Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ABOUT ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN'S SPEECH TO THE HOUSE OF LORDS

Earlier I had thought of commenting on at least parts of  Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's speech yesterday in Parliament's House of Lords, in which he announces that he cannot support the bill that would allow civil marriage for couples of the same sex in England and Northern Ireland.  Since Colin Coward, in his post at "Changing Attitude", covers what I would say and more, only in far better words, I decided to let him have the floor. Colin is, after all, over there in England, and he is gay, so his response carries more weight than would mine.

Before I move out of the way, there is one point I'd like to make.  (Are you truly surprised that I could not maintain complete silence on the matter?) Justin says he is sorry about the church's treatment of the gay community:
...it is also absolutely true that the church has often not served the LGBT communities in the way it should. I must express my sadness and sorrow for that considerable failure.
Then he proceeds to insist that discriminatory treatment must continue with regard to marriage equality.  Does his apology for past actions inoculate the church from charges that it is still not serving the LGBT community as it should at the present time?  I don't think so.  Does Justin give a thought to the people he serves who will be most affected by the vote?  I am not gay, and I can only imagine the pain his words cause LGTB persons. 

On to a snippet from Colin, but please read his entire post.
Archbishop Justin’s solution to the intractable problems that introducing same-sex marriage would create is to add a new and valued institution alongside marriage for same gender relationships. Dear Archbishop, have you thought this through – have you asked those of us who are gay and represent many LGB&T Anglicans? How would you create a new and valued institution that is the equivalent of marriage but isn’t marriage.
Exactly, Archbishop.  Have you asked?

UPDATE: The Bill has now had its second Reading in the House of Lords. The Bill will now get to Committee stage where it will be scrutinised in detail and amendments may be proposed. The proposed amendments will then be discussed in a Third Reading. If the Bill passes that too, the next stage will be Royal Assent (a formality) before it becomes law.

Thanks to my friend Erika on Facebook.

35 comments:

  1. Two comments. The apology recognises that people have been treated badly by the church before but because he genuinely believes that equal but different is not dismissive (despite the fact that most gay people want marriage equality!) he really believes that he is not continuing with the discrimination. It is astonishing intellectual poverty.

    We already have an institution that is the equivalent of marriage but isn't marriage. It's called Civil Partnerships, we have had them since 2005 and we no longer want them because they are not marriage. That is precisely what prompted this political process in the first place!

    Only connect!

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    1. Erika, the reasoning here is astonishing. Perhaps those of us in the US may be more aware of the evils of separate but equal in connection with Civil Rights for African-Americans. There was no equality under the law with separate but equal.

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    2. Erika has taken the words out of my mouth. At least one other peer besides the ABC called for the gayz to come up with their own distinct name for their own [nasty, perverted, ugly] little relationships. But of course CP's are that distinct and special and distinctly unequal thing.

      I say, Raspberries.

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    3. Raspberries it is then, Russ. :-)

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  2. BTW Mimi I think you left out one final step before Royal Assent - if the Lords add any changes/amendments, they must be approved or worked out in tandem with the Commons, no? Then it goes to the Queen.

    The vote of 390-148 against the very unendearing Lord Dear's amendment was quite heartening today, I must say. And all these straight people stepping up to the plate for us, one after another after another. Will wonders never cease?

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    1. That's almost 3 to 1. And, very heartening!

      This is a little snark attack. I did like your comment about ditherer and trimmer on the earlier thread and have retitled the "Lord Dear"--ADT.

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    2. Russ, I'm lost in the thicket of the process through the British Parliament. What I've been told by a person from England is that with the majorities in both houses in favor of the bill, it's pretty much a done deal. There may be more attempts at amendments, but they will go nowhere.

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    3. Bonnie - glad you like.

      Mimi - it really the same process as in our Congress, where the final step is a Conference Committee between the Senate and house to iron out any differences. Once both houses agree on an identical version, it goes for signature in to law. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_Parliament_in_the_United_Kingdom.

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    4. Our Congress does not have three mandatory readings of bills.

