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Source: (consider it) Thread: Tim Farron
Louise
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I only have my phone as I've just gone out to an appointment so can't post with quotes/links but here is a thread so this discussion can move from purgatory.

Being a party leader is a different kettle of piranhas to being an ordinary party member. If your party is passionately morally opposed to fox hunting then even if you have voted against it, if you go back to your constituency and continue to enjoy riding with the local hunt, it's going to go down badly. Especially if you fail to deliver on other fronts.

If it's an issue of human rights it's even stickier - can people from that group feel comfortable and supported working with you? They don't have to - they have the right to say if they don't and to look for a leader who they do feel accepted and supported by.

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:

Being a party leader is a different kettle of piranhas to being an ordinary party member. If your party is passionately morally opposed to fox hunting then even if you have voted against it, if you go back to your constituency and continue to enjoy riding with the local hunt, it's going to go down badly. Especially if you fail to deliver on other fronts.

But if you're like Farron who probably (in my opinion, but only he really knows) thinks gay sex is a sin but doesn't think it's his place to make any pronouncements one way or the other (I've heard him use the "don't judge" and "speck and plank" argument several times) surely it comes down to whether you think he's prepared to put aside these feelings and represent his constituents and his party's policy stances, which he has mainly done, though of course not perfectly.

The thing that seems to have escaped most commentators is that, as an evangelical (correct me if I'm wrong), he probably thinks anyone who doesn't turn to Christ (gay or straight) is going to the other place, which I imagine to be most of his constituents and his own party, so is it that much of a stretch from what we have here to say that an evangelical shouldn't lead a political party (or at least the LDs)?

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Dafyd
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Hasn't Farron said that he no longer thinks gay sex is sinful?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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DaleMaily
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He did, but I don't think many people believed him.

It's also a strange situation that someone who may or may not think gay sex is a sin but has not intention of doing (or even saying) anything about it, but Jeremy Corbyn spoke at Khomeinist (Iranian regime) rallies in London considering what they do to gay people.

[ 15. June 2017, 15:13: Message edited by: DaleMaily ]

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Louise
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I know people who condemned Jezza on just those grounds but now grudgingly accept him because of his unexpectedly good results against The Tories. If Tim Farron had delivered a Jezza-like surge I doubt we would be hearing very much about this. The LGBT people who were uncomfortable with him would have probably swallowed their discomfort for party unity, but he hasn't delivered very much and people who felt uncomfortable don't feel constrained to keep schtum any more.

If you believe something a large part of your party are viscerally unhappy with, you need to bring home the goods for them to overlook it (see also Tony Blair) otherwise they will prefer someone who enthusiastically advocates what they believe in and who is as comfortable with their passionately-held moral positions as they are. In fact perhaps a better comparison is Ruth Davidson - there are plenty non gay-affirming Scottish Tory MPs, yet Ruth can do no wrong, as she's delivered the goods...

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DaleMaily
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You're right about electoral performance. The Lib Dems are absolutely ruthless in their putsches, and had he got 20 MPs he would still be in situ.

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anne
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Tim Farron's words and voting record combined give a picture of a developing and fairly nuanced position.

How would it have played with the media if he had stuck to the statement "It is irrelevant to my job as MP whether or not I think that gay sex is a sin. It is relevant that I do not think that it should be a crime, and I do not, as my voting record demonstrates" repeated every time the question is raised?

Would that have shut the story down, or stirred the media up? Because I think that if that statement (or similar statements on other issues) is unacceptable then perhaps Mr Farron is right to imply that people of faith will find it more difficult to work in politics in future.

anne

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‘I would have given the Church my head, my hand, my heart. She would not have them. She did not know what to do with them. She told me to go back and do crochet' Florence Nightingale

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Baptist Trainfan
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As a LibDem supported (though I voted tactically for Labour in the last election) I have a lot of time for Tim Farron. But I felt he handled the questions badly and failed to shut down the issue. Surely a proper liberal position would have been to say,"Yes, I have views, but I equally respect the views of others".

A couple of other points. First, while I absolutely support gay rights and SSM, I find it slightly ironic that Tim has been vilified for not embracing a position which would have been politically catastrophic just a few decades ago.

