Rev David Robertson, recently nominated Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, who for the first time writes to a LGBTI publication, tells KaleidoScot his views on LGBTI Rights, and says he is not anti-gay.
Robertson is the minister of Dundee St Peter’s Free Church and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity, he will take up at the role at next year’s General Assembly in May.
The minister says that he opposes homophobia and welcomes LGBTI people to the Kirk, but objects to marriage equality.
In his essay below he rebuffs critics (including our article) and calls for dialogue between the Free Kirk and Scotland’s LGBTI community.
Rev David Robertson: LGBTI Rights – A Different Perspective
Its always interesting to have, as Rabbi Burns would say, the gift ‘to see ourselves as others see us”. However I was a little disappointed to read the account in KaleidoScot which described me as ‘one of Scotland’s most outspoken anti-LGBTI rights minister’. I am grateful to the editor for allowing me to tell you what I really think. I don’t expect many readers of KaleidoScot to agree but I hope we will at least be able to hear, understand and respect our different perspectives.
Firstly I do not accept that I am anti-LGBTI rights. Being opposed to redefining marriage does not mean that you are anti-LGBTI. I have spoken to many gay activists who were in the past opposed to SSM and who today are still opposed to it. Was Peter Tatchell anti-LGBTI rights when he wrote an article in The Observer ten years ago condemning same sex marriage? Can I summarise my position as follows:
- Homophobia is wrong and abhorrent. To ‘fear’ people because of their sexuality is irrational and immoral. I think I was the first minister in Scotland to speak out publicly against Putin’s persecution of homosexuals.
- Human beings, without exception, are made in ‘the image of God’ – this means not that God has a physical body but rather that we are spiritual, personal, rational and relational beings.
- God has revealed himself to us through the book of nature and through his special revelation the Bible. Although the bible is primarily a book about what God has done for us through His son Jesus Christ, not a book of ‘morals’, it does nonetheless give us guidance. ‘Obey the Makers instructions is’ I think a reasonable perspective – at least for those of us who believe there is a Maker!
- As regards marriage, the Bible teaches that marriage is a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman, for the purpose of mutual companionship, the good of society and the procreation and upbringing of children. This is the position that Western Society has held and on which our culture has been based on for almost 2000 years. I object to being called homophobic just because I continue to hold to that view. Advocates of ‘Queer theory’ have long sought the destruction of marriage as an institution that they consider patriarchal and harmful. Ironically I think same sex marriage provides that for them. It is my belief that such a destruction of marriage will be harmful for all people, whatever their sexuality.
- It was wrong of both Blair Robertson and Peter Tatchell (whom I have debated and who I admire as a principled person – even if I disagree with him) to speculate that my appointment as moderator is an attempt to woo Church of Scotland members. I don’t want people to join the Free Church because they are homophobic. I want them to join us because they believe in Jesus and share our vision to reach all of Scotland with the Gospel. If they come to us expecting continual attacks on homosexuals they will be disappointed. It was even more ludicrous for Blair and Peter to claim that my appointment represents an attack on LGBTI people within the Free Church. As though it was somehow a lurch to the right! I have always welcomed homosexual people into my church on the same basis I welcome heterosexual people. I believe that all of us, without exception (including myself) are broken, bruised and sinful people who need the new life and forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ. I offer that freely to all – without discrimination, prejudice or prejudgement.
I will always argue against unjust and wrong discrimination against all people, especially those I disagree with. I find it more than a little disappointing that Peter and Blair seem unable to offer me that same courtesy. I don’t accept their philosophy, faith or theology – does that mean I should be mocked, abused and demonised?
In conclusion I would like to suggest that the Free Church of Scotland is a radical church which seeks to turn the world upside down. We believe that our society is in desperate need of good news and that the best news of all (especially for the poor) is the Good News of Jesus Christ. My aim and mission in life is to proclaim that there is forgiveness, healing, love, wholeness and identity in Christ and his Church. And that is for all, whatever their sexuality. Please lets seek to understand and not demonise one another.
I am always happy to discuss these issues and if anyone wishes to contact me privately then please do so on theweeflea@gmail. com
St Peters Free Church