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Comment: A lesson on equal marriage for the Archbishop of Westminster by a gay teacher

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  1. They have no argument other than the assumed wishes of an unproven supernatural entity, that even they cannot agree upon. It is as meaningful to discourse in the modern world on matters of civil law as the reading of runes.

    Engaging them in any further conversation is simply an act of appeasement that they are not due.

    1. I agree that trying to engage in civilised dialogue with religion is appeasement. Dialogue is what they crave for as their only desire is to spread their evil dogma. Just laugh at them and their ridiculous beliefs, that is all they deserve.

      1. Darren Theoret 2 Jan 2013, 12:19pm

        Don’t bother throwing pearls before swine!

  2. I fear that this well formed and perfectly reasonable letter will fall on deaf ears, indeed if it even read at all. By stating so early on that he is gay, I get the impression that it’s just gonna end up with the letter being thrown out :/

    1. …but if it is said, tweeted, retweeted, recommended, posted to the bishops and the Tory MPs, then talked about – if the Archbishop hears reality echoing in his ears day in, day out, who knows?
      Once in cyberspace, it can’t be screwed up and put on the hearth fire. I hope this inspires hundreds more teachers and pupils to write in letters for the Archbishop to ignore.

    2. Letters like this are always addressed to a larger audience. And they are useful to those who might believe in the argument but not know how to say it; they put words into people’s minds and mouths.

      1. Nixi Otemba Bongers 2 Jan 2013, 12:39pm

        viva memen

  3. A very thoughtful and accurate letter by Richard Queripel. His students’ lives will no doubt be enhanced by having a teacher of his insight, compassion, intelligence and courage.

    The orthodox Catholic Church, run by an ignorant, bigoted and temporal power-obsessed hierarchy, is one of the most evil institutions ever to curse humanity.

    The LGBT community must continue to expose the damage it causes to people’s minds and capacity to fulfil their potential. The kind of damage it has caused to young people over 2000 years is nothing less than child abuse on an immense scale.

    Destroying the Catholic Church, which is exactly what needs to happen, will be effected by attacking its intellectual dishonesty, and exposing its hypocrisy, moral bankruptcy and irrationality.

    The self-exposed idiocy, ignorance and callousness of the Bishops of the Catholic Church are doing a very good job of bringing about the thoroughly welcome demise of their own institution.

  4. A leopard does not change it’s spots and Vincent Nichols is covered in them.

    Nice letter but wasted on him, it might have more effect if publicised wider though, to some of his flock with an open mind.

    There is no compromise with religion, ever ever ever. In fact I would only expend effort trying to convince someone that I knew was not religious. As soon as god was mentioned I would save my breath.

  5. GulliverUK 1 Jan 2013, 8:09pm

    Archbishop Nichols is a dinosaur.–heres-what-they-had-to-say-about-the-world-8433448.html

    “The overwhelming majority – 93 per cent – believe it’s their responsibility to treat all people as equals, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or politics. ”

    It’s all over for the religions – some of these young people will be future leaders, MPs, judges, and those that aren’t will support full equality.

    1. I don’t think he is but I do think he is frightened to show his true feelings and is scared what the Vatican would do if he did.

      1. Dave North 1 Jan 2013, 9:04pm

        A jobsworth. Nothing else…..

  6. Brilliant letter. I’ll tweet it. I hope Richard sends a copy to the Pope too.

  7. Nietzsche’s attacks on the Christian Church remain some of the most compelling.

    We are all too aware of the Catholic Church’s attacks on homosexuality, masturbation, and indeed anyone having sex for pleasure and intimacy without intending it to lead to procreation.

    Nietzsche was absolutely correct in his ascribing to the priestly class the motives of envy and resentment. Envy of other people’s sexual happiness, and resentment at their own sexual lot.

    Some people are more sexually attractive and more sexually “successful” than others. That can be responded to with an attempt to be happy at another’s good fortune, or with resentment and an attempt to sour his or her grapes.

    We all know what category the clerics of the Catholic Church fall into, bolstered by the self-hating guilt-ridden closet gay men who join their ranks yet never come to terms with seeing other people enjoy what their own human weakness and stupidity have led them to renounce.

  8. Garry Cassell 1 Jan 2013, 8:33pm

    That Archbishop(if I dare call him that)…would have had a fit if he were to enter my class…I was both the religion teacher and sex ed teacher…try that on for size…and gay with that….I would have given him a major heart attack…Is it too late?? Now retired and couldn’t agree more with this writer…well stated and true…to me teaching a child how to deal with life on the streets was more important than knowing the names of old testament prophets…and I have since abandoned the church…..

