Four letters to the Bristol Evening Post

Four letters from readers of the Bristol Evening Post regarding the Sexual Offences Bill

HOMOSEXUALITY. I thought that the practice of considering disease a penalty for sin was more or less extinct until Pastor T. R. Hanford, in his letter “Disapproval” (February 16), called homosexuality a disease and legalised homosexuality a national sin. To me, the pastor seems to have a very narrow view and I am tempted to question his authority to link the homosexuals’ problems with sin. (Little Christian consideration for their feelings was shown in his letter.) Medical considerations, debate, and years of thought have made the conditions of the Bill acceptable to most tolerant, thinking people. Legalisation may help to relieve the social fears and psychological pressures that shroud homosexuality at present, thus making the participants more receptive ot “cures” and so reducing the probalems. Miss Christine Jones. 85, Coombe Lane, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol. /// A DISEASE? In his letter regarding the bills on homosexuality, Pastor Hanford (February 16) “appreciates that this (homosexuality) is a disease” and that homosexuals “are to be treated with a certain amount of sympathy.” Why only a certain amount? Are not sufferers from disease deserving of all our sympathy? Further, if we are to regard the Bills as seeking to “legalise sin” are we then to understand that to suffer from a disease is also to be guilty of sin? Unlike the pastor, I would hesitate before stating with such confidence that homosexuality is a disease when psychiatrists, doctors, social workers and even homosexuals themselves do not agree upon the precise nature of this condition. Next we have the familiar cry that to pass these Bills is to “contribute to the downfall of the nation.” What leads people to this conclusion? I fail to see how putting homosexuality on the same footing as heterosexuality affects the moral state of the nation one way or another. A homosexual is a homosexual, whether it is legal or not. As for the pastor’s call for prayers, the ending of the persecution of a minority (which the passing of these Bills would achieve) would, I should have thought, be a prayer more in the spirit of Christianity. Janet M. Alder (Mrs.). 32, Roseberry Park, Redfield, Bristol. /// NOT THE ANSWER. I have been a Pentecostal believer for over 30 years and I am surprised at the remarks of Pastor Hanford who expressed disapproval of the bills dealing with the problem of homosexuality. Surely he must know that to punish those people is not the answer. Pastor Hanford quotes the Bible and I will too. I suggest the reading of Corinthians 13 v.1 (Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal). F. J. Evans. 159 Forest Road, Fishponds Bristol. /// It was good to read Pastor Hanford’s letter, on behalf of the Bristol Pentecostal Churches, protesting against the proposed legalising of homosexuality. These churches have led the way in many fields through God’s blessing. They were among the first to bring hymns into the modern idiom, to use musical instruments according to the talents of their congregations, to trust young people to take part and direct their own services. Through this freedom of spirit great blessing has come. They demand a high spiritual standard from their members, yet couple this with compassion, remembering and practising reinstatement, love and forgiveness. D. E. Powell (Mrs.) 33, Walnut Crescent, Kingswood, Bristol.