Friday, March 15, 2013

Parliament paints Anglican church into corner over gay marriage

[POSTSCRIPT: ++Justin makes important points in this interview. Apropos of the last part of the post below, conservative Christians need (or, I need) to work out how we uphold the doctrine of marriage without doing harm to people in our society, especially in our churches who constantly are liable to exclusion, vilification and to thoughts of self-harm as a way out of ostracism. Conservative Christianity is distancing itself from the general secular proposal of Western society to open marriage equally to all in order to complete a (so to speak) grand project of normalisation. But in doing so conservative Christianity appears generally to be failing to offer a grand proposal for how we include gays and lesbians in everyday society. Increasingly I find comments here from conservatives to presume the world is made of 'us' and 'them' as though the 'them' are not the sons and daughters of loving parents, or the sisters and brothers of caring people, or the friends of people who want to continue to be their friends. Indeed, the 'them' might be our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and friends. If we cannot find a bridge between the 'us' and 'them' we are guilty of fostering a ghettoization of the 'them'. ++Justin is clearly working on the bridge.]

There are three groups in our Anglican church on the matter of same sex relationships. (In no particular order of merit) group one cannot bless what God does not bless, that is neither agrees with the blessing of same-sex partnerships nor with gay marriage. (I distinguish here between the former as something the church might promote without change to its doctrine of marriage and the latter as involving a change to its doctrine of marriage, specifically the understanding that marriage involves a man and a woman). Group two can bless a same-sex partnership but cannot agree to change to the doctrine of marriage. As some in my hearing would say, marriage is different to a same-sex partnership. Group three will bless same-sex partnerships, supports gay marriage including change to our doctrine of marriage.

Currently our church is in a process of considering its theology of marriage, including setting up a doctrinal commission on the matter. As an aside, a Theology House contribution to the exploration of the theology of marriage will be a conference here in Christchurch 16-17 August, more details later. But is this exploration in vain because our parliament has essentially decided for us that there will be no change to our doctrine on marriage?

Let me explain. I will try to be as clear as possible!

(1) Previously I have pointed out that the select committee on the bill on gay marriage before parliament (which is moving ahead) has recommended a clause which permits ministers to refuse to perform a gay marriage ceremony, without fear of being taken to court for discrimination, where the beliefs of the religion to which the minister belongs do not accept gay marriage.

(2) This recommendation only protects ministers (or celebrants) belonging to such an organisation but not ministers or celebrants who do not belong to such an organisation, no matter what their beliefs. This is well addressed on M and M. A lay Catholic celebrant may believe the same things about gay marriage as a Catholic priest but only the latter is protected by the legislation as the former would be operating as an individual celebrant not as a celebrant belonging to an organisation.

(3) Consequently, once the legislation has completed all its legislative stages, it will mean that any church which changes its beliefs on marriage to include acceptance of gay marriage, will expose its ministers who disagree to the possibility of being taken to court.

(4) In the case of our Anglican church, noting my division of the church into three groups, two of which oppose gay marriage, this would expose somewhere between 40 and 70% of its ministers to the potential for prosecution.

(5) I cannot see our General Synod making a decision with such effect on the ministers of our church. (Or, in other words, even if the mind of General synod were leaning towards embracing change to our doctrine of marriage, it would not give expression to that because of the turmoil it would create for the ministers licensed under its authority in relation to the civil Marriage Act of NZ).

Consequently,

(6) We will not change our doctrine of marriage (though we may authorise blessings of same-sex partnerships).

Therefore,

(7) the commission on the blessing of same-sex partnerships which seems to also have a brief to look at the doctrine of marriage, if it is purposed to support reform of the latter, may be a waste of time of otherwise busy people.

Parliament has painted our church into a corner!!

POSTSCRIPT. I acknowledge that these matters are not easy. To analyse as I have done above could be construed as adding to the 'hate' which envelopes gay and lesbian people today. Derek Flood makes a pertinent point when he notes that Jesus made no contribution to increasing hatred of people, neither one hating another, nor someone hating themselves.

