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The view that some of the best things here appear in the comboxes is exemplified by the recent discussion on morality and faith between Struans and Servuis Fidelis. With their permission I have ransacked the boxes and am putting up their views for wider consideration. Struans first. Jess

Sin is separation from God, and we are all sinners.

I have always felt uncomfortable with lists of sins, as if there is a fixed list such things. That is not to say that there are not obvious things that are sinful, but rather that any list might imply that there is a closed canon of sins, as a list would be of a fixed length. I don’t really think that the language works that way for a lot of people, where ‘sin’ means something from a list, but if we say that sin is separation from God, then that means so much more.
Now, writing that isn’t meant to be some slippery slope away from resisting the temptation to sin (i.e. to be sinful), but rather as a preamble to what I want to write about homosexuals.

I think it would be wrong for people in the C of E to bang on about and promote ‘gay marriage’ in church without reference to the rest of the Anglican Communion. That would amount to tokenism in my view. The first woman priest was Florence Li, ordained in China in 1944, and look at the time lag before the C of E has come (is to come) to women bishops – there are many parts of the Anglican Communion where female ordination is not an issue, and that is at it should be before the C of E attempts any change. It is disrespectful to others in the Anglican Communion not to do so – even places in Africa are reasonably mixed as regards this gender issue – Rwanda and South Africa being examples of provinces where females are able to be ordained.

Some of those who rant and rave against the idea of ‘gay marriage’ – as opposed to taking a more considered view, whatever their conclusions – seem to think that such a thing would mean endorsing a view that those in such a union would therefore be marked out by the church as ‘not sinners’. That is nonsense – gays who marry would be sinners, just like the rest of us.

So, why would such people be sinners? What is ‘the sin’? Well, I don’t want to have a list of sins, as I mentioned above. It is God who judges us – it is God who knows what the totality of that list is and what it isn’t – not humans.

In the meantime where is the harm in providing the legal protection for a committed relationship? Call it something else than marriage if you want – I take a utilitarian view on the matter, rather than indulging in the tokenism of labels. I am not someone who ‘believes in equality’ – I believe in God – and God knows we’re all different, not equal. For those who want to burrow deeper, I will not shy away from the issues if people want to reply to me in the comments. However, let us also look at today’s newspapers: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10637532/Being-homosexual-is-only-partly-due-to-gay-gene-research-finds.html