guthrie ;-)

          2. Seems you were right, Dr Guthrie

            Thought you might be though

            Gail has pedalled her bigotted theories and then when evidence shows she is wrong, she runs away … coward!

      7. Gail –

        Google John Boswell, and do your own research.

      8. It’s certainly feasible and it’s coming like it or not…

  14. This guy used to be intelligent, and would always put forward good debate on the issues. Suddenly, it seems as though bull***t is falling out of his mouth. Come on Bish, sort yourself out and get back to the good old guy that you once were, and stop peddling a minority view from some of those in your church to keep the peace internally!

  15. Gay marriage simply cannot happen as it is an oxymoron. The purpose of marriage is to have sex and gay people simply cannot have sex. Anal sex is like oral urinating or nasal eating – they simply donot exist. Anal sex is no different to mutal masterbating and I challenge one single person to find me one difference. The problem with trying to say it does exist is the fact it uses Descartes’ view of the human being which is totally flawed within itself.

    1. Interesting, Adam, although I think lots of people would disagree with you about the purpose of marriage being merely about sex. Animals can have sex without marriage and so can humans, although not gay ones, admittedly. Marriage is meant to be about mutual service and submission, a complementarity of genders, diversity in unity – at least that’s how I think about it.

      1. @Gail

        Just re – read your post.

        I think you are saying that gay people can not have sex. If animals can have sex without marriage and so can humans (but not gay ones) … then it seems not only are you saying gay people can not have sex, but that gay people are not human.

        I can assure you I am both human and able to have sex. I can also assure you that you are an immoral bigot!

    2. Adam, Adam, Adam ….

      What a sheltered world you live in if sex is merely penis and vagina in a missionary position!

      There are so many different forms of sex, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual.

      Your argument that marriage is for sex can not mean that it is just for opposite sex, because I can assure you that as much as many heterosexuals engage in anal sex,so when I do with my partner, its most definitely sexual!

      If you want some education on how it is sex, I am sure plenty people would be willing to give a demonstration – since you seem to need educating.

      Your premise that marriage is for (heterosexual) sex only is just a bizaqrre mutation from its purely for the purpose of procreation. That one debars elderly couples later in life in love, thyose who are infertile etc etc. So you twist it and set your own rules and (strangely!) they are homophobic rules.

      Get and grip. Get a life!

      1. Exactly. And I wouldn’t consider anal sex, whether with two men or one woman and one man, to be sex at all. The same with contraceptive sex.

        1. EIther you are a troll or brainwashed by indoctirination …

        2. At least you accept that you are arguing with a bizarre mutated form of argument that is homophobic and inhumane in nature

        3. Time you bought a dictionary, sweetie. What you think words mean is essentially irrelevant for those who live in the real world.

        4. Mumbo Jumbo 29 Feb 2012, 1:34pm

          Adam, you seem to spend a great deal of time thinking about man on man sex.

        5. @Adam

          The solution is if you don’t like anal sex – don’t do it …

          If you don’t think marriage is right between two people of the same sex – don’t marry someone the same sex as yourself …

          It does not then follow that you should require others to live by your dubious “standards”

    3. Surely 99.9% of sex is about giving and receiving pleasure rather than procreating. In this way gays and straights are entirely the same. We all have different tastes sexually but you seem to be allowing yours to justify discrimination against people who simply want to declare their love for each other and secure their futures in society. What problem can anyone possibly have with that, Adam? You sound very silly.

      1. I note that not one of you has found a difference between mutal masterbation and anal sex. My point proven perfectly. All of your arguments are based upon rhetoric and appeals to authority; making them logically fallacious.

        1. Why does the (bizaare) analgous comparison of mutual mastrubation and anal sex have anything to do with marriage.

          Perhaps I am wrong, I thought marriage was to do with love, commitment and releationship not missonary heterosexual sex, mutual masturbation or anal sex!

        2. So how many times have you had sex?
          Were you married to everyone you ever had sex with? Did you aim to conceive a child every time? No? Then your so-called philosophical argument re. what constitutes sex in your narrow opinion is like so much ‘oral urinating’.
          Unless of course you’ve never had sex, in which case you’re out of your league. If you wrote “The Karma Sutra” or “The Joy of Sex” they would have been 2 page pamplets

        3. BTW, if you can’t think of a difference between jerking off and anal sex, that’s aught to be proof that when it comes to sex you don’t know your arse from your elbow.

          1. Find me the difference then. All you’re doing is engaging in a serious of sad, laughable and pathetic ad homs, appeals to authority, and rhetoric. All of which is logically fallacious.

