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MP’s fear that Jerusalem will become a ‘gay’ hymn: The Church of England Newspaper, May 27, 2011 p 3. May 26, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Hymnody/Liturgy, Marriage.

Chris Bryant MP

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Government regulations on same-sex marriages will lock the hymn Jerusalem into a gay ghetto, a Labour MP told the House of Commons last week.  On May 19 the member for Rhondda, Mr. Chris Bryant, asked that time be set aside for a debate on the Government’s policy of singing Jerusalem at weddings.

In his question to the leader of the House of Commons, Sir George Young, Mr. Bryant said, “If a heterosexual couple get married in church, many clergy will refuse to allow it to be sung, because it is not a hymn addressed to God; if a straight couple get married in a civil wedding, they are point blank not allowed it, because it is a religious song; if, however, a gay couple have a civil partnership, under Government plans they will be allowed to sing it.”

A number of cathedrals and parish charges have banned Jerusalem as being xenophobic, nationalistic, and because the words written by William Black over 200 years ago do not praise God.

In 2008 the Very Rev Colin Slee, the late Dean of Southwark Cathedral, forbad its singing during a private memorial service.  A spokesman for the Cathedral explained, “The Dean of Southwark does not believe that it is to the glory of God and it is not therefore used in private memorial services.”

The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rev. Rev. Donald Allister, when serving as Vicar of Cheadle in 2001 refused to allow the hymn to be played at a parish wedding as it was a “nationalistic song that does not praise God,” while St Margaret’s Westminster had banned the hymn because the words “dark satanic mills” was discriminatory.

However, Jerusalem remains one of the most popular hymns in the Church of England and was played at the Royal Wedding on April 29.

In his speech to the House last week, Mr. Bryant asked the leader of the Commons for assurances that “Jerusalem is not just reserved for homosexuals?”

The Speaker of the House interjected “I want to hear the Leader’s reply!”

Sir George responded, “I think that Jerusalem should be sung on every possible occasion.”



1. Tobias Haller - May 27, 2011

For American readers: Jerusalem is (unofficially) to England what the Star Spangled Banner is in the US — emotionally speaking, that is.

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