The Church of Scotland‘s ruling general assembly has voted to allow congregations in Scotland to admit gay ministers, if they elect to do so, in a radical departure from more than 450 years of history and ending a four year long argument.
The ‘gay ministers’ issue has dominated discussion within the church for some time after an openly gay minister, Scott Rennie, was selected to lead a parish in Aberdeen in 2009.
The general assembly rejected a motion which would have made gay ordination – solely for ministers in civil partnerships or who are celibate – the default position of the Church of Scotland, by 340 votes to 282.
The Bishop of Durham Justin Welby has been named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. The Eaton and Cambridge University educated man is a former oil trader and has only been the Bishop of Durham for a year will take of from the current archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams towards the end of the year.
Only last month, Dr Williams, admitted the Church of England’s attitude to gay relationships had often been harmful to gay people he had also said that while his leadership was “wrong” not to have advocated gay equality, David Cameron was wrong to have embarrassed the church over the issue of equal marriage.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, claimed in one of his last major public lectures before he steps down toward the end of this year, that the Church of England’s attitude towards gay relationships has often been harmful to people.
Only last month Dr Williams said that while the Church of England was “wrong” not to have advocated for gay equality, the Prime Minister David Cameron was also wrong to embarrass the church over the issue.
During the lecture to the religious theologian think tank ‘Theos’ earlier this week the Archbishop also suggested the church could and should learn some lessons from its passed mistakes.
The most evil and wicked Pope Benedict XVI has said gay people are not fully developed humans as they do not obey Catholic law. This is just the latest homophobic former nazi supporter who leads the Catholic Church who made them while speaking to bishops about the French President Francois Hollande’s plans to legalize marriage equality.
During his speech at Castel Gandolfo, he reportedly said: ‘The family is threatened in many places by a defection of human nature.’
The religious leader added: ‘Marriage and the family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is injurious to society itself.’
The Pope says the Catholic values of marriage and the family must be obeyed, because they ‘permit the full development of the human person’. Expect freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom from guilt and a disgusting attitude of hypocrisy and lies. This man is becoming a real danger, not to gay people, but to all reasonable Catholics around the world, he is making them and their religion a laughing stock and opening them up to ridicule and increased levels of hatred and discrimination.
She said: ‘What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter. It doesn’t matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope. It’s not a reflection of all Christians. It is not a reflection of all religious people. It’s a point of view of one person. And to all the gay people here,’ she added. ‘May you live and love each other until the end of time. I hope you will have the human right to breed as an entirely equal, valuable and special member of society. In January, the Pope received criticism for saying gay marriages ‘threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.’
Further proof that religion far from being the holy and the good is the evil and the vengeful.
The Russian politician who introduced the horrifically homophobic St. Petersburg bill banning ‘gay propaganda’ has stepped up his campaign and crusade against gays by claiming in a recent interview that homosexuality is a ‘bad habit’ that can be treated by fasting and prayer.
The deputy of the St Petersburg city legislature Vitaliy Milonov said that homosexuality was an illness, which can be cured and this hatemonger likened same-sex attraction to “a bad habit. His homophobic and
Speaking on the popular Russian radio talk radio show Ekho Moskvy,
Milonov told how if his son told him he was gay, he would take him to a priest who should tell the young man that he was partaking in a bad habit that one can easily quit. “God can send many temptations upon us,” he said. “But the thing is, this illness is easily treated by fasting and praying. I do not know of a single case within the Russian Orthodox Church that a man would not be cured by his sincere repentance in this sin. People get rid of it, just like they get rid of kleptomania or, for instance, fornicators.”
Virtually every medical and psychiatric association in the world have long since proved that homosexuality is not an illness or something that could be cured. Equally there is uniform opinion that trying to prey the gay away is futile and in many cases harmful.
Milonov who also wants to outlaw abortion, is no stranger to controversy, he gained particular notoriety this year for his campaign against homosexuality and received a parody award in June for his initiative to ban homosexuality in Russia until 2015. One of his key aims was achieved in St. Petersburg this February when the city legislature approved a bill banning the promotion of homosexuality and paedophilia to minors, this includes holding any form or gay pride event or protest for equality.
