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posted by [personal profile] elenya at 12:31am on 13/01/2007
The Radio 4 early morning news and current affairs programme, the Today Programme, always has a "thought for the day". Two speakers I always enjoy listening to on this spot are Rabbi Lionel Bloom and The Reverend Dr Giles Fraser. Today it was Dr Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney, debunking the idea that all Christians in this country are opposed to legislation giving gay people the right not to be discriminated against.

You can here him here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listenagain/ (You need RealPlayer), but this is a transcript of what he said:

As a Christian, I’m protected by the law against discrimination, and I’m grateful for it. No one can legally deny me access to goods or services because of my faith; no one is allowed to put up a sign in their window that reads “No Christians”, or “No Muslims”, for that matter. Discrimination on the grounds of race and gender is equally outlawed, all of which is an unambiguously good thing. As indeed I believe is the extension of these provisions to include sexual orientation. No one should be allowed to display a sign that reads “No Gays”, either. Some Christians, however, are strongly resisting this legislation. They argue that being obliged to provide goods and services to gay couples makes them complicit in what they regard as sin, and that this complicity compromises their deeply held religious convictions. For others, however, these so-called religious convictions are little more than a mask for simple prejudice. Why, they argue, aren’t these same Christian hoteliers up in arms at their legal obligation to provide hotel rooms for unmarried couples? After all, conservative Christians believe sex outside marriage to be no less a sin, yet they haven’t been protesting about this. Indeed, many of them may well believe that gluttony is a sin, but they haven’t been campaigning for Christian waiters to have the right to refuse fat people extra chips on moral grounds. No, there is real inconsistency in the way some Christians apply the argument of complicity, and this inconsistency is indicative that they are treating homosexuality as a special case. In other words, this inconsistency is evidence of prejudice, and the sad truth is that there’d be little need for this sort of legislation if there wasn’t so much prejudice about both in the church and elsewhere. Of course, it’s worth saying that discrimination doesn’t only shelter behind religious belief; there’s prejudice outside the churches and mosques, too. For the idea that this is an argument between Christian prejudice and secular enlightenment is the distortion of a lazy media that likes its arguments simple and binary. Within the church itself, there’s real debate and much disagreement; many Christians like me don’t believe homosexuality is a sin at all; in fact, I believe it is a gift of God. Sure, it is a gift that can be abused like any other, but often it is a channel of grace, a means by which some human beings show love and commitment and generosity just like anybody else. There’s a hymn we often sing in church which goes like this,

“For the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind,
But we make his love too narrow, with false limits of our own,
And we magnify his strictness with a zeal he will not own.”
There are 16 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] aussiepeach.livejournal.com at 12:48am on 13/01/2007
And this man is only a vicar? Someone should make him the pope.

(Hey, let's not discriminate between Catholics and Protestants!) :D If this guy preached I'd be a regular churchgoer.
posted by [identity profile] elenya54.livejournal.com at 12:22pm on 13/01/2007
He's great. I've just been listening to another of his "thoughts" on antisemitism.

"Often, of course, we protect ourselves from the thought of our own capacity for wickedness by describing wickedness as something foreign and alien. That's the problem with our tendency always to use the nazi as our default example of human evil. It encourages the thought that evil is done by people with funny accents and sinister uniforms, people who lived in the past, people very different from us. But as Eric Frome once put it, as long as one believes that the evil man wears horns, one will not discover an evil man. The most terrifying message of European antisemitism is that evil is perpetrated by ordinary, apparently respectable men and women, who have nice families and good taste in wine and music. In other words, by people like you and me. Those who refuse to face it are often the most dangerous people of all.

posted by [identity profile] celandine-g.livejournal.com at 04:23am on 14/01/2007
The most terrifying message of European antisemitism is that evil is perpetrated by ordinary, apparently respectable men and women, who have nice families and good taste in wine and music. In other words, by people like you and me. Those who refuse to face it are often the most dangerous people of all.

I love this idea that evil is not just done by the funny people in strange, old uniforms. I often wonder about those people running the concentration camps and slave labor factories back in WWII--so many thousands of them who kept it all running, rocket scientists, guards, train drivers, MDs who did "selections," and everyone else. Did they go to church on Sunday and feel justified in their lives? Did the clergy bless them nicely and say a prayer?

And so true, they were ordinary people, nothing unusual. Just like the people today who scream and yell and vote against civil rights for gays while the clergy cheers them on. Just ordinary people. Ordinary evil.

So how are you doing these days? Wish I could get back to the UK but it looks like Canada and India are my next international destinations. Sigh. Would much rather go back to the UK and hang out.
posted by [identity profile] merylmarie.livejournal.com at 02:13am on 13/01/2007
Hear, hear! I'm saving that one to Memories so I can whip it out the next time I see somebody get all church-y on the gays.
posted by [identity profile] elenya54.livejournal.com at 12:27pm on 13/01/2007
I thought the "gluttony" argument was maybe going a little OTT, but it's definitely one to save.

Here's a link you may be interested in:

posted by [identity profile] merylmarie.livejournal.com at 04:08pm on 13/01/2007
Thanks for the link. Very handy in a discussion. :))
posted by [identity profile] gamgeefest.livejournal.com at 02:50am on 13/01/2007
Very wise words and ones that I agree with whole heartedly.

(If my mom heard this guy speak, she'd say he's not a real Christian. *rolls eyes* Yeah, Mom, he's just *pretending* to be Christian.)

posted by [identity profile] elenya54.livejournal.com at 12:31pm on 13/01/2007
I'd say a real Christian is one who follows Christ's teachings including love, tolerance, inclusion, and being non-judgemental.
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posted by [identity profile] blackbird-song.livejournal.com at 06:13am on 13/01/2007
This is brilliant. Thank you so much for posting it, as I so often despair of finding Christians who think this way. Would you mind horribly if I linked others to your post?

posted by [identity profile] elenya54.livejournal.com at 12:35pm on 13/01/2007
Would you mind horribly if I linked others to your post?

Of course not.

The problem of course is that the Christians who are anti-gay are very vocal...
posted by [identity profile] jewelsong.livejournal.com at 09:37am on 13/01/2007
Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. I am sending it to a number of my friends.

As a Christian myself, I agree completely with what he said. We need to speak out more...
posted by [identity profile] elenya54.livejournal.com at 12:37pm on 13/01/2007
We need to speak out more...

Ain't that the truth! Thanks for sending it on; it's a view that needs more airing
posted by [identity profile] addie71.livejournal.com at 06:52pm on 13/01/2007
Thank you for posting this. I plan to send it out to several people who need to read it.
posted by [identity profile] ellinestel.livejournal.com at 10:05pm on 13/01/2007
(((Elenya)))) Thank you so much for posting this! :)
posted by [identity profile] gardnerhill.livejournal.com at 02:08am on 14/01/2007
Lord knows you guys need more "Christian spokesmen" like this Vicar and less that sound like Hitlerjugend in training. ("Dammit, we cain't blame Negroes or Jews no more since that Hitler feller, and we don't got Commies to blame everything on any more -- I got it! Homos and wimmenfolks!")
posted by [identity profile] frodosweetstuff.livejournal.com at 02:25pm on 22/01/2007
Thank you for posting this! It was very interesting and I found myself nodding all the time while reading it. :)

I find it frightening how people still quote certain bible passages in defense of homophobia when we all know that the bible is a badly translated work of mostly fiction of which so many parts were rewritten to suit the interests of the powers that be. *sigh*


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