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Exeter College Oxford allows homophobic organisation to hold conference on premises

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    (Original post by la-dauphine)
    In my opinion homophobia is as unacceptable as racism and should be treated so. There were, and still are, a hell of a lot of white people who believed it would be harmful for white children to be adopted into black families. That doesn't make them right. Equally, whilst I totally disagree with being against gay adoption, it is NOT on the same level as calling homosexuals "evil" and "wrong", and saying that they should try to cure themselves. Sadly, Christian Concern falls into that second category of people.

    You say that sexual equality "goes against the moral imperatives associated with sex". I'm slightly confused here - if you're talking about sex being described as a union between a man and woman, I don't accept that argument just because it's written down in a book. If you're talking biologically (in terms of reproduction), many women in heterosexual relationships choose not to have children now, so that doesn't really apply.

    As for the part in bold, I'm not even going to answer that. It makes me feel sick. Sexuality is whatever you want it to be. At the end of the day, if two men or two women choose to have a relationship, they're not hurting you. So you shouldn't hurt them by preaching to them about what they should or should not do.
    So, now something has to actually cause you pain or physically hurt you before you are allowed to oppose it? What a ridiculous notion.

    I must say I don't agree with the views of the person you've quoted, but in a civilised society, we must have the right to criticise whatever we like irrelevant of whether it causes us pain. And this includes activities such as sex between 2 men. And so what if it 'hurts' the feelings of the people whose actions we oppose?

    With regard to the black adoption point - you can't going around comparing this to opposition to gay sex. For starters, race is a proven innate characteristic, whereas sexuality is not.

    And secondly, the basis for the opposition to black adoption is the race of the person involved. The basis for opposition to gay sex is fact that the sex is between 2 men. These 2 men in question could identify as gay, bi, straight, whatever - it wouldn't matter what their 'sexuality' was. If the person you are quoting however had said she only opposed sex between 2 men if they both identified as gay, then this would be more comparable to the race point.

    As it is, a valid comparison would be that of people who oppose the rights of naturists to walk nude in public.
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    To all the people who responded to me, I'm not ignoring your messages, but I've decided that I'd rather not debate this any more because it's strayed massively off-topic. I can't believe that some people on here think that gay people should be forced to be celibate or date people of the opposite sex. We shouldn't be debating whether homophobia is right - it's wrong, and perhaps in 50 years' time we'll look back and shake our heads at some of the attitudes that are currently seen as acceptable by a worrying number of people.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    'Unacceptable' and 'disagree' is again a subjective line. I'd say that telling homosexual members of the JCR that they are ill/evil would reliably result in social exclusion, even formal discipline if a fuss was raised. I don't have to keep accommodating people who hold such offensive views, even if they have a right to say them. Same principles apply here.
    Why would it result in "social exclusion"? Slightly nutty God-squad people say weird stuff all the time. I'm sure the intelligent, erudite homosexuals of Oxford can cope with a private conference perhaps touching, as part of a wide-ranging discussion of a great many topics, on the morality of homosexuality. As I said earlier, I've already debunked the notion that this organisation equates homosexuality to paedophilia.

    There are hundreds, even thousands of other places this conference could be held that would not pose a problem - no politically active students, no homosexual members to be offended, no active LGBT messages to contradict. Telling them to go somewhere more appropriate (for a private conference) is not denying them a platform. Corporations invariably do have political agendas, and Oxford is far more responsible an organisation than a private corporation.

    It is indeed an important question. Your line is no less subjective/arbitrary, its just more lenient.
    If the governing body of Exeter decided amongst themselves not to allow this conference to be held, or every student in the college signed a petition to stop it, I would not have a problem, because Exeter College would have decided to take a moral stand on this issue, as is its prerogative.

    However, as I have stressed repeatedly, what I object to is the imposition of the pro-censorship view onto Exeter. The college hasn't said these people can't come to a conference; the LGBT society has said that Exeter is generally very welcoming and supportive of gays and Lettuce, Bacon and Tomato sandwiches, and that it understands why this has occurred. In fact, the only potentially slightly judgemental comment made by the society was "Whilst this may be an issue that Exeter and other colleges will put thought into for the future, the fact that an organization with homophobic views has rented the college premises does not reflect on the college’s own views on this issue."

