Various past correspondence eg to Prime Minister, and others

My late wife and I wrote many letters and e-mail messages to influential politicians, newspapers, Christian mags and journals, and to influential individuals in various parts of the church eg General of the Salvation Army.

The following will, when uploaded, only be a small selection from 100s that have been written. We hope they will encourage you. Perhaps you too will 'pick up your pen' or add your name to a petition, and add your influence to end discrimination somewhere.


Rt Hon Tony Blair MP 

Prime Minister;  10 Downing Street;  LONDON SW1

Dear Prime Minister

EQUALITY FOR HOMOSEXUAL MEN AND WOMEN

I am writing to ask that legislation to enshrine equality for homosexual men and women be progressed in the UK. My wife and I, who have many homosexual Christian friends, believe it is time equality replaced discrimination in our society.

We were encouraged by the Age of Consent result, and that Evan Harris's Amdt to the debate about MPs Pension Scheme was almost unanimously endorsed, and same-sex partners will be treated equally as other partners. And while it is not a legal arrangement, the Mayor of London's Partnership Register is a recognition that this is sorely needed.

Slowly, but very piecemeal, the rights of homosexual men and women are being recognised and won. But when several Western societies have made so much progress to full or nearly full equality, why is the UK so far behind?

Why is there no formal recognition of homosexual covenant relationships with the associated rights, as there is elsewhere? And why is Section 28 - a statute worthy of a totalitarian regime - still on the statute books?  Is there any promise to deal with these injustices in the present Parliament, or is New Labour to go down as yet another unjust government?

The UN is now taking an active interest in protecting homosexual men and women from discrimination. We hope that it is not going to take shaming from the UN to force the UK to progress these matters, as has happened with the judgments of the European Courts.

The measure of a righteous society is how it treats its minorities, and those on the margins of society.  There will undoubtedly be resistance from some political and religious right wing elements, but that only goes to show they are more interested in discrimination than justice.

We implore you in the name of justice, and for our friends who have suffered severe discrimination for so long - please take this matter forward.

Sincerely

George Hopper; C Eng (Retired); Local Preacher

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Rev Fred Phelps is a well known persecutor of gay people in the USA - his website 'godhatesfags' says it all. Here is a man with a passion that God could use. So I have written as a Christian brother.

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Rev Fred Phelps; Westboro Baptist Church                  3 August 2001

Topeka; Kansas; USA

Dear Fred

I am a preacher in the Methodist Church, UK, a Bible Scholar, a retired professional scientist/engineer, married with 4 lovely children and 6 grandchildren - God has greatly blessed my wife and I.

My conversion was in Oct 1954, and since that time I have not ceased to study the scriptures - initially in KJV and then modern translations, but more recently in the original languages. In 1993 the Lord challenged and led me to a ministry I was very reluctant to fulfil, but now is a joy and privilege. That ministry is to homosexual Christians, many of whom are now dear friends. Until that time, my attitude, like yours, was dictated by verses found in KJV and in modern Bible translations thought to be reliably translated. When challenged by Christ, I went back to the Bible on this matter and studied those texts afresh in the original languages, and found that translators had not been true to their task - they had misled me as they have misled many, including you, it seems.

Translators have made a sorry mess of the translation of those verses. Of all the references thought to condemn homosexuals in the Bible, only one is a sensibly correct translation, and that one is invariably misused, out of context.

There is no condemnation of loving, faithful same-sex relationships in the Bible, only of the same kind of acts we too must avoid - rape, incest, prostitution, pederasty . Love, which dignifies another and brings wholeness, as is the case in many marriages, (including our own) and in many same-sex partnerships, is of God.

Fred, I have seen your website, and I am deeply distressed and saddened by it. I respect that you believe you are doing the right thing, but you have caused untold hurt, and damaged God's Kingdom with bigotry and ignorance of these of God's creation.  The conclusions I previously held, and that you now hold, are very wrong. And the manner in which you hound that part of God's diverse creation, which differs in its sexuality, is surely under the judgment of God.

My wife and I have shared fellowship, worship and aspects of social life with homosexual Christians for over 8 years, and we have found their faith in Christ, their courage and love, their ready forgiveness of those who hurt them, truly Christlike. When we are with them, we feel very close to Christ who was also 'despised and rejected'.  And God has blessed many of these our friends with His Spirit, seen in the Spirit's fruit in their lives, ('you shall know them by their fruit'). We love these our Christian friends, much as God loves them.

If we fail to recognise the Spirit in those whom God has so blessed, are we not in the same spiritual danger as those people of Israel whose 'proof-texts' and expectations about Messiah led them to reject the Lord of Glory, even though he exhibited the fruit of God's Spirit without measure in his life. Fred, please don't make the same mistake - be like Peter, who was sent by God to the home of a Gentile, (who Jews thought were 'fodder for hell'), but found hearts ready to receive the gospel, and then the Spirit given to them. Thus began the rapid expansion of the Kingdom, quite unexpectedly for Peter. But he listened, and learned, and obeyed, though it must have been difficult for him, a Jew who would not otherwise have had anything to do with Gentiles - to do so made him ritually unclean. But God's word was clear 'Call not unclean what I have cleansed'.

Fred, I beseech you - please, go back prayerfully and humbly with an open mind to the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. Search the scriptures, accepting at least that you may have got it wrong. I would be delighted to help in that process, and include some very simple notes that might help get you started. I know this is all rather threatening - I found it so myself when the Lord challenged me on the matter. As I worked through it, there were times I had to put the whole matter aside and give myself a break - my past homophobic attitude kept rising within me, and its demolition was very painful. But it led me, then my wife to a ministry given by Christ that we would not change, a ministry that has brought us many new fine Christian friends who we love with the love of Christ. We just do not recognise the kind of people in them that you refer to.

Dear brother, you could do so much good for the Kingdom in this area. Remember Saul who was given the task by the temple authorities of bringing those of 'The Way' to be punished, but who became the Apostle to the Gentile Christians, the very people he had once denounced and persecuted - perhaps the most amazing story, after the Gospels.

May God bless you and give you wisdom and insight

Yours in Christ;  George

George S E Hopper; Box 5846; Basildon SS15 4GS;  UK

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Something secret was being hatched it seems

between the White House and the USA Salvation Army. The Washington Post and Daily Telegraph reported on a leaked document that 'in exchange for SA giving support to the President's faith-based social services initiative, the White House made a 'commitment' to issue a regulation exempting charities from local anti-discrimination laws'. The papers stated this was because the SA was alarmed that many states and cities were making it illegal to discriminate. When this came to light, the White House quickly withdrew, and a SA Rep stated 'hiring homosexual employees really begins to chew away at the theological fabric of who we are'.

So a letter went off to General John Gowans;

==================================

To: General John Gowans;  Salvation Army              20 July 2001

Dear General Gowans

Report of SA(USA) Discrimination against Homosexuals

I will not rehearse all the sordid details of the reports in the 'Washington Post', 'The Daily Telegraph' etc of the Salvation Army (USA) attempt to strike a secret deal with the White House; the purpose being to enable it to continue discriminating against homosexual men and women. This was reportedly in exchange for the SA's help in getting Congress to support President G W Bush's 'faith-based' social services initiative.

As committed Christians, my wife and I were shocked at what has happened, and imagine that you were also. We are former Salvationists, who circumstances forced a change - to Methodism. My father is a Salvationist with nearly 70 years of service. God gave my wife and I a ministry to homosexual Christians in 1993, through which we have learned of the deep injustices inflicted by the church upon them. We have many fine homosexual Christian friends who would put many others to shame, including those who are at the heart of this sinful act.

We ask that you will unreservedly and publicly apologise on behalf of the SA to the homosexual community, among whom are many Christians, (incl SA) and who help to pay the £215 million a year paid from the USA Govt to the SA. We would hope that such an apology might state that this was wrong; an abberation that will be put right, and not reoccur.

We also hope that you will replace the Territorial Commander USA and, with shame, withdraw the excuse that 'Hiring homosexual employees really begins to chew away at the theological fabric of who we are'. We know of no theology of injustice and unfairness. Perhaps this can be turned to good effect, giving the SA the opportunity to re-examine what it is, and what is God's purpose for it, and God's homosexual people.

Yours in Christ

George and Carol Hopper, Local Preacher & Synod Member

===================================

The reply came not from the General, who was away. It included the SA's International Statement on Homosexuality; its Press Release which denied that the SA shew discrimination or bias in its employment practices, and a reference to the comment  'Hiring homosexual employees really begins to chew away at the theological fabric of who we are' as an  'unfortunate off-the-cuff remark not representing the SA official position on this matter'.

So another letter went to the General;

To:  Gen John Gowans;  The Salvation Army.         3 August 2001

Dear General

Re: Washington Post and Daily Telegraph reports of SA & Pres Bush

Thank you for the reply dated 26 July 2001, received from Colonel Lawrence Hay on your behalf..

