This week’s news and links – gay bus ads and more

Having been away from a computer for most of last week, I didn’t get a chance to comment on the fuss that erupted over the proposed gay/not-gay/ex-gay/post-gay London bus ads that area and aren’t happening this month.

For those not up to speed, on April 3rd Stonewall announced that they are funding 1000 London bus adverts this month in support of equal marriage with the slogan ‘SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT!’  Following on from this it was announced last Thursday that in response Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust were to run bus adverts on five London routes with the slogan ‘NOT GAY! POST_GAY, EX-GAY AND PROUD. GET OVER IT!’

This comes over at one level as little more than childish tactics from both sides deliberately designed to offend those of opposing opinions.  However, whilst the Stonewall adverts will be happening, the Anglican Mainstream/Core Issues Trust ones will not after Mayor Boris Johnson intervened the same day the news was released announcing he was stopping the adverts saying, “London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.”

Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust are now reportedly suing Transport for London and Boris Johnson, which leaves things in a rather big mess.  Their advert was not clever, poorly worded and unlikely to do their cause any favours, but to say that one advert was significantly more offensive than the other is hard to justify.

There have been some excellent blog articles on all of this that make some valid and lucid points.  These are the best ones I’ve found:

Danny Webster – Carey, Culture Wars and the Quest for Civility

Gentle Wisdom – Why can’t we tolerate post-gays as well as gays?

Archbishop Cranmer – Stonewall cries bigotry and grabs Boris by the balls

Stuart James at eChurch Blog has come up with a much better bus advert that would have been a far better one to use.

You can even have a go at designing your own London bus advert if you’re in the mood here.

I’ve also read this article by Jon Chilvers at Resistance and Renewal which argues that the Church has forfeited the right to have a say on gay marriage.  I can’t say I agree with this viewpoint, but there are some valid points to make you think.

On a completely different subject, I found three articles over the Easter weekend all focusing on how those who actively oppose Christianity have failed to appreciate just how much it has made this country a better place:

Krish Kandiah – No, It’s The Church Actually….

2020UK – The place of faith in society

The Telegraph – A society that persecutes Christ is heading for terrible trouble

And finally, there appears to be a growing sense of annoyance amongst churches over George Osborne’s plan to impose VAT on improvements to cathedrals and church buildings.  This will add huge costs to these works on some of Britain’s most historically important buildings.  The London Evening Standard’s article yesterday is the most up-to-date one I’ve found with the latest news.

There is currently a Government e-petition asking the VAT plans to be scrapped.  You can find it on the Campaigns Hub, but here’s the direct link if you want to sign the petition.

A couple of weeks ago on Twitter I linked to the YouTube video below which features Pamela Greener, the wife of the Dean of Wakefield Cathedral who has taken things a step further performing her own song in the cathedral to highlight the consequences of the VAT plan.

Wakefield Cathedral’s renovations commenced just a few days before the budget, at a cost of around £3million.  With an added VAT bill they will now need to find an extra £600,000 to pay for the work.

Categories: Campaigning, Homosexuality, The law & legal issues

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9 replies

  1. The ex-gay add is insulting not informative or useful, it is an attack. The Some People Are Gay Get Over It is a statement not an attack. If Christians cannot see the difference then I am greatly saddened.

    • To be honest, I found both ads offensive, mainly because of the lack of sensitivity and antagonistic nature of the wording. Really not needed all round.

      • You may be right – both adds are not necessary nowadays. But as long as two sides continue to be infantile I guess we have to keep trying to curb the nonsense. A point of reference for you to consider – the pre-gay, gay, post gay thing is a red herring in all these debates. It takes away the real issues at hand which is that homosexuality is not an illness, nor is it fore-mostly a choice for most sexually active homosexuals, it has become a choice for heterosexuals to participate in if they wish to, and it leaves out the bi-sexual nature – not choice, though one can choose to be bi-sexual, of some individuals.

        The issue is, are they considered by Christians a sub-section of the population, who by their nature are not proscribing heterosexuals ipso facto, and thus by being seen as a sub-group, it is thus deemed that they should be denied the same status of citizenship through civil applications of marriage as those in the main group? For me, the answer, with religious adherence set aside, is no. From a religious prospective that should be between the members and the religious sect/organisation concerned.

        The Anglican and Catholic church takes the money to wed non believers – they do and they know it. If they as an institution cannot adhere to their tenancy of faith then what right have they to try to stop others from being married in a Civil/Civi environment? If an independent church, Christian or not, wished to seal a marriage to the sub-section of the population then they should be allowed to do so and such marriage be legally recognised.

