Monday, June 02, 2008

An Englishman’s home is his castle – unless it interferes with gay rights

Cranmer warned of the consequences of incorporating the 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations into UK law some time ago, and the injustices are becoming increasingly evident with each month that passes. Since it has been illegal to discriminate in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of sexual orientation, Christians have been prevented from adopting children while criminals and homosexuals flourish; churches and bishops have been forced to pay compensation for failing to employ homosexuals; Catholic adoption agencies have closed rather than give children over to homosexual parents.

And now the Earl of Devon, a committed Christian, has lost the right to determine who enters his home and for what purpose. He said: "I am a Christian and therefore it (homosexuality) is objectionable to my Christian religion." He told The Daily Mail: "I have to follow my religion in this case. “This is the way it has to be. I have no option. As a Christian I have to object to this."

He has not, as some headlines state, ‘banned gay marriages’ at Powderham Castle; he simply desired that he and his house would serve the Lord, and under his roof marriage would continue to be defined as the union of one man and one woman. He has also placed God above Mammon insofar as the decision will cost the castle up to £200,000 a year in lost revenue.

Whatever one thinks of same-sex civil partnerships, one has to admire a man who puts principle before money. He would never qualify as a politician.

It is the first time such action has been taken against a venue in light of the Sexual Orientation Regulations. But the Earl now finds himself under siege from ‘gay rights campaigners’, who are not content that the Earl has had his licence to host civil marriage ceremonies (gay or straight) revoked, but are intent on persecuting him further. They insist that because Powderham Castle has ‘conditional’ exemption from inheritance tax because it is open to the public, that the exemption should be withdrawn because the castle is ‘not accessible to all members of the public without exception’.

This is, of course, a ludicrous assertion. The Earl of Devon does not demand that visitors to his home complete a form outlining their sexual preferences, and then admit or expel them on the basis of that response. He has simply determined that, under his roof, marriage shall be in accordance with the orthodox Christian understanding of the term. If he is forced by law to transgress the bounds of his conscience, he has decided that none shall enjoy his home for their wedding ceremony.

Ben Summerskill, who works for Stonewall, a ‘gay rights group’, called the Earl ‘rather sad’.

Cranmer would like to point out that pursuing a man with a fatuous Treasury investigation is ‘sad’, and so is being so embittered and absorbed by one’s own proclivities that one dedicates one’s life to imposing them upon everyone else. Is it not discriminatory not to permit a person the luxury of holding their own opinion, even in their own home?

It is perhaps significant that Devon County Council, the body responsible for issuing and revoking the Earl’s licence, is a member of the ‘Stonewall Diversity Champions programme’. As much as His Grace adores diversity and never ceases to marvel at the infinite variety of creation, he shall not be applying for membership of this programme.

The Sexual Orientation Regulations are nothing to do with equality. The law is prejudicial towards Christians. It is a wonderful law indeed which has the unintended consequence of limiting the adoption options of some of the nation’s most vulnerable children, and which deprives young heterosexual couples of their dream wedding at Powderham Castle.


Anonymous Voyager said...

Summerskill is however Labour Party Aristocracy with not one but two plus members of The People's Party in his family tree. To be a Commissar in The People's Repubic is an accolade only available to The the Marxist Regime now ruining Britain Summerskill is a Cadre

2 June 2008 at 08:22  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

The extreme radicalism of homosexual marriage.

Get ready for the abolition of mankind, where genital-anal contact is regarded as "sex" and "husband" and "wife" are declared discriminatory and replaced with "partner" and "partner".

2 June 2008 at 11:29  
Blogger botogol said...

I'm not sure that being a christian has much to do with it- it strikes me as simply a convenient cloak for his views.

Is there any difference in saying

A) I don't want gay weddings in my house because I think they are wrong and

B) I don't want gay weddings at my house because I am a christian.

Isn't A actually more honest? I actually don't recall Jesus expressing any opinion at all on gays or gay marriage or, indeed, saying much at all about marriage in general (yes, yes, I know he was himself a guest at a Wedding in Cana...but that was hardly sermon-on-the-mount stuff was it?

2 June 2008 at 12:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...criminals and homosexuals flourish...

Oh Cranmer, do explain how you conflate one to be equal to the other?

