Damian Thompson, Editor of Telegraph Blogs, writes today about the thousand Catholic priests who have signed the letter to The Daily Telegraph arguing that the Government’s gay marriage plans will “severely restrict the ability of Catholics to teach the truth about marriage in their schools” and rejecting promised safeguards as “meaningless“. His conclusion is as follows …
By redefining marriage without even the fig leaf of a manifesto commitment, he has forced Catholics and other Christians who thought of themselves as gay-friendly to take a stance which, in the lexicon of hashtag politics (see my earlier post), renders them homophobic opponents of “equal marriage”. They won’t quickly forgive him for that.
Actually, what is far more interesting about this open anti-gay letter is not who signed it, but rather who did not sign it. The majority of Roman Catholic priests did not sign against same-sex marriage and that includes some influential traditionalist bishops, now that is indeed a very positive sign.
Belief systems are not simply about official teachings, but rather are a collective composition of individuals and tend to be umbrellas that shelter a vast and very diverse range of thinking. Over time the majority views will dominate while the minority views decline and fade. The very fact that the majority have opted not to sign-up gives a rather stark pointer to the bigots within their ranks that they hold an archaic and rather perverse minority view.
Most humans, regardless of their beliefs or lack of, are decent honourable individuals who strive to do what is right, and so it is indeed truly encouraging to find that even when some of the powers that be have a daft policy, many of the movers and shakers in the ranks refuse to sign up for their highly immoral anti-gay medieval stance.
So to answer the question, is the catholic Church at war with the UK Government? …. Nope, there might indeed be a few still living in the 16th century, but most have managed to work out that a stance against the small minority of couples who wish to simply get married is insane.
“Ah”, say some, “I’m a good Christian, and so I only support the Biblical standard for marriage”. Those that take that stance might like to remember that the biblical patterns for marriage include
- One guy and lots of wives (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5.)
- One guy, lots of wives plus concubines (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)
- You can only marry a virgin, if it is discovered that she is not a virgin then she must be executed (Deut 22:13-21)
- Mixed belief marriages are banned (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)
- No divorce … ever, no matter what the circumstances. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)
- If a married man dies without children his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother’s widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)
- In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)
Funny thing is, most people have worked out that all of the above variations of biblical rules are bullshit, it is time to add biblical homophobia to that same bullshit list.