The British government introduced its politically brave but still cautious same-sex marriage bill in the House of Commons today. It is right and most people here agree that everyone should be equal in matters of the heart and should have the freedom to marry if that is what they wish.
If they want to get married in a church however then the government has gone out of its way not to rock the country’s established religious institutions, the Church of England and the Church of Wales after they have put it on record that they disapprove of gay marriage believing it to be a holy sacrament reserved by God for men and women only. The new bill says that no religious institution will be forced to conduct same-sex marriages if it is not what they want to do. Freedom of religion is the issue here and that’s just fine, I guess. Anyone wanting a happy gay marriage in such a church must be seriously deluded.
It seems perfectly reasonable that the dear old C. of E. and its Welsh sibling, should be able to practice what it preaches no matter how unreasonable its position on marriage might seem to the rest of us out here in the real world. After-all, we’re used to them being cranky over homosexuality and a load of other things too. No, let them get on with their funny ways but, if they continue to insist on a life on the fringe of society, it may well be time for them to cease to be the nation’s established church. Increasingly, the Church of England (and Wales) is showing itself to be an eccentric and mostly well-meaning cult in this country. Maybe the time has arrived for it to recognise the fact that the majority of the people just don’t share their views any more.
All this big church thing has got out of hand anyway. Far be it for me to preach to the Church of England but, surely, Jesus wasn’t part of a traditional establishment with loads of posh buildings and wacky clothes. He kept his independence and challenged old prejudices – many of which are still in the Old Testament. Maybe if the Church of England cut itself off from all the pomp and circumstance it might find its soul again.
I’m more impressed by the Quakers who manage perfectly well without Archbishops and prejudice and, by the way, have proclaimed their joyful acceptance of marriage as an sacrament for all loving people. Meanwhile, let’s celebrate the new bill on same-sex marriage as another step towards the civilization of Britain.