          2. Adam

            Tell me is marriage to do with love or is it to do with vaginal sex, anal sex or mutual masturbation?

            If you are going to accuse others of using ad hominems, try not to use them yourself!

          3. “The purpose of marriage is to have sex”
            Logical fallacy. Begs the question why do some unmarried people have sex, and why do some people in marriages have none? Also non-sequitur – Does not necessarily follow.
            Also Fallacy of Division i.e. that an aspect of some marriages equals the whole.
            “The problem with trying to say it [anal sex] does exist is the fact it uses Descartes’ view of the human being which is totally flawed within itself.”
            Logical fallacy… shifting the burden of proof… you’ve arbitarilly ringfenced one semantic definition of a word to exclude definitions you don’t like. See also Etymological fallacy/ No true Scotsman fallacy.
            Don’t talk to us about fallacies, when your own rhetoric is on such shaky foundations.

          4. proof that when it comes to sex you don’t know your arse from your elbow.

            Poor Adam’s certainly making a fist of it.

        4. Adam: “I note that not one of you has found a difference between mutal masterbation and anal sex”

          Yep, because everyone’s ignored it because it’s a stupid/weird thing to say that is irrelvant and makes no sense whatsoever.

          Why are you so obsessed with gay sex? You’d be better off speaking to someone about your own sexual feelings than trying to repress them by hitting out at others.

        5. Adam. Mutual masturbation is when people stimulate each other’s genitals. The term is usually used to mean that two people stimulate each other manually. That means, with their hands. The clue is in the word “masturbation” – it’s like when one touches oneself, only with a better angle and with someone else.

          Anal sex is when a person inserts his penis into the anus of another person.

          These are two completely different sex acts.

    4. FranklyBewildered 29 Feb 2012, 12:45pm

      funny, if we can’thave sex why is everyone so upset about us having sex?

    5. @ Adam

      (a) Funny then that gay marriage does in fact happen in countries like The Netherlands and Spain – I’m sure they’d appreciate being informed by you that it ‘simply cannot’ happen; and

      (b) Thank you for informing us that anal sex isn’t sex. I see you’re well acquainted with the concept of the oxymoron.

  16. I hope all the gay Christians (especially C of E ones) telling us how we must be nice to them because Christians are really quite homophile will take note. Get out of the institution or face legitimate and severe criticism for good old fashioned hypocrisy.

    1. Harry, the Bible says everyone is of equal worth in the eyes of God. Just because people aren’t good at treating others as God would wish doesn’t mean their belief system is wrong or that they are hypocrites. Most people have ideals that they don’t live up to. In addition, Christianity demands as a prerequisite that you accept you just ain’t good enough to reach the moral standards God requires. Failure to treat people equally is inevitable until the Christian a) sees things God’s way and b) grows more godly in character. That takes time. Please be patient.

      1. Sorry.

        Fresh out of patience.

        Is 2000 years not enough time for Christians to behave and civilize themselves.

      2. @Gail

        So let me try and interpret what you are saying …

        Are you saying that because we are not perfect and all fall short of that, that this justifies the Archbishops or other Christians homophobia?

      3. I am too old to have patience while this country’s major Christian institution threatens (I think with complete lack of success) to wreck my marriage and my rights.

      4. Why don’t you try living life in reality and not by what some outdated piece of fiction says you should? Form your own opinions FFS

    2. Harry

      Not in the CofE

      The Archbishop is demented if he thinks any of his comments make sense

      I would encourage all like minded gay Christians to consider Unitariam, MCC, Quakers or a demonstrably gay supporting church – which if the leadership of the CofE is anything to go by (with the exception of the Bishop of Salisbury, 100 Diocese of London priests, John Jeffrey’s and a multiude of others!) is not being led in anything other than a homophobic manner.

      Unitarians are a bit more honest!

      1. I agree with Zack (I think Christianity as a set of beliefs is somewhat stone age, but that it another matter).

  17. Dr Williams said in his speech that same-sex marriage law was wrong because it tried to impose cultural change.

    By his logic the law giving women voter rights was wrong because it tried to impose cultural change, it would be also wrong to allow women in saudi arabia to drive cars because it tries to impose cultural change. yet anther indefensible argument/logic when it comes to equal marriage. it must be embarrassing for the government to take seriously arguments coming from the opposing side

    1. Women bishops, interracial marriage, abolition of slavery, rights for the disabled, child welfare …

      They all required both legal and cultural change – were they wrong?