  9. As Edmund Burke [18th century Irish ‘Man of Letters’] is reputed to have said, “All that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”
    Mr Queripel has done something, and credit to him for doing so. If his letter is ignored, that is not his failure, nor is it his failure if his letter goes unanswered – the failure in both cases lies firmly and squarely on the Archbishop’s shoulders.

  10. Dave North 1 Jan 2013, 8:36pm

    “Dear The Most Reverend Vincent Gerard Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and Head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales”

    I am severely perplexed why you indulge this MAN with these monickers.

    All he has done is to extend his own position within a poisoned cult.

    Given poverty on this little rock we abide on is it even remotely reasonable to tolerate the wealth of the Catholic Church.

    Their cult is nothing to so with humanity, it is all about self empowerment and wealth.

    Their “holy book” as re-written re-interpreted and what ever you like is a pile of made up sh!t.

    Rule of Law and threats of taxing the bar stewards is the only way forward.

    The intelligent reasoning people on this planet are thoroughly sick of this silly ancient dogma.

    This Universe we live in is multi trillions times bigger than their small uneducated brainwashed minds can comprehend.

    Dave North. Sick of Religious nutters

    1. Dave North 1 Jan 2013, 8:41pm

      Wanting to get CIVIL MARRIED to my CIVIL PARTNER this year before I snuff it of my ill health.

    2. But you want to claim the word “married” as if it was some powerful talisman (what actual difference will it make if you get married rather than have a civil partnership?) – and so contradict your claim to be sick of silly ancient dogma.

      It makes sense for religious folk to claim “marriage” has some special deeper meaning. It makes no sense at all for an atheist to be so fixated on a bloody word.

      1. Chipsy

        Your point is similar to accusing black people during US segregation of campaigning to eat in whites-only restaurants or study in whites-only schools, by saying, “What actual difference will it make if you eat in whites-only restaurants or study in whites-only schools, when you have your own distinct blacks-only restaurants and schools?”

        Civil marriage is a state institution, not a religious one. Marriage predates Christianity. Whether same-sex couples have a state marriage is none of the religionists’ business, and we are supported in this by the majority of the UK population.

        1. The key problem (because none of this has been planned properly) is that churches etc won’t be protected from attention seeking couples who decide they want a church wedding. Nobody trusts the quadruple-lock nonsense.

          Whether you agree with them or not, most mainstream Christian denominations consider gay sex to be a “sin”. I don’t mean the commonplace meaning of the word (doing something a bit naughty) but it’s original religious meaning – an act of opposition to God’s will. I don’t expect atheists/agnostics to give a toss about the religious meaning of sin but Christians cannot be indifferent to these things.

          1. Why would God create gay people with powerful gay sexual urges and then make acting on them a deadly sin? That’s just cruel.

          2. It is funny. If we accept for a moment God and the Bible as fact, then your God created “Free Will”. I want to get married, but you oppose my Free Will to do so. I accept I sin and enjoy it – Who are you to interfere?

            By opposing my free will to sin and indulge in equal marriage you oppose the very will of God to give man freedom of choice.

            The other person who wanted to do that was Lucifer. Do you support Lucifers oppression of free will?

          3. Then christians need to hand back their marriage responsibilities to the state, if they cannot do the job.

            Couples would then have to have a civil marriage first, which would be legally recognised, followed by whatever they want to do in their private club. The guy in the frock can spatter them with goat blood and wave burnt sticks about and wail some incantations and everyone is happy.

            No one can force themselves into a private club. And everyone will be treated fairly and equally under the law.

          4. Chipsy

            For those EU member states where equal marriage has already been legalised, where are the churches that have been forced to marry LGBT couples by the ECHR?

            And how many churches in the UK has the ECHR forced to marry divorced people, or host civil partnership ceremonies, or appoint women bishops?


            No matter how many “locks” there were in the legislation, the anti-gay religionists would still be objecting.In the absence of fair argument, you understandably resort to propaganda.

      2. The problem is that a British Civil Partnership is not an equivalent to marriage. There are still legal and financial differences which make it “less” than a traditional marriage. Just look into the pension contribution rules.
        Yes, the word “married” IS a powerful talisman – and the state of marriage IS a respected civil contract between equal adult citizens that IS generally a good thing for society. Therefore, if you believe that all consenting adult citizens are equal, and that a gay orientation is not a criminal disability, then two adult citizens DO have the right to enter into an identical, free and stable civil contract.
        The “bloody word” is not the exclusive property of any one of the myriad of competing, arrogant and inflated religious organisations. Gay people are, and always have been, citizens too.

