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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Barbarism in Nigeria

The UK gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust – owner of this blog and a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union – has expressed its dismay and outrage at the news that Nigeria’s Senate has voted in favour of a bill that will criminalise gay marriage, gay advocacy groups and same-sex public displays of affection.

It will make it illegal to register gay clubs or organisations, as well as criminalising the “public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly”. Under the proposed law, couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

The bill, now much more wide-ranging than its initial draft, must be passed by Nigeria’s House of Representatives and signed by President Goodluck Jonathan before becoming law. However, public opinion and lawmakers’ calls for even harsher penalties show the widespread support for the measure in the deeply religious nation.

“Such elements in society should be killed,” said Sen. Baba-Ahmed Yusuf Datti of the opposition party Congress for Progressive Change, drawing some murmurs of support from the gallery.

Gay sex has been banned since British colonial rule in Nigeria, but religious leaders in the country have long pushed for harsher penalties for homosexuality and supporters of gay men and women.

In September 2011 the Anglican Primate of Nigeria called gays and lesbians “evil” at the wedding of tribal royal Princess Ewere Efeizomor, telling the room that God had created women as a “helpmates” for men.”

What is being known now as gay and homosexuality is contrary to God’s plan for human sexuality and procreation,” the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh said. It is against the will of God, and nobody should encourage it, and those who do will earn for themselves the damnation of the Almighty.”

Commenting on this development the PTT’s secretary George Broadhead said: “Gays and lesbians already face open discrimination and abuse in a country divided by Christians and Muslims who almost uniformly oppose homosexuality. In the areas in Nigeria’s north, where Islamic Sharia Law has been enforced for about a decade, gays and lesbians can face death by stoning.

“It seems that there is a very real threat that this barbaric bill will become law and if it does, Nigeria will become the most homophobic nation in Africa. Even in South Africa, the one country where gays can marry, lesbians have been brutally attacked and murdered.

“If the bill is legalised, the situation for LGBT people in Nigeria will become completely untenable and set a precedent that would threaten all Nigerians’ rights to privacy, equality, free expression and association.

“It is clear that the impetus for such legislation has come from religious sources, and the Nigerian Humanist Movement (NHM), which has had financial support from the PTT, has been one of the few heterosexual institutions defending LGBT rights in the county. Its executive director, Leo Igwe, deserves much credit for courageously speaking up for their rights in the country’s parliament.”

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Aussies are becoming Muslims, MP claims

An Australian MP reckons Aussies are being turned into Muslims because they’re unwittingly eating cruelly slaughtered meat.

Oh, Muslims call it halal, which means acceptable to their religion – a religion that clearly favours cruelly dispatched animals unless, as is allowed by some Muslims, prestunning is employed. But the rest of us call it animal cruelty.

The Aussies aren’t exactly being turned into Muslims, but I see what he means. He reckons it’s a step on the way.

“By having Australians unwittingly eating Halal food we are all one step down the path towards the conversion, and that is a step we should only make with full knowledge and one that should not be imposed upon us without us knowing,” Luke Simpkins has said.

He has a point, just as we do in the UK, where we may be eating meat whose slaughter we’d be ethically opposed to, and would reject that meat in favour of prestunned if we did but know.

How many schoolkids are being fed this stuff, because it’s deemed to make more economic sense to buy in meat from one supplier?

I don’t say people should not be able to follow the customs of their religion, but that goes only as far as not imposing suffering on others – including animals, which are stressed enough in livestock markets and abattoirs without having their throats slit while they’re still conscious. And, of course, it shouldn’t be imposed on those of us who reject this barbarism.

But will government do anything about it? How do you know when you buy beef or lamb in a supermarket that it hasn’t had its throat slit while conscious?

There needs to be clear labelling, but preferably a ban on the practice altogether. If they don’t want to eat meat that’s prestunned, they can always go veggie.

See alsoLet them eat hake”.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Homophobic peers strike again

Some Tory peers (well, they would be Tories, wouldn’t they?) are objecting to allowing same-sex ceremonies in religious premises.

This move is being led by one Baroness O’Cathain, who has form when it comes to homophobia.

They fear religious establishments will be forced to splice same-sex couples, but my understanding is that they won’t. So what’s the big fuss if it’s not downright homophobia?