2 June 2008 at 13:36  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

I wonder how long it will be before people can get married to their pets?
Animal lover's rights!
I want to buy a stick insect and get married to it at Powderham Castle, every year! And further more, I want to shuv my perversion down everyone else's throat.

2 June 2008 at 15:11  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

a good example of whose rights are they !!

dont forget the registrar who was villified for declining to conduct gay weddings

2 June 2008 at 15:15  
Anonymous Edward said...

This seems bonkers to me. Surely a marriage is legally different from a civil partnership? Surely his Lordship can choose to permit one thing to take place on his property (marriages) and not another (civil partnerships)?

Or are we now legally obliged to have to conflate the two into one and the same, having been told when civil partnerships were introduced, that they had equal rights but were subtly different?

2 June 2008 at 15:23  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Oh Cranmer, do explain how you conflate one to be equal to the other?

It is perfectly possible to mention both categories without either implying that one constitutes the other or that they are equivalent. It is a fact that people with criminal records have been able to adopt, and homosexuals are able to dopt, and Christians are being excluded.

2 June 2008 at 16:00  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

When "they" brought in civil partnerships they insisted that it was not intended to be the equivalent of marriage. It was, of course.
Botogol, you may not "recall" Christ speaking about the subject. There were lots of things he did not speak about. Why do you think he founded his Church?

2 June 2008 at 16:02  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Botogol, before one starts to extrapolate the actions of Christ’s life onto modern [sic] problems, and make comparative judgements on what he said or did not say, it is essential to bear in mind that Christ was a temple attending, orthodox Jew who upheld the Law of Moses and adhered to the norms of Jewish life at the time. You may consider from this that today he would be a traditional church attending Christian (if the comparison is not too absurd). Christ instructed his followers to adhere to the traditional Jewish teaching even from the Pharisees while at the same time warning them not to act as the Pharisees did.

So my point is that if we look honestly at Christ’s life and knowing he was orthodox is it very likely that he would give the green light to homosexual behaviour? I think not. Now we do have St Paul’s firm admonition on this lifestyle, are we to accept some of what he said as Gospel and ignore the bits that might prove unpopular, he was also a learned and very traditional Jew. If we cannot take guidance from the Church on anything that was not either written down or may be popularly ostracized we do not have a Christian faith we have paganism. For my part I think you are wrong to question the motive and honesty of the Earl of Devon, he must have known that his position would attract this kind of adverse publicity (which would make him stupid) and if he were acting purely from a hated of homosexuals (which would make him a bigot) it is about to cost him 200K a year, (which would make him a poor, stupid, bigot).

You separate A & B “because I think they are wrong” & “because I am a Christian”. From a Christian perspective these premises should be reversed and slightly altered “because I am a Christian it follows that homosexuality [the act of] is wrong”. You may disagree, I accept that and understand that it is the easier course of action to take but does that invalidate why a Christian would not and could not tolerate homosexuals to ‘union’ under their roof.

2 June 2008 at 16:07  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"Civil Partnership" will not appease the gay mafia for long. The gay mafia will complain that "Civil Partnership" does not give equality and for that reason is discriminatory.

2 June 2008 at 16:40  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Bogotol makes the replacement theory fallacy of thinking The New Testament and its Four Gospels is a standalone rather than being an Addendum to The Old Testament.

Everything Jesus Christ proclaimed was referenced from The Old Testament and only the ignorant and deluded cannot see Jesus was sent to uphold Torah ("The Law") and not to change it. Perhaps reading too many modern translations dulls the senses.memzwkzp

2 June 2008 at 16:45  
Anonymous vincent said...

Not everyone is welcome in my home: if I treat everyone the same, then I treat no one special.

2 June 2008 at 16:55  
Blogger botogol said...

I am not a christian (just in case it needed to be said) but I think there's a world of difference between the ideas that Jesus expressed and the ramshackle collection of stories and peculiar hotch-potch of twisted amorals and cruelties that is the old testament.

'What would jesus think' seems to me a sensible line of approach (if sometimes an unanswerable question). 'What does the bible say?' seems to me a non starter. It says anything and everything, and contains role models nobody would contemplate following.