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    5. British constitutional politics is almost (not quite) as much a mess as American. The answer is that since 1911* the Lords can never entirely stop legislation that has been passed by the Commons: it can demand amendments (and if the mind of the Commons is unclear, that can delay a bill by years), but in this case Prime Minister Cameron has said that the Commons majority is such that had the Lords voted for the amendment, he would have used the terms of the 1949 Parliament Act to push it straight through.

      * what happened that year was that the Lords blocked a budget, and the then PM said he would create enough lords to pack the house, vote through the budget, and then - perhaps - vote itself out of existence. The Lords saw the writing on the wall and came to heel.

      Irrelevant to me anyway now: I've just walked out on what calls itself the Church of England where I am.

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    6. James, I had heard on Facebook that there was a way around a block by the House of Lords, and, with the large majorities in both houses that favor the bill, Cameron would use his power to push the bill through.

      I'm sorry to hear that you've left the church, but I fully understand. If I were in England, I don't know if I could stay. There's something to be said for trying to work for change from within the institution, but, at this point in the Church of England, I don't know...

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    7. Actually Mimi, our Congress and state legislatures do have third readings, or something by another name that is the same thing:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reading_(legislature)

      The Lords have been on a very short leash since 1949. If they reject a bill, the Commons can simply pass it again in the next session, and send it straight to the Queen for assent:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliament_Act_1949

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    8. All right, Russ, I give up. You win. :-)

      Lord Dear and the Lords Bishop will not have their way on the bill. There really is no suspense involved.

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    9. "Our Congress does not have three mandatory readings of bills.

      Probably just as well. Some States continue to send fundygelical Republicans, and on the basis of the evidence, they cannot read.

      FWIW
      jimB

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    10. Also, our Congress is almost completely non-functioning at the moment. To think we pay them well for not governing!

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  3. The only side that is unhappy is the side that is embarrassed that LGBTI Anglicans/others will not continue to be marginalized in everyday society and/or beaten to death in offshore vertically corrupt/self-proclaimed more holy than others spiritual zones like Nigeria and Uganda. Hate feeds on itself and it has quite a appetite...lifetimes worth of diseased behavior both at home and abroad is being extended by Archbishop Welby and many of the rest of his HOB Gafconning mob.

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    1. Len, what can I say? You speak the truth. And we wonder why young people stay away from church. They see the bigotry and are turned off, and who can blame them?

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  4. Mimi, this snippet of an interview with the ABC from a few months ago takes on new relevance now I think:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/video/2013/feb/04/new-archbisop-gay-marriage-opposition-video

    The more I think about the totality of what he said in the HofL yesterday, the madder I get. You know, he could have said, "Well let the State do what it wants but I can't go against Christian teaching" - or, "Well the Church is of a divided mind on this issue so I can't support it at this time," or several other things.

    But no - he WENT OUT OF HIS WAY to trash it, and by direct implication, us gay folk, in the worst possible ways, SEVERAL TIMES OVER. Read it again and see if you don't agree with me. It might as well have been written by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, or Fox News. What.A.Jerk.

    And Mimi, I'm not sure many straight people, even your own insightful and sympathetic self, can truly realize what it means at nearly 60 years of age to have had to keep justifying one's existence, the right to breathe the same air, day after day for all these many years. And then to be told off, dismissed, waved towards the door, sent packing once again. And again and again and again. Especially by the people who supposedly have a calling to represent the God Who Is Love.

    I'm old now, and weary. Really, if I am all that EVIl and DISGUSTING and SUBHUMAN - believe me when I say, it would be a kindness just to take me out and shoot me. Rather than living with the continual denigration and degradation and humiliation, express or implied.

    I'm afraid I have now had it with the Church; what is the point of it, for me, at this late date, with these kinds of leaders (and members)? I'll stop there, before I get maudlin, and hope this disjointed, disappointed cri de coeur will make some sense to you or others.

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    1. Russ, I'm on my phone now, and I can't follow the link. I'll read the interview tomorrow.

      You make a great deal of sense - too much sense. So much sense that you made me cry. I don't understand at all how a leader who claims to be a follower of Christ can say such things. I understand why you want nothing to do with the church. Just remember; we are not all like that.

