Flockedout has written on their blog about the House of Bishops Guidelines on Civil Partnerships and Anglican Mainstream’s reaction. Flockedout writes as a member of a conservative evangelical congregation, making their comments all the more authoritative and truthfully accurate. Read the whole blog here.
“I have personally been told by one of the biggest names in Evangelical circles: ‘Some of my best friends are gay. I play tennis with one of them at the weekend.’ This from somebody who quite literally ‘writes the book’ on the homosexuality issue. It seems to be easy for some people never to make the connection between the gay people you know and love and the gay people you don’t know who are part of a worldwide ‘homosexual agenda’ to ‘undermine Christian marriage’ and threaten the church.
“But for many people, having a gay friend, a gay son or daughter, or a gay loved-one makes them reflect on whether the ‘truths’ that they have hitherto accepted are really truths at all. As soon as you start dealing with real people, the once apparently simple ‘Biblical’ message becomes less simple and it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile what you thought the bible was saying about homosexuality with the reality of the gay people you know: what they are, who they are, how good or honest they are, how happy and well-adjusted they are. Surprisingly to some, gay people are not just interested in ‘genital acts’, as Anglican Mainstream so charmingly puts it.”
Flockedout reflects on Anglican Mainstream’s obsession with the Ex-gay movement and analyses perceptively the reason why the movements exist, and why the label ‘unwanted’ same-sex attraction gives their game away:
“And the interesting thing about this process is that it is, by-and-large, one way: most people when they become better acquainted with the issue through personal experience, become more understanding, and less accepting of the old ‘truths’. But not the other way around: people rarely go back to a position of homophobia. This is why Anglican Mainstream and other Christian Right organisations are so keen to wheel out the ‘Ex-gays’: people who have changed their mind about their homosexual leanings and have rejected them, returning to a – sometimes short-lived – life as a heterosexual. But the experience of so few does not, as some would want you to believe, mean that all gays may be ‘cured’ of homosexuality. Far from it. Most cannot ‘pray away the gay’ any more than they could pray away other unwanted attributes, as is actually subtly acknowledged on websites for organisations like NARTH who offer therapy for people who have ‘unwanted’ same-sex attractions. The important – and much overlooked – word here is ‘unwanted’. Anglican Mainstream and other similar organisations would prefer you to think that all gay people can ‘pray away’ their same-sex attractions, however this is simply not the case. For most of us, the same-sex attraction is not ‘unwanted’, it is simply part of us. We have come to accept – and even love – ourselves as we are and don’t want to give our whole lives over to fighting it. We are what we are and we’re much too busy just living our lives to let this be the big issue it apparently is for others. Homosexuality isn’t necessarily a big issue for gay people: it’s a big issue for a minority group of Christians who simply can’t figure out how to deal with it but have convinced themselves that they should.”
Flockedout thinks the level of support claimed by Anglican Mainstream, the CEEC and Reform are grossly exaggerated and is in fact falling:
“Neither is there any great issue about Civil Partnerships within society at large in the UK: and perhaps this is what must upset Anglican Mainstream the most, as if somehow having lost the mainstream opinion so completely, they must constantly redouble their efforts to win it back. But, even within the church, their support is truly limited, and falling all the time as the world moves on and the young – who, generally, simply don’t have an issue with it – grow older. In the preamble to the above letter, Anglican Mainstream, along with the Church of England Evangelical Council and Reform, claim to represent people in over 1000 churches. But if my experience is anything to go by, coming from a church that Anglican Mainstream probably counts amongst this number, they, and the church leadership, are massively out of touch with the vast majority of people who actually come to the church, for one simple reason: they never ask. Discussion is actively discouraged and acceptance of the ‘traditional’ position is simply assumed. I don’t suppose my church is much different from many of the others Anglican Mainstream claim to represent, but I am very certain that they do not represent us at all. Most people in my church have probably never heard of Anglican Mainstream. Never once have I heard them mentioned in ten years of attendance.
“It would be folly to say that we don’t need to worry about organisations like Anglican Mainstream, because their power lies in the power of their deception, and if they can persuade people that they are powerful, then they effectively are. But they are not nearly as powerful as they think they are, and their influence is certainly on the wane. It is no wonder they concentrate on the support of countries like Nigeria, where homophobia is an accepted norm and it is easy to persuade people of the ‘truth’ of the biblical message.”