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Sussex: Gay vicar under ‘homophobic’ ban for refusing to confirm celibacy

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  1. Gay vicar ‘blocked’ by Reverend Cocks… you couldn’t make this stuff up LOL

  2. I am tuning up the tiniest fiddle in the world just for him.

    His church has a long-running history of homophobia and disdain for LGBT people. It’s not a mystery, secret or surprise and collaborating with that same church – knowing how it behaves, knowing how it views him, knowing how it dehumanises him – causes me to not give one tiny rat’s posterior about him.

    He made his bed, lie in it (or not as the case my be).

    1. Jock S. Trap 13 Jul 2012, 1:22pm

      Sorry but it’s people like Rev David Page that can bring change to the church by being within it. Many people will participate because they want to make a difference and what this does it show up the nasty from the decent.

      Yes they know they’re going into but only brave people like this are willing to stand up and make a change. That should be applauded.

      1. Absolutely

        He is trying to change the church and his parish support him

        He wants to minister to them, they want him to minister – why should the Bishop of diocese refuse this?

        1. the official CofE position, whether you agree with it is that priests can enter civil partnership but not be sexually intimate. A fudge – yes, absolutely. Singling out one sin and ignoring others, probably worse – almost certainly … but if discipline and agreed standards of behaviour are to be maintained I don’t see the church has any other option.

          I am not a member of the CofE but I am passionate about the Church (which has no label)and I am uncomfortable with the whole business. I suspect flak will now come my way – but bear with people like me Stu – we want what is best for gay folk and the church and most of all to honour the one who really matters -God Almighty!

          1. I have written more on this John – which I have submitted to PN – hopefully they will publish it.

            It is my view that the CoE, have 4 groups of people
            i) those who are LGBT or supporters and seek to change things from within
            ii) those who seek to harm LGBT people
            iii) those who believe in what they see as the integrity of what they are doing which harms LGBT people but are blind to the harm and hurt they are causing
            iv) those who really are unaware or uninterested in the LGBT issue

            By seeking to segregate LGBT people either in terms of civil marriage (which is none of the church’s business, frankly) or in terms of questions of an employee that would be illegal for any other employer to ask, or in terms of offensive belligerent language such as that from Sentamu – then they find themselves in a position where they are entrenched in institutional homophobia.

          2. I replied to something else you wrote that is related further on.

            I need to think about your 4 categories. One privilege of being a community activist is I work with folk of all sorts including Christians across the who spectrum when it comes to views on homosexuality.

            We may differ on this but I’m of the view even most of the less sympathetic folk on gay issues don’t wish to harm LBGT folk. They see their mission as safeguarrding the purity of the gospel (whether or not you or I agree or not).

            As I say, run this by me and I will respond. Also, I believe I will learn something!

          3. John

            Just been told it is going to be published in the next few minutes, otherwise I would have forwarded the article to you. However, you will have the opportunity to have a look on here shortly.

          4. “Also, I believe I will learn something!”

            Really? It’s not like you have a positive track record in that department, is it?

          5. thanks Stu
            I look forward to reading your article in PN!

          6. Dave North 13 Jul 2012, 5:18pm

            Why is sex always a SIN with you people?

            If you don’t like SEX then don’t partake, but leave everyone else alone and keep your deity’s tripe to yourselves.

          7. “Why is sex always a SIN with you people?”

            Its the idea that others are getting it that’s an issue for them. You only obsess over what you can’t or do not have afterall. And this dimwit John just likes the attention I think, you should listen the the garbage he comes out with on evolution and, well, anything already proven by science.

          8. de ja vu on this thread … its like i have read it before … probably have

          9. Great effort James, not a real comment to make yourself, no? Oh, hold on wait, haven’t we seen your patronising sound-bites on this site before, same lack of anything to say other then being a catty b.i.tch? Déjà vu?

      2. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 5:20pm

        Erm… He didn’t “stand up.”
        He took a vow of celibacy, and now he is complaining when they ask him for proof. If you don’t like the rules, don’t play the game.

