Friday, 13 April 2012


Any Christian with a sense of moral duty to secular society should be profoundly concerned about London Mayor Boris Johnson's decision to censor the gay conversion advertising campaign by Core Issues Trust and Anglican Mainstream.

The two-week "Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!" campaign on London buses was due to start next week. It would have provided an alternative view to homosexual campaign group Stonewall's "Some people are gay. Get over it" adverts.

Mr Johnson's stated reason for banning the adverts is extraordinary for a democratic politician standing in a free election:
London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest being gay is an illness someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.

It is truly frightening that Mr Johnson is not prepared to leave Londoners themselves to make up their own minds on the question of gay conversion. Does he believe that his electors are incapable of deciding on whether they think that homosexuality is an innate condition or that sexual orientation is more fluid and can therefore be subjected to the exercise of moral choices?

Moreover, cannot Londoners decide for themselves that if homosexuality is an innate orientation with which some people are born, individuals can choose on religious grounds not to act on their sexual desires and remain celibate?

Does Mr Johnson wish to impose on everybody the permissive society's view that sexual activity is essential to leading a fulfilled life?

Voting in an election - and Mr Johnson is standing in one next month for the office of London Mayor - involves the exercise of independent judgement. It involves weighing up the merits of various arguments. It involves exercising moral choices.

Reacting to Mr Johnson's decision, Core Issues' co-director Mike Davidson rightly identified the threat to democracy:
I didn't realise censorship was in place...It is of deep concern that there can only be one point of view and that is the point of view of individuals who are determined to push through gay marriage and apparently believe that homosexuality cannot be altered in any possible way. That is not a universally held view. This is a disturbing development and it is disappointing the UK finds itself in this position.

The threat to the proclamation of the Lordship of Christ in British society is manifest from Mr Johnson's decision in the UK capital. Christianity spreads by persuasion. It thrives in an atmosphere of rigorous and free philosophical and moral debate.

Indeed, that persuasive, argumentative aspect of the biblical Christianity that emerged following the 16th Century Reformation in England and Scotland contributed to the development of Parliamentary democracy on this island.

How tragically ironic that a British politician aspiring to office through a democratic election should collude with sinister forces that want to censor the proclamation of the Christian worldview on an issue of personal morality.


  1. I strongly disagree.

    This advert was not only offensive and divisive, but most importantly, potentially damaging to vulnerable gay and lesbian youth. A quote from the Royal College of Psychiatrists:

    'Unfortunately, therapists who behave in this way cause considerable distress. A small minority of therapists will even go so far as to attempt to change their client’s sexual orientation. This can be deeply damaging.'

    Not only is there no sound scientific evidence that people can change their orientation, by going through such 'therapy', a perfect environment can be created where discrimination and self loathing flourish.

    Mike Davidson had his membership to the BPA rescinded over his practices. Responsible mental health professionals who follow good academic practise think of this as nothing other than quackery. Harmful quackery at that.

    Would you be happy if a naturalist was allowed to run adverts encouraging people to sip herbal tea INSTEAD of going to an oncologist for a malignant tumor?

  2. You're right that it's a threat to democracy. However, the idea of having bus ads in response to Stonewall was a colossal mistake, because it looked merely reactionary. It was not a *pastoral* response. In my experience of being around the ex-gay movement, a lot of its adherents have poor personal boundaries, and don't always respect privacy. Privacy is essential for pastoral handling of these issues. I've known people invovled with the contemporary British ex-gay movement who don't believe that ex-gays should be allowed to keep their ex-gay identity private. This is a very dangerous attitude that mirrors exactly Stonewall's attitude of 'outing' Anglican vicars who are believed to be gay. Anglican Mainstream have not done anybody any favours by this stupid publicity stunt. They have been politically immature and attention-seeking. *Many* men and women in therapy and ministry will not be at all impressed or happy with how all this furore has blown up.

  3. Just love the self-contractory nature of Johnson's opening sentence: "London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance"!

    How often those who claim to be tolerant show themselves to be the most intolerant of others who hold a different view to them!!

  4. Come off it! The ad was planned by A Mainstream in sure & certain knowledge that sooner rather than later it would be banned (they're probably astonished - as am I - that it got as far as it did), giving the usual suspects another opportunity - really well-publicized this time around - to rush around yelling "Persecution!". Great timing to fire up the home base for the Gafcon meeting, by the way.

  5. Erm. The Stonewall ad does not encourage discrimination, does not make use of contoversial data, and does not potentally promote fear and/or hatred toward ‘people not like us’ does it? Wheras the ‘Anglican Mainstream and Core Issues Trust’ sponsored ad potentially does. It really does. Can people not see the difference?
    I’m neither Gay nor, I hope, extremist, but I regard the Stonewall ad as a simple affirmation, and the counter ad as a deliberately rabble rousing attack. I personally find it offensive, but that’s not the point. More importantly it is deeply unhelpful, and I cannot see any good intention behind it. It comes across more as as childish knee jerk riposte, without regard for consequences to real people.

  6. The Stonewall ad was aimed at convincing the public that 'gay' is always a fixed identity, thus reinforcing the 'born that way' claim. This is far from the truth.