    So it seems to me that most in the college don't have a major issue with this, but instead other people, who think they know better, are telling the staff and students of Exeter what they ought to do. This might be OK in a paradigm situation (nobody would want an annual KKK dinner hosted there), but when it comes to a private conference where the issue highlighted is one of a great many, and the views as they are presented so far are probably distorted rather, it isn't acceptable.

    Most issues like this are subjective if you push them far enough. I just think it's a reasonable position that enlightened educational institutions should be stifling discussion in any way, and they are doing so in this case by depriving the proponents of one view (a view with not insignificant following) a chance to discuss and develop its ideas.
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    (Original post by la-dauphine)
    To all the people who responded to me, I'm not ignoring your messages, but I've decided that I'd rather not debate this any more because it's strayed massively off-topic. I can't believe that some people on here think that gay people should be forced to be celibate or date people of the opposite sex. We shouldn't be debating whether homophobia is right - it's wrong, and perhaps in 50 years' time we'll look back and shake our heads at some of the attitudes that are currently seen as acceptable by a worrying number of people.
    I don't think most of us are debating that, but rather the limits which can be placed on expression in a civilised society. This is not outright censorship, but it is suppression and heckling to a substantial degree.

    That's the way of society: it moves forward, and views change, and some become more mainstream whilst others start to seem mad. But that change should occur through legitimate means and not quasi-censorship when a view still causes substantial division.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    Why would it result in "social exclusion"? Slightly nutty God-squad people say weird stuff all the time. I'm sure the intelligent, erudite homosexuals of Oxford can cope with a private conference perhaps touching, as part of a wide-ranging discussion of a great many topics, on the morality of homosexuality. As I said earlier, I've already debunked the notion that this organisation equates homosexuality to paedophilia.
    Depends on what is said, i guess. It was just to illustrate that you don't have to allow everything that is said to go unopposed.

    If the governing body of Exeter decided amongst themselves not to allow this conference to be held, or every student in the college signed a petition to stop it, I would not have a problem, because Exeter College would have decided to take a moral stand on this issue, as is its prerogative.
    Clearly this is true. And views are changed by discussion.

    So it seems to me that most in the college don't have a major issue with this, but instead other people, who think they know better, are telling the staff and students of Exeter what they ought to do.
    You again seem to, ironically, have a problem with people using their freedom of speech. I and others do not think these people should be accommodated in Oxford and we are allowed to say it and make our case (in a public setting - the local evangelical church could tell us to not hold our conference on homophobic christians there if they wanted).

    Most issues like this are subjective if you push them far enough. I just think it's a reasonable position that enlightened educational institutions should be stifling discussion in any way,
    Ah well if this was a 'discussion' then i think few would have a problem with debating these guys - that way objections can be openly stated. Its not a discussion - its a private meeting where phrases like 'the gay problem' will no doubt be commonplace.

    I think i've stated my views thoroughly enough now - all issues like this are indeed entirely subjective, so there is not much more to be said.
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    Clearly this is true. And views are changed by discussion.
    I just hope the views of Christians in the college are being represented as much as those in the LGBT lobby.


    You again seem to, ironically, have a problem with people using their freedom of speech. I and others do not think these people should be accommodated in Oxford and we are allowed to say it and make our case (in a public setting - the local evangelical church could tell us to not hold our conference on homophobic christians there if they wanted).
    I'm not disagreeing with their freedom of speech, I just don't like the idea of people imposing their will on others. The campaign against the conference seems to me have been rather slanted and misleading. From reading the OxStu you'd think that these people will descend on Oxford in pointy hoods with placards saying "homosexuals = paedos". In reality, I suspect a load of perfectly normal people will come and debate a wide range of issues; they might think homosexuality wrong, but I very much doubt most will see gays as evil.

