God, Gays and the Church

From Anglican Mainstream

Orthodox Anglicans make a new contribution to the homosexuality debate within the Church of England, by launching a book containing testimonies of Christians who once believed they had a homosexual orientation, but now live happy and fulfilled lives in line with Biblical sexual ethics. These are complemented by essays in the fields of psychology, psychotherapy, genetics, biblical and pastoral theology, social ethics and cultural analysis.

The book, God, Gays and the Church: Human Sexuality and Experience in Christian Thinking, published by the Latimer Trust, will be launched at a special fringe meeting at the General Synod of the Church of England on Wednesday 13 February, nearly a year after the well-publicised ‘Gay Wednesday’ debates by the church’s parliament, during which many openly gay synod members used the floor of the chamber to promote same-sex relationships.

The book, edited by Dr Lisa Nolland, Sarah Finch and Dr Chris Sugden, seeks to correct the imbalance in the ‘Listening Process’ called for by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The editors argue that, so far, the whole listening process has been in “one direction and with one ultimate end” – the full inclusion of practising gay Anglicans at the very heart of the church’s establishment. The editors seek to put into the public domain not only the views of Christians who first thought themselves homosexual, and then chose to follow Biblical teaching, but also the expert evidence and research of psychologists, counsellors and theologians in the field. Further sections analyse the impact of the gay agenda on our culture.

god gays church

Cover of God, Gays and the Church – Click on picture for large version

Chapters include:

* Pastoral Considerations for Homosexuality
* Post-Gay: The Transforming Power of God
* Post-Lesbian: My Testimony
* Same Sex Attraction. Is it innate and immutable?
* A Faithful Church: The Bible and Same-Sex Sex
* Civil Partnerships: Advice to UK Parishes and Clergy
* Unexpected Consequences: The Sexualisation of Youth

Expert contributions include chapters by Professor Joseph Nicolosi, former President of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, and Professor Robert A. J. Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice (2001).

In his Foreword to the book, the Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Michael Scott-Joynt, writes: “This book has been planned by people who were profoundly concerned, for the sake of the integrity of the Church of England and of its teaching, about the overall character of the two Debates that took place in the Church of England’s General Synod on February 28th 2007 … I share their fundamental concerns … Our integrity, as a Church that is properly serious about doctrine and discipline, was gravely undermined. … every Christian is called to have her or his ‘experience’ conformed to the teachings of Scripture, and then to those of the ‘great tradition’ of the Church down the centuries …”

The launch of God, Gays and the Church: Human Sexuality and Experience in Christian Thinking takes place at 1pm, Wednesday 13 February, 2008 in the Convocation Hall of Church House, Westminster. Speakers will include the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Dr Peter Forster, and some of the contributors to the book.

Copies can be pre-ordered from the Latimer Trust.

Yes, yours truly is finally in print. No, I don’t get a single cut from the royalties. Buy it anyway….

Posted in Church of England, Sexuality, Theology, Wholeness
  • On the other hand, if I were to contribute an essay to a book which aimed to put the gay Christian point of view to Church leaders, I should be very unhappy indeed if it later transpired that the book also contained essays which advocated, for instance, the acceptance of paedophile practices in the Church. While I would not feel that my contributing to the book had implied my acceptance of the views of the other writers, I would still bitterly regret having done so.

    Yes. Absolutely. That is different though to being accused of promoting and endorsing the essay on paedophilia.

  • Tom

    Hi Peter

    Can I just ask why this thread is now split in two and the first part only comes up if you do a search? It is a pity because the arguments there from William, Boo and Winston are equally important and continuity is lost if you join the debate halfway through at A brief Review and the 14 Comments. Could you put a link back to previous comments if the whole lot can’t be joined up?



  • Winston


    Based on what you say, I think it is impossible to ever see how there may be a place of genuine listening between people like you and me. It makes me wonder what it means for us to be baptised into the same faith since we clearly understand what it means to follow Jesus Christ very differently. In fact, sometimes I wonder if we worship the same God.

