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Middleton Grange, Free Exercise and the Gay Rights Movement UPDATED

July 26th, 2010 by Matt

Over at GayNZ.com’s Proclamations of the Red Queen blog, Craig Young is in a celebratory  mood. Middleton Grange, a Reformed Evangelical Christian school has been forced by law to pay reparations and have their management undergo “human rights education” because they dismissed a netball coach on the grounds that he openly engaged in homosexual conduct.

Middleton Grange is a school based in Christchurch. The school’s aim’s, as stated on its website, show that its first aim as a educational facility is to “Help pupils know and understand God and His ways and respond to Him in obedience, love and service.” The website further states,

The school rests on a Reformed and Evangelical interpretation of Scripture which informs all aspects of governance and management. The Christian Schools’ Trust is responsible for safeguarding the Special Character of the school.

Now it should be no surprise to any educated person that a reformed evangelical interpretation of scripture usually includes, among other things, the contention that sex between people of the same sex violates God’s commands. Nor should it be a surprise that, given the school’s stated purpose is to inculcate these beliefs, it will not hire or retain people whose example or teaching contradicts this purpose.

The only question that really needs to be asked then is whether it should be legal for religious groups like this to set up such schools and teach these things and engage in these sorts of hiring practices. Should reformed evangelical Christianity be a tolerated religion? The alternative is, of course, to ban such schools, force parents to send their children to schools that will teach that their parents religious beliefs are false  - essentially not allow adults to propagate these values to their children. This is known as religious persecution.

In fact by ruling that the school must hire/retain staff whose actions are inconsistent with the schools purpose and then requiring the staff to undergo “human rights education.” the Human Rights Commission (HRC) goes one step further. It states that not only must such schools not exist but it maintains that the adults running them must undergo compulsory re-education into the secular liberal way of thinking. Am I the only one who finds this sort of thing a tad draconian?

Mr Young, however, seems to think otherwise, he states,

Frankly, I’m surprised that this sort of collision between lesbian and gay teachers and backward fundamentalist enclaves has taken so long to materialise. I suspect that it’s because we shun such neurotic and hermetically sealed enclaves unless there is good reason to do otherwise

Apparently the biggest problem in all this is that this sort of religious persecution and re-education has not happened sooner. As to why such schools should be persecuted, Young gives three reasons.

First because it is a “malignant Christchurch fundamentalist” school. In other words, Young considers this school to expound fundamentalism and he considers such a religion to be “malignant.” This really is not the issue, the issue is whether the state should persecute such religious groups and subject the people within them to compulsory re-education. There are many religious perspectives I disagree with, some I find highly offensive yet this does not mean that the state should intervene in this way.

Young’s second reason is,

Founded in 1964, it was host to Graham Capill, Christian Heritage Party leader. His dad Don was Vice Principal until the eighties. I was a one-time inmate there. It served as a nexus for the abortive campaign against homosexual law reform in the mid-eighties.

There are three reasons here (a) Young attended the school and did not like it, (b) a political leader Young is known to immensely dislike and who was convicted for sexual molestation once attended the school and this man’s father was once Principal; and, (c) the school promoted political views at odds with the secular liberal mainstream on issues like abortion and homosexuality.

It is hard to see how any of these reasons justify the HRC’s actions. Is Young saying any school he does not like should be legally punished? Is Craig suggesting that if an old boy of a school is convicted of a crime years after leaving that the whole school should be held responsible? Does Young support a return to collective and vicarious punishments perhaps?

The last reason Young gave is perhaps the most telling; schools should be subject to legal sanction if their politics are disagreeable. Again, am I the only one who finds it odd that this sort of crap is proposed by one of the voices for “tolerance” and “respect for diversity”?

Craig then gives the usual red herrings; he states “Should it end there? Well, no. If Middleton Grange refuses to employ lesbian and gay teachers, then what about issues like LGBT suicide prevention? Or homophobic bullying?” While I agree that bullying of any human being is wrong (it being assault) and suicide of any person is tragic, the reasoning here lacks cogency. Suppose a fundamentalist Christian was severely bullied at school, the kids picked on him because they considered him to be an intolerant bigot or suppose that his refusal to have pre-marital sex or drink alcohol made him a social outcast? I take it that Young would support fundamentalist teachers coming into this school and teaching a fundamentalist interpretation of the bible to their students so as to re-educate those bullying him? Perhaps the HRC should force the management of any secular school that does not do this to attend church…

The only remotely sensible comment Craig makes is a rhetorical question, “Should fundamentalist private schools be penalised by withheld operational funding if they refuse to obey mainstream New Zealand anti-discrimination laws?” Indeed that is the core question. Should private religious schools be allowed to teach and freely exercise their religion? Some segments of the gay rights movement and their supporters need to be honest and just outright admit that they support religious persecution instead of talking about “tolerance” and “the celebration of diversity” – values they clearly do not believe in.

UPDATED BY MADELEINE

In the comments below Joel, a blogger from the US, writes:

There is no liberty in New Zealand, I take it, nor equality.

And what about the human rights violated against the Christian school?

I have chosen to respond this here as originally Matt and I had toyed with looking at this in this post anyway and so I don’t want it getting lost in the comments, which I anticipate will be prolific in number (just a hunch).

New Zealand does not have an entrenched constitution, its Bill of Rights is a simple statute which is ultimately subordinate to any other statute it clashes with, see section 4:

4.  Other enactments not affected
No court shall, in relation to any enactment (whether passed or made before or after the commencement of this Bill of Rights),—

(a) Hold any provision of the enactment to be impliedly repealed or revoked, or to be in any way invalid or ineffective; or

(b) Decline to apply any provision of the enactment—

by reason only that the provision is inconsistent with any provision of this Bill of Rights.

Although, to be fair, for any clash the clashing rule, law or policy must be read in the way most conducive to it being consistent with the Bill of Rights, see section 6:

6. Interpretation consistent with Bill of Rights to be preferred
Wherever an enactment can be given a meaning that is consistent with the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights, that meaning shall be preferred to any other meaning.

If a consistent reading cannot be achieved then the courts will either deem a policy inconsistent with the Bill of Rights or deem it a justified limitation,

5. Justified limitations
Subject to section 4 of this Bill of Rights, the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights may be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

The reality is that due to the fact the courts cannot strike statutes down or refuse to apply them and that there are no penalties for Bill of Rights breaches either beyond the stigma of being in breach of it, which only works if society values the right in question, if it is an unpopular group or cause being violated who cares right?

So that is the context freedom of religion sits in in New Zealand, which is covered in the section on democratic and civil rights:

13. Freedom of thought, conscience, and religion
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and to hold opinions without interference.

14. Freedom of expression
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.

15. Manifestation of religion and belief
Every person has the right to manifest that person’s religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, or teaching, either individually or in community with others, and either in public or in private.

Now at a glance at these sections our US friends must be wondering how the tale Matt told above and the story in the newspaper article he linked to could happen; it appears that New Zealand requires the state to allow its citizens and private organisations the right to form any belief they like, impart it and act on it.

The reason you are momentarily lulled into this false sense of reality is because you have not factored in the Human Rights Act. Remember earlier when I said the Bill of Rights is subject to other laws? Let’s take a look at section 22, I have highlighted the key bits to take note of in italics:

22. Employment
(1) Where an applicant for employment or an employee is qualified for work of any description, it shall be unlawful for an employer, or any person acting or purporting to act on behalf of an employer,—

(a) To refuse or omit to employ the applicant on work of that description which is available; or

(b) To offer or afford the applicant or the employee less favourable terms of employment, conditions of work, superannuation or other fringe benefits, and opportunities for training, promotion, and transfer than are made available to applicants or employees of the same or substantially similar capabilities employed in the same or substantially similar circumstances on work of that description; or

(c) To terminate the employment of the employee, or subject the employee to any detriment, in circumstances in which the employment of other employees employed on work of that description would not be terminated, or in which other employees employed on work of that description would not be subjected to such detriment; or

(d) To retire the employee, or to require or cause the employee to retire or resign,—

by reason of any of the prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Let’s take a look at the “prohibited grounds of discrimination” shall we? The definitions section states “prohibited ground of discrimination has the meaning given to it by section 21″. Section 21 is long so I have only included the relevant bits for our purposes,

21 Prohibited grounds of discrimination

(1) For the purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are—

(m) Sexual orientation, which means a heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation.

So there you have it, freedom of thought, conscience, religion, expression and the manifestation of those beliefs are trumped by the Human Rights Act (and the Education Act which permits private schools to educate and manage themselves along the lines of the special character of the school).

Joel is right, New Zealand’s commitment to liberty and equality is lacking as is respect for freedom of religion.

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284 responses so far ↓

  • The alternative is, of course, to ban such schools…

    The HRC’s actions demonstrate that we’re not looking at an alternative (tolerate the school’s bigotry or ban such schools). It has neither tolerated the bigotry nor banned such schools, therefore there were more than two choices.

    Craig Young may be a stranger to logic, but it seems likely (based on admittedly very thin info provided to the media) that the school genuinely was in breach of NZ human rights legislation, and therefore the HRC’s ruling was hardly surprising or draconian. If there’s any cause for complaint here, it’s with the Human Rights Act. However, few voters these days would want to change it to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation, no more than they’d want to allow discrimination based on race or sex.

  • words fail. damnable and outrageous.

  • There is no liberty in New Zealand, I take it, nor equality.

    And what about the human rights violated against the Christian school?

  • The only question that really needs to be asked then is whether it should be legal for religious groups like this to set up such schools and teach these things and engage in these sorts of hiring practices.

    That’s three questions. Of course such groups should be able to set up such schools and teach these things. In terms of hiring practices, we don’t know, from public information, what the “ hiring practice” was. But it should be the same as any other place of employment, and firing practices should not contravene the Human Rights Act as it appeared to do in this case.

    Should fundamentalist private schools be penalised by withheld operational funding if they refuse to obey mainstream New Zealand anti-discrimination laws?

    In this case I think that’s irrelevant. The school clearly does not refuse to obey such laws – it appears they were ignorant of, or ignored them, hence the HRC training.,

    By ruling that the school must hire/retain staff whose actions are inconsistent with the schools purpose, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) goes one step further. It states that not only must such schools not exist…

    Again, the HRC made no “ ruling” to that effect. Nor was there any indication that this man’s actions was “ inconsistent with the school’s purpose”. Look Matt, you`re pretty logical, but, really, just because these board members had to undergo human rights training does not mean that the HRC considers such schools should not exist –that’s a ludicrous assertion. Neither does it mean that schools must have re-education in to the “secular liberal” way of thinking. All it means is that school Boards of Trustees – like any other managers – have to be aware of, and comply with, the law.

    What’s wrong with that?

  • The man-in-question’s comment that “[he] started to kind of blame [himself]” is particularly telling don’t you think: He hears the call to repent and not only rejects it but chooses to persecute God’s church instead.

    Also of interest, Tony Simpson’s comment; “”The problem is that although the law was changed over 20 years ago, it’s much more difficult to change social attitudes.” What kind of democracy is it where the law does not reflect the views of its people?

  • Maxanon isn’t there something terribly wrong with a law that says certain beliefs are illegal?

  • The HRC’s actions demonstrate that we’re not looking at an alternative (tolerate the school’s bigotry or ban such schools). It has neither tolerated the bigotry nor banned such schools, therefore there were more than two choices.

    Your ignoring my argument that:

    Now it should be no surprise to any educated person that a reformed evangelical interpretation of scripture usually includes, among other things, the contention that sex between people of the same sex violates God’s commands. Nor should it be a surprise that, given the school’s stated purpose is to inculcate these beliefs, it will not hire or retain people whose example or teaching contradicts this purpose.

    To say to a school that they can set up for a given purpose but also that their hiring practises must contradict or undermine this purpose, is to say that in practise they are not allowed to set up for this purpose.

    Imagine if the state said a church could set up to promote the gospel but thet are required to hire Richard Dawkins as the minister. That would hardly be a sincere permission.

  • Maxanon by your logic we could ban mass. People are allowed to believe in the mass but when they act on that belief its the states buisness.

    Nor is refusing to hire in these circumstances treating gays as subhuman. I was turned down teaching at a Catholic school because of my beliefs about Marian devotion which they wanted me to teach. Does it follow I was being treated as sub human. Should the school be forced to hire me (the more qualified candidate) and me teach Protestantism at a Catholic school?

  • Maxanon, thats a narrow view of education. Some have a broader view in which modeling the values taught is as important as teaching them. I can see how a school might want all its staff to be commited to the life style they teach to ensure the integrity of their message.

  • “The alternative is, of course, to ban such schools, force parents to send their children to schools that will teach that their parents religious beliefs are false”

    Yeah right… this is the ONLY OTHER CHOICE! Do you really lack that much imagination?

  • It is not so much

    “schools should be subject to legal sanction if their politics are disagreeable”

    But

    “schools should be subject to legal sanction if their politics are ILLEGAL”

  • You gotta love the comment over at GayNZ.com:

    Pseudo,// Jul 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Yes go to M&M to find some ad hoc, pseudo-logical justification for raw hatred and prejudice barely concealed…. actually I would not bother, it is pretty predictable homophobic nonsense.

    How does one even begin to reason with such thinking?

  • I thought it was saying the action was illegal…. ie. the sacking, not the belief that the person indulged in sins. I mean if you want to believe that another group of humans are sub-human, immoral, evil, or whatever else that is up to you. When you act on those beliefs and start to attack the subgroup – then it becomes my business.

  • “I thought it was saying the action was illegal…. ie. the sacking, not the belief that the person indulged in sins. I mean if you want to believe that another group of humans are sub-human, immoral, evil, or whatever else that is up to you.”

    In point of fact, to say that human beings may sin is to say that they are fully, and immeasurably, human. That is, it is to take seriously their volition as well as the incumbency of the moral law. To say, on the other hand, that all persons are merely slaves to their “orientations” is in fact to treat them in a subhuman fashion.

    If anything, the Christian school thinks more highly of the coach than do those who are critical of the school.

    Irony is often lost on people who see every problem as a nail and every solution as a hammer.

  • But MAtt – they guy was hired to teach them how to play a sport… not to be a minister or an ethics teacher. Unless he was a useless coach, or breached a law himself then the only issue was that he was considered a non-person in some sense. I just cutting through the rhetoric and stating it straight.

  • Even if it was about what they wanted him to do Dave, Matt was also turned down for employment with an evangelical Christian school as he documents in Epistemology 101: Clash of Authorities Part III for his beliefs that the various theories about how to interpret Genesis should be taught to the students, despite the fact that Matt made it clear he would comply with whatever approach the school wanted to take on that score. He was willing to do what they wanted but they did not like what he thought about the subject.
    Again Matt had no issue with the school’s right to hire as they saw fit – he thought their approach mistaken but they are entitled to hold to it and act on it.

  • Gay Rights? No- Forced Indoctrination…

    Words cannot express the outrage pulsing through my veins just now in light of this story…The world will be made gay by force if need be it seems…Gay fundamentalist terrorists will use whatever means necessary to silence differing opinion and stifl…

  • This ruling seems to place Middleton Grange in an impossible situation. They surely can’t retain staff whose professed values oppose what the school stands for – especially staff whose day-to-day roles involve contact with their students.

    Middleton Grange is, it seems, being asked either to abandon its commitment to a conservative understanding of the Scriptures, or to close down. Especially since the Human Rights Act has been invoked, which evidently applies to all employers, not just those that are wholly or partly Government-funded.

    What’s the solution? Is it to press for an amendment to the HRA allowing for exemption on the grounds of a conflict between an employer’s purpose and the employee’s professed values?

  • I was turned down teaching at a Catholic school because of my beliefs about Marian devotion which they wanted me to teach

    Would it be more correct to say that you may have been turned down, not because of your beliefs, but because you may have said you do not feel comfortable teaching what they wanted you to in terms of their beliefs?

  • I doubt if the school refused to hire him because they disagreed with his beliefs, rather, I guess the school didn’t believe him when he said he’d comply, despite these beliefs.Perhaps the school was scared that Mat would get these kids to think in a way they didn’t want these kids to think and they didn’t want to take that risk.

  • To say to a school that they can set up for a given purpose but also that their hiring practises must contradict or undermine this purpose, is to say that in practise they are not allowed to set up for this purpose.