    Ah well if this was a 'discussion' then i think few would have a problem with debating these guys - that way objections can be openly stated. Its not a discussion - its a private meeting where phrases like 'the gay problem' will no doubt be commonplace.
    You stifle discussion when you limit the capacity of one side in a debate to marshal their ideas and come together in their chosen location. As I have repeatedly stressed, "the discussion" refers to the general debate, fought out in all its different theatres, rather than an actual literal debate.
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    (Original post by OxStu)

    Exeter Alumnus Returns Degree

    Exeter College alumnus Michael Amherst handed back his English BA to the University at the Exam Schools on Tuesday.
    The gesture was made in response to the controversy surrounding Exeter College’s renting out of college buildings to the evangelical anti-gay group Christian Concern.

    Exeter’s actions have been widely condemned since the emergence of the story in 4th week, including by legendary civil liberties and LGBTQ campaigner Peter Tatchell who commented that:

    Oxford University is renowned worldwide for its pioneering scientific and ethical achievements; for its pursuit of truth and equality. It’s therefore bizarre that Exeter College is facilitating a Christian fundamentalist event that promotes homophobia and discredited so-called ‘cures’ for homosexuality

    ...

    "I am sorry to say that the conduct of Exeter College in both agreeing to host Christian Concern and in their response to it has left me with little choice. Exeter College is no longer a place with which I wish to be associated."

    "I welcome the College’s decision to review its procedure for future bookings..."
    Wow - someone feel strongly about this!

    I will point out that this person didn't seem to have had a very nice time at Exeter, perhaps prompting this strong response. Read the full article for details.
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    And to conclude the affair: http://oxfordstudent.com/2012/02/24/...r-conferences/
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    Very interesting issues. Even potential legal issues if the College has taken unwanted conduct related to sexuality which has placed homosexuals in an intimidating or offensive environment. If so, it may be possible for employees to claim harassment under s26 of the Equality Act. Though I admit I've just skimmed this and am hazy on my discrimination law.

    It is not permissible to endorse an organisation which tries to infringe the rights of homosexuals. That is not to say this Christian group is homophobic. It is arguably not right to equate condemnation of homosexuality by some Christians with homophobia.
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    I have a friend who went to the conference (as a delegate).

    He was surprised at the content of the conference which he had no idea about. He was told it was about Christian leadership, but then found when he got there that it was about abortion and homosexuality. There were some extremely high-flying speakers giving their arguments, and my friend, who is of the Reformed persuasion, said that other Christians there (young people) didn't really understand the issues Christian concern or the American group were arguing for.

    There seemed to have been a lack of communication or miscommunication as to what the event was about to those who went there.

    As to the debate, it is so very hard to come out on one side of this debate. Personally, I do consider myself a Christian, but Christians, on the whole, are way behind the secular world in developing mature methodologies for understanding texts and language. Christians still go on about what 'the Bible says', but they can't account for differing interpretations and different hermeneutics which come up with different view points.

    Simply put, what exactly, could a Christian have to object about a 'gay relationship'?

    (1) 'Homosexuality' as such was not even coined until the 1870s, and since then dramatic change has happened in turning same-sex intercourse into a whole pathology which Christians now believe 'gays' need saving from.

    (2) Can a Christian say they object to love? Just because two of the same-sex choose to live in a way which looks remarkably like a heterosexual nuclear family, can they then say it is evil? And whose fault is it anyway that 'gay relationships' do look like heterosexual ones (which then appear wrong and threatening)? Perhaps because in western society it is extremely difficult for people of the same-sex to be very intimate in any way other than to mimic the nuclear family.

    (3) And what of the physical? Many self-identifying gay people don't even value the physical (sexual) very much, if at all in some cases. Is there something wrong with them? In some historical periods, such a relationship would seem like a good friendship with nothing to cry up about.

    (4) Even if we get onto the physical- are we to condemn kissing? Even in very sexual acts there is a plethora of intentions and contexts which surround a sexual act. Some people engage in 'sexual' acts without any expressed emotional intimacy at all. And to get into the real core of it, any health specialist today will verify (especially for the man) about 'hidden' areas of pleasure. Who planted them if not God?


    I think mostly Christians sometimes need to think what is really real about their arguments, and what is just discourse which they have inherited and passed on, which they use to tackle other discourses. Really, I have this image in my head of two people arguing using words and scripts about sexual identities and so on, and two people beneath them loving each other who have never heard of such words or arguments or anything. We need help to see what is real, and what is just rhetoric or discourse.

    Mercifully God has come in Jesus (who is a person- not a book), and the Spirit is given to help us (via our hearts/minds) to intuit what is OK. And that isn't to say that we make mistakes- in Christian speak there is a 'war' and so on in us.

    Although I don't agree with Christian Concern's actions, I can at least understand them, and empathise, even though I wish they'd try and do the same and realise that most of the energy they make is down to discourse fighting (and Jesus said not to fight at all).
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    (Original post by hobbit_)
    I have a friend who went to the conference (as a delegate).

    He was surprised at the content of the conference which he had no idea about. He was told it was about Christian leadership, but then found when he got there that it was about abortion and homosexuality. There were some extremely high-flying speakers giving their arguments, and my friend, who is of the Reformed persuasion, said that other Christians there (young people) didn't really understand the issues Christian concern or the American group were arguing for.

    There seemed to have been a lack of communication or miscommunication as to what the event was about to those who went there.

    As to the debate, it is so very hard to come out on one side of this debate. Personally, I do consider myself a Christian, but Christians, on the whole, are way behind the secular world in developing mature methodologies for understanding texts and language. Christians still go on about what 'the Bible says', but they can't account for differing interpretations and different hermeneutics which come up with different view points.

    Simply put, what exactly, could a Christian have to object about a 'gay relationship'?

    (1) 'Homosexuality' as such was not even coined until the 1870s, and since then dramatic change has happened in turning same-sex intercourse into a whole pathology which Christians now believe 'gays' need saving from.

    (2) Can a Christian say they object to love? Just because two of the same-sex choose to live in a way which looks remarkably like a heterosexual nuclear family, can they then say it is evil? And whose fault is it anyway that 'gay relationships' do look like heterosexual ones (which then appear wrong and threatening)? Perhaps because in western society it is extremely difficult for people of the same-sex to be very intimate in any way other than to mimic the nuclear family.

    (3) And what of the physical? Many self-identifying gay people don't even value the physical (sexual) very much, if at all in some cases. Is there something wrong with them? In some historical periods, such a relationship would seem like a good friendship with nothing to cry up about.

    (4) Even if we get onto the physical- are we to condemn kissing? Even in very sexual acts there is a plethora of intentions and contexts which surround a sexual act. Some people engage in 'sexual' acts without any expressed emotional intimacy at all. And to get into the real core of it, any health specialist today will verify (especially for the man) about 'hidden' areas of pleasure. Who planted them if not God?


    I think mostly Christians sometimes need to think what is really real about their arguments, and what is just discourse which they have inherited and passed on, which they use to tackle other discourses. Really, I have this image in my head of two people arguing using words and scripts about sexual identities and so on, and two people beneath them loving each other who have never heard of such words or arguments or anything. We need help to see what is real, and what is just rhetoric or discourse.

    Mercifully God has come in Jesus (who is a person- not a book), and the Spirit is given to help us (via our hearts/minds) to intuit what is OK. And that isn't to say that we make mistakes- in Christian speak there is a 'war' and so on in us.

    Although I don't agree with Christian Concern's actions, I can at least understand them, and empathise, even though I wish they'd try and do the same and realise that most of the energy they make is down to discourse fighting (and Jesus said not to fight at all).
    I don't think anybody was actually disagreeing that these guys' viewpoint is pretty odious. The question was more about whether they should be allowed onto the premises.

    It's a pity that it turns out the conference did focus on homosexuality and abortion, rather than these being minor issues.

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