    2. Did you not read the underlying meaning of Dr W’s speech? Giving women the vote was a legal change, not a cultural one, because it gave women the same legal rights as men. Civil partners have the same legal rights as married folk, which is surely correct, but marriage itself means something specific within our culture and that is what the Archbishop is telling the Government to leave alone. I cannot expect my foot to do the same job as my hand just because I decide to call it by the same name – doing that won’t help me put my eye shadow on using my toes! My hand and my foot are equal in that they are the end points of my limbs and have five digits, but they are not the same. Marriage is a particular thing and same-sex marriage is impossible as it destroys the whole meaning of the word.

      1. Gail

        If you think giving women the vote was just a legal change and not a cultural one then your impression of cultural change is somewhat different to mine!

      2. FranklyBewildered 29 Feb 2012, 12:44pm

        what is the difference between a legal change giving women the vote and a legal change giving same sex couples equal marriage rights? Giving women the vote didnt take the vote away from men. Same sex marriage won’t take marriage from heteros.

        BOTH are legal and cultural changes – for the better.

      3. What about divorce then – are you unaware that the CoE has, several times, altered its view of the acceptability of divorce?

      4. @gail
        of course i did and the conclusion is that under immense pressure from conservative element from within CofE, he was put, knowing his liberal views, in a very uncomfortable position where he had to defense the indefensible and as a result he came up with illogical gibberish

      5. @Gail

        Try telling that the the gay couples married in Mexico City, Argentina, Holland, Spain, New York, Canada, South Africa, Portugal, Denmark etc etc

        Did it destroy the meaning of the word there. NO – academic research shows same sex marriage strengthened heterosexual marriage in Scandinavia.

        What destroys marriage is divorce

  18. So no law can be introduced unless everyone agrees with it?

    Fortunately we humans have devised a wonderful invention to settle what we do when we can’t all agree.

    It’s called democracy.

    Whether the coalition goes through with this or not, the democratic process will bring marriage equality to the UK in the next few years.

    But perhaps the Archbishop would like a different system of government. We know he favours allowing religions to control family law.

    To whom would he entrust the regulation of national “culture”, if not to elected representatives? Would he like a cultural commission of Daily Mail readers? Or perhaps a network of village busybodies to determine “How it was in my young day”.

    Dr Williams has contorted his mind so far by trying to please everyone that he no longer makes any sense at all.

  19. “institutionalised discrimination against gays has “no justification” in lawful societies and is similar to racial prejudice”.
    And institutional discrimination against gays is precisely what the Church of England practises.
    Does he not see his own hypocrisy?

  20. George Broadhead 29 Feb 2012, 11:37am

    Christine Beckett wrote:

    “The problem is that like of lot of Anglican “liberals”, he is a moral coward, unwilling to face down the fundamentalist elements in his own church.

    He has become obsessed with the idea that his “duty” is to keep the Anglican communion together, and so is prepared to bend over backwards to the hard-liners, in the mistaken belief that they will meet him halfway.

    They won’t, of course, and because he lacks the courage to stand up to them, he ends up spouting puerile arguments like this instead in order to placate them.

    The end result will be his church dies even faster, but he is too much of a fool to see that.”

    How right you are Christine!

    1. But he’s up against the likes of that hell hag, Andrea Megamouth Williams — he’s got his head in hands at 1:07. Less than half clap at the end, thank goodness.

  21. Scott Lovely 29 Feb 2012, 11:43am

    By his reasoning laws abolishing slavery, which is clearly a cultural thing, should never be enacted.

    1. tinmaninoz 1 Mar 2012, 9:29am

      How is slavery a cultural thing? It seems to be completely against everyone’s notion of human rights. Otherwise why countries denounce each other for allowing it to continue? Do YOU think it’s okay? Really? And if you don’t, then how is it cultural? We don’t have slaves in my part of the country!

  22. The concept of marriage predates the Christian church so they cannot claim it.

  23. Isn’t this the donkey who said he welcomed Sharia law in this country?

    Or was that another donkey?

    1. Surely you mean ass!
      Yes, it was the allegedly intellectually super-brilliant Rowan Williams who said that.

  24. George Broadhead 29 Feb 2012, 11:49am

    Harry wrote:

    The Archbishop is demented if he thinks any of his comments make sense

    I would encourage all like minded gay Christians to consider Unitariam, MCC, Quakers or a demonstrably gay supporting church – which if the leadership of the CofE is anything to go by (with the exception of the Bishop of Salisbury, 100 Diocese of London priests, John Jeffrey’s and a multiude of others!) is not being led in anything other than a homophobic manner.

    Unitarians are a bit more honest!

    Quite right, but perhaps some gay Christians will consider ditching superstitious beliefs altogether and espouse the LGBT friendly Humanist outlook.