We are sorry to say, the reply did not really address the matter we raised. It stated the Army's International Statement on Homosexuality, (we are already aware); that the 'off the cuff comment was most unfortunate', and gave the press release of 13 July on the Army's employment practices, (denying discrimination).

We were commenting on the secret consultations between the SA and the White House, as reported by the Washington Post and  Daily Telegraph, newspapers with international reputations, which ran the story. That the White House quickly withdrew when this was exposed, indicates that something was going on. We find it strange that such consultations, which must have been at high level, should be in progress and kept secret, if the Army were keeping to the standards of the press release, unless 'the exceptions dictated by the religious purposes or moral position of the Salvation Army' was the basis of the secret negotiation. But why secret, if there were nothing to hide?

So, we ask again that the SA make the appropriate apologies and withdraw the 'off the cuff comment', which said something about that person's attitude, and/or their perception of the Army's attitude. It was more than unfortunate, it was wrong and hurt many people. It should be publicly confessed and put right.

We still think that those responsible for damaging the Army's reputation in this should be replaced. For the Army to retain its integrity, there needs to be open-ness in putting this whole matter right.

We write because we are friends of the Army and hold it in high regard - we do not wish to see its reputation damaged or its work for God undermined. We look forward to hearing what action you have taken, especially to ensure such as this is not repeated.

Yours in Christ;  George and Carol Hopper

                       -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We await a reply. After sending our letters, it was brought to our attention that the SA (USA) has a website making a statement on this. If you wish to see it it is at; www.salvationarmy-socal.org

===================================================


Jerry Falwell, a USA televangelist, sent a circular letter about the Boy Scout Movement to project his bigotry on homosexual scoutmasters........

FALWELL CONFIDENTIAL

A weekly briefing for America's pastors and Christian leaders who may use this publication without attribution. This publication is made available, without charge, to the evangelical pastors who are part of the "Friends of Jerry Falwell Support Circle."

DATE: August 2, 2001 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM: Jerry Falwell

The end of the Boys Scouts as we know them?

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Boy Scouts of America - as a private organization that recruits like-minded members - can determine their own employee standards. A Scout named James Dale lost his challenge of the Boy Scout policy that prohibits homosexuals from serving; he was rejected as an adult scoutmaster after he became publicly involved in a college homosexual organization.

Following that High Court decision, homosexual-rights organizations in our nation have been on a relentless year-long campaign to define the Scouts as an organization of hate and intolerance. Subsequently, some school districts and communities have adopted policies that ban the Scouts from utilizing their facilities. Apparently, the so-called "right to privacy" only works in our nation these days as long as that privacy is politically correct. And apparently, the Boy Scouts' sterling history of training 110 million American boys to be tomorrow's leaders means nothing.

Under pressure, a Boy Scout council in Massachusetts has adopted a policy permitting homosexual scoutmasters to be affiliated with local troops if they agree not to discuss their sexual orientation with boys. And last week, the Miami-Dade Boy Scouts, under threat of losing public funding and public school sponsorship, agreed to a number of demands, including directing young boys who may be "questioning their sexuality" to visit with a homosexual organization.

I wonder if those boys will also be directed to an organization that consists of "ex gays" who have, through a committed relationship with Jesus Christ,  escaped the dangerous homosexual lifestyle? If the boys are indeed "questioning," shouldn't they receive all pertinent information?   We'll see.

The Miami deal was made with Safeguarding America's Values for Everyone (SAVE) Dade, a local homosexual organization, and the United Way of Miami-Dade - which gives $1.5 million to the Scouts. Some have suggested the Scouts were a victim of extortion. The United Way has been at the forefront of the economic pressure on the Boy Scouts to alter their standards.

"The surrender in south Florida may be the Boy Scouts' Waterloo," suggested Gary Bauer, chairman of the Arlington, Va.-based Campaign for Working Families (http://www.cfapac.com/). "With this 'deal,' the United Way and homosexual activists in Miami have effectively shredded the constitutional rights the Scouts fought so long to protect. This deal won't end the assault on the Scouts values. Instead, the weakness displayed in South Florida will only encourage more attacks from the radical left."

And therein lies the most frightening element in this story - where does it end?

Mr. Bauer correctly charged that this battle is greater than the Boy Scouts -it is ultimately about religious freedom. Tomorrow it may be the Evangelical or Catholic churches under attack because each continue to uphold biblical values that are now defined as "hate."