    The HRC hasn’t said that to a school at all. It’s said that their hiring practices mustn’t breach New Zealand law. It’s up to the school to decide whether its purpose is unachievable within the law, and its remaining in existence suggests it doesn’t agree with you that the HRC has effectively banned it.

    I was turned down teaching at a Catholic school because of my beliefs about Marian devotion which they wanted me to teach. Does it follow I was being treated as sub human. Should the school be forced to hire me (the more qualified candidate) and me teach Protestantism at a Catholic school?

    Middleton Grange didn’t hire this teacher to offer tuition in the biblical view of homosexuality, it hired him to coach netball. If it had hired him for this purpose, he’d have had a much harder row to hoe with the HRC, as you would have if you’d taken your own case to them.

  • ‘Imagine if the state said a church could set up to promote the gospel but thet are required to hire Richard Dawkins as the minister. That would hardly be a sincere permission.’

    You love old Richard. You are always talking about him. Do you have some sort of obession with the man?

  • Middleton Grange didn’t hire this teacher to offer tuition in the biblical view of homosexuality, it hired him to coach netball. If it had hired him for this purpose, he’d have had a much harder row to hoe with the HRC, as you would have if you’d taken your own case to them.

    And the state school down the road also teaches mathematics, science, etc. If teaching only communicated the subject at hand, there wouldn’t be a need for christian schools would there?

    (The fact that, as a non-christian you might not see the need is acknowledged, but irrelevant.)

  • Hm, read the article. Interesting terms used:
    * “the largest fundamentalist school in the country”
    * “backward fundamentalist enclaves”
    * “neurotic and hermetically sealed enclaves”

    Isn’t it odd that such a “backward” and “neurotic” place seemed normal enough to want to work in?

  • Hey, there.
    Okay, let’s be clear about several things and clear the air, shall we? I have long argued that religious freedom is a basic human right and civil liberties benchmark, which encompasses freedom of religious belief, conscience, worship, assembly and speech, as well as broad areas of religious practice.

    Middleton Grange is quite entitled to preach that homosexuality is ‘morally wrong’ according to its particular sectarian hermeneutical interpretation of the Bible and communicate that belief.

    However, the Human Rights Act 1993 and Bill of Rights Act 1990′s equality rights provisions contained no exemptions for religious school discrimination against LGBT staff or students.

    We tend to inhabit different social spheres, do LGBT community members and inhabitants of conservative evangelical or other religious enclaves. In this specific, rare instance, Middleton Grange’s archaic worldview collided against secular liberal pluralist values. I’d be very surprised if this happened at all often hereafter.

    Religious freedom involves broad areas of religious practice, but it cannot be an absolute. To enshrine particular sectarian dogma as the rule of law would mean that the religious and secular ethical sensibilities of others are violated. To impose reasonable limits on religious practice is not ‘persecution’, it safeguards the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of others.

  • If it were possible to ban homosexuals from being commissioners at the HRC we might get fair and reasonable rulings.

    I hope most would remember the case of a man on an Air New Zealand flight being asked to move seats because Air New Zealand has sexually discriminatory policy of not allowing a man to sit next to an unaccompanied minor. This means a lesbian can sit next to an unaccompanied minor but a married father cannot.

    Like many I was appalled at this policy. It was an insult to men in general and fathers in particular. I put in an official complaint to the HRC and I know of one other father who did the same. The HRC was most unhelpful they put ever obstacle in my way. To the best of my knowledge Air New Zealand has the same policy in place.

    When I made the complaint two of the six politically appointed commissioners were openly homosexual. This greatly disproportionate to their numbers in the population – 3% max.

    Compare this to the way the treated the school. I have no evidence but I would not be surprised if the sports coach contrived the situation.

  • So Craig, you admit that “secular values” are top dog, and override religious ones.

    Sounds like another way of saying “we won, you lost, eat that”.

    “Religious freedom involves broad areas of religious practice, but it cannot be an absolute. To enshrine particular sectarian dogma as the rule of law would mean that the religious and secular ethical sensibilities of others are violated.”

    Yet you’ve just told us that these two communities rarely interact. So in fact there is no problem – it’s just that you’d prefer your worldview (as you’ll admit, invented by man) to override mine (as I believe, commanded by God).

    Sorry, but that’s religious persecution – you’re using arbitrary logic to determine how and where I can exercise my religious beliefs.

  • “Maxanon by your logic we could ban mass. People are allowed to believe in the mass but when they act on that belief its the states buisness.”

    Don’t see how my logic leads to that. Perhaps you are unaware of my starting premises and it is your (false) version of my logic that leads there….

    “Nor is refusing to hire in these circumstances treating gays as subhuman. I was turned down teaching at a Catholic school because of my beliefs about Marian devotion which they wanted me to teach.”

    Again – if he had views that netball was played with swords then they could legitimately not hire him. That would be the equivalent of your situation. His sexuality has nothing to do with the rules of a sport, or his ability to teach it. Do you understand?

    “Does it follow I was being treated as sub human.”

    No – you were assessed on relevant criteria – ie. the ability to teach the subject. This chap was judged on irrelevant criteria – ie. his private life. Can you grasp this?

    “Should the school be forced to hire me (the more qualified candidate) and me teach Protestantism at a Catholic school?”

    See above… same stupid mistake.

    “Maxanon, thats a narrow view of education. Some have a broader view in which modeling the values taught is as important as teaching them. ”

    In other words what? A gay man is incapable of teaching good values? A gay man is inherently evil and so necessarily a bad role model. Now we start to see your real objection perhaps?

  • “I have no evidence but I would not be surprised if the sports coach contrived the situation.”

    I severely doubt it.

    *However*, the more people like Mr Young go on as though the school conducts witch burnings every lunchtime, the more people are going to believe that.

    The reality is that these people are quite normal, (in fact, the “abhorrent belief” that homosexuality is not normal human behavior may in fact be held in secret by the bulk of the general population) and the fact this fellow wanted to work there helps make that point.

    It is disturbing however to see the bile spewing rhetoric being thrown out by those who fully acknowledge being on the receiving end of such behaviour in living memory.

  • “In other words what? A gay man is incapable of teaching good values? A gay man is inherently evil and so necessarily a bad role model. Now we start to see your real objection perhaps?”

    Someone living in sin *is* a bad person to have teaching children. Most christian schools would have the same policy towards a teaching in an adulterous relationship that they refused to repent of. This is not a one-off event, it’s a sinful lifestyle choice.

  • If teaching only communicated the subject at hand, there wouldn’t be a need for christian schools would there?

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. Of course teaching communicates more than the subject at hand, but it’s a long stretch to suggest him being homosexual would transfer some kind of undefined gayness to the students through coaching them in netball.

  • Thanks for your honesty Scrubone.

  • You employ someone to teach netball – they teach netball. Their private life does not come into it… or do you throw out all your usual neo-liberal beliefs when fags are involved?

    Don’t know what your talking about. I think at certain types of school private life does matter. If a school teaches children to avoid promiscuity and then a respected staff member is a prostitute it undermines their credibility. If a school strongly is opposed to drugs a teacher that gets stoned in his or her private life might undermine this as well and so on. It depends on what the purpose of the school is.

  • I speak of course in the context of my own personal beliefs – which are along similar lines to those held by the school (I’m guessing).

    The problem here is not values set “a” or values set “b” but that “b” forces “a” to conform to part of “b”‘s beliefs.

  • You employ someone to teach netball – they teach netball. Their private life does not come into it… or do you throw out all your usual neo-liberal beliefs when fags are involved?

  • “I have no evidence but I would not be surprised if the sports coach contrived the situation.”

    Scrubone, why do you severely doubt it?

    When we see militant activist homosexuals taking NZ Blood Services to the HRC nothing would surprise me.

    If a man is told to move seats because he can not sit next to an unaccompanied minor he is humiliated.

    Homosexuals know NZ Blood Services will not accept their blood. Why do they not just not bother to donate? They contrive a situation there to appear as victims.

    As I said I have no proof but it certainly would not surprise me if the situation at the school was not to some degree contrived.

    Surely the coach would have guessed the likelihood of the school taking the action they did.

  • “Their private life does not come into it”

    Already answered above.

  • “it’s a long stretch to suggest him being homosexual would transfer some kind of undefined gayness to the students through coaching them in netball.”

    That’s something of a straw man – no one’s suggesting that gayness may transfer, anymore than my earlier example of marital unfaithfulness would “transfer”.

  • But if you think it won’t have any effect on the students… what is the issue? Odd.

  • “Scrubone, why do you severely doubt it? ”

    Because I doubt most conspiracy theories – it’s just me. Usually these situations simply turn out to be people taking advantage of an already existing situation.

    Plus, as I said above, christian communities never live up to their demonizing. The poor fellow probably believed the gay communities’ propaganda that all real fundamentalists wear funny hats and quoted Isiah every second sentence and thought he was ok.

  • “But if you think it won’t have any effect on the students… ”

    Didn’t say that either.

  • For the record, I’m not convinced that school did the right thing one way or the other. It makes a tricky situation where law contradicts belief, and the issues need to be worked through carefully.

    I also find the article above a little too black-and-white.

    Were I on a BOT and confronted by this situation, I’d be advising caution in any course of action. One question I would be asking would be for those advising firing to explain the potential harm of keeping the coach on staff.

  • Right – it seems that this is the obvious question to ask. ie. does this new (?) information about the employee negatively effect his ability to perform the duties of his job. But this does not seem to be have been the question asked. Perhaps because they would have had, in all honesty, to say no.

  • Oh, dear.

    Let me surprise everyone and say that I do *not* believe the two schools that Matt cites as refusing him employment on doctrinal grounds were *at all* justified in doing so. I believe that they acted in a reprehensible and discriminatory manner in his context. Their loss. Matt is an excellent scholar and would be an asset to any institution that employs him.

    However, religiously-based discrimination is never justifiable, for whatever reason. Including Matt’s own personal past experiences of the aforementioned.

  • This is a hilarious thread [BTW, Craig Young nailed it].

    Some religious believers, exercising their freedom of religion, would like to have the right to discriminate against homosexuals. Sorry folks – you can preach that same sex is sinful but you can’t take away people’s basic human rights.

    What’s funny is how really smart people fail to grasp the logical implications of what they want to do. I own/operate a law firm. If I decide to fire all my obese employees and am found to have fired them for obesity, I will run afoul of my provincial human rights legislation. However, is it ok for me to be able to fire the fat people if I am a Church that preaches obesity is immoral? You see folks, to me the suggestion that obesity can be used as a reason to discriminate for employment in, say a clerical position, is no more silly than Middle Grange firing an employee for being homosexual (I will avoid the term “practising homosexual” – does anyone call themself a “practising heterosexual”?). In both cases, the personal characteristic which the employing Church finds offensive has nothing to do with the person’s position.

  • Scrubone:
    I only favour intervention against specific forms of religious practice when they tangibly harm others, as occurred to the young gay netball coach in this context. Otherwise, I’m a liberal pluralist who favours evidence-based rebuttal of unsubstantiated assertions. That leaves broad room for co-existence otherwise. As Elizabeth I once said, I am not here to make windows into other’s souls or minds.

  • Matt, I understand your point about it being silly to force a Church to hire Richard Dawkins as a preacher. However, would you support Middleton Grange’s right to terminate the employment of a janitor if they discovered that he/she was homosexual?

  • Matt:
    Yes, but we’re not talking about sex work and drugs here, and it does sound like the classical conservative Christian assertion that all gay men conform to the akolastos model of ‘dissolute’ behaviour. The young gay man in question might well have been in a long term monogamous relationship, abstained completely from alcohol and lead an ostensibly virtuous life.

    There is no one version of ‘homosexual conduct.’

  • So just to be clear Matthew – you consider a man in a loving relationship with another man to be similar in some way to abusing drugs, or working as a prostitute? Perhaps you could expand on why. Is it merely because of your (mis)reading of our scripture, or for some other reason? Drug use, I would imagine, would actually impair a teachers ability to do their job properly. In what way does being a relationship with a man rather than a woman impair his ability to coach netball?

  • I think the problem here is the genealogy of conservative Christian theological interpretation of ‘sodomy’, which in reality was a premodern mishmash of disparate forms of sexuality including heterosexual rape, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, non-procreative heterosexuality and male homosexuality.

    According to gay Catholic theologian Mark Jordan*, sodomia evolved from the medieval concepts of luxuria and blasphemia, positing that ‘sodomites’ were dissolute bundles of embodied evil antithetical to religious ‘orthodoxy.’

    Sadly, as the horrific incidence of Catholic clergy pedophilia and the example of Graham Capill tells us, depravity can sometimes dwell in the ostensible precincts of virtue.

    Mark Jordan: The Invention of Sodomy in Medieval Christian Theology: University of Chicago Press: 1997.

  • Sounds fascinating. In my experience conservative Christians often pay lip service to understanding a passage of scripture in its original context, but in emotive issues like homosexuality they quickly default to a simplistic surface reading devoid of context.

  • Ironically enough, it was once okay to discriminate against others on the basis of religious prejudice. It arose from a Christchurch case in which Eric Sides, a fundamentalist garage owner, advertised for a fundamentalist petrol pump attendant, therefore engaging in religious discrimination.

    Pandering as ever to the Christian Right, Muldoon arranged for a loophole in antidiscrimination law to enable him to do so, from 1978 onward. And guess what, Eric Sides sent his kids to Middleton! Fortunately, it only lasted until 1993, whereupon it wasn’t incorporated into the revised Human RIghts Act 1993.

  • “Incidentally, are there significant Haredi and Hasidic communities in New Zealand?”

    Craig, why is this important for Hasidic people but not for homosexuals? After all, there’s no significant homosexual community in New Zealand either. A recent study indicated that it was less than 1% of the population.

    But why does it matter?

  • Religious schools are allowed to discriminate when hiring teachers. Human Rights Act 1993 – Section 28

    I couldn’t find anything in the article to suggest the school was “forced by law” to make the payout and attend courses. Are you sure these moves weren’t voluntary?

  • TAM you writeSome religious believers, exercising their freedom of religion, would like to have the right to discriminate against homosexuals. Sorry folks – you can preach that same sex is sinful but you can’t take away people’s basic human rights.
    I see its a basic a human right to teach netball at a Christian school is it?

    As to non discrimination rights, I suggest you read Jan Narveson’s ( an athiest btw) excellent critque of the notion that such rights exist.

    Freedom of association and the right to excercise ones religious in private and practise however are basic human rights. And you don’t get to violate these just because you like shagging people of the same sex.

    What’s funny is how really smart people fail to grasp the logical implications of what they want to do. I own/operate a law firm. If I decide to fire all my obese employees and am found to have fired them for obesity, I will run afoul of my provincial human rights legislation.

    Suppose, it was not a law firm but an organisation that promotes diet and healthy life style and believes in doing so wholistically by example, mentoring and modelling, as well as by what one says. Suppose a teacher in the organisation lives an unhealthy life style, obese and gorges regularly on junk food. In this context it seems to me that the organistion should be allowed to refuse to fire the obese person in question.

    In both cases, the personal characteristic which the employing Church finds offensive has nothing to do with the person’s position. Well I pointed it it does have to do with their position, this is not a private netball team its a religious school, whoses aim is to teach and model a certain way of life, part of that way of life is heterosexual monogamy, in this context failure to abide by the life style in question is relevant to the job.

    What’s relevant to the job depends on what the job prescription is. Are you suggesting that the state or perhaps the HRC should decide what the job prescription at a religious school is?

    Separation of Church and state is actually a two way thing.

  • Craig, David Bisman pointed out to you the context of that case years ago. Nice to see despite knowing this , it you still use it.

    BTW As I understand it, according to the Talmud, a orthodox jew is not allowed to enter into contracts with idolators. Are you suggesting practising orthodox Judaism should be illegal in NZ.

  • Max you write “So just to be clear Matthew – you consider a man in a loving relationship with another man to be similar in some way to abusing drugs, or working as a prostitute?”

    You seem to have misunderstood my point. My claim was not that homosexuals are like prostitutes. My point is that a school that hires a person who teaches homosexual conduct is a sin and also hires staff you engage in this behaviour, is analogous to a school that teaches promiscuity and also hires prostitutes. In both cases what the person does, in private or public, undermines and contradicts the message the school is trying to teach, and that can undermine the credibility and integrity of the school.

    The issue of whether you agree with the moral teaching is inconsequential. I think a Islamic school could legitimately require a teacher to be a faithful Muslim despite the fact that I do not agree with Islam. I certainly would not apply for a job at such a school, after being hired announce I was a non Muslim and sue, that would be malicious

  • Separation of Church and State does not give the church a free pass to commit whatever crimes and atrocities it likes Matt.

  • Bisman is out of touch with most mainstream LGBT New Zealanders given his subscription to objectivist libertarianism these days.

    Religiously-based discrimination is forbidden by New Zealand law. That cuts both ways. It also means evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are *protected* from discrimination on the basis of goods, services,employment and accomodation from anyone who’d do so *against* them, which I wholeheartedly support.

    However, by the same token, the latter cannot engage in religiously-based discrimination against others. The state is neutral as to the context of belief in this context. Fundamentalists are not being singled out in this context.

    As long as Orthodox Jews confine their transactions to other members of those communities, I don’t see that the problem would arise, particularly in the context of seperatist Orthodox sects like the Haredim and Hasidim. I don’t quite see your point, sorry.

  • As a black lesbian Catholic witch living in South Africa, I find this Aristotelian fundamentalist heuristics most typical. It’s clear that the far right protestant natural law theology, so prevalent in the thought of great Catholic like Calvin, the founder of the Jesuits, is what is really driving the mindset of the school.

    I don’t actually have any qualifications or credible experience in biblical studies, but I’m part of a social network of highly vocal opponents of this bigoted outlook, and I am reliably assured that thir incredibly rare interpretation of the Bible is at fault in every possible way, and what’s more, they are representatives of a hegemonic fearmongering mindset that attempts to subtitute religious mumbo jumbo for principled reasons. For these principled reasons alone, they should be marginalised and re-educated.

  • Matt asks: Are you suggesting that the state or perhaps the HRC should decide what the job prescription at a religious school is?

    No sir, I am simply suggesting that they need to abide by human rights legislation that apparently offers no exclusion for religious discrimination against homosexuals.

    I don’t know much about Narveson aside from the fact that he teaches philosophy at the University of Waterloo (very close to where I live in Ontario, Canada) and is brilliant. I’m surprised to hear a Christian philospher referring to a libertarian anarchist and, yes, I am familiar with the libertarian view that there is no such thing as positive rights. Political theory along those lines gets about as much traction in Canada as I suspect it gets in New Zealand. I must admit, however, that I find it intellectually appealing.

    * On an unrelated note, you can download a debate between Narveson and vegan “abolitionist approach” advocate Gary Francione on Radion Netherlands which is fascinating (available from a link on Narveson’s Wikipedia page). Great candy for the mind.

  • Incidentally, are there significant Haredi and Hasidic communities in New Zealand? I think that problem would probably be more likely to arise in Israel, so you’d be better off asking Bisman or someone else about what the situation is over there.

  • So being gay is analogous to belonging to a religious faith then? You are mixing categories too much. Can you just give a clear account of what your issue with gay people is, and why you are happy for them to be the brunt of discrimination. And just as a matter of interest – would you, if you could, make being gay a criminal offense. Just so I can understand where you are coming from.

  • Reed, I wondered about that, its common for Catholic schools for example to have tagged positions, which only Catholics can apply for. In fact the education Gazette regularly carries adds for tagged positions, so I was surprised to hear the HRA applies to private schools.

    If it does the implications are problematic, does it mean that Islamic schools for example have to hire Atheists to teach Islam, if such a candidate presents itself.

  • Ah me. Petty abuse. How amusing. Right, I’m off.

  • Max, the categories are blurred because many religions require their adherents to refrain from certain forms of sexual conduct. Given this, failure to comply with such requirements is to refuse to practise a particular religions and to practise certain religions involves not engaging in such actvities.

    What would have been interesting is if the school had appealed to the religion of the teacher. What if the school simply stated that they require all teachers to comply with certain teachings which they believe are required by the Christian faith. Then would the category be religion or sexual orientation or both? and if religious schools can’t discriminate on the basis of religion, then such schools are for all intents and purposes required by law to undermine their own purpose.

  • I am reliably assured that thir incredibly rare interpretation of the Bible is at fault in every possible way,

    Well if you believe that this interpretation of the bible is incredibly rare, you are ignorant. Its actually historically the mainstream interpretation, and its the official one of the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Mormons, Muslims and Orthodox Jews, Seven day adventists, Jehovahs witness, and so on. Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Aquinas all advocated it.

    Thanks though for your honesty, basically you think that all these religious groups should be marginalised and re-educated.

    .

  • TAM, I was only refering to his critique of a right to non-discrimination which I think is good. I am not suggesting I agree with everything else he says.

  • Psycho you write:
    “Middleton Grange didn’t hire this teacher to offer tuition in the biblical view of homosexuality, it hired him to coach netball. If it had hired him for this purpose, he’d have had a much harder row to hoe with the HRC, as you would have if you’d taken your own case to them.”

    This fails to understand reformed evangelical beliefs, according to reformed views of education every subject even PE is to be taught from the perspective of faith and ones theological beliefs are to be integrated into every subject. To claim then that faith issues are only relevant in RE closes and not in all others is to in essence tell them not to practice a reformed evangelical perspective and to adopt a pietistic one.

  • Tell me. Does the school dig into the private lives of other members of staff to make sure none of them are committing and sins/lying/cheating/hating their brother/looking at women with lust/ etc. etc. or is homosexuality, for some reason, singled out as being the line one must not cross. If they hired a PI to dig dirt on the other staff members do you think ANY of them would pass muster?

    Maybe they should put a big pile of stones at the front gate?

  • Tell me. Does the school dig into the private lives of other members of staff to make sure none of them are committing and sins/lying/cheating/hating their brother/looking at women with lust/ etc. etc. or is homosexuality, for some reason, singled out as being the line one must not cross. If they hired a PI to dig dirt on the other staff members do you think ANY of them would pass muster?

    How silly. They reacted to information that came to hand. As has already been pointed out, had similar information come to hand about another staff member, the school would take action. As has already been explained, homosexuality is not being singled out here.

  • “As has already been explained, homosexuality is not being singled out here.”

    Yeah. It is.

  • Maxanon, tell us – do you think the school “dug into” the private life of this man? If so, how did they do it?

    And as for equating having an affair with “marital problems,” you’re surely intentionally trying not to understand the issue here. Imagine a church that ran a marriage counselling program, and then they discovered that one of the female counsellors was sleeping around, and wasn’t actually married after all.

    Would it be inapprorpiate to remove her? If so, why?

  • It is? You know of an instance where this school didn’t take action when presented with someone (for example) having an affair? I haven’t seen any evidence presented to that effect.

    Interestingly, having an affair is not protected by law.

  • ” I haven’t seen any evidence presented to that effect.”

    Exactly. No employer would dream of sacking someone because they were having marital problems – you know this – I know this. Let’s not pretend. Homosexuality is being singled out, as it always is. Don’t play dumb.

  • Exactly. No employer would dream of sacking someone because they were having marital problems – you know this – I know this. Let’s not pretend. Homosexuality is being singled out, as it always is. Don’t play dumb.

    “Don’t play dumb” – look in the mirror.

    No, as I said – no evidence has been presented that such a person has been kept in employment.

    In my own church, people have been removed from membership because of affairs – refusing to honour their marriage vows (he abandoned his wife as a result of the affair). (I note that the door was left open should the man in question repent. I see no sign of repentance in this case.)

    I have zero doubt that such behavior would result in sacking from a position at a christian school, as would other sinful lifestyles.

    I would venture that if you think I am “playing dumb” you have a very poor understanding of how christian communities view such things.

  • @Matt
    “Thanks though for your honesty, basically you think that all these religious groups should be marginalised and re-educated. ”

    Your sarc-dar is broken. Even Craig spotted that one.

    xk

  • xk you are not wrong – even the trackbacks have been deleted.

  • To claim then that faith issues are only relevant in RE closes and not in all others is to in essence tell them not to practice a reformed evangelical perspective and to adopt a pietistic one.

    Not claiming that. Claiming that the school needs to be able to point to some way in which the man’s homosexuality was actually relevant if it expects the idea that it was some kind of ideological threat to its pupils to be taken seriously. Bottom line: breaking the law can have consequences.

  • xK yes I read it too quickly after I posted and read it again I realised it was sarcasm.

    The joke however is a little in house.

  • Pyscho, First the repeated claim that, this is the law and you must comply really does not wash. All forms of legal religious persecution are the law, the fact states have endorsed them hardly means they are justified.

    Second, I have suggested several times how a persons sexual conduct might be relevant. If a school is set up to teach a particular way of life, then it is not unreasonable to expect the teachers and staff to be committed to that way of life.

  • Maxanon, no – you’re not quite getting it. Sure an affair is harmful, but you understand that there would be something specifically inappropriate about a woman working for a church’s marriage counselling program who was sleeping around, and that’s the point. The issue of why it would be inappropriate for someone in that position to work in that role is issue in question.

    And as it turns out, the sleeping around is in private (incidentally, it’s not an affair. Neither she nor her partners are married in the example I gave). So that part is the same as the man in this real life example. The issue is that the woman in the example I gave is not exemplifying the ethos of the place she works for. Would you mind explaining why that’s not the case for this school.

    None of this nonsense about me hiding my “cards.” My cards are very clearly on the table. I am saying that the school had a good reason to not want this man working there, and I am using other examples to help you see that you really accept this too. Staying with that issue, could you please explain how this teacher is different from the woman I referred to? Thanks.

  • LOL, your responses on the Red Queen blog aren’t there any more.

    xk

  • I see that Craig Young has not changed over the years. When confronted with evidence that confronts his stated position, rather than respond to the substance he engages in a classic strawman arguement. Apparently, as my politics is not Left Wing therefore I can be ignored, as can anything I say. I wonder… Should I be fired from a job for this? I have been legally banned from eating NZ meat or poultry because of my religion. How come this discrimination doesn’t raise Craig’s ire? Or is anti-religious discrimination OK by him?

  • Glen. An affair is a harmful event for all parties involved. No-one comes out of it unhurt. People I know who have been in same-sex relationships for years hurt no-one apart from the sensibilities of the intolerant – so your comparison fails on ONE level.

    Now in your example the person having an affair runs a marriage counselling program… ie. a job which is directly related to the issue they themselves are going through and having difficulty with. Yes. i imagine it would be hard for a marriage councillor to do her job if she had major problems with her own relationships (although I am not *certain* that you have to have your own life in order in order to help others). The netball coach, however, was doing a job entirely unrelated to his private life, so your comparison fails in TWO ways.

    But tell me Glenn – what do you and your church think the legal status of homosexual men and women should be? Show your cards.

  • Scrubone, I few years ago some of my mothers teaching colleagues told me of a very devout catholic school where a teacher was dismissed after he divorced his wife. This is because the school was committed to teaching Catholicism, and Catholicism teaches that divorce is a sin, the school thought teaching this and also having teachers that did this violated their integrity.

    Now I myself do not agree with the Catholic Churches position on divorce. But I can see the logic and sense in a Catholic school wanting its staff to follow Catholicism.

  • Max, noting your further attempt to avoid the issue, I remind you that you told me to show my cards. But I would only need to do this if I were not currently showing them.

    So, back on track, can you please answer the questions in my last post?

    When we’re resolved this issue and seen how you’re using a double standard, then we can turn to the question of where you got the ridiculous claim that you;re making about my church. But we will deal with this issue first.

  • Richard,,,,,,,,,,,, yes,,,,,,,, once the DNS transfer issue has been resolved,,,,,,,,,,, my website will be back up and running……….

    I””””m doing what I assume is a cultural practice for you,,,,,,,,, but I””””m curious as to why you use so many punctuation marks…………..

  • Um, maxanon, there are some questions that you are yet to answer before I can move on to new subjects with you. Thanks.

  • Having spent almost twenty years in education, both in primary and secondary positions, public and private, single sex and co-ed, UK and NZ and non-religous and religous schools, where I might add my atheism was openly discussed in the job interview, I do feel that on the whole, faith schools only continue to perpetuate the divisions within society, and if they are to continue they need to be more sensitive to the modern form of society that they have to operate within.

    So it may be of interest for some of you who are debating to take a look at the info available from the British Humanist Association website that is specifically related to the issue of faith schools. Obviously it has a British perspective, but it does contain real food for thought.

    http://www.humanism.org.uk/education/education-policy/faith-schools-why-not

  • In case you’re having a bout of forgetfulness, maxanon, let me remind you of what I asked you. Specifically, there were two questions.

    The first question was asked in response to your comments about people’s pivate lives being dug into. I asked:

    Maxanon, tell us – do you think the school “dug into” the private life of this man? If so, how did they do it?

    Secondly, I gave you the hypothetical example of a woman working for a church’s marriage counselling programme, who is herself not married, and who is sleeping around (i.e. not having a marital affair, just sleeping around with men). I asked you if you could explain whether or not it would be appropriate for her to be fired for violating the ethos of the church she worked for.

    Thanks, I’m sure you’ll be answering soon.

  • Ah, an answer. Excellent.

    Thank you maxanon. Now you’ve accepted that by the same principle, the school was justified in firing this man. You’ve come around to MandM’s view.

    Now, in an answer to your irrelevant question: My church has absolutely no policy or stance whatsoever on not it should be any sort of criminal offence to be a homosexual.

    That probably disappointed you. Sorry. :)

  • Me? Um, Maxanon, remember that I asked a coupel of simple questions, and then you trie, at least a coupel of times, to dodge the question and instead jump through your hoop or risk being “shamed.” You attempted to manipulate me into dilence, but failed because you assumed too much about my church. No need for petty insults now.

    Even now after I clearly answered, you’re still pretending that I didn’t. I told you that my church has NO stance on the legality of homosexuality. Didn’t you see that?

    It’s clear who was playing games. I don’t know why you didn’t just answer politely and then ask your question. Now you’re being a bit silly about it. In any case, now that your “gotcha” trick has failed, I’m curious – do you actually see that the school does have a principled case here?

  • Sure Richard. Knock yourself out. No, really.

  • This is also from the same site:

    http://www.justgiving.com/nofaithschools

    http://katygorman.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/humanist-adverts-go-up-in-cardiff/

    So, if you didn’t like the NO GOD atheist billboards, then I really don’t think you should look at what they’re putting up in the UK. Coming to New Zealand soon perhaps? Can’t wait!!!

  • Maxanon – No, your attempt to manipulate me into jumping out of the conversation and answering your question and geting shamed failed. You tried to shame me by getting me to say something embarassung about my church, but it turned out that you were fishing for something that wasn’t there. That’s what failed.

    To pretend that this is not what happened just make you look dishonest. It didn’t work. Sorry.

    I have directly and explicitly answered that question twice now, and you arr still rpetending that I didn’t. Can’t you even read? Twice I have told you that my church does not have a policy on whether or not homosexuality should be legal.

    There it is, a third time. Will you now realise that I’ve answered? We’ll see.

    I think that now that you’ve revealed that you have no principled objection to what this school did, you’re going to try to push that issue aside and concentrate with all of your might on this question you’ve asked instead (and which I have repeatedly answered).

  • Maxanon, my very first answer tot hat question (the one before the subsequent two) was pretty direct: They have no policy at all on that.

    How much clearer could I have been?

    And since you’re now back on the subject of the school, how about an honest answer this time: How is it different from a church firing a staff member in a marriage counselling program who was not herself married, but who was sexually immoral (sleeping around, in this case)?

    Assume that this woman was a great counsellor.

    What’s the difference?

  • Ya website coming on-line any time soon Glenn??????????

  • If you didn’t intend for it to drag on, then why did you ignore my first (and second) answer, continuing to claim that I had not answered?

    Oh well, whatever floats your boat.

  • I did not say you were hiding your cards. I said to show your cards. It is my understanding that your church wants to make homosexuality a criminal offense. Is this incorrect?

  • Maxanon, I don’t see what is so incredibly hard about simply explaining why the church scenario that I’ve described is so radically different from the school example. Why are you trying to get me to answer new questions before you’ll address mine. Again? Why even do that?

    The issue is not whether leeping around is wrong, or whether having homosexual relationships is wrong. The issue is whether or not it undermines the ethos promoted by the school (or church).

    Whatever you’re doing , you’ve stumped me. I truly give up. You win.

