Sunday, April 01, 2007

Round 1: Religious conscience v Sexual orientation

It was only a matter of time before such cases were brought to court, and The Observer brings us the first round of the clash between a homosexual youth worker and a bishop. The former 'is a committed Christian who has devoted his life to sharing his Christian faith with others’, while the latter professes to be dissatisfied by answers given by the man over his private life.

The Bishop of Hereford, the Right Reverend Anthony Priddis, has therefore declined to employ John Reaney, and the letter of rejection is purported to state the reason being ‘because he was a practising homosexual’. Cranmer thinks this more than a little unlikely, since although bishops may occasionally lapse in areas of faith and doctrine, they are not generally known for their stupidity or crass insensitivity.

Mr Reaney is taking his case to an employment tribunal, and this is the first case of its kind. At the moment, appointments to the clergy are exempt from having to conform with anti-discrimination laws on the grounds of sexual orientation, but lay appointments and clerical posts are not included. But the Diocese of Hereford has said: 'We expect the same sexual standards of behaviour from our support ministers or lay ministers as we do of clergy.' And herein lies an interesting legal battle. Why should the church be free to reject a practising homosexual vicar, and not a homosexual youth worker? The vicar is responsible for the pastoral care and moral welfare of his flock, but the youth worker carries precisely that same responsibility, yet for minds and lives even more vulnerable.

The timing is excellent – just at the precise moment of conflict between the right to assert orthodox Christian beliefs and further equality laws being passed by Parliament to protect the rights of homosexual people. The gay equality organisation Stonewall is consequently railing against the Church of England for its ‘quite offensive 19th-century prejudice'.

Cranmer looks forward to the judgement of the tribunal with great interest, and is only annoyed that the case is not being brought by a homosexual youth worker against a mosque.


Anonymous The Clarendon Code said...


also serves on the Child Protection Liaison Group of the Church.

1 April 2007 at 15:53  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

He wouldn't dare bring this case against a mosque.

That's because everyone knows Islam is THE 'Religion of Peace'. So peaceful, in fact, that people get killed for saying otherwise.

1 April 2007 at 19:19  
Anonymous m.d. said...


The opinions of Sir Henry Morgan are his alone and do not necessarily represent Cranmer and those of us who post on this blog. If indeed you are a Muslim, and are currently considering or preparing an anthrax letter for a postal attack, I must ask that you please, please, lick the envelope yourself.


1 April 2007 at 20:42  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Muslims do not employ youth workers because most of their youth are compelled to come to the mosque. The danger with some C of e youth workers is that they can be too secular to fit in with their clientele.

What is problematic is that the bishop has within his diocese two vicars who seemingly are oblivious to issues that should concern the Church. I wonder at what stage Capita was involved and why these issues were not addressed at the time CRB screening was required

1 April 2007 at 21:18  
Anonymous Henry said...

Alleluia! Praise God that the Bishop of Hereford has had the courage to take the correct action. 1 Cor 5:13 "... put away from among yourselves that wicked person". Ephesians 5:11 "... have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness". To allow a practising sodomite to be a member of the church is an attack on God's holy name and is deeply unhelpful to those people within the church who are fighting against perverted sexual desires. God's people must strive for purity. God will surely glorify himself through this struggle of competing worldviews.

1 April 2007 at 22:10  
Blogger botogol said...

I see much trouble ahead. Some murky waters would have been much better unstirred

2 April 2007 at 13:24  
Anonymous The Clarendon Code said...

homosexual people

Your Grace is very BBC....what is wrong with adjectival nouns like Jews, homosexuals, Germans........why all this Jewish People, German People.......? It sounds so false and denudes the English language of its richness reducing it to a mathematical formula or Lego-Language

3 April 2007 at 07:20  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Claredon Code,

Having recently read a book which discussed homosexual behaviour among penguins, His Grace thought it wise to specify 'people'. He realises that this may be construed as specie-ist, but it was not his intention to 'sound false' or to 'denude the English language of its richness'.

3 April 2007 at 11:59  
Blogger Cranmer said...

And His Grace further apologises for omitting the 'n' from your name. It is difficult typing with a burnt stump.

3 April 2007 at 12:00  
Anonymous The Clarendon Code said...

Your Grace will be gratified to know that I did retain the "n" in your name when revising your Prayerbook in 1662

3 April 2007 at 13:17  

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