    1. George,

      It was me who gave the comment you quote, not Harry (he agreed with me – although not my faith).

      As a gay Christian I am passionate about gay rights and freedom of (and from) religion. Human rights are my key interest.

      I find it disappointing that you suggest that I should ditch my faith. Thats my decision to make, not yours. I condemn the Archbishop utterly. My faith is (largely) personal. It does not impact on you, nor does your humanism impact on me. I do not seek to convert you to Christianity, I do not take kindly to being told to consider becoming a total humanist.

      For the record there are aspects of humanism I do endorse. I find your lack of respect for me and other gay Christians or gay friendly Christians disappointing.

      1. Zack, I commend your commitment to human rights, but your views do look very silly (I mean you believe, against the evidence – that’s what faith means – in a virgin birth and a man who rose from the dead – are we supposed to treat such ideas with respect?). And remember the only reason you are a believer is, I expect that your parents suffered from similar delusions and forced them on you. George is ore than entitled to engage with you on the subject if he wants.

        Nevertheless I personally prepared to say that gay campaigners for human rights have bigger fish to fry than you provided that you do not adhere to our enemies by attending a church of a gay unfriendly organisation such as the C of E. In that case all bets are off and you are a traitor.

        1. @Harry

          I could have long theological debates about hsitorical narratives, etimology and anthropological evidence. However, this is neither the right arena nor is it appropriate. Neither is your condescending and arrogant tone about what I am entitled to believe or not.

          I particularly find that your comment “gay campaigners for human rights have bigger fish to fry than you provided that you do not adhere to our enemies by attending a church of a gay unfriendly organisation such as the C of E. In that case all bets are off and you are a traitor.” is beyond arrogant and entirely offensive. We have debated many times on here and I have made it perfectly clear that I am not CofE yet you leave the suggestion in the nuance of your comment that I might not be telling the truth. You also imply that as I am a gay Christian that the Christian element means I can not be a gay campaigner. Let me tell you I am.

          My faith is real and matters to me. My orientation matters to me. I see …

          1. no conflict in this and if you do then to be frank its your problem, not mine.

            I will continue to stand up for gay rights, including yours. I will also stand up for your right to humanist, be in a chess club or whatever else you want to do. If you wish to deny me my right to freedom of religion whilst I defend your right to freedom from religion, well personally I think that speaks volumes of who is the more accepting, tolerant, moral and thoughtful.

          2. I am perfectly prepared to accept your word that you are not a member of the C of E. I had forgotten that you had said so and I did not intend to assert that you were lying. if it bears that nuance then although I cannot see it I am happy to make it clear that I have no reason whatsoever to assume, and do not assert, that you are a liar. I am sorry that I did forget that.


            Christianity is a choice. It is not, like sexual orientation, a state of being. You are entitled to believe what you like. But George and I are entitled to suggest to you that you ditch your outdated and superstitious beliefs and choose for reason rather than faith. You should not interpret that as an assertion that you for some reason are not entitled to hold those beliefs. But you do not have a right to stop people taking you up on them.

          3. @Harry

            Firstly, Thank you for your apology. My mention of not being a member of the CofE has been on this very thread and in previous discussions we have had. So, whether this was the intention or not, I took your suggestion that I might be a member of the CofE as a questioning of the integrity of my statement that I am not. It appears to have been an oversight on your part. Thank you for acknowledging this.

            Not that it is something I would ever do (particularly in this arena) but if I were to suggest someone consider reviewing their world view to consider mine based on my faith – you would stamp down on me and claim I was evangelising and seeking to convert. So why when a humanist suggests a Christian should leave their faith behind and adopt a humanist world view can this not be treated with the same affront and offence in reverse. One rule for one and not for the other?

            I see no impediment to my being able to stand strongly for gay rights in being a Christian.

  25. Craig Nelson 29 Feb 2012, 11:56am

    I think the reception to this speech is driven by the headlines. The speech is long and convoluted and difficult to read but I think there’s a lot positive about it like defending anti discrimination laws and the law on good s and services and in particular stressing the wrongfulness of laws outlawing homosexuality.

    Which is very positive. As to marriage equality we know he doesn’t support that and he doesn’t really argue against marriage equality in the speech anyway (in spite of the headlines’ over simplification).

    Even though he isn’t supporting us on marriage equality he is supporting us (in the international sphere) on a lot of other areas like decriminalisation, hate speech and protection from discrimination. The glass is half full.

    1. You can not half support human rights

  26. Robert in S. Kensington 29 Feb 2012, 12:14pm

    What I find so hypocritical about Williams and his opposition was expected of course, is that long before there was any discussion regarding CPs, he and others weren’t the slightest bit concerned if we were discriminated against in the delivery of goods and services and other equality related issues.

