I was amused by Sharon Ferguson's (of the LGCM) turn of phrase "The important thing is not what people do with their dangly bits, but whether their relationship is faithful and loving."
This is all part of commenting on the possibility of civilly-partnered gay men being able to be bishops in the C of E. My problem with this is that it is what people do or don't do with their dangly bits that isn't really talked about, and perhaps it should be because I suspect that there is a great deal of duplicity about this.
To put it as plainly as I feel I can given that this blog is 'universally' rated: there are manual acts and other non-penetrative but sexually-related actions that are being implicitly 'outlawed' by this ruling. The problem is that if an unmarried heterosexual couple engage in these things, it's probably considered by those, like Anglican Mainstream, who oppose gay uncelibate partnerships as a Christian option, to be kind of alright. I may be wrong, but 'heavy petting' is what this amounts to, but I bet lots of young Evangelical Christians do these things before marriage and would only consider penetrative sex as sex for the purposes of sexual morality.
So, I reckon the challenge back to the Anglican Mainstream (soi dissant) is what is your policy on heterosexual 'petting'? Because if it's not directly comparable to homosexual possibilities then it probably actually is homophobia and not simply heteronormativity. The follow-up question, if it is agreed that there should be comparability, is whether their members are willing to act on that. And so we do actually need to ask not so much what people do with their dangly bits, but what kinds of dangly-bit action counts as 'within-marriage sex' and what doesn't -and to be consistent about how that applies also to unmarried heterosexuals.
What I mean by contrasting homophobia and heteronormativity is that the former, I take it, is about attitudes of hatred or denial of civil respect and equality while heteronormativity I take to be about offering all civil and personal respect but holding that in regard to sex and marriage, only hetero- is morally sanctioned.
Fresh storm hits C of E after move to allow gay bishops - Home News - UK - The Independent: