News

Gay clergy would blow the Church of Scotland apart, warns horrified homophobe

TRADITIONALISTS in the Church of Scotland were left reeling this week after the C of S  General Assembly voted to consider lifting a ban on the ordination of gay ministers.

Addressing the General Assembly in opposition to the proposal, the Rev Andrew Coghill, of the Isle of Lewis, likened the impact of the ordination of homosexual clergy to that of a “hand grenade”.

Away with the ferries. Rev Andrew Coghill. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/Guardian

He howled:

We’re being asked to pull the pin out and it will blow the Church apart.

Coghill is a bit of a cock, who was pictured in 2009 standing on a rock on the Hebridean island, opposing Sunday ferry services.

He’s by no means the only one horrified by the result of the vote, according to this report.

The Rev Andrew Randall of Larbert Old Church said the decision:

Opens the door to de facto revisionism and would be a Trojan horse for liberalism.

And Revd Louis Kinsey, Minister of St Columba’s, Bridge of Don, railed:

The Church of Scotland has decided to follow modern culture and not Scripture.

The ban was imposed in 2009 when controversy broke out over the appointment of Scott Rennie as the Church’s first partnered homosexual minister.

After a six-and-a-half hour debate, the General Assembly voted by 351 to 294 to set up a theological commission charged with preparing a report on same sex civil unions and the implications of lifting the ban on gay ministers. The report will be debated at the 2013 assembly.

Trouble with The Gays in the Church of Scotland has been brewing for some time. Back in 2009 a fundie outfit called Forward Together had a fit of the vapours over Rennie’s appointment, and it gasped:

Mr Rennie has openly stated that he is intending taking his male partner with him to live in the manse. This has caused enormous tremors throughout the Church as it is aggressively taking the debate on homosexuality onto a new level. Forward Together is deeply concerned over this development and asks for Christians to pray for wisdom for those in Aberdeen Presbytery and the wider courts of the Church.

Having a laugh: Rev Scott Rennie

We cherish the peace and unity of the Church and feel this new development will seriously undermine both.

As a group within the Church of Scotland, Forward Together’s desire is to be faithful to the Word of God in all areas of life and doctrine.

And FT wrned:

We will respond to any challenge to the Church’s evangelical heritage.

A report presented to the General Assembly pointed to a Church deeply divided over homosexuality.

In a survey of 22,000 Church of Scotland members, nearly 60 percent said a person in a same-sex relationship should not be permitted as an ordained minister in the Church.

Around one fifth of those surveyed said they would “consider it obligatory” to leave the Church of Scotland if the General Assembly were to allow people in committed same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers.

Hat tip: Marcus

28 Responses to “Gay clergy would blow the Church of Scotland apart, warns horrified homophobe”

  1. Boomer says:

    No! No! The Holy Hand Grenade was already used to kill the man eating Easter bunny.

  2. Steve says:

    Blow the church apart, huh? Can’t wait to see that.

  3. J says:

    Discriminatory sectarian religion self destructing. Excellent idea. Someone pull the pin.

  4. barriejohn says:

    Christians are forever “praying for wisdom”. How come they never get any?

  5. Broga says:

    Extraordinary how certain the various cults within the church are that they know what god wants. And yet they still disagree and in doing so are ready, verbally, to rip each other to bits. Yet again god’s communication skills are lacking. Doesn’t say much for his omnipotence if he cannot even convey, in a comprehensible way, what he wants.

  6. Angela_K says:

    I suspect the C of S is trying to bolster its dwindling membership by reluctantly admitting Gay people, and appointing Gay clergy gives the C of S the opportunity to bleat about being “inclusive”.

    What would be far better is if every LGBT person were to abandon their crutch of religion and come into the real world. It has been said many times here: Why would you want to be a member of a club that hates you? Being Gay is natural but being religious is a damaging lifestyle choice.

  7. AgentCormac says:

    With all the human suffering in the world, with all the problems that are crying out for solutions, with all the wrongs that need righting, wouldn’t you think these irrelevant, self-important prigs could find something more pressing to debate for a full six and a half hours?

  8. tony e says:

    Whilst, on paper at least, the C of S may claim to be the largest religion in Scotland, they are dying on their feet. They just appear to drift along still thinking it’s 1953 and the coronation is yet to happen.

    With their congregations reduced to three elderly women and a terrier, you would think they would leap at the chance to have more ministers like Scott Rennie who could drag them into the 21st century. I think the C of S days are numbered and Rennie may be the first and last gay partnered minister that it has.

  9. Broga says:

    AgentCormac: You make a point that often occurs to me. With wars, abused and raped women, FGM, raging pollution and one species a day becoming extinct, overcrowded population that in some places there is virtually standing room only and people hoarded into shacks and wading through their own excrement, global warming etc all these self centred prigs focus on are their own ecclesiastical navels.

  10. remigius says:

    Coghill is a bit of a cock…

    The perineum perhaps, that area of skin right at the base. Halfway between a prick and an arsehole!

  11. Ivan says:

    I’m a bit worried to see that “traditionalists” – the egregious Robert Piggott’s favourite terminology – is creeping in even here.

    I like to think of a traditionalist as someone who harmlessly indulges in such activities as chomping on a nice roast beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner or indulging in a little light morris dancing – not some scripture stroking so-and-so who spends their life obsessively indulging in campaigns against the basic rights of his fellow human beings.

    These are not nice people and, just because they are religious, don’t deserve to be called anything other than what they are.

    It’s just a thought.

  12. sailor1031 says:

    So uplifting – reading about all that christian love in action. But shouldn’t that organization be called “backward together”?

  13. Stuart H. says:

    ‘shouldn’t that organization be called “backward together”?’
    Funnily enough, Sailor, we had a branch of their parent organisation, ‘Forward in Faith’, in my area. After their spokesman was quoted in the local paper I had a letter printed suggesting they change that to ‘Backwards in Belligerence’ if they couldn’t be more welcoming to the general public’s views. I was told in confidence by a local vicar that even his bishop fell off a chair laughing when he read it.

  14. JohnMWhite says:

    “As a group within the Church of Scotland, Forward Together’s desire is to be faithful to the Word of God in all areas of life and doctrine.”

    Somehow I doubt they are putting nearly as much effort into stoning their own children, selling their possessions and ensuring they never wear a fabric made of more than one fibre as they do into making sure everybody on the planet knows they are so totally not gay and don’t even like gays.

    Following on from the above, we get this sort of logic:

    “Around one fifth of those surveyed said they would “consider it obligatory” to leave the Church of Scotland if the General Assembly were to allow people in committed same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers.”

    That homosexuality is so important to them is really rather telling. These are not people simply clinging to their faith because it helps them sleep at night and face the next day. These are odious, vicious thugs who find the license to mistreat and denigrate of other human beings to be far more important than any other aspect of their supposedly spiritual lives. As Ivan said, these are not nice people. They might pretend to be lovely old dears who just want to be left alone to follow their faith, and they do have a right to self-determination in their religious practice, but their actions and words in the face of this one red rag shows exactly what kind of person they are and their true priority – getting away with homophobia.

    And if a few gay clergy are enough to drive them out, makes one wonder how religious people would respond to their church orchestrating and hiding the sexual abuse of thousands and thousands of children over decades and most likely millennia. Oh, that’s not such an important issue as the pressing matters of letting women or gay men mumble some magic words and tell the flock who to vote for.

    That’s why I say pull the pin – these people only want the right to hate and deny rights to others. Make them make a choice and show their true colours by blowing apart the cover of their religion.

  15. barriejohn says:

    I can’t believe that he really said that gay ministers would “blow the Church apart”!

  16. Richard Thomas says:

    Heaven help us if these biblical literalists find out that the Rev Rennie enjoys a bacon sandwich and a prawn cocktail. Achone Achone.

  17. Daz says:

    Any good graphics artists here? We need a bolt of lightning photoshopped onto the pic of Coghill on the rock…

  18. AgentCormac says:

    And there’s me thinking it was Morrissey!

  19. Daz says:

    AgentCormac:

    Well, we could always photoshop in some gladioli along with the lightning…

    (Just Googled your name. I take it you’d recommend the books? They look kinda interesting.)

  20. Trevor Blake says:

    They will be against it until they are for it. Like slavery: Christianity was for it until they were against it. In the same way they ignore thousands of years of deeply held convictions, thousands of years of sacred tradition and the clear mandate for slavery found in the bible – in the same way they ignore all that, they will ignore the injunctions against homosexuality and accept it. And then oh how they will bleat and crow about their human rights record, claiming they led the way then they were the last to change.

  21. MrGronk says:

    Good point Trevor; the ending of slavery was an Enlightenment achievement, not a christian one.
    @barriejohn: I’m waiting for some COS fart to wail about the gheys “ramming it down everyone’s throat”. Definitely some sort of subconscious thingy going on there.

