Thursday, 8 March 2012

Marriage, Religion and Small Minds?

In the past I used to donate to an organisation called Care.

Every so often I still receive mailings.

A few days ago I received a letter, a poster and a petition.

The letter mentions the formation of The Coalition for Marriage.

The poster says:




“I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it.”

The letter says:

… the Government has announced that there will be a consultation in England and Wales on redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships. We are strongly opposed to this …

We are deeply concerned about this matter, and believe that this proposal to alter the nature of marriage so radically marks a decisive moment in our nation’s history. We must do all we can to oppose it.

The C4M.ORG.UK web site asserts:

If marriage is redefined, those who believe in traditional marriage will be sidelined. People's careers could be harmed, couples seeking to adopt or foster could be excluded, and schools would inevitably have to teach the new definition to children. If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined to allow polygamy?

The petition provides a place for people to assert their support for the current definition of marriage and oppose any attempt to redefine it.

The British press has been carrying a lot of stories on the issue.

Church leaders have said a lot.

I think that once upon a time I might have signed this petition.

But now I’ve grown up, or as some might say I have back-slidden and returned to the mud and vomit.

It depends on the perspective that you view me from.

I have to admit that when I read this stuff I was angered by it. Sally has quietened me somewhat.

I had stared writing a bullet pointed list of why it bothers me. But mostly it’s the sense of duplicity that I feel.

I don’t believe that the Christian church or any other religion has the right to a monopoly on defining legal terms, even in cases where the original meaning of the word had some specifically religious roots. Christians have sometimes redefined non-Christian things in Christian terms. It doesn’t seem unreasonable for the opposite to happen once in a while.

So far as I can tell, no one is planning to force religious institutions to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies if they don’t want to.

The propaganda that is being promulgated seems to use arguments that are designed to appeal to religious people that  take a particularly literal view of a selection of religious texts and to secular people  with homophobic tendencies. It also seems to appeal to people’s fears and anxieties. Suggesting that changing the definition of marriage will ultimately result in all kinds of bad things happening.

I’m still not at all sure about the existence of God. But … if there is … then (s)he must surely be less small minded than all of this.

I oppose this small mindedness.


Jenna said...

All of this talk about changing the definition of marriage is fascinating as it opens up such a can of worms.

Andrea said...

I think you're right Jenna. All kinds of stuff will be revealed. There is a positive in it, in that it does open up some kind of a dialog and gets at least some people to ask questions about why things are as they are ... and couldn't they be made better somehow.