Monday, May 6, 2013

Lucia First they came for the Anglicans

As CoNZervative points out, a mere 18 days after marriage was re(un)defined, there is a story of an Auckland man who has taken his Anglican Bishop to court because he was rejected for a priest training programme because he is in a relationship with a man.

Eugene Sisneros has described his hurt and humiliation after allegedly being rejected for a priest training programme because he was in a same-sex relationship.

A Human Rights Tribunal hearing into the alleged discrimination opened at Auckland District court today.

Mr Sisneros is taking the Anglican Bishop of Auckland to the tribunal, claiming he was barred because of his sexuality - a claim the bishop has denied, saying he was simply following the church's doctrines.

Here is where it gets silly:

Mr Sisneros said his rejection from the programme has had long-term effects.

"I am deeply affected by this discrimination as a human being. I am not equal.

"My feelings of humiliation and disappointment continue to this day,'' he told the hearing.

I can't really speak for the Anglican priesthood, but the Catholic priesthood is that of priest and VICTIM. A complaining victim who says he's being discriminated against, and as he was rejected because of his relationship, feels humiliation and disappointment, is not really the type of person you would want as a priest.

Mr Sisneros, a 38-year-old American who holds New Zealand residency, is an events coordinator for St Matthew in the City.

In 2006 he began a Bachelor of Theology degree and started signalling his desire to enter the Anglican Church's training programme for priests by writing to Bishop of Auckland John Paterson, who said there was opposition to the ordination of gay clergy.

In 2009 Mr Sisneros entered a "permanent, exclusive and stable relationship'' with his current same sex partner.

When existing Bishop of Auckland Ross Bay took over the role in 2010 he said there was no resolution over the ordination of unmarried clergy same sex relationships, so Ms Sisneros withdrew his application, he said.

If he really, really, really wanted to become an Anglican priest, why not sacrifice and live a celibate life so he could do so? Then he would have shown some of characteristics that I personally would expect in a priest.
M[r] Sisneros was rejected "by reason of the defendant not being chaste in terms of canons of the Anglican Church,'' Bishop Bay told ONE News.

That means anyone wanting to become ordained needs to be in what the Anglican Church deems to be a chaste relationship - a marriage between a man and a woman or committed to a life of celibacy.

M[r] Sisneros said he was "very disappointed'' by his exclusion from the programme and felt he had wasted six years of study towards his goal of becoming a priest.

He had "overwhelming'' support for his progress into the programme from St Matthew in the City, where ordained priests who were public about being in same-sex relationships had given sermons, he said.

St Matthew in the City again, that liberal hotbed of discord and foment.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Given that the Anglicans can decide to go in any direction and they haven't done anything about St Matthew in the City where ordained priests are apparently public about being in same-sex relationships, then the case could easily go against the Anglican bishop. If St Matthew in the City priests can do it, why can't he?

Only problem is, it will set a precedent of state interference in the Church, and that is not good.

Related link: Homosexual rejected for priesthood speaks of humiliation ~ NZ Herald

12 comment(s):

leftrightout said...

As CoNZervative points out, a mere 18 days after marriage was re(un)defined, there is a story of an Auckland man who has taken his Anglican Bishop to court because he was rejected for a priest training programme because he is in a relationship with a man.

And yet neither your goodself or Stringer can point to how one has caused the other. There is NO relationshio, except in the mind of the scared and self created victim.

If he really, really, really wanted to become an Anglican priest, why not sacrifice and live a celibate life so he could do so?

I didn't know that "really, really, really (wanting) to become an Anglican priest" was one of the crirteria. I always thought it was about being callwed by god. So, if Mr Sisneros has been so called by god, who should stand in god's way?

Only problem is, it will set a precedent of state interference in the Church, and that is not good.

Unlike church interference in affairs of state, which you obviously see as good.

If the church wants to be left alone by the state, then it needs to leave the state alone and get its hands out of taxpayers' pockets.

And any way, why should some religious claim, tenuous at best, be a valid reason for exemption dfrom the law?

ZenTiger said...

"There is no relationship except.."

The word "except" means that there is a relationship. Recent changes in the law signal to people they may be able to use the law to win the case, and if so, will be in direct contradiction to the assurances made by those ramming through the legislation.

Also, being called by God is not the only criteria. It requires significant commitment and an attitude of service and self sacrifice. It also requires training and a particular temperament. Those things are not being evidenced here.

Yes, church interference in State is good, if within the law. It's called freedom of speech and freedom of association. And whether you are Amnesty, Greenpeace, The Wellington Business Association, Fred Dagg, Trev or Mrs Smith who runs the knitting group, all are allowed to speak up and "meddle in the affairs of the government", which is to say "ask politicians and political parties to listen to them and promote their views. Such parties may or may not. This is the concept behind democracy, which you seem to be remarkably unfamiliar with given your statement.

Psycho Milt said...

So, if Mr Sisneros has been so called by god, who should stand in god's way?

It's theAnglican Church that gets to decide if Mr Sisneros has been called by its god, not Mr Sisneros. In this case, the relevant authority effectively says he hasn't. There isn't anything for him beyond that - he can call on state-appointed bureaucrats to try and bend the Church to his will, but if he were to succeed in that he's effectively destroyed the village in order to save it.

Bottom line: if Mr Sisneros would prefer a Church that adopts his personal opinion as its tenets, he'll need to do a Brian Tamaki and found his own.

scrubone said...

Bottom line: if Mr Sisneros would prefer a Church that adopts his personal opinion as its tenets, he'll need to do a Brian Tamaki and found his own.

