Lancashire TelegraphBeing ‘straight’ doesn’t make me a better person (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Being ‘straight’ doesn’t make me a better person

A central principle common to all world religions is the idea that we should behave towards others in the way in which we would expect others to behave towards us. Christ devotes much of his teaching to this theme, building on the Old Testament injunction that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

“Judge not, that ye be not judged”, and “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, are two of his most powerful, and enduring, messages about how individuals, local communities, and whole societies, should live peacefully, and happily, with others.

Given the key importance of these ideas to Christianity, why are some church leaders – in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches in particular – not practicing what Christ taught, on the issue of people’s sexuality?

I happen to be, in the modern jargon, “straight”. It doesn’t make me a better person.

I didn’t choose to be straight. It’s how I am. It would be no different if I were gay.

I would neither be a better, nor a worse, person because of it. It would simply be how I was.

Because I am straight, I have a right to marry a woman. But if I were a gay man, or a lesbian woman, in love with another gay man, or lesbian woman, I can get to a half-way house with a “civil partnership”, but the law currently says that I cannot marry.

Some Church leaders say the law should stay that way, on the spurious grounds that the sanctity and importance of heterosexual marriage will somehow be damaged. How, why?

I know of no-one who is married who feels threatened by the idea that another couple, same sex, wishes to cement their love for each other by marrying.

Why should this not be a matter of celebration, rather than of prohibition?

And how on earth do these church leaders square their present stand with those biblical injunctions about treating others as you would expect to be treated yourself?

Comments (14)

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12:03pm Thu 8 Mar 12

Joseph Yossarian says...

Not very often you'll hear me say this Jack, but you are absolutely spot on.

I had the pleasure of attending the civil ceremony of one of your colleagues in the house of commons.
It was a happy occasion and only a cynic (such as I) would feel the slightly sour taste of a former vicar not being allowed to marry in a church.
Not very often you'll hear me say this Jack, but you are absolutely spot on. I had the pleasure of attending the civil ceremony of one of your colleagues in the house of commons. It was a happy occasion and only a cynic (such as I) would feel the slightly sour taste of a former vicar not being allowed to marry in a church. Joseph Yossarian
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Thu 8 Mar 12

Commenting says...

I vehemently disagree with you Jack and I believe that you have cynically used the words from the gospel in such a way to justify your argument
I vehemently disagree with you Jack and I believe that you have cynically used the words from the gospel in such a way to justify your argument Commenting
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Thu 8 Mar 12

don't worry be happy says...

Well said Jack, you have gone up in my estimation.
Well said Jack, you have gone up in my estimation. don't worry be happy
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Thu 8 Mar 12

Joseph Yossarian says...

Commenting wrote:
I vehemently disagree with you Jack and I believe that you have cynically used the words from the gospel in such a way to justify your argument
See any priest for further examples of such tactics.
[quote][p][bold]Commenting[/bold] wrote: I vehemently disagree with you Jack and I believe that you have cynically used the words from the gospel in such a way to justify your argument[/p][/quote]See any priest for further examples of such tactics. Joseph Yossarian
  • Score: 0

1:56pm Thu 8 Mar 12

JohnnyDale says...

Its very rare for me to agree with you or your politics Jack, but you're right here. All due credit to you for that.

Unfortunately there is at least one foaming mouthed, homophobic, evolution-denying religious nutter with a regular column win the Telegraph who won't.
Its very rare for me to agree with you or your politics Jack, but you're right here. All due credit to you for that. Unfortunately there is at least one foaming mouthed, homophobic, evolution-denying religious nutter with a regular column win the Telegraph who won't. JohnnyDale
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2:17pm Thu 8 Mar 12

Joseph Yossarian says...

JohnnyDale wrote:
Its very rare for me to agree with you or your politics Jack, but you're right here. All due credit to you for that. Unfortunately there is at least one foaming mouthed, homophobic, evolution-denying religious nutter with a regular column win the Telegraph who won't.
Add:
Bigoted
Extreme
Mysogenist
Fundamentalist
Divisive
intolerant
Dogmatic
Vengeful
Discriminatory
onto the list.....
[quote][p][bold]JohnnyDale[/bold] wrote: Its very rare for me to agree with you or your politics Jack, but you're right here. All due credit to you for that. Unfortunately there is at least one foaming mouthed, homophobic, evolution-denying religious nutter with a regular column win the Telegraph who won't.[/p][/quote]Add: Bigoted Extreme Mysogenist Fundamentalist Divisive intolerant Dogmatic Vengeful Discriminatory onto the list..... Joseph Yossarian
  • Score: 0

3:48pm Thu 8 Mar 12

sean_brfc says...

Well said. I'm sick of the church / religion trying to hold society back.
Well said. I'm sick of the church / religion trying to hold society back. sean_brfc
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Thu 8 Mar 12

Between_the_lions says...

