Church attacks same-sex “marriage”

Cardinal Keith O’Brien

Someone once described me as a “High Church Atheist”.  I certainly don’t claim to be a man of faith, but I have a huge regard for the Church of England as a cultural institution, and like Prince Charles I love the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer.  And I believe that Christian moral principles are not a bad basis for a free and fair society (even if I don’t always live up to them).

So I was interested to see that Catholic Cardinal Keith O’Brien has spoken out in very robust terms on Cameron’s plans for same-sex “marriage”.  His actual words are impressive and worth repeating.  He described the plans as “a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.  Brilliant.  I wish I’d thought of the phrase.  Perhaps he ought to be a politician.

Of course as a Catholic, he is following here in the footsteps of Anglican Archbishop John Sentamu, who a month ago made much the same point, and in language nearly as forthright.

Archbishop Keith O’Brien also makes the point, quite reasonably, that once you start to tamper with the institution of marriage, you get into some very murky water indeed.  If two men can be married, why not three men?  Or a two men and a woman?  He could have gone further.  Why not a commune?  If two men have a right to marry, how can we deny the same right to two siblings?  Are we to authorise incest?

Of course it is not only Christians who may take a traditional view of these matters, and may be offended.  So do Muslims.  So well done Dave.  Brilliant electoral tactics.  You may not have killed two birds with one stone, but you’ve offended two great religions in one policy measure.  All for the sake of a strident minority of activists and campaigners, and pandering to the bien pensants in the Guardian editorial office.

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44 Responses to Church attacks same-sex “marriage”

  1. About time too! I am a Catholic.

    Behind this liberal democratic approach lie the Muslims who believe, on very good grounds indeed in polygamy. They base this on their Message (the Koran), the life of the Messenger (the Prophet himself) and the Path (Shari’a law).

    As Muslims increase in this country, they will have more and more of a voice in a democracy. Ask Baroness Warsi for her views, for example. So are we to expect polygamy?

    • Donna in Sussex says:

      We already have polygamy, Mike: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7900779.stm

    • Navid Baig says:

      Haha how ridiculous, the Qu’ran does not allow same-sex relationships (not that I agree with this), so it would never be promoted. As for polygamous marriages, this is practised less and less in many Muslim countries and hardly at all by the majority of Muslims living in the west, so highly unlikely. Muslims form 3% of the population in England and Wales.. so not exactly taking over. You might have to forget about polygamy….sorry.

    • Micheal Hutton says:

      Are you suggesting that UKIP is not both a democratic and libertarian party. You choose the extremes of religious dogma to argue your case. You forget to mention the extremes of religious belief that are in the Bible, makes wonder why you did not make your reply more balanced.

  2. Primly Stable says:

    “If two men have a right to marry, how can we deny the same right to two siblings? Are we to authorise incest?”

    And if we’re going to allow people to switch political parties even though they were elected under a party list system, how long until we allow bestiality? I’m sure you’ll agree, Roger, that it’s a slippery slope from one thing to another completely unrelated thing.

    • Philip says:

      Roger is correct and so is the Cardinal – marriage is the union of one man and one woman to the exception of all others.

      Cameron’s plans are ludicrous, and even worse is his reasoning – we might as well let a man or woman marry a horse or an elephant; after all, following Dave’s logic, we wouldn’t want to ‘exclude’ anyone from the ‘Big Society’ (although under his new circus legislation that man or woman would probably have to go and live on the set of ‘Wild at Heart’…)

    • Micheal Hutton says:

      Maybe its just me . . . but in the quagmire of what you have written . .. what on earth is your point?

    • Michael Hutton says:

      Who is “We”??? Is “We” UKIP ? The Church? Religions? The state? please clarify

  3. Frank says:

    I am very glad to see your comments about marriage, and agree with you about the value of Cardinal O’Brien’s excellent intervention. Would that all our bishops – Catholic and Anglican – were so forthright. Thrilled to learn of your move to UKIP. Ad multos annos, Roger, and thank you for putting country before party!