        1. No there is no vow of celibacy in the CoE

          1. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 7:46pm

            There is if you are gay.
            Not that I approve of such measures, but it’s their rules; if you don’t wish to follow them, don’t become ordained.

          2. Jock S. Trap 14 Jul 2012, 10:10am

            I’m guessing Spanner… you not someone that welcomes change… kinda stuck in you Old ways, eh?

          3. Spanner1960 14 Jul 2012, 10:54am

            Jock: I don’t really give a tinker’s cuss either way, the church is an irrelevance to me.

            However, if you think that the people that have been reading the same old bollocks out of a book for the last 2000+ years as ‘the word of God’ are going to change their attitudes simply because in the last few years a handful of gay clergy want to bend the rules, I think it is you who is sorely deluded.

          4. Jock S. Trap 14 Jul 2012, 1:01pm

            The fact that “a handful of gay clergy” are in the Church of England suggests attitudes are changing.

            The fact that a parish requested this particular vicar, suggests attitudes are changing.

            You kind of answer your question with your own statement.

          5. Spanner1960 14 Jul 2012, 4:19pm

            Jock: There have been a handful of gay clergy for as long as I can remember and imagine that ‘the calling’ has always attracted some gay men. It’s certainly nothing new. The only difference is at one time they may have just had “longtime companions”, but now with CP’s and possibly marriage on the cards, the whole thing is out in the open and official, so the church feel they need to make a stand on it.

      3. I agree, the church is first and foremost about people and if some power crazed diocesan bishop has a homophobic power trip the people shouldn’t be the ones to suffer… good on the congregation for standing up for him.

    2. de Villiers 15 Jul 2012, 8:52am

      So gay people who are Christians are not deserving of protection for discrimination?

    3. de Villiers 15 Jul 2012, 8:54am

      So in your charitable world, gay people who are Christians do not deserve protection from discrimination.

  3. “While it allows them to enter civil partnership, the Church requires priests to be celibate”

    Not double standards, no not at all…

    The level of hypocrisy and stupidity of religion never fails to astound me.

    1. the pompous arrogance of some non-religious folk sadly does not astound me.

      1. What about the pompous arrogance of some religious folk who believe that segregating and harming people because of how they were born is acceptable

        And why should a diocese dictate to a congregation who should preach at their church?

        1. Yes Stu – pompous arrogance exists in all quarters. But I don’t like it when the pot calls the kettle black.

          1. Oh, boo hoo. Grow up.

            Remember Stu, this buffoon sides with Skinner, and this is a measure of this intellect and so called “christian” attitude, is it?

          2. Dave North 13 Jul 2012, 5:15pm

            I don’t see gay people rushing into churches to prevent you people worshipping your ridiculous deity.

            Neither do I see them on street corners screaming gibberish at passers by telling them they will burn in your stupid hell concept.

            Now run along and STOP JUDGING. Your silly book is full of comment on NOT JUDGING, so why don’t you try it.

          3. Dave North’s post was just abusive

      2. “the pompous arrogance of some non-religious folk sadly does not astound me.”

        Really? Look familiar:- “we want what is best for gay folk and the church and most of all to honour the one who really matters -God Almighty!”

        Talk about pompous. The only think that matches your arrogances is your lack of education in science…. that, and your dull witted responses.

        What a buffoon you are. Run along, John, I’m sure there’s an idiot somewhere crying because evolution was mentioned on TV and needs you to pander to him.

  4. The weirdness of the middle ages. Have they considered throwing him into the local pond? His guilt or innocence can be established depending on whether he sinks or swims?

    1. That’s witches isn’t it? if you want to know what they do to gay people in the middle ages look to Africa and the middle east. Basically buried up to your neck then a wall knocked down on you.

  5. Salem all over again by the sounds of it. They’ll be tying him to a chair and chucking the vicar into the nearest river next to see if he sinks or floats.