Joseph Yossarian wrote:
JohnnyDale wrote:
Its very rare for me to agree with you or your politics Jack, but you're right here. All due credit to you for that. Unfortunately there is at least one foaming mouthed, homophobic, evolution-denying religious nutter with a regular column win the Telegraph who won't.
Add:
Bigoted
Extreme
Mysogenist
Fundamentalist
Divisive
intolerant
Dogmatic
Vengeful
Discriminatory
onto the list.....
Well said.
[quote][p][bold]Joseph Yossarian[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]JohnnyDale[/bold] wrote: Its very rare for me to agree with you or your politics Jack, but you're right here. All due credit to you for that. Unfortunately there is at least one foaming mouthed, homophobic, evolution-denying religious nutter with a regular column win the Telegraph who won't.[/p][/quote]Add: Bigoted Extreme Mysogenist Fundamentalist Divisive intolerant Dogmatic Vengeful Discriminatory onto the list.....[/p][/quote]Well said. Between_the_lions
  • Score: 0

1:23am Fri 9 Mar 12

ToffeeGuy says...

Why is this article just about Christianity's attitude to same-sex marriage? Why aren't you criticising other religions and faiths?

How can the LT publish this opinion without looking at how other faiths treat this matter? Yet again, and in the recent words of the BBC Director General, Christianity is expected to have 'broad shoulders' to accept criticism of it's leaders.
Why is this article just about Christianity's attitude to same-sex marriage? Why aren't you criticising other religions and faiths? How can the LT publish this opinion without looking at how other faiths treat this matter? Yet again, and in the recent words of the BBC Director General, Christianity is expected to have 'broad shoulders' to accept criticism of it's leaders. ToffeeGuy
  • Score: 0

8:52am Fri 9 Mar 12

Joseph Yossarian says...

ToffeeGuy wrote:
Why is this article just about Christianity's attitude to same-sex marriage? Why aren't you criticising other religions and faiths? How can the LT publish this opinion without looking at how other faiths treat this matter? Yet again, and in the recent words of the BBC Director General, Christianity is expected to have 'broad shoulders' to accept criticism of it's leaders.
Possibly because of high up christian priests making a lot of noise on the matter, hence the response.
[quote][p][bold]ToffeeGuy[/bold] wrote: Why is this article just about Christianity's attitude to same-sex marriage? Why aren't you criticising other religions and faiths? How can the LT publish this opinion without looking at how other faiths treat this matter? Yet again, and in the recent words of the BBC Director General, Christianity is expected to have 'broad shoulders' to accept criticism of it's leaders.[/p][/quote]Possibly because of high up christian priests making a lot of noise on the matter, hence the response. Joseph Yossarian
  • Score: 0

9:06am Fri 9 Mar 12

manyarecalled says...

Strange that ''straight'' people are increasingly choosing to live together without getting married , while the opposite appears to be happening with gay couples.
I always thought that marriage was for people to provide a stable environment for children .
what is worrying is the number of intelligent couples who are not having children .
why this is the case , I don't know.
Strange that ''straight'' people are increasingly choosing to live together without getting married , while the opposite appears to be happening with gay couples. I always thought that marriage was for people to provide a stable environment for children . what is worrying is the number of intelligent couples who are not having children . why this is the case , I don't know. manyarecalled
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Fri 9 Mar 12

Revtel says...

Come on, Jack.

Where is your condemnation of the other faiths on this matter?

How come you are not addressing your comments to the thousands of Islamic believers in your own constituency?

Ah yes, I remember - Christianity is an easy target, and you, jackstraw, are a coward.

Shame on you.
Come on, Jack. Where is your condemnation of the other faiths on this matter? How come you are not addressing your comments to the thousands of Islamic believers in your own constituency? Ah yes, I remember - Christianity is an easy target, and you, jackstraw, are a coward. Shame on you. Revtel
  • Score: 0

11:16pm Fri 9 Mar 12

ToffeeGuy says...

Mr Straw, I would be interested to know how your belief in “Do to others as you would have them do to you” is matched to your support for wars in Iraq and Afganistan. Quite a paradox.
Mr Straw, I would be interested to know how your belief in “Do to others as you would have them do to you” is matched to your support for wars in Iraq and Afganistan. Quite a paradox. ToffeeGuy
  • Score: 0

1:01pm Mon 12 Mar 12

karolgadge says...

Do I understand from this article that Jack is about to turn the other cheek and indeed love those who hate him? Will he don the habit of a Capuchin Franciscan and teach us by example?
The spectacle of a senior Labour politician attempting to teach theology reminds me of Margaret Thatcher and her ridiculous attempts to don the clerical collar. Some may recall how, in 1979, she quoted St Francis on the steps of 10 Downing St. Others may recall squirming with embarrassment (as I did) when she addressed the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Now it appears that Jack Straw is about to join the ranks of those lecturing on Christian doctrine.
I look forward to the next instalment, where Jack Straw can give us his take on The Prophet's (pbuh) admonitions on the relationship between men and women. But I feel I may well have a very long wait indeed.
Do I understand from this article that Jack is about to turn the other cheek and indeed love those who hate him? Will he don the habit of a Capuchin Franciscan and teach us by example? The spectacle of a senior Labour politician attempting to teach theology reminds me of Margaret Thatcher and her ridiculous attempts to don the clerical collar. Some may recall how, in 1979, she quoted St Francis on the steps of 10 Downing St. Others may recall squirming with embarrassment (as I did) when she addressed the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Now it appears that Jack Straw is about to join the ranks of those lecturing on Christian doctrine. I look forward to the next instalment, where Jack Straw can give us his take on The Prophet's (pbuh) admonitions on the relationship between men and women. But I feel I may well have a very long wait indeed. karolgadge
  • Score: 0

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