I do realize that people should be free to practise their own religion no matter how wackey it is – well maybe drawing the line around human sacrifice and a couple of other things – so I have never gone along with the form of criticism that tells, say, the Roman Catholic church to get with it over certain social issues, like contraception and abortion and to change its centuries old traditional theology just because almost everyone else disagrees with them. After-all if they ditch their beliefs just to stay popular, they might as well give up the whole thing. It is sad for those Roman Catholics, and there are a lot of them, who disagree with the official line but, maybe, they need to find their own church.
It isn’t just contraception and abortion that is causing all the trouble between the church and ordinary decent people these days, it is the question of homosexuality too and with homosexual marriage in particular as the new burning issue. I am not talking about Africa or parts of Asia of course, acceptance there seems centuries away, but mostly, certainly in the USA and Europe, this is the latest non-issue. Homosexuality exists, human love exists, people who are in love often want to live together and some of them, the more traditionally-minded ones, even want to get married. Well, the overwhelming majority thinks, that’s just fine because it is, cheers!
Here in Britain, even our Conservative Party is in agreement and new legislation will soon make gay marriage legal much to the anguish of the Church of England. If it is socially acceptable to our most reactionary political party then it is pretty well a no-brainer as far as the rest of the country is concerned. So what’s all the problem about then in the Church of England?
I can understand the Pope taking a dim view of such things, he likes to keep things complex and theologically strict in his particular reading of the holy scripts, but the good old Church of England was born out of compromise and mostly survives without getting too laden by theology. You can mostly believe what you want as an Anglican as long as you support the village fete. That’s why we were all so fond of it. It is a shame then that homosexual issues have got all those clerical robes into such a twist because it isn’t a problem for the rest of us, honestly.
The sad truth of it all is that the great institution that was the Church of England has been haemorrhaging congregations for decades now because, as in its attitude to the gay marriage question, it is not seen as relevant any more to most people. The current gay debate only demonstrates how far the English have moved away from their church. That should be fine though too, it is fine as far as i’m concerned. If the clergy are not happy about gay marriages,they should get on with being unhappy about it, people don’t need to go to their churches any more. Gay Christians, and there are a lot of them, should, just like the early Christians, find a religion that isn’t sinking under its own prejudices. Christians, even Anglicans could survive without Gothic architecture, Hymns Ancient & Modern, the Cranmer Prayer Book and even fancy cassocks, beautiful as they are, the old order should be left to die in peace mumbling prayers in their desserted churches (until it is time for us to reclaim them) whilst the rest of the country celebrates this welcome and inevitable forward step in social equality. No wonder the Archbishop of Canterbury has just announced his retirement – he was a decent man in the wrong job.
Personally, I would like to see the liberalisation of our society move beyond the institution of marriage too with its emphasis on property rights and possessions but that, I suspect, is an argument for another century.
Meanwhile, I’m getting into gear for the imminent publication (in October) of my novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)
…or from Amazon:
COLIN BELL’S PUBLICATIONS:
Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love
Ward Wood Publishing
October 30, 2013
Genius Floored: Uncurtained Window
Soaring Penguin Press
June 15, 2013
Genius Floored: Whispers in Smoke
Soaring Penguin Press
June 6, 2014
Poetry and short story anthology
A Kind Of A Hurricane Press
The Blotter Magazine Inc.
Three pages of poetry in the American South’s unique, free, international literature and arts magazine.
The Fib Review
My Fibonacci poetry has appeared in this journal from 2009 until the present
Shot Glass Journal
Muse Pie Press
My poetry has appeared in various issues of this short form poetry journal
Every Day Poets Magazine
Every Day Poets
I have various poems of the day published in this 365 days a year poetry magazine.
In The Night Count The Stars
March 1, 2014
An “uncommon anthology” of images, fragments, stories and poetry.