Larry’s View

Larry’s view on any and everything.

The bible knows nothing of homosexual orientations, says bishop gene robinson

 
October 30, 2007
By Nigel Collett
 
The man at the centre of the storm which is currently tearing apart the worldwide Anglican Communion, Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire – the world’s first openly gay bishop – made a surprise visit to Hong Kong last week. Nigel Collett reports.
 
 
This guest column was written by Nigel Collett for Hong Kong’s Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities (www.cr4sd.org), a NGO working for the rights of people who may be disadvantaged by the law, policies and social prejudices in Hong Kong because of their sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual expression. The column will be written by founding member Roddy Shaw and various writers.

Bishop Gene Robinson’s election in 2003 set off the latest round in the struggles being waged inside the Anglican Church (also known widely as the Episcopalian Church) between a coalition of homophobic conservative and fundamentalist clergy and their liberal opponents. It led, in February this year, to an ultimatum being presented to the American province of the Church by the Anglican primates assembled in Tanzania, who called upon their American colleagues to stop appointing openly gay clergy and to cease allowing church blessings of same sex couples on penalty of expulsion from the communion. This lamentable piece of blackmail was committed largely at the urging of a few bigoted African archbishops who claim that homosexuality is a sin and threaten schism, a split in the church, if toleration is shown to it, and who will not even bring themselves to sit in the same room as fellow priests who are gay.

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The Bible, Bishop Gene Robinson said, “knew nothing of homosexual orientations,” which had only begun to be discussed 120 or so years ago, and so “can’t speak on that issue.” The bishop’s consecration threatens an Anglican schism led by conservative African Churches who oppose the gay bishop’s ordination.

The fall out from this will doubtless cause further conflict at this year’s forthcoming meeting of all Anglican bishops at Lambeth, a gathering to which Bishop Gene Robinson has the sad distinction of being the only bishop in the Communion who has not been issued an invitation.

So, in the present circumstances where the Anglican Communion is too riven to have yet established a workable approach to its gay clergy, most Anglicans are either chary of meeting Bishop Robinson or are directly opposed to what he stands for, and it is not surprising that his visit to Hong Kong was not an official one. But enough of a programme had been arranged for him to make a local mark. He had been invited by a group of liberal Christians (the Hong Kong Christian Institute, the Hong Kong Women’s Christian Council and the [interfaith] Spiritual Seekers Society) plus the Hong Kong University’s Faculty of Education, to bring his experiences of fighting homophobia and discrimination to Hong Kong and to meet some of the local gay Christians and hear their stories.

Bishop Gene’s programme kicked off with a public lecture at the City University on Saturday, 20 October, and included a meeting with the congregation of the Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship (Hong Kong’s only church ministering specifically for LGBT people) on Oct 21.

Later that day, he attended evensong in the Bethanie Chapel in Pok Fu Lam. Aside from this formal programme, it is also understood that Hong Kong’s new Anglican primate, Archbishop Paul Kwong, met Bishop Gene privately, in keeping with the Anglican Church’s policy of listening to the views of its LGBT clergy and laity.

The flavour of the short visit became clear at the public lecture, which was introduced by a senior lecturer of the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of Religion, Dr Chan Sze-chi, and by an American Anglican priest resident in Hong Kong, Father Frank Alagna. The latter described Bishop Gene as “a lightning rod for some of the most violent and pathologically homophobic reactions” since his election, and said that as a result he was now “an icon for LGBT people around the world.” The Bishop recently made an appearance at number 15 on the top 40 heroes list in the Sept edition of US gay news magazine The Advocate.

The 60-year-old proved to be remarkably steady under the pressure of both this introduction, of his turbulent life and the questions to which he was later exposed by his audience. He spoke movingly of his personal history as a gay man brought up in a conservative southern church, who had abandoned much of his fundamentalist past to become an Episcopalian priest, but had continued for decades to fight his sexuality. After two years in which he underwent psychotherapy twice a week, he had married a girl and gone on to father two daughters, but, after 13 years of marriage, he had found it impossible to deny his real sexuality and had amicably divorced. He had then, almost immediately, met the man who was to become the love of his life and his partner for twenty years until today. He affirmed himself as a ‘practising homosexual’ bishop and thanked God for his life.

Robinson confessed that he had had no idea of the storm he would be raising by his election (which, it is interesting to note, was, in true American fashion, and unlike the rest of the Anglican church, a democratic one by all his fellow clergy and the ordinary people, the lay members of his diocese’s churches. These had come to know him in his 35 years of work in the diocese and had chosen him despite his open gay sexuality). He thought that the furor his election had caused was due to the fact that all churches were now at last having to come to terms with the way science was revealing that there was really no end to the diverse nature of sexuality, and that it really was no longer possible to view the world in terms of the male and female recognised by the Bible.

