Edinburgh (E)CU

Like Fr Gadgetvicar, I’ve been following the story of the alleged banning of a group of Evangelical students from the University of Edinburgh. It has been widely reported – there is a variation on the story here.
The Lawyers Christian Fellowship has done very well at portraying the story as a freedom of speech issue and going on about Christians being banned. However, I’m not convinced it is a freedom of speech issue alone. No-one, after all, has banned anyone from saying anything after all.

It seems to me that it is not unreasonable for a University or a Students’ Association to decide that it does not wish to subsidise a course that appears to promote prejudices (particularly against gay people) that a lots of people both inside and outside the churches now find repellent.

The question is not freedom of speech, but whether public money (or the money and assets owned collectively by students) should be used to subsidise anti-gay groups.

Few now would have a problem with a university refusing roomspace to racist groups. “No platform for racists” was the loud cry of some of my student days. More and more people are seeing a parallel with anti-gay groups.

I can’t say I enjoyed my time as a student at the University of Edinburgh. The CU story made me feel a curious sense of pride in an organization that I much disliked being part of.


  1. Jimmy McPhee says

    It has always been obvious to me that there are people who are born homosexual.
    And it is also self evident that in secular society ‘gay’ people should possess equal rights to ‘straight’ people.
    Although it is possible to change discriminatory laws it is not possible to re-write the New Testament.
    I didn’t write the Bible so it’s not my fault that it gives it’s blessing only to sex between a married man and woman. This is God’s idea and as he has had an eternity to think about it I don’t think he’s going to change his mind. I’ve always been very conscious of my own sin, I see sin more as a condition than an act, and I definitely don’t see myself as being in any better condition than anyone else.

  2. liz wrathmell says

    Thanks again Kelvin for your perception in seeing beneath the headlines and giving us another slant about what is really going on.

  3. kelvin says

    Thank you both from your comments.

    Of course, I don’t share Jimmy’s reading of the New Testament. Indeed, I find when I read it that Jesus seems to have been more amenable to male-male intimacy than quite a few of his followers ever since. This becomes apparent in his own relationships – eg that with the beloved disciple and also in his treatment of others, for example the way he was touched by the plight of the Roman Centurion looking for healing for his young man in Luke 7.

    (It is also worth noting that Jesus did not condemn the state of slavery which that young man appears to have been in. I do though, whatever positive view of slavery the New Testament paints.)

  4. Jimmy McPhee says

    The belief that God gives his blessing only to sex within a marraige between a man and a woman is 2000 years of Christian doctrine, tradition and teaching and can hardly be dismissed as “Jimmy’s reading of the New Testament”
    I have read the New Testament and it has never given me the impression that Christ and the Apostle John had the hots for each other.

  5. Brian says

    Is there any condemnation of gay relationships in the New Testament at all?

    I thought the objection rested mainly on the disputed interpretation of an unclear passage in the Old Testament that contains, among other things, a proscription of eating shellfish.

  6. Jimmy McPhee says

    How a Christian lives their life is a matter of their own conscience before their Lord and is nobody elses business.
    I personally hate social hypocrisy and stigma and I’m delighted to see gay people getting the rights and recognition that have been long overdue.
    But that does not mean that Christians who are not gay should re-interpret scripture or succumb to stifled debate.
    I would expect a gay Christian to defend the right of the C U to speak even if he or she did not personally accept what was said. Society and the Church used to make gay people small so don’t make yourself small.

  7. Brian says

    I am no theologian, but I don’t think that the interpretation of scripture has stayed the same over the centuries. Offering a different interpretation is also an exercise of free speech. Personally, I would give the ‘Pure’ group a different venue and suggest that those who don’t like them go along and listen quietly.

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