Homosexuality and Faith


Cross posted on Stephen’s Liberal Journal

Changing Attitude IrelandIrish Peace Centres Logo

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
1 John 4:18

Tonight a number of Northern Irish Liberal Democrats were in a backed room in Grosvenor House, Belfast for a meeting organised by Irish Peace Centres in association with Changing Attitude Ireland and the Methodist Church in Ireland. Of course I realised I had no paper to make notes, but did have my iPhone. The key speaker was David Walton, a lay Methodist preacher from Eccles, who was a past VP of the British Methodist Conference. The subject was sexuality and faith, here are some rough notes of the areas covered..

After starting with some personal anecdotes about his own sexuality David went on to say we have to acknowledge there are a number of issues that the Churches still face when it comes to homosexuality

  1. There is a sense of disgust about the act and the subject itself
  2. There is the argument about promiscuity (but looking around us this is not confined to the LGBT community)
  3. There is the matter of cohabitation, sex outwith marriage, divorce etc all leading to the break down of marriage as the church sees it.

Sexuality has become a test of orthodoxy in the eyes of many churches, both for themselves and for others faith. However, what is slowly breaking that down is when there is someone, a grandchild, child, sibling etc that you know who is openly gay.

In 1993 the Methodist Church started what they called their pilgrimage to understanding human sexuality. In the end they came to accept relationships and civil partnerships, but stop short of allowing blessings in church (and therefore by default also equal marriage).

There is discussion going on in most churches about diversity. Although some are coming to conclusions without meeting LGBT people, or acknowledging that there are some within their congregations.

One thing that all sides of those with faith can agree on is the need of strong and stable relationships, based on honesty, fidelity, self control etc. Especially in the light of the world we are living in.

When it comes down to the acts of sex, which we too often focus on, we are ignoring the core of what loving relationships actually are.

There was then a time for question and discussion within the people present. One highlight was from Gerry Lynch who said, when the church is seen as being less accepting that our secular society we [the church] have a real issue.

This is only part of the initiative that Irish Peace Centres is running. They are seeking to have conversations that difficult conversations across social divides but had in a way solid debate and not name calling from opposing camps.

There will be two series one for LGBT people who love their faith

October 15th & 29th, November 12th and 26th, December 10th

The other for parents and friends of LGBT people

November 8th, December 6th, January 10th, February 7th, March 7th

Both series attendance at all 5 meetings is requested and if you are interested email padraig@cooperationireland.org who will provide details of the venue in Belfast where the discussions will take place.


2 thoughts on “Homosexuality and Faith

  1. GoldenFleece

    If I was there I would have probably have had to bite my tongue on a few occasions lol. It baffles me that a supernatural all-powerful diety cares what people get up to in the bedroom.

    It astounds me that a church promotes “being not of the flesh” and “souls connected throught love”, yet contradict that in order then two people have two different “of the flesh” gentialia.

    Also bare in mind that gay marriages were actually performed in the christain church over 1000 years ago all over Europe. Homosexuality was only outlawed by christainity at ~1100 AD

    But then again Christainity has never made sense to me :-).

  2. Champer and Jake are correct. The plate may be wtoihut any emblem at all or may have a national emblem as part of the layout. The versions with ‘playboy ears’ etc are illegal.They should legally also carry the makers identity.The graphics must also comply with the regulations so type face and dimensions of the type face must be correct.If you go to Northern Ireland you shouldnt need a GB sticker as its part of the UK however if you venture into the Republic or Southern Ireland then you will need one a its part of The EU !!!

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