NSS refers Christadelphian charities to regulator

As mentioned by a couple of commenters:
The National Secular Society has referred 10 Christadelphian charities to the Charity Commission over concerns that they promote deeply intolerant messages, despite their legal requirement to provide a public benefit.

Material posted on some of the charities' websites condones the death penalty for LGBT people and Wiccans, associates being LGBT with child abuse and rape, and promotes female subservience.

Read more here

Full report

18 comments:

  1. To me, this report is a reminder of how weird a fairly standard Christadelphian upbringing is. As I read through it, half of me is saying "Yes, these teachings are terrible" and half of me is saying "Yes, that's a pretty standard Christadelphian teaching - haven't they got anything more serious to accuse them of?" To take the two most common points, it may not be every single ecclesia, I'd imagine it's not news to anyone who has been significantly involved with Christadelphians that they are strongly against homosexuality and strongly for women being second class citizens (not that that's how they would express it, of course). In my experience, homosexuality was often treated as the worst possible sin around, which I didn't agree with even as a believer (I wrote more about that when writing about Alan Turing earlier this year).

    I also feel that NSS have put the worst possible construction on many of the quotes they included. I suspect that many Christadelphians, including former-me, would say about some of the quotes "That's not really what we intended by that quote" (this doesn't make the NSS wrong - even if only a percentage of Christadelphians take those words to an extreme, the words themselves are still dangerous).

    For me there are two bottom lines:
    1. As Joseph has said, these teachings are not in the public interest, and should not be getting taxpayer support. I'd be inclined to go further and say "advancement of religion" is not a charitable aim in the public interest.

    2. These teachings are supported by Bible verses, and as a result are promoted by many Christian denominations, particularly I think on the fundamentalist side, not just Christadelphians. There are usually other interpretations proposed by more liberal denominations - but while the verses are still there they will continue to be available for use to divide and to control. I would love the power to cut verses permanently out of the Bible, and if I ever got started I'm not sure how much would be left.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jon,
    Thanks for posting this as an article,as requested.
    I fail to see how the NSS have "put the worst possible construction" on any of the quotes, since they are just quotes. If the Christadelphians did not mean what they have written, then why not just change it to what they do mean?
    This is the standard defence when Christadelphianism is shown to be bad, the person at the sharp end has either done wrong, failed to understand, etc etc, pick your own excuse!
    The point here, I think, is not what Christadelphians believe, but whether or not the UK taxpayer should be funding the promotion of those beliefs by handing them tax relief that could go to other causes.
    Your second point, although true, tends along the line that "everyone does it" as a let of for Christadelphians. Very few mainstream denominations now promote these points as they are demonstrated by the report-and if they do, then the question is should they get charitable status too?
    Christadelphians always bleat that nobody listens to them. Well they have now, and have taken note, so it is up to them to explain themselves and justify the status that they are claiming.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Joseph, I'll probably respond at more length on Phynnodderee's article, but to me the issue isn't what some of the quotes say, but what NSS thinks they say. I am a frequent and sometimes vocal critic of Christadelphians, but that doesn't mean I have to completely agree with other critics...

    I can see how my second point could be seen as a let-off for Christadelphians, but it's not what I intended. I'm not trying to defend them, but to understand why they teach what they do and how likely it is to stick round. Incidentally, I think I first got this point from an ex-Muslim in Infidel talking about the Qu'ran, and I suspect it could apply to almost any religious text where "taking it seriously" comes to mean "take it literally, and don't ever compromise on it".

    As far as charitable status goes, yes, if other denominations promote the same points, they should also be de-listed. And if all they are doing is advancing their own religion I would also de-list them.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm just glad that someone is trying to expose this dangerous cult I sent the NSS a video of christadelphians being racist to help them expose the christadelphians

    ReplyDelete
  5. Christadelphians have softened up in recent decades when it comes to women's rights and gay rights and similar issues. In my childhood, the message was very firmly that women were subservient to men (and the status of females remains distinctly inferior to that of men even to this day), and that gay people were subhuman monsters. Having a gay sibling, and watching that individual's face during tirades about "sodomites," both during Sunday School and during the regular service, is an indelible memory for me. It was in those moments that I observed the destructive power of hate. I also saw some of the compromised lives and suicides that resulted from this kind of hatefulness, which has only softened in recent years, not ended.

    CDs now follow most churches in saying things like: "We hate the sin, not the sinner," and "Homosexuality is just a sin, like all other sin." But in my day their approach to the topic of gay people was absolutely vitriolic and vicious, and they've just applied more lipstick to the pig, in observance of today's more progressive thinking. The message they're still selling is one of intolerance and exclusion.

    Don't believe it; the fetid undercurrents are all still there under the surface.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Hate the sin, love the sinner" is something of an improvement, but still a problem for those of us who think there's nothing wrong with it and calling it a "sin" is harmful.

    ReplyDelete
  7. They have now reported the East Kilbride ecclesia, who so far have resisted taking there stuff off facebook. If you want reminding of what the worst of CDism looks like, head over to their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Ekchristadelphians/. Full of anti-vax and anti-LGBT memes. Even in Feb 2022 they refer to the covid vaccine as an 'experiment' with this gem 'There is a very disturbing trend in socety in which people are placing all of their hope in a medical experiment. Our Hope as Christadelphians is Jesus and we should not be like King Asa seeking to the physicians'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I've seen that page a few times. Some very disturbing memes on it.