  • Max, I will make this very direct and clear:

    A woman working for a church, and who also sleeps around, is similar to a man working for this Christian school who also has a homosexual relationship in exactly the following way:

    The live in a way that undermines the ethos of the church (or school).

    There. Now you know how I think they are the same. No need to wonder any longer. I have already said this, but now I have said it again.

  • Wow. You ask a question, then post a few minutes later declaring that I “won’t answer?”

    Maxanon, lay off the speed. You now have your answer.

  • Yes I agree. A person does not choose to act on having black inclinations. In fact that would not even make sense!

    People like this woman however can act on their amorous inclinations.

  • OK – so since you are all for openness. Does your church want to make homosexuality a criminal offense or not? I can’t see why you would not want to answer this.

  • Thank you for being culturally sensitive………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  • OK Glenn. You are right about the woman – it is the same situation and my view is self contradictory. Now – answer my question.

  • Another case which is quite similar (from Wintery Knight)
    http://www.ajc.com/news/college-punished-her-for-577547.html

  • Yeah Glenn – I am not going to play one of your power-trip games where you try to get people to jump through hoops before you will enter into a conversation. Sorry – Not interested. If you are ashamed of your churches stance and that’s why you won’t answer that’s probably a good sign.

    And no – I haven’t come around to any such view – you are just quite simple and easy to manipulate.

  • What is this coupel word you talk of Glenn? Does it have its origins in Dunedin culture? Can I take it and spread it around the world?

  • What failed? I don’t answer because its not a real question, or because it is not interested in that avenue of discussion, or because a more interesting topic came up, or any other number of reasons. You can’t insist a conversation flows according to your own script. If I don’t answer something it’s because I don’t want to for whatever reason. Get over it.

    there was no “gotcha” trick. I just want an honest answer about what you, and your church, think the laws regarding consensual homosexual relationships and sex acts should be. I asked Matthew the same thing and he too was reluctant to answer. I don’t see why people won’t own their own beliefs… but if you don’t want to answer just tell me to mind my own business and that’s cool too.

  • Looks like a fake comment on gaynz in your name Madeline.

  • You are too cynical. From reading your churches website I genuinely got the impression that they want homosexuality to be restrained by legislation. If this is not true then all you had to do was say “no you are wrong” the first time I asked. There is no trick here. And I was not trying to shame you. I am not sure your peers would see this as a reason to be ashamed even if it was the case.

    For the record, since you seem to want to put words in my mouth, I think what the school did was reprehensible and cowardly. Just for the record.

  • “From reading your churches website I genuinely got the impression that they want homosexuality to be restrained by legislation.”

    Nice to see you provide a link to backup your assertion. Oh, wait you don’t – not so much as a quote.

  • I am sure Glenn knows his church’s website – and it is not my business to tell everyone where he goes. It was meant to be a simple question, and I did not intend it to drag on for so long.

  • In your mind Glenn, there probably is no difference, because I think you have certain beliefs about homosexuality which make the two people similar in your mind. But I am not sure because I don’t know exactly what your stance on homosexuality is.

    But I have a quite different starting position. If you tell me what your starting position is – then I will understand your whole argument a lot better.

  • I am trying to understand, Glenn, why you think a homosexual man is similar to a woman who sleeps around. Now if you (not to put words in your mouth) think that people choose to be gay, and could choose not to be, then this might make more sense than if you (again I don’t want to assume) think people are born gay and it is more like being born male rather than female.

    Without knowing where you are coming from, it is hard to answer your question. Just indulge me for a moment and let me know what your beliefs about homosexuality are. That’s how conversations work sometimes – you have to clarrify things as you go.

  • OK – lets assume (since you won’t answer) that people are born gay, and have as little choice over this as being born with blue eyes, or dark skin. Sacking someone because they are black, I think you would agree, would not be right. A school that teaches that being black is sinful, or that black people are not saved, or whatever, would also be wrong. In this situation it differs drastically from the woman who chooses to live a certain way. I hope this demonstrates why I asked you what your starting point is/.

  • And do you agree?

  • Imagine if a school had an “ethos” that being black was inherently wrong, and so banned black teachers… actually we don’t need to imagine do we – just remember. But I am optimistic. I think soon enough we will look back on this sort of discrimination as an historical event in the same way we look back and cringe about our racist society.

  • Max, you’re just missing everything that is being said here. Seriously go back and look.

    I pointed out that it doesn’t even make sense to talk about people acting on black inclinations, and yet there you go, banging your drum about how my view is like a racist view. Try thinking instead of reacting.

    However, I really appreciated this wee gem: You said that churches should be treated like Klan headquaters. Maxanon, don’t you think about the consequences of your stance? Don’t you realise that if people adopt your view your view is to blame if Christians get beaten up or burned to death when their churches are torched?

    It amazes me that you don’t see how your own rhetoric comes back to bite you. It really does, Maxanon.

  • Imagine if the state decided it would re-educate those who didn’t follow it’s own set of values…

  • This is one New Zealand Churches stance on the issue

    “….looks to the Bible as the rule of faith and practice on such issues. We believe that the Bible teaches that homosexual practice, like many other things, is sinful. We also believe that, in relation to abortion, the Bible does not distinguish between prenatal and postnatal life, attributing personhood to the unborn child.

    While all sins are offensive to God and merit his judgment, we believe that some sins, because of their nature, their effect on society, and the explicit teaching of Scripture concerning them, OUGHT TO BE RESTRAINED BY LEGISLATION. We believe that such sins as abortion, HOMOSEXUALITY, prostitution, theft and perjury fall within this category.

    We believe that God is just when he punishes sinners in their sin. Yet, we believe that since these people are image bearers of God, we are to offer the mercy of God in the gospel to them, and to and call them to repent and believe that they might have eternal life.

    As a Church then, WE CALL UPON THE GOVERNING AUTHORITIES TO RESTRAIN SOCIAL EVILS and at the same time offer compassion and proclaim the Gospel to perpetrators and victims alike.”

    I have capitalized a couple of bits. It seems that this church wants a law change to restrain homosexuality. Sorry Glenn – I thought your church shared this view, but I was wrong about that. No hard feelings.

  • Max, if belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is on par with racism then much more follows than merely this case. We should treat Mosques, Mormon temples RC churches and so on the same way we would treat the local klan head quarters. Seeing racist speech is illegal in NZ preaching from these religions should be illegal and so on. Seeing it would be illegal for schools to set up promoting nazism it should be illegal for Christian schools to exist at all.

  • No, maxanon. You didn’t say that YOU would torch a church. I never said that. But then, Matt never referred to HIMSELF killing gay men either. You said that this was the consequence of his philosophy.

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. How come you get to connect Matt’s disapproval with violence and murder, but for some reason your disapproval gets a free pass? You do realise that churches get burned and Christians do get killed, right?

    That’s the thing about double standards. When it comes to who is allowed to use them you employ yet another double standard. ;)

    You really need to think about what you’re saying, Maxanon.

  • Max wrote OK – lets assume (since you won’t answer) that people are born gay, and have as little choice over this as being born with blue eyes, or dark skin. Sacking someone because they are black, I think you would agree, would not be right.

    We know that alcoholism is a genetic triat that people are born with. So if this fact alone is sufficient to establish your conclusion. A Christian school that has a person who is an alcoholic and drinks excessively should not dismiss him, they should embrace it as an alternative life style. In fact seeing alcoholics have a high suicide rate and tend to get in fights and get beaten up, we should have classes telling teens they might be alcoholics, if they are then they should just be themselves and get pissed, after all they were born with it. Religions that condemn drunkenness are just racist bigots

    But of course we don’t do this, which shows that we do not think that being born with a genetic predisposition or orientation towards something justifies it. Other factors do.

  • “Max, if belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is on par with racism then much more follows than merely this case. We should treat Mosques, Mormon temples RC churches and so on the same way we would treat the local klan head quarters.”

    I agree. And I do treat them the same way, to the best of my limited ability. I try to realize that their beliefs come through ignorance and are best countered by education, realize that they are not actually bad people, just misguided, and try not to get too angry with them, despite the suffering they cause other people.

    “Seeing racist speech is illegal in NZ preaching from these religions should be illegal and so on.”

    I don’t personally think that people should be made criminals for holding reprehensible beliefs. I think this is counterproductive as it creates an us/them mentality and actually helps to strengthen people’s prejudice – not weaken it. I would not want to see people who hand out nasty little pamphlets about gays jailed any more, or less, than those who hand out nasty little racist pamphlets.

    “Seeing it would be illegal for schools to set up promoting nazism it should be illegal for Christian schools to exist at all.”

    Smile. Christian schools (and churches!) can, and do, exist perfectly well without preaching hatred of any form. I am sure that the white churches in South Africa thought Christianity would collapse if it was ever to give up its racist underpinning – but the Word lives on. There is nothing to fear there.

  • Max perhaps you’d like to explain also why identical twins always share the same eye color and race yet they do not always share the same sexual orientation. Also why does the prevalence homosexual conduct differ cross culturally, dependent on the mores of a society in a way that race, hair color and eye color do not.

  • Matt: Your alcoholism comparison is not really worth replying to – but good to see that you have moved on from comparing gays to pedophiles. A step in the right direction.

  • Max with respect, don’t you think its a little patronising to suggest Glenn and I are just ignorant people in need of education.
    When first year law students at Auckland Uni tell me my moral theology is based on ignorance and I just need a little bit of education on the issues form them its hard to not see this claim as a tad arrogant.

  • “Max perhaps you’d like to explain also why identical twins always share the same eye color and race yet they do not always share the same sexual orientation. Also why does the prevalence homosexual conduct differ cross culturally, dependent on the mores of a society in a way that race, hair color and eye color do not.”

    Neither of us are geneticists – not sociologists for that matter. Ask your friend Richard Dawkins – perhaps he can shed some light on such mysteries. But it is kind of irrelevant really WHY people are gay – the fact is they are, however they ended up there.

  • Max, you know as well as I do how analogies work, they don’t claim parity in all features but only in terms of what relevant for the comparison. In this case the property you mentioned was “being born” with the trait in question. And in terms of that property the two are on par.

  • “Max with respect, don’t you think its a little patronising to suggest Glenn and I are just ignorant people in need of education.”

    I guess it would be a little patronizing to say that a racist professor much more accomplished than you or Glenn academically is in need of education as well – but it is true. You are not in need of intellectual training, but something is lacking. Empathy perhaps, and that is much harder to teach than philosophy.

    Do you actually know what the consequences of your ivy-tower philosophy is? Go look at some photos of the corpses of gay men who have had the crap beaten out of them by people who are comforted by having intellectuals who can vouch for their prejudice. Yes, I know you would never commit violence yourself, – and I am sure the racist professor would never go beat up a black man either… but their are real world consequences to preaching intolerance. It is not a game. Be careful

  • Max I was simply pointing out that the “homosexuality is genetic” “they are born that way” is not as well established as people claim. The fact is it is not on par with traits like race which are genetically determined. The fact identical twins do not in many cases share homosexual status shows that homosexuality ( and certainly homosexual conduct) is not genetically determined. There may be a genetic component to it, but that’s a different matter.

  • Yes – they are both born that way – and that is the end of the similarities… so not a very useful analogy really.

  • “I don’t personally think that people should be made criminals for holding reprehensible beliefs.”

    What’s your position on the state forcing people to take education classes that are intended to change their religious beliefs?

  • “Max I was simply pointing out that the “homosexuality is genetic” “they are born that way” is not as well established as people claim. The fact is it is not on par with traits like race which are genetically determined. The fact identical twins do not in many cases share homosexual status shows that homosexuality ( and certainly homosexual conduct) is not genetically determined. There may be a genetic component to it, but that’s a different matter.”

    I probably agree with you – it has all sort of contributing factors. So what?

  • “What’s your position on the state forcing people to take education classes that are intended to change their religious beliefs?”

    I would find this most odd.

  • I don’t know the details of the classes you are talking about Scrubone – but as I said above I don’t think compulsion works.

  • Max wrote Do you actually know what the consequences of your ivy-tower philosophy is? Go look at some photos of the corpses of gay men who have had the crap beaten out of them by people who are comforted by having intellectuals who can vouch for their prejudice. This is a crock , By this logic if some vigilantes beat up a thief, it follows that anyone who has said theft is a sin is to blame. Similarly if a man beats up his wife’s lover, we should blame anyone who has claimed adultery is wrong and so on. Its funny how now one would ever apply this logic to any other practice people make moral judgments about.

  • Perhaps you should try to read the posts you comment on then.

  • I probably agree with you – it has all sort of contributing factors. So what?

    Exactly, so what? It has no bearing on the moral or theological question at all. Some actions which have a genetic component are morally wrong (alcohol abuse for example) some are not (being left handed). Some actions with no genetic component are wrong (theft for example) and some are not (shopping at Pak n save).

    To claim that opposing homosexual conduct is an immoral practice akin like racism because there is a genetic component is fallacious.

  • Problem solved (in a few years time): http://io9.com/5577804/

  • Speaking of things biting back, am I the only person who thinks the ads on GayNZ somewhat undermine the message that “kids should be protected”?

  • It really saddens me Matthew. I thought you would grow out of it. Oh well… there is time!

  • “You said that churches should be treated like Klan headquaters. ”

    No Glenn. Read it more carefully. I said nothing of the sort. I said *I* treat certain churches (not “churches”) as *I* treat a Klan headquarters. I then go on to explain what this means. I never advise that people should treat certain churches the way anyone else treats the Klan. You need to pay attention to detail. Did I give the impression somewhere that I would torch a building because I disagreed with their stance?

  • Max: regardless, what you said is far closer to advocating violence (against Christians) than anything Matt, Glenn or myself have said concerning gays.

    Yet you were just now (10:59) trying to make such a link to try and smear Matt as giving succor to anti-gay violence.

  • If you had read on you would have seen my clarification, as I said.

  • Hm, colour me confused – I don’t see any further comments at all on the topic of your 10:59 comment.

  • Scrubone: Nonsense Here is what I said:

    “I try to realize that their beliefs come through ignorance and are best countered by education, realize that they are not actually bad people, just misguided, and try not to get too angry with them, despite the suffering they cause other people. ”

    Tell me which part of this advocates violence please.

  • Madeleine writes:

    Maxanon isn’t there something terribly wrong with a law that says certain beliefs are illegal?

    With all respect, I doubt the law bans or makes illegal the beliefs themselves, but considers affecting others’ lives in ways that are considered discriminatory illegal (whether or not the basis of the discrimination was a particular “belief”).

  • My mistake, apparently.

  • Have a read of this Matt:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36376840/

    Just imagine that being one of your family members. This is homophobia in the real world, and sadly promoted by the church.

  • Just imagine that being one of your family members. This is homophobia in the real world, and sadly promoted by the church.

    So what you’re saying is, if Christian school is allowed to fire a gay person, we’ll have a full scale war on homosexuality on our hands.

    You do realise that homosexuality *was* legal in this country within living memory and nothing like this *ever* happened? You further realise that the Christians here are only asking to conduct their own schools according to their own beliefs?

    No one on this thread is advocating making homosexuality illegal – just the end of laws that make it illegal to conducted educational institutions according to our beliefs. Yet you are trying to link people here to atrocities that they would never even come close to condoning.

  • Max wrote “Have a read of this Matt:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36376840/
    Just imagine that being one of your family members. This is homophobia in the real world, and sadly promoted by the church.”

    Max repeating the argument Glenn refuted is not a good look.
    I could remind you of pretty horrific harrasment my family recieved from Gay advocates because they considered our beliefs “homophobic”. Can I blame you for that, after all its just a consquence of your philosophy.

    I really don’t get why intelligent people push this argument like I said if a boy was smashed in by some thugs for stealing no one would blame liberal churches who preached against theft. Yet when its homosexual conduct suddenly a fairly obviously bad line of argument is repeatedly proposed. This smacks of hysteria and fear.

  • “So what you’re saying is, if Christian school is allowed to fire a gay person, we’ll have a full scale war on homosexuality on our hands.”

    No – don’t exaggerate! First it is a gradual shift, and some churches (see above) actually want to make homosexuality illegal – it is part of the same nasty mindset. Secondly, we live in an international community, and the teaching of theologians in America, Europe, and maybe even Australasia does have an impact on other Christian nations.