My greatest concern is that one day the students of Liberty University - the school I founded in 1971 - will be refused federal tuition assistance because we continue to embrace the biblical ideals of traditional marriage and moral purity before marriage. It is plain to see that we will likely face such a battle in my lifetime.

While the homosexual community vehemently charges that traditional Catholics and Evangelicals are harboring policies of intolerance against them, the truth is that homosexuals are harboring a fanatical prejudice that mandates their opponents either accept their agenda ... or pay the consequences.

Sadly, the safety of the children - which should be priority number one - has been forgotten in this political confrontation. The fact is that there are  odcumented cases where Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders have sexually preyed on young members.

Of course not all homosexuals are pedophiles, but why would anyone want to risk such terrible things happening to children all for the sake of political expediency?

"The focus shouldn't be on the adults who want to be troop leaders," said Bernadette Malone Connolly, editorial page editor of the Manchester Union Leader. "The focus needs to be on protecting impressionable, vulnerable children who are left in their care. ... If a Boy Scout troop leader is known to be homosexual, why risk putting him in charge of boys? Few adults, gay or straight, are pedophiles, but when our children's welfare is at stake, it is best to minimize the opportunity for temptation."

Those are very wise words, but I'm afraid few are listening.

Take Action to Support the Boy Scouts I encourage you to call the Boy Scouts national office and let them know you support them as they fight to remain true to the values that have made them a great institution for 91 years. The number to call is 972-580-2000; request the external communications office.

One of my staff members called today to extend his vocal support to the Scouts. He told me the Boy Scouts representative expressed gratitude for the call and promised that the organization is committed to upholding the values that have defined it for nearly a century. Please let the Boy Scouts know that you are prayerfully supporting their stand.

I can tell you that when the battle becomes great, it is good to know that you are not standing alone. They'll appreciate your call.

==================

So, a letter went off to the Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America, National Council    14 August 2001

Dear Sirs

Boy Scouts and Homosexual Scoutmasters

Jerry Falwell, by means of a circular letter of 2 Aug 2001, has mounted an unnecessary and bigoted attack on homosexuals who are, or would be, scoutmasters. I hope you will not be fooled by his bigotry, ignorance, and lack of grace. I would like to present another slant, based on our experience.

The 8 years actual experience of my wife and I in a UK ministry given by Christ to homosexual Christians, in which we share worship, fellowship and aspects of life generally with them, is that the vast majority of homosexuals are good, responsible, caring people who make ideal leaders of the young.

Scouts need only the normal protective measures that should be applied to any applicants, homosexual or other, applying to become a scoutmaster ie requiring applicants to state whether they have at any time been involved in abuse of any kind toward minors/young people; checking their statement, and police/employment etc records as to whether they have committed such abuse; and making a ruling that there must be at least 2 (two) responsible adults always present together at any activity or meeting.

However, homosexuals need protection from Jerry Falwell, who is prepared to use fear to smear them on the basis of the failings of a few. His use of faint praise to damn, "Of course, not all homosexuals are pedophiles" says a great deal. He has his own agenda which has little to do with reality. It is as silly  as the assertion that as most child abusers are heterosexual, why trust your children to hetero teachers?

His use of spin comes perilously close to calling good 'evil', and evil 'good', when he portrays homosexuals (who are constantly victims in society and much of the church) as the aggressors, and right-wing, bigoted 'Christian' aggressors as the victims. He clearly thinks that homosexuals who are constantly vilefied, have no right to protest and seek justice, though they contribute to taxes that are distributed to organisations that are prepared to attack their integrity.

Like many who refer to themselves as 'Christian', he has obviously not lived honestly alongside, nor researched the lives of, the people he so readily attacks. Nor can he have researched the scriptures in the original languages, believing incorrectly that they support his bigotry, or he could not write such nonsense about them.

There is no Gospel - no love, no mercy, no desire for justice in his language or attitude. His letter was simply a mean-minded attack on a people he chooses to despise; it was utterly unChristian, unBiblical and unjust, and deserves every condemnation.

My wife and I have 4 children and 6 grandchildren, and would be distraught at abuse of any minors. We support any fair attempt to keep out those who would harm minors in any way - physically, mentally or spiritually - including fundamentalist religion. We hope that you will take a reasoned, measured response, and be influenced only by facts, not by his and others propaganda.

