CategorySexual Ethics

On the shaming of Bathsheba

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One of the most famous stories in the Bible is King David’s sexual abuse of Bathsheba. The account is rather brief. David, who has a demonstrated propensity for violence, is walking on the roof of the palace when he sees a woman undergoing a bathing ritual required by the law. David is consumed with lust. He makes inquiries to determine who the woman is, then sends a servant to bring her to...

Protecting the right to discriminate. What should the marriage equality legislation do?

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The nation has voted for the recognition of same-sex marriage, and the challenge in the coming days is to legislate it. Many Christians are calling for a raft of provisions that protect their right to discriminate. The principle that it is unlawful to discriminate against somebody on the grounds of their sexuality is already part of Australian law. The Sex Discrimination Act was modified in 2013...

What my straight Christian friends need to know about my gay Christian friends.

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I want to tell you about my Christian LGBT friends. Almost all of them have had an agonising journey as they have sought to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. They have cried themselves to sleep each night begging God to change them; they have been to counselling; some have sought conversion therapies; they have hated themselves; hated God for hating them; some have teetered on the verge...

Don’t fall for the fear-mongering.

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One of the fears of many religious people have around marriage equality is that it will erode their freedom to practice their religion. How valid is this concern? My thesis is this: marriage equality will throw up questions about religious freedom, but they will not be new questions. As a society we have become more pluralist and are now working through how we protect how we protect the various...

The Meaning of Marriage

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What does marriage mean? The debate over marriage equality has forced us to ask this question. It is a good question to ask. In a 2011 article for the Sydney Anglicans website, which was later abbreviated to appear on the Drum website, Anglican Rector Michael Jensen argued that to recognise same-sex relationships as marriage would fundamentally change the meaning of marriage. Marriage, he argued...

Why Parliament & Not a Plebiscite Should Resolve the Question of Same-Sex Marriage

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The modern world has been distinguished by what David Bentley Hart calls a “tilt to freedom.” Beginning with the demand that kings be subject to the law, there has been a steady process of enlarging people’s freedoms and a consequent diminishing of the coercive power of the State and of one human over another. The fundamental principle underlying this is the equality of human...

Memo to Australian Christians.

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No Margaret you’re not being bullied This week former tennis great Margaret Court became the focus of media attention when she published an open letter in the West Australian newspaper declaring she would be boycotting Qantas because of statements by the company CEO in favour of gay marriage. The backlash was swift, from tweets by other tennis greats, to Tennis Australia distancing itself...

Coopers, the Bible Society, and what Christians don’t seem to understand about same-sex marriage “debate”

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Like many others I watched the publicity train wreck that was the Coopers-Bible Society collaboration with astonishment. In a number of fora I’ve heard Christians lamenting that they are not able to have a “civil discussion” on same-sex marriage and that this represents the silencing of the church in public debate. They’re right on one thing. Many in our society are not...

Why you should ask your pastor to stop preaching sermons against same-sex marriage

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I recently spent time with a friend who is a pastor. He was in the middle of a sermon series on contemporary issues and the topic for the following week was same-sex marriage. He held to a fairly stock-standard conservative evangelical approach and it was clear that his congregation expected him to articulate it. I suggested that when he preached the sermon his target shouldn’t be the 55 year old...

Challenges for the Church #3. Homosexuality

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The week before Christmas I purchased Two Views On Homosexuality, The Bible And The Church (Zondervan, 2016), a book that brings together four authors who discuss the place of homosexuality in the church. The editor, Preston Sprinkle, notes that This book is the first of its kind to be published by an evangelical Christian publisher. I don’t think a book like this would have been possible...

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