The idea is being supported by more enlightened Christians, such as the Quakers, though, as the link above, to a story in the Independent, demonstrates.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Some walk the talk; others just talk the talk

Eighteen UK Church of England bishops have signed an open letter having a go at the current Con–Dem government for its draconian, not to say evil, plot to ensure the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

I refer to its plans for welfare, and its naïve* belief that, in a country where jobs are disappearing and at any time up to five people are chasing one job – and, even then, some are not “proper jobs”, but part-time or on short contract or no contract at all – people can just go out and find work.

So these 18 bishops have signed an open letter criticising this plot, and there’s backing from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Their main concern seems to be for children – because the government wants to limit the amount any given household can claim in benefits, no matter how big the family, and, they say, it’s not the fault of children that they’re in big families.

And the Children's Society claims the policy will cut support to around 210,000 children and make as many as 80,000 homeless.

OK, so far, so good. Bishops walking the talk.

But there are 44 diocesan bishops and archbishops in Britain, so where are the other 26? (By coincidence, 26 bishops sit in the House of Lords as of right, but, without checking them all out, I doubt it’s the 26 who haven’t signed the letter, although there’s bound to be some overlap.)

I assume the invitation to sign the open letter, which is in today’s Observer, went out to all bishops. I don’t know that to be the case, but it seems likely that they’d all be invited to sign it.

Just wondering . . .
* No, I take that back about "naïve". These monsters know exactly what they are doing.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Kiss ’n’ sue

The Vatican is threatening some sort of legal action over a photoshopped pic in a Benetton ad of Herr Ratzinger kissing a leading imam.

Bit late now, isn’t it? It’s all over the place, just as Benetton no doubt intended. It’s always been one for the shock value.

Well, Pink Triangle is doing its bit. The picture is on this page and a Pink Paper story can be found here.

The Vatican is clearly upset (tee-hee), with a spokestwat saying the picture “shows a grave lack of respect for the pope, an offence to the feelings of believers”. Aw, diddums!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

A nice little earner . . .

It’s pretty easy to see why the Arch of Cant, Rowan Williams, and his Number Two in the Church of England, John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, should want Britain to steer clear of an elected House of Lords (that, for my multitude of overseas readers, is our upper legislative house here in dear old Blighty).

If we go for a fully elected Lords, you see, the right of the Church of England to have 26 – or, indeed, any – bishops sitting there as of right, just for being bishops, will disappear. And it can’t come too soon.

I’ve no objection to bishops or imams or rabbis in the House of Lords – provided they get there on merit, not by default. They would be peers, but just happen to be bishops or whatever.

At the moment, there are these 26 geezers in frocks sitting there, who, if they do say anything useful, don’t do so because they’re bishops but because they have something useful to say. That could apply to anyone.

Which brings me to another objection from the two prelates: the chamber would lose much of its expertise.

This presupposes that no one who is elected could possibly have expertise.

Well, if all peers were appointed because of their expertise – which isn’t the case, because a lot of peerages are handed out through favouritism, and no doubt corruption (peerages for donations, that sort of thing) – I could see some point in it.

And why, anyway, should not potential peers have to show some expertise, or at least aptitude, before being allowed even to run for election (something I favour for MPs and local councillors, who ought to sit an appropriate examination of before their parties are even allowed to put them forward)?

And there’s no doubt that their bloody holinesses or graces or lordships or whatever they’re called see their own beliefs in fairies as “expertise”.

The government’s draft bill at the moment proposes a House of Lords of 300 members, with 80 to 100 per cent of peers elected by proportional representation. There’s never been an elected upper chamber in the UK, and the public have been bamboozled into thinking this is an OK situation, that people should be allowed to legislate on our behalf without our having put them there.

The archbishops also question whether a salaried House of Lords can be justified in these straitened times. Easy. Pay them how they’re paid now: an allowance – but cut it. They’re entitled to £300 a day (tax-free), when so many hardworking people don’t even get £300 a week! There would be enough people willing to do the job for less than is being paid now – without the distraction of being a bishop.

