Twitter Conversation Today

21 Comments on “Twitter Conversation Today

        • It’s always possible to find extreme examples. I’m thinking more like Singapore or Ireland.

          But even these two demonstrate the fact that despite people’s best intentions and efforts, fallen human beings can always be counted on to abuse power and to commit and cover up sin.

          But I’m interested in the general principle – I mean, we have laws to punish behaviour like murder or theft that we believe is detrimental to society. Can the principle not be extended?

          Just being a Devil’s advocate….

          • Well, perhaps trying to identify girly behaviour in boys or tomboyish behaviour in girls may seem harmless enough but once you have pointed out the kid in question, then what? Shame them and point the finger? Send them for some reparative therapy? Or something else?

              • Speaking as one who was horribly bullied at school mostly because I hated games and was publicly shamed as “lacking team spirit” by my housemaster I don’t think there was anything I could have done. It was who I was. I would have been mortified if anyone had talked to me about sexuality and at that age would have denied utterly anything suggesting I felt ss attraction. Childhood was a nightmare because I heard parents, teachers and others making casual remarks that I knew deep down applied to me, and, I thought, would make them hate me if they knew the truth. My own father once said to me when we were visiting Beaulieu Abbey “You know who lives here, don’t you? His Filthiness Lord Montagu”. Lord Montagu had been sent to prison for having gay sex. It look me years to come to terms and finally come out, on the way fleeing to a monastic vocation for a few years. That was the one place no one asked about when you were going to get a girlfriend. The Church gave a place for people such as me and I can tell you from experience that monasteries are full of non-actiing gay men who keep their vows, whether the Pope pretends otherwise or not.

                • I’ve very sorry to hear about that Tom. Those who pine after the supposed prelapsarian days before the repeal of Section 28 should bear in mind that it was not just youthful afficianados of “homosexual practice” who were brutalised by psychotic bullying, but anyone who engaged in non gender stereotypical behaviour (such as preferring books to sports). An irony now is that evangelical churches, supposedly holding fast against homosexualisation, are of by and for weepy, huggy, middle class males pretending to be fratboy toughguys (Mark Driscoll is a ‘good’ example of the phenomena); the results, alas, is often Nixon-esque overcompensation.

                  • Thanks Ryan. I certainly feel strengthened and empowered now that I have owned up to my true self and refused to accept the estimation of people like King George V (who famously once said “Good, God, I thought such men shot themselves”) and the proSection28ists. This is where Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Campaign is so important. The message needs to be got out to young people but with the internet and a more open society the genii is out of the bottle however much regressive and oppressive forces may huff and puff and send their postcards against any progressive measure. Unfortunately the major religions, particularly the monotheistic ones have found themselves on the wrong side of history. Only by turning back to a new Dark Ages will such voices silence the truth – I mean the truth that really DOES make you free – but they won’t stop at gay people if they ever succeed. Every other hard-one freedom would be in the sights of the new religiofascistopuritanism. Yes, I say blow you to Mark Driscoll – and he can take the USA meaning for all I care….

                    Incidentally, did you see a very interesting series of interviews between the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks and three atheistic scientists, Susan Green field, Jim Al-Khalili and Richard Dawkins? I think you can still get it on iPlayer.

                  • Ryan and Fiddles Sticks, don’t misunderstand me.The Catholic Church once gave a safe haven for gay men (those with no vocation for heterosex) unlike the first Protestants who had no way of dealing very kindly with singleness, but it was really a honey-trap to keep men in the closet and deny their sexuality. But don’t be too complacent, “sodomy” – whatever that meant, was still one of the Four SIns Crying to Heaven for Vengeance according to the Penny Catechism. Mark Jordan has documented the construction of the so-called “sin of sodomy” in his magisterial book “The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology “. The Church still tolerates those who hide their sexuality – the egodystonic – but once you become comfortable with it – egosyntonic – people like Ratzinger and O’Brien want you out. There was a brief moment following Vatican II when Quest, a movement of gay Catholics had talks with the hierarchy in this country.

