Thursday, 5 April 2012

Bishop of Salisbury to address LGBT conference on "Achieving our equality, challenging faith-based homophobia and transphobia"

Prominent amongst the speakers slated for the third ‘Cutting Edge Consortium’ conference on the 21st April is the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam.
This will be interesting since, following a recent frank exchange of views with some of the evangelicals in his diocese, Bishop Holtam has declared his commitment to “supporting” those clergy whose standpoint differs from his own on issues of sexuality.
The conference brochure for CEC, however, is fairly explicit about where it stands on the matter:
We reject the activities of certain religious leaders, seeking exemptions from equality legislation, and attempts to base this on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, such a right being for all, not just for some. We deplore the internalised homophobia and transphobia within religious institutions that fails to confront prejudice and hate. We encourage and support those faith organisations, which express their commitment to diversity and equality in practice and policy. We believe that full civil rights for LGBT individuals are not only consistent with the right to religious freedom, but are rooted in the best and fundamental teachings of all major faiths, religions, or beliefs, including non-religious world-views; love, justice, compassion, and mercy, such values being shared by all who seek the common good.
One doubts that the views of those Bp Holtam says he will support would find much of a welcome at the CEC conference. Will Bp Holtam be reminding the conference of his commitment? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, any who were suggesting that the defeat of the Anglican Covenant would be followed by an outbreak of peace and mutual acceptance here and abroad are, I suspect, about to have that proposal put severely to the test.
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  1. Supporting one's clergy doesn't necessarily mean agreeing with their opinions on gender and sexuality. In a way, the Church has traditionally not supported those who have views different from its own. However, the Gospel if for all - regardless of individual 'views' on the outrageous unconditional Love of God as revealed in the Son.

  2. Ron, I think you're rather missing the first point I'm making and ducking the second.

    If Nicholas Holtam really supports those clergy with whom he disagrees then he must to some extent distance himself from the declared aims of the conference he is going to address. If, on the other hand, he fully endorses the conference aims then he must, to some extent, distance himself from (indeed oppose as the conference clearly does) those clergy who disagree with him on same sex relationships.

    As to the outbreak of mutual acceptance and peace, that isn't going to happen, is it?

  3. Andrew Godsall6 April 2012 at 09:16

    I guess that out break needs people like you and me to keep engaging John - which is why it is good that you allow comments on your blog that take different views to your own. Not all bloggers are so generous.

    Andrew Godsall

  4. In other news, the camel's nose has declared its commitment to “supporting” the tent.