How do they find the time? Isn’t being a bishop a full-time occupation? If a bishop can find time to sit in the House of Lords, too, bishoping can’t be that onerous. Either bishoping or sitting in the House must be something of a sinecure. And they’re entitled to £300 a day for it. Tax-free!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The new word of the month: Gaystapo

The Church of England Newspaper called gay campaingners Nazis recently. Well, one of its contributors, a right-wing, nasty piece of work called Alan Craig, did.

He coined the portmanteau word “Gaystapo”. The newspaper defended it.

Well, it’s his opinion, but to label as Nazis some of the people whom the Nazis sent to concentration camps and gassed is rather under the belt. The man must himself have Nazi sympathies even to suggest such a thing.

Anyway, in the Huffington Post, Patrick Strudwick has a go at him. It’s worth a read. And there are some links there, too.

A big grovel

“American director Brett Ratner confirmed that he will not be producing next year’s Academy Awards broadcast after using a gay slur during a press conference to promote his latest film.”

This is what Pink News told us earlier this month after this guy said rehearsals were for fags.

Since then, however, Jane Lynch, who plays the delightful Sue Sylvester in Glee and is herself gay, has supported him.

“I think humour is such a personal thing,” she has said, “and, you put a microphone in somebody’s face, they’re going to say something that offends somebody.”

Well, give him his due: he’s grovelled over his remark, and here’s his statement in full:

Over the last few days, I’ve gotten a well-deserved earful from many of the people I admire most in this industry expressing their outrage and disappointment over the hurtful and stupid things I said in a number of recent media appearances. To them, and to everyone I’ve hurt and offended, I’d like to apologize publicly and unreservedly.

As difficult as the last few days have been for me, they cannot compare to the experience of any young man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs or derogatory comments. And they pale in comparison to what any gay, lesbian, or transgender individual must deal with as they confront the many inequalities that continue to plague our world.

So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter. Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.

As a first step, I called Tom Sherak this morning and resigned as a producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast. Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career. But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.

I am grateful to GLAAD [Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] for engaging me in a dialogue about what we can do together to increase awareness of the important and troubling issues this episode has raised and I look forward to working with them. I am incredibly lucky to have a career in this business that I love with all of my heart and to be able to work alongside so many of my heroes. I deeply regret my actions and I am determined to learn from this experience.

That’s a pretty big grovel, and I wish everyone who insults gay people – either intentionally or otherwise – would do the same.

It’s easy to say the wrong thing. We’ve all done it, whether in the presence of someone of a different sex or a different colour or someone who has a disability. We’re spontaneous animals and associations are made quickly in our brains and words can tumble out before we realise what’s happening.

Pity Glee is only on Sky now, though. I watched two series when it was available on Freeview. (OK, OK, I just like that kind of stuff, OK? It’s camp and showy. Don’t give me a hard time.) But then Sky bought it, and I’m buggered if I’m going to subscribe to Sky for the sake of one series – even Glee.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Believers or “believers”?

“I had a very difficult time following a so-called religion whose founder and followers had butchered my ancestors, raped and sold our women, burned our libraries, and destroyed our magnificent culture. Islam was forced down the throats of Iranians with the sword of Allah. In my heart, I never considered myself a Muslim. However, I didn’t reveal this until later in life for fear of retribution by radical Muslims.”

Thus writes Amil Imani in International Analyst Network.

What makes this statement more remarkable is that he was brought up in an Islamic family. “I never embraced Islam in the first place, although I was born and raised in a Muslim family,” he writes.

He has a go at sharia law, saying, “Sharia law stipulates that any Muslim who turns his back on Islam should be given a chance to revert to the faith. For an unrepentant male apostate, death is the proscribed punishment and life imprisonment for the female apostate.”

And this points up the sheer illogicality of it all. How can you force someone to believe something? They either believe or don’t. Belief is not a voluntary action: it’s entirely involuntary, like your heartbeat.

It also insults the religion, if these bozos who insist on blind faith could only see it. If someone is being coerced into “revert[ing] to the faith”, they will outwardly embrace the tenets without believing in them. They’ll never be able to tell anyone, for fear of punishment. But the fact remains: they are pretending to believe. So how many Muslims – and those of other belief systems where coercion is a factor – are thought to believe in their hocus-pocus while not doing so?

Far better, surely, to have a believer who is literally that, rather than a “believer” you have to put quote marks around.

And all of this prompts the question: how many true believers are there? As many as they like to claim? Obviously not, if many of them are “believers” under duress.

