Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Padlocked freedom

OK, OK... I said I wasn't going to blog about women bishops or gay marriage - and I won't for long- but I can't help mulling a few thoughts about the latest announcement that it will remain illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to conduct same sex ceremonies.

1. First of all, I do feel relief on behalf of those priests I know who would not want to carry out same sex marriage ceremonies as I  do agree that it would be appalling if anyone should face legal threats as a result of acting on their conscience in respect of  refusing to conduct a same sex marriage.  Overall, I think this is a sad decision but the right one given the circumstances and I  sincerely hope it will offer reassurance.

 2.  I can't help feeling  the Church has been sidelined; it has been granted the protections it requires and will be regarded as having less stake in the whole issue. I also can't help feeling that the Church doesn't belong to us all - but then I felt that already.

3. Mrs Miller promised a "quadruple lock" to protect religious freedoms. The image of a quadruple lock is not an appealing one and the language of a padlocked freedom seemed strangely paradoxical and the image of that lock immediately made me think of that Advent theme of prisons.

God of justice and mercy, we look to you to teach us your way of love that offers us the only key which can release us from the prisons we create for ourselves and the prisons we inflict upon others. Amen.


  1. Sue, I don't think the Archbishop of Wales would agree with your second paragraph: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-20687531

  2. No, he wouldn't and doesn't. Good bloke Barry Morgan. Does anyone know if the Church in Wales could opt out of the opt out? I note Maria Miller said both organisations had "explicitly" stated strong opposition and would not be included. I have to say I am not sure what that refers to ?

    1. I haven't a clue, Sue, though my guess is that we probably couldn't, as our clergy act as registrars in the same was as the clergy of the C of E. As for the explicit strong opposition, the only thing I can find is a press release made at the time of the government's consultation on the subject which you can read here:


  3. http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/excluded-from-opting-in.html
    Pluralist blogs on this above - doesn't supply the answers though. He touches on some other tricky issues. For example, at the moment, C of E priests are allowed to enter into civil partnerships (providing they give an assurance that their relationship is celibate), will the C of E allow them to enter into marriages on the same basis? It would be weird for the church to say "you can marry as long as the marriage is celibate" for a start. Also if the Cof E doesn't recognise same sex marriage as a marriage, won't it seem strange to allow their clergy to enter that state? What is more, once that happens, they will have to grant pensions to spouses or risk breaking the law. Lots of cans of worms out there...

  4. Many of us 'extremists' in America find this homosexual advancing to be a ramification of the problem with 'civil rights'. Such subversion will be curtailed in churches; but in Government it has become reality among the states. Liberty cannot exist--as you all know--if it cannot discriminate.

  5. Suem, thanks for this... It is a crazy situation. I have never been a fan of same-sex marriage, but I think the moral high ground now goes to the liberals, as the conservatives have been so vile and disproportionate in their hate and smear campaigns. If only our conservative friends gave as much attention to 'turning the other cheek' 'washing one another's feet' being servants instead of wanting to be society's master - we might actually see a halt to the exodus from the churches...

    I have a new take on why this has become such an issue - see: http://religiondownfall.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/could-it-be-self-interest-that-has-made.html... comments appreciated.