    • Micheal Hutton says:

      I am very sad to see your comments about marriage and disagree completely with you about the value of Cardinal O’Brian’s intervention

  4. IanVisits says:

    Incest is banned due to very real medical concerns about inbreeding.
    If you are trying to suggest that two men when married could also then procreate, may I suggest you need a primer in biology?

  5. steve4319 says:

    It is up to each religion to decide whether or not they conduct same-sex marriages. It would be awful to see the state dictating to the Quakers and saying that they cannot practice their faith freely.

    • Micheal says:

      The State is already interfering with religious freedoms surrounding the marriage issue As such Religions cannot practice freely. There are faiths that would be happy to conduct ceremonies with a religious content on their premises, Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and Reform Judaism have all backed equality and expressed a wish to conduct religious same-sex marriages.

      • Mike Stallard says:

        Of course the religions are divided on this one.
        But Christians can remember the beginning of the abortion debate, the introduction of divorce “without stigma”, the adoption by gay men of children and now the quiet acceptance of polygamy among immigrant Muslims. In every case, something that was actually very often working quite well – shut up and just do it – turned into a tide.
        I suppose the exception was abortion where people really were getting hurt. But now some 200,000 babies are aborted every year out of what used to be, until a couple of years ago, a total birth rate of around 2 million a year in the UK. Now we hear of abortion becoming a serious scandal with sex abortions and doctors signing the papers in bulk before the termination.
        Do you support all this?
        So that means that gay marriage will soon become a flood? Maybe not, but marriage is so flimsy that it needs all the support it can get at the moment.

      • Michael Hutton says:

        Having read what you have written I continue to hold the belief that UKIP should welcome and positively encourage equality. You state: “marriage is so flimsy that it needs all the support it can get at the moment.” I completely agree and would suggest that to keep it solely for the use of same-sex relationships is naive, by offering equality to opposite-sex relationships we strengthen the institution of marriage and help secure its future

  6. Malcolm Edward says:

    Cameron and people like him are disgrace.

    This is confirmation that cameron is trying to destroy the conservative party by turning it into something that it isn’t and shouldn’t be.

    And everyone who is married, got married under the understanding of what the traditional meaning of marriage is. It is not for cameron and the more outrageous element of the very small gay minority to dictate to the vast majority on a fundamental aspect of society.

    I just hoped that there are an overwhelming majority of conservartive MPs who would vigorously support traditional marriage and would be wanting to oust cameron as party leader over this issue.
    But the rot seems deep and I hope in vain.

    • Micheal Hutton says:

      I have taken the liberty or editing one section of what you said . . . . . let me know what you think
      “It is not for any Religion and the more outrageous elements of the Church 0f England or the Catholic Church to dictate to the vast majority on a fundamental aspect of society.

  7. Well said Roger!

    You (and UKIP) speak for Conservative Party members and voters far more than David Cameron and his deceitful, Marxist lackies.

  8. John Carter says:

    So let me get it right; I would not wish to misrepresent your views:
    1 Gay marriage is like incest and polymamy
    2 Marriage is wonderful and gay people are not worthy of it
    3 Human rights are defined as the right to exclude someone from something good
    4 David Cameron does not have his own principles; he is just pandering
    5 If gays stand up for themselves, they are being strident
    6 Minorities must know their place and not be taken too much notice of

    Just want to be sure.

    • It is so easy to say what people are not saying.
      It is so easy to put words into their mouths.

      What I personally was saying makes perfect sense:
      If you go by a majority vote of what the people are saying as has certainly been suggested, then you must face up to polygamy as the Muslim population grows and grows through immigration and producing babies.
      In the Bible, re read David and Jonathan. They did not “lie with each other” and they certainly did not marry. But their love surpassed that of a woman.

      • John Carter says:

        Mr Stallard, my 6 points were a response to Mr Helmer’s main blog not to any subsequent post. I believe the 6 points just make explicit specific points made by Mr Helmer. If my gloss of any of his views inaccurately conveys those views, I’d happily read & ponder any careful dissection of nuances of difference between the two.

    • Micheal says:

      John, I also agree with your concerns in the way UKIP the debate on this matter. It is presented by, in an uncivil, disrepectful way and strays onto issues that have no relevance to the propsal as set out by the Government.

    • Mike Stallard says:

      OK then.
      1. Gay marriage is marriage between two people of the same sex, therefore it is not marriage. Incest is within the prohibited affinities, so it is not marriage. Polygamy is illegal under British Common Law at the moment, but perfectly legal in other Muslim countries and morally permitted for Mormons and Africans of certain dispositions.
      2. It isn’t a question of not being worthy. It is a question of redefinition. I am not allowed to be a mother as a man. But that does not mean I am not worthy of it. Of course, if you wish to bend words into what they do not mean….
      3. On human rights, I rather tend to follow Bentham, I am afraid.
      4.Yes, no doubt that is true. So?
      5. Peter Tatchell? And, of course, everyone is strident when they know they are right. I invite you to join the strident club!
      6. Well, that accounts for me. As a Catholic, I really do know what I am on about here. Minority – yup.

      • John Carter says:

        I appreciate your engaging in debate.
        1. You offer no definition of marriage that says WHY it must be between a man & a woman.
        2. You can claim I am bending words only if you can see no difference between biology and a social institution like marriage.
        3. Interesting you cite Bentham. I find his serpentine reasoning leads nowhere. He argues his own arguments out of existence. But more important, I’d like people to think about how they are defining rights if their ideas lead them to deny rights to others. Crude Benthanism (‘There are no rights’), simply won’t wash.
        4. On Cameron, you deploy the usual ad hominem tactic: you try to discredit the person not the opinion. Cameron has little political imperative to advance gay marriage.
        5. The accusation of stridency is again a common ad hominem tactic: attack the person not the argument. This is shallow politics. As for Tatchell: ‘strident’ is a minnow of a word to attach to such a substantial figure. He packs a punch most of the time because his principles are sound, even if his line is occasionally wayward.
        6. Under the self-pitying tone, you seem to agree. Minorities must stand up for their beliefs and elected representatives must take notice of them. But incidentally: being committed to a sect is an individual’s decision. Sexuality, race, disability for example are not.

  9. The Roman Catholic and Anglican churches are global churches. The impact of ‘gay marriage’ in this country on Anglicans and Roman Catholic’s in other parts of the world has to be put into account. For instance, Islamists in Northern Nigeria look for any excuse to slaughtrer the Anglicans in the south of the country.. Liberals in both chuurches are to obsessed with their own agenda to see such implications.

    • Micheal Hutton says:

      If what you suggest is correct does that mean that here in the uk we can condone Apartheid of marriage and please understand that the government is talking solely about civil same-sex marriage

  10. Mike Spilligan says:

    Thank you for repeating Cardinal O’Brien’s words here. I am a lapsed Anglican but believe I have a right to call myself a Christian because, culturally, that is what I am and what I intend to remain.

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  15. John Carter:
    A man and a woman produce a family together. By uniting they produce children with a father and a mother made up with their DNA and their genes. What is more, they unite the children they produce with their own lineage. Aunties, Uncles, grandparents, great grandparents and a whole line of forebears all join in producing and moulding the children within the extended family. It becomes an ever growing and ever expanding organism with fresh DNA and so on added and certain traits and characteristics coming back in a beautiful music. It is an organic unity.

    Sex is completely different. It can be a playground. It can be a need. It can be an act of mutual satisfaction. It can even be an expression of romantic love. Quite often children and the extended family are deliberately excluded. Quite often the fact of pregnancy is a disaster.

    Marriage was instituted actually to recognise the family and to cement the relationship of the Mother with the Father as they embark on the united task of raising their family. If you just see sex as a way of two people expressing their love for each other then that has nothing much to do with starting a family with a biological Mum and a Dad and the uniting of two extended families. Adoption is completely different and, although worthy, does not demand marriage necessarily. AID and so on are, in effect, types of adoption since the biological elements are not the same.

    If this sounds too theoretical, then look at it from the children’s point of view when they grow up and then try to trace their own biological families. From what I read many people do actually want to know who their “real” father or mother actually were.