        The word “marriage” belongs to the citizenry as awhole, not to a religious minority of any description.

  11. Congratulations, Richard, for putting across the damaging consequences of Vincent Nichols” campaign so eloquently.

    I recommend someone research Vincent Nichols’ views over the last 20 years. How have they changed? What was he saying during the time of Basil Hume?

  12. A elegant and clearly argued letter. Oh that there were more letters such as this one.

  13. Nicely put.

    Now, can we carve it onto something heavy and unyielding and lob it at this protector of nonces? I fear it’s the only way it’ll make even the slightest impression.

  14. Mark Slater 1 Jan 2013, 9:34pm

    “Some seed fell upon fallow ground…” I suspect that this letter is very much cast upon a barrenness that does not occur in nature.

  15. So many religious leaders (and politicians supportive of equal marriage!) have made such a big point of trying to clarify the educational impact of the policy. I don’t understand it.

    The tone of debate is akin to that still surrounding sex education, with the idea that it’s some kind of perverted sexualisation of schooling. It’s baffling. Kids in their final years of primary school now know more than I did in my first years of secondary school, and I’m only 21.

    Without meaning to be flippant, they’ll have already have had exposure to the likes of Graham Norton and Alan Carr. In a few years they’ll think it weird that their school isn’t mentioning gay people.

  16. Dave North 1 Jan 2013, 10:07pm

    Off to commit suicide now.

    I can no longer cope with these fuckin so called men of religion shittin on me.


  17. I don’t think that letter will make a difference. This archbishop is as Morton as his pope so they will die idiots having destroyed the life of many

  18. Quote: “I have enjoyed teaching children the most important things in life: respect, tolerance, self-belief, confidence, kindness, helpfulness, gratitude…”

    Respect and tolerance require us to accept that other things can be included in a list of the most important things in life – including the moral teachings of traditional/orthodox Christianity.

    “Having once been a Bible-believing Christian myself…” – unlikely or he wouldn’t now view religious belief as a constraint. It’s possible the author of this article used to be a cultural Christian.

    1. It doesn’t work that way I’m afraid. Respect and tolerance cannot be extended to the disrespectful and the intolerant, or else they cease to have all meaning. One cannot respect both equality and bigotry, and when there is a conflict between the two then equality must win every time – because equality is important and bigotry is flagrantly unacceptable.

      And those immoral teachings of traditional christianity are nothing more than bigotry, patriarchalism and neurosis in the service of demonstrable falsehoods about the nature of reality.

      Also, it is generally those who have escaped from the mental oppression of religion who are most aware of its negative character and psychological harmfulness.

      1. Respect and tolerance cannot be extended to the disrespectful !!!

        Almost all of the comments on this site are extremely disrespectful to people of faith – including your own bigoted statements above. How does that work?

        BTW I personally support freedom of speech (and wish we had the same legal protections as the US) including the right to say things that might offend. It’s the ever-present Stalinist streak in the LGBT community that scares the hell out of me.

        1. Chipsy

          I am delighted that “the comments on this site are extremely disrespectful to people of faith,” as you put it.

          If you look closely, most of the comments attack dogmatic Christianity that tries to impose itself on the rest of society when it has no business doing so, rather than intelligent Christians who proceed with thought, modesty and a willingness to criticise received religious ideas on their spiritual quest.

          Fundamentalist religion is the curse of humanity. To treat it with respect is to act immorally. It needs to be challenged.

        2. I think the comments in this excellent article give people of faith all the respect they deserve. No one is denying you the right to free expression. What you are asking for is that the beliefs be ‘respected’. We don’t respect beliefs. We test them, interrogate them, according to standards like evidence, logic, observation, Reason.

          The Pope and other celibates with zero experience in relationships, base all their teachings on the work of Aristotle ans Thomas Aquinas. Knowledge on this matter stopped in the 13th century, before anything was known about the human mind, at the time when the cutting edge of science was star signs. We have better information now. Still, Chipsy, feel free to plaster your comments all over here. It will remind politicians that the Catholic Church’s vision is one where LGBT people are forced to lead celibate loveless lives. The more you promote such nonsense, the more you will drive folks miles from your faith. Keep talking…..

          1. Chipsy is a very good example of the type of uncompassionate, blind believer that have so much hatred in their hearts. I can’t imagine what kind of a mind you would have to have to twist words and meanings the way he does.

        3. Yes Chipsy, you would like to have the same freedom of speech as in the USA which allows the westboro baptist church to spew hatred against gays and even boycott and protest at the funerals of innocent children and Military heroes in their twisted bigotry and hatred…. No way is that sort of freedom wanted in the UK. if you want it, go to the USA and good riddance to you

    2. Chipsy

      LGBT people have a particularly important function in society as people who have often suffered worst as a result of the irrational and life-denying teachings of fundamentalist religionists.

      Dogmatic religion deserves no respect at all. It deserves contempt. While people should be free to pursue whatever idiotic religion they choose, (so long as they do not try to indoctrinate their children or to impose it on others who reject it), they must expect people to criticise and attack their superstitious beliefs that are founded on ignorance, irrationality and prejudice.

      The more we LGBT folks are attacked by religionists, the more determined we are to fight back. And I, for one, am very proud to be a member of those fighting back.

  19. I would suggest to LGBT Catholic people and to fair-minded Catholics who attend church services, that they make a few copies of this appeal to decency and give it to their parish priest and fellow congregants. Leave a few copies at the back of the church or on the notice board….

    1. Or nail it to the door of thir nearest Catholic Church. Although I recall someone tryingbthis before….

    2. Or drop it in the collection basket instead of $..

  20. Well he clearly doesn’t spend a lot of time teaching English. His argument would be better if he were able to articulate it in a more appropriate way.

    1. Pointlessly bitchy.

    2. I think the fact that nearly 800 people have posted this and enthused about it on social media says otherwise. Still, you ‘can’t please everyone’ as they say…

    3. Nawal Husnoo 2 Jan 2013, 9:46am

      Please provide an edited copy where the “argument is articulated in a more appropriate way”.

      Otherwise you are clearly trolling, and your argument would be better if you were able to articulate it an a more appropriate way.

    4. I think the problem here is more likely your ability to read English.

  21. I just wish I’d been taught by someone like you.

  22. I entirely sympathise with the sentiments in the letter, but it is basically off-the-point waffle and doesn’t tackle the ludicrous arguments of Nichols and the RC church head-on. It seems also to be quite ignorant about RC doctrine (it’s based on ‘Apostolic Authority’, not ‘100% belief in the Bible’. A moving letter, but not quite the point.

    1. The Archbishop is not using religious arguments against marriage. In fact he specifically mentioned ‘civil law’

      Also check out this

      It’s all about politics. Otherwise he wouldn’t be talking about the supposed lack of public support etc

      I don’t think the teacher missed the point. He was spot on.

    2. Richard Queripel 2 Jan 2013, 12:35pm

      This letter (yes, I was the one who wrote it) was not meant to tackle Archbishop Nichols’s arguments head-on. I’ve had enough debates with hard-line Christians to know that, no matter how clever your counter-arguments may be, you will never convince them that you are right.

      In my experience, the most effective way of countering the kinds of opinions held by people like Archbishop Nichols is to present them with real-life examples of how damaging their viewpoints are to individuals on a personal level. Basically: appealing to their better natures. If they can see the pain they cause to real people as a result of espousing these opinions, then maybe one day they’ll begin to think differently. People with their heads buried in doctrine and holy books often fail to see the human consequences of their actions. I hope this letter, however waffly and off-the-point it may be, and however ignorant I am of RC doctrine, shows Archbishop Nichols a little of the damage he is causing.

      1. I am assuming it was meant to be an ‘open letter’, in which case the emotive nonsense deployed by Nichols et al (marriage has always been monogamous and straight, children not brought up by married straight couples are doomed to suffer, etc etc) does have to be tackled. I am perfectly aware that it is pointless trying to persuade the whack jobs (and frankly they don’t usually care about causing suffering in the service of ‘truth’), but plenty of self-defined religious types, including Catholics, are in two minds about the issue or quite sympathetic to equal marriage and would be swayed in the right direction or more emboldened by reading direct and cogent arguments against divines meddling in civil law.
        All that said, I respect your experience and view of children’s education. As someone who has taught young people, I know it can be a real challenge to encourage them to be open and independent thinkers – I often think younger children are better in this regard.

  23. Robert in S. Kensington 2 Jan 2013, 1:15pm

    No amount of letter writing will change Nichols’ mind. He’s parroting the Vatican’s universal script. Well intended letter but an exercise in futility. A face to face confrontation with a qualified supporter in Parliament would be a better avenue, but I doubt if Nichols would man-up to it. There hasn’t been anyone to challenge him. The BBC wouldn’t want any part of it since balanced interviews aren’t it’s forte. Notice the silence of the CoE, not a word, yet.

