In late June, Bishop Paul Bayes (Liverpool) made a keynote speech to the first National MOSAIC Conference. No, I hadn’t heard of MOSAIC either. Apparently it is ‘a church coalition which brings together campaigns on issues of race, ability, sexuality, gender and gender identity’, according to the Church Times. You can read the keynote speech here.
‘MOSAIC seeks a church where the God given potential of all is fully embraced and celebrated – calling for an end to all discrimination against people due to economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, physical disability, neurodiversity, mental health, or sexuality.
‘MOSAIC is rooted in the sure knowledge that all humankind is made in the Image and Likeness of God and declared good by the Creator; that every person is bestowed with a unique identity and inherent dignity which is to be treasured by the Church.’
Hear, hear. I don’t know any Christians who disagree with that. So where is the problem? Well it’s here: firstly, to be made in the image of God does not mean that we all automatically line up with how God wants us to behave, does it? If we are all pre-approved, no matter how we live, why did Jesus bother dying on the cross? Just a thought. And secondly, the list of oppressed groups identified by MOSAIC is, in itself, a political action. To include sexuality, gender and gender identity under the same umbrella as disability, ethnicity, neurodiversity and mental health is arguably disingenuous. I myself am neurodiverse – I have Asperger’s. But I have learned that being different does not make me a victim. However, as I discuss below, this is a fairly typical activist strategy – ‘all minorities are victims’ – they must be, because Critical Theory says so.
Bishop Bayes’ keynote speech at the MOSAIC conference was entitled ‘Sex On The Brain’. This speech contained a number of comments worthy of discussion. It is a masterclass in postmodernist, critical theory-based obfuscation. His principal technique in this talk is to accuse conservative Christians in the CofE of doing what he and his associates are doing to conservatives. Much of the speech promoted a theology that is not recognized by the majority of CofE congregations – but hey, are we surprised?
He states that ‘…inclusion is a Gospel matter. Inclusion speaks of love, and inclusion is seamless.’
Problem: Inclusion does not need to mean ‘agree with’, especially when the rules and regulations have, for 2000 years, stipulated that certain human actions are not in line with God’s requirements of his human creations. This is implies that if conservatives don’t agree hook, line and sinker with Bayes’ LGBT agenda for the Church, then they are being ‘exclusionary’, or worse – non-Christian. Besides, the Church’s teaching on sexuality includes everyone – gay, straight, whatever. The Biblical-based teaching says that sex is for one man and one woman within marriage. If you ain’t married to a member of the opposite sex, you don’t get to do sex, according to the Bible. Desire is not the issue – it’s what you choose to do about it that makes the difference. Which goes for all Christians of whatever ‘desire group’. Including the single, the widowed, the lonely and the gregarious. Are we all oppressed because of this teaching?
‘MOSAIC’s ‘agenda will align the Church more closely with the life and values of Jesus.’ …. Mosaic’s agenda ‘speaks of love and of the God of love, and it is also the world’s agenda – no matter what the culture warriors might shout, no matter how many people are chanting now that the things that matter to us as “woke”.’
Problem: This assumes that Jesus agrees with LGBT values and practices. A big ‘if’. It’s certainly news to conservatives. Perhaps Bishop Bayes has a hotline to heaven to which we do not have access.
Problem: Bayes names his opponents as the ‘cultural warriors’, when he and his colleagues are actually the cultural warriors. Nice try, but no. Cultural warriors are the ones trying to change everything, not the poor saps trying to hold onto their beliefs and the institutions that have supported them for millenia.
Problem: I see that the bishop is proud to be ‘woke’ – an interesting identity for a clergyman. ‘Woke’ is the label applied to such movements as those proposing to defund the police, destroy national identity, eliminate the nuclear family, agree that gender can be chosen, that biological sex is a social construct, and accept that all white people are racist from birth up.
Readers will note that all of the groups listed in MOSAIC’s aims are victim-focused. There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting and helping oppressed groups. We should all do more of it. But, according to ‘woke’ liberals, we also have to accept that the police, the nuclear family, any pride in your own country, and biological sex are all oppressive – according to our old friend, Critical Theory.
Cut down to basics, we find that those among us who don’t like the police, the nuclear family, patriotism, scientific biological fact and so on, tend to come from among the ‘oppressed’ minorities. Or at least from those sections of the minorities who like to shout a lot. Plus, of course, the useful idiots who don’t belong, but like to look caring and compassionate by joining the bandwagon under the guise of virtue. The problem is, we don’t hear from the majority of folks from these minority groups. What do they actually believe and want? ‘Community leaders’ of all variations tend to be unelected, self-appointed shouters. They cannot be guaranteed to truly represent the wider beliefs of their own ‘community’.