  16. Micheal Hutton says:

    Here is a piece of work that was published in the Congleton Chronicle by a UKIP Councillor that relates to the issue of same-sex marriage a little on the long side but the feedback received so far has been very very positive.
    “Are State and some Religions heading for a divorce, will everyone in a Civil Partnership be eligible for a free “upgrade”?

    The government has launched a consultation document on a proposal to change the name “civil partnership” to “civil marriage”. The Prime Minister has signalled he wants new laws in place by the 2015 general election which supports the proposal. The move is supported by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, the Liberal Democrat deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband, Scottish National Party deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Green party leader Caroline Lucas. In a significant boost to Mr Cameron, Mr Blair – one of the best known Catholics in Britain – has told friends he “strongly supports the Prime Minister’s proposal”. President Obama has declared that he is in favour and supports same-sex marriage, the list goes on.

    Mr Cameron a Christian and married father of three, whose position on same-sex marriage has gradually evolved since he won the party’s leadership in 2005, threw his weight behind the plans at his party conference last year. His view is that same-sex marriage is a matter of basic human rights, he said: “Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative; I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.”
    Conservative traditionalists have spoken out in favor of same-sex marriage. Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has said “I have to say I’ve changed my mind on this in recent years and I’m rather in favor of gay marriage.” Francis Maude, a leading Conservative modernizer, has warned that the party would be “unelectable” if it stuck to “backwards-looking social attitudes.”
    Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has also strongly backed the proposals, saying that the “freedom to love who you choose is a fundamental right in a liberal society.”
    Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat equalities minister who launched the consultation on the new law, has pointed out that marriage is “owned by the people” and not the church.

    Over centuries the State and Church have regularly redefined marriage, because of changing cultural patterns, religious influences, and insights in social and human development, all have had an impact. The legal implications of marriage, the function(s) of marriage within society and the roles within marriage have all evolved. The structures of marriage are rooted not in biology or gender difference per se, but in relationality.
    Civil partnerships were introduced in 2005 to give same-sex couples similar legal rights as married couples, currently the law does not allow such unions to be referred to as marriages. The Home Secretary and Minister for Women & Equalities Theresa May has said of civil partnerships “ Indeed many people already refer to civil partnership as a “gay marriage” and to civil partners as “married”. But the problem is that they’re not” she goes on to say “They have equal rights but they still can’t get married. I don’t believe the State should perpetuate discrimination and prejudice. I believe that in modern Britain we should seek to eliminate discrimination wherever we find it”. However as recently as 2010 Lord Tebbit stated: ‘We should be utterly, completely and absolutely clear that a civil partnership is not a marriage, cannot be a marriage, never will be a marriage and should be treated entirely separately from marriage.’

    By insisting that marriage and civil partnerships must be kept separate and distinct, opponents of equality still perpetuate the notion, even if inadvertently, that relationships between same-sex people are not as stable, rich or valid as those between heterosexual couples. It is clear that these views impact negatively on public attitudes towards gay people themselves.

    I am neither for nor against same-sex marriage, I believe in equality of opportunity and that everyone should be equal before the law. I support marriage between people who wish to declare, celebrate, recognise, and show their love and commitment for each other. Same-sex couples within society should have the equal opportunity to have their relationship recognised on an equal footing to opposite-sex couples. Everyone should be able to engage fully within society so long as they remain within the law. Some people already feel disenfranchised as a result of the mores of groups within society; do we want to keep legislation that promotes segregation, apartheid of marriage in my view is wrong. I want to see civil marriage available to same-sex couples on the same basis as heterosexual marriage – available in a registry office but without a mandate on religious organisations to celebrate it.

