I apologise up front because this is a bit of a ramble but it’s an important one.
The issue is not simple, it involves our view of democracy, of society and of religion.
I’m asking you to read to the end and then decide; but decide with determination. If you agree with my views then sign the petition, write to your MP and make a lot of noise. If you disagree then you also need to raise your voice. This major change to society should not be left to the elite few who believe they own society.
There has been a lot of noise on blogs, Twitter and the traditional media about the subject of Same sex marriage. The UK government, led by David Cameron, has entered a period of consultation about homosexual Marriage; at the end of that period they are going to implement one of the most radical changes ever seen in British society.
Yes that’s right the government has already announced, at the outset of the consultation, that the answer is Yes!. This mockery of the English language and democratic process reminds me of a song in My Fair Lady:
“they will ask for your advice
your reply will be concise.
They will listen very nicely
then go off and do precisely
what they want!”
The so called consultation is obviously a complete farce but what I want to write about today is something a little more subtle. Throughout the debate on homosexual marriage the media, no doubt influenced by interested, albeit minority, parties, have managed to create a polarised view.
If you are pro, and a Christian, then you are being portrayed, in the media, as a good person; in touch with society, liberal in mind and outlook. There are a number of folk lay and ordained who sit in this camp.
On the other hand; if you are against; you are Homophobic, out of touch with your neighbour, a fundamentalist and have distorted biblical teaching to meet your own ends!
Well I have to fess up:
- I am against Homosexual marriage
- I am very pro Gay rights
- I welcomed the introduction of Civil Partnerships.
- I am a Fundamentalist Christian.
- I accept that only God has the authority to judge and condemn
And I can hold all of these beliefs without imploding!
If Fred and Jo or Freda and Johanna want to enter into a partnership I have neither the right, nor wish, to say they are right or wrong. If they want to legalise that relationship, through a civil partnership, I wish them well and am happy that they have the same legal security in the event of death, or other separation, as I and my wife have.
If Fred and Jo, Freda and Johanna or Fred and Johanna ask me what I, as a Christian, think of their relationship I will give them all the same opinion.
The Lord rejoices in love. The Lord also has very clear rules on the expression of love through physical intimacy. What seems to have got everyone in a stew is what are these rules? What can he do with her, or him with him or her with her and still be right in Biblical law? We have all read views that range from complete permissiveness to absolute condemnation.
My view is as follows:
Two people may engage in any sexual activity and call it love making as long as they are willing to stand in front of Christ and say, with sincerity, this is your will.
Ultimately we will all answer to Christ, not the tabloids, not the opinion polls…
When I became a Christian my mentor, knowing the challenges sex presented me, said;
“You can do what you like to who you like in the privacy of your bedroom. Just remember that you have now invited Christ into your life so He’ll be watching!”
I understand that sex is a difficult issue!
So what has this got to do with same sex Marriage?
First, I hope I have established that I am not a rabid homophobe. Secondly, that I am not going to judge anyone because of their personal life.
What I really want to do is say what marriage is.
Well that’s very simple: Many people, including Christians, Jews and Moslems share my belief that marriage is:
“a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted, and it is clearly intended to be a union of a woman and a man.”
I completely accept your right to reject this view, in which case you must surely accept that it has been the received definition of marriage since Adam was a boy! O.K I accept the importance of God may have waxed and waned but the notion that marriage is between a woman and a man is a universal norm.
So why change it? I am told that we need to recognise that there are lots of homosexuals who want the same rights currently provided to married people.
Well, first, those same rights exist through civil partnerships, what will civil marriage add to that? Absolutely nothing. I am aware of nothing in this proposed change that will benefit the homosexual community,
Secondly I question whether there are lots of Homosexuals. I don’t know exact numbers and I am always dubious of numbers derived from surveys but I give you the following. According to the Guardian, not a bastion of homophobia, 1.5% of society was homosexual (Guardian Sept. 23 2010). If this is correct then our government is forcing through a change in social policy that will, at best, be to the benefit of a tiny minority!
So what does the change mean in practice?
At the simplest level, absolutely nothing. Homosexuals will be able to convert their civil partnerships to civil marriages and those that have not yet made a commitment but want to can now have a marriage rather than a partnership. Churches will not be obliged to conduct same sex marriages. So that’s o.k then.
Well not quite; the situation for the homosexual community hasn’t really changed: there are no material differences between Civil Partnership and Civil Marriage, so 1.5% of society sees no change.
The change will be felt by the rest of us.
Let’s take a fictional example; Sanjit and Rebecca, young people of faith, had a civil marriage because they came from different religious backgrounds, their union was blessed in temple and synagogue. Their understanding of marriage was as I described above.
In Cameron’s new world that has changed. Their marriage is the equivalent of Fred and Johanna’s; is that a right outcome? Is that a fair outcome?
The government has promised that this will not impact churches but that is also a nonsense. There is a long tradition of churches recognising civil marriages as equivalent to church marriage when accepting folk for other roles in the church: must that now include homosexual unions? The initial rules; remember they are only draft, say that churches will not be obliged to conduct homosexual marriages can we believe what the government promises?
We have a history in the UK of introducing the thin end of the wedge! When abortions were legalised it was to fight the back street abortionist preying on women for profit. Now we have mainstream clinics performing abortions because a child’s gender is wrong! No longer in the back street but still for profit. Another change in the law intended to help a minority that grew into something that would never have been sanctioned.
The CofE is an established church; if the government permits same sex marriage how long before there is a call to force the parish church to officiate at same.
I suggest that if Cameron’s proposal becomes law the future of marriage is placed with politicos. While we may never have a Caligula demanding a sacramental blessing on his relationship with a horse! We will be in a bad place.
It may be that as you read this you totally disagree with me; in which case thanks for hanging in. You can now turn to your neighbour and say
“I’ve looked at the issues and I’m happy with the introduction of homosexual marriage on the same basis as traditional marriage”.
If you do disagree with me please do make the positive effort of saying so; you see I believe the greatest problem with this proposal is that it is relying on our apathy. David Cameron is gambling that whether we agree or disagree we won’t do anything.
If you do agree with me I need you to take action, it’s simple; all you have to do is click on this http://c4m.org.uk/
You might want to go further and write to your member of parliament or send her/him a link to this blog saying you endorse it.
Whatever you do please be hot or cold but don’t be tepid. You can’t sit on the fence; there is no fence!