"Regardless of where we stand on the rightness or the wrongness of being gay, none of that matters much when people are dying [through suicide]. We can argue over what the Bible says about homosexuality, but one thing is utterly clear: Jesus clearly teaches us to love people, not to hate them, not to make them feel hated, and not to stand by while that is happening. From the perspective of the New Testament there simply is no room for doubt on this. We know exactly where Jesus stands. He stands on the side of the least, the condemned, the vulnerable. ...

What this all comes down to is we, as Christians, acting like Jesus. It's about discerning what Jesus would want us to do right now, and the answer is clear: We need to change our priorities and focus on the critical issue of communicating love and acceptance to people -- especially the very people our society so often ostracizes, condemns and rejects. Because that is exactly what Jesus did. Jesus was known for hanging out with "sinners" and was frequently accused of being a sinner himself because of it. But that did not stop him because he cared more about those people than he cared about being judged.


If we want to follow Jesus, then we need to have that same reputation of loving to a fault. We need to be so radically accepting that we are misunderstood and judged like Jesus. If we really do love Jesus, then we need to love like he did, so much so that it seems "scandalous" in the eyes the religious folks of our day, just like it did in his day.
...
Now you may have noticed that I didn't ever say what I thought about whether homosexuality was wrong or right. I didn't say because this is not about me and what I think. It's about us as Christians learning to care about what Jesus cares about. This is not about gay rights. It is about about human rights, and that starts with the least. It is about us having the courage to stand with those who are vulnerable. It is about us saying "no" to hate, even when it is done in the name of God -- no,especially when it is done in the name of God. It's about having the guts to draw that line in the sand like Jesus did. Even when that means facing that mob ourselves.
So let's stand alongside of LGBT individuals. Let's let them know they are loved, they are welcomed, they are not alone. I think when we do, we will find that Jesus has been there with them for a long time now. It's time we joined him."

34 comments:

Father Ron Smith said...

"But is this exploration in vain because our parliament has essentially decided for us that there will be no change to our doctrine on marriage?" - Dr. Peter Carrell -

Peter, with all due respect to your thesis; I cannot see how the civil understanding of marriage can alter what you see to be the 'Christian' doctrine of Marriage.

The Church is not being denied its doctrinal basis; and in that regard is not expected, under the new Law, to necessarily conduct the Marriage of same-sex persons. We are not in a Church/State relationship - unlike the Church of England.

hogsters said...

It could well prove that the "world" has, I'm sure unintentionally, done the church, at least in regards conservative christianity, a favor.

Time, and I'm sure an amount of testing, will tell.

On a related theme, it seems freedom of concience actions, or not as the case may be, are tied to the institution, as compared the individual, thus your theses.

However, might one argue that as a part of a creedal church, "one holy catholic apostolic church, we are part of something bigger than our individual denominations. The "one holy catholic and apostolic church' is overwhelmingly conservative in regards marriage. 1.2 billion catholics and the majority of the worlds Anglicans should carry a bit of wight one would think.

Just a thought.




Andrei said...

I cannot see how the civil understanding of marriage can alter what you see to be the 'Christian' doctrine of Marriage.

The "civil understanding of marriage" Fr Ron?

This is wickedness spawned in Hell to undermine the twin pillars of civil society, the Church and the family - so that the sole arbiter of moral authority becomes the GOVERNMENT and our children are reduced to serfs kept compliant with official recognition of the worship sexual hedonism as a valid GOD.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxely seems prescient in these days of homosexuals travelling to India to buy eggs to manufacture "two fathered" babies to be incubated in the bodies of third world impoverished women.

An age of abominations, including the mass slaughter of the innocents in our hospitals and on our dime.

And if, Fr Ron, you think all of these horrors are going to return us and our descendants to the Garden of Eden you are sadly deluded

Father Ron Smith said...

"This is wickedness spawned in Hell "..to undermine the twin pillars of civil society, the Church and the family" - Andrei -

On your High Horse, again, Andrei. sounds a bit mediaeval, don't you think? You must by now realise that the horse and cart have given way to the internal combustion engine, at least. A fig on your anathemas!