    “You do realise that homosexuality *was* legal in this country within living memory and nothing like this *ever* happened? ”

    I assume you mean illegal. And although we did not have corpses being dug up and defiled – some pretty nasty things did happen (and continue to happen). Some of it was state sanctioned, and other abuse was illegal abuse, nonetheless justified in People’s minds by the fact that it was a crime to be gay. I suggest People go and read about the abuse which did take place in New Zealand and see how it fits with their conscience.

    “You further realise that the Christians here are only asking to conduct their own schools according to their own beliefs?”

    That’s fine – as long as they don’t in doing so attack other people or wreck other people’s lives.

    “No one on this thread is advocating making homosexuality illegal”

    Not openly. Although some People are unwilling to say whether they are in favor of making it illegal or not. My suspicion is that some People do indeed want it to be a crime again… bu since there is a neither confirm nor deny mentality it is only a guess.

    “Yet you are trying to link people here to atrocities that they would never even come close to condoning.”

    I am not linking the people here to these atrocities. Let’s be clear on that. I am linking their philosophical views to the atrocities. In the same way I don’t link my racist neighbor who rants and raves to actual lynchings… but he shares their underlying view (although I expect he would be sickened if he had to actually see the result of his beliefs actualized)

  • The attitude towards homosexuality differs in so many ways from the attitude to theft – as you well know. It is far more akin to racism than a hardline on crime. Maybe not in your mind – but in the minds of the masses.

  • But to answer your (bad) theft comparison. If some preacher was constantly preaching about how evil theives were, and that God hated them, and that they deserved punishment, and were an abomination, and then a mob went and beat up a guy known to be a shoplifter… yes… I *would* put some blame on the hate filled irrational preacher. So that fails sorry.

    But as I said people don’t tend to have this attitude to theft. The attitude to gays is that of hatred of a group – just like racism.

  • “Can I blame you for that, after all its just a consquence of your philosophy.”

    Which bit of my philosophy leads there as a matter of idle curiosity?

  • Max you write “But to answer your (bad) theft comparison. If some preacher was constantly preaching about how evil theives were, and that God hated them, and that they deserved punishment, and were an abomination, and then a mob went and beat up a guy known to be a shoplifter… yes… I *would* put some blame on the hate filled irrational preacher. So that fails sorry.”
    Ok so the issue is not thinking theft is wrong or teaching theft is wrong, its how one does it, does one go on and on about it saying theft is evil and abomination etc.

    Seeing however I have not gone and on about this, preached it was an abomination repeatedly and so on, your argument does not apply to me, nor does it apply to the vast majority of evangelical churches that hold homosexual conduct is a sin but don’t go on like this.

    Moreover, your argument also suggests that people like Craig Young who do go on and on about the evils of fundamentalism how they are bigots dangerous, out to get us all and so on are responsible for any persecution of evangelicals that result.

    But as I said people don’t tend to have this attitude to theft. The attitude to gays is that of hatred of a group – just like racism.

    Saying theft is wrong is opposition to a group, the group of people who commit theft, so this wont wash.

    The reality is supporters of homosexual supporters have no real logical basis for equating the claim that an action is wrong with opposition hatred and violence towards any one who does that action. They would never draw this inference in another context and neither would you. Hence drawing it here is actually an attempt to slander and smear, which does violate my human rights and is itself a form of group hatred.

  • “Which bit of my philosophy leads there as a matter of idle curiosity?”
    The same logic that determines that mine leads to Gay bashing.

  • “Seeing however I have not gone and on about this, preached it was an abomination repeatedly and so on, your argument does not apply to me, nor does it apply to the vast majority of evangelical churches that hold homosexual conduct is a sin but don’t go on like this.”

    Good for them. They are a less vile form of prejudice I admit. And there has been a gradual shift which I find encouraging.

    “Moreover, your argument also suggests that people like Craig Young who do go on and on about the evils of fundamentalism how they are bigots dangerous, out to get us all and so on are responsible for any persecution of evangelicals that result.”

    I think that there are fundamentalists and inciters of hate in all sorts or organizations. I don’t know enough about Craig Young to comment – but someone who went around saying that all fundamentalists are evil and need to be punished would fall in the same category I agree.

    “Saying theft is wrong is opposition to a group, the group of people who commit theft, so this wont wash.”

    Yes – but if I steal a chocolate bar from a shop I will not from then on be seen primarily as a Thief. But if a ma happens to have a relationship with a man – they ARE, by a lot of fundies, seem primarily as a Homosexual (or faggot depending on who is talking). It is the labeling of a person as part of a group which can then be targeted which is dangerous and leads to the sort of violence that keeps emerging. Use whatever clever arguments you like – this just does not happen with theives….

    “The reality is supporters of homosexual supporters have no real logical basis for equating the claim that an action is wrong with opposition hatred and violence towards any one who does that action. ”
    ?????
    I don’t understand the last sentence….

    “They would never draw this inference in another context and neither would you. Hence drawing it here is actually an attempt to slander and smear, which does violate my human rights and is itself a form of group hatred.”

    As the first half of this was jibberish I am not sure what the second half is referring to – but you are often a little eager to come up with “clever” (seldom) comparisons and argue from there… I prefer to look at what actually happens, and the actual results of certain forms of teaching. The theory is kinda irrelevant if what it predicts never happens.

  • “The same logic that determines that mine leads to Gay bashing.”

    No.. that won’t do sorry.

    I think your belief that gays, by living according to their nature, are an abomination in God’s eyes, are sinners, and are in dire need to change and be something different leads on, in some People’s minds, to the idea that they should be forced to change, whether legally (as some NZ churches propose as we saw above) or illegally by raping lesbians, or beating up gay men. Now this is not just a crackpot theory I have come up with… this actually happens every day to real people.

    Now – what SPECIFIC part of by beliefs do you think leads to violence against Christains? I would really like to know because I would hate to think I was helping cause a war.

  • “You further realise that the Christians here are only asking to conduct their own schools according to their own beliefs?”

    That’s fine – as long as they don’t in doing so attack other people or wreck other people’s lives.

    Max at the start of this post you tell Matt not to exaggerate.

    There are a few Christian schools that would not hire homosexuals unless compelled to by law.

    How is this ruining other people’s lives?

  • “There are a few Christian schools that would not hire homosexuals unless compelled to by law.”

    i agree – in fact most Christians I know are not prejudice against gays at all. It is only a few dinosaurs hanging onto this form of hatred and irrationality. I am optimistic that they will die out within a generation or two. But in the meantime people are still suffering from the result of their irrationality. But let’s be clear – I am not talking about Christians here, I am talking about homophobic people.

    By the way Matthew – what do you think the legal status of homosexuality should be? Straight answer if you can (no pun intended)

  • The big problem with your slippery slope argument Maxanon is that your assertion Matt and I hold to the following is incorrect:

    “your belief that gays, by living according to their nature, are an abomination in God’s eyes, are sinners, and are in dire need to change and be something different l.

    I do not view people in same sex relationships any differently to people in opposite sex relationships (or single people) who do not know or follow God. I realise some people think there is a big difference between these categories of unbelievers but I do not and neither Matt or I have ever said that we do and it unfair to tar us with views other people hold. You are attributing us with a view we have never offered and then you’re attempting to reason from there to a view supportive of assault and rape and forced conversation – these people that apparently engage in these terrible conversion methods also believe in God like you do do they not? Does that mean you support these methods? Of course not. Neither do Matt and I.

  • I think gay people can be believers. God calls all sorts of people to him who engage in all sorts of things, who have inclinations and temptations to do all sorts of things, who have done all sorts of things. No one is beyond redemption and God can meet people in the direst of places so given this of course someone who is attracted to people of the same sex can meet God and have a conversion experience and profess faith.

    That said God clearly has certain requirements of his believers. There are activities we are not to engage in, thoughts and inclinations we are to resist. Some of these things are easier for some of us than they are for others but we all have those things that are extremely difficult to turn off or turn from.

    Most of us have sexual desires and God has made it clear that we are not to act on these desires but for within marriage between one person of the opposite sex whom we are not related to, who has consented to be married to us, etc.

    Those who do not have a spouse that meets God’s criteria need to not be acting on their sexual desires. They are either to go through life celebate or they are to find a spouse that meets God’s criteria and marry them and then they can have lots of sex.

    It gets tricky if one finds God when one is in a sexual relationship that does not meet God’s criteria. I think the correct approach there is for the believer to assess the relationship, if this relationship could ever meet God’s criteria then there are ways forward but if the relationship could never meet God’s criteria then the way forward with God needs to be the sexual aspects of that relationship coming to an end.

    These are things for the believer to work out with God. These things take time to sort out, like the smoker does not tackle the task of quitting smoking just because everyone badgers them and shoves the harm of smoking in his or her face, the smoker needs to get to a place where their own conscience in conjunction with what they now know to be right tells them it is time to act.

    A gay Christian who truly has found God will either lose the desire to act on their sexual inclinations or they will find a way to resist them and live celebate. Just as someone who is in the practice of finding opposite sex one night stands who finds God will do the same. I do not accept that one can call themselves a Christian and not begin working towards doing this but I do accept that successfully walking the talk takes a lot of time and there are often a lot of falls along the way, the important factor is the commitment to try and to keep trying.

    As for my views on the law. I don’t know. Some things God opposes are and should be backed up by law: murder, assault, theft, etc other things are and should not be: lying, calling people names, impure thoughts and so on.

    Where does the requirement to not engage in homosexual conduct fit? I do not know. I am not a theologian and I have not read up much on this topic due to my not being terribly concerned about it – there are plenty of things people do that God commands us not to, I confess to not having examined all of them in detail and because I have not done so I cannot say which side I think falls on but note I would say the same thing about a lot of things, none of which have anything to do with homosexuality.

  • “suffering” sounds a little like embellishment to me. What percentage of teaching jobs are homosexuals restricted from applying for.

    I could say my life is ruined because I will not fly on Air New Zealand for fear of being embarrassed and humiliated if I am asked to move seats if I am accidentally given a seat next to an unaccompanied minor. A lesbian would not be asked to move.

    This is the result of the homosexual commissioners at the HRC who not take complaints by white heterosexual men as seriously as complaints by homosexuals. While we are on the topic of the HRC I would not be considered for a job as a HRC Commissioner.

    On a more serious note many people were discriminated in getting government jobs when Clark was in power. When one looks at the number of homosexuals in some government positions I find it hard to accept that this was by chance.

    Homosexuals make less than three percent of the population yet one third of the HRC Commissioners were homosexual. I do not think this would have been by chance. Therefore heterosexuals were discriminated against.

  • Thanks for clarifying that Madaleine. I find People are so reluctant to come out and say what it is they believe. If I am left to guess based on what is written then don’t get too upset if my guess is not perfect. I asked long ago if Matt and Glenn could clarify what their views were and both declined to do so. If my assertion is not contradicted I would assume I had got it right.

    But if you say that you have no real issue then I must believe you.

    But, are you saying that you view all gay people as unbelievers – please clarify as this is what it sounds like you are saying. If so:
    Why on earth you would consider a gay believer to be an unbeliever still astounds me. If someone confesses faith in hen I tend to take them seriously… not quibble over their personal life.

    And since you at least are upfront – what do you think the legal status of homosexuality should be?

  • Chuck: I am sure there are other injustices in the world – and other discrimination to worry about.. but that’s another issue.

  • “So you would say that the openly gay clergy are lying to themselves then? Do you ever think that you may be wrong, and that when a gay believer says that God fully sanctions her relationship as much as yours… they might be being guided by the Holy Spirit in their relationship. Are you THAT sure? Are you sure enough to make these claims?”

    Yes, I am fairly confident that those making such claims are in error. As for how sure I am, I am as sure as I am that Benny Hinn’s teaching is outside of Scripture and that some of the practices of Destiny Church, as reported in the media, are outside of what Scripture teaches. I might be wrong, ultimately it is God’s call, but from what I see in the Scriptures I am sure enough that I am right to confidently say so.

  • So you would say that the openly gay clergy are lying to themselves then? Do you ever think that you may be wrong, and that when a gay believer says that God fully sanctions her relationship as much as yours… they might be being guided by the Holy Spirit in their relationship. Are you THAT sure? Are you sure enough to make these claims?

  • Max wrote “No.. that won’t do sorry. ..now – what SPECIFIC part of by beliefs do you think leads to violence against Christains? I would really like to know because I would hate to think I was helping cause a war.” I agree Max , it wont do to assert a person is responsible for violence against others merely because they think those people engage in wrong doing and say so. That was my point, you can see it rather clearly when the topic is your own beliefs. So please stop claiming the inference works when its someone elses.

  • its an empirical situation Matthew. It is just that case that in the world we live in homophobic violence does exist, and is encouraged by conservative ideology. There may not even be a logical link between them… but when we look at the world there is a link of some sort. Sorry – the facts don’t lie.

    And I have explained what i think the link is. You did not answer my question. Also – what is your stance on the law?

  • Max, sure I accept I might be wrong. But then again so might those who disagree with me, and I do not see any evidence that those who confidently argue by shouting “your a bigot” entertain that possibility.

    As to the holy spirit telling them, the problem is that what the “holy spirit” tells them seem to go contrary to what is taught in scripture, and I would have grave questions about a spirtuality which allows “what the spirit says” to trump scriptural teaching. I counselled a man a few years ago who believed the holy spirit told him to leave his wife and children, I sat down and discussed it with him, he returned to his wife and they have had a sucessful happy marriage for over a decade now. I am sure he is glad I did not hold the kind of epistemology the priests you refer to did.

  • “It is just that case that in the world we live in homophobic violence does exist, and is encouraged by conservative ideology.”

    But my point Max is that this is false, saying homosexual conduct is wrong does not encourage violence against homosexuals, in fact even if I held homosexual conduct should be illegal it would not encourage this.

    I think theft is wrong, I think theft is illegal, does that mean I am encouraging violence against theives and can be held responsible for vigilanteeism? Obviously not.

    This kind of argument is simply slander and its dangerous slander, incitment to violence is an illegal form of speech. When liberal conflate theological views they disagree with with such language they are opening the door to theological persecution.

  • “Max, sure I accept I might be wrong. But then again so might those who disagree with me, and I do not see any evidence that those who confidently argue by shouting “your a bigot” entertain that possibility.”

    OK – that’s a start. So you might be wrong… and a devout believer tells you that she feels guided by God’s love and wisdom through the Holy Spirit that her relationship is accepted and sanctioned by God. Why will you not believe her? You are put in the situation of having to say that your sister is a liar, which has to be unhealthy to the Church as a whole.

    As for being contrary to scripture… not a debate I want to have again. Needless to say it is an inconclusive debate – and at such times we seek guidance in prayer. We worship a Living God do we not?

    As for your anecdote – interesting but irrelevant. The gay priests, and other gay people I know (or know of) have healthy happy long lasting relationships. You constantly choose negative examples (marriage breakup/alcoholism/pedophilia etc etc.) and say a stable happy same sex relationship is somehow like this. It is a nasty rhetorical device and little more.

    I actually have no idea what epistemology gay priests hold – I am sure they differ as much as their straight counterparts.

  • “But my point Max is that this is false, saying homosexual conduct is wrong does not encourage violence against homosexuals, in fact even if I held homosexual conduct should be illegal it would not encourage this.”

    You can keep telling yourself this as much as you like Matt – but sadly it is just not true. I admit that if people were always rational it would not encourage violence – but people are not, and it is just the case that in the world they are encouraged. As I said it is just an empirical fact. You can’t just wish it away.

    “I think theft is wrong, I think theft is illegal, does that mean I am encouraging violence against theives and can be held responsible for vigilanteeism? Obviously not.”

    Again Matt – your example is irrelevant – because I am not talking about a logical link – I am talking about what really happens in the real world. In the real world you do get gay-bashings often – and they are encouraged, whether you like it or not, by the teachings of otherwise non-violent people.

  • Maxanon -
    Do you think it would be ok for a school to discriminate against zoosexuals?

  • “Do you think it would be ok for a school to discriminate against zoosexuals?”

    I will let the stupidity of this question stand for itself.

  • I’ve taken this from the British humanist Association’s Website, as it touches on some of the themes that have been running through the recent posts. – http://www.atheistbus.org.uk/page/2/

    Homophobic Reverend doesn’t like billboards

    Here are the links to the new no-faith schools campaign:
    http://www.justgiving.com/nofaithschools
    http://www.humanism.org.uk/billboards

    This is the same Reverend David McIlveen, by the way, implicated in the Advertising Standards Authority decision to ban his church’s anti-gay advertising in December last year. The newspaper advertisement had said that “sodomy” is an “abomination” and “God’s judgment upon a sin.”  It is apparently “a cause for regret that a section of the community desires to be known for a perverted form of sexuality.”