Milonov has also vowed to prosecute a German rock group called Rammstein as they, in his view, violated the bill during a concert in St. Petersburg. Although it should be noted that the comment and concert took place in February and so far no legal action has been taken. However many Russian citizens have been arrested since this homophobic and wholly inappropriate bill became law.
A homophobic psychologist and candidate seeking election in New South Wales, Australia has demanded gay sex to be outlawed and for the right to discriminate against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender citizens.
Philip Pocock, who claims to be a psychologist, is standing as an independent representative in Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory, uploaded a video in 2008 defending the Pope’s anti-gay doctrine. In the YouTube rant he argues that homosexuality resembled a threat to humanity as great as climate change claiming the Pope was “correct, even from a scientific view”.
“The first step to dealing with the problem is to accept that despite genetically different levels of masculinity that are often visually evident, no one is a homosexual unless they practice homosexual acts, in the same way that no one is a bank robber unless they rob a bank” Pocock prattles on in the video.
The future politician criticises Australia’s political establishment for paying “lip service” to social conservatives, Mr Pocock refers to gay people as “perverts”. He also wants to see “rules” against sex before marriage, infidelity and divorce. According to local reports, he recently told the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn that most politicians are either inadequate to enforce “legitimate sexual expression” or they are addicted to “distortions of sexuality.” He also declared that “a true ‘union’ only occurs in heterosexual vaginal intercourse and homosexual unions not only deserve no special rights but must be seen as the destructive behaviours that should be actively discouraged.”
However, one supposes we could be quite lucky, for Pocock stops one step short of provoking and promoting physical violence saying that nobody had the right to engage in “poofter bashing”.
Sadly Pocock’s views are not isolated, there is an increasing atmosphere of homophobia and discrimination reported since the bill for marriage equality failed to get enough support early in September.
Most religious organisations in New Zealand have declared that they will not perform same-sex marriages even if the bill currently before the parliament for marriage equality passes.
Unsurprisingly the Catholic Church instigated the aggressive stand against gay people and together with Anglican, Baptist, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and orthodox Jewish religious groups and churches have all indicated their opposition to equality.
Anwar Ghani, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, told local New Zealand media that same-sex marriage was unacceptable under Muslim law. ‘Our position is very clear – Islam does not allow marriages of same sex. Islam views marriage not just for recreation, but for procreation,’ he told New Zealand media, Stuff.
New legislation which will be introduced into the French Parliament that will allow gay couples to marry could be on the cards as early as October this year. This would fulfil a campaign pledge by the new French President, Francois Hollande and will also allow gay couple the right to adopt.
Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, had previously announced in parliament that gay couples would be permitted to marry and adopt children in 2013. However, he spoke to members of the Socialist Party on Saturday: ‘In October, we will send a bill to the National Assembly and the Senate to allow same-sex couples to marry. It would also allow them to form families and adopt children.” he said and the bill will be introduced to both houses of French Parliament in October, both of which will have to approve the bill, after a debate.
If approved, France will join several other countries in the European Union that legally recognise proper same-sex marriage. This comes on the back of some seriously heavy objections from the French Catholic Church, which has not been quiet in its objection to equality.
Breaking news from the the northern part of the UK, The Scottish cabinet is expected to discuss plans to legislate for same-sex marriage when it meets later. SNP ministers, who favour the move, are due to announce legislation later this week in the wake of a consultation which resulted in 80,000 responses.
The proposals, if passed would see Scotland be the first part of the UK to allow full same sex marriage, already the policy has provoked opposition from some anti-gay religious groups, including the Catholic Church and Church of Scotland.
Same-sex couples in Scotland currently have the option to enter into civil partnerships and the Holyrood government has insisted no part of the religious community would be forced to hold same-sex weddings in churches, which is the same conditions and rules as the proposed bill for England and Wales.
The Episcopal Church has become the largest US denomination to bless same-sex relationships.
The policy was overwhelmingly approved in a vote at the church’s general convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, church officials stressed the new ceremony, which includes prayers and an exchange of vows and rings, was not a same-sex marriage though.
The US Episcopal Church – part of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion – has nearly two million worshippers. On Tuesday nearly 80% of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies voted to authorise a three-year trial run for a provisional same-sex service.