  6. Robert in S. Kensington 13 Jul 2012, 12:32pm

    Does anone with a modicum of intelligence believe that a gay priest in a CP would pledge celibacy? Are they for real? Nothing but a cruel, inhuman imposition, homophobic in fact as well as hypocritical of the state cult. It’s NONE of their business what two people do in the privacy of their homes, church rules or not. Do they inquire how many times a straight married priest has sex with his spouse and in which position? What a vile, disgusting church, as bad as the roman cult.

    1. not all gay men have sex, look at cult gay icon Kenneth Williams (not the best example but one that comes to mind). If Rev. David says he’s celibate are we going to be as bad as the bishops and not trust his word?

  7. Do they ask the Heterosexual priests what they do in the bedroom? I’m sure there are a few acts they are not allowed.

    1. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 5:25pm

      Shagging small boys springs to mind.

  8. David Turner - Baptist Pastor 13 Jul 2012, 12:52pm

    The WHOLE POINT of Romans 1 is Rom 2:1 “You therefore have no excuse you who pass judgement on someone else”.

  9. Surely he knew this would happen?

    1. It didnt happen when he was priest in Clapham

  10. If this Rev had any sense he would quit this homophobic and misogynist organisation, do something useful and spend time with his partner.

    1. Chris Sena 13 Jul 2012, 9:00pm

      That’s not exactly fair. Obviously the CofE faith means a lot to this guy. Whilst I am in no way religious and certainly do not agree with many religious institutions’ views on homosexuality, I still live in hope that these institutions evolve over time and become more accepting, as they have done in the past.

      Citizens of a country which upholds homophobic laws (like the UK once did – and indeed still does) need support and encouragement from the LGBT community worldwide as they strive for positive changes within their country, rather than being dismissed as silly and encouraged to simply leave.

      In the same way people like Rev David Page should benefit from our support as he attempts to change outdated points of view. Thus making wider society more accepting in general.

  11. So if he says “We don`t do it”-everything is hunky dory then?

  12. Aryu Gaetu 13 Jul 2012, 1:14pm

    From one confused Yank, let me know if I have this correct…
    Isn’t “celibacy” defined as “not married”. Do they mean to say “abstinence”, because they are not officially “married”?
    Regardless, I do see the insanity. More worrisome is that they are either clueless or evil.

    1. Jock S. Trap 13 Jul 2012, 1:24pm

      The two men can be together but must not have sex.

      It’s pure bigotry and it shows up those in the church who clearly cannot think of anything but sex.

    2. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 5:27pm

      “Abstinence” means to avoid certain practices. One can abstain from eating pork or drinking alcohol, but “celibacy” is specifically abstaining from and kind of sexual relationship.

      1. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 7:47pm


  13. Why bother with any of this? After all, religious faith is a mental illness.

    1. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 5:28pm

      That is insulting to people who are genuinely ill.
      There is nothing wrong with these people, they are simply deluded.

  14. Further proof that there is nothing remotely Christian about the CofE

  15. Faith is a very powerful thing. This poor guy obviously feels an enormous loyalty to the church yet his understanding of scripture differs from the hate mongers in the CofE.
    He deserves our support as it would be the easy option to wall away but he is sticking his ground and forcing them to throw him out. He could lie and the whole thing would go away yet he is sticking to the position of what he does in the bedroom has nothing to do with the Church or the Bishop.
    We all have a duty to support him and bash the bishop on his behalf.

    1. Dave North 13 Jul 2012, 3:47pm

      “bash the bishop on his behalf”

      Ohh Matron………..

  16. I support Rev David Page who is obviously a dedicated priest and loved by his congregation. Full marks to him for making a stand and I pray he wins through.
    Shame on the Church of England for what they are doing to him. It stinks and is a clear act of invasion of privacy and homophobia. Legal council is needed.