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    3. I hear you, and I thank you, and I've deleted my earlier comment, written in a fit of hurt and anger at those whose silence allows injustice - not directed at you, Mimi.

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    4. Russ, I don't stay silent, though I don't know that my speaking out counts for much.

      For what it's worth, in my small Episcopal Church, a lesbian couple both serve as lectors and Eucharistic ministers, and a young gay man serves on our vestry. Our parish discerned and sponsored a young gay black man to study for the priesthood. He is now serving as a priest in the Episcopal Church. I'd say that's not a bad record for a small congregation in south Louisiana.

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    5. Russ, I've seen the video interview to which you linked. Justin Welby appears to say that he wants the Church of England to wait for provinces in the Anglican Communion like Nigeria and Uganda, where the LGTB community is under threat of prison and even death under the laws of the countries, to catch up before change can take place in England. Of course, the majority of the members of the C of E will not stand for such delay and many will do as James above has done - walk away.

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    6. Yes, the murderous Anglicans of Nigeria and Uganda, them he wants to please. I am beginning to think that Welby, like the other "W" we are all familiar with in recent history, is a simpleton who was selected by the powers-that-be as a useful tool and front man. Just look at the big, butch, hard-faced dudes like the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Leicester - the story is written all over their faces for those who have eyes to see. I know the type.

      And yes, quite an excellent, even astonishing record for a small Louisiana parish! My hearty commendations to you all.

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    7. Justin's weasel words almost certainly will not appease the anti-gay bigots, so I don't understand why he bothers.

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  5. Time to disestablish the CoE much as the Welsh and Irish churches were.

    Lord Harries, retired Bishop of Oxford, did vote against the wrecking amendment and will likely vote for the act.

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    1. Erp, I agree; it's time, but I doubt we'll soon see disestablishment.

      Was Lord Harries the only bishop to vote against the wrecking amendment?

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    2. As far as I can see. The other two retired bishops in the Lords I know of are Carey (voted for the wrecking amendment, no surprise) and Williams (who was either not present or abstained). Harries almost certainly would push for the church ceremony also. Lord Waheed Alli, probably the most prominent Muslim in the Lords, voted against the amendment (no surprise, he has been one of the strongest supporters of the act for years). Baroness Warsi the other prominent Muslim in the Lords, abstained (she is no supporter of the act and probably didn't vote for the amendment only because she is a government minister). Lord Sacks (also the Chief Rabbi [an Orthodox Jewish position]) abstained.

      Harries words:
      "I really do not underestimate the linguistic dissonance set up by this Bill and the consequent unease felt by many but, for those reasons that I have briefly outlined, I warmly welcome it. I believe in marriage. I believe, with the Jewish rabbi of old, that in the love of a couple there dwells the shekinah—--the divine presence; or, to put it in Christian terms, that which reflects the mutual love of Christ and his church. I believe in the institution of marriage and I want it to be available to same-sex couples as well as to males and females."

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    3. Thanks for your info, Erp. Thinking Anglicans has a breakdown on how the voting went on the Dear amendment.

      Harries' words are lovely and true.

      More and more I believe that the offices of the Archbishop of Canterbury and that of Primus inter pares of the Anglican Communion should be separated. Then, the ABC could serve as Primate of the Church of England without having to view the entire Anglican Communion as his flock.

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  6. The ABC's statements seem to be a lot of blather to try to cover up blatant bigotry.

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    1. Exactly, Amelia. I don't understand how he can stand in public and speak as he does without cringing from shame and embarrassment.

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  7. Blather and bigotry, quite. But what's this - word comes from London that the CofE has dropped all opposition to the bill. What a peculiar - and quick - development:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10101900/Church-of-England-gives-up-fight-against-gay-marriage.html

    Can you say trimmers?

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    1. What a switcheroo. Within such a short time, it seems that the bill will not, after all, undermine the “cornerstone” of society. I can't wait to see what improvements the bishops will offer.

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    2. Good article which has 1,337 comments. (No, I didn't read them all.) Thanks for the link Russ.

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