    I do wonder, though, why you are so obsessed with this issue? In reality, most of the gay people I know just live their lives in pretty ordinary ways. Your sexualisation, if not demonisation, of us as walking time-bombs of disease does not relate to anything I experience in relationships with anyone in my life. As a teacher and priest, I thank God that I belong to communities where people do not think like you. I thank God my students do not hear your views – particularly the gay ones. I guess you might say likewise about your communities with regard to me. However, I think your passionate, if not vitriolic, polemic against homosexuality is ultimately futile. At the moment, it is only heard by a small group of individuals, many of them disconnected from the realities of living in a multicultural, pluralistic, secular society. I cannot see how this will ever change, and for this I give God thanks.

    I do wish you well in your endeavours though. By the way (on a lighter note), everyone knows the picture is by Rembrandt, but it does look like someone giving a ‘blow-job’. I guess because I see it is like this is another indicator of my immorality – oh well, I am in good company.

  • Boo

    Well, if I’d ever had any doubts as to whether the ex-gay path is for me, you’ve dispelled them, Mr. Ould. I value my integrity far to highly to go down your path, plus I don’t think I could master the complicated level of verbal gymnastics required.

    So first:

    Firstly, you’re absolutely right that some of the things Cameron has said about homosexuals are offensive and derogatory. He has been removed from various professional bodies. None of that is in question. What is in question is whether, even given the fact that his research on the age of death of non-HIV gay men is flawed to a lesser or greater extent (and we can argue till the cows come home on this one – the bottom line is that of the sample that Cameron took, the average age at death was remarkably low), that there is any other evidence to suggest he is wrong.

    But then:

    I think it was very unwise for the editors to include Cameron’s research for exactly the reasons you have just said. I’m not aware of any other credible researchers who would endorse Cameron’s paper.

    So which is it? Were they right to put the paper in or not? Drop the equivocation and give me a simple yes or no. I repeat: the burden is on the person making the claim to prove they are right, not on other people to prove they are wrong. As noted, the same data set shows lesbians are 300 times as likely as str8 women to die in car crashes. If your data set leads you to conclusions that can’t possibly be true, then there is obviously something wrong with your data set. Claim debunked. End of story.

    Your extension of the quote from the slate.com piece still demonstrates flawed mathematics. All you’re showing is that you have a vary basic understanding of data sets and statistics.

    For your clustering idea to work, AIDS couldn’t have ever had any effect on the mortality rates of gay men. I think we know that’s obviously untrue. What would all those HIV negative gay men be dying of at 40? Parachute accidents?

    If others choose to publicise that failure to observe same-sex couples, then those who believe that rampant promiscuity is not the hallmark of the “gay community” should demonstrate otherwise, as many do.

    So if I’m understanding you correctly, you believe that rampant promiscuity should be given special status as the null hypothesis, with the burden of proof not on those advancing the claim? Why?

    So to sum up, your claim that I have personally endorsed the remaining content in the book by agreeing to have my submission included is ludicrous, and you only make yourself look worse each time you and others claim it. It is an utter logical and literary fallicy to suggest that any contributor to a compendium of essays automatically apologises for the other contributions. You cannot assume I either endorse or repudiate any of the other pieces in the book just because I do or don’t say so publicly, and furthermore (more importantly) I don’t need to. If you have a problem with the Lee essay, go and bug him. If you want to ask my opinion about it then go ahead, but do not assume I am an apologist for Lee and that he is an apologist for me. Such an assumption is naivé in the extreme and only demonstrates poor debating skills.

    You may or may not be aware that NARTH got in pretty hot water a while back for publishing an article that argued that the civil rights movement was really about marxist political correctness and slavery really wasn’t all that bad. I was the one who found the article and got the ball rolling on that, although exgaywatch and Wayne Besen did most of the leg work. Not an enormous contribution to the gay rights movement on my part, but it was something. Let’s say at some point in the future Besen writes a follow up book to Anything But Straight documenting the further scandals of the ex-gay movement. Let’s say, for some wild reason, he asks me to contribute an essay. I happen to think Besen often goes a little too far in his rhetoric, so I’d want some idea of what else he was putting in the book. If I happened to discover that he was planning to link ex-gay therapists and organizations to bestiality and pedophilia (don’t get pissed at me, I wasn’t the one who put it in God Gays and the Church), or sentences like “And, gentle reader, [the porn section of a gay bookshop] is where most married ex-gays will spend the rest of the Saturday nights of their lives, until God or AIDS, drugs or alcohol, suicide or a lonely old age, intervenes.” or “Here is the terrifying fact: If we as a nation and as a Church allow ourselves to be taken in by the scam of ex-gays, we will be … legitimizing every kind of socio-political repression, from homophobia and anti-Semitism to the re-imposition of slavery.” then I would choose not to associate myself with a book like that. If I only found out about it after the fact, then I would take every step I could to repudiate the book and apologize for allowing myself to be used to help promote someone else’s hideous lies. I have integrity. Perhaps one day you will rediscover yours.

