Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Thursday, June 26

New vision on Civil Unions

I am surprised no one has commented on the way i have changed from ultra conservative to a much more tolerant and understanding position on homosexuality. I thought the conservatives would be enraged and tell me why I am wrong, and that Liberals was be pleased but call for more movement.

So is it because
  • you don't care?
  • you don't talk to heretics?
  • you don't want to expose your own position?
  • You don't know what to say?
  • You are scared I might be right?
  • You have not read it?

I think it's probably the either the first or the last!

Click on the 'homosexuality' tag below to see all my posts as my views have moved.


  1. I noticed that you’re using the catch "civil union", as apposed to marriage. I was wondering if you could clarify that.

    Are civil unions ok, but not marriages, or both?

    Personally I don't believe in gay "marriage". I think this way because marriage has a meaning which essentially defines itself as the "holy" (if you will) union between a man and a woman. That means something to people. To allow gay "marriage", is to, at a fundamental level, change the definition of the word.

    Having said that, I feel that homosexuals who love each other as a man and woman do, should be able to have the same rights and recognition afforded to them as married people.... But call it something else.

    You can't one day say we want the word wet to also encompass dry things and expect everyone to be ok with that. Can you?

    In other words, I think the problem rests in language and meaning, and not recognition of a union per se'.

  2. Hi Andrew, welcome to my blog.

    I used the term 'civil union' becasue in British law this is the term used for a same sex 'marriage'. Legally civil union and marriage confer identical rights and responsibilities, but the language has been kept different. As per your advice!

    I like your line about calling the dry wet. I think the counter to that is that in the past we have always been calling the moist dry, and the time has come to recognise it's wetness.

  3. touche'.

    But what do you think as a lay preacher? You use the term 'civil union' because of british law. Does this mean you'd prefer marriage?

  4. This is the issue that has had me in knots for some time. As a licensed reader, whose words carry the authority of the church, it is important that what I say is right, because some people will treat it as the oracle of God and live by it. Therefore, (not being gay myself) it makes little difference to me WHAT the truth is, I just want to find out what it is so that I can preach it correctly.

    Theologically, I have studied the proof texts - Leviticus 18 and 20, 1 Corinthians 6, Romans 1 etc, and have a fairly solid logical case that these refer to temple prostitution, not 'civil union'. On the other hand, the doctirne of marriage as 'one flesh points strongly towards heterosexual marriage as God's plan. But then 'one flesh' is also the source of doctrines about women's silence in church, women wearing hats in church, women not being ordained, and no remarriage after divorce. We seem happy to find excuses - I mean 'cultural explanations'- for these people, but not for gays. That is discrimination. So, either silence the women and remain unmarried, or let gays marry.

    Apparently there was a time when the Orthodox church had a liturgy for same sex unions which was almost identical to the marriage service.

    In summary, today i am 51% in favour of the church blessing civil unions (which perhaps we should call marriage), but the remaining 49% shouts loudly.

    This is a summary of a 5500 word document I have written on this, if you are interested.

  5. Good point.

    So would you say then that The Word of God is culturaly relative?

    I don't necessaraly disagree with that. Surely one of the goals of Christ was to break down cultural walls.

  6. No, the Word of God is not culturally relative. I believe in an unchanging God, who has inspired a universal and unchanging scripture. What he says in the Scripture is the absolute word of God, and must be obeyed in every detail in every generation. What was sin yesterday is still sin today, and if it was not sin yesterday then it still isn't.

    The difficulty is that we see and interpret the Bible through the stained glass of our culture, rather than seeing the pure white light.

    Hence in the past anti-semites, mysogenists and homophobes have found phrases to support their views, while now the opposing liberals find phrases that support their case.

    We need to put down our cultural stained glass and pre-conceived ideas and see the pure light - what was God really trying to say.

    This requires an understanding of the geographical, cultural, historical and political context in which the Bible was written, because this helps us to understand what the words were intended to mean when they were originally spoken, because that is the meaning we should apply. I include in this some passages which have bound into them a dual intended meaning - eg Isaiah's 'virgin' was probably his own wife, but it is still intended as a prophecy of Mary.

    So with Leviticus, we read at face value 'a man shall not lie with a man as with a woman for that is an abomination' - seems clear, but it is better translated as "as MEN lie with A woman" - which hints at prostitution. the Hebrew word for Abomination is different to similar words about food laws in Leviticus 11 - in this case it refers to idolatry. so we have a hint at temple prostitution. Then in Deuteronomy - the 'second law' which reiterates Leviticus, the only verse that can be matched to this one is "no male or female Israelite is to be a temple prostitute" [my summary of the verse]. So if you do the digging, you find that the original intention was not a blanket ban on male-male sex acts, it was against male and female prostitution associated with idolatrous temple worship. etc.

    So I need to set aside my deeply ingrained religiuos prejudices and with a blank canvas ask God what he REALLY wants me to believe.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I haven't had time to read it, because I'm between jobs. Also, I'm in an ecclesial setting where the issue has been settled. I think however that our US government should let people have civil unions in the same way that the UK govt has - but in the US, we like to pass laws about church sacraments. Go figure.

  9. Thanks Kyle - I do understand that it's impossible to read everything blogged.

    Meanwhile, my wife has wisely banned me for three months from continuing this debate, to allow my views to settle and to be certain I am in tune with the Lord, before I influence people on the ineternet again.

  10. I am always amazed at christians who make sweeping statements about homosexuals and the bible, but have no experience or real understanding of the gay lifestyle. There are many gay people who have one partner who they love deeply and wish to make a commitment, as well as allowing the two of them to access the same legal rights as any other married couple. There are also many who sleep around and of course that is wrong, just as heterosexual men and women who sleep around are also wrong. I am pleased to read Simon that you have moved away from your conservative view of this issue. I have always found the conservative view to be very harsh and almost ready to pick up arms to attack the gay community. Jesus would not be a conservative thinker on this, He would simply love them. And on that, love means even if they choose not to repent, even then we should continue to love them and this is where so many christians fall down. They excuse themselves by claiming the gays had their chance but refused, so the church washes their hands of them and condemns them as sinner who may as well have leprosy! I will keep on loving the gay people I meet and know, regardless of their choices.