Comments: Bishop of Gloucester questions Church’s equality law exemption

Can it make sense for members of the Synod to be permitted to vote entirely contrary to the view of their diocesan synod?

Unless the C of E introduces proper party politics, with a party whip, I do not see how you can impose "the will of the Diocesan Synod" on any GS member.

Let us also remember that Diocesan Synods are not necessarily representative of the church at large (and it's also a lot easier for their opinions to be "managed", given that they are subject to no public scrutiny). In Perham's own diocese, the deanery of Cheltenham - a hotbed of evangelicalism - was until recently represented by a member of the Deanery's only C church.

Posted by James Mac at Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 8:27am GMT

I see that John Gladwin has also queried the use of the law to allow the C of E to continue to discriminate in ways that would be illegal to anyone else. I hope very much that the moves that will soon be made to remedy the appalling injustice of the vote last Tuesday will not be seen as the end of these matters.

Gay and lesbian clergy are still in an invidious position in the church. Closeted ones (many in marriages) feel they have to stay that way or they will lose job and home and reputation and all. Those who are out find that swathes of the C of E regard them as unemployable. Some bishops find it easier to cope with gay clergy who don't live with anyone, but draw a veil over how they cope with that loneliness. Others find it simpler to handle clergy who live with partners but are not in a civil partnership. The CP somehow makes it all solid and real and too much for some of the bishops to handle.

But why should LGBT clergy find that "living in sin" is somehow safer and simpler than being CPed - or indeed, if the government does what it says, civilly married? There is a dreadful double sandard persisting over this, as well as naked discrimination.

The deadly silence over LGBT clergy has to end and their gifts must be recognised and used. Removal of the legal exemption one be one way of helping the C of E to face reality.

Posted by Jeremy Pemberton at Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 8:57am GMT

James Mac, I agree with you. This is the way Synod is set up.

A representative exercises judgment independent of those who elected the representative.

Edmund Burke answered the question two centuries ago, in his speech to the electors of Bristol:

"But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion."

Why everyone is wondering why Synod opposed the measure, when the diocesan synods favored it, is forgetting basic principles of representative government.

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 25 November 2012 at 12:40pm GMT
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