Second: he is not the only person of faith in Parliament, so why has he been put under this pressure when (say) Catholic Christians and Muslims have not? Is this because the media are generally out to get the LibDems and he has been made the fall guy? Is it because the Press have a stereotypical view of "evangelical" which they want to uphold and then attack? Or is this the London media wanting to portray him as a retrograde northerner?

[ 15. June 2017, 18:06: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Louise
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Interesting take by Andrew Brown that it hurt him with swing voters

quote:
For a start, not too many people believe that Farron’s private views disqualify him from office: ComRes polling on this finds that only around 20 per cent of Lib Dem voters think that privately believing gay sex is sinful disqualifies a politician from office if they do nothing to act on their conviction. About the same proportion of Conservatives and even UKIP voters agree. The figure rises to around 30 per cent for Labour and SNP voters... Greens (48 per cent)

Yet that 10 per cent gap between Lib Dem and Labour views is a very awkward one for a Lib Dem leader specifically. In this election, Farron was competing for the young and well-educated vote and it is exactly in those sectors that opinion was least favourable to him. Young people were much more likely even than the generality of Labour voters to regard Tim Farron’s privately-held beliefs as disqualification from office. Not for nothing did Labour put his conservative views on their election literature in Cambridge, where there was a huge swing from Lib to Lab.
...
This suggests that it’s impossible to be an evangelical Christian of Farron’s sort and an effective leader of the Liberal Democrats. It doesn’t mean that all people of those views are being driven out of politics. It probably doesn’t even mean that they are being driven out of the Lib Dems. It just means that if you are a party leader who sincerely holds unpopular views on a matter that your swing voters think is morally salient, you will pay for it.



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Matt Black

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Thanks. Interesting. I wonder though to what extent also his fudging the issue ultimately was his undoing?
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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Second: he is not the only person of faith in Parliament, so why has he been put under this pressure when (say) Catholic Christians and Muslims have not? Is this because the media are generally out to get the LibDems and he has been made the fall guy? Is it because the Press have a stereotypical view of "evangelical" which they want to uphold and then attack? Or is this the London media wanting to portray him as a retrograde northerner?

Up until this moment, I don't think I ever thought of him as a 'northerner'. I have no idea what bearing that might have on the media luke-warmedness for him.

I think (like Corbyn's position on Trident and the cause of republicanism) being Catholic or Muslim and having mainstream Catholic or Muslim views is pretty much factored in already. All the candidate needs to state is "I respect civil rights for everyone, including LGBT+ rights", and it's all good.

Being a protestant, however, probably means you have your beliefs measured by a different, CofE-tinged, yardstick. That the established church has been busy tearing itself apart over several decades regarding both woman and gays has come to the notice of both press and public, so some form of clarity needs to be sought from a Protestant Christian.

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Get your arse to Mars

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Doublethink.
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I think that being originally evasive about it was more the problem.

Theresa May is of course a practising Christian and with "evolving" views on homosexuality. So it's self-evidently not true you can't lead a political party whilst being a Christian. (Likewise Tony Blair.)

He should have been clear in the first place, and pointed at his voting record each and every question on this. He should also perhaps have been more formal on his belief in the separation of church and state.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Matt Black

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Exactly

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Callan
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Originally posted by anne:

quote:
Would that have shut the story down, or stirred the media up? Because I think that if that statement (or similar statements on other issues) is unacceptable then perhaps Mr Farron is right to imply that people of faith will find it more difficult to work in politics in future.
People of faith who are unable to say whether or not they believe gay sex is a sin will struggle to lead a political party, whose natural constituency are the young and the well educated. (Which is why, btw, the tuition fees debacle was so devastating for them). Politics is a fairly brutal business - if the Lib Dems had won half a dozen more seats, I suspect that we would not be having this conversation - and I'm not convinced that replacing Farron with Jo Swinson or Vince Cable will do much for the Lib Dems tanking vote share because the younglings aren't going to turn out in force for the people who voted to saddle them with 27K worth of debt. But if you are pitching for the sort of people who voted Lib Dem historically, then a biblical literalist is not your ideal leader, to put it politely. It's worth recalling, at this point, that both David Steel and Charles Kennedy were people of faith who didn't have this particular problem. (it's also worth recalling that Charles Kennedy, drunk as a lord, was better than any of his successors, sober as a judge).

