Sunday, 5 May 2013

Man in active homosexual relationship who wants to become priest takes bishop to human rights tribunal for ‘discrimination’


New Zealand became the 13th country to legalise same sex marriage two weeks ago.

This week the Anglican Bishop of Auckland is being taken to the Human Rights Tribunal over allegations he is discriminating against a gay man who wants to become a priest.

Right Reverend Ross Bay (pictured) has been accused of preventing a gay man entering the Anglican Church's training or discernment programme for priests because he is unmarried and in a sexual relationship with his male partner.

Bay denies the allegation.

The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he had been signalling his desire to train for the priesthood since 2006, but had never been accepted into the programme (but see follow up here).

Bay, who approves entrants to the Anglican Church's clergy training programme, has been the Bishop of Auckland since 2010.

The Human Rights Act 1993 allows exceptions to some discrimination laws, including where organised religions are following their doctrine.

The Bishop said, ultimately, church rules determine who can be ordained, and he refused the man entry ‘by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church’.

He added that anyone in a sexual relationship outside of marriage would not be accepted to train as a priest.

The case is illustrative of the sort of litigation that will become commonplace once same sex marriage is legalised.

At the end of the day this is not about ‘legal equality’ – already granted by civil partnerships – or ‘love’ – nothing currently stands in the way of such relationships.

It is largely about the desire for affirmation and recognition.

What infuriates and drives some sections of the gay rights lobby is the fact that some other members of society - in this case leaders in the Anglican church - refuse to accept, affirm and celebrate their sexual relationships.

And so in complete disregard of the directive of Jesus and Paul not to take fellow Christians to court (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 6:5-7) they end up doing just that – thus underlining the key issue at stake in this debate – a disregard for biblical authority.

The Bible is very clear that the only context for sexual intercourse is within a lifelong heterosexual marriage relationship.

If this aspiring priest wishes to be ordained he needs to acknowledge and respect that by giving up his claim to ordination or by becoming celibate. He can't have it both ways. 

Even if he is successful in challenging the rules in a human court he will not be successful when he attempts to justify himself before God who set the rules in the first place. 

See also 'New Zealand anti-gay marriage group to lose charity status')

NB: The Human Rights Tribunal later dismissed this case in October 2013

33 comments:

  1. Doesn't the biblical word for "marriage" just mean "partnership"? Nothing to do with people's sexuality at all?

    In any event, I assume you'll be delighted at the moves to bring in same sex marriage in the UK, as it means gay people can be married before having sex. Win win!

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    1. No it's defined in Genesis 2:24 - one man, one woman, for life - which means that two people of the same sex can never be married.

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    2. You're working from an English translation. You need to go back to the Hebrew.

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    3. So then exegete the Hebrew of Genesis 2:24 and Leviticus 18 and 20

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  2. But again, the exegesis was written by more recent people with more recent prejudices.

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    1. It could be that no one, down the centuries, has ever considered that marriage is other than between a man and a woman, until our present corrupt age.

      Two different become one, a man and woman, husband and wife. There is no space for any other.

      The demand for 'gay' marriage is an indication of how far into corruption our age has fallen.

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    2. Or the demand for same sex marriage shows how enlightened our age is becoming?

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    3. Enlightened, hardly. More likely simply lacking in any moral sensitivity, in much the same league as the mistreatment of patients in hospitals and the killing of the preborn for the convenience of the mother.

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    4. Two whole new topics. You know that satisfaction with the NHS is at a record high? (or was, before this dreadful Coalition got in) And "killing of the preborn"...that's all about definitions.

      I really think it would be more sensible to stick to the original topic of same-sex marriage, though.

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    5. Enlightened?
      No. It actually shows how historically blinded this present age is to the effects of homosexuality.
      The bible teaches and GOD says that same sex relationships are sinful and again the bible teaches that God hates sin and because sin is so destructive He sent His Son to die in our place. When some Christians were carrying on in their sin (possibly sexual) the apostle had to tell them that they were not to continue in sin.

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    6. You say these things as if they were proven fact. They're not. They're the belief of (some) Christians. What is proven fact is that homosexuality is not a choice. Why would God hate people for the way they're born?

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    7. There is a difference between sexual orientation (which is of complex aetiology) and sexual behaviour (which is a matter of choice. You are conflating the two.

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    8. I am, I agree. But heterosexuals don't have to "choose" whether to express their sexuality. Neither should homosexuals have to. Both are equally valid sexualities.

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    9. Heterosexuals equally have to choose whether to express their sexuality and Christians may only do so within marriage. Many heterosexual Christians have no option but to remain celibate.

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    10. Some Christians choose only to do so within marriage. I know many unmarried Christians who are in sexual relationships.

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    11. Well they shouldn't be. All sex outside marriage is morally wrong.

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    12. Different people (and different churches) interpret the Bible differently, and make their own moral choices.

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    13. I'd be very interested to see a cogent biblical case for sex outside marriage :-) Some biblical interpretations are just plain wrong.

