As we get nearer to the Government’s consultation on legalising gay marriage, now seems a good time to gather together recent articles on the subject in order to try to develop a grounded understanding.
Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not interested in drawing attention to homophobic propaganda or unconsidered rants on this topic. I understand that this is a very sensitive issue for many people in this country who hold strong views on this subject. As a Christian I am desperate to find God’s will for this but also to treat all people with love and respect whatever their viewpoint. Please pray that the Government’s planned course of action will not cause hatred and division in our society and that they will make the right decisions.
I personally do not support any change to the institution of marriage and if you agree with me then please visit the Coalition for Marriage’s website and sign the petition if you have not done so already.
Peter Ould on his website, An Exercise in Fundamental Orthodoxy, has written a series of articles on the moral and legal difficulties of same-sex marriage. Peter is particularly knowledgeable on this subject. He is a non-stipendiary Church of England priest and describes himself as post-gay. His website mainly focuses on about the inter-relation of sex, sexual identity, gender issues and conservative theology.
Probably the best place to start is to read his analysis of the four key points on the Coalition for Marriage’s website.
Dr Peter Saunders is CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship, a UK-based organisation with 4,500 UK doctors and 1,000 medical students as members. He has been writing prolifically on this subject over the last few weeks on his blog. He has produced a summary page of his articles on same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Cranmer has written about a recent campaign against David Burrowes MP, parliamentary chairman of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, being carried out against him because of his support for traditional marriage.
For balance here is an article in the Guardian opposing the Coalition for Marriage’s stance.
At a time like this it can be easy to lose perspective on these matters. Some may perceive the current government agenda for same-sex marriage as another example of the persecution of the Christian faith in our country. Rt Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster has rejected claims that UK Christians are persecuted. In response to his remarks, Stuart James at eChurch has written an excellent post on why Christians should not see themselves as victims.
If you want to see what genuine victimisation of Christians looks like then please read about the plight of Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani who is facing a death sentence for apostasy in Iran and then pray for him and his family.
Finally on a slightly different subject, Channel 4’s moral and ethics opinion show after the 7pm news, 4thought.tv, has been asking the question, “Do we still need religion?” There are some very well presented responses by Christians, including Lesley Pilkington whom I wrote about in a post on the 1st of February.
Categories: Government, Homosexuality, Marriage
The key point for me is that whatever anyone’s view of marriage or of the rights and wrongs of gay relationships society gains by extending the definition of marriage to include exclusive commitment by gay couples. Trad (straight) marriage is still marriage and hasn’t changed, there is no threat to anyone’s existing marriage and the world does not come tumbling down. In fact giving gay couples the opportunity to aspire to lifelong, committed relationships may discourage a more promiscuous lifestyle.
So I say let’s be gracious and allow this widening of the definition of marriage. We have nothing to loose and gay couples lots to gain.
I do think that civil partnerships have served a purpose and as you say, if they encourage permanent relationships and discourage promiscuity then that can only be a good thing. In many peoples eyes civil partnerships are in effect ‘gay marriage’, and if we want to change the name then fine. However I fundamentally believe that same-sex and other sex relationships have differences especially with the issue of having children. To treat both types of relationship equally and define them both under exactly the same term of marriage causes more problems than it solves.
I really appreciated you mentioning Paster Yousef in Iran. What he’s going through *is* Christian persecution…and we should all pray for him and his family.
Whilst any sane person accepts that no, Christians are not persecuted in this country the same should be argued in reverse that gays are not being persecuted by any rejection of gay marriage either. I would also urge you to read the post here on an incident last week when an ordinary Catholic woman attempted to respond to some issues being put to her on Twitter around this topic: bumpbeyond.com. If we are to be allowed a public debate and ordinary Christians are to be able to feel confident in participating fully then this sort of prejudiced hostile reaction needs to be recognised and universally condemned. Currently the accusations all go one way.
I witnessed some of the horrendous abuse directed at Caroline. Just because you do not agree with someone’s point of view, it does not give you the excuse to bully and harrass them. If you do not treat those with differing views with respect then you lose all credibility and do not deserve to be listened to.
This is an incredibly sensitive issue and as we have seen Christians take varying views on it. I was interested in the e church blog with regards to Christians feeling persecuted and the dangers of presenting ourselves as victims. I agree that there is a real danger of this but i am still concerned that we dismiss too readily those who have been sacked, suspended, disciplined often for quite mild manifestations of faith because it is part of a trend that may well become more widespread and is becoming institutional and politicised. If we are to create a space for Christian conscientious objection whilst at the same time ensuring that members of the public enjoy the services to which they are entitled (via the principle of ”reasonable accommodation” )We should not leave unchallenged E.H.R.C Trevor Phillips ”red herring” with regard to Sharia law. Lets make no mistake, no reasonable accommodation can be made between sharia law and womens rights particularly where the woman objects. Various accommodations can be made however in the delivery of public services particularly in well resourced organisations.We already do this with regard to Health workers and the 1967 Abortion act. We just need to widen and define its scope and understand that religious identity is every bit as important as racial,sexual,or gender identity and needs to be placed on a more equal footing. Christians cannot claim an absolute right to curtail the liberty of another person not least because Jesus himself gives us choice via an invitation. So it is important we respect the free will of others .We can neither police nor be responsible for those choices , only speak biblical truths about them according to what God has revealed to us.