Dermot O’Callaghan made a speech to the General Synod of the Church of Ireland which took place in the Radisson SAS Hotel, Galway from Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th May. Dermot has been a Synod member for over thirty years. His report on the Anglican Mainstream web site says that his speech was greeted with warm applause by most of the 400 members of General Synod.
Changing Attitude Ireland had a stand at the Synod meeting and Dermot reports having a long friendly chat with the CA representative staffing the stand. Dermot writes that the CA representative knows his concerns are driven by compassion, not homophobia. He said that he intended to make a speech against CA, but that he should know that it was not against him personally.
The speech began by raising a question about the criteria which will be applied in permitting organisations to exhibit on stands at Synod in 2009. He asked the question because, although believing in freedom of speech, he was concerned at some of the doctrines being promoted by Changing Attitude.
Specifically, Dermot is concerned about the report on Sexual Ethics published by Changing Attitude on behalf of the Lesbian and Clergy Consultation. The Report comes under sustained attack in a chapter written by Lisa Noland in God, Gays and the Church published by the Latimer Trust. Lisa Noland quotes extensively. The book was reviewed, critically, by Colin Coward in the Spring 2008 CA Newsletter. Chris Sugden and Lisa Noland argue that homosexuality doesn’t exist (and if it does, it is addictive and a false self).
Colin wrote that the Report is honest and realistic about human sexual activity and desires. It is not a Changing Attitude document, but CA was willing to publish it as a well-written, serious contribution to the church’s debate on sexual ethics.
The Ethics Report says that “exploration of our sexual selves can be something which benefits from involvement with more than one person”, as part of the “inevitable and appropriate part of the process of finding a life partner”. The report continues by noting that “serial commitments and serial faithfulness may be a more realistic aspiration than permanent faithful stable relationships”. This is our understanding of the heterosexual ethical position, an ethical position practiced by the majority of heterosexual couples who come to be married in church and by the majority of the children of Christian families.
Dermot O’Callaghan believes these are deadly doctrines. He rang his wife and asked how she would react if he ‘changed his attitude’ and proposed to involve more than one person in his sex life. I thought she would say she would have my guts for garters, but she said simply, “I would just walk. No woman would put up with such a thing.” That isn’t what the Ethics report agues in favour of. The question for Dermot and the members of Anglican Mainstream is, why are you so obsessed about gay people and our sexual activity, but show so little interest in the sex lives and ethics of heterosexual people? It is the heterosexual majority who fail to exemplify the Christian ethical position argued for by Anglican Mainstream, but their obsession is, of course, with lesbian and gay people.
Dermot O’Callaghan is so fascinated by what gay people do that he has enjoyed viewing the video on the Stand Firm website which shows last year’s Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. To his prurient delight, the video includes the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence with their motto, “Go forth and sin some more”, a woman, hands handcuffed behind her back, led on a dog leash by a man cracking a whip and a banner promoting Polyamory – covenanted groups of multiple sex partners. Dermot should look closer to home for material to satisfy his desire. God, Gays and the Church deals with all sorts of sexual practices, including necrophilia, intergenerational love, polymer, paedophilia, zoophilia, bestiality and incest. This is the range of sexual activity and perversion which fascinate the leaders of Anglican Mainstream. Their research is extensive and they have visited and read in detail a huge range of web sites dealing with the extremes of human sexual desire. In comparison, the Sexual Ethics booklet is a model of Christian orthodoxy.
In his General Synod speech, Dermot O’Callaghan continues his attack on Changing Attitude, referring to the picture of Davis Mac-Iyalla and the Rt Revd Marc Andrus, Bishop of San Francisco participating in the parade in an open-topped car “starring” in the parade, waving to the cheering crowds. Available is a tee shirt with the legend: San Francisco Pride 2007, The Episcopal Church Welcomes You Marching with Bishop Marc. Sickeningly, said Dermot, you can also buy them for your children. Changing Attitude puzzles over what is so sickening about the tee shirts and the presence of Davis and Bishop Marc in the Parade. Jesus, of course, never mixed with sinners.
Dermot O’Callaghan is marching against Bishop Marc and said that every one of the Irish bishops has to decide whether he is marching with or against him and his fellow-marchers, who include most of the bishops of The Episcopal Church (USA) and the leaders of Changing Attitude. He appealed to the bishops, when they go to Lambeth, to take a principled stand against the Episcopal Church and against pressure groups like Changing Attitude, because our children’s future depends on it.
The booklet on Sexual Ethics can be ordered, price £1.90 including p&p, from:Changing Attitude6 Norney BridgeMill RoadWortonDevizes SN10 5SF