Mimanifesto – Jaye’s weblog

Posts Tagged ‘Equal Marraiage

“With all the problems currently facing the world, people will struggle to understand why organisations like the Catholic Church are wasting so much money and energy on this homophobic campaign.”

Well said Tom French, from the Equality network, in response to the unholy alliance between Keith O’Brien, Bashir Mann, and Gordon Wilson of Solas on their attempts to dictate the definition of ‘marriage’ to a largely secular society. Now these Catholic, Muslim and Christian Fundamentalists wouldn’t ordinarily cross the floor to each other except to condemn and denounce each other, however they all have decided to spend crazy money on a homophobic campaign to force their own personal views upon a society which has largely left them behind
in the dark ages. Bashir Mann has already had to resign from one public body in Glasgow due to his homophobia, and dear old Gordon,
well, the least said the better. Wise of the Cardinal to dress in mufti though; the sight of him protesting in his red frock, shoes and hat would have been all too delicious to bear ;-p

The Cardinal only speaks for a minority of Scots Roman Catholics on the subject of marriage equality. Bashir Mann is certainly not representative of most Scottish Muslims, and dear old Gordon, well, one man and his dog. You get the picture.

So, with the polls still indicating a majority of Scots favouring full marriage equality, what is the Scottish Government to do? After all, a consultation exercise is mostly replied to by activists at each end of the scale. And religious bodies will contribute based largely on the views of their leaders rather than their active congregations. But what of the middle ground? How are their views represented? By their MSP’s, who will stand or fall at elections depending on their records. And with all the parties at Holyrood broadly supporting this move, that’s a pretty unified view in my opinion, covering all political constituencies up and down the land.

So whilst the government must certainly consider all responses to their consultation, it’s the representatives of the people, accountable to the electorate and not the vested interests of the large (or not so large) organisations and groups, who are really the ones to make a final decision on this matter when legislation is bought before parliament.

I for one pray to God that they will make the right choice. A vote for fairness, equality, freedom of conscience and religion, which will confirm Scotland’s place on the map with the other forward thinking and inclusive tolerant societies across the world.

And perhaps what O’Brien, Mann, and Wilson fear most of all, is this: that their time has been….and gone.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This is one of those posts that you just have to write. You know the ones. When a subject or issue really important to you and close to your heart comes along. For me, its usually something to do with education, but this post strays away from that a little although connected indirectly.

To me this matter is important because it strikes directly at the heart of equality and fairness and also democracy. The issue is marriage equality and the recent concerted efforts by (Roman) Catholic bishops in Scotland to organise the RC faithful into some sort of electoral battering ram in order to frighten politicians and political parties. The idea that these Bishops can speak for all 750, 000 declared Roman catholic adherents in this country is, to me, a sign of the complete megalomania that has recently overcome the RC church here. Archbishop Conti and Bishop Tartagila (surely positioning himself as the Scottish catholic hardman and future Cardinal) appear to have a sense of importance and influence which is so far beyond the actual reality of the situation as to be rather embarrassing. A great many Roman Catholics will be shocked and dismayed to have Archbishop Conti’s letter read out to them by their parish priest, as well as receiving the little postcard, to be returned with their ‘protest’ against marriage equality. I suspect many priests will also have been rather dismayed at the tone of this letter and the message it sends out, which is full of both biblical and factual inaccuracies and damages the image of Christianity and religion as a whole. Indeed, the Provost of Glasgow’s St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, the Very Rev. Kelvin Holdsworth hit the nail squarely on the head during his sermon yesterday, on the subject of The parable of the wedding feast in Matthew’s Gospel when he told his congregation (and the wider world through press reporting of the sermon) that in his view, the outbursts from the RC Bishops and their attempts to abuse the democratic process by trying to scare their congregations was embarrassing and did Christianity a great disservice. You can watch or read the text of Provost Holdsworth’s sermon from yesterday here. The passage which particularly hit home for me (and I hope he doesn’t mind me reproducing it here on this blog is this;

To behave as though bishops carry some kind of block vote to Holyrood, to threaten politicians and to decry those who want access to the dignity of marriage as unnatural…. to say these things seems to me to go too far.

Such comments from the leaders of the Roman Catholic church have left me feeling embarrassed as a Christian. There is a risk that all of the churches will appear to be out of touch, arrogant, conceited and rude. We don’t all have to agree but we are all called to behave charitably and there has been an absence of love in this relentlessly bitter campaign and it diminishes us all.

He goes on to say…

One of the great things about living in Glasgow is that you can find out fairly quickly that one’s Roman Catholic friends and neighbours don’t all share all the views of the hierarchy of that church. Indeed a good many share that sense of embarrassment.

The RC Bishops might do well to remind themselves of Christ’s words in this parable, speaking as it does of inclusion and exclusion. They might also do well to consider the definition of marriage which appears to be perplexing them so much. The bible defines eight types of marriage, including polygamy as practiced by Jacob, and having a child by your barren wife’s slave (that one was Abraham, father of both the Judaeo-Christian and Muslim faiths). This last one is interesting, from the praxis adopted by Archbishops Conti and O’Brien, that marriage is for procreation and therefore cannot be for same-sex couples. Are they agreeing with the Holy scriptures and advocating a husband having a baby with the cleaner or nanny or the au pear if his wife cannot bear children? Just as Abraham did with Hagar when his wife Sarah couldn’t have his children. Will the RC church permit concubines? after all, its in the bible…as is the stoning of your wife if she’s not a virgin. And how did Adam and Eve have grandchildren and populate the earth without brother marrying sister? there is a rather interesting video which explains biblical marriage for the uninitiated here..

Of course, our interpretation of the scriptures evolves to fit the culture of our age. Just as we would not permit stoning, execution, rape, child or animal sacrifice (all there in the old testament) so our understanding of marriage evolves. The biblical precedent for same sex marriage is of course, Ruth and Naomi, where the original Hebrew grammatical structure reveals more about the nature of their relationship than the translations into Latin by Roman Catholic scribes, and then English would want us to realise. Censorship by any other name. If you want the original Hebrew and the grammatical breakdown, just leave me a comment, by the way, and I’ll blog it)

Thankfully, there has been much more balanced correspondence in the press and online. Follow the twitter hash tag #equalmarriage for some of this discussion. Tim Hopkins of the Equality Network, writing in the Herald makes a rather telling point. Why, he asks, are the RC Bishops spending so much time and money on opposing equal marriage, something which might affect, maybe five hundred people each year, when thousands in Scotland are suffering from deprivation, poverty, homelessness and domestic violence? surely the power and resources of the Roman Catholic church would be better directed to these problems, such as the 50,000 reported cases of domestic abuse rather than five hundred or so Gay and Lesbian marriages?

And now the lovely folks at Solas CPC have piled in with a quite frankly, incredible submission to the government against marriage equality. Led by the former SNP leader Gordon Wilson they have written one of the most inaccurate and truth-distorting documents I have ever seen riddled with assumptions, supposition, and religious distortion. They are calling for a national referendum on marriage equality (and how long will it take Sir Brian Souter to hitch up his bandwagon to the bus and offer to fund this travesty of a proposal). I’m not sure what they hope to achieve by this proposal, and neither am I sure of their logic. I’m sure this will turn into the SNP’s ‘clause 2a’ issue. Lets hope Nicola Sturgeon has the courage displayed by Wendy Alexander during that previous struggle for equality…


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