The church vs secular culture on gender identity: are we listening?

Hear, see and say nothing

Australia has recently experienced another situation where the conservative church’s approach to gender identity has seen it much criticised by the public and the media. In response, many christians complained of having their freedoms taken away.

Was this all avoidable? Who was right?

And most importantly, what lessons can we learn?

I am aware that some LGBTQI people may find this topic distressing, and may feel that straight people like me shouldn’t be making judgments about gender identity issues. If you feel this way, please feel free to not read this post. But I think straight people need to talk about these things if change is going to come, but of course we must be informed by, and sensitive to, our LGBTQI friends.

Footballers and business …..

For non-Aussies, here’s a quick rundown.

Yes, it was another football-related incident, though a different code of football than the one I reported over three years ago (Homophobia, Biblical truth and Israel Folau). Australians play four quite different codes of football, and this one concerned the Australian Football club, Essendon in Melbourne.

The club has been going through some difficulties recently. These apparently started in 2015 when a popular and successful coach quit over a drugs scandal. The side hasn’t played well since then. This year, after the resignation of the President, CEO and several Board members, and the sacking of the current coach, a comprehensive review of the club’s culture was undertaken.

One of the members of the review team was an Essendon supporter and former banking executive, Andrew Thorburn, and he was subsequently announced as the new CEO. The club felt his experience would ensure the club would flourish as a business enterprise. With a new President, Board, CEO and coach, the club looked forward to better days.

But the good vibes only lasted a day.

….. and homophobia and christians

As soon as the appointment was announced, commenators questioned the club’s judgment. Football clubs in all codes have become very sensitive to the need to be inclusive in today’s culture – taking stands against racism, sexism, domestic abuse and homophobia. But it hasn’t been without its problems.

In the different football code of Rugby League, there is a “Pride Round” each season where clubs wear special LGBTQI themed jerseys, to show solidarity with LGBTQI people and to promote inclusion. But this year 7 Pasifika players from the Manly club refused to wear the jersey because they said it was against their religion. They were much criticised for their stand but their coach accepted their decision. Whatever the reason, the club didn’t win another game, and the coach was sacked at the end of the season.

So Essendon too has an inclusion policy which it would naturally hope would be beneficial.

But Andrew Thorburn was also the chairperson of a conservative church in Melbourne with a defined stand against same sex marriage and abortion. Some remarks in a decade-old online sermon by the senior pastor particularly incensed critics.

Most prominent were comments by Premier Daniel Andrews (the head of the Victorian state government). Andrews said he had “no sympathy” for Mr Thorburn’s position because of “rampant homophobia” and the high suicide rate within the young LGBTIQA+ community. He described the church’s views as “intolerance”, “hatred” and “bigotry”.

Thorburn was widely accused of homophobia, and critics said his employment sent wrong messages because the church’s views were contrary to Essendon’s inclusion policy. He distanced himself from the pastor’s words (they were spoken long before he was a spokesperson for the church, though they were still on the website), but within a day he had resigned.

Predictably, some commentators such as journalist Peter Fitzsimons, hailed the outcome, but others felt the reaction was extreme.

The christian response

Thorburn later said he was troubled that a person’s employment could be threatened “due simply to faith” and suggested that the uproar over his appointment was “a dangerous idea, one that will only reduce tolerance for others and diversity of thought”.

Other christians took a similar line. Some of course are conservative christians who, under the influence of right wing politicians and commentators who use scare tactics to promote their cause, believe freedom of religion is under attack.

But even christian bloggers who I respect saw this incident as an attack on religion and freedom of speech, and likely to be detrimental to businesses and society. The church’s pastor allowed himself to be interviewed on morning TV and, I thought, quite blatantly ignored the questions he was asked, to try to present a better image. Christian and newspaper columnist Anthony Saegert claimed a “growing intolerance” towards religious people, and thought the TV interviewer didn’t allow the pastor to explain himself.

The Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne and an Essendon supporter said he would look for another club to support, implicitly criticising the Premier, a fellow Catholic.

Sowing and reaping

My feeling is that conservative christians and churches are reaping what they have sown. If they listen carefully to the criticisms they may learn some lessons in communication.

Firstly, it is surely important to consider if the church’s long-standing objection to same sex relations is fair and necessary. Understandably, many christians are reluctant to give ground to “the world”, but sometimes the world prods the church in ways that are necessary, and this may be one. It would be foolish not to at least think and pray about it.