Marriage went on before Jesus. will go on for as long as people want to commit themselves to monogamous, faithful relationships - Until: -

In God's good time - The Marriage Feast of the Lamb, when ALL God's Beloved will be together - in God! Nothing to do with Sex or Procreation!

Panic never got anyone anywhere, and perfect love casts our FEAR!

Shawn Herles said...

Perfect love casts out fear, but does not cast out truth.

Jesus defined marriage as one man and one women, clearly marking out homosexual "marriage" as out of bounds.

The notion of a sexless future for humanity is a gnostic idea contrary to the teaching of scripture.

In Christian marriage, which is the only kind we as Christians can be concerned with, sexual expression and procreation are clearly an important part of God's concern for marriage, as is clearly taught in Genesis and reaffirmed by Christ.

The marriage feast of the lamb does not anywhere in Scripture claim to be a replacement for covenant marriage, and is a metaphor which cannot be used to try and deny the definition of marriage which God has given us.

"Marriage went on before Jesus."

So? Does that mean Jesus was wrong and we can just ignore Him on marriage?

Does nor a follower of Jesus care more about what He said than what the world says?


Matt Watts said...

You raise an interesting point here, Peter, but I wonder if rather than painting us into a corner, it gives ACANZP a via media which could satisfy both conservatives and liberals. Let me explain...

Should the marriage amendment act be passed by parliament then civil gay marriage will be available in New Zealand. If then as you suggest, General Synod feels unable to change the church's understanding of marriage for fear of exposing conservative ministers to legal action, then it may well decide to allow individual ministers to decide whether to conduct the blessing of a civil gay marriage.

This would put us in an interesting situation.We would be acknowledging that there is a range of views on this issue but we wouldn't be changing our fundamental theology.

In a somewhat analogous situation, before the C of E allowed the remarriage of divorcees, individual ministers could decide to bless a civil marriage after divorce if they thought appropriate.

I'm not saying this would satisfy everybody in ACANZP, I'm not even sure it would satisfy me. But it does make for an interesting possibility. If parliament does shift the goalposts as it were, then maybe we should shift ours.

Peter Carrell said...

Yes, Matt, I am with you in the direction of your thinking (acknowledging, by the way, that your own personal direction may or may not move that way).

I think too, that the time is coming when our church will consider making a decision that no priest will be a celebrant (i.e. gazetted by the state - as a priest commended by the church). Thus our business would be to bless relationships, civil matters in the contracting of the relationship being worked out in registry offices.

Andrei said...

On your High Horse, again, Andrei. sounds a bit mediaeval, don't you think? You must by now realise that the horse and cart have given way to the internal combustion engine, at least. A fig on your anathemas!

Did you listen to the debate Fr Ron?


Here is the gist New Zealand is a "secular" country which means that religious sensibilities can be over ridden when the needs of the secular state dictate.

Ergo religious belief has no place in public discourse.

And if you think about it for a minute you should realize that if the Government can take it upon itself to rewrite a venerable institution such as marriage there is nothing to stop them implementing any travesty they want in the future and the Church will be impotent to speak out against it.

You will scoff and scoff oblivious to the fact that after this anything goes if it suits a governmental agenda. Anything! There are no limits to govermental hubris any more.

This is a direct attack on Christ and his Church wrapped up in the fluffy cotton wool of so called "human rights"

Peter Carrell said...

Without comment on some elements of your respective rhetoric, Ron and Andrei, I do take Andrei's point which I interpret in this way: to argue for gay marriage on a basis such as 'we must not discriminate' while not consistently following through with legislation to permit polygamy demonstrates a parliament which is willing to make arbitrary decisions. That is, we have a parliament which is arbitrary in what it determines to be discrimination and what it chooses to not be discrimination. That does not bode well for the future of any religion in our society.

Bryden Black said...

If I may repeat a Letter to the Press just submitted: Dear Sir,

The recent second reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill highlights a curious piece of (non) reasoning.