    Oh, and after the NARTH debacle, Warren Throckmorton decided not to go and present at their conference. Throckmorton isn’t a NARTH member and had nothing to do with putting that essay on their site, but apparently his integrity wouldn’t allow him to associate himself with people who do that sort of thing.

    I’m disappointed once again that when, as before, later in your comment the discussion turns to the child sex issue (again – you keep on raising it), you resort to personal attack and abuse. I am simply not willing to engage with you on this specific issue as long as you continue to be personally offensive. We can have a calm and relaxed discussion about the sexualisation of society or you can throw innuendos in abundance at me. Your choice.

    If the radical right keeps promoting stuff like this book, I guarantee you I won’t be the last person you hear from on this issue. The difference is next time it may not be someone using hyperbole to make a point about double standards. It may be someone who actually believes the innuendo this book promotes about people like us.

    And Winston- try the third article down on this link:


    Hopefully you have a strong stomach.

    Although this quote is hysterical:

    Some men were homosexual because they became weary of women through overindulgence or because they looked for new highs in their parasitic life.

    Remember str8 guys, too much sex with women will turn you gay! It’s science!

  • [riffly_video]76CA4EDEE05F11DCBBCFD0A456B4F508[/riffly_video]

  • Jill

    Okay, so many of you are not going to accept Paul Cameron’s statistics, no matter how nearly they coincide with other research. What about the Terrence Higgins Trust? Here are a few of the latest headlines:

    Gay men are still the group at greatest risk of acquiring HIV here in the UK.
    New HIV diagnoses amongst gay men are the highest ever and are continuing to rise, albeit slowly. Twenty five years into the UK experience of HIV, this is not good enough. We need to renew the fight.

    Gay men continue to take risks with their sexual health.
    In 2005, nearly half of all gay men in London who had gonorrhoea also had HIV. For men with LGV, co-infection with HIV rises to 80%. Between 1997 and 2006, new diagnoses of all STIs amongst gay men have risen by 112%.

    Gay men with undiagnosed HIV are more likely than those who know they are positive to have unprotected anal sex.
    Evidence suggests that men who do not know they have HIV are up to three times more likely than men who do know about their infection to pass the virus on. Yet rates for undiagnosed HIV remain the same from year to year.

    Gay men are more likely to use drugs during casual sex.
    In Sigma’s 2005 Gay Men’s Sex Survey, nearly two thirds of men surveyed at community venues reported drug use when they had sex with casual or regular partners in the previous year. HIV positive men were more likely to report drug use.

    Pink News is also awash with articles on the health of gay men, reporting a rise in syphilis and evidence of HIV positive men being much more susceptible to other diseases.

    And there is this, from a gay man, on World Aids Day, 2006, entitled ‘Gays are too proud to confront AIDS, still the real killer.’

    clip) FORGET gay marriage: the real story about homosexual Australians on this World AIDS Day is, once again and shamefully, an HIV/AIDS tragedy. This is because new figures from the University of NSW’s National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research confirm a worrying trend. They indicate that 10 per cent to 18 per cent of the inner-city gay population of Sydney is HIV-infected. That means HIV infection rates are still rising.

    By comparison, UN figures cited in The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday claimed that Lesotho, a poor African nation, had infection rates of 20 per cent. That makes Sydney’s inner city comparable to an AIDS-ravaged African nation.

    But you will not hear homoactivists, medical associations, legal institutes or others, some of whom have been very vocal in their support of gay unions, campaigning for a change in the way the gay community approaches the facts of infection, or arguing for a re-evaluation of the tenets of gay liberation.

    They are too busy talking about relationship equality and gay marriage, even though the only reliable study of the intentions of gay men and lesbians, the Private Lives survey conducted by La Trobe University in 2006, found the overwhelming majority of gay men did not intend to formalise their relationships at all and that most weren’t even in a relationship of any kind, let alone in a union that would approach the mainstream definition of a marriage.