    To be fair, in his defence, McIlveen said, “It has never been our intention to deliberately offend anyone,” – (wait for it there’s always a ‘but’) – “but we cannot deny that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will by its very nature be a source of offence to those who rebel against its message and in turn despise its messengers. … It is totally unacceptable for any church to look to an outside body for their approval to print gospel tracts that are based on the word of God. This we cannot and will not do.”

    Translation: Wider social consensus on what counts as hateful and discriminatory language is irrelevant to me and my church.

    I think the translation says it all really!

  • Paul so to be clear, do you support censorship?

  • Paul I take it also that if soceital consensus found athiesm and homosexual conduct offensive you’d agree it should not be expressed?

  • Actually Max the question is a fair one. (a)Zoophilia is condemned in the same section of scripture which you oppose a simplistic reading of. bIts something a person does in their private life.(b) Its irrelevant to teaching net ball (c) people call it an abomination, perverted and use all that hate language against it, and so on, (d) many people support laws making it illegal.

    I am not saying I think zoophilla and homosexual conduct are the same, just pointing out that many of same lines of reasoning used to defend one seems to apply equally here.

    The practise of making arguments for homosexual conduct which rely on premises which also entail other absurd things and then shouting people down as bigoted or offensive simply because they point those absurdities out is not really a defensible method.

  • Maxanon -
    Why do you think my question is stupid?

    Should I read your response as a “yes” or a “no”?

  • Hey Max, why is that sad?
    Have you ever heard the cliche “If you dont stand for something you will fall for anything”. Even Jesus said “would that you were hot or cold, but since you are lukewarm I will spew you out of my mouth”
    You cant go around picking and choosing which moral laws you like and which you dont, if you do that then you are taking God’s place.
    Please dont raise the issue of OT laws, these teach us that we cant save ourselves and point forward to Christ and are fulfilled in Him.
    This is what is both right and troubling about external moral authority and absolute truth, we cant change it no matter how we feel or the current fashion or what is currently PC. The practice of homosexuality may be currently fashionable but God has been plain in saying it is abhorrent to Him, as is lying, dishonouring your Parents and etc. None of this in any way excuses abuse or hatred, Jesus came to save the lost sinner not the self-righteous, but the standards dont change to suit us ,we must change to match the standard.
    Good on Madeleine for acknowledging her own imperfection but not backing away from the truth.
    Think on the nature of Grace, that God loves us while we were still sinners, but His love has a purpose. To quote Jesus “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.

  • Read my answer as I don’t want to get dragged into a debate about whether homosexuals are equivalent to people who have sex with animals, molest children, rape people, or whatever other silly/offensive comparison you want to make. As I said – people will see your comment for what it is.

  • “Hey Max, why is that sad?”

    It’s sad because there is a barrier in communication that is very hard to cross. I just can’t get inside the head of people who can make such claims.

    “You cant go around picking and choosing which moral laws you like and which you dont, if you do that then you are taking God’s place.”

    We all do – if we did not we would have a christian equivalent of sharia law with stonings, executions, and extreme draconian laws. You pick and choose too… in fact people who get obsessed about homosexuality are the biggest pickers and choosers out there.

  • to Paul
    Why call the Rev “homophobic”? Did he say he was afraid of homosexuals or that he hated them? Seems to me he was standing up for a currently unpopular moral position.
    I dont particularly like people who define themselves by what they are against, it seems a rather negative way to approach life. However social consensus doesnt make something right, it just makes it currently fashionable or popular. If right and wrong change with time or social consensus then they are not right or wrong just contemporary preference. Inevitably that will change again and again and again and every arguement we make now will be wrong simply by the passing of time. Strangely the Bible has a picture of this, namely “building your house on sand” ie being without foundation.

  • Yes Matt,

    I do agree with censorship, when it is applied to language and actions that promote hate and violence against others, ie: “Unbelievers will burn in a lake of fire for eternity”, (which was written on a lovely little pamphlet that was deposited in my letterbox the other night by the friendly christian centre in my area!) I kid you not!!!

    I would also agree that if soceital consensus found athiesm and homosexual conduct offensive, I’d agree it should not be expressed.

    However, before you say it, the next problem is how do we decide what indicates a societal consensus.

    Now it may not be a perfect answer, but modern western democracy, allows us at least to judge, to a certain degree, mainstream societal consensus eg: If a political party in NZ stood for the death penalty and was given an overwhelming majority, say 90% of the population vote for them, then it would be understandable if the politicians of the day chose to re-enact the death penalty.

    But, given MMP, if that party received a 48% share of the vote and joined with a couple of other minor parties to create a large enough majority to govern, say 54%. then I don’t believe it would have a clear mandate!

    Now I don’t know what everyone in NZ thinks about the current atheist NO GOD campaign, but over in the UK the Advertising Standards Authority has released its annual report.

    The report showed that some people complained about the Atheist Bus Campaign. In fact it was in the “Top 10″ most complained about ads for last year.

    But guess what else? A lot more people complained about one of the Christian bus ads that were run as a counter-response.

    And when we say a lot, we mean more than any other non-broadcast advert, EVER!!!!!! Think about that for a moment.

    The Christian Party bus ad, which parodied the Atheist Bus Slogan with the message “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life” provoked this response.

    Please note, not a Pro-Gay Campaign , Legalise Euthanasia Campaign or even the Atheist NO GOD Campaign.

    The slogan with “There definitely is a God” in it, caused the reaction. Does this in no way seem significant to you? Because it does to me!

  • Hey Max
    There could never be a “Christian” equivalent of Sharia, not by any orthodox reading of the Bible. Matt has dealt with this type of comment many times on this site, even raising it is a case of wilfull ignorance [ i know you have been a long time reader /contributor on this blog] or deliberately taking things out of context.

  • Hey Maxanon, I just figured out how to rebut any claim that I don’t like, but am too mentally lazy to actually address. Are you ready? It’s a doozy, and I got it from you.

    *ahem*

    hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ahhhh…. needed a good laugh. Thanks.

    Intelligent, yes? There, I think that about responds to your comments. Have a good evening. :)

  • Paul, “I do agree with censorship, when it is applied to language and actions that promote hate and violence against others, ie: “Unbelievers will burn in a lake of fire for eternity” ”

    Being as specific as possible, can you please pick out the part of that claim the promotes hatred and violence against anyone? It’s really important that you be specific too, otherwise it’ll just go back and forth while I try to narrow down what you’re referring to.

    A similar question is like this: “Smokers will get lung cancer.” – Do you think that this claims promotes hatred or violence against anyone? If not, why not?

    Thanks Paul.

  • “There could never be a “Christian” equivalent of Sharia, not by any orthodox reading of the Bible.”

    hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ahhhh…. needed a good laugh. Thanks.

    “Matt has dealt with this type of comment many times…”

    And been wrong each time ;)

    Have a good night!

  • “Well if I threatened to burn you in a lake of fire for all eternity,”

    But Paul, the Christian in question did not do this.

    When I say that smokers will get cancer, I am not threatening to give them cancer. Nor would my fellow anti-smoking campaigner “act” on this prediction and give them cancer. But of course, the same is true of the Christian who predicted that unbelievers will burn in hell.

    And your re-labelling does not help. Christians can do that to: When they warn others about hell, they are advising them to come to God and avoid hell. Now I know that you don’t believe in hell, but that’s not the issue.

    So again, which Christians are encouraging hatred and violence against people?

    As for your question: You asked if I find it significant that the atheist advertising campaign was more popular than the Christian party campaign. My answer: No, nor is it relevant to your accusations about hatred and violence.

  • I don’t REALLY think you are contributing to violence by the way. I hope my rhetoric did not get too out of hand… I forget that the internet does not have expressions sometimes. You are all doing your best to do God’s will. I do my best, isn’t much. And good to see what wonderful range views we can have and still have the same center of out lives.

  • Just playing around Glenn… I am not in a serious mood! You have a good night too!

  • Max,

    You have really shown your ignorance, clearly you have no idea what Sharia law requires of its subjects.

  • I would have questioned the science behind homosexuality as something you’re born with.

    … but then I would be in jail or severely prosecuted!

  • “Max,

    You have really shown your ignorance, clearly you have no idea what Sharia law requires of its subjects.”

    Yes you are right – I wrote that too hastily… my apologies.

  • @Glenn

    Well if I threatened to burn you in a lake of fire for all eternity,

    Firstly I would call that hate speech

    Secondly, if I acted on that threat, I would call that violence!

    Now, I know that you will probably reply that you would in no way act on these instructions, but some people fly planes into buildings and kill doctors who run legal abortion clinics, due in no small part to the sentiments written in their holy books, from which this quote was taken and cannot be proven as true in any meaningful way other than the argument for faith!

    Where as a lung cancer warning for smokers is advice given to avoid a proven medical condition that is a scientific fact!!! That is not a threat, that’s called advice so I’m a non-smoker.

    Now I don’t know what everyone in NZ thinks about the current atheist NO GOD campaign, but over in the UK the Advertising Standards Authority has released its annual report.

    The report showed that some people complained about the Atheist Bus Campaign. In fact it was in the “Top 10″ most complained about ads for last year.

    But guess what else? A lot more people complained about one of the Christian bus ads that were run as a counter-response.

    And when we say a lot, we mean more than any other non-broadcast advert, EVER!!!!!! Think about that for a moment.

    The Christian Party bus ad, which parodied the Atheist Bus Slogan with the message “There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life” provoked this response.

    Please note, not a Pro-Gay Campaign , Legalise Euthanasia Campaign or even the Atheist NO GOD Campaign.

    The slogan with “There definitely is a God” in it, caused the reaction.

    Does this in no way seem significant to you? Because it does to me!

    Glenn, try answering the last question. I answered yours.

  • I’d be curious to know how well fire of hell advertising works… whether anyone who is not a believer is convinced by this, or whether it brings people back into the church… my initial thought would be that they would be counter productive… but it must have some effect on people or they would not use them.

  • Paul so do you think the following statements should be illegal.

    “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

    “Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    “The end of God’s appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing which shall come from the presence of the Lord: but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”

    Matt

  • Paul, I hope your organization is working to get this remark of hate speech banned.

    “This grotesque piece of reasoning, so damningly typical of the theological mind, reminds me of an occasion when I was on a television panel with Swinburne, and (with) Atkins. Swinburne at one point attempted to justify the Holocaust on the grounds that it gave the Jews a wonderful opportunity to be courageous and noble. Peter Atkins splendidly growled, `May you rot in hell.’” (Dawkins, The God Delusion, 64, hardcover)

    Apart from the fact Dawkins falsely insinuates that Swinburne supports the holocaust, he claims that theological minds are grotesque and explicitly states these people should rot in hell.

    Look forward to your outrage and demand for censorship.

  • @ Glenn

    The question I actually asked of you was, if you found it significant that the largest ever number of complaints, more than any other non-broadcast advert, ever made to the UK Advertising Standards Authority , concerned an ad that stated in its slogan “There definitely is a God”. I’ll say it again, think about that!!!

    Why would people react so? It’s not even as if there was a threat of any form contained within the wording. Regardless of what you personally believe, what is it about a statement that affirms gods existence, that should cause people to want to complain so much? That is what I found significant, but you don’t!!!

    And to answer your question again, the religous promoting their beliefs through an unwavering interpretation of their holy books, for example, by some people flying planes into buildings and others killing doctors who run legal abortion clinics are encouraging hatred and violence against people.

    Personally, I don’t see how you could interpret those actions in any other way, but maybe you do!

    No doubt you wont agree with my answer, but that is what it is!

  • @ Matt

    While we are on the subject of scripture which of these from the bible, do you think should be made illegal Matt? Who does the bible say we should kill? Lets see:

    - Homosexuals (Lev.20:13, Rom.1:26-32)
- Adulterers (Lev.20:10, Deut.22:22)
- Disobedient children (Deut.21:20-21, Lev.20:9, Exod.21:15)
- Women who are not virgins on their wedding night (Deut.22:13-21)
- All non-Christians (parable told by Christ – Luke.19:27)
- Those accused of wickedness by at least two people (Deut.17:2-7)
- Anyone who works on the Sabbath (Exod.35:2-3, Num.15:32-6)
(not even to kindle a fire, and no exclusion for ambulance drivers)

    And what, pray tell, does the bible say about women?

    - It is shameful for a woman to speak in church (1Cor.14:34-5)
- A man must OK his wife´s words if they are to have force (Num.30:8)
- A woman must not teach or hold authority over a man (1Tim.2:12)
- Lot saves the messengers from the men of Sodom by offering up
his virgin daughters to ´do to them as you please´ (Gen.19:8)
- Kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourself
every girl who has never slept with a man (Moses – Num.31:17-8)

    How about these words of wisdom on slavery!

    God supports slavery (Lev.25:44-6, Exod.21:2-8, Eph.6:5, Col.3:22)
- Instructions on how to sell your daughter as a slave (Exod.21:7-8)
- When to give your slaves severe or light beatings (Luke.12:42-8)
- OK to beat slaves only if they don´t die within 2 days (Exod.21:20-1)
- How to mark your slave: drive an awl through its ear (Deut.15:17)

    Any thoughts Matt?

  • A Matt

    And to answer your question about Dawkins:

    Firstly, his statement that theological minds are grotesque, probably relates to his perspective as a biologist, to the way in which their thinking occurs appears flawed to him.

    Secondly, he explicitly states these people should rot. But of course he would! Like any other atheist and biologist, it is perfectly natural to believe that a human being, once dead will rot as every living thing does. Mind you, your not a biologist so may not know this fact.

    Finally, his inference to “in hell” can be put down to his traditional anglican upbringing, especially the school he was raised in. I myself do utter from time to time god sakes or jesus wept when particularly annoyed or frustrated, which are both an unfortunate habitual programming from childhood.

    Another reason why I oppose faith schools, as that early indoctrination, akin to brainwashing in some cases, is very hard to shake off you know! Oh no… sorry you wont will you!!!

  • Paul, if you search the archives on this site you’ll find I have addressed most of those issues in the past.

    I will note however, that you have distorted Luke 19:27. This does not record a command from Jesus to kill non Christains. It records a command from a fictional king in a fictional story ( see v 11 which states its a parable not a literal record of Gods commands) telling other characters in the fictional story to execute traitors in the fictional story.

    Of course the Parable is used to make a point about the real world. The point is made, to the Jews ( see the context in v 11 as to who he was addressing and why) who had made God there king under the Mosaic law, that rebellion against their king or squandering the resources he had given them would be punished by that king.

    But to suggest this message is, go out and kill all non Christains is something of a stretch. Do you know of any commentator of the passage, in history who has interpreted the parabke to mean this?

    Similarly when examined in its context its also pretty clear that Luke.12:42-8) does not give advice on when to give your slaves severe or light beatings. Any more than the parable of the mustard seed is advice on how grown trees, or the parable of the net is a fishing instruction.

    But ,Paul I am really shocked by your comments you state that its “a word of wisdom” that “its OK to beat slaves only if they don´t die within 2 days” I am shocked you think its wise to and advocate killing slaves. I feel obligated to warn everyone I meet that this is your opinion. Sure I know you will complain I am taking your comments out of context, and you will also complain that I am ignoring the Genre of your comments which is sarcasm. But , as you have made perfectly clear , you apparently think its Ok to quote people out of context and ignore Genre’s like parables, ANE legal codes, etc, so I guess this is a fair call on my part.

  • Matt if you pull the relevant links out for Paul and just paste them into a comment, I will then edit your comment and make them all tidy with their titles for you.

  • “And to answer your question about Dawkins”

    And to answer your comments about Pastors who say homosexuality is a perversion and those who engage in it will rot in hell.

    “Firstly, his statement that theological minds are grotesque, probably relates to his perspective as a biologist, to the way in which their thinking occurs appears flawed to him.”

    When a Church says homosexuality is perverted, this probably relates to their persepective as theological ethicists, to the way the actions of some people appears flawed to them

    “Secondly, he explicitly states these people should rot. But of course he would! Like any other atheist and biologist, it is perfectly natural to believe that a human being, once dead will rot as every living thing does.”

