Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Don't legalise gay marriage, Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu warns David Cameron
Marriage must remain a union between a man and a woman, says the Archbishop of York, and David Cameron will be acting like a “dictator” if he allows homosexual couples to wed.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr John Sentamu, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, tells ministers they should not overrule the Bible and tradition by allowing same-sex marriage.
The Government will open a consultation on the issue in March and the Prime Minister has indicated that he wants it to be a defining part of his premiership. But the Archbishop says it is not the role of the state to redefine marriage, threatening a new row between the Church and state just days after bishops in the House of Lords led a successful rebellion over plans to cap benefits.
“Marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman,” says Dr Sentamu. “I don’t think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can’t just [change it] overnight, no matter how powerful you are.
“We’ve seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don’t want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way.
“It’s almost like somebody telling you that the Church, whose job is to worship God [will be] an arm of the Armed Forces. They must take arms and fight. You’re completely changing tradition.”
It was widely assumed that the Church would have to accept same-sex marriage for fear of appearing out of touch. Dr Sentamu says the bishops in the House of Lords did not try to stop Labour introducing civil partnerships in 2004, giving homosexual couples improved legal rights.
The Church tolerates clergy who are in civil relationships but expects them to be celibate. The Archbishop says the Church was also content with last year’s move to allow civil partnership ceremonies in places of worship, as long as it is voluntary and agreed by the governing body of any particular denomination.
But Dr Sentamu is opposed to the homosexual civil marriage proposal, and says the Government would face a rebellion on any changes in legislation. His intervention may serve as a rallying cry for traditionalist Tories who oppose Mr Cameron’s plan.
“The rebellion is going to come not only from the bishops,” he says. “You’re going to get it from across the benches and in the Commons.
“If you genuinely would like the registration of civil partnerships to happen in a more general way, most people will say they can see the drift. But if you begin to call those 'marriage’, you’re trying to change the English language.”
“That does not mean you diminish, condemn, criticise, patronise any same-sex relationships because that is not what the debate is about.
“The Church has always stood out – Jesus actually was the odd man out. I’d rather stick with Jesus than be popular because it looks odd.”
Dr Sentamu, in Jamaica to mark its 50 years of independence, also says the Church’s leadership needs to become less middle class.
Lord Carey backs Christian psychotherapist in 'gay conversion' row
Leading church figures including the former Archbishop of Canterbury have sparked controversy by championing a psychotherapist who believes gay men can be 'cured' of their homosexuality.
Lesley Pilkington was effectively barred from her professional register after attempting to convert a homosexual man in a therapy session at her home.
Her patient turned out to be a gay rights journalist, who had secretly recorded the sessions and then reported her to her professional body. Mrs Pilkington, a committed Christian, was subsequently found guilty of professional misconduct.
The therapy practised by Mrs Pilkington had been described as "absurd" by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and roundly condemned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
But ahead of her appeal against the BACP ruling, Mrs Pilkington has received backing from the Rt Rev Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury.
In a letter to her professional body, Lord Carey – along with a number of senior figures – suggests Mrs Pilkington is herself a victim of entrapment whose therapy should be supported.
His comments – in a letter co-signed by, among others, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester and the Rt Rev Wallace Benn, the Bishop of Lewes – will cause controversy in the gay community and beyond.
The joint letter states: "Psychological care for those who are distressed by unwanted homosexual attractions has been shown to yield a range of beneficial client outcomes, especially in motivated clients ... Such therapy does not produce harm despite the Royal College of Psychiatrists and others maintaining the contrary."
It concludes: "Competent practitioners, including those working with biblical Judeo-Christian values, should be free to assist those seeking help."
Lawyers acting for Mrs Pilkington will argue at the appeal hearing on Wednesday that the counsellor did not get a fair hearing.
The case against Mrs Pilkington – first reported in The Sunday Telegraph a year ago – was brought by Patrick Strudwick, a journalist, who approached her at a largely Christian conference and asked her to treat him.
In May 2009, Mr Strudwick attended a therapy session at Mrs Pilkington's private practice, based at her home in Chorleywood, Herts, and recorded the session on a tape machine strapped to his stomach.
On the tape, Mr Strudwick asks Mrs Pilkington if she views homosexuality as "a mental illness, an addiction or an anti religious phenomenon". She replies: "It is all of that."
Last year, Mr Strudwick said: "Entering into therapy with somebody who thinks I am sick … is the singularly most chilling experience of my life.
"If a black person goes to a GP and says I want skin bleaching treatment, that does not put the onus on the practitioner to deliver the demands of the patient. It puts the onus on the health care practitioner to behave responsibly."
Mrs Pilkington said her method of therapy – Sexual Orientation Change Efforts – is legitimate and effective.
The therapy is practised by a handful of psychotherapists in Britain. The method involves behavioural, psychoanalytical and religious techniques.
Homosexual men are sent on weekends away with heterosexual men to "encourage their masculinity" and "in time to develop healthy relationships with women", said Mrs Pilkington.
Her legal defence is being funded by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister, to fight the case.
A Missed Opportunity
The official Republican response to the President’s State of the Union Address was fine—as far as it went. But Gov. Mitch Daniels missed a golden opportunity to put before the American people a better vision of family, faith, and freedom.
Interestingly, the only mention of family in Gov. Daniels’ response was his praise for President Obama’s own family. Let me stipulate: The Obama family is a model family, apparently devoted to one another. The president even lives happily under the same roof with his mother-in-law. Now, that’s devotion.