Monday, 14 November 2011

LGBT humanists protest at Russian antigay legislation

The UK gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) – owner of this blog – is appalled to learn of the latest antigay legislation proposed in Russia.

The legal committee of the St Petersburg Legislative Assembly has introduced a draft law prohibiting the so-called propaganda of “sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism, and paedophilia to minors”.

Commenting on this, PTT secretary George Broadhead said: “This is yet another example of the homophobia, which seems rampant in Russian society, no doubt fostered by the malign influence of the Orthodox Church. In this instance it is especially repugnant that the Assembly has associated homosexuality with paedophilia.

“As the LGBT organisation Coming Out Russia points out, the Assembly has chosen to ignore the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention for Human Rights, the Council of Europe recommendations and other decrees by international organisations of which Russia is a member.”

Reacting to the plea for help from Coming Out Russia, the PTT has sent a letter of protest to Yakovenko Alexander Vladimirovich, the Russian Ambassador in the UK.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Why secularists make Christians angry (and vice versa)

A report from Premier Christian Media is highlighting how Christians feel more persecuted. The rise of secularism is one thing that is blamed for this.

But it’s cause and effect. If Christians (and other religions, notably Islam) didn’t make ridiculous demands, secularists would be less vocal. It becomes a game of ping-pong, with each side trying to hit the ball harder each time it comes to its end of the table.

If secularists complain that there’s too much religion on TV, say, that’s probably because there is (disproportionately so), and the BBC and other broadcasters are guilty of kowtowing to these beliefs, instead of – as I’m sure would be quite acceptable – making interesting programmes about religion to enable us to increase our knowledge, just as we might seek to increase our knowledge of cooking by watching Jamie Oliver. (No, scrub that. TV cooking is just a spectator sport for morons, but I digress.)

I’m not saying secularists are always right – and often one wishes they’d stick to secularism if that is their only remit, and stop pontificating on spiritual matters or issues of ontology and theology. After all, secularism is just a case of wishing to chuck the churches and other religious organisations out of public decision making and put them on a level playing field with any other group that seeks the ear of those in power.

If secularists have “humanist” in their name, then that’s a different matter, because the term “humanism” seems to have such a wide scope that it invites its devotees to say just about anything. However, not all humanists are as freethinking as they like to make out, and some so-called freethinkers can be quite dogmatic, as a glance at the letters pages of the Freethinker will confirm.

But, on the whole, secularists pure and simple or secularists who are humanists, rationalists and/or freethinkers have the moral high ground as far as this humble blogger is concerned. Religion is a huge power game, and should be put in its place. It’s far removed from the simple sets of beliefs that probably gave rise to it. Spirituality is a personal thing, as is belief in gods and other supernatural agencies.

Most secularists would argue that people should be allowed to enjoy their beliefs, practise their rituals, celebrate their festivals, honour their deities – as long as they don’t wish (a) to push it all down everyone’s throat or (b) to restrict others’ freedom, either to have religious beliefs or not to have religious beliefs.

And that, if anything, is the strongest case for keeping religion in the private sphere. I’m sure few people object to a bit of sentimental hokum at Christmas, say. I for one like the sound of carols, and the odd crib scene in a town centre doesn’t send me into a vapour; church bells can be pleasing to the ear, provided they don’t keep one awake or frighten the horses. Christianity was here a long time before it began to decline, and it’s informed much of our culture.

If I saw a harmless display celebrating Diwali, say, I’d think the same.

But religionists who shout and throw their toys out of the pram can turn mild secularists into raging, uncompromising fanatics, complete with pitchforks and torches.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Religion versus spirituality

The leader of the Catholic Church in Dublin is getting into a hissy fit about the fact that Ireland has closed down its embassy in the Vatican. Yes, some countries have embassies in the Vatican.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny says the decision was made purely on cost-cutting grounds.

“But Archbishop Diarmuid Martin’s latest comments [about the closure] will only fuel the suspicion that relations between Church and State are at an all time low,” says Irish Central.

Martin, you see, has a problem with the fact that some people see religion as a private thing, and thinks it ought to be an inseparable, joined-at-the-hip part of national life.