    What this bonehead and his rabble just don’t understand is that marriage is owned by the state, in particular civil marriage which has no religious or procreation mandate. The state issues marriage certificates and licences, not religious denominations. I think it’s about time our society started looking at civil marriage for all as the legal and binding one, identical to the more civilised French model. There are some Anglican clergy who believe that only those who are regular church goers should be accorded a religious marriage. I agree with that. Why be a hypocrite and have a church wedding when you’re not even a worshipper?

  27. I do laugh when the Anglican church talks of “damage to the institution of marriage”. The entire church was created because a man wanted a divorce.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 29 Feb 2012, 1:21pm

      Exactly, Andrew, it was in fact founded on adultery, annulments and divorce as well as unbridled sex with women who had no say as to whom they should marry. Such hypocrisy! It really makes them look like idiots when they start making illogical statements in which there is NO factual evidence to support any of it.

      1. Dr Robin Guthrie 29 Feb 2012, 1:41pm

        The whole sorry edifice was built to appease King Henry VIII’s bollocks

  28. Paddyswurds 29 Feb 2012, 12:24pm

    “Rights laws shouldn’t be used to change culture” These are the very same words used by the the Abrahamic cults to try blocking the repeal of slavery. They even quoted (because it suited them) from the Old testament about son gibberish that said their pixie in the sky sanctioned slavery. This old fool should be consigned to an old peoples home where he should be kept in isolation to keep him from bothering other residents.

  29. Paddyswurds 29 Feb 2012, 12:43pm

    where has my post disappeared to…grrr

    1. Paddyswurds

      If its nots there when you post, right click refresh and it usually reappears!

      1. or in Chrome, “reload”.

  30. Like same sex marriage equality has not already been introduced and thriving in 10 countries since 2001 with a further 10 countries with proposals in place to follow suit.

    There seems to be a total denial of reality going on…perhaps not surprising considering Rowan Williams job, but as marriage has already been made inclusive to allow same sex couples to marry it is impossible to speak about the redefinition of marriage now, it has already happened.

    The reality of existing same sex marriage in an increasing number of countries and jurisdictions is reflected by all major dictionaries in the UK who have since 2001 included same sex marriage in their definitions of marriage.

    The church neither owns marriage nor does it own our language and culture. It is being hijacked by a group of people who are nostalgic for a return to the religious privileges they enjoyed in the past, always at others expense, and now they having difficulty adjusting to a 21st century balance of rights.

    1. “Religious beliefs are not a basis upon which to affirm or deny civil rights”


      1. Tradition is not a legitimate reason for the law to discriminate against a whole class of people.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 29 Feb 2012, 1:25pm

      Well said! They also cannot provide any factual evidence to support theri claims and the manner in which same-sex marriage has harmed heterosexuals or prevented them from marrying. I’d like idiot Williams to explain to us how our marrying will harm his marriage? Has he produced any factual reports from the governments of the 10 countries where it is legal for us to marry and if not, can he explain or better yet, produce one example of any negative impact on society or heterosexual marriage, civil or religious? I wonder if he’s signed the Coalition for Marriage petition yet?

  31. May a pox fall on your Rowan Williams you sickening bigot.

    Message to these unelected ‘bishops’:

    F*** YOU. How dare you try to pervert our democracy by meddling with our laws to permit your disgusting cults to discriminate.

  32. Paul Williams 29 Feb 2012, 1:10pm

    Well said, “a moral coward”. And people wonder why I am an atheist. Can it get any more obvious? Such ignorance behind such power is absurd. Of course he is probably kissing up the upper classes in Britain who give him his position. Their reality is not THE reality.

  33. Rowan Williams is a pathetic, weak little failure of a human being.

    No wonder the cult of England is dying – I wish it would hurry up

  34. Let me make it clear to the simpering beardy t0sspot. I do not want to be subject to his asinine putrid moronic religion, any more than I want to be subject to sharia law. If his church or dimwits won’t do it, then fine, but don’t get in the way of everyone else who doesn’t believe in his bl00dy fairy story.

  35. f right off you pillock.

  36. Jeff Atwood 29 Feb 2012, 1:42pm

    If the role of secular law is “not to promote change” then is the role of ecclesiastical law “not to prevent change”?

  37. guess they shouldn’t have banned slavery then, we should just have waited for it to die out … and waited … and waited

  38. What a lot of nonsense you talk, Archbish. Are you saying all laws on divorce and all changes to marriage laws should be repealed? And doesn’t your church only exist because that misogynist monarch Henry got sick of his wife and decided to divorce her in favour of a younger model? For a supposedly intelligent man, you seem to know very little about the history of your own church. Or perhaps you just have a selective memory?

  39. Tom Cotner 29 Feb 2012, 2:03pm

    If portions of the United States been given the option of gradually ridding themselves of slavery during the 19th century, undoubtedly, many of them would still, to this day, retain slavery and all the terrible conditions therefrom.

    The very idea that people will, in time, come to realize the basic worth of every human being and act accordingly, has not been a historical fact. Without laws to force people to see other viewpoints, those viewpoints are rarely seen.

    I suspect that his comments have been made primarily to protect his arse from the bigotry of his African constituents, as the majority of his English (and American) constituents are quite in favor of granting to same sex partners the same rights and privileges that opposite sex partners now enjoy.

    This position on his part is very sad, indeed.

  40. Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark 29 Feb 2012, 2:05pm

    He doesn’t want to be known as the Archbishop who presided over the fragmentation of the Anglican Communion, when in fact it had already begun in the 1970s.

  41. Rudehamster 29 Feb 2012, 2:09pm

    How can such an intelligent man be such a twat?

    1. Mumbo Jumbo 29 Feb 2012, 6:02pm


  42. In May 1532 the Church of England agreed to surrender its legislative independence and canon law to the authority of the monarch. In 1533 the Statute in Restraint of Appeals removed the right of the English clergy and laity to appeal to Rome on matters of matrimony, tithes and oblations. It also gave authority over such matters to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. This finally allowed Thomas Cranmer, the new Archbishop of Canterbury, to issue Henry VIII’s annulment; and upon procuring it, Henry married Anne Boleyn. Pope Clement VII excommunicated Henry VIII in 1533.

    If that isn’t an example of the Church getting stuck in to change the ‘institution of marriage’ then perhaps the AoC would be kind enough to explain what it is.

    If they want to protect marriage, then they should ban divorce, particularly as it was the CofE that got it so popular in the first place!!

  43. The article linked to below eviscerates Lord Carey’s tenuous argument against same sex marriage rather than The present Archbishop Rowan Williams,but you know it’s going to be an argument from the exact similar position.
    (8 short pages and well worth a read.)

    1. Fantastic article, Pavlos, thanks for posting it.

      I parrticularly liked the second from last paragraph:

      “He has not successfully or even close to sufficiently argued his case as to why same-sex couples should be excluded from marriage, nor has he supported his numerous assertions that legalizing same-sex marriage would devalue or otherwise corrupt heterosexual marriage. Put simply, without appealing to religion directly, Carey has no foundation on which to build his case. In fact, all he seems in danger of convincing us on is how attractive a union marriage might be and, given its flagging numbers, why we may wish to add fresh life to the institution by incorporating same-sex couples.”

  44. The article linked to below eviscerates Lord Carey’s tenuous argument against same sex marriage rather than The present Archbishop Rowan Williams,but you know it’s going to be an argument from the exact similar position.
    (8 short pages and well worth a read.)

    (this didn’t post previously 15 mins ago so I’m trying again, excuse if it comes up twice)

    1. They are two vastly different people. Carey being a right wing evangelical loon who toed the Tory line and Williams is a left wing Catholic who is encroaching on moral cowardice because he thinks he will do great damage by voicing his own opinion.

  45. Fascinating to think that there are far more endorsements of slavery in the Bible than condemnations of homosexuality (if indeed there are any of the latter), and that there were plenty of Christians arguing to keep the slavery laws in place by appealing to the Bible.

    1. tinmaninoz 1 Mar 2012, 9:44am

      Have you read the actual passages, taking into account the cultural and historical distance between us and the original writers and readers? In 1st C Rome, slaves were little different from free men, had wages, could buy themselves back and were rarely slaves for life, although in Jewish law if you really loved your master, you could bind yourself to him for life if you wanted to – now there’s a choice! The Bible unconditionally condemns kidnapping and trafficking in slaves, which is what New World slavery was based on (see 1 Timothy 1 9:11; cf. Deuteronomy 24:7). Be honest and check it out for yourself.

      1. Tinman

        Of course if you use exegesis and hermaneutics and consider full contextualisation then you will still find endorsement for slavery (of whatever type!) in the Bible.

        If you use hermeneutics, exegesis and contextualisation you will find there is no specific condemnation of homosexuality in the Bible, and certainly no reason for the focus on it that many extremist fundamentalist and prejudiced Christian groups seek to perpetuate as true. The reality is there focus is untruthful and immoral.