    And when a Pastor says Gays should rot in hell, they are just speaking naturally it occurs to any sensible person that once dead a homosexual rots.

    “Finally, his inference to “in hell” can be put down to his traditional anglican upbringing, especially the school he was raised in.”

    Yeah and when a Church Pastor says perverted homosexuals are going to hell this reflects their traditional religious upbringing.

    Nice try but it won’t wash, what you call hatred and incitement to violence when uttered by a Church is simply natural and sensible when uttered by an atheist. But then its Churches that are full of hypocrites right?

  • BTW why does proficency in biology make Dawkins able to assess Swinburne’s Philosophy.

    And can you explain why almost every philosopher in the feild, theist and athiest philosophers alike, would not share Dawkins’ dismissive and insulting assesment of Swinburne’s work ?

  • Maybe because whilst you are training in biology you develop critical thinking skills that can be used to critique other areas of expertise such as theology and philosophy. A more interesting question to ask would be why people in theology feel that they can assess other areas. People in theology never develop critical thinking skills so how can they possibly assess more sophisticated areas of expertise?

  • Richard I was talking about Philosophy, Swinburne is a Philosopher not a Theologian, and if you think biology teaches critical thinking skills and contemporary analytical philosophy does not, you are tripping.

  • As to your claim that Theologians never develop critical thinking skills. In fact Medieval theology poineered and developed logic to quite a high and rigorous degree. Agnostic professor Anthony Kenny in fact states that when Russel, Frege, kripke etc poineered logical analysis in the early 20th century in many respects the recovered what had been know to philosophy grads in the middle ages and lost in the enlightenment.

    Having a little knowledge of what you are talking about helps instead of relying on popular caricatures.

  • “Do you know of any commentator of the passage, in history who has interpreted the parable to mean this? ”

    Many internet commentators apparently… I would be interested to know if it has ever been used historically to justify violence… I might wander to the library…

  • “…. People in theology never develop critical thinking skills”…

    What an odd claim. Even if you think Theology is all bunk most people would admit that studying any area of the humanities develops critical thinking skills…. for instance I would happily say that studying the mythology of Rome in depth would develop critical thinking skills.. whether or not the student believed the mythology. Your statement shows a bizarre prejudice.

  • MaxMany internet commentators apparently… I would be interested to know if it has ever been used historically to justify violence… I might wander to the library…

    Max, my understanding is that the only parable used to justify violence of this sort is a different one which in the Vulgate had the words “compel them to come in” Augustine in the 4th century used a Platonic allegorical method to suggest this justified using force to bring the Dontatists to heel, this was after a long struggle where he had previously rejected this sort of thing. Augustines view was largely ignored for the early middle ages and then used again in the 12 century by people like Aquinas but even then only in a limited context, not against non Christians but against repeat unrepentant heretics. Stark has noted that justifications of repression of this sort appeared to be motivated largely by power not religious concerns and Eberle and others have noted that they nearly always were proof texts added to pressing secular concerns about toleration, Aquinas for example appears to rely more on roman laws about counterfieting than this text. Post reformation exegetes such as Peire Bayle however gave a fairly thorough critique of the Augustinian exegesis.

    I have never heard this parable cited in the literature discussing persecution or war and I have studied this question a little bit.

  • Yeah its possible some extremist groups have used it this way, though I don’t know of any group that claims Christ commanded people to kill all non Christians.

    I get the impression however Paul has a tendency to look for fringe extreme groups as the norm and assimilate mainstream with it. I must admit to finding this kind of reasoning a little bizzare as its fairly obviously not sound.

  • I guess I did not mean had any “big names” or mainstream churches used it to justify stuff.. but had any fringe groups/extremists.

  • Paul, I understood the question. My answer is that I do not consider it significant that more people disliked the Christian party campaign, and nor is it relevant to your false accusations of hatred and violence.

    Now, do you see why the prediction that sinners will go to hell does not amount to hatred or the incitement of violence? If you don’t, we can discuss that further. Thus far nobody has shown any relevant difference between this and the prediction that smokers will get cancer: Neither of these is a threat (to give people cancer or burn them), both are predictions designed to get people to change their course of action, motivated by genuine concern for people.

  • I had to laugh when I saw Paul’s comment that Biologists have superior critical thinking skills. Everyone knows it’s one of the easier science courses at uni. Hardly any mathematics, abstractions, or inductive reasoning required.

    Lawyers, Philosophers, Mathematicians, even Bible scholars could run logical rings around most biologists, because they are trained in skills of building a sequence of statements to verify or falsify an hypothesis, to analyse their own thinking and cultural context, to collect evidence/expert opinion/statistical analysis BEFORE making obnoxious pronouncements

    Unlike Dawkins. However I must say he’s skilled at deceptive and shallow rhetoric, he would be a good politician

  • I have a question, or two or three… maybe some will help?
    The bible condemns lying, cheating, adultery, fornication, mistreating widows and orphans etc fully as much as it condemns homosexual practice, in fact much more frequently. The opression of widows and orphans is in fact one of the main themes running through the OT.
    Why then do people get so hung up about the homosexual thing and why do non/anti christians pick up so much on the bible’s disapproval of this and ignore it’s disapproval of lying, cheating, theft, adultery etc?
    Is it because its a sexual thing, but then why not adultery?
    I dont see any defence of rights to lie, cheat, steal, disrupt marriages.

  • What do you mean “even Bible scholars” ?????????????

  • Thanks for the reply Matt,especially at this time of night. I’d have to say I’ve read all these posts and pretty much agree. To be honest I’m looking for some athiest/non/anti christian response to help me get my head around the thinking of some who comment here.

  • tolerance and religious rights in new zealand…

    The New Zealand government, we are told by the MandM blog, is forcing re-education for officials of a religious school who hired an openly homosexual preacher. And this reminds us that “Human Rights” laws….

  • Hi Max, just my little joke at the expense of bibliobloggers :)

  • As far as any list of sins goes, homosexuality does stand out.

    Not in terms of the Bible, but in terms of the other side of the equation – the world. There are no political movements pushing for the universal acceptance of lying, no “assault pride” parades, no commissions setup to make sure people don’t discriminate against those who have affairs.

    Just a thought.

  • Jeremy you raise a good point, our moral intiutions are fallible, as such its plausible that a revelation from God would contain some commands which are strongly against what our culture takes to be just. You point out that the OT condemns a wide range of practises, adultery, theft, hurting the poor etc, few people find these bigoted odd or strange, yet if a person opposes homosexual conduct on the same grounds (their exegesis of scripture) this is sen as absurd.

    I am inclined to think the opposite, if the bible only contained commands I agreed with and there was nothing in it which was challenging, then that would be absurd. It would suggest God agreed with me on everything.

  • Those other things you mention actually harm people. No-one is harmed by the elderly lesbian couple I know. The comparison to theft, assault, abuse etc it, and always has been, absurd.

    And you know full well you ignore most of the other odd commands that God commands you to obey.

  • Max
    I know of lots of people hurt by homosexual practice, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers ,sons and daughters even the individuals themselves. I am sure i also know exceptions where no one appears to be hurt.
    Doesnt really answer the question as to why there is so much demand for this behaviour to be accepted as normal [and it isnt by any standard statistical definition]. Where is the demand to accept beastiality etc. NZ has decriminalised prostitution but no ones promoting this in schools as a normal career option. Why is contemporary western society obsessed with promoting the gay lifestyle? Even if we leave moral beliefs out of the question , it is genetic suicide. Has Richard Dawkins “selfish gene” beome a “suicidal gene”?

  • Please tell me which of God’s commands I ignore, or pick and choose amongst. I know full well I am a fallible and imperfect person. Christ said the whole law was summed up in two commandments
    1 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and strength and soul
    2 and your neighbour as yourself.

    Alternatively summed up as “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”

    I know i often fail but I try.

  • Max

    “I know of lots of people hurt by homosexual practice, husbands, wives,”

    Are you sure there two categories two were hurt by ADULTERY – not homosexuality. Don’t confuse homosexuality with cheating… cheating hurts whether it is with another woman or another man.

    “fathers, mothers”

    Why were they hurt? Because of their own preconceptions not being met? Or for some other reason?

    “sons and daughters”

    Again was it the fact that their parents relationship broke up – or that homosexuality was involved…

    My questions have a theme…. obviously people get hurt in relationships involving homosexuality all the time… but so do people in straight relationships. So what? My example was an elderly lesbian couple who get on well with the family. No one is hurt here.

    Conclusion: Promiscuity, deceit, etc are harmful. Homosexuality is not.

    “Where is the demand to accept beastiality etc”

    This stupid question again! Oh dear….

    “NZ has decriminalised prostitution but no ones promoting this in schools as a normal career option.”

    Prostitution is a completely separate issue and not related to whether a consensual stable relationship relationships involves a man and a woman or two men. Irrelevant.

    “Why is contemporary western society obsessed with promoting the gay lifestyle?”

    No-one is promoting it… they are promoting acceptance and tolerance or what already exists.

    “it is genetic suicide.”

    This is silly… just think about it.

  • “Please tell me which of God’s commands I ignore, or pick and choose amongst. I know full well I am a fallible and imperfect person. Christ said the whole law was summed up in two commandments”

    Jeremy … I have no idea since I don’t know you. I was addressing Matt in any case who seems to think he should be obeying some ancient code.

    If you go by:

    1 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and strength and soul
    2 and your neighbour as yourself.

    Or “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”

    Then you can’t go far wrong I agree… but there is nothing about homosexuality in there…

  • By the way what the hell is a “standard statistical definition” of “normal” ??

  • I love it Max quotes from Leviticus 19. and calls others selective people who want to follow an ancient code.

  • When did I quote from Leviticus 19???

  • Two things Max
    The first command is to obey God, not what is currently acceptable to men [ you cannot claim to love God while ignoring His commands
    ] and second I try to be careful to distinguish between homosexuality and homosexual practice.
    Sin is effectively saying “my will my way” rather than “Gods will Gods way”
    Being sexual isnt wrong but adultery, fornication, prostitution, anal intercourse, pornography, beastiality, necrophilia, indulging in lust in any way ie anything that falls short of Gods plan and purposes for sex is wrong.
    Anyone who loves their neighbour would surely want too protect them from the as much as guide them to the good. We are our brothers keeper.
    I admit to being a Christian therefore I believe self willfulness has eternal consequences, this is the paradigm within which I view the world.
    Dont get me wrong, i have said previously i dont like people defining themselves by what they are against, in this case i am not anti hoomsexual nor anti heterosexual but rather pro the exercise of sex as God has revealed He intended it ie for procreation ,for bonding and the expression of love between man and wife [or woman and husband].
    I think this is a realistic view, healthy committed marriages make for healthly well functioning families and a healthy society.

    But leaving aside my worldview lets talk about a strictly naturalistic amoral worldview, what is silly about “genetic suicide”-?dont you like the idea that quietly without fussing we should just acknowledge that the gene pool is clearing out some genotypes that are non competative going forward. In view of Dawkins “selfish gene” theory [ ie a drive to replication and endurance] the idea that some genotypes may express as nonreproductive [homosexual ] may well equate to genetic suicide for the benefit of the overall population. Non reproductive phenotypes certainly over their genes no competative advantage.

  • one standard deviation either side of the mean, would usually represent about 66% of a given population exhibiting a standard bell curve.

  • “one standard deviation either side of the mean, would usually represent about 66% of a given population exhibiting a standard bell curve.”

    So what – what has that got to do with being “normal” – and what does this have to do with the ethics of the situation. Irrelevant.

  • well you asked what a “standard statistical finition of normal” was

  • The first command is to obey God, not what is currently acceptable to men [ you cannot claim to love God while ignoring His commands]

    Then few people can claim to love God – but that’s OK because God loves them… well my conception of God – probably the people who hold up placards saying “God hates Fags” and protest outside funerals of grieving parents, or dif up the corpses of loves ones disagree with me – but I little time for their “God”.

    I assume you also never wear mixed fabric clothing? Because if you have a wool/nylon mix you couldn’t POSSIBLY claim to love God. Right?

    “Being sexual isnt wrong but adultery, fornication, prostitution, anal intercourse, pornography, beastiality, necrophilia, indulging in lust in any way ie anything that falls short of Gods plan and purposes for sex is wrong.”

    So a gay couple that is loyal and does not have anal sex is A-OK with you then? A lot of gay couple’s don’t indulge in anal intercourse apparently – not that it is my business to delve into their sexual activity… or yours.

    “He intended it ie for procreation ,for bonding and the expression of love between man and wife [or woman and husband].”

    I agree – bu would add that it is also an expression of love between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. We don’t differ very much after all.

    “I think this is a realistic view, healthy committed marriages make for healthly well functioning families and a healthy society.”

    Again I totally agree with you! Excellent!

    “But leaving aside my worldview lets talk about a strictly naturalistic amoral worldview”

    Not really interested – as its not my worldview either.

  • “well you asked what a “standard statistical finition of normal” was”

    Yes… never mind. Its not important.

  • Well Max we dont differ much but you seem to pick and choose even more than you accuse me of doing.

    Matt, if you are watching and I assume you are, could you explain for Max the differences among moral law, ceremonial law, and civil law as found in the OT and the consequent application thereof to gentiles and Christians and in fact anyone who does not actually live in Israel.
    I am sure you can do this better than I could, I’m equally sure you have addressed these issues multiple times and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Max comment on these posts but he is having trouble remembering.

    Hint for Max, read Acts 15:1-30 among others.

  • Here is a list of proven facts that relate to Christians and sexual ethics. Please take the time to read them as they are right.
    1. Christians hate (and I really do mean hate) homosexuals and anyone who differes from their version of the sexual norm.
    2. God has made some people sexually abnormal (eg homosexual) to stir up hate between his creations (this is the mean and hateful God from the Bible who enjoys seeing the innocent suffer).
    3. Christians have an obsession with who is having sex with who, how they are having sex, where they are having sex and the outcomes of this sex (eg the chance to have an abortion!) because when someone is sexually free it means they are not obey God’s laws and will and thus are not under control of the bishops, popes, theologians etc. Christians are obsessed with sex because they want to control everyday people and everyday people like having sexual freedom.
    4. The Catholic Church has become a joke in recent years concerning anything relating to sex (you Protestants would agreeon this one with me).
    5. There is a higher percentage of Christians (and espically conservation Christians) who have deviant sexual behaviour compared to atheists.
    6. There is nothing wrong with being a homosexual or having sex with other men even if you are not a homosexual.

    Please do not attempt to debate the points I have made in this list as they are right and you will only appear silly if you do so.

  • Where am I picking and choosing? I am not picking and choosing in the same way you are, because I don’t think I read the text in the same way you do…

    I am well aware of the distinction thanks. What is of interest is that you are aware that the “consequent application” was a lively debate (as demonstrated by your acts passage). And as part of the same tradition it continues to be a lively debate even today.

    As for my memory: it is fine thanks… I remember disagreeing with Matthew for decades…

  • Re your list.. at this risk of making myself look silly(ier):

    1. SOME Christians… there is a wide range of opinion. Don’t judge all Christians by the “God Hates Fags” brigade… for a starter the Anglican church has a number of gay clergy…
    2. They are not sexually abnorma
    3. SOME Christians have an obsession with who is having sex with who…. I find this odd too. There are much bigger issues out there.
    4. No comment.
    5. What is “deviant”?

  • Max

    Lev 19:18 ” ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

    Jesus was quoting Leviticus when he said this was the greatest commandment.

    Like I said, it is funny when people attack others for following an ancient code, claim they are inconsistent because they follow a command in Leviticus and then tell us we should follow Lev 19.

  • Matt…. I was not quoting that.. I was quoting someone else quoting it and saying I agreed with the principle of it. I was not saying you must follow this because it was written in such and such a place. Talk about misrepresentation!

