Sunday, 9 August 2009

Open Letter to Rev James Tallach - Part 2

After finally managing to track an email address for Rev James Tallach of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, on the Isle of Lewis, I sent him the email reproduced in this earlier post, challenging his alleged attribution of the reason for a tornado on Lewis to "god's warth" at the first celebration of a Civil Partnership on his island (as reported in this article on PinkNews).

His first reply was as follows. Although, I have asked him permission to reproduce his emails, my request has remained unanswered. I have decided to publish anyway, since I am sure the Reverend is a man of integrity who would stand behind his own word publicly.

Dear zefrog
Thank you for your thoughtful email.
During my interview about these matters I was asked whether I saw the tornado as a judgment for the breaking of God's commandment. I said specifiically that I did NOT make that connection and spoke of changing weaather patterns.This was correctly reported in at least one account. I did not see all the reports in all the papers but obviously from your remarks at least one newspaper wrongly reported my remarks. I made no such pronouncement.
Kind regards
James Tallach

A day later, however, I received another email from him:

Dear zefrog

As far as same sex civil partnerships are concerned the Bible catagorises such relationships as sin. Lev 18;22 and Rom 1;22 ff. Jesus as the very embodiment of the love of God warned repeatedly those about them against braking God's law. If a doctor warned you that you had a mole which might cause your death would you count this a mark of hatred?

You suggest 'charitable work in aid of those in need.' I spent 13 years as a doctor in a single doctor hospital in the bush in Zimbabwe on a low wage and no state or NHS pension for those years. Since leaving I have supported our Mission work there in our secondary school and hospital and plan to go out for 3 weeks in October to see if further help is needed. Was that the kind of 'charitable work in aid of those in need' you had in mind?

James R Tallach

My reply to his second email (reproduced below) was -sadly- ignored.

Dear Reverend,

would you allow me to reproduce the content of your emails on my blog?

As far as I know the Bible doesn't mention civil partnerships. it does however refers to sex outside of marriage as being sinful (one the 10 commandments, right?). Therefore civil partnerships, or even better gay marriage, would seem like a good solution to that particular problem.

As for the elements in Leviticus (Rom is only Paul's view on the subject and it is disputed that he actually refers to homosexual acts, so allow me to discard this), they do not describe mortal sins, so this talk of hell is irrelevant. There are also many other things that Leviticus forbids which Christians have been quite happy to disregard. Why being so selective and focus so much on sex? The Bible mentions usury much much more than homosexuality, yet, we don't hear Christian demonstrating against that...
Also, from what I understand, the word "abomination" should be taken as meaning "outside of the dogma", which diminishes the import of the whole thing for people who are not part of this religion.

There are also several positive passages about relationships of the same-sex. As we both know (I am sure), if you look hard enough, you can find anything and its opposite in the Bible.

I can't help but noting also that you are the one mentioning hatred, not I.

I applaud you for your various work in Zimbabwe. this is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. I find that many religious people spend too much time, energy and money fighting something that is not relevant to them and with which they should not feel the need to meddle, while they could redirect all those resources to more useful work, such as you type you are involved with.

Best wishes,


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