  17. This is disgraceful. They wouldn’t impose such conditions on a straight vicar, so it’s discrimination, plain and simple, no excuses.

    Surely this has got to be illegal? If not then it’s about time the churches lose their priviliged status.

    They cannot continue to discriminate against gay people under the guise of religious belief.

  18. This is actually a bit of a garbled account – it’s clearer here: And what’s interesting is that in the three years he’s been both out about his partner, and officiating in church, and leading the governors at the local primary, no-one has been fussed, including his whole congregation. One famously homophobic bishop is creating huge problems for everyone in Winchelsea.

  19. Staircase2 13 Jul 2012, 2:51pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…”the ungodly idiots!”

    “The Diocese of Chichester said: “This is a requirement of canon law and may not be disregarded. This is now the subject of internal disciplinary proceedings.” ”

    Er – not unless you’re also going around and questioning straight married priests as to whether or not they’re having sex with their wives or husbands it’s not….!

    What is it with these people?! They’re the dumbest, most uptight, ungodly tossers lacking in any true spiritual depth or understanding…

    I hope Rev Page can bring about a successful legal action against the Church on the basis of sexual discrimination

    1. Very true and there is nothing about Civil Partnerships or celibacy in canon law.

    2. Not sure a successful legal action is possible, unless as a test case – given the exemptions in the Equalities Act.

      However, given that Rev Page’s partner is permitted to officiate in the same diocese I would argue there is strong reason to suspect homophobia at play.

      Winchelsea PCC have a meeting tonight to discuss their next move. Be interesting to see what transpires.

  20. The CofE is simply a nest of bigots. I hope, however, that Rev. Page will fight the charges against him. He may be acquitted. He should also pose questions to his inquisitors about their sexual activities and see if they will answer them or whether they might find such questions intrusive as well.

  21. just tell them what they want to hear , bloody morons

    1. David Waite 13 Jul 2012, 4:19pm

      “Telling them what they want to hear,” if it is not the truth, would be a violation of his vows to God. A genuine Christian who is forced to choose between obeying God and obeying his bishop always picks the former.

      Moreover, we don’t know what his bishop wants to hear. It is quite likely his bishop wants to be lied to, in order to expose the lie. That is the sort of thing which frequently is used as a controlling tactic in many religious hierarchies.

  22. Robert in S. Kensington 13 Jul 2012, 3:58pm

    What I don’t understand is, why are they singling out this particular priest? What would make them question his celibacy? Are they doing it to all gay CP’d priests, or just this one and what prompted them to pursue it I wonder assuming he hadn’t personally admitted to anyone that he was having an active sex life with his partner. This doesn’t add up.

    1. Robert

      I have been doing some digging on this and got some answers. I have written an article on it for PN – hopefully they will publish it soon and I would be interested to hear your views then

      1. Stu
        feel free to run this by me. I can’t speak for the CofE and suspect there are inconsistences depending on how individual bishops interpret the matter, but will be happy to offer a view.

        I semi-amusing brief discussion I had the other day with a CofE priest friend that covered many other topics was that he was of the view that homosexuality is sinful but that we are all sinners and therefore he felt in conscience he could associate gay colleagues who are in CPs and sexually intimate!

      2. Sounds intriguing, Stu! I can’t wait to read your article.

  23. Garry Cassell 13 Jul 2012, 4:13pm

    It seems like those nosy clergy and Bishops are rather kinky themselves…wanting to know what happens in bed with other clergy…they must get some sexual pleasure from those kinds of questions…Rev. Cocks…what an appropriate name???

    1. Rev. Cocks is backing Rev. David they are both up for disciplinary charges

  24. Yes, and with a child abuse scandal in Chichester Diocese involving a bishop –

    this witch-hunt is shocking.

    Is nt the new bishop of Chichester gay ?

  25. Peter & Michael 13 Jul 2012, 4:24pm

    As we have stated on these pages before, this may be the start of an inquisition of serving LGBT clergy of the cofe, and if York succeeds the present incumbent of Canterbury the cofe may become the church of uganda.