According to the shouters and the useful idiots, all these minorities are victims. Simply because they are not in the majority. It seems to escape these activists that all minority communities are getting along quite well already under our oppressive Judeo-Christian-based western democracy. But that’s not enough – the majority now have to be made to change their views as well, because the shouty members of these minorities don’t like people disagreeing with them. Most of us learned at nursery school that we couldn’t get our own way all the time, but hey ho.
Meanwhile, those poor mugs who don’t accept same-sex marriage in church, who hold a belief that the Bible disagrees with same-sex marriage, and accept the idea that science has some absolute truths going for it, tend to be among the majority who are now being treated with the same disdain by the activists that they complain about when it is aimed at them.
Next! Bayes now goes on to pull a classic activist stunt – he quotes Martin Luther King.
‘In the words of Dr King…’
Er, well, he doesn’t, actually. He quotes Theodore Parker, but as most of his audience don’t know who Theodore Parker was, he ropes in the name of MLK because MLK once quoted Theodore Parker himself. Bingo! See what he did there? Theodore Parker (an abolitionist) said something, but in order to make the point more victim-focused, Bayes ‘quotes’ MLK as having quoted Theodore Parker. MLK does not even need to appear in the sentence – but hey, this enables our wily bishop to align himself with the Civil Rights Movement! This is an absolutely cast-iron ploy among activists – present yourselves as equal with some other oppressed group, so that the audience mixes up your demands with those of the other group. Typical groups who have been roped in by activists in the past include Native Americans, enslaved Black people in the US, and Australian Aboriginal People. Everyone knows their struggles, don’t they? So if a new struggle can be compared favourably with some well-accepted old struggles, that shoots the new strugglers higher up the victim scale without them having to prove any actual alignment! What’s not to love?
We now come to the absolute blinder in Bayes’ speech. I hope you’re all sitting down with a bottle of Valium or whisky at hand:
‘Let the world set the agenda’…. The world beyond the church has set the moral agenda, and those who kneel with our footballers, or who see no difference between attending the marriage of their gay or their straight friends or work colleagues, find the community of faith to be wanting and indeed increasingly offensive…’
Problem: Our wily bishop says that the world should set the agenda for the Church! Did you hear that, Mabel? The world should set the agenda for the Church. Strangely enough, the Church has had the opposite agenda to the world since Jesus pronounced the Great Commission. I’m not quite sure where exactly the Bible illustrates Jesus as being in favour of the agenda of the world as a guide for the Church. Anyone got any verses for us? Perhaps Bishop Bayes has some new scriptures that we haven’t seen.
We now move onto a number of character assassinations aimed at the unwoke conservatives in the CofE.
‘And now in our time to hear some talk you would think that sexuality in general, and same-sex relationships in particular, is the line that somehow God has always wanted us to draw in the sand so that the faithful and Godly may be identified, and the faithless and Godless may be condemned and paralysed from action and if necessary excluded…’
Problem: Our wily bishop is saying that to disagree with same-sex marriage and lifestyles, is equal to condemnation and exclusion. It is not.
‘I am glad to be able to speak wholeheartedly for a vision of Christian community that does not stink of oppression or of hypocrisy in the nostrils of the world….’
Problem: Dear God. So those Christian communities who disagree with the full LGBT agenda for the Church, ‘stink of oppression or of hypocrisy in the nostrils of the world’. I think readers may wish to decide for themselves who sits where in the oppression and hypocrisy stakes.
‘People assume norms and impose norms and discipline those who differ, even though they are seeking to take the desires they have been given and to direct them well. And this is simply wrong. It’s wrong….’
Problem: People have not assumed norms. The Church has accepted the norms of human behaviour that were outlined for us in the Bible. We are called to live these norms. No, we don’t have it right yet, but life is a journey. If any oppressed LGBT Christian would like to try living in any other country and see how he/she gets along, please give it a go. I suspect the journey won’t last long before he/she is back in the oppressive UK. Given that the claim to be LGBT is probably the most common reason given when claiming asylum here, that may provide some hint for the oppressed among us about how hospitable this country is.
Problem: Apart from the well-known abusers who have sheltered – and acted – among us over the years, who exactly is ‘disciplining’ those who don’t conform to majority norms in the Church? Is it now an act of ‘discipline’ to be told that your lifestyle goes against Biblical standards? If you don’t believe that – what is stopping you setting up your own church for those who believe the same as you do? Oh wait – you have to have the victory of making other people give up their beliefs to accommodate yours. Right. Social justice, anyone?
