July 18, 2007

Mixed Blessing

TRIBUNAL DECISION IS MIXED BLESSING FOR CHURCH

The Employment Tribunal in which the Board of Finance of the Diocese of Hereford, was accused of Sexual Discrimination has issued its judgement. The Tribunal found in favour of the plaintiff, accepting that the Diocese did discriminate against Mr. John Reaney in not appointing him to the post of Youth Officer within the Diocese.


Well, if the Church of England is only going to give mixed blessings, then that is all it is likely to receive.

11 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

...the Church upholds the teaching that sexual relationships belong within marriage and that this high standard to which all people are called is especially expected of those in leadership within the Church.

Is the mixed blessing that they must be married, but they can't be married? Why that's hardly a blessing at all. Perhaps the prayer book could be altered to provide a mixed blessing rite.

However, in the light of the tribunal decision the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance will now again look at its recruitment literature to make clear the teaching and requirements of the church in respect of the lifestyle of those in leadership roles.

They're going to look at their recruitment policies "in respect to the lifestyle of those in leadership". What will that mean?

I thought "lifestyle" was only for the rich and famous.

Tobias said...

Ah, Grandmère, you cut to the chase as ever.

I think the dilemma of "you must be married but you can't be married" is a mixed-up blessing, rather than a mixed blessing. A mixed blessing is the blessing given to a mixed-sex couple, as opposed to the non-blessing given, or the blessing not given, to a same-sex couple.

Ann Marie said...

I had an arguement along these lines back in seminary. A couple of my fellow students claimed that along with the fact that Gene Robinson is gay, he is living in sin (actually, I think they used the term adultry which made even less sense to me - both of them accept divorce and remarriage). I tried pointing out that it was bizzare that people would complain about gays living in sin while denying them the possibility of marriage. They just didn't get it.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

R said...

Blessing or not, it is just plain mixed up!

Jon said...

Hmm, perhaps they assume that being gay means the person is able to be celibate, or perhaps they don't quite see a connection between being in love and having sex. Actually, the second reason wouldn't entirely surprise me; I seem to recall hearing that in years past a number of authorities took a dim view of connecting romantic love with marriage.

Jon

rick allen said...

This is one of those consequences, like the coming shut-down of Catholic adoption services in Massachusetts and the UK, which seem to vindicate the fears of traditional Christians that purely secular legislation will in fact sooner or later begin to directly interfere with the Church's internal teaching.

The fact that this is taking place in the Church by Law Established distinguishes the case from those where separation of church and state is fundamental. It would be difficult to imagine an American court mandating the hiring of a youth worker whose values were so at odds with those he was charged with passing on. But then, ten years ago, who would have imagined that an adoption agency's preference that orphans be placed with an adoptive mother and father could lead to its suppression by the state?

rick allen said...

If I may, it also strikes me as ironic that, at a time when the English government is close to giving up control of the appointment of bishops and deans, this new law now allows interference with appointment of parish staff.

I don't discount the importance of bishops and Archbishops and deans. But the life of any Church is in the parish, and control of parish appointments, and youth ministers in particular, seem to me, in the long run, of greater import for the future than control of those offices more removed from the people of the parish.

At this point I suppose appeal to the first article of Magna Charta moot......

Tobias said...

RIck,
This will, sadly, not be the first time that a civil society has been in the moral forefront. Would that the church had a better understanding of the bases of morality; but old taboos die hard. Fortunately, they are dying, and will very likely be a think of shameful memory within two generations.

Grandmère Mimi said...

a think of shameful memory within two generations.

As the inner copy editor slips away.

But, you know, Tobias, it will be a "think" of shameful memory. We shall not think it any longer in a few generations, and I was reading it that way until something tripped in my mind, and it occurred to me that you might have meant "thing".

The turmoil is making me a a little crazier than usual just now.

I know, I know, I'm dragging your very serious blog through the dust.

Tobias said...

Mimi,
You're right about my inner editor taking a nap! As for going through the dust, just remember that as good Deacon Plater points out, that is where we do some of our best work!

JCF said...

Or conversely, Rick, who would've believed that "an adoption agency's preference that orphans be placed with an adoptive mother and father" would overrule the best interests of the child?

[Which to me, is *appropriately* the State's sole concern]