I think, btw, that it would be quite funny if this question were to be asked of, say, Sadiq Khan, but that's another argument.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
Interesting take by Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown I think misses the point.
He seems to think that Farron believes that gay sex should be illegal and that is the issue on which he disagrees with his party. (Just as Corbyn disagrees with his party on Trident.) Now, if anyone does believe then they have no place leading any political party with liberal pretensions.
But that is not Farron's position.
Let's suppose an otherwise identical politician called Varron who believes gay sex is sinful. Varron also believes as Farron does that the government ought not to enforce religious doctrines or moral opinions where those don't affect other people, and that therefore while he thinks gay sex is immoral it ought not to be illegal. Now that would be a classical liberal position: one ought not to use the government to enforce one's morality or religion on private matters. That's entirely compatible with John Rawls.
Arguing that Varron ought not to be the leader of a liberal party is to say that the classical liberal position is incoherent.

Finally Farron has said that he doesn't think gay sex is a sin. If he is sacked because he is disbelieved on that point, then unless he has been saying otherwise in private than in public, then there is an assumption that religious believers cannot hold liberal opinions. The mere perception by secularists that all religious believers are illiberal is sufficient to disqualify a religious believer from leading a party with liberal pretensions.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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SvitlanaV2
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I think it was improper for secular journalists to go on and on about 'sin' in discussions with a politician who is seeking secular office.

Sin is a transgression of God's law. Since we don't live in a theocracy or a religious dictatorship, Farron's beliefs about God's law are irrelevant. What matters is what he would actually do if he gained office. He made it clear that he had no intention of repealing the laws regarding homosexuality or SSM.

It was a shame that Farron was unable to dismiss this line of questioning more robustly. But I've noticed that Lib Dem party leaders lack a certain robustness. When Nick Clegg (an atheist) has his sad face on, he looks as if he's going to cry! They need someone who exudes a bit more self-confidence.

[ 15. June 2017, 21:28: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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lilBuddha
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What I want is a politician who actively and effectively supports the issues that I think are important. I would prefer that they also believe in those issue as well, but I'll take effective any day.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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SvitlanaV2
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The funny thing is that religious people in Britain probably give this less thought than the non-religious, because the former know that the likelihood of the average senior politician coming from the same place as themselves on these matters is low.

IOW, even if a party leader doesn't believe that SSM is a 'sin' that's not quite the same position as an atheist SSM-activist who doesn't believe that sin exists at all!

And I don't imagine that Farron picked up much of the 'evangelical vote' just because he's a Christian who looks awkward when talking about homosexuality. Christians mostly vote on other issues.

On reflection, it's probably for the best if party leaders are moderately agnostic (or even atheistic), or vaguely CofE at a stretch. Anything else is going to frighten someone.

[ 15. June 2017, 23:00: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:

Theresa May is of course a practising Christian and with "evolving" views on homosexuality. So it's self-evidently not true you can't lead a political party whilst being a Christian. (Likewise Tony Blair.)

Likewise Gordon Brown and Margaret Thatcher, and to a lesser extent David Cameron. I seem to remember ken of blessed memory observing that British PMs seem to be disproportionately practising Christians.

(David Cameron called himself 'a member of the Church of England, and, I suspect, a rather classic one: not that regular in attendance, and a bit vague on some of the more difficult parts of the faith'.)

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:


(David Cameron called himself 'a member of the Church of England, and, I suspect, a rather classic one: not that regular in attendance, and a bit vague on some of the more difficult parts of the faith'.)

I live not a million miles away from Cameron's country place, and suspect that the regularity of attendance is actually a wee bit higher than you might expect fwiw. Clearly I don't know about the second part.

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And is it true? For if it is....

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Leprechaun

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I think it's got to do with how the meaning of the Liberal bit of Lib Dems has evolved.

Classically, it means legislating for the freedom for everyone to make their own decisions as far as possible, whatever your personal morality.

Now it tends to mean personally a social liberal by conviction on any issue of the day.