  22. gsw says:

    am confused: all those men, living in female-free palaces, prancing about in floor length robes and funny hats – cloistering and singing strange songs, ringing bells and burning incense while worshipping a half naked man.

    I always thought they were all gay!

  23. AgentCormac says:

    Daz

    Yes, the name is lifted from the books by Neal Asher. If you’re into your sci-fi they are a good read (well, most of them are). I started using it because the avatar was already taken for the name I’d been using here for ages (which was Marcus).

    If you fancied reading a few of the Agent Cormac books I’d recommend you check them out at http://www.abebooks.co.uk where you can usually pick most books up for a good deal less than on the high street.

  24. [...] – If you let gay people into the Church, they might explode in your face! [...]

  25. Tim Atkinson says:

    If allowing practising homosexual clergy into the Church of Scotland really does ‘blow it apart’ and have people leaving in droves, I for one hope that they do it, as that will surely be the end. I cannot wait to see the dreadful edifice collapse; almost anything that hastens it is likely to be good.

  26. barriejohn says:

    I received the following message from a Scottish friend on another site whom I alerted to this post:

    This has brewing the C of S for years Barrie this is either the second or third General assembly most of the time has been taken up debating this subject it is pathetic. The gay minister in question is a extremely popular minister with his congregation in Aberdeen and has increased the the number of people attending church service on Sundays. Is that not proof enough to them they need to live in the 21st century ! Three years ago I attended a LGBT group in Dumfries for a brief period. Anyway some of the group had said they wanted to attend church but no church in Dumfries would welcome the gay community into their churches including the the C of S. So just as a matter of curiosity I asked my C of S minister in my home town if he would allow the gay community into his church and he said he would anyone from the gay community most welcome into his church !! So the C of S are very much divided Barrie but at least my C of S Minister welcomes the gay community into his church.

    Make what you will of that!

  27. Gavin says:

    Hurrah for unemotive reportage! Coghill the cock howls, does he? Louis railed, did he?

    I’m not sure caricaturing their positions assists your argument against them.

    The issue is a bit more nuanced than the above commentators – or for that matter, the article itself – imply.

    The situation is this. The Church of Scotland has no problem with gay ministers. The Church of Scotland has no problem with openly gay ministers. But where there is a problem – and it is not exclusive to same-sex relationships, incidentally – is in two unmarried people cohabiting in the manse, which was Scott Rennie’s proposed course of action.

    The reason there is opposition to this is because that lifestyle is condemned, thouroughly and consistently, in the Bible, in both the old and new testaments. (Slavery, incidentally, is also condemned in the New Testament – 1 Timothy 1:10)

    Allow me to stick my head yet further above the parapet: I’m a member of Louis Kinsey’s church. The man is my friend. And I will state here and now and defy any of you to call me a liar when I say that he, and his church, would be genuinely delighted to have gay parishioners.

    Gay isn’t the be-all and end-all. It’s a natural predilection, as someone above has pointed out: it’s what you choose to do about it that matters. Being gay isn’t a sin. Behaving immorally, whatever one’s orientation, is the sin. And yes, all you who have said that there are vastly more important things to be worried about are right. I don’t know what impression you have of Louis’s church, but we don’t spend a vast amount of time talking about what to do with The Gays – not least because we think that gayness is just an aspect of someone’s personality and there are much better ways to describe them: it’s much fairer to talk about Mike who’s (for example) good with children than Mike who’s gay. (Name ‘Mike’ chosen at random!)

    Of all the problems afflicting the Church of Scotland, the issue of same-sex relationships is relatively constrained. Greed is a far greater problem. Pride a bigger problem still. However, the issue has arisen because one faction in the church seems to be saying “we are uncomfortable considering the Bible to be a source of moral authority, because we disagree with its conclusions on this issue” while the other faction maintains the Bible’s sovereignty. That’s the real dispute. Same-sex relationships have become the lightning rod for it, but it’s not where the real disagreement lies.

    Regards,
    Gavin

  28. Rev David Coleman says:

    Interesting to see this report in ‘Freethinker’, which I have been following now and then since the little press-manufactured controversy about euthanasia in Brighton. Can I just go along with the comment worrying about ‘traditionalism’. The traditional fundamental teaching of Christianity is to love your neighbour as yourself, and do to others what you would like them to do to you. Bigotry and exclusiveness has no claim to the prestige of ‘traditional’ Christianity.