    Is it reasonable to assume that same-sex couples are automatically devoid of religious belief?
    The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England launched a “no” campaign from the pulpit on 11th March 2012. A pastoral letter by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith was read to congregations across the land and, explains the Catholic understanding of marriage. The letter, warned about the dangers of changing the legal definition of marriage. Of any changes to marriage in law the letter states “. It would reduce it to just the commitment of the two people involved”. I would suggest that essentially that is what marriage is about “the commitment of the two people involved”. In one passage the archbishops write: “There are many reasons why people get married. For most couples, there is an instinctive understanding that the stability of a marriage provides the best context for the flourishing of their relationship and for bringing up their children. Society recognises marriage as an important institution for these same reasons: to enhance stability in society and to respect and support parents in the crucial task of having children and bringing them up as well as possible. ” Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smiths have highlighted the potential benefits of marriage, so why not allow same-sex couples the opportunity to marry for the very reasons cited .

    The head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has said a new law for same-sex marriage would amount to forcing unwanted change on the rest of the nation. Perhaps the Archbishop might want to reflect upon that statement. Many welcome and want the change for the benefit of society.
    Some within the Church appear to have become a little hot under the dog collar. Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said the plans were a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” plans would “shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world” if implemented. Maybe the opposite is true – fail to bring in these changes to our current law and the UK will be shamed in the eyes of the world.
    Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat minister for equality has said that the language the Church of England and the Catholic Church has used is homophobic and that the views that the leaders are expressing belong in the Dark Ages. She has also said about the issue of same-sex marriage it “. . . is about love and commitment and things that are good for society and families; it is a matter of celebrating love and commitment.” She added:”I have heard homophobic language used in connection with this very loving and progressive step.”

    For the sake of clarity, page 9 section 2:10 of the consultation document states, ”. . . . we are only seeking to lift the ban on same-sex couples getting married through a civil ceremony, we would ensure that any subsequent legislation on equal civil marriage is clear that marriages conducted according to religious rites and on religious premises could not be between a same-sex couple. This would mean that no religious organisation, premises or leader would face a successful legal challenge for failing to perform a marriage for a same-sex couple” The proposal does “not legally, enable same-sex couples to have a marriage through a religious ceremony whilst on religious premises.”

    Theresa May has said “No church, mosque, temple, synagogue or other religious premises will be forced to hold gay marriage ceremonies – in fact they won’t be allowed to even if they want to”. What Theresa May has stated and the extract from the proposal demonstrate is that the state is still interfering with religion by keeping in place laws that prohibit the ceremony of marriage on religious premises to same-sex couples even if the religion wishes to conduct them.

    It appears that same-sex couples who have religious beliefs are still to be denied a ceremony of marriage that has both a religious element and at the same time is conducted in a place of worship.
    Do some religious institutions have a monopoly on the ceremony of marriage? There are faiths that would be happy to conduct matrimonial ceremonies with a religious content on their premises, Quakers, Unitarians, Liberal Judaism and Reform Judaism have all backed equality and expressed a wish to conduct religious same-sex marriages. Yet these faiths are to be stopped from conducting marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples on their own premises. It may be considered foolish to forget that there are many faiths & religions, who is to say that one set of beliefs takes priority over another set of beliefs, is there a hierarchy of faith? Does one faith-group or religion have a monopoly on people of faith? Some religions seem to be concerned that society is trying to impose its values on religion yet the same religions want to impose their beliefs upon society and have them enshrined in law.

    Here’s an idea why not let people Marry who they love. A person may be forgiven for thinking that much of the trouble comes down to differing definitions of the word “marriage”, some see it as a term of commitment and love, some see it as a child rearing partnership and some see it as a religious ceremony and many more definitions besides. Therefore, it’s all just about a word. Perhaps we should call all marriages Flobbeldeewhoops instead. There, sorted

    During the Trinity Amateur Operatic Society’s fabulous production of “Me And My Girl” at the Daneside Theatre in Congleton, the lyrics from one of the songs had a certain resonance on the issue of marriage, be it same-sex or opposite sex marriage.

    “ . . . Without love,
    Nobody would sing,
    Without love,
    No wedding bells ring.
    And tho’ people doubt it,
    They can’t live without it,
    All over the world they’ve found
    That love makes the world go round.”