  26. As Richard Dawkins has so eloquently shown, religious belief is mental delusion, and delusion is, of course, an illness.

    So what we have here are some mentally ill people telling one mentally ill person that he is . . . mentally ill.

    Laugh at them all, and laugh at them loud enough so that they hear you. Only then may the penny drop, and they may realise that their dearly-held beliefs are merely delusions, figments of the imagination, and that they are not taken seriously.

    Never miss a chance to mock these people.

    1. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 5:32pm

      “Delusion is, of course, an illness.”
      What utter and complete COCK!

      A delusion is a false or mistaken belief that may be caused by mental illness, but just because cabbages are green does not mean that everything that is green is a cabbage.

      Your comments are seriously offensive to those with genuine mental illnesses.

      1. “Your comments are seriously offensive to those with genuine mental illnesses.” – Like you, you mean? Anger management gift vouchers for your next birthday, methinks.

        1. That There Other David 13 Jul 2012, 6:47pm

          I hope you’re not using mental illness as an insult in some failed attempt at humour.

        2. Spanner1960 13 Jul 2012, 7:50pm

          Maybe if you had friends, relatives or loved ones that suffer such unfortunate conditions, you might be a little more judicious in your choice of words.

          Or then again, maybe you are the sort of person the points and laughs at the disabled or cancer victims.

      2. I think the bible was written mentally ill people (probably from syphilis) suffering from delusions. If i wrote a new gospel for the bible today claiming that God spoke to me in a dream – I would be sectioned for being mentally ill – and those that believed me would probably get their heads examined to.

        1. Spanner1960 14 Jul 2012, 10:58am

          I doubt it. There are new cults popping up even today, and they have many followers who are completely Compus Mentis.

          There is a difference between being clinically insane and just being a complete idiot.

    2. Steven Morgan 13 Jul 2012, 5:42pm

      Is it any wonder that people are staying away in droves from this denomination run by a bunch of silly old queens who are haunted by the notion that someone, somewhere is enjoying life without their permission? I teach at an Anglican university in Japan but thank heavens that, since I am an academic rather than a cleric, no one gives a rat’s what my husband and I are up to when the lights go out. High time for everyone with any sense to run the opposite way from the C of E and it’s archaic and hypocritical policies. I have dined with the AB of C who privately supports queer folk of all stripes participating in all aspects of the C of E’s work, but realizes that small-minded folk in the Anglican Communion do not have the same take on things. The great tragedy of his watch has been the vast discrepency between his private views and public acions.

    3. Richard Dawkins fan club has arrived. (roll eyes) tbh Rev. David is not fighting for change he’s fighting for the privilege to serve his congregation, if you don’t believe in God fair enough but don’t come to a Church political scandal post and heckle at the back, ignore it and walk on by.

      If you go round laughing at mentally ill people I would seek help. If Richard Dawkin’s has helped you come to that conclusion I feel bad for you.

  27. That There Other David 13 Jul 2012, 6:45pm

    I’m so sick of the pandering to Nigerian bishops so evident in the Church of England policies. Split the so-called Anglican Communion. It’s utterly worthless. Then the CoE can allow gay bishops and openly gay priests like English people want them to.

    The Church of England is shackled by the past of Empire more so than any other aspect of British life. It’s the 21st Century now folks. GIVE IT UP!!!

  28. How is this a story? The Church of England allows priests to marry/enter civil partnerships but requires them to remain celibate. This guy is refusing to do that or is at least refusing to tell them that he is following the rules. I don’t see how the church has done anything homophobic when heterosexual priests are made to live by the same rules.

  29. Now isn’t that a ‘coincidence’…

    Both Andrea Minichiello Williams and Lorna Ashworth who are both known for their homophobic attitudes ‘just happen’ to be members for the diocese of, you guessed it, Chichester!

