African woman holding anti-homosexuality sign

A few weeks ago the Government of Nigeria passed legislation forbidding same-sex relationships. This post asks how British and American Anglicans should respond.

The main provisions of the legislation are:
Up to 14 years’ imprisonment for people in same-sex relationships;
Up to 10 years for anyone who ‘directly or indirectly’ shows same-sex affection in public; and
Up to 10 years for anyone who participates in an organisation that works to protect gay rights.

Critical responses include a petition and an article by Savitri Hensman.

Evolution debate

Last night I debated evolution with Nick Cowan at St Bride's Church, Liverpool. Nick brought some supporters with him. It was a courteous, well-mannered event; if anyone was guilty of getting wound up it was me, but I think I was relatively civilised.

By the end I felt that the anti-evolution position was, as I feared, all about the Bible, not the scientific evidence. The anti-evolutionists claimed the scientific evidence was against evolution, and explained how; but when their scientific position was challenged they were quick to revert to the Bible.

Nick believes Archbishop Ussher was right: God created the world in six days in 4004 BC, complete with all forms of life. Any doubting of this is to doubt God’s Word in the Bible. I have come across this approach a number of times, especially in Liverpool, and the common theme seems to be an appeal to science.

Detail of US dollar note with 'In God We Trust' altered to read 'In Gold We Trust'

So at long last the British economy is growing again. We are all supposed to be delighted.

It will mean more money, more jobs. The Government has already gone up in the opinion polls as a result, so lots of people really do believe that economic growth is the one thing that matters above all else. Politicians know this, and expect that at election-time the state of the economy will be far and away the most important consideration in the way people vote.

In other words we are treating the economy as a god. It is the one thing which has the power to give us what we need. It is therefore the one thing to which, above all else, we must give whatever is demanded.

William Blake illustration

Last week I put up a post ‘Why Christians shouldn’t believe in the devil' and also wrote a letter to the Church Times, published yesterday. I’ve received more responses than usual. Some agreed with me, some disagreed on the basis of biblical authority and some disagreed because they wanted to emphasise the reality of evil.

I agree about the reality of evil, but I don’t think explaining it as the work of the modern devil is the answer.

Child's drawing of the devil

The debate continues about the devil in the Church of England Baptism service, with two articles in today’s Church Times.

Angela Tilby finds all the talk of ‘the deceit and corruption of evil’ to be ‘overloaded and even intrusive’. Instead ‘the question is how we reach out to families who are not regular churchgoers, but still want to feel that they are part of Christendom through the baptism of their children’.

So far so good; but the other article, by Gavin Ashenden, has the virtue of addressing the underlying question, whether the devil exists at all. Ashenden thinks he does.