Moravian Forum (4)

An Ugly Incident

After the forum, attended by some 200 people, I interacted with several people, in respectful conversation, who in some form support homosexuality within the church.

Then an ugly incident happened, one that reflects only the one man involved, and not on the Moravian Church in the least. In fact, the church and their leadership were gracious in every element of how they organized, moderated and set the tone for the forum. This incident was beyond their control, and contrary to their very essence.

Two older men were waiting for me to address the other people there, and one introduced himself to me. He and his partner had been sitting in the front row, the arm of one around the other demonstratively when they first sat down, and this one in particular glared at me often. Interestingly though, during the question and answer period, when I made a comment about the abuse of children in their early years, his verbal affirmation was so loud that it rose above everyone else.

He was a tall, large and strong man, and his partner was clearly in poor health. As he introduced himself, I smiled and reach out my hand to shake his. But he grasped my right hand with both of his hands, in an iron grip that was manipulative in nature, and would not rt go. He looked at me, noting he and his partner had been “married” for 43 years (if I remember the exact number correctly), and said, “As we say here in the south, you are full of shit.”

While he maintained his grip, and our eyes were locked, I asked him to explain a) what I said that was in anyway untrue, or b) in any fashion disrespectful. He refused to answer, only proclaiming to those around (including the visibly discomfited moderator) that I must not understand what it means “to be full of shit.” I tried several angles to glean an answer, but to no avail. He let go of my hands at a certain juncture, aided by my puling them away until he did. Then shortly thereafter, he took them again, and I later was able to pull them away against his desire. And finally, when he tried to do it again, I did not permit him.

This is the most my person has ever been assaulted by an attempt to dominate and dehumanize. If he participates in this forum as we progress, I welcome a) his view of this incident, and b) if perchance he wants to answer my immediate query for him to explain his concerns beyond mere invective.


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House of Lords 17 October 2017

Text of John Rankin’s address on the occasion of the 500th annive5rsary of the Reformation.