Tag Archive | Marriage

The true cost of gay marriage

Happy CoupleGay marriage is here. It’s legal in many countries, it’s been approved by an ever-increasing number of US states, and the UK has now announced the date when same-sex couples will be able to get properly married, instead of separate-but-equal not-really-marriage.

Unsurprisingly, the dire predictions of terrible consequences should people of the same sex be allowed to get married haven’t come to pass. Polygamy, incest and bestiality remain as illegal and taboo as ever, existing marriages have persisted despite the claim that this “redefinition” threatened them in some way, and society is yet to collapse. Read More…

Welby’s self-awareness is too little, too late

Gold RingsOn Wednesday, Justin Welby “came out” in his own way. And what a very strange and inconsistent way it was. Speaking to the Evangelical Alliance, a group with little sympathy for gay rights even if evangelical laity are now pretty much evenly split on the issue, the Archbishop accepted that his opposition to the new same-sex legislation was alienating the church from the younger generation, who see it as “wicked”. He could have chosen a less ambiguous word in the context, but the overall message was clear.

Later, Welby went on to explain that the old man who lives in the Vatican turns out to be a Catholic, and that bears continue to shun modern flushing toilet facilities which fundamentally redefine the act, preferring the traditional, divinely approved form of a bush in the woods. Read More…

Some cross-channel musings on secularism

I’m sorry for the long break. I was on holiday, my plans for posts just before leaving and just after returning turned to dust in the face of circumstances and the usual holiday packing and unpacking routine, and in the end I found it was quite restful to just leave the blog alone for once and get on with other things.

I’ve still got a huge amount of stuff I want to write about, but the thing I had to get off my chest now was an insight into the true practicalities of secularism, and how they differ from popular fears and propaganda. The source of this insight, and the subject of a potential case study, is (of course) France. Read More…

A strange kind of anniversary

FarewellTomorrow will be a significant day for me. On 12th June it will be exactly one year since the Church of England issued an astonishingly and uncharacteristically direct statement against the government’s proposals for same-sex marriage, which left me in shock all day and ultimately turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I don’t want to revisit that right now, but you can read about it here or here if you’re interested.

What makes this anniversary so strange is not knowing how to deal with it. As it was a decisive moment in reaching my current position (which I naturally think is a good one to hold, at least for now), you might think I’d see it as an event that ought to be celebrated in some way. That’s not how I feel about it, though. And not just because the starting point was an illiberal and regressive territory-marking effort. Read More…

Why Cardinal O’Brien’s new-found progressiveness has got me annoyed

Wedding BouquetCardinal Keith O’Brien isn’t exactly one of my favourite religious thinkers, so it was a pleasant surprise yesterday to discover that he is capable of independent thought. I thought his statement that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry was a welcome burst of common sense, even if it was hedged about with caveats.

But the more I thought about what he said, the more irritated I became.

An obvious objection to his view is that he claims the church’s positions on certain issues (such as abortion and euthanasia) are “basic dogmatic beliefs” of “divine origin”. Even when advocating change, he’s bolstering the church’s right to interfere with civil legislation based on nothing more than “because we say so”. Read More…

Why prohibiting a religious act will preserve religious freedom

Ever get the feeling you can’t win?

In the latest episode in the long-running saga of same-sex marriage, the government have published their proposed legislation, and a particular section has attracted a huge amount of attention. Religious bodies will be permitted to act as they wish, with two exceptions: the Church of England (CofE) and the Church in Wales (CinW) will be specifically banned from conducting same-sex marriages.

The immediate reaction to this peculiar clause has been interesting. Some have called it ridiculous, some have complained that it restricts religious freedoms, and some have even seen it as revenge for the CofE’s rejection of female bishops a few weeks ago. No conspiracy has been left unvoiced, but the reality is a little more complicated than it appears. Read More…

My letter to Rowan

I’m not generally the sort of person who goes quietly into the night, but more than that, I care about what the church is doing to gay people. So I wasn’t about to leave without making my point to the church hierarchy. Having already been in discussion with both my vicar and my bishop, I finally went right to the top to express my feelings. I don’t have any real hope that it will change anything, but I feel that it needs to be said, so I’ve said it. Here’s my letter.


To: Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

Dear Archbishop,

I write this letter in some sorrow. I was brought up, baptised, confirmed and married in the Church of England, continue to be a member of the church, and have always considered the CofE as a whole to be a reasonable, thoughtful body, even if the broadness of the church meant that some of its individual members could be very wrong. Unfortunately, in the light of the church’s statement on same-sex marriage, I can no longer sustain such a belief, and feel I have no choice but to leave the church. Read More…

Rage Against The CofE

I’m fuming. Absolutely fuming.

I grew up in the Church of England and I remain a member of the church – well, as much as I’m a member of any church. I know there are plenty of strange and extreme views in the CofE, as a natural consequence of being a very broad church, but despite some high-profile missteps, I always believed that it was a basically sane, reasonable institution. After today’s press release opposing every aspect of the proposals for same-sex marriage, it looks like I’m going to have to revise that view. Read More…

Traditional Marriage is under attack!

Down with this sort of thing!

FAO: North Carolina Amendment 1 Campaign, Coalition for Marriage, Doctors for the Family, and other likeminded groups

Hi Guys,

Nice work on the campaigning. It’s great to see people really standing up for the traditional, Christian definition of marriage. It’s sad that polygamy and concubinage aren’t a serious prospect at the moment, but I suppose we have to be realistic about picking our battles. On that subject, I’ve noticed a few things that I think you ought to be aware of.

I was shocked to discover recently that the state is performing ceremonies that claim to marry people. There’s no vicar officiating, and religious content is explicitly banned from these perversions of the true nature of marriage. And the final insult is that they give these travesties the oxymoronic name of “civil marriages”, openly mocking our holy institution. Read More…

A plea to Catholics: Stand up for equality

I passionately believe that most people are basically decent. I know from experience that people often disagree violently with the official views of their chosen denomination. I know what it’s like to be a member of a church which often stands for things you don’t agree with, and I know what it’s like to be caught in a difficult situation where you’re caught on the hop by a surprisingly unpleasant, reactionary comment in church. There are many times I wish I’d made a point of objecting to some form of ignorance or bigotry from the pulpit, but ended up sitting tight and quietly seething.

So I hope that Catholics in England and Wales are prepared for this weekend. We know that a letter from Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, is to be read out at every Catholic church, and we know what it will say. As a result, we are also in a position to check the facts and consider the issues beforehand, rather than having to assess the situation as it arises. Read More…

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