‘I want to see an abolition of the foolishness that sees the call to ordained ministry as a call to a state morally higher than that of the baptised… I want to see an end to LGBTQ+ people hiding who they are for fear of being exposed to conversion therapy or to being forbidden to minister in churches. I want to see an end to the inquisition of ordinands about their private lives.’
Problem: Er, call me dumb, but I was under the impression that a call to ministry involved the promotion of the values, norms and beliefs of the Church in which you wish to minister. As far as I know, the CofE has until recently, fully accepted the original definitions of marriage and sexual behaviour. It’s news to conservatives that the views of the majority can be changed by a minority who don’t like them. Interesting approach to life! I wonder why a similar LGBT agenda is not being pressed on the Muslim population in the UK? Anyone know why?
Problem: The bishop speaks as if conversion therapy or to being forbidden to minister in churches is going on all the time. There is no definition of conversion therapy. So how can we measure it? See my previous reviews of Bayes’ and Ozanne’s so-called research on this topic here, here, here and here. Conservatives already agree that conversion therapy (whatever it is) should never be forced on anyone. And as there are growing numbers of LGBT clergy officiating all over the country, where does ‘being forbidden to minister in churches’ come in as a major issue?
‘I want to see all this before I die. These things must be done and I hope and believe that LLF will awaken the church and open the door to them.’
Problem: Ah, yes, Living in Love and Faith. That’s the ‘guidance’ stuff, isn’t it? No? What do you mean, it’s a roadmap? So there has been an agenda behind LLF? You don’t say….
‘And I do want us to remain one church, and within that church for example I want to see the conscientious rights of conservative people preserved for them.’
Problem: Hands up, all who believe that statement. Given that you cannot mix oil and water, how is that going to work? Oh wait – we’ve already abandoned scientific fact, so perhaps the bishop can mix oil and water….
‘But I don’t want any longer to see the conscientious rights of progressive people, who believe the truth of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York when they ask for a radical NEW Christian inclusion, I don’t want to see their consciences ignored and explained away and overridden and indeed criminalised by the power of conservative groups and people…’
Problem: Yep, here it is. Our wily bishop is actually saying that some people’s conscientious rights are more important than those of others. Guess which side of the fence your conservative conscientious rights fall on? Hint – the one that leads to the path marked ‘Exit’. The people doing the criminalizing here are the pro-LGBT apologists. Bishop David Walker (Manchester) recently called for clergy to be prosecuted if they refuse to ban conversion therapy. Not sure how we can ban something we cannot define, but hey ho. Oh wait – sorry – it includes prayer – thanks, Bishop Walker, for clarifying that for us.
‘The great US jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and it has these words of hers: “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you”. Take your place with courage on the spectrum of advocacy, friends, and help to establish the coalition that sees the arc of the moral universe bend towards justice.’
Problem: Ruth Bader Ginsberg is arguably the greatest practical proponent of abortion – or as she liked to call it ‘a woman’s reproductive rights’. Is the death of upwards of 30 million ‘foetuses’ since her legal successes began, anything to celebrate? Is RBG a good figure to quote and align with? Answers on the usual postcard, please.
‘So MOSAIC is a network that can help the over-brained and under-hearted Church to learn from its incarnate Lord and from the beauty of the body.’
Problem: Anyone in the Church who disagrees with our wily bishop and his colleagues in the LGBT industry is ‘over-brained and under-hearted’. There you have it.
So, dear readers, here we are again. Once more, the evidence shows that this is the direction in which the CofE is headed. Those of us who already agree that meanness and cruelty to minority folks is wrong, are just not good enough. Even if we are friendly, helpful, kind, loving and caring with our LGBT friends – because they’re our friends – it’s not enough. No, we must be re-programmed to get rid of our philosophical and/or religious objections to all things LGBT. Plus, we must accept that our Church, with its beliefs, must change, because LGBT conscientious beliefs are more important than ours.
As I have mused previously, this is clearly a one-way street. But I wonder how the views of the good old ship HMS Church of England might develop if all conservative congregations and individuals simply stopped all their financial giving every week? Just a thought. Given that Ikea, Microsoft, Amazon, the Co-Op, and Wickes all changed their minds about boycotting GB News recently when they realized that their actions could hit their bank balances, I do just wonder if a boycott of giving to the CofE might have some effect on its, er, direction of travel? Probably not, but is it worth a try?
Get with it, folks, or get going!