Monday, 12 March 2012
As you said Cardinal - it's a universal human right.
Let's face it - this old world of ours has its problems - famine, war, poverty, natural disaster (assuming that their God was not responsible!), gun crime, knife crime, drug addiction... you get the picture.
But instead of addressing any one of these issues, what gets the blessed church leaders knickers in a twist? Yes, you guessed it (assuming of course that you are gay) - it's you, me and our wedding plans.
I don't quite know what any of us ever did that was so bad as to deserve this special attention, but it seems that the Church has deceided to align themselves along side most despotic governments, the American Republican party (a potential despotic government!), christian fundamentalists, muslim fundamentalists ( I guess that includes the lovely Taliban) - by coming out firmly against gay marriage.
In January the Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu got in on the act, saying that governments did not have the moral authority to re-define marriage.
While this Sunday, the Catholic church preached from every pulpit in the land, against the UK government's intention to pass legislation permitting the marriage of gay people. What a sad bunch of closet cases.
Earlier in the week, the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O' Brien, got the debate off to a particularly moronic start with an opening line which stated that the plans were "a grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".
Well forgive me Cardinal, but the last time I looked, my gay brothers and sisters and I were human too!
Maybe theology college neglected to teach this critical fact, or possibly those pesky creationists might have re-catagorised us?
The Cardinal went on to say that the legalisation of gay marriage was morally akin to introducing slavery!
Since the Cardinal brought it up.... the church managed to flip flop on slavery for eighteen centuries - and while they might have successfully converted tens of thousands of poor enslaved souls en-route before shipping them off to the New World, it was the moral authority of elected governments that abolished slavery - not the churches.
(Please note: the fundamentalists favourite, the old testament actually promoted slavery as being a good thing- surprise surprise! The new testament was ambiguous on the subject - even gay bashing Paul wasn't too perplexed by it. For a long time the Catholic church also thought it ok to enslave 'enemies of Christ' for example, Muslims, Jews, Africans, native Americans, or anyone who refused to convert. Great, thanks for the moral leadership on slavery there!)
The church now promotes marriage as being their very own, exclusive, precious vessel of eternal love between 'man and woman', I suspect they are carefully forgetting the two thousand years or so, where marriage was used to enslave women to men, steal their money and land, and remove their rights - over their property, their bodies, and their children.
And for many strong minded, wealthy women who refused to marry to order - the church simply accused them of 'witchcraft' and burned them at the stake, enabling their land and wealth to be confiscated.
They probably tortured them a little too - just to exercise their 'moral authority'.
For many women, right up to the 1960's when governments made divorce more accessible (a law that the Catholic church still refuses to recognise), the best they could hope for was to find a man who was faithful, cared, who would support the children, and put food on the table. Love, happiness and true fulfilment through marriage might I think, have been a luxury reserved for the lucky few.
If you think of most great love stories written in the English language, they are great because the lovers either defy convention or overcome the obstacles of marriage/family/establishment. Only in Disney movies for the under fives or trashy pulp romance did they 'live happily ever after as man and wife'.
So church leaders, if I were you, I'd keep your rose-tinted, highly selective history of heterosexual marriage to yourselves, and let the adult world move on as adults - under the church's stewardship marriage wasn't so great. For all your fine robes and fancy buildings you were the Taliban of your day - luckily now passed!
Fortunately, there's no real fear that the UK government will back track on their plans for gay marriage, in austerity Britain it's the only positive legislation they have on offer!
Just as with divorce and abortion rights before it, the UK government may be a couple of years behind majority public opinion on gay marriage rights, but they are still a couple of centuries ahead of the church leaders.
Hey Cardinal - it's about human rights!