But Gov. Daniels could have noted that the policies of the Obama administration are the most antagonistic to the family of any administration in history. This is a fact. With 42% of American children born out-of-wedlock, a tragedy of fatherlessness is being visited on millions of homes. Bill Bennett rightly calls this “the broken hearth.” And broken hearths lead to broken hearts.
Does the president address this in his budget? No. Instead, he gives hundreds of millions to Planned Parenthood, the world’s leading trafficker in abortion. We know that the more sexual contacts young people have prior to marriage, the more likely they are never to marry, or to divorce after marriage. You cannot be pro-family and shovel money at this evil enterprise. This is one shovel-ready project we should reject.
Yet, President Obama has told Speaker Boehner that any cut in federal funds for Planned Parenthood is “a non-starter.” President Obama has relentlessly pushed abortion at home and abroad. Obamacare is the most massive expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. Under Obamacare, health care coverage will include abortion. Thus, we will all be forced to pay for the killing of unborn children.
The president is concerned, he tells us, about education. We must all share that concern. But he has taken over college loans, an unprecedented power grab. He does this even as his administration is menacing the liberty of every private and religious college in America. If your college does not want to push condoms in the dorms or dispense abortion-producing drugs at Student Health, the Obama administration threatens you with action.
Dr. Larry Arnn is president of Hillsdale College, a proud independent college founded by abolitionists in the 1850s. Hillsdale takes no federal funds. Dr. Arnn recently spoke of how the intact family undergirds limited government:
The principles of our country stem from the laws of Nature and Nature’s God. This word “Nature” is full of rich meaning. It comes from the Latin word for birth, so of course the nature of man, and natural rights must be understood to include the process of begetting and growth by which human beings come to be…If families do not raise children, then the government will. What then becomes of limited government?
I offer Dr. Arnn’s eloquent analysis to President Obama. That terrible figure of 42% out-of-wedlock births shows up the false promises of those who said that abortion-on-demand would end welfare and poverty. When they said that, the out-of-wedlock birthrate was less than half what it is today.
Social scientist Charles Murray has written a new book, Coming Apart, in which he shows that the dream of upward mobility for millions is being lost. In this important work, he shows that marriage and religion are central to the economic well-being of millions of Americans.
The Obama administration is actively hostile to marriage, refusing even to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. That law was passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Democratic president. And Mr. Obama’s administration is seeking suppress the conscience rights of millions—including Catholics, Evangelicals, Lutherans, and Orthodox Jews. His radical demand that every federally-supported institution in the country dispense abortifacients is a grave threat to religious liberty.
To the fires of social discord this administration is adding fuel. To those on the lower rungs of life’s ladder, asserting their God-given right to rise, this administration is breaking the first rungs. These are the issues I’d like to see both of our major parties address in 2012.
Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event at Ft. Bragg
Atheists are using a music video that celebrates the burning of churches and synagogues to promote an upcoming atheist-themed festival at Fort Bragg.
“Rock Beyond Belief” is scheduled to be held on the parade field at Fort Bragg in March. The event was created in part as a response to a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association event that was held last year.
Justin Griffith, who organized “Rock Beyond Belief,” said he was personally offended that a Christian evangelical event like “Rock the Fort” was held on the base.
“We felt it was entirely inappropriate for anyone to say your current religion is wrong,” Griffith told Fox News& Commentary. “We view all soldiers as already spiritually complete. Whatever their current religious preference is has no bearing on how fit they are as a soldier or anything related to military business.”
Griffith confirmed the lineup includes atheist speakers, a rapper who raps about evolution and a “kiddy pool” where boys and girls will be able to scientifically walk on water.
There will also be a number of bands performing – the most famous of which is Aiden. They are featured in a video on the “Rocky Beyond Belief” website that includes images of burning churches and bloody crosses.
Among the lyrics: “Love how the burn your synagogues, love how they torch your holy books.”
The group is no stranger to strong lyrics. Another of their songs says, “F*** your God, F*** your faith in the end. There’s no religion.”
Griffith said that particular song would not be performed at the festival, but defended the video of burning churches.
“You can buy their albums in Wal-Mart, a Christian-friendly store,” Griffith said. “If you have issues with bands that sometimes have swear words, or naughty words, or shocking imagery, that’s a part of the First Amendment.”
Benjamin Abel, a spokesman for Fort Bragg told Fox News & Commentary that they were launching a review of the bands scheduled to perform along with their content.
“This is a family-friendly event and we expect the entertainment will meet the standards of decency that would be typical on a top-40 music station,” Abel said. “We owe it to our soldiers and families on post to make sure it is.”
As for the graphic, anti-Christian lyrics – Abel said “I would have to think we would have to take a very close look at that kind of lyric.” “I don’t know how family-friendly that is,” he said.
Griffith said there is absolutely no controversy about Aiden’s upcoming performance.
“It’s a little shocking to hear some of this stuff,” he said. “I’m sure you understand that these types of shocking things are not going to be front and center for a rock concert that is on a military base. This is not controversy. This is not a real story.”
But if that’s the case, why is there a video of the band performing in front of burning churches on the “Rock Beyond Belief” website?
The military could not answer that question. “I can’t speak to somebody’s website,” Abel said. “We are reviewing the material and will ensure that event organizers understand that we will have to hold them to a certain level of decency.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.