  • Acts 15 shows quite clearly that the Apostles and Elders and the church in Jerusalem [mostly if not entirely Jews in the first instance] understood that the civil and ceremonial aspects of the Law did not apply to gentiles who became christians and that those who tried to insist the new christians must come under the obligations of the law [eg circumcision] were wrong.Acts 15;8-11.
    This answers every objection you raise about picking and choosing by quoting what you call the odd commands of God.
    You need to learn to differentate between moral law [right and wrong in Gods sight], civil law [the legal system of ancient Israel] and ceremonial law [ all fulfilled in Christ]. Given your insistence in quoting ceremonial law out of context i cant help but get the impression that you dont understand the differences.
    I think you pick and choose more even more than you acuse me of because you clearly dont like some aspects of the moral law and set yourself above God in decidimg which ones are currently applicable.
    Which leads to an obvious question – what is your concept of God, as best as i can understand from your various comments on this and other posts it is not what i would understand to be an orthodx Christian concept. You seem to like biblical concepts of Gods grace and mercy but ignore His holiness and justice. Comments you have made leave me to think that you believe truth changes with time and apparently you dont necessarily accept what the apostles said in Acts 15 as you implied the discussion continues today. Apparently for all our agreement on many things you dont regard the Bible as authorative. Where does your concept of God come from and on what basis do you believe it [other than personal preference]

  • You set yourself above God in judging my thoughts and motives ;) … rest assured your characterization of me is almost completely wrong – but then it is hard to know what a person thinks from blog posts so I will not take it to heart.

    But enough of this. If you want to be full of hate for your brothers and sisters good luck to you. I don’t have the heart for it.

  • Jeremy…you are talking about the transition from Peters gospel to Paul’s gospel (Gal Chapters1+2 esp2vs7,8)…from Law to grace….from Peters reoffer of the kingdom to the Jews to Paul’s mission to the gentiles. Peters kingdom ministry effectively finishes when the Jews reject Christ again at the stoning of stephen..hey presto! God saves His murderer Saul…in an act of absolute grace without works…as a pattern for those that would follow (1Tim 1vs15,16)
    Peters was indeed a strictly Jewish ministry and was still about the kingdom of God being at hand…by the time we get end of acts we have Israel set aside for judgment…they rejected ‘that prophet’…and would be crushed by the Romans just as Christ had predicted and were trodden underfoot until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled (Mat 24) the kingdom was postponed by the gentile church age which is the dispensation of the age of grace anf the fellowship of the mystery’ Eph2, 3vs2-8, Romans11, This is the ministry of st Paul.
    Please read all quotes in a King James authoriesd version.
    You wont get this in any other English bible.
    After the stonning of Stephen…peter recieves a new revelation that bothered him greatly…and seeng The Gentile Cornelius get saved and the Holy Ghost (Acts 10…esp10vs44,45)

  • max, i neither judged you nor characterized you, rather i explained the impressions i get from your comments and asked you to give your own explanation of what you believe and why you beleive it. i explained some of what i believe and why. i would have understood this to be entirely in keeping with the concept of an open minded discussion and seeking to understand you. why then do you then accuse me of hatred? i have been entirely up front about my beliefs and thier scriptual basis. are you not prepared to share what you believe and why?
    i must admit to being at a complete loss as to why you would think i want to be full of hatred for my brothers and sisters.
    we can only accept Gods grace and mercy if we first accept that we need it and i know i need it, it is when i choose “my will my way” that i miss out on Gods grace and mercy because i am rejecting it.
    Shalom to you and your house.

  • “max, i neither judged you nor characterized you,”

    I know. Hence the ;) – it was a joking reference to the “putting yourself above God” line that fundies like to use as their ultimate knock down argument.

    “why then do you then accuse me of hatred?”

    Extrapolation. But it was unfair in a sense. You probably are not willfully hateful.

    ” are you not prepared to share what you believe and why?”

    Sure – ask anything you like.

  • This clip has an interesting perspective on the Bible. Enjoy!

  • There is a guy who occasionally does that on the streets here. I might take a copy of the Hobbit down there….

  • The clip has no perspective on the bible at all, it presents a caricature to be made fun of. Just another strawman.
    Max has tried to suggest i am hateful [has offered no support for this position] but if you two [paul & max] get your jollies by poking fun at misguided people or caricatures then maybe a little more self examination is necessary. You wont like the biblical qoutation but “take the plank out of your own eye before lookig for the speck in anothers”.
    And Max another persons foolishness is no excuse for your own.

  • “The clip has no perspective on the bible at all, it presents a caricature to be made fun of. Just another strawman.”

    Yes.. its called “comedy” I believe. It is not a strawman because it is not an argument. I have noticed an inability to recognize this sort of thing before.

    “Max has tried to suggest i am hateful [has offered no support for this position] but if you two [paul & max] get your jollies by poking fun at misguided people or caricatures then maybe a little more self examination is necessary.”

    Yes – I do get some “jollies” by watching a reasonably well produced and amusing comedy sketch. Is this a sin? Am I deeply offending God in some way? Learn to laugh at yourself, you’ll live longer. And self examination is probably a good idea too since you mention it. I would not be so arrogant to suggest this about a stranger normally… but you may do well to take your own advise… I think there is a parable abouot this sort of thing somewhere in some book or other… something about a beam and a speck. Maybe it was Harry Potter?

    “And Max another persons foolishness is no excuse for your own.”

    What are you on about now? You seem to dislike my sense of humor – is that really a big issue to you?

  • Paul, where did you study to be a psychiatrist?

  • @ Jeremy

    If you choose to treat this clip as a comedy, that is your perspective .
    However, I feel it shows what a large number of people feel with regard to the contents of the bible, namely that it is just words on a page.

    Those who are theistic, tend to interpret the importance of the words it contains in a totally different way to those of us who are atheistic.

    Perhaps the most telling part of your reaction is to dismiss the clip out of hand.

    No doubt, this is due in no small part, to your own theistic perspective, which may feel threatened, upset or annoyed by the fact that not everyone views the contents of what is essentially, just another book, in the way that you do.

    The fact is that the reality of what the clip reflects remains unchanged regardless of how you or anyone else feels about it.

  • Paul posted it as a “perspective on the Bible”
    and since we have been discussing being “hateful” i rather considered that proposing to do the same kind of thing [even in jest] was rather letting yourself down and certainly not a case of “do unto others” which you had previously endorsed.
    I can already laugh at myself quite well and quite frequently, the question is are you laughing at other people or laughing with other people. An awful lot of what humans call humour is really nastiness hidden behind laughter..

    I quite enjoyed the HP stories, have you read the last one? Harry learns that conquering evil can ultimately only happen through self sacrifice.
    Interestingly JK Rowling claim to have been inspired by the “inklings” group to which both CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein belonged and like them wanted to embody Christian truth in her stories. And talking about “The Hobbit” have you read “Leaf by Niggle” also by JRR Tolkien. You could read that aloud on a street corner……..

  • “Paul posted it as a “perspective on the Bible”
    and since we have been discussing being “hateful” i rather considered that proposing to do the same kind of thing [even in jest] was rather letting yourself down and certainly not a case of “do unto others” which you had previously endorsed.”

    Get a sense of humour! Honestly!

    “I can already laugh at myself quite well and quite frequently, the question is are you laughing at other people or laughing with other people.”

    If you don’t know this about me I am a biblical studies student… so largely i am laughing at myself. But as I said – it was a well produced bit of comedy. Don’t be so uptight.

    “An awful lot of what humans call humour is really nastiness hidden behind laughter..”

    Yes – isn’t humour wonderful. It has a great abilty to break tension and break through barriers…. if you let it.

    “I quite enjoyed the HP stories, have you read the last one? Harry learns that conquering evil can ultimately only happen through self sacrifice.”

    Yes I read them all… to be honest I found the last one a bit of a trial to read. I think she had run out of steam a bit… if I had to read one more chapter about where they pitched that stupid TARDIS tent…

    “Interestingly JK Rowling claim to have been inspired by the “inklings” group to which both CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein belonged and like them wanted to embody Christian truth in her stories.”

    Most modern fiction intentionally or unintentionally is full of Christian imagery and metaphor… out culture is permeated with it and it is hard to avoid. Sadly many people miss this because of the growing levels of Biblical illiteracy.

    “And talking about “The Hobbit” have you read “Leaf by Niggle” also by JRR Tolkien. You could read that aloud on a street corner……..”

    No I have not. I might look it up, although to be honest I find Tolkien a little self indulgent at times.. but if it one of his lighter works I will give it a look. I am not in reality going to read anything on a street corner.

  • @ Paul
    I am Christian and make no pretense about it. One of the things about being a Christian theist is that we believe God made us more than mere animals. He made us free to choose, right from wrong, good from bad, to help rather than hinder and to choose to follow Him or not. You are free to do so and I in no way feel threatened or annoyed by your choice , it is yours. But as you choose do so honestly, dont stoop to caricatures or nastiness to do so, to justify your choice.
    And you are right i do dismiss it out of hand, not because i am threatened, but because it has nothing worthwhile to say. It certainly doesnt address Christians therefore i have to assume it addresses only the audience whose prejudice it seeks to reinforce.
    Shalom

  • Ah .. subtlety
    maybe you were being gently ironic buy suggesting you would take the Hobbit down to the street corner, a book by a christian author known to include christian themes in his work [very subtle ones at that]
    Still dont think being humorous justifies nastiness [even with good production values]
    When i’ve been an Oxford prof of languages for 34 yrs, become a world famous writer etc i will hate to think some will find me “indulgent”
    Shalom

  • Ok, Max states “Yes.. its called “comedy” I believe. It is not a strawman because it is not an argument. I have noticed an inability to recognize this sort of thing before.” So according to Max, this is comedy, not intended to make an argument or a statement and so the accusation of caricature is invalid.

    Paul however responds to Jeremy with
    “If you choose to treat this clip as a comedy, that is your perspective . However, I feel it shows what a large number of people feel with regard to the contents of the bible, namely that it is just words on a page.”

    Here Paul states the clip is not a comedy but that it shows something and hence is an argument.Bizzarely he thinks Jeremy has not responded to this but simply dismissed it as comedy. However, it was Max that called it comedy, Jeremy took at as an argument and did respond.

  • All I can say is that if you choose to treat the clip as a joke, that is your perogative and you are more than entitled to it.

    If you choose to view the clip as saying something more significant, that is also your perogative.

    Finally, I would say that you should take into account the following saying:

    ” Many a true word spoken in jest!”

  • “So according to Max, this is comedy, not intended to make an argument or a statement and so the accusation of caricature is invalid.”

    No… I never said it was not a caricature… you really are the master of misrepresentation and putting words in other’s mouths Matt. Yes… it is obviously a caricature. That is where the humour derives from. If it had no reference to a real situation it would not be funny… you know, when you have to explain a joke to someone it just stops being funny…. my point is you should not expect something which is created for humouress purposes to be a rigorous and hole-proof argument that represents reality in an unbiased, objective, or indeed even accurate manner.

  • i am a student at this school and i can tel you that pretty much all students that attend here dont agree with the dismissal of this guy and are really embarased by it.
    also, i think that it is being forgotten that young people are capable of making judgements and decisions for themselves and most choose NOT to believe that it is wrong to be gay/lesbian, and to be accepting of evryone despite race, religion and sexual orientation.
    i endevour to be a non-judgemental christian person, and personally i cant believe that love betqween any two people, same sex or not, can be wrong or unholy.
    xx

  • V V. First, whether most students agree with the decision or not is tangential, the question is whether the school had a right to do what it did not. It may shock you but the school is not required to do what students think.

    Second, I did not say students cannot think for themselves, so pointing this out hardly addresses my comments. But i would say citing trendy slogans and claiming you choose to believe them is not thinking for yourself. To your slogan you state you chooseto be accepting of evryone despite race, religion and sexual orientation. well if accepting means agreeing what they do is right your comments contradict themselves, after all in this sense you don’t accept those people whose religion condemns homosexual conduct. You say you are non judgmental Christian yet your opening comments express the claim that you and most other students have chosen to make the judgement that the school is wrong.

    Finally you say you cannot believe that love between two people can be wrong. Well obviously it can, if a brother loves his sister and shags her thats two people loving each other do you support incest. Men love their mistresses so do you think adultery is OK as well. Why limit the holiness of love to two people can’t three people or ten people love each other?

    All you comments show is that some students choose to believe shallow inconsistent slogans about homosexual conduct as a religious studies teacher I find that sad. But it does not show us anything about the actions of Middleton grange.

  • First, congratulations to VV for showing the initiative to think for yourself, and to express these thoughts to others. It gives me hope that the next generation of young Christians will be less prejudices than the last.

    Now to Matt:

    “You say you are non judgmental Christian yet your opening comments express the claim that you and most other students have chosen to make the judgment that the school is wrong.”

    Yes VV is in some sense judging the opinions of people who are racist, sexist, or homophobic to be wrong – but this is a judgment over other people’s judgments… a sort of meta-judgment if you will. It is a nice bit of sophistry to try to compare his ability to discern prejudice with the prejudice he has the clarity to see through – but in the end this sophistry is empty.

    “Well obviously it can, if a brother loves his sister and shags her thats two people loving each other do you support incest. Men love their mistresses so do you think adultery is OK as well. Why limit the holiness of love to two people can’t three people or ten people love each other?”

    You raise a whole range of other areas of sexual ethics – a common ploy which tries to distract attention from the actual situation at hand: two adults, in a loving relationship. If you want to talk about the other issues – feel free to do so – but they are of no relevance to the question of whether two consenting adults who are in love may live together as a couple.

    “All you comments show is that some students choose to believe shallow inconsistent slogans about homosexual conduct as a religious studies teacher I find that sad.”

    Don’t let Matthew’s rhetoric get to you! There is nothing shallow or inconsistant about the love and respect for others that you display.

    God bless.

  • VV, I miss the south island, what is the weather like in Christchurch today?

  • Is it your policy to reveal where contributors live….???

  • No Max its not our policy, however when someone claims to be a student from a high school in Christchurch and claims to express views which are held by the majority at the school. Don’t you think they have made the place they live relevant.

  • Max, what I said was not sophistry first, as you yourself note V V was making a judgement, and this does contradict the claim he was not being judgemental or he was accepting all religions. You are welcome to dismiss positions by calling them prejudice but that does not change the fact that when you do this you are making judgements and refusing to accept certain views. Hence slogans to the effect that you are not are false.

    Second, I was not raising other issues of sexual ethics I was simply pointing out the implications of what vv said. If you claim homosexual conduct is permitted by God because the partners love each other, then you are committed to the claim that any sexual activity where people love each other is permissible and the counter examples I offered show cases where this is false.

    I know people who defend homosexual conduct often evade these counter examples, the problem is they are perfectly cogent.

  • Max wrote: “Is it your policy to reveal where contributors live….???”

    Not at all. Matt’s and my normal policy is simply to expose impossibilities, contradictions, inconsistencies, logical absurdities and the like in the comments people leave on our blog. Primarily we apply this to arguments but of course, in principle, there is no reason why it could not extend to other disciplines like, oh I don’t know, geography…

  • Yes… I know full well why you did it… but then again they may be in Christchurch visiting their sick grandmother… who knows….?

  • So Matt…. do you support sex and marriage between a man and a woman?

    Now let’s say you answer yes… in general… then I suddenly go BUT… what about a father and his daughter? What if you are shagging your sister? What if they also have sex with other people? Would ANY of these be a counter example to the idea of marriage between a man and a woman,…. I know people who defend heterosexual marriage often evade these counter examples, the problem is they are perfectly cogent.

    But obviously I am taking the piss. You can see this- so just apply the same principle consistently. I know you have the ability to do this when your conservative blinkers are not on.

  • Max you ask So Matt…. do you support sex and marriage between a man and a woman?

    Yes

    Now let’s say you answer yes… in general… then I suddenly go BUT… what about a father and his daughter? What if you are shagging your sister? What if they also have sex with other people? Would ANY of these be a counter example to the idea of marriage between a man and a woman,…

    That would depend on the reasons I gave for supporting heterosexual marriage, if I said heterosexual marriage was licit because it involves people who love each other, then that would be a valid counter example. If I did not give this as my reason it would not be.

    Its not a hard inference take the position VV supported [1] sex occurs between people who love each other it cannot be wrong . Conjoin it with the contention that [2] brothers and sisters love each other. What follows?

  • Yes – but you are being deliberately uncharitable. Obviously there are exceptions… but pointing out an exception due to being related is irrelevant to considering the exception because of gender…. but anyway – we will I guess never agree upon this issue. But I don’t think agreement on this is essential to faith :)

  • Pity the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975 is too constrained.

  • In addition to other laws mentioned, the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975 also applies. Middleton Grange College is a State-Integrated School under the terms of that enactment.