  46. When is this moron going to shut up?

  47. I have just tried to read through the entire speech, rather than rely on the media reports (for those who have not seen it, here is the text: ).

    It is rambling and lacks any clear focus. It appears to be trying to be all things to all men. It appears to put the church (as in the Anglican church) as the primary issue, not humanity as a whole. It appears to condemn those who seek human rights advances overseas eg in Africa. It appears to say that standing against the church is blasphemous.

    The Archbishop is at best confused, but I think is seeking to serupticiously condemn universal human rights and seeking to support special rights for Christians.

    This must be condemned. We MUST stand against this.

  48. Garry Cassell 29 Feb 2012, 3:05pm

    This is strange rubbish considering you conducted same-sex marriages before you became archbishop of Canterbury…What happened?? Did scripture change? Or is it you want to please certain hell with what is right and correct?? I use to be an Anglican lay-minister in Canada until all this political rubbish became too much….the church became a hateful political party…Do we need to wonder why people are leaving the pews empty???

  49. another mısogynous homophobıc whıte man wıth a beard who’s afraid of losing power

  50. by hıs logıc the palestinian holocaust ıs ok, the tamil holocaust is ok. aparthheid is ok when one “culture” isn’t ready to accept the humanıty of the other. the whole point of christianity is the ONE whole body of Christ is humanity not heterosexual or white or male or rich or pharisee, all of humanity. we all have the same genome with every human genetically unique sharing it that one genome. his argument is slavery apartheid, rights are what i choose to give you. fascist crap.

  51. So, in other words, ‘we must not discriminate against gay people as a whole’, but ‘you must allow the church to have their gay Apartheid’.

    Try again Rowan.

  52. wow… and they wonder why fewer and fewer people attend their churches.

  53. Him speak with forked tongue — as usual. Away with him to academia.

  54. He is mistaken. Not changing a culture to remove discrimination woul dbe wrong. Silly old bish. H e seemed such a promising guy when he was appointed, but has flopped miserably.

  55. Funny how the religious fanatics come out on these news postings here. It is clear to see how many Christians have attention on gays even here on the internet. They need to have their say to show their agreement with their religion and speak out against what the have been told or taught to believe is bad with out really understanding what it really is. They seem to forget that they were at one time a religion of love who has now turned to hate. Hate is not a solution to any problem. They have no solutions that work and so they have to force their belief on as their only solution which does not work. Their solution has not really worked for 2,000 years. Why people listen to them can only be summed up as some kind of agreement that is not completely rational and that is why they enforce their beliefs on anybody they can trap into believing what they are selling.

  56. Grant Barnes 29 Feb 2012, 5:14pm

    The Honorable Archbishop might remember that it wasn’t the Anglican Church that took the lead in the Slavery Abolition Movement but rather Quakers, Methodists and other “non-conforming” sects, and both as an individual and as an office holder, he should look carefully at whether it is not only historically better but also morally correct to affirm equal protection of all citizens rather than blaming “culture” for tying one’s hands. And what a slur at what the rest of us mean by “culture”! Every member of the Church should reflect on how harmful such comments will be in the context of countries where the persecution of people who merely want to build a home is on the increase.

  57. Sister Mary Clarence 29 Feb 2012, 5:23pm

    To be absolutely clear on this, the Christian church carried out, respected, and accepted same sex unions for more centuries than it has denied them.

    The marriage of the two Christian martyrs St Sergio and St Bacchus is well documented, and accompanied by paintings in a number of churches across Christiandom of their wedding, with Christ popping up between them as the best man (pronubus).

    Many texts have been written about their love and the church’s respect for their union.

    As least as far as the 12th century Christian churches were carrying out same sex unions.

    Now I don’t read many churchie books, unlike I imagine Dr Williams probably does.

    Therefore why do I know about the same sex unions that the Christian church used to carry out and endorse, and seemingly Dr Williams has no idea what his own church was up to?

    Perhaps if he takes the time to look into it, he can tell us exactly when and, more importantly WHY, the church has done a complete about face.

    1. Well said.

      There are weddings in the records of the Vatican that are same sex. 10th and 11th century same sex marriages by the church in Ireland etc etc

      1. This trail of comments starts with the argument that the church won’t change, but you have shown that the church has in fact changed in regard to marriage, returning to its pre-Christian foundations. Lots of errors have been made in the name of Christ, think of the Crusades, but aren’t these the fault of human beings rather than what their religion teaches them? Some bloke said, ‘Love your enemies.’ Perhaps we could do with a little of that spirit round here? Or is that out of date, too?