                    • Thanks for that Tom – Jordan’s book sounds interesting.
                      I’d agree that the RC Church is in some senses more accepting of those who are not actively aspiring to a heterosexual life partner in a way not true of evangelical churches, which (in my experience) tend to worship Family Values first and anything else (except perhaps money) second. I realise that Peter is prone to point out that I’m extrapolating from a sample size of one, and that most evangelical churches are not as demented as St.Silage, but I hope he’d conceed that catholics with no interest in marrying members of the opposite sex can look to the likes of the Blessed Newman as a role model, whereas contemporary evangelical culture is dominated by the likes of Mark Driscoll, hardly fans of asceticism (yes, I know John Stott was a lifelong celibate, but I’d argue that an up and coming evangelical celibate would struggle to reach the top in the world of Driscoll et al) .

                      I remember one occasion when St.Silage’s lead pastor, in many ways an admirable man, spoke about Christ’s work among the lepers and said that the church should be doing more to reach out to sex offenders. The tumbleweed was deafening. It’s bad enough having pooves in a Church – which is for kiddies and Normal Family Wives and Husbands – but now you want us to forgive paedophiles who are like gays but even worse!!! Needless to say, the (biblical) suggestion was soon dropped in favour of building million quid plus vanity project church halls and the other materialistic crap that evangelicals have instead of altars.

                    • Speaking of altars it was interesting in the interview that the Chief Rabbi had with Richard Dawkins he avoided directly answering the question “But do you really believe that Abraham physically bound Isaac to an altar?” He said Abraham revealed to the Jews that you do not own your own children and that drew an “amen” from Dawkins who said he thinks one of the worst abuses of children is designate them in terms of their parents’ religion – Catholic baby, Muslim baby. He applauded the uniqueness amongst monotheists of the Jews in teaching children to ask questions and challenge everything about faith. Certainly something Catholics, Evangelicals and Muslims aren’t supposed to do.

                    • I’m not sure I would entirely agree with that last sentence. I’d certainly say that sections of the Catholic church and some Evangelical groups do encourage people to ask questions, it’s some of the answers that they’re not so happy with … On the other hand, some of the kids I’ve worked with in Muslim schools have asked questions and been told ‘this is religion. you don’t ask questions about religion’. I wouldn’t like to claim all Muslim groups are like that, but it does seem to be quite different from the teenage summer groups I attended where you put your question in a hat and the leaders try to answer them at question time.

                    • I don’t know that this is only a problem for gay people. Single people sometimes get quite frustrated (especially single women) at being made to feel that there’s something missing in their lives. My friend once complained ‘it’s as if Paul never wrote those verses about marriage bringing many difficulties and singleness being a calling’.

                      I think I’d see a big difference between someone ‘hiding’ in the sanctuary of a monastery, and someone who genuinely sees their sexuality as a vocation to celibacy and service to the Church. Obviously LGBT groups aren’t going to like either, but, at the end of the day, it’s between that person and God what they do with their life.

                    • Yes, very definitely worth embarking on. If you like being read to you can get it unabridged on A wonderful moment in the film is when the monks are at Lauds at dawn singing my favourite hymn – Urbs beata Ierusalem. They sing it very loud and the director explains he wanted it that way because they were men of faith in a way that it is difficult for us moderns to fully comprehend.

                      For Paul marriage certainly was not a priority, rather an accommodation. Not popular amongst Evos though :-)

                • Glad you’re happier now, Tom. Apart from anything else, the kid might just not be good at sport, or the girl might be a bit of a tomboy or a rebel. I’m not sure these stereotypes help anybody.

                  • Thanks Fiddle Sticks for your kind words. I know you hate bullying too. We all have to watch we don’t crush the bruised reed…..

                    • I too sucked at sports. This is, of course, a sign of intelligence, creativity, and general sophistication and brilliance, as we both demonstrate ;)

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