Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Bonus post: Another astonishing moment of synchronicity

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

On the very day I indulge in a long rant about how I yearn for the moderate middle, and how tired I am of people taking entrenched positions and yelling at each other across the divide, I stumble upon a beautiful moment of humanity from a most unlikely source.

There, on the tremendous Daily Dish, waiting in my inbox, was a new creed from an American bishop. One of the things that makes me saddest and most baffled is the intemperance of the Religious Right in America (and, to a lesser extent, here). I find it genuinely hard to understand, and you know how I like to understand things.

Here is the antidote.

It is not just about so many in the church having a bizarre fear of The Gay, but for my money the most devastating quote is this:

'I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is "an abomination to God," about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle," or about how through prayer and "spiritual counselling" homosexual persons can be "cured." Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate "reparative therapy," as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired.'

And if I had to distill it down to one haunting phrase, it would be that last one: 'as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired'.

It is a lovely reminder that in this hot political season, on both sides of the pond, there are shining voices of grace and reason.

PS For some reason, it seems to come from last year, but Andrew Sullivan has only just picked it up. I wonder why it did not become famous long before now, but that's a whole other subject.


  1. I used to work for the Episcopal Church (though not a member of it myself) and I can tell you that Bishop Spong is sort of representative of the larger half of its members, though a little more controversial than I wish he were. There was a horrible split in the Church over "the gays" last year, and those who hate them have gone off, spouting pieties about "feeling hurt," if you can believe it, to join the part of the Anglican Communion that still reviles them; but the greater wing of the American church is intact and generally in (grudging) agreement with Integrity. I feel as if rationality and tolerance really are winning (would Rowan Williams have dressed up in Druid robes even fifty years ago?), but the progress can be so glacial sometimes that it's hard to see it.

  2. Ellie - absolutely fascinating comment. This is what I love about blogging - I can put something up and get a reply from someone who knows the thing from the inside. Thank you.

  3. Thank you so much for this, Tania. I've reposted the link to my Facebook account and have several highly appreciative comments already. As a wife to an Anglican parish priest, we are both often angered and saddened by homophobia, as well as the many other forms of prejudice committed in the name of religion, and are hugely grateful when somebody with Bishop Spong's courage and intellect puts it into words.

  4. Cassie - what a great comment. I am so pleased you are passing it on. Here is to the lovely Bishop and all you other voices of reason.

  5. Bishop Spong has written some excellent books, you might be interested in looking for them on amazon.


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