    The AM/Core ad merely points out that some people have managed to leave the gay lifestyle.

    Stonewall are naturally angered at this, as it rather disproves their ideology.

    If we are to talk of harm, let us think about the huge health risks to people who wholly embrace the gay lifestyle. The highest health risks, both physical and psychological, occur in the most gay-affirming societies, so let us not pretend that 'homophobia' is solely responsible.

    Abuses of the body cannot but affect the mind. Here is a tragic story of a gay activist who killed himself when he realised that he was living - and promoting - a lie.

    1. @Jill

      'Abuses of the body cannot but affect the mind...'

      I've noted elsewhere how you claim homosexuals are troubled by illness that cost the tax payer money, because of their 'abuse of the body'. But I think you confuse the issue. It can also be argued that sex full stop costs the tax payer money! Virgins don't get cervical cancer! The cost to the taxpayer of unnecessary caesarians, teen pregnancy etc. can all be laid at the feet of heterosexuals; and let's face it, the cost of policing town centres at weekend from the excesses of the 'heterosexual lifestyle' far outweigh the cost of policing 'gay villages' (the latter tend to be policed to prevent hate crime, rather than the drunken excesses of their heterosexual cousins!).

  7. I a delighted to see that a mainstream C of E Bishop has described Anglican Mainstream as 'a potty little clique with a pretentious name, right wing cash from the US!f and a mission to troll the rest of us into obsessionality over a subject about which there's next to nothing in fact in the bible'. Bravo Bishop Alan.

    There is of course nothing Anglican Mainstream about them. They are very much post Anglican and very much post Christian.

    Canon Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  8. Post-Anglican and post-Christian, Canon Godsall? That is extraordinary. AM's biblical theology is in tune with the orthodox two thirds world Anglican Communion where Anglican dioceses and churches are growing apace.

    Why do think Lambeth 1.10 was passed with such an overwhelming majority?

  9. Lambeth 1.10 promised to listen to the experience of LGBT people didn't it? Do 'Anglican mainstream' do that do you think?

    Andrew Godsall

  10. Anglican Mainstream certainly does listen to the experience of those who feel same-sex attraction and want to adhere to the biblical teaching of the Church, as reflected in Lambeth 1.10. The advert Mr Johnson banned is indicative of that ministry.

    1. I think what Canon Godsall really wants, Julian, is 'approval' of homosexual practice. As for 'listening', AM have held several conferences aimed at encouraging and giving hope to those unhappy with their unwanted same-sex attraction.

    2. Canon Andrew Godsall15 April 2012 at 05:32

      Ah yes, conferences. Even a former supporter of AM exposed the last conference for the nonsense that it was. Not yet encountered anyone from AM who knew how to listen, sadly.

      Andrew Godsall

  11. ‘AM's biblical theology is in tune with the orthodox two thirds world Anglican Communion’ – I’m sure it is; however it methods are suspect, particularly its disproportionate interest in matters sexual. Few mind earnest beliefs and Biblical orthodoxy (or a given version of it); but when a fifth of the posts on AM’s blog are related to homosexuality, then there is something very wrong. Are a fifth of the verses in the Bible related to homosexuality? No, there are around 31,000 verses in the Bible – fewer than ten relate to homosexuality (or what has been translated as relating to homosexuality). The current estimate for the proportion of people who would state they are gay is around 1-3% of the population. Yet 20-25% all posts on the AM blog are related to homosexuality. Moreover the site often twists and distorts stories, news and academic studies to suit its own agenda (bearing false witness, I think it the technical term). So AM rightly deserves to be described as: ‘'a potty little clique with a pretentious name, right wing cash from the US! and a mission to troll the rest of us into obsessionality over a subject about which there's next to nothing in fact in the Bible.’

    1. Disproportionate, Anonymous? When it is the issue causing the split in the worldwide Anglican Communion? Anglican Mainstream was set up in the first place for this very reason.

      'Often distorts and twists ...' Evidence, please.

      I think Bishop Alan will find that he is in fact part of the 'potty little clique' as most of the Christian world follows orthodox teaching on human sexuality.

  12. "I a [sic] delighted to see that a mainstream C of E Bishop has described Anglican Mainstream ..."

    What's a "mainstream CofE bishop"? - apart from: 'one that Canon Godsall agrees with'?


    "as 'a potty little clique with a pretentious name, right wing cash from the US!f and a mission to troll the rest of us into obsessionality over a subject about which there's next to nothing in fact in the bible'."

    Oh dear, the poor darling bishop must have just choked on his cucumber sandwiches and chardonnay. How could those AM horrors go disturbing his nice genteel religion like that? And they are in league with those foreign anglicans - you know, the ones who live in poor countries and are actually enthusiastic about being Christian. Its just not ANGLICAN!!!!

  13. One thing is clear from all of this kerfuffle: liberals are deeply fearful of any suggestion that 'gay orientation' is a matter of choice.

    Its a long time since I have seen such a frightened bunch: "Don't even MENTION the idea" etc.

  14. Message to the poster whose comments are indeed no longer welcome on this blog. It is not because of your opinions - this is a forum for debate. But it is because of the personal abuse and malicious content in your comments.