I have considered ways the church and individual christians might move forward on this in Christians and gender.

My following comments relate specifically to those christans who feel unable to change their stance on same sex relationships. I believe there are more loving and sensitive ways they could respond to this issue and better ways to communicate.

1. Apologise for past mistakes

LGBTQI people have been treated badly by the church, and in many cases this continues. Christians and churches have often been insensitive, have excluded, have demonised and not welcomed queer people. Coming out of the closet has been traumatising for many, while staying closeted hasn’t been any better. Some have suicided because of how they felt the church treated them.

Admitting the awful truth and apologising publicly is surely a necessary first step.

2. Recognise the difference between orientation and behaviour

It is generally accepted that LGBTQI identity is mostly an innate orientation and not a choice. Many christians have known this for decades, but some still don’t. No-one should be discriminated against because of something over which they have no choice. (In fact we should be very careful about discriminating against anyone for any reason, but that’s a story for another day.)

3. Morality is personal unless it is a matter of law

Most of us live in pluralist societies where all sorts of different ethical views can exist side by side. If something is clearly harmful to others, it should be constrained by law. But otherwise, live and let live must be the rule. It is hard to see how most LGBTQI behaviours could be seen as harmful to others, so christians shouldn’t try to impose their views (whatever they may be) on others.

Christians in Australia have sadly missed this point. Several years ago the government conducted a survey to find the public’s view on making same sex marriage legal, and Australians voted strongly in favour. But conservative christians opposed the move. But on what grounds? Did they have demonstrable grounds to think same sex marriage would harm society? Or did they think it was right to impose their form of christian morality on the rest of our population?

This opposition may not have been homophobic as critics claimed, but it sometimes looked like it. And it made non-believers more critical of the church’s motives and care for others. A neutral and less public response to the same sex survey would have made issues like Andrew Thorburn’s appointment easier to discuss.

4. Recognise that being criticised isn’t necessarily an attack on free speech

Many christians paint this as an attack on free speech. But the church is free to express its views, just as others are entitled to criticise them. The issue here (as with Israel Folau) isn’t freedom of speech but commercial realities.

Football clubs are business enterprises supported by commercial sponsorships. Investors believe that the general public won’t support businesses and clubs which they see as not being inclusive. And so those representing the clubs need to be “on board” with the inclusive message if they want to be paid.

An example is a current Rexona Not Done Yet ad campaign, which aims to inspire people with disabilities or facing other societal barriers “to push beyond their self-doubts”. The campaign includes the story of a Aussie gay professional footballer (different code again!). Rexona presumably thinks this inclusiveness will benefit their brand as well as these segments of society.

Most jobs don’t have these public relations requirements, but some do, and sponsored professional sport is one of them. And Essendon club presumably believes it is hard to be a spokesperson for two organisations with quite different views. Andrew Thorburn was asked to give up one of the positions, and he resigned from the club position.

5. Learning how to communicate better

If conservative christians really are accepting of LGBTQI people as people, even if they disagree with their choices, they need to make this clearer by their actions and in their statements.

  • Talk less about gender and sexuality, and focus more on other ethical questions such as wealth inequality, fair treatments of first nations people and refugees, and greater care for women in vulnerable situations.
  • Especially stop telling peope outside the church (and inside it too) how to live their lives.
  • Actively welcome LGBTQI people into churches and leadership if they want to be there.
  • Listen to LGBTQI communities and be sensitive to their experiences and to the language we use.

If conservative christians did these things, they would be in a better position to explain their view, something along the lines of “we love, respect and welcome you and everyone else, but we have chosen to follow what we see as a christian ethic”. Live and let live.

Who is the victim here?

In many ways, Andrew Thorburn was a victim. He didn’t necessarily have homophobic views (apparently while in the banking industry he introduced inclusive policies). He was the target of a campaign that demonised him, perhaps unfairly, and he had little opportunity to defend himself.

But the church he represented held views that were not inclusive and were seen as homophobic. Had those views been reconsidered, and if not changed, at least expressed better (as above), more clearly and more sensitively, this situation may not have arisen. And if it did arise, Thorburn might have been in a better position to respond.

But as it is, Essendon football club may have lost an excellent manager plus some credibility, the christian faith has been dragged through the mud again, and LGBTQI people have been hurt again. Perhaps these are the real victims? But with some care this situation could possibly have had a better ending.

Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

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23 Comments

  1. Kinda sounds like character assassination, guilt by association and intrusion into private life. Thorburn sounds like the only victim here of a woke mob. It ain’t that he did wrong himself, he just has links to the wrong people.

    Ain’t religious but it’s pretty scary to see how LGBT agenda groups terrorize people into submission and the media and politicians just enable their antics. Jack Phillips in Colorado been getting legally harassed by them for years now. There should be more protection from intimidation from lobby groups.

  2. Hi Jake, interested in your comment. Do you think that both sides of the gender question, and other social questions too, “terrorise” people into submission?

  3. According to this article, Christians would only be justified in voting against homosexual marriage if it could be proved that such marriages were harmful to society. Let’s ask the important question: is this how God sees things? There is no reason to think so. Since homosexuality is sinful, God would not want there to be a society in which two people of the same sex can marry. Therefore it is the duty of Christians to vote against homosexual marriage. There is really only one objection to this, which is that homosexuality is not sinful. But that is an issue which each Christian must decide for himself or herself. I am convinced that homosexuality is sinful; therefore it is right for me to vote against homosexual marriage.

    The only other consideration is a practical one. There may be cases where God wants the world to be a certain way but it is beyond our power to bring that state about. However, that does not apply in the present case. We already know that it is possible for societies to exist in which two people of the same sex do not marry.

  4. So how about it? Does God want us to vote for or against homosexual marriage? If you think He wants us to vote in favour then why not make that case?

    If you are unwilling to make the case or even consider the question, it makes you look bad. You have criticised those Christians who oppose homosexual marriage. Surely it is incumbent on you to show that their position is incompatible with their faith. After all, this is supposed to be a Christian blog. However, if you are not interested in addressing these issues in Christian terms then that is very revealing.

  5. Hi David,

    Again, my apologies for these comments not appearing before. I don’t know how that happened.

    “Christians would only be justified in voting against homosexual marriage if it could be proved that such marriages were harmful to society. Let’s ask the important question: is this how God sees things? There is no reason to think so”

    This is one place we disagree. I think we have good reason to consider that God may not wish us to make what we believe to be sins illegal. Consider if we applied your argument here to some other things. For example, most christians would consider jealousy, greed or sex outside of marriage a sin, and we would think that God would prefer a society devoid of jealousy, greed and ex-marital sex. But I don’t think many would think that we should make them illegal.

    Would you think so?

    I think we need to distinguish sins from crimes. Sins are personal, between us and God. People are free to choose whether they commit those sins or not – they are not against the law necessarily. But crimes are against the law because they harm other people or property or the natural world.

    “Does God want us to vote for or against homosexual marriage?”

    I don’t think he wants us to vote against, for the reasons I have just given. Neither do I think God wants us to vote against greed, jealousy or ex-marital sex. Do you think he does want us to vote against them?

  6. Thanks for the reply, unkleE.

    I don’t think that analogy works. There are limits to the extent to which the law can regulate behaviour. The law cannot prohibit greed or jealousy, as you point out. However, there is a difference between using the law to prohibit immoral behaviour and giving legally recognised status to immoral behaviour.

    Marriage is an institution that exists because the law says that it exists. It is entirely appropriate to decide that some kinds of relationship should have that legal status and other kinds of relationship should not have that status. After all, this is what societies have done throughout their history. Is is entirely practical to restrict marriage to heterosexual relationships, as history has demonstrated. On the other hand, it has not been demonstrated that laws can effectively prohibit greed or jealousy.

    Furthermore, if homosexuality is immoral then we may expect God to take a dim view of societies in which homosexual relationships are given legal status. Presumably, such societies will be judged more harshly than those in which homosexuality is only a matter of personal sin. Of course, it might be argued that homosexuality is not sinful, but that is hardly a view that Christians can take for granted.

  7. Hi David, thanks for reply. I guess I’m not surprised we don’t agree. But I haven’t used an analogy. Rather, I have taken the principles that you have suggested apply to same sex relationships, and applied them to other ethical questions. We should apply the same principles unless we have reasons to apply different ones.

    Your argument for there being a difference comes down to this: “there is a difference between using the law to prohibit immoral behaviour and giving legally recognised status to immoral behaviour.”

    I don’t see this as being a relevant distinction. We live in a pluralist society.What you regard as moral, others don’t. So why should your definition of moral be imposed on others? And if another definition of morality becomes predominant, what is to stop that form of morality being enshrined in law? We see that, for example, in some Islamic countries where rules on clothing, who woman can talk to, etc, are made into law. I don’t agree with it there, so why should I agree with it where I live?