Hence, obviously the conflicting views of christians themselves on many matters: whereof Jesus was silent, perhaps christians cannot, usefully speak (not as a group I mean, of course everyone is entitled to form their own personal views)

LBS - I am not sure Jesus *did* found a church. I tend to the view that the church was more the cretion of his brother James and - most importantly - St Paul.

2 June 2008 at 18:27  
Anonymous Ian Thorpe said...

Its actually the gays who want to be married that are rather sad.

Marriage was never about the love between two individuals but about peternity, property rights and inheritance. Also it incorporated certain rights for the husband that ought to make it repellant to the gays wanting to be married.

So why do members of same sex partnerships want to involve themselves in such stuff. Are they so consumed with envy that we hets have something they cannot - an archaic and meaningless official seal of approval for our partnership/

2 June 2008 at 18:54  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

The Bible is the story, the words. Without the right words there was just a man nailed to two pieces of wood.

2 June 2008 at 19:08  
Anonymous Jenny said...

botogol said... I am not sure Jesus *did* found a church

Matt 16, 18-19 'And I [that is, Jesus] tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give YOU [emphasis mine] the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.'.

Clear evidence of Christ's instruction to the Church to continue his work, and an authority to act on His behalf. You wanted Christs words, and there they are!

The Bible is, to a certain extent, an historical document. You need to read it in the context in which it was written. Mark's Gospel, for instance, is quite short because he had to write quickly. He was dying. So some things are missed out - it's not a 'bible' in the modern sense (It's, like, my bible, yeah?) of a definitive set of writings outside of which there is no need for further instruction. Christ might not have mentioned homosexuality; on the other hand he might have done, it just didn't get written down. The normal mode of passing on information was by word of mouth, but the Gospel writers may well have been selective. It may just be that they didn't feel the need to state the bleedin' obvious! They knew what was right and wrong already. When the Bible talks of 'sexual immorality', the Jews knew that this included homosexual practice. Of course, Jesus also welcomed all sinners to his Kingdom, provided that they repented of the sin.

2 June 2008 at 21:17  
Anonymous British Patriot said...

The Gay Mafia are very short sighted, this Problem will be solved when Islam takes hold.

2 June 2008 at 23:40  
Anonymous wrinkled weasel said...

I think this issue is about the right for individuals to exhibit preferences and prejudices that have little or no negative impact upon those they discriminate against. It is also about the inevitable onslaught of disestablishment.

In this case, this man has a right to say who he welcomes into his home, and for what purposes. He is however operating in a quasi-official capacity in this case, licenced by the local authority to conduct what is, after all, a legal ceremony and so the laws and intent of the law must prevail. (We would not be having this argument if he had been banning black people).

Nobody can stop him holding Christian marriages that are subsequently ratified at a register office. It may be the way to go. It seems to me there is going to be a dislocation of Church and State anyway within the next decade and this episode is indicative of the reasons why.

I see too contradictions that go against the case for the local authority. The first is that Homosexuals have Civil Partnerships and not marriage, or so we were told at the time of the act. The second is that for some time, certain bars and clubs have been closed to heterosexuals, being the exclusive preserve of gays and lesbians. I don't hear of them losing their entertainment or bar licenses. It is therefore incumbent on the state to act fairly in all cases, and in this one, they have not.

2 June 2008 at 23:43  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

Wrinkled weasel makes a good point to separate the Christian marriage with the registry office civil ceremony.

I recall a friend who married a German girl and he said that they went through two separate ceremonies; first the civil ceremony followed by the Church ceremony the next day.

But I wonder when the Gay Mafia will argue that their civil partnerships are in reality marriages? They could then claim that it is discriminatory for Churches to exclusively marry a man to a woman.

And then the Churches would cease to hold marriage ceremonies in Church and people will have to get a priest to marry them in the privacy of their own home.

Such is the lunatic logic of all this.

3 June 2008 at 00:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace, I suppose that I should declare the customary interest: I am a gay man and agnostic (lapsed Ulster Presbyterian [issues with the doctrines of Predestination and Election and that Church's distaste for permitting God given talents to be employed in worship, amongst other issues], with a wary respect for the intellectual rigour of RC and an instinctive affection for Anglicanism; if I ever embrace Christianity it is likely to be due in part to the most gifted of Lutherans, JS Bach...).

