Church seems confused over sexuality

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A “broad church” is an 
oxymoron in an age of religious extremes as we will 
discover now the Church of England is to allow gay clergy in civil partnerships to become bishops (your report, 5
January)

Demanding such candidates are celibate is an absurdity and the consequence of requiring clergy to be celibate if not married and then denying gay clergy the right to marry.

This obsession with sex is also a deeply disturbing feature of the Scottish Kirk and is based on cherry-picked biblical passages rather than the welcoming compassion of Christ.

Clergy like me caring for our parishioners are a world apart from leaders who proclaim a God-given sexual orientation is as wicked and disgusting as child sacrifice or Nazism.

I was deeply concerned at the struggle some of my folks had to survive but what they got up to in the privacy of their own bedrooms was absolutely none of my business.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

In his 2002 autobiography, The Calling of a Cuckoo, the former Bishop of Durham David Jenkins describes how he was “repelled by the narrow-minded dogmatism and arbitrary authoritarianism of so much Christian discourse and behaviour” and how he found himself “more and more forced to the conclusion that the Church of England, in its present quarrelsome and institutionally obsolescent state, is just not fit or able to share, spread and serve the Christian gospel of the future”.

As the current Bishop of Durham prepares for higher office this week, I wonder what conclusion David Jenkins would reach a decade later, with the Church plagued by internal wars over same-sex marriage, women bishops, gay bishops, the debacle of the protest outside St Paul’s and now the child sex abuse scandal in the Chichester diocese.

I suspect many in the Church as outside it would agree that its “institutionally obsolescent state” is now ripe for overhaul by disestablishment.

Alistair McBay

National Secular Society

Atholl Crescent

Edinburgh

The Church of England, while upholding the core moral principle that homosexual sex is immoral, seems to have got into a muddle by allowing celibate gay bishops in civil partnerships.

Can a heterosexual bishop have a live-in platonic lady friend? When same-sex “marriage” is introduced, removing the sexual element from the definition of marriage, will celibate, married, gay bishops be allowed?

Is it wise for a pair attracted to each other sexually, but wishing to remain celibate, to live together? Does the Church of England now endorse celibate cohabitation before marriage?

What example does the Church wish to present to children too young to understand the issue fully?

Marriage should tie together sex, total commitment and domesticity in a single covenant between a man and a woman.

Statistics routinely show that this model, where cohabitation and sex commence after the wedding, correlates with the most stable relationships, to the benefit of adults, children, wider society and the taxpayer.

This is one fact that allegedly “fact-based” school sex education programmes tend to omit.

The Stonewall spokeswoman’s sarcastic comments (that it was “perplexed” as to how the initiative would be policed by the Church) were not surprising, but, considering its public funding, perhaps Stonewall should be more courteous.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Edinburgh

Displaying a rare talent for shooting itself in the foot, the Anglican Church has decided to allow the ordination of homosexual bishops within its communion. This is accompanied by the almost unbelievable rider that they must be celibate.

It makes one wonder just how in touch with reality the Church officials who made this decision really are. Little wonder that a Stonewall spokeswoman is “perplexed” at how they will police this decision.

Equally troubling is how these clerics manage to sideline the wishes and desires of conservative Anglicans who are utterly opposed to such a move and this is before bringing scripture into the equation, especially the specific proscriptions in Leviticus 18 and 20 and also Romans 1; there are many more.

However, it seems to be in line with their wavering views on solemnising same-sex
marriage.

So far the Church of Scotland has remained resolute on this matter as indeed has the Roman Catholic Church, but for how much longer?

The Scottish and British Governments have made clear that same-sex marriage will not be forced on churches that do not recognise it, but this statement is of doubtful value since to discriminate against individuals on the grounds of their sexuality is already illegal under European law.

Indeed, there are some interesting times ahead which may well see an increase in fundamentalism and breakaway schisms within the churches.

Brian Allan

Keith Street

Kincardine-on-Forth

How hypocritical can you be? The church accepts that a gay man may become a bishop, to appease a tiny fraction of the population so as to be seen as “inclusive”, yet denies a woman, who represents 50 per cent of the population, the same right.

Maybe all women priests should declare themselves to be gay, then they might stand a chance. Also, if a gay bishop is acceptable, how can they object to a gay marriage in church?

Peter Kent

Meikle Wartle

Aberdeenshire

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