    The Times became the first daily newspaper to outline its support for reforming marriage, allowing same-sex couples equal rights as opposite sex couples. It wrote: “It would enrich the institution of marriage, enhance social stability and expand the sum of human happiness. It is a cause that has the firm support of The Times.” It continued: “Reforming the law would enrich the lives of same-sex couples who wish to marry in order to affirm by rite that they love and are loved in return. By that commitment, they will enrich the society and culture that their fellow citizens share.” The Guardian published a similar editorial on Thursday 08/03/12. An ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph published 10/03/12 found more people are in favour of changing the law to allow gay couples to marry than are opposed. The poll shows that 45% support the move in principle, while just 36% oppose it. The rest of those asked had no firm view. Women are more strongly in favour than men. A similar poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times found 43% in favour of same-sex marriage, 32% in favour of just civil partnerships and just 15% opposed to both.

    The very British bastion of women’s interests the Women’s Institute which has 210.000 members rejected an advert to be placed in its WI Life Magazine from the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), a campaign group against the government’s plans to allow same-sex marriage. Helen Adams the advertising manager for the WI told C4M: ‘We are a national campaigning charity and your campaign doesn’t fit with any of our resolutions first and foremost. As WI Life is the national membership magazine, any promotion of your campaign could be seen as an endorsement” she went on to say “We do also welcome all women to the WI and this campaign could offend many of our members.” By way of a reply to the WI’s decision a spokesperson for C4M, whose supporters include Lord Carey the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said: ‘It’s a surprising and unnecessary decision. Most ordinary members will see this as an over-reaction.’
    Finally the Editorial from the Congleton Chronicle 5th April 2012 highlighted a piece of work from the Economist which said, “16-18 year olds found that gay prejudice had (to the surprise of researchers) pretty much vanished overnight. Fifteen years ago, gay prejudice was rife in schools but now most kids seem to shrug their shoulders and mutter: “Whatever,” in that charming way teens have”. Maybe it’s time to learn more about acceptance and equality from the younger generation.
    Having been invited by the Government to contribute to the consultation process, put simply this is my contribution.
    Michael Hutton
    UKIP Councillor”

  17. ” I support marriage between people who wish to declare, celebrate, recognise, and show their love and commitment for each other.”

    Anyone who does not allow girls of nine to be married to men of 70 should be horsewhipped as paedophobic. Mohammed, (pbuh) married the pre adolescent Aisha. Prince Arthur was engaged to Catalina of Aragon when he was just 3 years old (as late as 1488) for heaven’s sake!
    Recently a group of entirely innocent men in Rochdale were put in court for having sex with underage girls. The police are paedophobes! What is wrong if they love each other?
    Why should age be a bar to marriage? And, as we all know, Islam fully allows temporary marriages if people wish to declare, celebrate, recognise, and show their love and commitment for each other.

    I am very pleased too, as someone who believes in freedom, to see that the divorce rates are as high as they should be. For the last 30 years, divorces have run at over 100,000 a year. If marriage depends on love then, if husbands or wives meet someone better, why shouldn’t we allow them the freedom to declare, celebrate, recognise, and show their love and commitment for each other?

    And now for close affinity………

    These three situations depend on the idea that citizens must be free to declare, celebrate, recognise, and show their love and commitment for each other. A reductio ad absurdum is just far too easy.

  18. ozbcoz says:

    Mike Stallard – Sorry but I think you have trivialised what is a very well thought out and reasoned letter from Michael Hutton. Let us insert “between consenting adults” so that we can get away from your rather strange argument (Michael was not making a legal point and was, I believe, assuming that people of some level of intelligence were reading his post – hence he didn’t need to lay out his points in minute detail as that should be obvious to all ). Assuming that we also follow the law and realise that incest is not permitted we are then able to talk sensibly about a realistic situation, as has Michael.

    Perhaps you would then like to give good solid reasons why two people of the same sex should not get married (I don’t believe in God, unfortunately and so an answer like “the Bible tells me so” or “the established Church so dictates” would not sway me)

    regards

    Jim Carey

  19. John Carter says:

    This thread was started by Mr Helmer’s praise for Cardinal O’Brien in March 2012. Would those who echoed My Helmer’s views and Mr Helmer himself now in March 2013 like to say how they feel about Cardinal O’Brien?