The Bible, he said, “knew nothing of homosexual orientations,” which had only begun to be discussed 120 or so years ago, and so “can’t speak on that issue.” Complicating all the religious arguments, he regretted, was the politicisation of gay issues by the conservative right in the States, which was all too happy to collect votes from fundamentalists by playing the anti-gay card.

The bishop was, despite all his current setbacks, serenely optimistic about the direction that things were heading. God’s last word, he was sure, had not been written when the Bible was completed and what science revealed could not be gone back upon. He felt that the Anglican Communion was involved now in a unique experiment in trying to work out how to live together with such radically different views among its members; they would, he believed, manage eventually to live together with ‘infinite respect.’

The difficulty with which such an outcome would be achieved was illustrated immediately the meeting was thrown open to the floor; among the audience, which numbered around a hundred, were quite a few whose religious persuasion was antithetical to the Bishop’s, and he was faced with what became, at times, some vituperative questioning of his own personal morality and lifestyle. He rose above this and even found it in him to offer God’s blessings to some of those who were in the process of spitting hatred at him, a living proof, and a much needed one, that compromise can be achieved by tolerance and mutual respect.

At the root of his message was his belief in the absolute need for honesty, an issue, of course, which is of clear relevance to the largely closeted society of Hong Kong. “When someone will not acknowledge what I am, that hurts me,” he said. We had to work “to get to the place where we honour the choices other people make.”

Justice would be finally achieved when all the civil rights, like marriage, that currently refer only to ‘man’ are held to apply equally to all, irrespective of their differences. And, in a parting shot, he pledged he would be going to the bishops’ conference at Lambeth, whether invited to participate or just to watch from the outside.

Closing the session, Dr Chan Sze-chi made a plea that Hong Kong and China import no more dogmatism from the West. Communism and capitalism had been foreign implants and now there was a threat that ‘evangelical intransigence and intolerance’ would infect a Chinese world in which there had always been a tolerance for sexual divergence. He had seen signs of this in Hong Kong and Singapore, and hoped that China recognised this danger before it was too late.

The Bishop’s visit was a welcome breath of liberal air in a country where the fundamentalists seem to make the greatest noise and where the moderate majority of the mainstream churches keep their heads below the parapet. Those who heard him with respect will wish him ‘God speed’ in his visit to Lambeth.

Nigel Collett is an English biographer and businessman living in Hong Kong. Author of several books, including The Butcher of Amritsar, he has written for GMagazine and reviews for the Asian Review of Books. He is a moderator for the Hong Kong Man International Literary Festival. ae

 
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Hong Kong’s Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities
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October 30, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Gay General, Gay Issue & Rights-Overseas | Leave a comment

HALLOWEEN FACTS Halloween Oct 31, 2007

The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals
thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches,
ghosts, devils and hobgoblins. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals
have changed dramatically. Today, many of the young and young at heart
take a more light-spirited approach. They don scary disguises or ones
that may bring on smiles when they go door to door for treats, or
attend or host a Halloween party.

“Trick or Treat!”

36.1 million
The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2006 — children
5 to 13 — across the United States, down 45,000 from 2005. Of course,
many other children — older than 13, and younger than 5 — also go
trick-or-treating.
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010048.html>

109.6 million
Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2006 — all
potential stops for trick-or-treaters.
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/historic/histt15.html>

93%
Percentage of households who consider their neighborhood safe. In
addition, 78 percent said they were not afraid to walk alone at night.
(Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United
States, 2003, at
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_households/009884.html>

Jack-O’-Lanterns and Pumpkin Pies
1 billion pounds
Total production of major pumpkin-producing states in 2006. Illinois
led the country by producing 492 million pounds of the vined orange
gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania also provided
lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The
value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $101
million. <http://www.nass.usda.gov/index.asp>

Where to Spend Halloween?
Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood
are:

    * Transylvania County, N.C. (29,780 residents).
   
  <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/009756.html>
    * Tombstone, Ariz. (population 1,571).
   
  <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010315.html>
    * Pumpkin Center, N.C. (population 2,228); and Pumpkin Bend, Ark.
(population 307).
<http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>
    * Cape Fear in New Hanover County, N.C.; and Cape Fear in Chatham
County, N.C. (the townships have populations of 15,711 and 1,170,
respectively). <http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet>
    * Skull Creek, Neb. (population 281).
   