    Please could those who have been posting anonymously leave their name and location?

    Re the focus on this particular issue of homosexuality, for me as a supporter of AM this is about biblical authority. It is true that heterosexual immorality is more of a problem in society and in the Church, but the acceptance of homosexual practice is sympomatic of a revisionist approach to the Bible, which is so very spiritually damaging.

  15. Canon Andrew Godsall15 April 2012 at 05:10

    Ah Julian and Jill you are supporters of the same AM that has as a spokesperson currently Lynda Rose - an ordained woman Priest? This is not revisionist?

    Andrew Godsall

  16. Answer to Canon Godsall and 'Anon':
    The latter complains of AM's "disproportionate interest in matters sexual."
    This criticism misses the point, for AM and Biblical Christians generally see the bigger iedological picture, and particularly what drives the "gay marriage" agenda, and why it is so dangerous on many counts.
    As we know the issue is all about redefining the essential nature of God given marriage, and changing it by Government fiat into something entirely different by extending it to same sex 'marriage'.
    Put slightly differently it changes the God given Biblical institution into a man centered, distorted and degraded one, and in so doing marriage then becomes a mere creature of the State.
    Lets call a spade, a spade. This change is in effect a move towards institutionalised Government endorsed idolatry - i.e. that which seeks to replace God, and the divine element of marriage as defined in Scripture, into that which is wholly secular.
    Anon is right to point out therefore that direct references to homosexuality may indeed be relatively very small within the context of the whole of the Bible, but misses the far greater theme which pervades almost every page of Scripture, namely the condemnation of idolatry - whether that of ancient Israel or of the Christian church. The issue then is the re-emergence of a renewed form of an idolatrous practice.
    As we know Paul deals with the issue at length in Romans (chap.1:21-32), and singles out homosexuality as its particular expression and its serious consequesnces in the eyes of God. Christians therefore are right to understand and reject its modern manifestation in the world-wide "gay" movement.
    Substitute the word idolatrous for the word "gay" and Anon's point takes on an added irony. It is but a tiny minority of fanatical "gay" but vociferous ideologues, as admitted, less than 2/3% of the population, which incredibly is influencing government policy to change the unique status of God given marriage.
    So far from being a "potty little clique", AM represents many hundreds of thousands of the majority of Christians in the UK who entirely reject the right of any government's assumption of jurisdiction over real marriage. As Julian points out, this is about biblical authority.
    Thus Anon's claim that homosexuality as an issue is virtually "next to nothing in fact in the Bible." represents a gross misunderstanding of the nature of idolatry in its modern expression.

  17. Canon Andrew Godsall15 April 2012 at 08:51

    Except it was not Anons claim - it was pointed out by a bishop.
    It is well known that Anglcian Mainstream have never been able to attract a diocesan bishop to be on their council etc, or even express outright support for them and the general view of C of E bishops is that AM are indeed a potty little clique.
    Let's, however, wish them all the best in their ridiculous little law suit.

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  18. Mr Godsall, I have been reading your posts on this blog and that of the "Ugley Vicar".

    It seems to me that a leader's authority is derived from two sources. First, the position awarded to him by the organisation, or how many stripes he has on his shoulder. Second, the character of the man himself.

    You like to emphasise the first type - I guess that is why you like to include the word "canon" in your title.

    In my opinion, the style of your comments would prevent you from deriving much authority of the second type.

    The sneering pomposity of the Anglican hierarchy is one reason why I left the collapsing edifice of the C of E.

    Julian Mann may show an excessive enthusiasm for the failing organisation wrongly called the Church of England, but at least he is a fair and principled Christian leader.

    David, Cheltenham

  19. "Ridiculous little law suit"? You mean defence of free speech? Andrew, your language here is truly mad, and ipso facto could much better be applied directly to yourself.

    By the way, simultaneously with your vigorous involvement in this thread, your radio silence over at Ugley Vicar's latest theme is most remarkable. Do exercise your right to free speech there.


    "The current estimate for the proportion of people who would state they are gay is around 1-3% of the population. Yet 20-25% all posts on the AM blog are related to homosexuality. "

    Perhaps because it certainly feels like 90% of the attacks on free speech in the UK over the last decade or so are related to it!


  20. Hi Julian,

    I trust it is acceptable if we don't state our full name? For myself, I practice in law and I have a number of clients who are of non-christian religions. They are likely to feel uncomfortable retaining a lawyer who is known to openly espouse Christianity on the internet (even though my religious beliefs in fact make no difference to how I treat clients, but it is the perception that matters). I am only a pew-dweller in Dio. Sydney, so my opinions don't in any sense represent those of my diocese. I hope that is okay.

    Michael, Sydney

  21. Thank you very much Michael - no problem. It's great having your wisdom on the blog.

    Re ordained woman & AM, if they are not in positions of headship in local churches, then what is the problem? Buf if they are, it's great they are orthodox on the sexuality issue, but they are being revisionist in respect of taking on a role which Holy Scripture does not allow them to.

    Re this 'potty little clique' epithet, I hope people in 15 years' time (given current trends) are not as rude about the Church of England.