Not happy with having the freedom to practise their religion (which is as it should be), not happy with having special privileges, tax breaks and the ear of government, these bloody idiots think it ought to be imposed on everyone, and that their tax euros should be spent on upholding an embassy in La-La Land. Here’s a further taste of what this idiot’s statement says:
Societies like our own where faith and the Christian life once flourished and faith communities were strong are now undergoing a far-reaching transformation.
The reality of God is slowly being eclipsed and people are living their lives as if God does not exist. It is not so much an atmosphere of hostility towards faith but an attitude of indifference or one which tolerates a presence for God in the private lives of individuals but much less within the realities of our society.
Some who felt that religion was destined to be relegated to the purely private sphere are surprised by the fact that religion has come back to centre stage in international relations. [Has it?]
This is not just about a surge in forms of fundamentalism. Faith is not just part of the problem; religion is so central in the life and mentality of many that it cannot but be part of the solution to central problems of international relations today.
Well, for one thing, international relations might be a lot better off if the complication of religion were taken out the equation. It’s just noise.

For another thing, he’s mixing up God with religion. People have all kinds of ideas about the origins of the universe and whether some kind of noncorporeal progenitor might have been bored and decided to get out the Play-Doh.

The thing is, we’ll never know.

But look what an unholy mess religion has made of the idea, with its Babel of conflicting ideas and ideals. So God, if you believe in one, is a personal thing, because he/she/it has so many versions that it’s impossible to impose him/her/it universally.

But these believers in fairies think they have a special place in the world, and should be central to all things.

I can go along with the idea of spirituality, because it doesn’t have to imply things beyond the experienced world, and one can get a spiritual experience out of a Beethoven symphony or some electro-synth, out of a Dalí painting or out of a toke on a spliff (try all three at once: it’s like, wow, man).

It can also rely on a belief in the supernatural.

Either way, it’s very personal. But these dictators who want to shove their ideas down the throat of every citizen make me suddenly want to develop warm feelings towards Hitler.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Mad Mel is Bigot of the Year

Melanie Phillips, that bastion of freethinking and compassionate journalism, is Bigot of the Year, I see.

It’s one of Stonewall’s annual awards. There are some positive ones there, too, as you can see from the second link in the story linked to above.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

An exercise in exorcism

Exorcism on the National Health Service? Yep, it’s true.

However, suppose you were mentally very ill indeed and believed your problem was possession. Suppose you believed that only an exorcism could make you better. Suppose you had a health professional – your psychiatrist, say – who wanted you to be cured, had so far hit a brick wall and wanted to try a new kind of “therapy”.

Once you take the quote marks off the word therapy you’ve just about incorporated exorcism into the psychiatrist’s armoury. He or she might wish to call it something else – deliverance therapy, say – but knows the patient will still think of it as exorcism.

So before you condemn exorcism (or whatever you wish to call it) on the NHS, give this article a go.

I’m not in favour or wildly against, but sometimes it comes down to how we frame things in our nomenclature, what we call things, how we categorise things. In the world of mental health, nothing is solid, tangible, operable with a scalpel or a chemical in a capsule or syringe.

All kinds of therapy have been used, be they chemical or talking; electroconvulsive or mild hypnosis; a straitjacket or neurolinguistic programming. And all to get at something in that most elusive of phenomena, the human mind. It may well be the product of electrochemical stuff going on in there, but it’s so damned complex that it’ll never be fully understood.

Sometimes, something unusual must be done.

OK, some people are going to be uncomfortable with the idea of using something that smacks of churches and God and priests and that kind of thing. But our fictitious patient above can be cured of his affliction only by being in that world, smelling the incense, hearing some Latin, perhaps, watching a guy shouting, “In the name of Jesus Christ be gone!” to a nonexistent demon.

And our patient would presumably respond just as well if a psychiatrist – even an atheist one – donned a dog collar and read bits of dramatic text from a prayer book or a bible.

But is this costing the NHS more than can be justified in terms of people cured? That’s another question. And it may be on such grounds that the practice should be accepted or rejected, not just on whether it involves hoodwinking an ill patient that a demon really is being driven out of him.

Perception moves in mysterious ways, and ultimately all is subjective.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Wait for the rumpus to begin as we move towards gay partnership ceremonies in churches

Looks like we’re in for a bit of a rumpus in religious circles from next month, then, as it becomes law for same-sex partnership ceremonies to be held in religious premises.

