Thursday, February 17, 2005


Another superb BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day this morning from Giles Fraser. The print version is not yet available, but you can hear it via RealAudio here. The burden of the piece was in favour of the church being "the rainbow people of God" (in Desmond Tutu's telling phrase), and against the a priori exclusion of lesbian and gay people (and women bishops!) on 'biblical' grounds remarkably similar to those used by Jesus' critics, ironically enough.

The BBC noticeboard has contained a number of grateful responses, including one from a non-churchgoer who indicates that this is the message of love he looks for and doesn't find in the Christian community, and an ex-Holy Trinity Brompton congregant making a similar point. On a day when InclusiveChurch.Net has been attacked in Synod, there is also this response from Kathryn Whitney in Oxford. I hope she doesn't mind me blogging it:

Many thanks to Giles Fraser for promoting a sensible view of the importance of protecting the imperative of love and forgiveness -- instead of condemnation and exclusion -- in the Christian Church. [T]Bible contains no clearly defined hierarchy of sins that would justify the vehemence with which homophobia is expressed in Christian cultures, or the intensity and political importance of current official debates on the subject. Clearly, this debate is made especially complex because it can reference specific instances of biblical teaching. In this way, it is the similar to historical debates on the question of slavery, although in that case the Bible was of course used for the most part to ‘promote’ rather than condemn the practice. The debate about homosexuals in the Church is a debate about culture, not religion (Consider the very real worry about a split with Africa over the issue). I would be as happy to be led by a gay priest or bishop as I would one who was female, or had had sex before marriage, or was divorced. And so should every thinking (and, as Giles has said, loving) Christian.

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