        A society might be seen as corrupt by Christians and other religious sects or organisations, but at the end of the day the law should accommodate all its citizens who do not commit violence or coercion to others.

        I am sure I have rambled on about this before. Fore the repetitiveness. For me the issue is that in dealing with outsiders of a faith such an organisation should really stick to its own rules and be accountable for its own rules and understand that most church weddings are sadly not about faith in God. Many evangelical churches do. It should not be about money it should be about promoting the faith you “work” for and helping those who do wish to be part of a traditional celebration to understand its base.

        That is why I find the christian add more insulting than the gay add. It is infantile, misses the point and is an attack not a statement. They should have through the faith and belief in Jesus have known so much better. Sorry for the ramble folks.

        • Stonewall decided to make a point in a very provocative way and then Anglican Mainstrem decided they needed to retaliate and made a complete hash of it. Not very Christian and not very loving.

          They did have something of a point about sexuality not always being fixed. Matthew Parris in today’s Times has written an excellent article on the fluidity of sexuality. Coming from someone who is openly gay it is very refreshing to hear. His point is that we’re all somewhere along the sexuality spectrum. Being gay or straight is not completely black or white. Forcing those who have some element of same sex attraction to declare themselves gay or straight polarises their position and makes them take sides. This is what upsets me about the gay marriage issue. The government has set two sides against each other in a way that was bound to get dirty and vicious at times. There are a small minority stirring things up and then the rest of us have to deal with the fallout.

  2. Forgive me my speed let me down – “Fore the repetitiveness” should read “Forgive the repetitiveness”. More speed less haste, or put brain into gear before clicking the Submit Comment button. Great sight and a very important one at that Gillan.

  3. I agree the adverts on all sides are, unnecessary polarising and counter productive. Some people do identify as post/ex gay, some do seek restorative therapy, sometimes no doubt because of social stigma. We should affirm them and their experience but should they be used as a political football ? For most sexual orientation is fixed although behaviour and experimentation may be variant. As Christians we are looking for some kind of biblical guidance on matters of homosexuality. Firstly it is mentioned little more than a handful of times. I don’t think Jesus mentions it at all. It does not receive any specific affirmation but marriage is described in specific terms and the church is likened as a bride to Christ. We are told that the act is a sin yet the context is unclear as to whether it relates to promiscuous acts or loving monogamous ones. For me it is a huge biblical tension (not the only one) To be Christ like i need Gods love to overflow in me to all people including my enemies and i am not to judge ( condemn) anybody. But we know that Gods plan has a strong life affirming procreative element and the Church as a bride appears highly symbolic as our relationship with Christ is also a life giving one unto eternity. We speak also of natural biology and purpose and the complimentary characteristics of men and women and the family unit as a safe place to nurture and educate children yet all to often our human weaknesses make this template dysfunctional. In seeking the point of compassion love and grace we are trying to discern ”what is the will of God” . What parts of the bible are purely cultural ie as in the treatment of woman and what are fixed as in Gods plan. Is our culture informing the bible or should the bible be informing culture. As a Christian i can happily sit on the fence because it is my job to love all people regardless, the rest is up to the holy spirit and for each individual to work out their own salvation with God. For the church it is more difficult because the law makes no distinction between civil and religious marriage so we are in no position to grant a civil marriage to same sex couples without the current marriage sacrament of the church being blown apart. Is marriage more than just a committed loving relationship regardless of sexuality to God. At the end of it are real human beings with desires and feelings and at the very least we should be sensitive to that. These type of adverts do not constitute a sensible theological objection rather sound byte insensitivity.

  4. Thank you. Further practical problems arise with the redefinition of marriage as just between ”loving committed individuals” in that other forms of relationship could be included in the future such as polygamy, incest and paedophilia( say from the point of menstruation as in some cultures ). Libertarians might say well ”What’s the problem” and others might say well ”that’s just scaremongering”.but successive government legislation whilst increasing choices and freedoms often well meaning,( eg abortion law to prevent back street abortions ) have deviated from its original intention and brought unseen harmful consequences to which the vulnerable are particularly prone. If all forms of loving relationship are equal, then we cease to revere the life giving one (to which we all owe our existence ) as anything special. I have heard some quite nihilistic comments around this point which demonstrates how far we are becoming removed from life enhancing values and feelings both spiritually and in actual body. This is why i love Jesus so much because he enhances love and life in every respect. That goes for all people regardless of sexuality.

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