    If you can stomach watching Lorna Ashworth in action have a look at her here:

  30. I wonder if they would ask questions of a heterosexual married man? There are catholic priests who have children for god sake, and i doubt their wives had an immaculate conception!

    1. They apparently don’t

    2. Spanner1960 14 Jul 2012, 11:00am

      I was of the impression that Catholic priests were not allowed to marry.
      I have heard of cases where they have fathered a child though, and they have either been disrobed, or the whole thing has been quietly hushed up.

      1. There are some priests in the RC church that converted across to Rome from the CoE and were permitted to stay married

        1. Spanner1960 14 Jul 2012, 4:21pm

          OK, I stand corrected, but that sounds like the exception to the rule. The Catholic church could hardly ask him to divorce his wife, as they consider that a sin as well.

          1. Oh certainly a minority, very true.

    3. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Jul 2012, 2:02pm

      The roman church actually dismisses its priest who have sex, let alone father children. Analagous to that, immediately after the centuries old molestation scandal became public, the Vatican issued a directive to all seminaries that candidates for the priesthood must be subjected to an psychiatric evaluation to determine if they have any proclivities toward ‘homosexual’ behaviour, perceived or otherwise in order to ‘weed out’ those who have the potential to engage in paedophilia or any other form of aberrant behaviour. It did not mention the criterion used to make such a determination. Interestingly, there were a significant number of heterosexual offenders among the clergy but little mention was made of it during the public inquiry and subsequent prosecutions. Almost all of the roman hierarchy equate homosexuality with paedophilia despite overwhelming psychiatric evidence to the contrary. Institutionalised homophobia indeed.

  31. The Bishop of Lewes. A bigot of the highest order, espcially with homosexuality. He ought to look around him a bit closer; the number of gay priests in non-celibate relationships in Brighton (for example), is considerable. I ought to know. I was one of them.

  32. A slightly different understanding of the Sussex situation:

    Page has been, without payment, shoreing up the church in Winchelsea ever since he retired as a vicar, doing everything from being head of the school governors to giving sermons and running the parish magazine. He should’ve had a PTO (permission to officiate) but local mad bishop, Wallace Benn, wouldn’t give him one because Page wouldn’t say whether or not his civil partnership was celibate, so the presiding vicar, and the entire church council decided to hire him anyway.

    Now the vicar’s retiring and it’s uncertain if the Diocese will shell out to replace him. Because Winchelsea needs a vicar at least in the interregnum and perhaps permanently, Page swallowed his pride and wrote to Wallace Benn saying that although on principle he didn’t think he should have to say whether his civil partnership was celibate or not, he was now prepared to confirm that it *is* celibate so that that he can continue to minister to the people

    1. of Winchelsea (for absolutely no payment, remember). Instead of saying ‘thanks, oh noble clergyman’ here’s a PTO, Wallace Benn is instead trying to get him punished under the Clergy Discipline Measure for having no licence for the last three years.

      What’s interesting about this is that all the local Christians are united against the bishop – from the old grannies to the young mums. Everyone is ‘incandescent’ that someone who’s been helping prop up the church for nothing all this time might get defrocked for his trouble.

      Even more disgracefully, the Diocese is trying to make it a child protection thing, saying if they can’t keep track of PTOs, then they don’t know if their clergy have been CRB checked. But David Page has been CRB checked and cleared *twice* since 2008 (second time as he’s a school governor) — meanwhile 100 PTO’d clergy in the Diocese don’t have CRB checks because Wallace Benn forgot — and furthermore Wallace Benn is himself under investigation for allowing two bona

      1. Wallace Benn is leaving soon himself; and has been disgraced for his (unrelated) child protection failures.

        He is a complete arse.

        Page is a good un.

    2. fide paedophile priests to continue working in his diocese, and then lying about it to a government commission.

      But Benn’s obsession with stopping adult, consensual gay sex is well known – ironically to the detriment of children in his Diocese.

