It was very pleasing to see that progress is being made within the church to our plight. Like in all aspects of society, attitues towards the LGBT community are changing, and this was evident by Canon Micheal Smith of York Minster blessing the pride parade over the weekend.
However, there are others who are not so happy about this. Rev Melvin Tinker of Newland St John’s in our beatiful city in Hull, has been less than pleased with the canon’s decision, which is very dissapointing. Rev Tinker believes that, because stealing a car is wrong, murdering someone is wrong, one’s far worse than the other but the point is they both fall in to the immoral category. He made the case that homosexuality is a kin to peadophillia, and that as the two are both a sin before God, then they fall in to the same catagory of sin.
His remarks are not only ill informed and offensive, they’re outright damaging, and could have far worse implications than he had bargained for. Firstly, how anyone can compare loving, committed, consensual relationships between people of the same sex, to the exploitation of children beggars belief. The two are polar opposites and Rev Tinker has been made to look rather foolish by his remarks. However, what is even more concerning is that there is every chance that a God fearing Christian who lives locally, is really struggling with their feelings and is looking for solace. What better place to turn to than a man of God? Rev Tinker has now closed this avenue off for them, as an individual such as this is going to imagine that the vicar will believe them to be a peadophile for thier feelings, which will only alienate any vulnerable person further. If they’re feeling alone and isolated, then are made to feel even more isolate, then one can only conclude that his comments are potentially very damaging for anyone in that position. Where’s next for them? Depression? Self harm? Drug abuse? Worse?
Whilst Rev Tinker’s comments should be respected as his personal views and ultimately free speech must win the day, persons in authority need to remember that such liberties come with responsibilities, and that the words they say can have negative consequences, causing a lot of harm. Let’s hope that it doesn’t come to that.
However, we mustn’t forget that the church is making progress. Just around the corner at St Ninians on Chanterlands Avenue, the church has a monthly meet up of the LGBT Christian Fellowship, where anyone can attend, regardless of faith, and celebrate their diversity in the eyes of God in a loving, prejudice free environment. And Rev Tutu has also said that God loves us too let’s not forget, as he doesn’t believe that God is a homophobe, otherwise he wouldn’t worship God. Amen to that.
Reactions to the Rev. Tinkers homophobic remarks have continued. On thursday 25th June Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Hull North and strong supporter of LGBT rights ,raised the issue in questions to the Leader of The Commons Chris Grayling.
She said ‘during the course of the same sex marriage act, the Rvd Tinker [whose church is in Hull North] told me tat if I supported it ,he’d instruct his congregation not to vote for me.It might have something to do with the fact tha my majority went from 641 to 12,889.
However, this weekend the Revd. Tinker has equated homosexuality with paedophilia. Can we please have a debate in Government time about the responsibilities of the established Church of England around community cohesion ,not inciting crimes of hate.”
This brought the welcome response from that it was never acceptable to equate homosexuality and paedophilia and Speaker John Bercow attacked Revd Tinkers ‘rather blinkered view’
Hear hear——as the House echoed to. But the debate still needs to take place.
Where does society [and the Church of England] draw the line between freedom of expression and incitement to hatred. There is no doubt that religious views of the type expressed fuel homophobia and hate crime