Letters: Gay wedding in church? Are you sure?

Share

I understand why Catholics, with their odd notion that marriage is a sacrament, would wish to refuse to conduct one for same-sex couples, but as an evangelical Christian my concern is less whether I should be compelled to do so than why on earth any same-sex couple would want me to.

Church weddings have to be conducted according to the "rites and ceremonies" of the church in question. Jumping over the inconvenience that no churches have or have ever had any rite or ceremony for such circumstances, it is without question that in any evangelical or reformed church a wedding includes a sermon on a topic of the minister's choice.

Were I ever to be obliged by the civil authorities to conduct such a wedding, my sermon would certainly include a forthright exposition of the Bible's teaching on sodomy and the evils of laws made by godless governments. If any homosexual couple and their guests were willing to sit through that for the 45 minutes or more of my average-length sermon, I suppose they would have earned the right to the piece of paper that entitles them to the very few and steadily diminishing privileges still conferred by the legal state of marriage in this country.

David P Negus

Stapleford, Nottingham

As an ordained priest of 17 years standing in the Church of England, I personally would not choose to marry a same-sex couple in a church building. I would however want my colleagues who disagree with me to have the choice to do so. The Government's approach to this issue reminds me of the phrase, "a sledgehammer to crack a nut".

The Rev Dave Thompson

Manchester

So the Church of England is going to be legally forbidden from conducting gay marriages, even if the vicar and congregation want to. And, of course, the Church is also legally forbidden from having women in senior positions of authority.

In other news, the number of people describing themselves as Christian plummets. Who would have thought it, when the Church is working so hard to get into the 20th century?

John Secker

Daresbury, Cheshire

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our established Church might recognise that two constituent groups which make up a significant proportion of its congregation aren't second-class citizens?

Simon Toyne

Director of Music, All Saints' Church, Kingston upon Thames

Migrants held in prison for years

The Prisons Inspectorate finds that it cannot be right that migrants have been detained by the UK Border Agency for up to nine years in Lincoln Prison ("Somalian rapist still serving time in Lincoln prison nine years after the end of his sentence", 11 December).

These are particularly shocking cases, but by no means isolated instances. The long-term detention of foreign nationals who have served prison sentences, but who cannot be deported, has become an established feature of our immigration system. The vast majority are not rapists, but minor offenders who pose little risk.

Many, like those found by the inspector, are from countries such as Somalia and Iran, to which deportation is usually impossible. This is due to court rulings about the dangers of return to Mogadishu, and the closure of the Iranian embassy in London, which makes it all but impossible to obtain travel documents.

Quite apart from the financial waste of detaining people who cannot be removed from the UK, we should be very concerned about the human cost, and the damage caused to individuals and their families by such protracted periods of detention.

While the UK continues to refuse to set a time limit for immigration detention, there is every probability that such cases will continue to occur. The time for change, surely, has come.

Maurice Wren

Director, Asylum Aid

Nigel Caleb

Director, Detention Advice Service

Jerome Phelps

Director, Detention Action

Ali McGinley

Director, Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees

London E8

Violence in Burma

I noted the letter on human rights in Burma (11 December). I want to make it absolutely clear that I will be raising the full range of human-rights issues directly with ministers from the Burmese government during my visit to Burma. Additionally, I have a meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi where this will be on the agenda.

I also want to reassure the signatories of this letter in reiterating the Government's position that any investment in Burma needs to be undertaken in a way which supports Burma's transition to democracy.

The UK Government shares the concerns of my fellow parliamentarians and many UK citizens about the ongoing violence in Rakhine State and Kachin State; I spoke about these issues in the House only last week. Later this week, I intend to visit Rakhine State to meet people there from all sides and to stress the need for access for humanitarian aid and for a long-term solution to the violence there.

Finally, I wrote to Baroness Kinnock as Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group and offered to share my first-hand experiences with them on my return from Burma.

