Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This will make your head spin

From the Guardian, Gay priest 'considers suing Church of England for discrimination'
The Church of England's most senior openly gay cleric is understood to be considering suing his employers for discrimination unless he is made a bishop.

Dr Jeffrey John, the dean of St Albans, was forced to stand down by the archbishop of Canterbury after being appointed suffragan bishop of Reading in 2003 following objections from conservative evangelicals.

Two years ago, John – a celibate priest who is in a longstanding civil partnership with another cleric – was prevented from becoming the bishop of Southwark after the archbishops of Canterbury and York stepped in.

Reports on Sunday suggested John had become so exasperated at his treatment that he had hired Alison Downie, an employment and discrimination law specialist and partner at the law firm Goodman Derrick, to fight his case under equality law. Four years ago, Downie successfully represented a gay youth worker who was found to have been discriminated against by the bishop of Hereford because of his sexuality.

What in the world? When you have enough "openly gay clerics" that one is recognized as being the "most senior", you should see that as a problem. What would one make of a Roman Catholic priest who was said to be in a celibate longstanding civil partnership with a nun? I wonder what Paul would say about someone who is demanding that he be installed as a bishop in spite of being openly homosexual and threatening to sue if his demands aren’t met? I don’t think 1 Corinthians 6: 1-8 even begins to address what is going wrong here.

Another big issue here is not the homosexual “celibate priest” or even the notion of people who are allegedly Christians threatening to sue other Christians if they are not recognized as a bishop (as if a secular court decision can make one a “bishop” in the church). The other big problem is that this is an issue of employment law, a clergyman suing his employer, i.e. the church. When the church treats some Christians as employees and other Christians as employers, we have lost any sense of what the church is supposed to be about. I don’t care how you slice it, when a person depends on an organization for his wages and benefits he is an employee no matter how you dress it up.

And people wonder why so many Christians are so frustrated with the church as we understand it…


Anonymous said...

wow.. i do not even know where to start with this one...

James said...

The Supreme Court just ruled in a case of an 'employee' suing the 'employer' or in this case, the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod in Redford?).

The lower courts originally ruled that she was only a 'minister' 45 minutes of the day, so the rest of it was secular 'teaching' in the classroom.

Hmmm, way I see it. She was employed by the institutional church, so she is subject to the constitutional writ surrounding their governance of employee/employer relationships.

The Supreme Court Justice Alito even cited 1 Cor 6 in his opinion paper.

Read it at WORLD for yourself Here

Steve Scott said...

When you make Caesar Lord, Caesar is Lord.

Steve Scott said...

In 1 Cor 6:4, Paul says, "So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint tham as judges those who are of no account in the church?"

I've been a Christian for almost 20 years and I'm still waiting for somebody within Protestantism to address this one. I know Presbyterians claim to have something like this, but I've never attended a Presbyterian church. So what's up with this, pastors and theologians? Where are our law courts?

Arthur Sido said...

Steve, perhaps we are more concerned with our rights than our calling?