      I think both Page and the Christians of Winchelsea are now well up for a fight – one that can scarcely do anything except make the upper management look dreadful. As someone says, you wouldn’t think the C of E had much foot left to shoot at, but apparently….

  33. Pavlos Prince of Greece 14 Jul 2012, 1:22pm

    How about court process and so? Oh yes, Victorian times are past. Very good.

  34. GayChurchman 14 Jul 2012, 9:31pm

    Priests in the Church of England (as by law established) need a license before they can officiate. Revd. Mr. Page sought a license which was not granted, because he refused to answer Bishop Wallace Benn’s question. Both he and the Revd. Mr. Cocks should understand their position.

  35. Hold on a moment I thought he was a vicar of the Church of England, not a Priest of the Catholic Church where priest are meant to be celibate!

    Hmmm so it’s one one for straight clergy and another for gay clergy…I see.

    Question…Do they ask their straight clergy if their having sex with anyone? Do they ask them if they’re having sex with their wife? Do they ask them if they’re having affair outside of their marriage? I think that would be a no!

    Totally disgusting!!!

  36. I understand the PCC at Winchelsea church were meeting about this on Friday night – anyone heard the outcome???

  37. I find it amusing that you need approval before you can preach, it just seems ridiculous to me

    1. I think part of the approval I understand the reasoning behind (but still find part of it amusing, in a sense).

      The rationale that I find reasonable is that PTO ensures that administrative checks and balances to ensure accountability can be made. Therefore, CRB checks, references, knowledge base, experience etc etc can all be verified. As with any other role (be it paid or voluntary) with this level of responsibility (ergo some level of leadership of an organisation) this seems reasonable.

      Where it does not seem reasonable, in any sense, is the intrusive questioning about the applicants sex life – and only if the applicant is homosexual would this be a matter of course. Heterosexuals may be asked – but only if there was other information given to the diocese. If the applicant was known to be gay or in a CP – these questions would be automatically asked. If the applicant was heterosexual and married, the questions would not automatically be asked. That is homophobic.

      1. Stu
        I think there is a case for consistency – if you are going to ask CP clergy about their sex life, you should ask non CP clergy the same type of question. Not do do so is at least discriminatry. I think also the church structure has a pastoral obligation – while it needs handling sensitiveley, many do stray from among heterosexuals e.g. marriage breakdown, pornography addiction etc.

        Regarding licence to preach, ironically you go further than I might. The church I belong to puts a lot of store on the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and encouraging any who are so gifted to preach. While I have CRB checks, references, knowledge and track record, I don’t ever recall being licensed to preach. I just do it and people invite me to do so (or not)!

        1. JohnB

          On the particular issues of what are deemed to be intrusive issues about which you only ask some of your staff (based on status rather than actual knowledge or concerns that have been raised) – then I am glad we agree this is discriminatory.

          One solution would be to ask all staff the questions – although I would not feel this was the most appropriate solution. Perhaps a better solution would be to only ask the questions if there was a good reason to believe it was necessary?

          Perhaps the perfect solution would be to not ask the question at all. No other employment would be permitted to ask such questions.

          Interesting that I perhaps acknowledge the benefit of procedural and administrative checks being part of protecting the organisation, individuals and wider community. It can seem onerous – but appropriate checks can be beneficial. Asking about sex life, generally, would not be appropriate in an employment scenario (in my view).

          1. It is funny that I’m probably more in agreement with Grey. I hate bureacracy yet I realise there are safeguarding issues etc. I suppose also I was brought up in a tradition that encouraged preachers to preach from youth onwards and the thought of being licenced seems unduly restrictive.

            While we are probably agreed about the discrimination that seems to have taken place, with reference to my response to your comment thread, there is an onus on the church to exercise godly discipline – after all it is hypocritical for preachers to tell people to repent of their sins if they themselves continue in sin. It boils down to what can be regarded as sinful. You and most PN readers would say gay sex in a committed relationship is not sinful and that being the case asking such questions is unnecessary.

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