If the Lib Dems have become the latter then I think it's sad there's no place for the former in British politics any more. Are we doomed to have only idealogues and no one willing to admit their own convictions may be fallible and work for people to make their own decisions on most matters?

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Baptist Trainfan
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It's rather like the change in use of the word "secular" which in my book does not mean that religion must have no voice in the public square, but that all faiths (and none) should have an equal right to speak.

As a Nonconformist I am therefore a convinced secularist in the old-fashioned sense (over ad against the State mandating the kind of public religious discourse it wants).

[ 16. June 2017, 09:36: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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DaleMaily
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:

Theresa May is of course a practising Christian and with "evolving" views on homosexuality. So it's self-evidently not true you can't lead a political party whilst being a Christian. (Likewise Tony Blair.)

That is actually something I have come to respect about May. If I remember correctly she voted against the repeal of Section 28, but by the time she became Home Secretary she had publicly said she had changed her mind on the issue (she might have apologised, but I can't be sure).

One thing I find a bit troubling by all this is that it we seem to expect politicians to be on the right side of issues from day 1, when "the Church" itself is so split.

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The more I get to know the less I find that I understand.

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PaulTH*
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Though I didn't agree with much of what Tim Farron said and proposed during the election campaign, I felt very sorry for him when he was forced to lie about his devoutly held beliefs out of political correctness. Because a dedicated Bible believing Christian like Mr Farron may well conclude that gay sex is sinful. But I'm sure he would do so in the same spirit as Pope Francis when he said, "Who am I to judge?" Such a Christian might well also conclude that remarriage after divorce is unacceptable, that women shouldn't be in authority in church and must conclude that abortion is murder.

But in the West we live by the 21st century Bible which says that the social norms of Jesus and Paul's day, still more so that of Moses in Leviticus aren't binding on us, and that the loving acceptance we give to people irrespective of what they are trumps outdated laws. In other words we live in an age of relative values where no one lifestyle is considered more "normal" than another. That Mr Farron and his type prefer the real Bible to our reconstructed version puts him at odds with today's culture and politics. For this reason I think he was right to resign, but I don't think anyone has the right to expect him to give up the received Word of God in favour of the prevailing culture's version of it.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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lilBuddha
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"Real" bible. Nice. [Disappointed]

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Problem there, PaulTH, is that your homophobic, sexist and murderous (remember, Leviticus doesn't just say men shouldn't lie with men as one does with a woman, it says IS are bang on the money and they should be killed) doesn't seem to have much going for it compared with all this accepting one another stuff.

[ 16. June 2017, 23:08: Message edited by: Karl: Liberal Backslider ]

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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stonespring
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Here is an interesting example of intolerance of conservative religious belief among political liberals from across the pond, coming from Sen. Bernie Sanders, a man I otherwise admire:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/09/532116365/is-it-hateful-to-believe-in-hell-bernie-sanders-questions-prompt- backlash

The mainstream Democratic party is increasingly becoming very similar to the UK Liberal Democrats and young Labour activists in terms of its wariness of, if not outright hostility towards, non-progressive, non-pluralist Christianity.

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lilBuddha
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I don't think Sanders is being intolerant. What I think he is doing, and rightly, is questioning whether those beliefs will affect people who do not share them.
Given the Orange administration's appointees so far, it is a valid concern.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:

But in the West we live by the 21st century Bible which says that the social norms of Jesus and Paul's day, still more so that of Moses in Leviticus aren't binding on us,

Absolutely - our tolerance for lending at interest is simply shocking.
quote:
In other words we live in an age of relative values
Really? Liberal society believes that gay relationships are an objective good and that impeding those relationships is an objective bad. I would call that absolute, not relative, morality.

More generally, if you take any article from either old or new media about austerity, immigration, or the EU, I do not think it will be characterised by its moral relativism.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Baptist Trainfan
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Very good (IMO) article by a liberal Muslim.
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PaulTH*
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl:Liberal Backslider:
Problem there, PaulTH, is that your homophobic, sexist and murderous (remember, Leviticus doesn't just say men shouldn't lie with men as one does with a woman, it says IS are bang on the money and they should be killed) doesn't seem to have much going for it compared with all this accepting one another stuff.

I didn't say they were my thoughts, just that it's what the Bible says. It shows the dangers of biblical fundamentalism.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*:
Though I didn't agree with much of what Tim Farron said and proposed during the election campaign, I felt very sorry for him when he was forced to lie about his devoutly held beliefs out of political correctness. Because a dedicated Bible believing Christian like Mr Farron may well conclude that gay sex is sinful. But I'm sure he would do so in the same spirit as Pope Francis when he said, "Who am I to judge?" Such a Christian might well also conclude that remarriage after divorce is unacceptable, that women shouldn't be in authority in church and must conclude that abortion is murder.

But in the West we live by the 21st century Bible which says that the social norms of Jesus and Paul's day, still more so that of Moses in Leviticus aren't binding on us, and that the loving acceptance we give to people irrespective of what they are trumps outdated laws. In other words we live in an age of relative values where no one lifestyle is considered more "normal" than another. That Mr Farron and his type prefer the real Bible to our reconstructed version puts him at odds with today's culture and politics. For this reason I think he was right to resign, but I don't think anyone has the right to expect him to give up the received Word of God in favour of the prevailing culture's version of it.

I've been reflecting on this post and how many Evangelical tropes and themes it contains. And maybe this is actually the problem; in using the term "bible-believing Christian" one is implying that other Christians don't believe in the bible. In talking about the Word of God, one is asserting that one's own interpretation is correct and every other is wrong. And so on.

Maybe this is more the problem that Farron faced. Less to do with pressure from gays who think he is less than 100% committed to equality and more to do with pressure from Evangelicals who think that he isn't a cookie-cutter politician who is in parliament to promulgate their views. In an era when the DUP and their views are going to be under the microscope, it is tricky to be a liberal MP who says he is from an Evangelical background and to differentiate himself from the noisy fundamentalist bigots.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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Doublethink.
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PaulTH* is it fair to assume he lied about his beliefs ?

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
PaulTH* is it fair to assume he lied about his beliefs ?

One hopes he lied. Because if he was forced to resign because it was assumed he was lying when he wasn't that would be a bad sign for the future of Christians in progressive circles in public life.

(I am not gay so I do not feel comfortable complaining about what happened if he does think gay sex is sinful. Though those who think it is a rejection of the classical liberal position that moral positions about private matters should not be reflected in the law are I think correct.)

[ 17. June 2017, 21:54: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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Doublethink.
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He wasn't forced to resign, according to him and the rest of the lib dems.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
He wasn't forced to resign, according to him and the rest of the lib dems.

Brian Paddick resigned as whatever the equivalent of Shadow Home Secretary is the day before, citing Farron's beliefs.
Forcing may be a bit strong. But if Corbyn had resigned last year after the Shadow Cabinet collectively stepped down I think the word 'forced' would have been used.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
PaulTH* is it fair to assume he lied about his beliefs ?

One hopes he lied. Because if he was forced to resign because it was assumed he was lying when he wasn't that would be a bad sign for the future of Christians in progressive circles in public life.

(I am not gay so I do not feel comfortable complaining about what happened if he does think gay sex is sinful. Though those who think it is a rejection of the classical liberal position that moral positions about private matters should not be reflected in the law are I think correct.)

I think it's far more likely than not that he did not lie, and that others assumed that he had. The likes of the EA and so forth don't really like to admit it, but there are plenty of evos out there, (self included, and I know lots more of like mind), who don't see a problem with, say, equal marriage, and certainly don't believe that gay sex is sinful. He's not that much of an outlier, surely? Why, then, did Paddick (who, let's face it, must have been aware of TF's supportive voting record) put the boot in. It doesn't make him look good, and, unless he wants the leadership himself, it's hard to see what he has to gain. I just wonder if the root of all this is some form of personality conflict between the two of them.

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Leprechaun

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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by Doublethink.:
PaulTH* is it fair to assume he lied about his beliefs ?

One hopes he lied. Because if he was forced to resign because it was assumed he was lying when he wasn't that would be a bad sign for the future of Christians in progressive circles in public life.