      But this is part of my problem with the Bible: It contains many verses that can justify problematic practices. I don't say everyone uses the verses in those ways, because they clearly don't, but the verses are there and can be used. I expected some of the Covid stuff to be bucketed by CDs into "the wisdom of this world". I don't particularly remember seeing that, but it probably has happened.

      As another Covid example, I don't think I heard it within Christadelphia, but there were Christian groups (perhaps particularly in the US?) that took the "Do not forsake assembling together" verse of Hebrews (which I know Christadelphians always loved) as license to resist government bans on public gatherings.

      Delete
    2. I see it not as a problem with the Bible itself, but as a problem with the way we were taught to interpret and apply it. Clearly the CD community is now highly splintered on the issue. Oxford say they have re-read it and decided that women and men are equal in actual practise, so have done away with gender based restrictions and Edinburgh say they are open to all - implying LGBT people too.

      Delete
    3. With all (controversial?) decisions an ecclesia makes, it doesn`t suit all. I know that some have left Oxford over the excepting of women being equal in the ecclesial activities, and those members have joined with Reading. More splintering as a result. There was much splintering in John Thomas`s day.

      Delete
    4. Typo: should have written "accepting".

      Delete
  8. At least the publicity East Kilbride is generating is prompting other CDs to take a stand against them. I have not seen that before. I dont know anything about the Edinburgh ecclesia, but they have dedicated the home page of their website to this message: "Important: You may have seen some newspaper reports about another Christadelphian church in Scotland. We would like to make it absolutely plain that we do not share in any way their sentiments on vaccines or people who are gay. We welcome all without distinction."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hassan, the only reason Edinburgh Christadelphians (or indeed any other group of this denomination) have so excitedly held back from endorsing the position of East Kilbride, is that they fear fear that a further investigation will end up in them being starved of free money provided by the UK tax payer, and boy do Christadelphians like money that they didn't have to work for. Look at the reports. The "leader" of East Kilbride Ecclesia looks like a scruffy fat git who would have more chance of winning a pie eating contest than winning souls for Jesus.
      It's now now 24 months since Covid restrictions covering restrictions on religious groups meeting were lifted, and still these sad bastards are claiming to be "temporarily closed" and all the other shite. Follow the money, it always leads to the truth.

      Delete
    2. Hassan, on Edinburgh Christadelphian's website, there is a distinct lack of content. Top of the page is the emblem of the Scottish charity register. Which simply links back to their own site.
      Below that is an affirmative statement that gay people are welcome in their "Church". They do not use the word "Ecclesia". You have to wonder why.
      Their attitude is something of a development. Previously, Christadelphians have vilified all other denominations. Now it seems they are happy to welcome "Sodomites", fresh from acts of group buggery, without, as they say it, "distinction".
      How things change when a reduction in free public money is in prospect.

      Delete
  9. Hi Joseph, you could be right there but all CDs I personally know don't believe that 'the bible is anti-vax'. I am not even sure how anyone would start to justify such a position. The charity watchdog concluded with "In line with the Equality Act, we will not intervene in the activities of religious charities seeking to promote their ­religious beliefs unless their activities have the clear and direct effect of harming others or otherwise breach the law" what a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'd say the Bible is neither pro-vax nor anti-vax: It just doesn't know that vaccines even exist. Growing up Christadelphian, we got all our vaccinations, and I assumed everyone else was the same. But in the last couple of years I've heard of Christadelphians I know who are, apparently, more generally anti-vaxx - but it only became noticeable when they were prevented from doing various activities because they hadn't got the Covid vaccine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do know of one Christadelphian family, all of whom had the vaccination except one, who said it was wrong. They all some time later had Covid very mildly, except the anti-vaxer, who was quite ill. I`ve known other Cds who were slow to respond to vaccination, but were vaccinated eventually.

      Delete
    2. Every single church in North America has a sign outside that reads "All Are Welcome." The translation: "All Wallets Are Welcome."

      A gay person in my lifetime could not attend a CD ecclesia unless they kept their sexual identity a secret. The moment they identified themselves as gay -- even as a non-practicing gay person -- they became a pariah. We had members who had gay friends in their neighborhoods. Even that was an issue for controversy and debate. Today, they'd probably let you (as a gay person) sit in the sanctuary.....but they'd make sure they didn't sit anywhere close to you. And the nonverbal messaging was and is always unmistakable. A well known local gay man who attended the funeral of an elderly sister repeatedly received the "hate stare." He knew what he was being messaged when he got it. And they knew what they were messaging when they gave it. An effeminate young man in the ecclesia also used to blush sometimes when around the other men. There was much speculation about this in the ecclesia, and he also sometimes got the "hate stare," even though the blushing might have been caused by any number of reasons. The young man went on to marry and have five children.

      "Except ye be like little children...." Yeah. Right.

      Delete

Please do not comment as 'Anonymous'. Rather, choose 'Name/URL' and use a fake name. The URL can be left blank. This makes it easier to see who is replying to whom.