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Civil partnerships and Christian marriage

07 February 2012


From the Revd Darren Moore

Sir, — Thank you for reporting the letter signed by London clerics regarding the blessing of civil partnerships (News, 3 February). It seems that there is an inconsistency in their request.

When those who oppose the consecration of women bishops request some sort of provision (given that this is to do with deep convictions about the Bible’s teaching as historically interpreted around the world), they are in­formed that “the Church has decided . . .”, and need to submit to its will. When, however, the mind of the Church has been expressed on issues of human sexuality, a group (no doubt with significant overlap) wants its consciences considered.

It seems that change through synods is only possible in one direction. When revisionism is resisted, the issue comes back to the table, often under a different guise. Once a revision is accepted then we are told, “It’s been decided,” and cannot be changed.

39 Westbank Road
Birkenhead CH42 7JP

From Mr Paul Scott

Sir, — In your report “Sentamu’s words on gay marriage backed by MPs” (News, 3 February), you quote Peter Tatchell as saying, “His stance colludes with homophobia. It brings shame and dishonour to the Church of England.”

I respect Mr Tatchell, but this time I think he has gone too far. It seems that anyone who criticises gays in any way is now accused of homo­phobia. Were I to point out to Mr Tatchell (and I am not doing so) that, since Dr Sentamu is black, he (Mr Tatchell) is colluding with racial prejudice, he would no doubt object, and say that I was playing the race card. Can he honestly say that he is not playing the homophobia card?

Goldcrest, Lower Chase Road
Swanmore, Southampton SO32 2PB

From the Revd Tim Fyffe

Sir, — I am disturbed at the im­plications of a phrase in the leader comment (3 February): “the Church has, ultimately, to go along with whatever definition of ‘marriage’ emerges in general parlance.”

As a Christian, I am inclined to accept “gay marriage” — rather as Cameron accepts it “as a conserva­tive” — though I agree that the issues are complicated, and it may be too early for it. The Church could not, however, accept, for example, the introduction of polygamy into our system. The “mission” Church has rightly stood out for monogamy as the Christian norm, even in poly­gamous cultures, and against racist state marriage law in South Africa.

Christianity is rightly “counter-cultural” when a culture gets it wrong, which is why I long for my Christian brethren in “the South” to see Christ as liberating from homophobia, not reinforcing it.

40 Glentworth Gardens
Wolverhampton, WV6 0SG

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