riversmeeting

a church in carrick-on-shannon

Restricting your freedom to witness

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Did you hear that today the UK Government has consultation proposals to restrict freedom to witness    Government publish consultation on biggest ever shake-up to discrimination law.Proposals would restrict freedom to preach and damage freedom of conscience in relation to homosexuality and transsexuality. 

 The Discrimination Law Review The Government have published their Discrimination Law Review (DLR) which proposes the biggest ever shake-up to UK discrimination law. It proposes to take every single piece of existing legislation relating to discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age, and put them all into a “Single Equality Act” which will be overseen and enforced by a new body called the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. In many ways it is good news that the Government are seeking to simplify and tidy up what has become very complex legislation. The aim of getting rid of unjustified discrimination is an admirable one – the Bible sets the standard for all legal codes outlawing discrimination: Jesus described the two greatest laws (commandments) as   “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)Jesus went on to explain that “your neighbour” is any other human: whatever their sex, race, religion or other characteristic. If everyone in society were to follow this teaching, there would be no unjustified discrimination.  The consultation is 190 pages long and is itself very complicated. It can be found at the link given below. Although there are many positive proposals, there also elements of considerable concern to Christians who want to be able to speak freely about the Bible’s teaching. The main concerns are: The Government are proposing to make it illegal to harass someone on the grounds of their religion or belief. However, the definition of harassment is extremely broad, and substantially depends on the perception of the person who makes an allegation of harassment and not the intention of the person accused of harassment. So, a Christian that went to a largely Muslim area to hand out tracts which said that Islam was a false religion, could be sued if a particular Muslim felt that the tract had either ‘violated their dignity’ or put them in an ‘offensive environment’. The Government have also brought back one of the most controversial proposals that they previously tried to bring in via the Sexual Orientation Regulations only a few months ago. They are proposing that it should be made illegal to harass someone on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Again, the problem is the really broad definition of harassment. This proposal would mean that although a Church is free under the SORs to gently refuse membership of the church to an unrepentant practising homosexual, that person, if they felt that they had been put in a ‘humiliating environment’ could sue the Church. Similarly, a homosexual could sue a church if they heard a sermon about sexual morality that included condemnation of homosexual practices. The Government are also consulting on whether there should be a duty on public authorities to promote sexual orientation equality. This will mean that local authorities and other bodies will take active steps to ensure that all sorts of organisations do not discriminate based on homosexual practices. The danger is that this will be taken too far and will mean that Government funding is removed from Christian projects or that support is given to projects promoting homosexuality.   The Government are further consulting on whether there should be a duty on public authorities to promote religion or belief equality. There is a similar danger here that the sort of politically correct decisions (like local councils banning Christmas cards) that increasingly make the headlines, will be multiplied, with public funding being focused on promoting ‘minority’ religions like Islam and Hinduism.  Another part of the consultation paper seeks views on whether Churches should be able to treat people differently because they have had gender reassignment. If the Government subsequently decided not to allow churches to do so, then a church would not be able to object to a male member of the congregation, who had a sex change (taking on the appearance of a woman), from attending a women’s retreat weekend. The Government are further proposing that the law should protect transsexual people from practices that require them to disclose the fact that their actual sex differs from their physical appearance. So, for example, the Government would allow a man that has had a sex change operation, to be able to keep it secret that he has had that operation. These are just some of the main provisions of the DLR that are of concern to Christians.   LinkThe Discrimination Law Review consultation http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/frameworkforfairnessconsultation

Thanks for this link from our friends at http://ngbc.wordpress.com . What UK does today, Ireland…?

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5 Comments»

  john wrote @

it sounds like you are demanding the freedom to be able to continue to harass homosexuals for the sake of belief. however i dont hear you acknowledging that, in doing this, you are also speaking against your brothers in christ, whose life experiences cause them to believe otherwise.

where is the fellowship in that. 1john1 “if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another.”

part of fellowship is supporting and affirming the life experiences of another. even in cases of disagreement of interpretation of the law, we still acknowledge and support what a person says he did feel, did see, did experience. i hear none of this in your statements. i hear none of this in your understanding abou t sin.

just because an understanding existed for 2000 years, doesnt mean it embraces the teaching of christ.

is your understanding of tellowship ,is to stand on, that when homosexuals do the same things that heterosexuals do, bond with another out of mutual respect, love, trust , and attraction for a committed shared life ………..all things being equal, that one is blessed and the other is sinning.

where is christ’s teachings can you have this understanding?