    • mikestallard says:

      Yup.
      I compare the Cardinal to Ranulf Fiennes. He tried to attempt the very difficult. He failed.
      Have you tried?
      I certainly failed – many times.
      Remember the one about the woman taken in adultery?

      • John Carter says:

        I can forgive Keith O’Brien because he is himself a victim, and a victim of homophobia. He ingested the often virulent gay-hatred of his society and his church, internalised it and aspired to overcome the corruption of his own nature as he saw it with high moral aspirations. His high moral code included preaching against people of which he himself was an example. How could he not crack under such pressure? It is inhuman. There is no comparison between this ideological schizophrenia and some project of daring-do. There might be some comparison with those who set themselves serious moral challenges involving self-sacrifice and dedication to a higher cause although I would suggest that the real comparison would be with any of those who from inner personal turmoil set themselves moral challenges for which they are unsuited.
        His own homophobic ideology, manifested in recent shockingly intemperate remarks about gay marriage, was corrupt from within, a psychological projection of his own unresolved self-hatred. A classic case but one of tragic proportions. An ideology discredited, and in certain respects a life wasted. As the Catholic Church furnished him with many of his ideological building blocks, this particular ‘fall’ cannot be considered as individual & isolated, and goes way beyond mere embarrassment for the Church, and for Mr Helmer and anti-gay-equality exponents. I genuinely do not wish to incense anyone but feel I must ask that the following proposition be seriously considered: the Catholic Church exploits conflicted people. Desperate young idealistic people unable to find answers to their youthful turmoil turn to hyper-moralistic codes of thought in an attempt to find certainty. How much simpler to tell them there is no problem with their sexuality, and to allow them to find a more sound route by which to live, and to serve if they wish.

  20. What a load of rubbish. There are plenty of Christians and Muslims who couldn’t give a toss about who decides to marry who, only the backwards fundamentalist idiots really care. Yet people like you exaggerate this, day in, day out. I have friends from all manner of backgrounds and not one of them would give two hoots if I decided to marry another man. In fact, they’d be happy for me.

    Homosexuality is just as natural as heterosexuality, and has been observed in many animal species as well as humans. You claim that your generation was brought up to believe being gay was wrong. Well guess what, it’s the 21st century and such views are outdated. Ignorance is no longer an excuse for denying people equal rights. Religion is a choice. Sexuality isn’t. It shouldn’t even be an issue. We are all the same underneath, gay or straight, and you’d do well to remember that.

    Maybe you should join the American Tea Party, I’m sure they’d welcome you with open arms.

    • catalanbrian says:

      Well said George. A breath of fresh air to replace the usual claptrap in this blog.

      • Mike Stallard says:

        “to give good solid reasons why two people of the same sex should not get married”

        Well – here goes!

        It turns on a definition of the word “marriage”. Traditionally – and here I am condensing the Book of Common Prayer – marriage is between two people who consent to spend the rest of their lives together. They agree to support each other through thick and thin until death parts them.

        Also marriage is to produce children and make sure that they are properly brought up by two parents in a stable relationship supported, of course, by the extended family and community.
        Without marriage, there are no real guarantees and quite often a lot of gossip also blood is thicker than water. So a child knows and loves both his blood Dad and his blood Mum.

        There is absolutely no reason at all why two people of the same sex should not get on very well together, to be very best friends and, yes, to “love” each other. Indeed, that is part of every religion and, I understand, even the lore of the armed services too. The problem is the sex bit, isn’t it. And, of course, we don’t want to go there do we. It raises questions of what sex is actually for. Also we start to get cod psychology thrown in too – Homophobia like Islamophobia or Xenophobia or Arachnophobia…

        If you want to see where changing marriage vows can lead, may I recommend a short dose of Jeremy Kyle? It is OK to “mess about” if you are a]. drunk, b].”on a break”. Today we had a man who slept with the daughter of his fiance without telling her. Why not? It was just a “mistake”. Oh – and beer was involved. So that’s OK then.

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