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    14. Well, as ever, "wrong" is a question of interpretation.

      :-)

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    15. So let's hear your 'interpretation' of the Bible's teaching on sexuality :-)

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    16. Actually

      1)if there is such a reality as 'God' outside of what we individually believe

      and

      2) If this God is the One who breathed the Bible into existence through mankind

      then

      3)Sex is not merely a question of human 'interpretation' but God's interpretation.

      4) If 1 and 2 can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt then 3) is the conclusion

      5)If 4) is the case the premise that 'sex outside of marriage is morally wrong' is the case also.

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    17. Well, for a start, if you go back to the original language, there is no condemnation of LGB relationships in the Old Testament. The verses in Genesis and Leviticus most often quoted as such are in fact condemnation of abusive sex. There have even been suggestions that relationships such as David & Jonathan and Naomi & Ruth are gay/lesbian. (I don't agree with this, btw.)

      As far as I can recall, Jesus himself had nothing to say on the subject.

      There is a passage, I think in Romans, where Paul appears to condemn homosexuality. Paul also supported slavery and the oppression of women. Does that mean that these should also continue? Paul was not divine.

      I just looked it up. Right after that passage, Paul warns people not to condemn others. "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." (Romans 2:1, King James version)

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    18. Not so. The creation ordinance of marriage is defined in Genesis 2:24 - one man, one woman, for life.

      Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 make no mention of abuse. What is proscribed is consensual homosexual sex. That is very clear from the context.

      Jesus upheld the Genesis ordinance in Matthew 19:4-6 and all Old Testament teaching in Matthew 5:17-20. He did not specifically mention incest or bestiality either, but both like homosexual relations are in the lists of proscribed activities in Leviticus.

      Paul spoke with God's authority. The passage you are referring to is Romans 1:18-32 but 1 Corinthians 6:10 and 1 Timothy 1:10 specifically mention homosexual relations also.

      Judging people within the church for sexual immorality is specifically commanded in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13.

      You find more detail on biblical teaching on sexuality here - http://bit.ly/yw3XUU

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    19. Gen. 2.24 mentions one man and one woman, but does not say this is the only possible configuration of a marriage. The Adam and Eve story appears in Genesis because a male-female couple was needed to populate the Earth, not because all other possibilities were automatically "wrong".

      The context of Leviticus 18 is idolatry. Verse 18.22 can more correctly be seen therefore as dealing with ritual sexual activity between men in a Pagan temple.

      Leviticus 20.13 is pretty much identical to 18.22, with the addition of the death penalty. Again, it deals with sexual activity in a Pagan temple.

      I repeat: Paul condoned slavery and the oppression of women. Are we to take his word on these matters too?

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    20. Sorry, I should of course have said "the second half" of Leviticus 18.

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  3. I'm afraid those topics are part of the same topic of the descent of our society into greater sin. Our society is not enlightened, it is passing into darkness, a dark age.

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    1. You are right, Martin - our age is a dark age, in which we think it is wrong to say "that is wrong". We think people can change sex. We think our minds are more real than our bodies. And we think that Right and Wrong come from man-made law.

      But underneath it all...nothing has changed. Our bodies are as they were with Adam and Eve. Our laws still come from God. The darkess of the dark age is the darkness of illusion and temptation. All of this is a mere cloud across the sun. So, have hope. The truth has not gone anywhere.

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  4. The truth is eternal and endures even through dark ages. God does not change and neither does His truth. No one knows how long this new dark age will last, but like all ages it will end, and the truth will still be available to be understood by those that have the wisdom and humility to listen. Our task is to ensure that truth is protected and passed on through time until the new resurgence. In the west the light flickers whilst in the global south it burns ever more brightly.

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  5. The un-named man in the article may have found that there is no option but to take his case to a human legal court - and this may pain him considerably - but how else might his case be heard, given that the Right Reverend Ross Bay will not permit this man to fulfil his vocation (and either God is calling him or he is not - and he obviously still feels 'called' seven years on from 2006).
    What fun we are having while the Church digs itself deeper into an entrenched Catch 22 - 'no sex outside of marriage' and to a whole group of people who would like to commit to marriage 'sorry, no marriage for you'.
    Hopefully, by 2017, this man will be married and a minister and we can all move along, nothing to see here....

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    1. That's the whole point here. New Zealand may have legalised 'gay marriage' but as far as God and the church are concerned marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.

      'Gay marriage' is an oxymoron, like a three wheeled bicycle or a two storey bungalow - it is a legal fiction.

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    2. Other oxymorons include "compassionate conservatism" and "benevolent paternalism."

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  6. Bishop Ross Bay subsequently won his tribunal case - more detail and links can be found at http://bit.ly/1k2Xfb9

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  7. The bible was written by men. The concept of god was created by man. The idea of homosexuality being wrong was conceived by men. It's all just opinion and two people being married makes no difference to your existence whatsoever.

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