hebrews 1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

  riversmeeting wrote @

Hi John
Thanks for your long reasoned response. Couple of things: I certainly don’t see it as my role as a Christian to harass anyone at all. Quite the reverse. “Love one another” is a strong directive, isn’t it? And I love Wesley’s wise word: “If we cannot think alike, we can at least love alike.” Also, as far as church life goes (“fellowship”), we in our group here believe that relationship takes priority over doctrine. If we firmly love one another, then we can sort out doctrinal differences (and if we don’t, we won’t!). I think I’ll leave it there for the minute. Tell me what you think so far and then I’ll continue the conversation?

  john wrote @

rivermeeting

i dont hear your even acknowledging, that there are practicing homosexual brothers and sisters in the body christ, who share our same inheritance. or that their life experiences are real and you support that they actually had them ……….. they really did feel this or experience that or expeience this pain.

if in 1john 1says “if we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another……………ie we honor and support each others life experiences.

how is a stand for freedom of speech that brings pain and suffering to one of your brothers in christ serving the spirit. consider this, for the sake of fellowship, suspending an understanding of the law………….(.which by following receive no salvation.) trusting that the holy spirit, thru chris, in felowship will show all parties together what needs to be seen.

did not paul say we serve the spirit in a new way not in an old way to the written code. is it your understanding that we serve the spirit and embrace the fruit of the spirit by seeking freedom of speech to bring pain and suffering to our brothers.

john 16:7″ Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt[a] in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:”

john 16:12″I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

perhaps you could explain how you actively express love for your homosexual brothers and sisters without active fellowship and witness. you really believe the negative comments from the pulpit actually speak for(according to the numbers (4%) 12 million in the united states 320 million worldwide.

here again all things being equal, homosexuals engage in human bonding for a shared committed life with another ………..as do heterosexuals. is it your understanding that the spirit of christ is concerned about form…………2 of the same gender and possibilities of procreation……and not the spirit of commitment of the relationship?

http://www.soulforce.org/article/526#white060599

below is a letter to falwell about this same subject:from mel white who once was falwell’s ghostwriter

dear jerry

I’ve been reading your autobiography again. It still moves me. And I’m not just saying that because I wrote it. Strength for the Journey inspires and informs readers because you talk about your failures and not just your success.

I’m especially moved by those twenty short pages in Chapter Eleven that describe your transformation from 1964, when you were a staunch segregationist, to 1968, when you baptized the first black member of Thomas Road Baptist Church.

When I asked you what happened in four short years to change your mind about segregation, you told me stories about the African-Americans you had known and loved from childhood.

“It wasn’t the Congress, the courts, or the demonstrators,” you assured me. “It was Lewis, the shoeshine man, and Lump Jones, the mechanic, and David Brown, the sensitive, loving black man without a wife or family who lived for most of his adult life in the backroom of our large family home in Lynchburg.”

It was obvious that you really cared about those black men, especially David Brown. “He was a good man,” you told me. “He helped my mother with the cooking and cleaning. He cared for me and my brother Gene when we were children. He bathed and fed us both. He was like a member of our family.”

Then, one day, you and Gene found David Brown lying unconscious and unattended in the lobby of Lynchburg’s General Hospital. One portion of his head and face had been crushed from a severe blow with a dull pipe or the barrel of a pistol. He suffered cuts and bruises over his entire body; yet because he was black, he lay dying in that waiting room for forty-eight hours without medical help. You and your brother intervened but your friend was permanently damaged by the racist thugs who left him for dead and by the racist hospital policies that denied him treatment in time.

Do you remember how your eyes filled with tears when you told me, “I am sorry that I did not take a stand on behalf of the civil rights of David Brown and my other black friends and acquaintances during those early years.”

I knew from the sound of your voice, Jerry, that you are still sorry that you did not take a stand for equality in those early years of ministry. Nevertheless, after condemning President Johnson’s Civil Rights legislation as an act of “Civil wrong” and after preaching fervently against integration, you had the courage to acknowledge your sinfulness and to end your racist ways.

“In all those years,” you told me, “it didn’t cross my mind that segregation and its consequences for the human family were evil. I was blind to that reality. I didn’t realize it then, but if the church had done its job from the beginning of this nation’s history, there would have been no need for the civil rights movement.”

Well said, friend. But now I have to ask you one more time. Has it ever crossed your mind that you might be just as wrong about homosexuality as you were about segregation? Could it be that you are blind to a tragic new reality, that the consequences of your anti-homosexual rhetoric are as evil for the human family as were your sermons against integration? Have you even thought about the possibility that you are ruining lives, destroying families, and causing endless suffering with your false claims that we are “sick and sinful,” that we “abuse and recruit children,” that we “undermine family values.”

In the 1950s and 60s, you misused the Bible to support segregation. In the 1990s you are misusing it again, this time to caricature and condemn God’s gay and lesbian children. Once you denied black Christians the rights (and the rites) of church membership. Now it’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians you reject.

For ten years we’ve been collecting samples of your dangerous and misleading rhetoric against homosexuals. We have file drawers filled with your antigay mass-mailings to raise funds and mobilize volunteers. We have audio and video collections of your antigay sermons and your antigay radio and television broadcasts. Coupled with your regular appearances on Nightline, Geraldo, and Larry King Live, and your ability to attract media attention (as you did with Tinky Winky) you have become one of the nation’s primary sources of misinformation about homosexuality and homosexuals. You are saying things about us that are NOT true, terrible things with tragic consequences in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

Please, Jerry, hear your own words about segregation and apply them to my homosexual sisters and brothers. “I can see from the earliest days of my new faith in Christ,” you told me, “that God had tried to get me to understand and to acknowledge my own racial sinfulness. In Bible College, the Scriptures had been perfectly clear about the equality of all men and women, about loving all people equally, about fighting injustice, and about obeying God and standing against the immoral and dehumanizing traditions of man.”

The Scriptures are still clear about the equality of all men and women. The Scriptures are still clear about loving all people equally. The Scriptures are still clear about fighting injustice and standing against the immoral and dehumanizing traditions of man. Why can’t you apply THOSE Scriptures to us instead of the six verses you misuse over and over again to clobber and condemn GLBT people?

For years you supported the “immoral and dehumanizing traditions” used to persecute people of color. Then, finally, the Spirit of Truth set you free. Now, you are a supporter of “immoral and dehumanizing traditions” used to persecute homosexuals. Please, Jerry, let the Spirit of Truth set you free again.

Thank you for meeting with me last year to hear the evidence that we are God’s children, too, but it was obvious during our meeting (and in your avalanche of antigay rhetoric that followed) that you were not taking that evidence seriously.

Today, I begin a series of open letters to you reviewing the evidence one more time. Where I am wrong, correct me and I will confess my error. I hope you will do the same. Let this be a genuine public dialogue. I’m hoping that TOGETHER we can negotiate an end to your tragic misinformation campaign against us. If you refuse to hear the evidence again, if you insist on continuing your false and inflammatory rhetoric, then we will have no other option but to mobilize people of faith across this nation to conduct a serious nonviolent direct action against your Untruths in the spirit of Gandhi and King.

In this series of open letters, I’m going to do my best to summarize the psychological, psychiatric, scientific, medical, historical, personal and biblical evidence that demonstrates clearly that homosexuality is neither a sickness nor a sin. I’m putting all this material together one more time in the hopes that God will change your mind and heart about us. In the meantime, you learned that it wasn’t data that changed your mind about segregation. It was knowing its victims and sharing their suffering.

How many lesbian or gay people do you know, Jerry? Have you invited closeted gay or lesbian members of your staff and congregation to tell you what it feels like to be ridiculed and condemned endlessly by their pastor? Have you invited closeted gay or lesbian students at Liberty or Liberty graduates to share the pain your endless attacks have caused them? We know at least one gay student who killed himself after being expelled from your university because of his sexual orientation. Your eyes filled with tears when you thought of a black man lying unattended in a Lynchburg hospital. How will you feel when you finally realize that you have been the source of even worse suffering in the lives of those you love and serve.

Please, Jerry, read Chapter Eleven of your autobiography once again. After years of blindly and enthusiastically supporting segregation, you heard God’s voice, admitted your error, and changed your ways. Now, after years of blindly and enthusiastically supporting anti-homosexual ignorance and bigotry, will you stop long enough to hear God’s

  john wrote @

so, as you can see, its easy to go after the mote in ones brothers eye in the name of freedom of speech. but when it comes to expressing fellowship to one’s brother…………suddenly one has very little to say.
when it comes to placing fellowship above disagreements about the law……….silence.

one can go to the censoring anglican sites which ascribe to delusional reasoning to make a case for homosexuality being sin, in response to scriptures denoting sins committed in the commisiion of sexual acts between same sexes. this is no more valid than condemning heterosexuality because of acts of rape, and sexual slavery.

homosexuality and hetrosexuality being human bonding , motivated by mutual, love, respect, attraction, and trust for the purpose of a committed shared life with another.

  metin wrote @

Thanks ..Really great


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