God, gays, and eschatology

The Right Rev. Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, addressing what Ruth Gledhill calls “a fringe meeting of the General Synod” that marked the release of God, Gays and the Church, tossed off a remark that was probably meant to be witty and seems to be coming round as something else. At the very least, it seems that Bishop Dow did not intend for his remarks to go outside of the audience:

… Dow told a fringe meeting of the General Synod that the Government was like a demonic beast imposing its morality on the nation.

“It has become a Revelation 13 Government rather than a Romans 13 Government,” he said.

Revelation 13 is one of the most quoted chapters of the Bible by those prophesying apocalypse. By contrast, Romans 13 advocates respect for the law, God and authority.

Bishop Dow was speaking at the release of God, Gays and the Church, a book intended to put the conservative evangelical side in the debate on gay rights.

In her blog, Gledhill adds:

Not many bishops have yet met Riazat Butt, the Guardian’s new religious affairs correspondent, so the Bishop can perhaps be forgiven, when she went up to him afterwards to find out if he really meant that Gordon Brown’s Government was demonic, for asking ‘Are the press here?’

Martha Linden of the Press Association, who was with Riazat, asked him if he really meant what he had just said. He asked her not to report his quotes, although it was a public meeting to which the press were invited. But he told Martha: ‘I didn’t mean to say the Government was demonic. The point I want to make is the change from a positive evaluation in Romans 13 to a negative one in Revelation.’

Gledhill also reports that:

Bishop Dow, a devout evangelical and one of the Church’s authorised specialists in “deliverance” ministry, was told that many church members feel helpless in the face of the gay rights agenda and was asked what they could do to counter the trend. He responded: “The challenge is to be brave and bolder than we have been, keeping the issue in the public domain, not falling into the trap of being aggressive. We will be called homophobic consantly.”


The BBC notes that this isn’t the first time that Bishop Dow has apparently sounded curiously like certain famous American personalities who link everything from the AIDS epidemic to various natural disasters to God’s wrath and End Times.

Last year, he reportedly said the flooding in the UK was partly God’s judgment on society’s moral decadence.

Ruth Gledhill’s news story is here, and her blog post is here.

HT to Thinking Anglicans, which has the BBC link and others.

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