Putting aside why people would want to do it in church, we have to accept that a lot of people do, and it’s been unfair hitherto that they can’t.

Liberal religious groups such as Quakers and some Jews are cool with this; the Church of England, though, is likely to get vapours about it and go into a screaming, hissy fit.

The fact is, no church organisation will be forced to host gay ceremonies. But you can bet your bottom that this won’t stop all the kicking and shouting and throwing of toys out of the pram.

Should be fun.

Sense-of-humour bypass

Police say the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been destroyed by a petrol bomb.

According to the BBC
, “It comes a day after the publication named the Prophet Muhammad as its ‘editor-in-chief’ for its next issue.”

The magazine has been in trouble before over Islam – notably the question of the Danish cartoons. But it’s back to the question of freedom of speech, isn’t it, which we were discussing (well I was discussing) in the last post?

But that’s something that humourless Muslims don’t believe in. Oh, I’m sure they’re not all like that, but the ones that get the ear of the media clearly are, those who set themselves up as self-appointed “leaders” of the Muslim “community”.

So go to the BBC story and read it, so that efforts to gag are to some extent, at least, thwarted. Anyway, it has some rather amusing bits by way of explanation, such as:

“The edition of the paper which was being published on Wednesday was called Charia Hebdo – a play on the Islamic word sharia.

“The cover shows Muhammad saying: ‘100 lashes if you are not dying of laughter’. “Inside there is an editorial, attributed to the Prophet, and more cartoons – one showing the Prophet Muhammad with a clown's red nose.”

The story then adds: “Depiction of the Prophet is strictly prohibited in Islam.” Prohibited in Islam. Note the preposition here. It’s not prohibited outside Islam, last I heard.

An equality too far?

“Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has come to the defence of a Christian housing manager who was demoted over remarks be made on Facebook opposing same-sex marriages,” the Christian think tank Ekklesia tells us.

Ekklesia goes on to make the pertinent remark: “This is the fourth time that Tatchell has come to the defence of Christians who have become embroiled in controversy over their stance on LGBT issues.”

He spoke last year in defence of a street preacher who held antigay views. His stance was that of free speech. I for one – but I can’t speak for others on the list of potential contributors to this blog – agree with him. Once we start mucking about with free speech, even if that speech is railing against our own interests, we deliver a blow to that very principle, and will soon fall into the hands of those who would like it curbed altogether.

What’s more, by showing to those who would deny us free speech, free expression and freedom to be ourselves when it comes to our sexuality that we believe they have the right to make their banal statements, we take the moral high ground. And we can demand a reciprocal arrangement, and our opponents would look bad if they refused it.

“In the latest case,” says Ekklesia, “Adrian Smith, a Christian, was found guilty of gross misconduct by his publicly funded housing association for saying that allowing gay weddings in churches was ‘an equality too far’.”

He’s entitled to his views. It’s good that the housing association concerned doesn’t like his views, and should, of course, speak loudly against those views, but he said this in a private capacity. He’d put it on his personal Facebook page. But for that he was downgraded to a lower posting and lost £14,000 a year.

Smith says on his Facebook page that gay marriage is

an equality too far [. . .] the bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women if the state wants to offer civil marriage to same sex then that is up to the state; but they shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience.

So the guy’s a prat for having views on human relationships in the 21st century that are clearly based on mythology and fly in the face of all that is decent. But let him have them. Argue with him using debate and, if necessary, ridicule.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Hate gays or be fired

What is being called a Christian “liberal” arts college in Rome, Georgia, USA, has “announced a policy which will require its more than 200 employees to sign a ‘Personal Lifestyle Statement’ rejecting homosexuality”.

Religionists again, obsessing about what people do with their bits and pieces.

LGBTQ Nation (linked to above) tells us, of Shorter University:

The university’s president, Don Dowless, made it clear any staffer not signing the agreement faces immediate termination. The policy also requires staffers to reject premarital sex and adultery, prohibits consumption of alcoholic beverages in front of students, or attending university events within six hours of consuming alcohol.

A Shorter University student who asked not to be identified said the university was “judging others, contrary to what the Bible teaches”. Good point. Well, they’ll get their reward in Heaven – or that other place.