Faithfully

GSE Hopper; C.Eng (Ret'd); Local Preacher

www.reluctantjourney.co.uk

PS. I enclose a copy of my book 'Reluctant Journey' which may help understanding.


===============================

And an e-mail went to Jerry Falwell.....................

Dear Mr Falwell

I too am a preacher in the evangelical tradition, a Bible Scholar, a retired scientist/engineer, married for 45 years with children and grandchildren. None of us thankfully are gay. I write that - not because we would not love and cherish any who were, but because of the mental, physical and spiritual abuse gay people suffer in church and society - abuse shown by unwelcoming or rejecting attitudes and verbal and physical attacks, that lead to depression, despair and sometimes suicides and murders of homosexual men and women.

I want to comment on your letter, which I find so unChristian, but there is a rich background of experience from which I write, and I think I need to share that with you first to put my comment into perspective. However, I will state now that while we are not gay, both my wife and I belong openly to homosexual Christian organisations, where we offer ministry as below. I wonder if that places us in the same category as the homosexual Scoutmaster you refer to in your letter.  Homosexual = Sin?

In 1992 I was led by the Lord to repent of my homophobia after 3 years of challenge, learning and research, which led to fresh study of the Bible. The Lord then gave a ministry, to homosexual Christians especially, of "support, affirmation (out of the scriptures) and Christian love".

Since that time, my wife and I have shared worship, fellowship and other aspects of their lives, and seen the damaging effects of bigotry and prejudice, intimidation and attacks - including invective based around Biblical quotation by those who refer to themselves as 'Christian'.

We have seen and heard of the years of prayer offered to God for 'change', their experiences of deliverance ministry, the effects of the work of 'ex-gay' ministries, the years of counselling - spiritual struggles all to no avail - and the cry 'Do you think I would choose to be homosexual with all the pain and heartache, if I had the choice?'.

No, Jerry, there are no ex-homosexuals, you are deluding yourself.

*There are heterosexuals who have got involved in same-sex sexual acts, and been helped to renounce what is for them perverted sexual acts - Excellent work.

*There are some bisexuals who have been helped to focus on the heterosexual side of their nature - fine, if that is done in the right way.

*There are a very few individuals who have been confused about their sexuality who have been helped to their true sexuality. Excellent work.

*There are homosexuals who have come to the Lord, and found their Saviour, but they remain homosexuals, but now God's people. Any loving help which restores homosexuals to their rightful dignity is to be applauded - so long as it is done in the love and Spirit of Christ and respecting them for who they are.

BUT there is no scientifically-attested case of sustained change of sexuality of a true homosexual, though many claims are made.  They are always found to be 'perverted' heterosexuals, or more often bisexuals, or from among those who were confused about their sexuality.

Sure, in the euphoria of conversion when we all feel we could walk on air, some homosexuals have been encouraged to think that their sexuality has changed. And because they do not want to lose the fellowship of Christian brothers and sisters, which would often be the case if they shared their truth, may even deny to themselves and others for years the knowledge that they do not want to acknowledge - that they have not changed.  Do you really want to propagate untruth, or are you prepared to face the truth?

A man was concerned about his wife's hearing, and frustrated because she would not go for tests - so he decided to do some simple tests himself. He went to the kitchen and called to his wife 'Darling, would you like a drink?'. No response.

He then went into the room next to where his wife sat, and agin called out, 'Darling, would you like a drink?'. No response.

He then crept behind her, and quietly said 'Darling would you like a drink?' - to which she replied 'Why do you keep asking. Yes I would love a drink'.

We think we are open and ready to God's voice, when so often we are deaf and don't know it.  As the prophets often had to say to the people of Israel 'You have ears to hear but do not listen; you have eyes but do not see'.

Jerry, God has been speaking to you, me and all of us for years about his beloved homosexual people. Until 1993 I did not hear, and you still do not hear.

1. God speaks in the Bible on this - not in the way that many think. The Hebrew and Greek of 'those texts' used from modern translations to show  that homosexuality is a sin are a distorted/mistranslated mess created by the translation community, which brings its own prejudice to its work. Not only is there no condemnation of loving, faithful same-sex relationships in the  Hebrew and Greek scriptures, but love is encouraged - for a beloved, for family, friends, each other, even our enemies, for love is of God. We see such love in our gay Christian friends, including those in covenant relationships, where their love for God and each other transforms their lives and ministries - yes, several are ministers and priests. And not only is homosexual love not condemned in scripture, but Jesus commended the faith ofa man who was almost certainly (from considerations of Roman culture and of the Greek text) in such a loving same-sex relationship ie Luke 7:1-10.