(I am not gay so I do not feel comfortable complaining about what happened if he does think gay sex is sinful. Though those who think it is a rejection of the classical liberal position that moral positions about private matters should not be reflected in the law are I think correct.)

I think it's far more likely than not that he did not lie, and that others assumed that he had.
My guess is like most of us, he's pretty conflicted about the whole thing, loving gay people in his life, grappling with a faith tradition that says gay sex is sinful (a tradition AFAICT in which he is still firmly embedded) and probably said in the campaign slightly more than he could actually stand by day to day. But on this issue, that sort of personal struggle is not allowed, no matter how you vote.

It probably is unrealistic for someone who holds the conservative position on this now to be a party leader, I think he's right about that. I guess, no matter what you think about the issue at hand, we'll come to regret the death of that type of classical liberalism.

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He hath loved us, He hath loved us, because he would love

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mdijon
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I'm sure it would be possible to privately hold those opinions, and when asked say something along the lines of theological classifications of concepts like sin having no place in a secular society.

Farron couldn't do that for two reasons - one that he'd already made statements to the media on his views of homosexuality that we was now being challenged on, so a prissy refusal to discuss doesn't work, and second that he likely has a constituency of fellow believers who are distinctly unimpressed with the secular take.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
[Farron] likely has a constituency of fellow believers who are distinctly unimpressed with the secular take.

Do we know for sure that evangelicals are a particularly important constituency for the Lib Dems?

Nonconformists used to vote for the Liberals 100 years ago, but I wouldn't have thought that that had translated into 'non-secular' votes today.

[ 20. June 2017, 12:16: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Matt Black

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Could he not when questioned gone for the 'tolerant vegetarian' approach ie: "I don't agree personally with eating meat so I don't personally do it, but I'm not going to stop others from enjoying a nice juicy steak"?

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Paul.
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I'm sure it would be possible to privately hold those opinions, and when asked say something along the lines of theological classifications of concepts like sin having no place in a secular society.

I'm not convinced this is true tbh. In non-theological every day discourse "sin" is an archaic word for wrong/bad/evil. And the theological classification comes down to whether it falls into the category of those things we legislate against or not.

Saying it has no place in secular society doesn't avoid the fact that you've communicated, "I think this is wrong" and rightly or wrongly, people will judge you on that. And by "people" I mean voters of course.

I can't find it now but there was an article on this that reported on a survey where they asked people about supporting someone who had private beliefs they disagreed with but who publicly did not act on them, supported equality etc. A small but not insignificant minority said they would not support such a politician, and the number increased as you went down the age range.

quote:
Farron couldn't do that for two reasons - one that he'd already made statements to the media on his views of homosexuality that we was now being challenged on, so a prissy refusal to discuss doesn't work, and second that he likely has a constituency of fellow believers who are distinctly unimpressed with the secular take.
I have to admit I was confused by his speech. Maybe because I'd taken his previous statements at face value. He's said he's reached the conclusion that gay sex is not a sin. But his speech reads more like he still believes it is but does not believe it right to impose that on anyone else.

So if he doesn't believe it's a sin then I also wonder if there's a christian constituency he's trying to appease. Not in an electoral sense - I can't believe there are enough to make much of a difference - but in terms of trying to personally maintain relationships within a christian tradition/church/groups that disagrees with him on this. But if he's trying to do that by being vague about what he believes I think he's on a hiding to nothing and probably is right to resign.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul.:
In non-theological every day discourse "sin" is an archaic word for wrong/bad/evil. And the theological classification comes down to whether it falls into the category of those things we legislate against or not.

Saying it has no place in secular society doesn't avoid the fact that you've communicated, "I think this is wrong" and rightly or wrongly, people will judge you on that. And by "people" I mean voters of course.

I wonder if there's some way for a Christian public figure to explain that a certain behaviour may go against your religious tradition, but it doesn't mean that the people who engage in it are 'bad' in the popular sense.

It's probably easier for Muslim politicians to do this successfully, because no one really expects them to be utterly secular in their moral perspective; they're just required to be respectful of the beliefs and lives of other people. But 'Christian' is still (just about) a euphemism for white, British, contemporary normality, and any kind of Christianity that stands in relief against that normality is going to make the nominally Christian public feel very offended and embattled. This is how ISTM, anyway.