1. Your Grace's use of the term 'gay marriage' is wholly beside the point: there is no such institution and if there were it would be an historical nonsense. Marriage is, obviously, a (valuable) Judaeo-Christian construct designed for bringing up children by a man and a woman. It follows that the assertion by your Grace that: "under his roof marriage would continue to be defined as the union of one man and one woman." is wholly irrelevant.

2. The Earl of Devon is also in error in asserting that his faith obliges him to refuse to host same sex civil partnerships. First it does not follow that conducting a commercial transaction with another implies approval of the beliefs of that other: if I was to open my Brixton garden to the public and was visited by Trotskyists, BNP supportes or Muslims how can that be said to imply approval of their respective beliefs? Does the Earl object to gay people visiting his house and grounds? In truth there is, mercifully, nothing in the 2007 regulations that can be construed as an attempt to "make windows into mens' souls" (subject to the exceptional case of the RC adoption agencies).

3. Whilst both scripture and Church teaching clearly condemn homosexuality (regardless of the fanciful notions of the Rev. Kirker and his like) I am not aware that this extends to prohibiting the faithful from conducting commercial transactions with homosexuals.

4. The position of the RC adoption agencies is quite different from that of the Earl and others in his position. Whilst entering into a commercial relationship with gays intending to commit to a civil partnership does not imply any encouragement of such relationships (they would simply go elsewhere)RC adoption agencies are actively involved in placing children with adoptive parents. In doing so they implicitly approve of the arrangement. To approve of and bring about such an arrangement would clearly be irreconcilable with Christian teaching and individual consciences. I regret that an exemption was not made in the 2007 regulations for the reasons above but also because the RC agencies helped place a disproportionately large number of the most recalcitrant children.

Von Hayek

3 June 2008 at 04:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace.
One might ask if " Ben Summerskill, who works for Stonewall " has been promoting his ideal of diversity within our Mulsim Communities and, if not, why not ?

While disagreeing with the Earl Of Devon I think that he has done the honourable thing in giving up his expected revenue for the sake of his concience and that should be the end of it.
There is nothing to prevent people marrying in the local Parish Church of Kenton ( bar Church regulations on connectivity ) and then taking the short walk to Powderham Castle for their magnificent reception ( whose invite would be on a personal basis that has nothing whatever to do with Devon County Council ).

3 June 2008 at 11:21  
Anonymous Voyager said...

; first the civil ceremony followed by the Church ceremony the next day.

That is because Bismarck waged a war against the Catholic Church - Kulturkampf. The Church lost its lands and depended upon a Church Tax - Kirchensteuer - levied as an additional percentage of Income Tax.

The State was supreme and ALL marriages have to be civil. If you choose to marry bin Church it is necessary to go through a separate ceremony and invite guests again plus ONLY those paying Kirchensteuer can marry in Church.

This means many Germans do not bother with two ceremonies but simply marry in a civil ceremony because of time/ expense.

In England the C of E Vivcar is also a Registrar for Marriages and can issue certificates whereas other RBs require the attendance of the Civil Registrar to issue marriage certificates.

The German system is mega-bureaucratic in terms of paperwork and frankly marriage is so difficult there ever fewer people bother with marriage or with children which is why Germany has one of the world's lowest birth rates. iquecarl

3 June 2008 at 19:53  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

There was recently an attempt to bring in universal state marriage, with the churches relegated to being an optional cosmetic accessory,but for some reason that has been postponed. Marriages were to have been recorded on-line, though the Church would have been able to offer a "certificate" for commemorative purposes (probably produced on the Vicar's computer). As a preliminary, the couple would have had to furnish birth certificates etc to the Registrar. (Again, the Church would have had a "role" in this, interviewing them, collecting the documents - on behalf of the Registrar). Meanwhile the registrars have lost their status as an independent profession and have become employees of the local authority. There is a very centralizing, Continental drift in all this. We shall be born, exist, get married, live and die by permission of the all-powerful and all-intrusive State.

4 June 2008 at 15:24  

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