Hugo Swire

Minister of State for South East Asia, Foreign and Commonwealth Office,

London SW1

Jeeves raises a further concern

"So the crossword imbroglio is over, Jeeves, if imbroglio is the word I want?"

"Imbroglio will serve, Sir, though I regret to say the affair has yet to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion."

"Why is that, Jeeves?"

"The assertions of a recent correspondent to the editor [11 December] notwithstanding, Sir, you will doubtless recall that while I was indeed temporarily in the employ of Sir Watkyn Bassett, I did not at any time consent to the appellation 'butler'."

"I see, Jeeves. What does 'appellation' mean? – no, never mind. Perhaps another missive from the Wooster pen would be in order?"

"I would be most grateful, Sir."

"And a fitting punishment for the crossword compiler? An evening with Madeline, perhaps?"

"A little harsh, Sir, but the experience would linger in the memory."

"Thank you, Jeeves."

"Thank you, Sir."

Christopher Ward

Bures, Suffolk

Hospital to blame in royal hoax

The responsibility for the protection of patient privacy lies in the application of rules laid out by those that run hospitals and the adequate training of their staff. This protocol was clearly inadequate when the King Edward VII Hospital received the hoax call from Australia recently.

The call was from a young woman, in her twenties and with a very broad Australian accent, sounding nothing like the Queen when she said: "Hello, it's the Queen here – can I inquire after my granddaughter Kate?" The Duchess of Cambridge is not the Queen's granddaughter nor is she known as Kate, but Catherine.

Whose fault is it? In the case of the Royal Family, there must be special security vetting of the bona fides of any inquiry. It is clear that these hospital staff were neither supervised nor trained, and thus unable to handle this matter.

William K Larkins

Sydney

I was dismayed and disappointed to read your letters (10 December) condemning the Australian hoaxers. Of course what they did was silly, but they certainly did not really expect their call to get through! In my opinion, the hospital is entirely to blame. Clearly, it has no proper system in place for vetting phone calls to patients.

Why has the hospital's failure been glossed over? Surely heads should roll at the top.

Liz Turner

Reading

How to measure underemployment

Having experience of underemployment at both a practical and academic level, I fully endorse Professor Sapsford's suggestion that the Office for National Statistics should take the measurement of this phenomenon much more seriously (Letter, 1 December).

The International Labour Office has been refining approaches to the measurement of underemployment for many decades, so the ONS would not be starting completely from scratch.

In addition to time-related underemployment, measured by the availability to work longer hours, the ILO also identifies "inadequate employment situations" where individuals are working at lower productivity levels than they wish to achieve. This may arise, for example, because they are in jobs that do not fully utilise their existing skills, usually resulting in low pay.

This type of underemployment is completely missing from our current measures of spare capacity in the economy.

Nigel Wilkins

London SW7

Hard days in court

Mary Dejevsky (12 December) wrote that finding out about English Court proceedings and actually attending Court proceedings are both difficult.

I was a police officer in London for over 20 years and it was my experience that the Courts are run chiefly for the convenience of those running them. Any notion that they encourage transparency – ease of access and convenience for victims and witnesses – is, in most cases, a nonsense.

Bob Morgan

Thatcham, West Berkshire

New scapegoat

Until recently, teachers who had been trained in the 1960s were blamed for the perceived shortcomings in schools. These teachers have now mostly retired or died. Which group of teachers will now be blamed?

John Payne

Gisleham, Suffolk

Disloyalists?

Are we disloyal to the Crown if we in Guildford don't fly a Union Flag from our council offices?

H Trevor Jones

Guildford

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Facilities Manager is required to join the m...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Mobile - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: New Business Sales Consultant - Unified - OTE £35,000

£14000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent telecoms compa...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Sales Consultant - Furniture

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a besp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Police are called to Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place, a busy plaza in the heart of the city  

After the Sydney Siege, would Australia be safer with American-style gun laws? The answer is simple

Neil Brennan
 

My cancer diagnosis cost me my home

Deanne Wilson
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum