Friday, 23 November 2012

Same sex marriage by Christmas?

 There are reports in the media that the Government may push through the laws on same sex marriage before Christmas.  I must say that I really do doubt that things could be resolved, or indeed should be resolved with that sort of break neck speed- but then maybe I've just got too used to the pace of  Synod...

 One thing is clear though and that is that the Church has hardly left itself in a strong position to speak up with any shred of credibility on matters involving discrimination or equality...As Tony Baldry said in Parliament,
 "I suspect that every right hon. and hon. Member has recently had representations from Church members on same-sex marriage. If the Church of England thinks that Parliament will listen to it with considerable attention on moral issues such as same-sex marriage and so on when the Church of England seems to be so out of step on other issues of concern to Parliament, it is simply deluding itself."

1 comment:

  1. The sad truth is of course, is that there have never been ANY plans for places of worship to be forced to conduct same-sex marriages – the hype and (purposeful?) ill-feeling around this has actually been created by various conservative Christian organisations and blogs (the usual culprits, hot on the Bible when it comes Lev 18:22, but rather lax when it comes to the spirit of Ex 20:16 – they are also given to fear and hate mongering; I’m sure there are some liberal organisations that employ similar tactics, but since conservative Christians claim the higher moral ground, more is expected of them when it comes to integrity!!).

    For some time now I have preaching my own little Gospel of the need for seamless integrity. You just can’t keep telling whoppers about same-sex marriage (that churches are going to be forced into conducting them etc.) when the government has stated again and again that it is not seeking to interfere in definitions or the process of religiously defined marriage. The issue of women bishops has likewise brought out the worst in some of our conservative friends.

    The point many of our conservative brethren keeping making – though I don’t think they realise it – is that it is someone else’s fault that they don’t have much say in our society. They imply that secularism or liberalism has eaten away at the ‘morality’ of Britain (conveniently forgetting that when the churches were full, the Bible well known and ‘Christian’ principles evident in much of British civil life, Britain was a far, far less socially moral place than it is today! – alas our Bible loving friends have a habit of equating morality with what people do with their genitals, which perhaps gives us a glimpse of their own preoccupations as opposed to giving us any real insight into their knowledge of Scripture!). Yet the truth is that Christians themselves are the biggest repellent when it comes to people not going to church or being allowed a greater say in our society. And I must stress here, that we still have (in England at least) an Established Church, that religious organisations get lots of tax breaks and income from ‘gift aid’, there are numerous legal and financial exemptions religious organisations and churches take advantages of and of course many faith-based organisations (Leeds Catholic Care being an ironic example) gain the vast bulk of their income from the taxpayer in some shape or form.

    The truth is rather more damning for our conservative fellow parishioners: it is they themselves who are repugnant – not because of their call for orthodoxy, not because they lack in sincerity; it is the fact they focus on ‘easy’ morality (that which can be pointed at with the bony finger of accusation, rather than the more painful and challenging morality that needs the attention of a mirror). They happily indulge in gross hypocrisies, they tell lies, they happily malign and slander, presuming, I imagine, that the ends justifies the means. The real problem is their arrogance (which seems to know no bounds); they presume that just saying ‘We’re orthodox Anglicans/Christians’ means we should sit up and take notice. They forget the rest of society has some degree of perspicacity and is able to see their unfortunate and prejudiced biases.

    It is not the fault of the government or liberalism or wider society that conservative Christians don’t have the social and political power they crave. It is their own. Perhaps, if these souls, so intent on telling us what this or that Bible verse says thought a little about Jesus’ words about washing one another’s feet, turning the other cheek, being the servants of all, instead of trying to be society’s master, we just might listen to their cries. But stamping their feet, saying it’s not fair and pointing at this or that group or institution for the reason for this perceived unfairness is futile and continues to erode what little integrity remains.