Friday, May 29, 2009

Will the Anti-Christ be a Homosexual?

Just too good an article which I post a link to for the sheer enjoyment one can gain from reading the outgushings of an unbalanced mind - all the way from Sarah Palin country.

Article here referenced by (Andrew Sullivan) and too good not to post. Just read a smattering of the comments to heighten the enjoyment.......

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is England in communion with Sweden?

Sweden's Lutheran national Church has elected a new bishop in Stockholme, Eva Brunne by 413 votes to 365 and who is in a Civil Partnership with another woman and a long standing priest in the church.

Sweden's church has also approved the blessing of civil partnerships and supported Sweden's recent introduction of same sex marriage. For the time being they do not allow marriage ceremonies for same sex couples but that may itself follow in due course.

The question is rhetorical as in fact England and other European provinces of the Anglican Communion are part of the Porvoo Declaration which brought in full communion between European Anglican and Lutheran churches.

Remains to be seen whether hardliners in the Church of England now insist on pulling out of it.....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can't believe they got rid of Howard....

I thought it was a travesty. I shall never forget his endeavours to promote Margate as a gay tourism venue and indeed I am planning to holiday there this year.

BBC poetry season

I am just bowled away by BBC's poetry season where there's nearly a poem every night. John Donne, Milton's Paradise Lost, Auden, Arnold and tomorrow Beowulf, a poem I recently discovered for myself and find both enjoyable and difficult (especially in translation as we have to read it - Old English is nothing like English as we know it as this clip shows my views on translations of Beowulf maybe for another day).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Damage limitation in California

News just in that prop 8 banning same sex marriage has been upheld by the California's Supreme Court - the ruling can be found here.

The ruling is as expected from judges' comments in oral argument and therefore unsurprising to that extent.

The key point of interest to me is that on page 92 of the ruling they uphold explicitly that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation is held to be 'suspect' - similarly to discrimination on grounds of gender or race and that prop 8 is accepted only on the basis it relates solely to nomenclature (i.e. the title of marriage) and is a 'narrowly drawn exception'.

This is therefore a good ruling (in the circumstances - we'd rather not be here at all) and we can look forward to prop 8 itself being reversed at some future point by the voters of California a few years down the line.

Reaction from Andrew Sullivan welcoming the ruling (referring to it as being the 'right call') here - also with a link to the ruling.

AJ supports AV (plus)

Article by Alan Johnson in the Times a few days ago supporting a referendum on General Election Day over whether we introduce a form of top up of seats in order to produce a form of proportionality as well as maintaining the constituency link.

I think this is a once in a generation chance to put electoral reform before voters in a referendum. Doing so on the day of the next general election has the added advantage of not messing up the next period of government where such changes tend to be conveniently forgotten.

The point is this - why not give people the choice of systems - if first past the post wins in a referendum then it will have been backed by the people and will have renewed legitimacy. When people criticise its sometimes bizarre outcomes then we can reference it to a decision taken by the voters.

Bizarre outcomes under our current system include losing the election in votes but winning the most seats; coming second in votes but being a distant 3rd in seats; having a minority of the vote but a potentially huge majority in Parliament.

My personal view is I would support AVplus (the system devised by Roy Jenkins whereby you vote for constituency MP's by preference vote - i.e. by 'alternative vote' (AV - also known as instant run-off and used successfully in Australia) - and a further vote for top up candidates on a PR 'top up' basis).

But in any case we should at least let the people decide.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Good news frrom the Church of Scotland

Firstly, contrary to the release from the Associated Press the Church of Scotland, though the national Church, is not part of the Anglican Communion but that's another and quite long story.

Nonetheless a historic decision of the General Assembly to allow an openly gay minister to be installed by a majority of 326 to 267.

There is now to be a Commission to look into the matter and report back in 2011 and no-one's allowed to talk about it until then (on either side of the debate) - how that works out remains to be seen.

They seem - at least in their intentions - to realise that all the media driven posturing of the Anglican Communion is not the way to go to get a genuine reflective process of deliberation.