But are you listening to scripture on this?

2. God speaks through the cries of his homosexual people in their distress - just as God spoke to Moses through the cries of the people of Israel in Egypt in their distress. Children who are homosexual are taunted and bullied, and many take their lives or damage themselves in some other way because of the church's teaching and society's attitude. It is rare for a homosexual man or woman not to have to deal with internalised homophobia from constant telling that they are scum, and hated by God. And most suffer intimidation or attack at some time.

But are you listening to the voice of God's justice on this?

3. God speaks by his Spirit into hearts and minds that are open to God's diverse world and its people on this matter. The evidence is that God creates not only heterosexuals, but homosexuals, bisexuals, hermaphrodites, and people who cannot reconcile body and sexuality - are we to make judgments and discriminate against them, or seek to love and help them? I know what I think Christ would do; and want of us too.

But are you listening to God's Spirit on this?

I exhort you as a Christian brother to consider prayerfully whether you are not wrong on this matter as I was for so long. I exhort you because you are not only placing yourself, but many others you influence, in grave spiritual danger by your unChristian and unBiblical teaching and attitude on this issue.

People are not sinners because they are homosexual - that is just part of their identity - but because we are human. You, me and everyone are sinners - and the grace of God is there for us all too. That grace is received by faith - by any, including homosexuals, and only God knows and can judge that faith - our duty is to encourage one another in that faith.  There is no room for any to judge others - that is God's work. And accusing others is, of course, the devil's work.

But I can tell you that our gay Christian friends are as fine Christian people as any others - indeed many are an example to us. We are often humbled at their faith in Christ, their love for others, their courage in the face of hostility and their forgiveness of those who hurt them. We have lived among them for 8 years - and we know!

So Jerry, I come to your circular letter, which stands justice on its head and portrays the victims as aggressors and the aggressors as the victims. Spin for which you will answer to God. It is perilously close to calling evil 'good', and good 'evil' which is the sin against the Holy Spirit.

I ask you to repent, withdraw that letter, apologise, and replace it with one that is balanced and fair.

Homosexuals are seeking justice and equality before the law. Justice is at the heart of the Gospel, and we should be helping not hindering. Furthermore, homosexuals pay their taxes, and public funds are as much out of their pockets as any other. To discriminate against homosexuals simply because they are homosexual, smacks of something very nasty indeed.

I would be among the first to report child/minor abuse, and there are of course abusers among the homosexual community, as there are among the heterosexual community. But to write that 'not all homosexuals are pedophiles..' is to damn with faint praise.  The vast majority of homosexual people are good, responsible citizens whose lives are damaged by the kind of stereotyping such as you have employed in your letter. But then so many label all homosexuals with the sins of the few. This is not only wrong, it is under the judgment of God.

There is a sensible balanced solution that we use in the UK to counteract child/minor abuse in such movements as Scouts etc. Any person convicted of such abuse is registered and must state on pain of a severe penalty that they are registered when they may (or will) come into contact with children/minors in such an organisation. Furthermore, no adult (whoever they may be) may stay alone with children/minors in such an organisation - there must be at least two persons present or the activity must cease.

The sad fact is that nearly all abuse takes place away from the public arena, secretly within families - perhaps you should write a circular on that one.

Forgive me for writing in this challenging way, but justice, truth and love constrain, as does the love of Christ in me for a Christian brother, who from our experience of Christ and the gospel, our ample experience of homosexual Christian people and our study of the scriptures, has got it very wrong on this one.

My wife and I pray that you will prayerfully consider this

Yours in Christ

George Hopper; C Eng (Ret'd); Local Preacher

PS If you care to reply with your address, I will forward Biblical exegesis in support of what I have stated.

We await a reply.

===============================================

Bishop Carder is responsible for the Mississippi Area of the United Methodist Church, USA.  As a UK Methodist I am ashamed to say that a Methodist minister, Rev Dr Wildmon, is President of the AFA, (American Family Association). The anti-gay actions and the misleading trash about gay people on the AFA website cannot go without  challenge! So a letter went to Bishop Carder;

Bishop Kenneth L Carder                                             18 January 2002
Mississippi Area of the United Methodist Church
PO Box 931
Jackson; MS 39205-0931; USA
 

Dear Bishop Carder
I sent a letter on 27 Nov 2001 to Bishop Galvan, President of the Council of Bishops, thinking him to be the appropriate one to write to, in which I made a complaint about Rev Dr Wildmon, President of the American Family Association. I have just received a reply in which Bishop Galvan referred me to you, stating that you deal with such matters for ministers in your area.

