The Bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, has recorded a video for the Out4Marriage campaign, released yesterday.
The Evening Standard carried a report yesterday, saying that the “married father of five, caused a row in the Church” by urging leaders to “get our head around blessing gay people’s relationships”.
In the section of the video reported by the Standard, Alan Wilson says: “It all comes down to how we see gay people and how we see God. We don’t actually believe gay people are sick or stunted or criminal. We don’t believe God is an angry old man out to get us. Let’s stop behaving as though we did. Recognising gay people are equal means they won’t dilute or spoil marriage but potentially enrich it.”
The tragedy from my perspective is that Alan needs to spell out his defence against those who believe God is an angry old man out to get us. But that, or something similar, is what many still believe and certainly many of the conservative Anglicans in the UK and across the Communion believe. Their god is an angry, vengeful, judgmental being, concerned with sin rather than love, Old rather than New Testament, and certainly not the God revealed by Jesus.
The Standard had, of course, phoned someone who might be expected to oppose the bishop’s position. That’s what journalists do.
Duncan Boyd, chairman of Keep Marriage Special, told the Standard: “The bishop’s statement is a disgraceful and disingenuous distortion of biblical teaching by someone who ought to know better. Scripture, the Church of England’s doctrinal foundation, makes clear that homosexual desire and practice are sinful.” He called it “a gross distortion of biblical teaching” to suggest such behaviour could be practised freely, adding: “The Government should not change the law and the bishop should teach what the Bible says or resign.”
It’s a tragedy. So many who think they are Christians peddle this line, that LGB&T people in knowing that God has created us lovingly as members of the human race, are in fact deluded and are distorting Biblical teaching.
Changing Attitude follows Jesus’ teaching, and that has a totally different quality and vision from the ‘Biblical teaching’ which Duncan Boyd and others in their tragic ignorance think is Christian teaching. The two are absolutely NOT the same.
The Standard also phoned Church House and that invisible creature, ‘A Church of England spokesman’, chose to contradict Dr Wilson, who is of course as mere suffragan bishop and therefore doesn’t have authority in the Church.
The spokesman said: “Our Church is committed to marriage as being between a man and woman. Opening marriage to same-sex couples would add nothing to the rights and responsibilities that already exist within a civil partnership but would require multiple changes to law, with the definition of marriage having to change for everyone.”
‘Our Church’ is a Church of which I and hundreds of thousands of members dissent from the line being promoted by ‘a Spokesman’. Over half the bishops when talking honestly in private also dissent from the Church House line.
Last year Changing Attitude wrote to William Fittall, Secretary General of General Synod, questioning the habitual issuing of statements from Church House, asking on whose authority they were made, when the Church has many voices and many views on the two major issues of the moment, human sexuality and women in the episcopate.
I, a faithful, committed Anglican, do not believe, absolutely do not believe, that opening marriage to same-sex couples would add nothing to the rights and responsibilities that already exist within a civil partnership but would require multiple changes to law, with the definition of marriage having to change for everyone.
This is another blog written in simmering anger. I hope and pray that when the two House of Bishops Review Groups report in December, they are going to present proposals radical enough to create shame and embarrassment for the Spokesman in Church House who thinks he can continually issue statements which make gay Christians intensely angry. We’ve had enough.