    It is time, then, that ordinary Australians – whether same-sex attracted like me, or otherwise – stood up and demanded more from leaders and activists. It is time to clear away the politically correct nonsense, to stop focusing on fripperies such as gay marriage and other diversions and start focusing on something that will really assist gay men and the wider community: an intense campaign aimed at HIV/AIDS prevention. (end of clip)


    What do you think the purpose of these articles is? Would you consider them homophobic? If not, why do you consider Paul Cameron’s research to be homophobic? Or any of the research on which his was based, which came up with similar conclusions? In spite of the rather transparent attempt to link Paul Cameron with Nazis I cannot for the life of me see why this should be considered homophobic, or why he should have been the target for so much vitriol.

    There is never going to be completely accurate data on life expectancy of gay men for a number of reasons, not least that not all same-sex attracted men wish to identify themselves as gay, and of course the fluidity of sexual ‘orientation’, which can change naturally over a lifetime. But I do think that you have got to stop being in denial, or trying to shoot the messenger.

    Winston, I don’t think you have anything to fear from Christians, who value every human life as being equal in the sight of God, and will always love the sinner even if they cannot bestow approval on the sin. There is far more to worry about from right-wing secularists, who I believe will be on the increase because of increasingly strident gay ‘rights’ legislation forcing them where they don’t want to go, especially with issues like gay adoption and indoctrination of children. But more worrying, in my view, is the Islamic incursion which, if the present trend continues, with high immigration and high birthrates, will have a lot more influence, certainly in Europe. People in Civil Partnerships will be sitting ducks.

    You are opposing the wrong people. We are the ones who will stand by you when the chips are down, and I think you will find some of your fair-weather friends will melt away.

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  • Tom

    Dear Peter

    Paul Cameron is such a can of worms I am surprised anyone who wants to be listened to uses him. The book in which you have an article purports to be a part of the “Listening Process” so what is the point if everyone turns off and doesn’t listen to what you others have to say which may be valuable because of the inclusion of someone so iffy as Cameron? They think “Cameron, NARTH, articles about miserable men in bookstore darkrooms, is that the best they can do?” and stifle a yawn at the transparent homophobia of it all.

    I absolutely agree with you that it is not ultimately the responsibility of a contributor like you to vet the other entries. It absolutely IS the responsibility of the editors. Very much so, so if they have ballsed it up, in your shoes, I’d be pretty pissed off and I’d say so. I don’t think you are a homophobe but you seem to be in their company – a fifth column? (only joking). Good for you, Peter, because you keep before their faces the reality of gay people as flesh-and-blood humans with all the joys, fears and sorrows of everyone else and so easily demonised and scape-goated into a “gay lobby” intent on destruction of world order as they think it should be.

    As for the argument that Cameron is the best research we’ve got because no one else has done obit studies like his, that’s a bit smelly. In the 60s Hans Eysenck was said to be the best authority we had on IQ and he said IQ tests proved that black people were less intelligent than whites. A lot of people went along with that in schools around the country. It was the best we had but it was wrong. Not only that, it was seriously damaging to black kids’ chances, parental expectations, and the well-being and self-acceptance of black people. I am not saying Eysenck was personally wicked in this, but his theories were – and we bought them. I don’t know enough about Cameron to know if he is wicked – his methods are wicked – worse than slapdash, so he probably is. He said Hitler had the right idea about gays – in my book that’s wicked.

  • Tom,

    I’d be interested if anybody can source the Cameron Hitler quote.

  • Evening Peter,

    just quickly: there’s no direct quote I know of but I would suggest you go to http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com and read their feature, ‘Paul Cameron’s World’ which quotes extensively from his work. You’ll see that he did say at one stage in the ’80s (discussing AIDS in America I think) that extermination of homosexuals might become “a plausible option”, among other examples.

    in friendship, Blair

  • Edward

    I am so glad I am not religious.

    This, just like all the other debates on homosexuality and religion, is a waste of time and pixels.

    Whilst you waste time debating the rights and wrongs, we’ll just get on with our lives, live how we want to live, and love who we want to love. If the Church and people at large were more concered about what’s in people hearts rather that what’s between their legs, we’d live in a much happier world.

    I would urge you all to listen to the music of Bad Religion (a multi-million selling socio-political band with a university Professor for a lead singer).

    Maybe it’ll help your world view.