I am much encouraged by Bishop Galvan's statement that 'The UMC is on record through our Book of Discipline that we have the obligation to extend the ministry of the church to people who are gay, and support them in their civil and human rights'.  I am also encouraged by your own web statement that 'We seek to be a sign, footnote and instrument of Christ's present and coming reign of compassion, justice, generosity and hope'. Of this I am glad, as this letter is about just such, or rather their absence in Rev Dr Wildmon's attacks on gays and other minorities.

Let me first state that I respect Rev Dr Wildmon's right to differ with me, but when it comes to  taking action based on his personal views to denigrate others, especially those who are vulnerable, undermining their dignity and affecting their lives adversely, it is time to challenge his bigotry and actions.

I write as a Methodist Local Preacher from the UK, in the firm conviction that Rev Dr Wildmon is bringing the Church of Christ and his Gospel, the Bible and our Lord into disrepute by using the American Family Ass'n as a vehicle of persecution. My letter of 27 Nov 2001 was based on a report in the SF Chronicle of Nov 2nd, AFA statements in its website http://www.afa.net and the website http://www.wiredstrategies.com/hate.html in which various offensive AFA statements are set out, (see attachment at end of this letter).

I do not make this allegation lightly. I am a mature Christian of nearly 70 years, and a disciple of Jesus since 1954. The Bible is precious to me, it is daily bread in our home and a source of endless study and delight. However I study very carefully as I have personally seen the damage its misuse can bring, to one of our own wider family, and to the gay Christian community etc. Indeed, my repentance for homophobia, was largely basd on a thorough-going prayerful Christ-led review of the 'gay' texts, after which the Lord gave me, then my wife in 1993, a ministry of 'support, affirmation and Christian love' for such Christians, of which advocacy is an important part. In that time we have shared fellowship, worship and aspects of social life with these dear friends, and know far more from direct experience of such people and their life issues than most others, including Rev Dr Wildmon.  What most find puzzling is that neither we nor any of our family are gay; which adds to the power of our ministry which has become international in character.

Since led by Jesus into this ministry, I have continued to study the scriptures, and it is also on a Biblical basis that we 'support, affirm and show Christian love' for his gay children. If you wish to read more, my online book is on my website http://www.reluctantjourney.co.uk   My continuing studies in Hebrew and Greek have further refined my conclusions, shown as Addenda in the on-line 'Book' which show the claim that 'homosexuality (per se) is a sin' is mistaken. It is easy to show that translators have made an unintelligent mess of the translation of verses used by such as Dr Wildmon 'to show that homosexuality is a sin'.  I am very willing to correspond with any who think otherwise, and who are prepared to find out for themselves which for them is the more important - their prejudices, or Biblical truth.

There are homosexuals, as heterosexuals, who behave badly, but equally most are responsible, decent people including many who love the Lord, and are faithful Christian people. To stereotype in the way that Rev Dr Wildmon does is nothing short of evil  Indeed, among our many (100s) gay Christian friends are some of the finest Christian people we know.

In that the AFA is there to support the family, it has our whole-hearted support - my wife and I have 4 children and 6 (soon 7) grandchildren. We know only too well the stresses of married life, and anything that can be done to help 'marrieds and families' is a blessing. But we are puzzled by the AFA's approach to supporting these, which seems as much as anything else to do with denigrating, undermining and attacking the dignity of those in other loving, faithful relationships. Its statements and actions  give the impression of the AFA being largely a vehicle, (as some use the scriptures) for attacking those it dislikes, and those with whom it disagrees. But what about families with children who find they are gay - there are many such who find they get frozen out too, and have come to us for guidance and support. And what about marriages in which one partner is gay. Do not these also need support? Again it is rare for such to feel able to air their real problem honestly in a pastoral setting.  In fact the very approach that AFA adopts toward gay people actually undermines marriage - let me explain.