A church has been founded (or changed over time) within the Anglican church that is absolutely not Christian let alone Anglican. St Matthews holds beliefs that were declared heresy in 325.

The problem here is really that St Mathews should have been removed from the Anglican communion, but it seems that either the church is unwilling to make that move (probably because St Matt has enough support from churches not quite as far gone) or is unable under the current rules.

leftrightout said...

Bottom line:

Just more squealing that the law should apply to everyone, except those who think their belief in a magic sky pixie should trump the law.

Why should religion be the only grounds to gain exemption from the law?

Were you not all screaming that The Charities Commission should apply the law, equally to all?

"Why should we not be free to discriminate against same-sex couples?" is your constant refrain.

ZenTiger said...

Freedom of thought and belief are fundamental freedoms. Freedom of association another. Freedom of choice yet another.

Laws must be made with respect to these fundamental freedoms. Laws are also there to safeguard a person's life and their property.

Discrimination is therefore appropriate in many circumstances. You discriminate between rat poison and a healthy meal, and would no doubt believe that a law that forced you to eat rat poison on occasion was a bad law.

It is quite possible for government to make bad laws. This is why freedom to dissent and argue the case is so important.

In this case, the government has made the dramatic decision to redefine the word marriage to mean something very novel and different compared to the last four or five thousand years of known history. As far as I can tell, before the year 2000, no other society or culture has ever considered same sex couples "married" even if they were in partnerships or a relationship. However, the government also said that this radical redefinition of the word would also include a law that protected the Churches right to continue to use the word as it has always interpreted it.

So for now, that is the law. And your various comments across multiple threads seem to be saying "suck it up and follow the law." That same advice should therefore be taken up by you. Suck it up, and stop whingeing about it.

And we can both crusade to make sure the law in that regard is respected and applied equally to all.

ZenTiger said...

Scrubone, yes agreed.

A basic analogy is to consider that the above person is upset that because he has decided to join a rugby union team, and they are not changing their rules to League to suit his style of play.

Psycho Milt said...

Why should religion be the only grounds to gain exemption from the law?

A law that tramples freedom of association into the dirt isn't one worth having. Membership of a church is voluntary, and this guy doesn't meet the qualifications for holding office within that organisation according to its rules. The law has no legitimate role in the dispute, and his resort to it says he's actually just a wanker out to wind them up. If he was taking the National Organisation of Women to court for refusing him as an office-holder you wouldn't have any problem recognising the fact. A church isn't automatically the bad guy just because it's a church.

leftrightout said...

"The National Organization for Women, the largest feminist organization in the nation, consists of 500,000 women and men dedicated to legal, political, social, and economic equality for women. Our National Action Center is based in Washington, D.C., and employs approximately 30 women and men who..."

http://www.now.org/organization/volunt.html

Seems to me that Mr Sisneros would be more than welcome there.

A law that tramples freedom of association into the dirt isn't one worth having. Membership of a church is voluntary, and this guy doesn't meet the qualifications for holding office within that organisation according to its rules.

I am unaware that anyone is claiming Anglicans should allow Catholics to join their church, so freedom of association is a non-issue.

Mr Sisneros is not applying to "hold office"; he is applying for a job, and this country has laws about discriminatory hiring practices. You must either argue for the overturn of those laws, or justify why religion should be an exemption from the law.

Psycho Milt said...

Sorry, forgot it's the National Council for Women in this country. No men among their officeholders.

Mr Sisneros is not applying to "hold office"; he is applying for a job...

The Anglican Church does have employees and no doubt would not reject a homosexual applicant for those positions. However, someone applying to become an ordained priest is not just applying for a job - the fact that we regard the idea of ordained priests as mumbo-jumbo doesn't alter that in the slightest.

...this country has laws about discriminatory hiring practices. You must either argue for the overturn of those laws, or justify why religion should be an exemption from the law.

Or both. The law is crap and should be amended or repealed because it offends against the rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of association. And some religious roles should be exempt from it because they're not "jobs" as we understand the term - which is why the RC church needn't expect anti-discrimination suits for not "hiring" female priests, and mosques needn't expect anti-discrimination suits for not "hiring" Christian imams.

Chris Sullivan said...

Geno Sisneros was not applying for a job. He was applying to be admitted for training to be ordained. If after training he was then selected for ordination, he would then need to apply for a position with a particular Anglican parish.

So:

1. He first needed to be admitted for training.
2. A bishop then needed to agree to ordain him
3. A parish then needed to appoint him to a position.

It is a condition of admission to training for possible subsequent ordination that one agrees to live a life which publicly conforms to what the church teaches.

Unfortunately, Geno didn't, not because he is gay, but because he insisted on living a public sexual relationship outside marriage (the same rule applies to straights). It would almost certainly have been fine if he had lived together with his gay partner without a sexual relationship.

It will be interesting to see where this this case goes and how the Anglicans respond to this and to our now legal Gay Marriage.

I will keep Geno, his partner and Bishop in my prayers. May it turn out well for them all.

God Bless

ZenTiger said...

Ditto on the recent comments, and add that women and no doubt gay men are often employed by various Church denominations in a very "equal opportunity" way.

Being a priest though is more than a job. It is a vocation, and the criteria is a matter of freedom to set the rules around this, and should be strongly defended.

What might be a more interesting debate is to look at those countries that insist that a boardroom, or a political party have a minimum number of women, and then insist a man has every right to apply for that specific spot, and count as a women, regardless of the fact he doesn't fit the criteria of being a women.

Let the secular liberals play their silly mind games on their own institutions which demand equality of opportunity and tolerance except where they don't.

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