Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

Should we apologise for ancestors crimes? Let’s ask Christian theology.

And now a news story about Muslim parents trying to prevent their children learning about even the existence of the Gays!!! (Ah! Gays! Run for the hills!)

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5 thoughts on “Rev Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields

  1. I’m not convinced of the value – or indeed the possibility – of historic ‘apologies.’ I can’t really comment on the Mexican request to Rome, as I wasn’t aware of it till this morning, but it seems ill-considered in that the viscious and destructive actions of the Conquistadors was but the prelude – to over 500 years of suffering under the yoke of the Catholic Church, which continues today. The Central and Southern Americas are now a bastion of the RCC. So, as far as Pope Frankie is concerned, it’s ‘Job Done!’ What would an apology mean? They’re never getting their native cultures or religions back again.

    Another instance of damning editing from the Today producers, with the following piece on the religious protests over relationship teaching – as noted by Rev Dr Hearty. ‘Yes, of course we want equality and recognition for our faith in this liberal, largely secular country – but we don’t want the liberal and secular bits that conflict with our religious rules, that’s definitely not to be allowed.’

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  2. Outside of the devoutly pious bubble that Wells clearly inhabits he related a complete non-story.

    A bit like the report doing the rounds yesterday of the “disturbing” incidence Papa Francis quickly and awkwardly jerking his hand away from the faithful trying to fulfil probably a lifetime honour of kissing the silver ring that dons his finger.

    I shrug my shoulders in Wells’s general direction.

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  3. The most interesting part of the subsequent interview was the Imam’s inability to say out loud what the parents’ basis for their objection was – which is that sexual orientation is a choice that their children can be protected against. As long as we don’t tell them about homosexuality, they won’t be gay. To be fair to him, I suspect that is because he knows it is demonstrable nonsense. The teacher did say at one point that he had met gay Muslims, and this wasn’t countered by the Imam. I was left with the strong sense that he was trying to walk a very fine and very unstable line, that he would more than likely be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    But here’s the thing. The same proportion of Muslim children are gay as in any group. All that is being done is that the conservatives are oppressing them, frightening them into denial. And this is horrible for those children. So the best course of action is precisely that which ameliorates this situation for those children. And the heart of that action must be education. Education for the children, AND education for the parents. Not fights, or battles, or imposition, or self-superiority – not because these are wrong, but because they are unlikely to work. They will cause entrenchment, not rapprochement.

    In Ireland, a majority of older voters chose to agree with same-sex marriage. They had been brought up as Catholics, with all the philosophical, cultural and societal baggage that brings. And yet they voted with their hearts, for love over doctrine, because they had been educated and shown the reality. This is how these campaigns are won. There is NOTHING inherent in culturally Catholic people, or culturally Muslim people, that makes them heartless.

    The biggest problem for the gay children of Birmingham is that this has now become a cause. Andrew Moffatt had been quietly doing his bit for his school, fixing the problem piece by piece. Hundreds, if not thousands, of teachers are doing the same across the country. The last thing they need is for this issue to become a point of principle, onto which others will hitch their cultural and political grievances.

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  4. Steve has it right, of course. And the interesting thing is that No Outsiders has been running in Birmingham for four years, with great efforts being made to inform parents beforehand what it’s all about, yet a few ill-informed bigots seem able to bring the whole thing to a halt by inciting the mob. I was glad to note that Moffatt stuck to his guns and insisted that the programme would eventually go ahead.

    As for Sam Wells, his homily simply illustrated the sheer unreasonableness of the Christian faith. He quoted Anselm to the effect that human beings could not possibly atone for all the sins committed since the world began, even though they ought to. This follows on from Rhidian Brook’s piece yesterday: according to Christian dogma, we are unable to avoid committing sins all the time, every day, so we have to keep grovelling and saying sorry, over and over again, not just for anything that the Church deems we have done wrong, but for everything that everybody else has ever done. It is an impossible burden, and helps to explain why so many who leave the Christian religion feel a euphoric sense of release in doing so.

    And the Mexican President? I have a funny feeling that he is more interested in distracting voters’ attention away from his own problems with violence, crime, drugs and the Mexican economy than he is in what the Spanish conquistadors did 500 years ago.

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    1. “It is an impossible burden, and helps to explain why so many who leave the Christian religion feel a euphoric sense of release in doing so.”

      Exactly my experience, StephenJP – albeit after the process of dusting off a substantial load of residual Catholic guilt, of course.

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