  <http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/010315.html>

Candy and Costumes
1,198
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and
cocoa products in 2005, employing 38,718 people and shipping $13.6
billion worth of goods. California led the nation in the number of
chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 128, followed by
Pennsylvania, with 121.
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/county_business_patterns/010192.html>
and <http://www.census.gov/mcd/asm-as2.html> (2005 Value of Product
Shipments)

477
Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate
confectionary products in 2005. These establishments employed 21,389 people and
shipped $7.6 billion worth of goods that year. California also led the
nation in this category, with 73 establishments.
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/county_business_patterns/010192.html>
and <http://www.census.gov/mcd/asm-as2.html> (2005 Value of Product
Shipments)

26 pounds
Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2006; it is believed a
large portion is consumed around Halloween.
<http://www.census.gov/industry/1/ma311d06.pdf>

2,232
Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the
nation in 2005.
<http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/county_business_patterns/010192.html>

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Lawrence
 
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October 30, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll | Leave a comment

Visa/Mastercard Scam.

Please take this very seriously as it could cost you dearly, dont let others cause you pain.
Lawrence

SCAM ALERT
—————–

The Holiday Season is just a little bit down the road and the bad guys
are already trying to get free stuff by using your credit.   

New Credit Card Scam Snopes.com says this is true.   See this site –
http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/creditcard.asp This Snopes site
says TRUE.

This one is pretty slick since they provide YOU with all the
information, except the one piece they want.  What the scammers want is the
3-digit PIN number on the back of the card.   Don’t give it to them.
  Instead, tell them you’ll call VISA or Master card directly for verification
of their conversation.

Note, the callers do not ask for your card number; they already have
it.  This information is worth reading.  By understanding how the VISA &
MasterCard Telephone Credit Card Scam works, you’ll be better prepared
to protect yourself.

One of our employees was called on Wednesday from ‘VISA’, and I was
called on Thursday from ‘Master Card’.

The scam works like this: Person calling says, ‘This is (name), and I’m
calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA. My badge
number is 12460.  Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase
pattern, and I’m calling to verify.  This would be on your VISA card which was
issued by ( name of bank).  Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing
Device for $497.99 from a Marketing company based in Arizona ?’nbsp;When
you say ‘No’, the caller continues with, ‘Then we will be issuing a
credit to your account.  This is a company we have been watching and the
charges range from $297 to $497, just under the $500 purchase pattern
that flags most cards.  Before your next statement, the credit will be
sent to (gives you your address), is that correct?’

You say ‘yes’.  The caller continues – ‘I will be starting a Fraud
investigation.  If you have any questions, you should call the 1- 800
number listed on the back of your card (1-800-VISA) and ask for Security.

You will need to refer to this Control Number.  The caller then gives
you a 6 digit number.  ‘Do you need me to read it again?’

Here’s the IMPORTANT part on how the scam works.  The caller then says,
‘I need to verify you are in possession of your card.’  He’ll ask you
to ‘turn your card over and look for some numbers.’  There are 7
numbers; the first 4 are part of your card number, the next 3 are the
security Numbers’ that verify you are the possessor of the card.  These are
the numbers you sometimes use to make Internet purchases to prove you
have the card.  The caller will ask you to read the 3 numbers to him.
  After you tell the caller the 3 numbers, he’ll say, ‘That is correct, I
just needed to verify that the card has not been lost or stolen, and that
you still have you rcard.  Do you have any other questions?’  After
you say, ‘No,’ the caller then thanks you and states, ‘Don’t hesitate to
call back if you do’, and hangs up.

You actually say very little, and they never ask for or tell you the
Card number.  But after we were called on Wednesday, we called back
within 20 minutes to ask a question.  Are we glad we did!  The REAL VISA
security Department told us it was a scam and in the last 15 minutes a new
purchase of $497.99 was charged to our card ..

Long story – short – we made a real fraud report and closed the VISA
account.  VISA is reissuing us a new number.    The real VISA told us
that they will never ask for anything on the card as they already know the
information since they issued the card!  If you give the scammers your
3 Digit PIN Number, you think you’re receiving a credit.  However, by
the time you get your statement you ‘ll see charges for purchases you
didn’t make, and by then it’s almost too late and/or more difficult to
actually file a fraud report.

What makes this more remarkable is that on Thursday, I got a call from
a ‘Jason Richardson of Master Card’ with a word-for-word repeat of the
VISA scam.  This time I didn’t let him finish.  I hung up!  We filed a
police report, as instructed by VISA.  The police said they are taking
several of these reports daily!  They also urged us to tell everybody
we know that this scam is happening .

Please pass this on to all your family and friends.  By informing each
other, we protect each other.

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll | 3 Comments