  24. Robert in S. Kensington 2 Jan 2013, 1:17pm

    After Maria Miller announced the quadruple lock for the CoE and Wales, we heard the whining from some of them saying it went a step too far. So where are they now? Why aren’t they confronting Nichols. That I think would send a far more powerful message to the opposition than any letter which will be thrown out and probably not even read.

  25. The Archbishop of Westminster went to a school that was catholic boys only, it taught bigotry and unequalness. It prided itself on turning out good upstanding members of the community, as it was run by the the Christian Brothers what can we expect. I find it unbelieveable that the Catholic church can be such hypocrits after the publicity of abuse handed out by their own priests and nuns including sexual abuse.

  26. The Open Letter is excellently written and argued – I hope His Grace gets to read it and reply. It is very clear to all us gay Catholics that Nichols has received an Instruction from the Vatican to adopt an aggressive anti-gay stance. In the Vatican, which has more homosexuals per square metre than anywhere else on God’s Earth, they are terrified at the recent events in France and the USA and the UK, all adding to the collapse of discrimination in Spain, Portugal, the Nordic Countries, Suth Africa – etc. They have decided to act aggressively now in the face of all this to try to stop if going further. A great many Vatican officials are gay, but punish in other people what they cannot cope with or hate in themselves – this is more psychopathology than it is moral theology, but that is how it is.

  27. Dsadvocate 2 Jan 2013, 4:06pm

    Let’s be logical here – we should not discriminate against who and who cannot get married at all. To regulate people’s behaviour in the area of who they want to marry clearly means you do not respect or value them as a human being.
    Polygamy should also be allowed, we should tolerate marriage between immediate relations (brothers and sisters, 1st cousins etc..) and we should also tolerate marriage between minors and adults…if they truly love each other who are we to discriminate against them?

    1. Ignorance like yours is the reason there is so many obstacles to equality. This has been explained so many times that it is rediculous to have to repeat it to you but education here is necessary.
      Two people have to be sane, responsible, adults to be able to marry each other. A person that is underage cannot sign a legal document of any kind, an animal cannot legally consent to any human action (they are animals). As human beings evolved to understand the effects of familial marriages we realised that it is not acceptable (even though the church used to allow it).
      Grow up and educate yourself so that others don’t have to do that here.

  28. hope he don’t teach at a Catholic School…it’ll be P45 Time.., instead of playtime…

  29. Rev. Jim Brooking 2 Jan 2013, 5:55pm

    If I had children, Richard is the sort of teacher I would want for them!!!

  30. More people need to be writting letters like this to their churches and that man in protest of their public statements. Stand up and be counted (heard)!!!

  31. JD Kelleher 2 Jan 2013, 9:36pm

    This is a brilliant letter and I thank the writer for taking the time to write it. Christian leaders all over the world are currently promoting this voiceferous, hateful stance, including the Iona Institute in Ireland and the Pope but thankfully more and more people realise that they are clearly wrong. More than that they their views are borderline insane. Shame on the Archbishop of Westminster.

  32. Wow! Well done,Richard. This letter should be openly displayed in every school and its contents should be an essential part of its statement about what the school believes it stands for.
    It may not hit greater powers than us mere mortals YET , but one day every right minded man and woman will think this way.

  33. The letter is brilliant, and quite to the point. This entity known as the Catholic Church has no moral nor legal right to tell anyone how they may live their lives.If we were to give creedance to the Bishops views. Then by the same token all those taught in catholic boys schools being influenced by the priests and brothers . should now be out commiting all kinds of terrible crimes against the world. This is not the case, anymore than children raised or taught by gays will influence them to be terrible citizens in the future. Such logic and understanding can only come from a mind that is so perverted and bigoted that it need not be taken serious no matter what this persons station in life is(bishop)

  34. Even Jesus once said It is`not what you put into your mouth that defiles you, It is what comes out of your mouth… In this case we know where this Archbishop satnds in Jesus eyes.

  35. As frustrating as it may be to converse with these people, it is important to challenge them and force them to defend their views. I don’t expect to change them but I see it as planting a seed. Hopefully in good time, they will realize their antiquated and intolerant views are not Christian nor rational or at least they;ll realize that more and more people vocally disagree with them. They can not continue to alienate their members and continue to survive. Decreasing donations will begin to make them think twice about taking such extreme positions on social issues.

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