  58. Phillip Dawson 29 Feb 2012, 6:15pm

    Rowan Williams says that minorities should not be used to actively ‘promote change’ within a culture on issues like marriage, but fringe christian organisations like CARE have been doing just that for many years in the name of faith. Not only have they sponsored ‘gay cure’ events but have a well established intern programme in Westminster and regional government as well as in Europe. I wonder if the Archbishop thinks that this arrangement is fine? It seems to be one rule for one and one rule for another.

    1. thetinmaninoz 1 Mar 2012, 8:20am

      I understand that CARE is not seeking to promote change to the current marriage legislation…

      1. No CARE are part of the coalition for marriage and oppose fairness, equality and integrity in marriage.

        Their attitudes are immoral and inhumane.

  59. I will not write what went through my mind when I read this!!! I’d be banned….nuff said…

  60. What does amaze me though, and this doesn’t use any words that may ban me. Is that in the US slowly but surely various states are changing their laws and allowing Gay Marriage and yet we still only have Civil Partnership..which from what I can tell (and I may be wrong on this) counts for nothing outside the UK.

    What is wrong with this country. It’s time the church should just keep quiet in stead of doing their usual. Only condoning that which they feel is appropriate for their church.

    So it’s wrong to discriminate against gays because that isn’t christian, as long as it also doesn’t allow us to marry….That sir is discrimination!!!

  61. In case the Archbishop is thinking of endorsing the Coalition for Marriage, I suggest he reads about their lies here:

    1. Obviously some religious fundamentalist marking this down … or someone who seeks to deny marriage to LGBT people in love.

  62. Except “gay” marriage is a new thing anymore, it’s all around the world and in newspapers on a daily basis. Nor is having gay couples with exactly the same rights as married couples a new idea.

    Give us a break the world has moved on and the CofE hasn’t.

    For heavens sake you still think CPs are plutonic relationships with no sex involved and you still don’t allow CPs to be registered in CofE churches.

    God certainly moves at a slow pace considering he was supposed to have created the world in 6 days.

    1. I also heard somewhere that after God created the world, he put a man and a woman in it and told them to get on with looking after it, to be fruitful and multiply, etc. If he’d put two men in it, would any of us be here to debate any of this?

    2. I also heard that after God created the world he put a man and a woman into it to look after it and be fruitful or something to do with maths. Would we all be having this debate if he’d made two humans the same instead of one of each type? That’s one argument I can’t quite get round.

      1. Well if you believe that then why can’t incestious couples get married? And either way why does it matter that we can’t populate the earth, do we need to? Seems like we have plenty of people on this planet already not everyones gay and thats a good thing cos otherwise we would cease to exist as a species but thats not the case and it never will be so why is it important?

      2. “That’s one argument I can’t quite get round.”

        Er, I think the argument is why you would think the entire human race descended from two ditzy hippies who talk to snakes in exchange for fruit, when there is so much real evidence about the origins of our species at your fingertips?

        The reason you can’t “get around that argument” is because its a story, my dear. A story. And a silly one too.

  63. I’m glad someone was able to read the ABC’s academic thesis to the UN and understand it, I found the whole paper acedemic clap trap.

    The amazing thing was that he was actually fighting against persecution of gays and the whole thing seems to have got lost in translation by the Daily Mail and has completely focused on gay marriage. Funny the Daily Mail doing that.

    He needs to come off the fence, stop the acedemic clap trap , try to understand how it feels to be classed as 2nd rate to straights and also try to understand what it feels like being a non christian and non religious person living in 2012 UK.

    He needs to live in the real world, stop talking acedemia with fellow bishops and get real.

    1. @John

      I tried to read it and kept getting and headache and going dizzy. He was going round and round in circle trying to be all things to all men. He would not come off the fence but ended up pretending to support LGBT people whilst effectively saying that speaking out against human rights abuses in Africa in itself was immoral (does he really believe that seeking the murder of LGBT people in Africa is acceptable????). It also seemed as though he though human rights were “a nice thing to have” but not inate and essential and worthy of respect. He sounded at times that someone seeking a theocracy or some tinpot dictator.

  64. Robert in S. Kensington 1 Mar 2012, 12:36pm

    Williams just doesn’t get it. Allowing same-sex marriage isn’t about change, it’s about expanding a civil right that the majority already enjoy. He would have to agree then that interracial marriage in America redefined marriage as well as allowing women to vote redefined voting. He is so morally wrong.

  65. soapbubblequeen 1 Mar 2012, 5:40pm

    Has the old queen lost his tiara? God, I’d like to take a Gilette to that crusty old beard.

  66. Almost seems appropriate to send this response to the Archbishop too:

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