    So are you saying that your understanding of christian morality ought to be imposed on people who don’t agree with it, by preventing same sex couples from marrying?

  8. While the lifestyles of others should be respected, I think it’s valid to point out that some lifestyles pose a greater health risk to the community than others.

    This has been proven in the case of AIDS and monkey pox which are more prevalent in the LGBTI community than in the general community.

    Should churches or others be demonised for pointing this out ? When people do point out medical facts they are often accused of villification or “homophobia”.

    I think we should allow reasonable debate on the pros and cons of “alternative” lifestyles and not pretend that it’s all gravy in those communities or gloss over the problems.

  9. I don’t think you have got to grips with my comment at all, unkleE. You asked whether we should have laws against greed and jealousy and I gave my answer: it would be utterly impractical. There are limits to how far the law can regulate behaviour. That should be obvious. On the other hand, it is entirely practical to decide who can marry and who can’t.

    You now raise another objection. Different people have different standards of morality; so why should we impose our standards on others? I will remind you of the comment that I have already made. What does God want us to do? As Christians we have a good idea of the answer. Apparently, your response is that we can’t do that because we wouldn’t like if, for example, Muslims did the same. But what kind of objection is that? In effect this is what you are saying. I have good reasons to believe that God does not want a society in which two people of the same sex can marry but I will set that belief aside because Christian beliefs are just one set of beliefs in competition with each other.

    You can do that if you want but you have no right to criticise those Christians who vote according to their principles.

  10. “I think we should allow reasonable debate on the pros and cons of “alternative” lifestyles and not pretend that it’s all gravy in those communities or gloss over the problems.”

    Within some reasonably broad limits of politeness and accurcay, I agree. Ithink we always should encourage thoughtful debate and discussion.

    “Should churches or others be demonised for pointing this out ? When people do point out medical facts they are often accused of villification or “homophobia”.”

    I agree there is a problem here, but the churches have partly brought it on themselves by their language and actions in the past. If christians had been careful and loving in their response to LGBTQI people, their responses now could be seen as more neutral. But as it is, there will be the suspicion that debate is harmful and motivated by dogma and intolerance.

    We all need to learn to be polite, honest and fair in our comments, and perhaps saying less and listening more, whether we are talking about LGBRQI issues, or other social relationships and matters. So if we assess LGBTQI people as you have done here, we need to be sure that (1) we have evidence to connect cause and effect, or not, and (2) we consider other lifestyles and choices (gambling, alcohol, fossil fuel usage, divorce, easy sex, excessive wealth and inequality, mobile phone dependence and over-use of screens, fast fashion, etc) in the same way. I don’t think we are ready for that.

  11. I agree there is a problem here, but the churches have partly brought it on themselves by their language and actions in the past. If christians had been careful and loving in their response to LGBTQI people, their responses now could be seen as more neutral. But as it is, there will be the suspicion that debate is harmful and motivated by dogma and intolerance.

    Fair point, agreed.

    So if we assess LGBTQI people as you have done here,

    I think we need to distinguish between behaviour which is voluntary and identity which is inherent.

    So, no criticism of people for being gay, but if certain behaviour leads to greater risks it’s reasonable to point that out as many medical professionals have done.


    we consider other lifestyles and choices (gambling, alcohol, fossil fuel usage, divorce, easy sex, excessive wealth and inequality, mobile phone dependence and over-use of screens, fast fashion, etc) in the same way. I don’t think we are ready for that.

    These are all behaviours that can be modified and some are destructive, so why shouldn’t they be examined ? They don’t demonise any particular group because they occur all through society. Andrew Wilkie and Tim Costello have been pointing out the problems of excessive gambling for years, should they not do that ?

  12. You said that my previous comments had been accidentally sent to the spam folder. It now looks as if that was untrue. Here is some advice. Don’t pretend that you are interested in dialogue when that is not the case. If you invite someone to reply but then end the conversation, at least put up a message explaining that you have decided not to publish the reply.

  13. I’m sorry you think that David, but I spoke exactly the truth. (Actually, it was the Trash folder, not the Spam folder – WordPress has both.) I’m not sure why you would think I would lie about this. And I’m not sure why you would say “it now looks …” when I don’t know anything that has changed. So I don’t understand why you would make such a baseless allegation.

    I am happy to continue discussing if you want to, but only if we can move beyond this sort of comment thanks.

  14. One of my comments slipped through the net too, but it’s your site so if you you decide not to publish it that’s fine by me.

  15. Again, I’m sorry. It’s not my doing.

    Everyday this blog, like all others, receives numerous spam comments, many of them pornographic, others of them selling all sorts of stuff from meds to crypto, and more. They would overwhelm the blog if left unaddressed. So I use a WordPress anti-spam plugin named Akismet, and it is generally smart enough to detect almost all spam because it is on so many websites.

    Somehow recently, and I don’t know why, it has taken to putting some legitimate comments, like yours and David’s, into Trash. I try to check on this to rescue the comments, but it isn’t always easy to see them among all the nasty comments. I’m also trying to figure out how to prevent this in the first place, but so far unsuccessfully. None of these comments seem to trigger any of Akismet’s settings, like dodgy words or excessive number of links, etc, so I can’t figure it out.

    So I’m sorry it’s happening, I just can’t seem to sort it out. But I’ll redouble my efforts. Thanks for your patience.

  16. “Andrew Wilkie and Tim Costello have been pointing out the problems of excessive gambling for years, should they not do that ?”

    Of course they should, if they feel that is important. But the harm done is quite significant, especially to innocent victims (e.g. spouses & children). To me it is a matter of what is opposed and how it is opposed. Alcohol does enormous harm if abused, but prohibition hasn’t proven effective. Moderation and some control are a better approach. Many say the same is true of addiction to harder drugs – harm minimisation may be a better option than criminal enforcement. So the same would be true, I think, of gambling – no-one thinks it practical or good to outlaw all gambling (what about the stock market?), but some controls and a healthy tax rate may be an effective policy.

    So I feel it is the same with same sex marriage. LGBTQI sexual relationships are going to happen, and the extra health risks aren’t as great as the problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, etc. Prohibition of same sex marriage seems to be an unworkable, unhelpful and freedom-denying step. Anti-queer attitudes cause suicides and anxieties. So again, it is better to educate about any dangers (e.g. during the AIDS epidemic) and take away the discrimination and stigma.

    And I think there are particular difficulties for christians, because they have mixed motives – both health concerns and ethical/theological views. I think it is easy for them/us to be less than clear and honest about our concerns, and easy for others to misunderstand christian motives. So we need to be very clear what we believe and why, and very clearly communicate it.

  17. Hi David, again, my apologies for the comments going astray. Again, I can only say that it isn’t my choice and I’m trying to resolve the matter. Please see my comment to “westofhtebluemountains” above.

    “it is entirely practical to decide who can marry and who can’t.”

    Yes it is, though it is entirely impractical to control who can form marriage-like relationships and who can have sex. So all a same-sex marriage ban would do would be to create emotional and legal problems because the relationships are not so clearly defined legally.

    But this isn’t the point, I believe. It would be entirely possible to gaol every person who drives exceeeding the limit, but it wouldn’t be an appropriate response to a relatively minor matter. But we don’t make decisions on what to ban and what to allow legally only on the basis of what is practical. It is also a matter of freedom vs societal harm. In the case of same sex marriage, I see little societal harm and greater freedom in allowing it, and greater societal harm and unnecessary loss of freedom by opposing it.

    “In effect this is what you are saying. I have good reasons to believe that God does not want a society in which two people of the same sex can marry but I will set that belief aside because Christian beliefs are just one set of beliefs in competition with each other.”

    Firstly, I personally don’t know what God thinks about a society where same sex couples can marry, and I’m doubtful anyone else does either. The matter isn’t addressed in the Bible. Neither Jesus nor his apostles said what should be made law, they only spoke about personal sexual morality, and what they said is very brief.

    But secondly, if a christian believes that is what God thinks, I still think they shouldn’t push their view into law unless they can show significant societal harm that justifies the loss of freedom. We don’t live in a theocracy, and God leaves each person free to make their own moral and apiritual choices.

    Can I ask you, then, do you believe God wants a society where no-one kills another innocent person with a gun? If so, would you support laws against any gun ownership, on the same principle?

  18. Hi David & “West”,

    I think I have solved the problem.

    I should have realised it before. Because we are discussing same-sex marriage, WordPress sees the trigger word “sex” and puts the comment in the trash along with all the porn spam. I’m sorry I didn’t figure this out before.

    So I have removed the word “sex” from the ban list and it should be OK now. Thanks for your patience.

  19. Some very reasonable thoughts there, I think you are right on all points.
    Cheers.

  20. Since we were in the middle of a conversation and you were already aware of previous issues with my comments I was surprised that another one failed to appear. However, I accept your explanation and apologise.

    I agree that determining what sort of sexual relationships there should is impractical. That is why I don’t think homosexual relationships should actually be illegal. However, it is entirely possible for society as a whole to disapprove of something without making it a crime. That is still the case to some extent with adultery. It also used to be the case with homosexuality. That has now changed. These days society generally accepts homosexuality and condemns homophobia. That change in attitude was a necessary prelude to the establishing of homosexual marriage. Marriage is the seal of approval that society places on a relationship. Homosexual marriage could not have become a reality until people generally stopped thinking that it was sinful.

    For those Christians who hold to the traditional view of the subject, the change in attitude and the culmination of that change – i.e. homosexual marriage – is regrettable. You say that you see little societal harm in homosexual marriage, so I presume that you don’t hold to the traditional view. You could hardly welcome the changes that have occurred if you thought that homosexuality was sinful.

    “Firstly, I personally don’t know what God thinks about a society where same sex couples can marry, and I’m doubtful anyone else does either.”

    That is a strange comment. If homosexuality is sinful then we have a very good idea what God thinks. A society which is so far from recognising the sinfulness of homosexuality that it allows two people of the same sex to marry is not likely to meet with God’s approval.

    “Neither Jesus nor his apostles said what should be made law, they only spoke about personal sexual morality, and what they said is very brief.”

    I also find that comment strange. Jesus was steeped in the Law and according to the Law, homosexuality was an abomination. Of course, the situation changed when Gentiles started to become followers of Christ and the application of the Law to Gentiles became a matter of discussion. But if we want to understand that situation we need to look to Paul in particular and his views on homosexuality are clear.

  21. I forgot to address your last point. In my part of the world guns are banned and I am perfectly happy with that.

  22. Hi David, thanks for your reply, and the apology.

    “Marriage is the seal of approval that society places on a relationship.”
    That is an interesting way of viewing marriage, but I don’t agree. I think society can regulate or recognise many different things without approving them (or disapproving them). For example, industrial pollution is recognised and regulated (and hopefully limited) but we don’t approve of it. Legalising same sex marriage is simply allowing people freedom to make their own choices. It is the freedom we approve, not necessarily the choice.

    ” You say that you see little societal harm in homosexual marriage, so I presume that you don’t hold to the traditional view. You could hardly welcome the changes that have occurred if you thought that homosexuality was sinful.”
    I was making no assumption either way about the christian morality of LGBTQI relationships. I simply don’t see any societal harm in legalising, and some harm in not legalising. Can you suggest what harm is done?

    “A society which is so far from recognising the sinfulness of homosexuality that it allows two people of the same sex to marry is not likely to meet with God’s approval.”
    I think that is an assumption, and I think there is good reason to doubt it is true. Think about this. God created a world where people are free to choose their behaviour, which leaves them free to sin, and he apparently thought it was good to give us that freedom. Not because he wants us to sin, but because he apparently wants us to have that freedom. So I think it is best that our society give people the same freedom as long as it isn’t harming others, and I think God may well approve of that too. Why do you think God would give us freedom then want us to take other people’s freedom away?

    “Jesus was steeped in the Law and according to the Law, homosexuality was an abomination.”
    I was talking about societal law, not Jewish Law.

    So it seems that where we disagree is this – I think our democratic societies should give people freedoms to do what they choose provided it doesn’t harm others, because I think God gives us that freedom, whereas you seem to think that christians should try to take away that freedom if it is leading to sin. Is that a fair understanding of your view?

  23. As I have said, I think people should have freedom in the sense that there is no law against homosexual relationships but I make a distinction between that freedom and the freedom to have the same legal recognition that is given to heterosexual relationships. I have already explained my reasons for making that distinction, so I will leave people to make up their own minds about that.

    At no point in this discussion have you affirmed that homosexuality is sinful. So you are a Christian blogger who is unwilling to call out sin in an area where society has gone badly astray. I regard that as a serious failing. I don’t think I have anything to add to that.

    “I was talking about societal law, not Jewish Law.”

    The Mosaic Law was intended to be societal law. In Jesus’ time Jews did not have complete freedom to implement their own laws but that does not alter the original purpose of the Law. And if Jews had achieved self-determination, there is no suggestion that they would have regarded the Mosaic Law as something separate from “societal” law.

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