Care with his­tor­i­cal facts

The Church of England - - LETTERS -

Sir, The writer of your leader (4 Septem­ber) needs to be rather more care­ful with his­tor­i­cal facts and should mar­shal his ar­gu­ments rather bet­ter than he has man­aged to do in his ig­no­rant and pa­thetic rant this week.

For a start the he­lio­cen­tric view of the uni­verse ad­vo­cated by the Church in the 15th/16th cen­tury was not a pass­ing fad but has its ori­gins in Aris­to­tle. To sug­gest that the Church of that pe­riod was hitch­ing it­self to some pass­ing fad is just ig­no­rant. Galileo was jailed for con­tra­dict­ing Church teach­ing of what it con­sid­ered to be ‘true’. That should be a warn­ing to you and all Church peo­ple who be­lieve that only they hold the ‘truth’.

Se­condly, has you writer not read the Kin­sey re­port? Has he/she no aware­ness of what the ini­tials LGBTI stand for? What ev­i­dence is there to jus­tify the as­ser­tion that both Stonewall and the Church of Eng­land deny the in­con­ve­nient truth be­ing that sex­u­al­ity is com­plex and multi-faceted, or ‘fluid’, to use the in­creas­ingly favoured term.

In fact it is ‘Chris­tians’ like your­selves who deny the full spec­trum of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion in your quest for the black and white in a world of vary­ing shades of grey. You cling to the Ge­n­e­sis texts of bi­nary male and fe­male. You deny the equal­ity of women with your spu­ri­ous ap­peals to Pauline texts. Many of you deny the pos­si­bil­ity of women priests be­cause of false teach­ing about ‘head­ship’. You deny the le­git­i­mate and God-given af­fec­tions be­tween peo­ple of the same sex be­cause it up­sets your sim­plis­tic no­tions of com­ple­men­tar­ity.

Fur­ther­more, the va­lid­ity of any ar­gu­ment is un­der­mined by the mean­ness of the writer and the use of lan­guage de­lib­er­ately de­signed to de­mean and un­der­mine. By us­ing a phrase like the gov­ern­ment’s ‘dik­tat’ you are de­lib­er­ately echo­ing fas­cist sen­ti­ments. And who are the ‘man­agers of the Church of Eng­land’? I thought that we are an Epis­co­pally-led church, syn­od­i­cally gov­erned. Per­haps if the Church of Eng­land was ‘man­aged’ it might do bet­ter in the real world.

The plain truth is that you are clutch­ing at straws and this leader only un­der­mines your po­si­tion more fully. Chris­tians who be­lieve this sort of tosh have lost the ar­gu­ment; Chris­tians who deny the va­lid­ity and re­al­ity of same-sex re­la­tion­ships be­fore God are dig­ging a hole for them­selves. The church has al­ways com­pro­mised with the so­ci­ety in which it finds it­self. To deny that is to deny history. To deny that is to make the Church ir­rel­e­vant, to fa­tally com­pro­mise its mis­sion and to ren­der it ir­rel­e­vant to to­day. Most Chris­tians will in the end ac­cept this. Those who don’t will end up as an ir­rel­e­vant and de­cid­edly odd ex­clu­sive sect.

Richard Ashby,


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