From our experience and knowledge, most gay men and women want a long-term partnership, but conclude they cannot as they will identify themselves and be hounded by bigots in church and society. To find the intimacy they (as we) need, they have to resort either to fleeting relationships, or enter a heterosexual marriage - something nearly all soon find unsustainable due to the differences in sexuality. In Britain which is generally further ahead in its understanding of sexual minorities, as gay people find they are able to live openly in loving, committed partnerships, more and more do so. Indeed, there is now a strong demand for legal recognition of such. Gay people are no different to ourselves in needing love and intimacy, and like most heterosexuals, their desire is for a good, committed relationship. Such is the change in Britain, that a recent survey shew that it will not be too many years before gay partnerships last longer on average than marriages. This has happened alongside increasing understanding of society, in which gay people feel more able to be open about themselves.

However, to return to Rev Dr Wildmon and the AFA, I regard their attacks, including the recent one which caused a reversal of the policy of the Salvation Army in its Western Territory of treating equally all those who have a partner,(including gay people), as being unjust, and as religious fundamentalism of the worst kind - similar in  nature to that seen on Sept 11th in the USA. While that was extreme in its immediate effect, we see in that action both the nature and effect of such 'religion'. It 'reads into' those it sees as unholy, the nature of satan, anti-God, anti-scripture, and tries to damage or destroy them. It is the very antithesis of  Christ's Gospel. You can search the AFA website in vain for any sign of justice, compassion, grace or love toward gays and other minorities it hates. It typically contains smears and attempts at persecution, seeking to prevent justice, a website which on this matter is offensive in the extreme.

In so doing, the AFA adopts the same ungodly message and tactics as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others, when they 'used scripture and the gospel', to attack those they dislike after the Sept 11 attack, declaring it to be God's judgment on USA due to the presence and acceptance of such as gay people in society and church. Whether Rev Dr Wildmon will withdraw the AFA statements and actions it/he has instigated, only he can tell.

Thus, I believe that Rev Dr Wildmon should be censured and suspended from Methodist Ministry until he is prepared to apologise to those he has attacked as publicly as he has acted,  and make a sworn statement to the UMC to cease the demonising and persecution of the marginalised and outcasts of society, bringing the Church of Christ and his Gospel into disrepute.  Furthermore, I think he should review scripture in his attacks on the marginalised and outcast, in the light of Matt 25 'Inasmuch as you have done this to them, you have done this to me'.

I hope to hear something positive come out of this.
Yours in Christ
George S E Hopper; Local Preacher
Box 5846
Basildon
Essex SS15 4AB
UK

PS  I attach a copy of some of the header/summaries of disgusting material put out in the past by the AFA which can be seen on the following website;.
 
 

 We looked at http://www.wiredstrategies.com/hate.html
and found this spiritual filth, scrolling down to:

"The American Family Association

*Gays support pedophilia, incest, and bestiality
*Prominent homosexual leaders and publications have voiced support for pedophilia, incest,   sadomasochism, and even bestiality.- Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths.
* Gays recruit children
* Gays give children AIDS
* Moral fall of the human race
* Gays have sex with boys, eat feces, have sex with animals
* Bigoted gays blame Shepard's murder on "Christianity"
* Compare gays to polygamy, incest
* Homosexuality kills young people, destroys families
* Gays and criminals
* Gays want to silence Christians, and blame them for all crimes against gays
* Not natural
* Gays are pro pedophilia
* Gays are against the church
* Gays help decay society
* More societal decay
* Gays compared to serial killers
* Gays are decadent
* Gays should be photographed and outed
* Gays are disgusting and diseased"

As a Methodist Christian, knowing that this evil-minded, misleading 'material' is on the website of an organisation of which a Methodist Minister is President, appals and disgusts me. It displays all the characteristics of Nazism - identify, smear, and thus set-up for persecution.
This is 'religion' of the worst kind, not only unChristian and unBiblical, but thoroughly nasty in every way. I cannot censure Rev Dr Wildmon too much for associating himself with this vile nonsense. It is people like Rev Dr Wildmon of which society needs to beware, not the fine gay Christian people my wife and I know.
George S E Hopper; Local Preacher     18 Jan 2002

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This space is reserved for a possible letter to Rev Nicky Gumbel concerning his Alpha Course.

A 'TIMES' reporter attended a course by Nicky Gumbel of Holy Trinity Brompton. She began her report article 'What makes hip young professionals speak in tongues, fear the flames of hell, and denounce gays'.

Former Archbishop Carey referred to Alpha as 'A wonderful tool for the Christian faith'. If the report is correct, what a shame that people are being influenced  by the course not only by things spiritual, but by bigotry. When people are still leaving the church because of bigotry and unwelcome, this will only add to the problem

One can only pray that the Alpha course is being used more circumspectly today.Amen.

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