It's interesting that Mrs May, an Anglican, had no similar worries about offending a 'constituency' of CofE evangelicals. This may be because most self-confessed Anglicans are non-churchgoing and are very relaxed about personal morality; they were the constituency who mattered to her, not the small number of churchgoers who may or may not approve of SSM.

Mr Farron didn't have a constituency of either nominal or liberal evangelicals standing behind him. Britain produces too few of them, despite the existence of moderately famous names in the blogosphere, etc.

[ 20. June 2017, 17:14: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Paul.
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
I wonder if there's some way for a Christian public figure to explain that a certain behaviour may go against your religious tradition, but it doesn't mean that the people who engage in it are 'bad' in the popular sense.

But I think it does boil down to '"bad" in the popular sense'. Certainly that was always my understanding as an evangelical. To be honest I don't think I've ever come across a Christian who thought it not bad in the popular sense, who didn't also think it not bad in any sense. What would that look like? Something like a food restriction?
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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
[Farron] likely has a constituency of fellow believers who are distinctly unimpressed with the secular take.

quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Do we know for sure that evangelicals are a particularly important constituency for the Lib Dems?

The answer is not especially. But that wasn't my point, I was referring to the fellow believers in his church and circle of friends, and possibly his family. It would be an unusual group of evangelicals that didn't include some who felt he was letting the side down in straddling the fence.

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul.:
Saying it has no place in secular society doesn't avoid the fact that you've communicated, "I think this is wrong" and rightly or wrongly, people will judge you on that. And by "people" I mean voters of course.

Exactly. Which is why that line only works if one hasn't already communicated "I think this is wrong". My own advice would be not to think that in the first place, but if one did think it then not to be drawn at all. Every enquiry about Christian beliefs regarding sexuality made to a politician should be met with an explanation of why it isn't relevant in a secular society. But once one has opened up indicating sin as a topic of discussion at an earlier stage then the cat takes a lot of putting back in the bag.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul.:
I have to admit I was confused by his speech. Maybe because I'd taken his previous statements at face value. He's said he's reached the conclusion that gay sex is not a sin. But his speech reads more like he still believes it is but does not believe it right to impose that on anyone else.

Yes, that's how it sounded to me, too.
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mdijon
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And taken together with the fact that he didn't like repeating the view he'd come to that gay sex wasn't a sin, it's clear he wasn't comfortable with his apparent conclusion.

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beatmenace
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
... not the small number of churchgoers who may or may not approve of SSM.

She might have to take some of them more seriously now.

[ 21. June 2017, 12:15: Message edited by: beatmenace ]

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"I'm the village idiot , aspiring to great things." (The Icicle Works)

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul.:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
I wonder if there's some way for a Christian public figure to explain that a certain behaviour may go against your religious tradition, but it doesn't mean that the people who engage in it are 'bad' in the popular sense.

But I think it does boil down to '"bad" in the popular sense'. Certainly that was always my understanding as an evangelical. To be honest I don't think I've ever come across a Christian who thought it not bad in the popular sense, who didn't also think it not bad in any sense. What would that look like? Something like a food restriction?
But consider premarital (hetero)sexual relationships. Some Christians might see those as sinful, i.e. against God's holy law, yet concede that a colleague or neighbour who lives 'in sin' isn't an especially bad person - or no worse than the rest of us, since we all fall short of God's standards.

More broadly, I feel it's seriously problematic for Christians (regardless of what any of them believe is or isn't a sin) to expect non-Christians to live according to some set of religious standards. What this does is secularise Christianity, because it reduces a saving faith in Jesus Christ to a question of 'lifestyles'. The Victorians and Edwardians fell into this trap, and in the long run the Church was undermined.

This being the case, I don't think it's at all wise for evangelicals to elide spiritual understandings of sinfulness with secular, popular, cultural notions of what's 'bad'. Atheism isn't 'bad' in our culture, but it's certainly a 'sin', according to our religion!

But it's amusing to imagine that Mr Farron conjured up visions of his evangelical friends every time a journalist asked him an awkward question. I wonder if Mrs May thinks about the CofE in similar situations!

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