The blurb announcing the Bill cites the criteria of “equality” and “non-discrimination” as the governing principles of the proposed amendments. Yet the subsequent sections only mention provision for unions between two men and between two women. In direct contradiction of the key criteria, the Bill discriminates against for example any unions among two men and one woman, among two women and one man - or even among three women and two men.

On what rational basis does the Bill judge such differences? Why include gay and lesbian couples, and exclude polyandry, polygamy and polyamory?

The short answer is the governing principles on their own are woefully inadequate to define the true nature of human marriage. This conclusion however has not halted our parliament from trying to construct an illogical outcome that obviously contradicts the essentially gendered nature of the human species, as male-and-female. Why do we tolerate such folly? Worse still: why enshrine it in law?

Yours sincerely,

Rev Dr Bryden Black [ends]

In other words, this Bill’s provisions and their boundaries are pure caprice. Peter’s main point is absolutely correct. As I also said in my written submission to the Committee:
“The only principle really at play in this proposed Bill [having cited the preamble’s “equality” and “non-discrimination”] is the sheer will to power of the parliament - despite all the apparent exhortations to the contrary. And to set such a willful precedent is indeed an extraordinarily dangerous one in a political culture where the traditions of democracy are supposed to rule. An exercise in arbitrary will to power may be forthcoming in the future in any set of circumstances that ... the parliament or a member may simply seek to so choose. Is this truly what this parliament wishes to establish? For how might it protect in the future - on what basis - our national common good when faced with any such arbitrary will to power, once exercised?”

Peter Carrell said...

Superb letter, Bryden!

Father Ron Smith said...

"On what rational basis does the Bill judge such differences? Why include gay and lesbian couples, and exclude polyandry, polygamy and polyamory

- Dr. Bryden Black -

Simply because, Bryden; I should think everyone in New Zealand is aware that Marriage is about the monogamous relationship between two persons. That is the base line for marriage, which will not be changed by this Bill.

Threats that the new bill will create a precedent for polygamy, bestiality, and other forms of relationships are sheer blackmail, and not worthy of the thinking person's second thought.

People are not fools. They do not need a theological education to tell them what the committed love of two people is all about. And for Church people to attempt to besmirch the possibility of two people being united in marriage, by the inference of a hidden agenda is less than creditable.

Mike said...

Peter Carrell said "I think too, that the time is coming when our church will consider making a decision that no priest will be a celebrant (i.e. gazetted by the state - as a priest commended by the church). Thus our business would be to bless relationships, civil matters in the contracting of the relationship being worked out in registry offices."

I agree, and have been turning my thinking this way for a couple of years. The church (and the Church) should remove itself from the contract between people who wish to have their relationship recognised by the state. I think that our Bishops should instruct their clergy to surrender their marriage celebrant licence (or their clergy licence, their choice). We should also change the NZPB to remove the word 'marriage' and adopt something else - maybe 'holy matrimony'?

Shawn Herles said...

Brilliant letter Brydan. You hit all the relevant nails on the head.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
Formerly everyone in NZ was aware that marriage is a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman. But that awareness has not stopped change to the legal definition of marriage by parliament.

The point Bryden and I are making is that what people want includes polygamy (e.g. some Mormon immigrants, some Muslim immigrants) but the state is not extending its proposal for change to cater for these citizens (or potential citizens). In which case a form of discrimination is being imposed by the state even as it pretends that its motivation for the current change is to do away with discrimination.

Note that one can raise this point about change to marriage without invoking legalization of bestiality as some kind of slope down which parliament might slide.

Bryden Black said...

With respect Ron; you are simply missing the point ...

Peter Carrell said...

From Shawn, with an omission for a claim that needs evidence since it alleges bad behaviour on the part of a group:

At least one gay rights group has insisted that marriage include polygamy and pansexualusm, and many others around the world continue to do so. Sone gay rights groups still support pri-child abuse groups like NAMBLA.

When the civil unions bill was passed NZ gay rights groups said the bill was enough and they would not seek to change the definition of marriage.

In short the pro-homosexual lobby in NZ LIED, and DID have a hidden agenda.

If anyone thinks this legislation will not lead to polygamy and who knows what else, they are living in a fantasy world.

It is not credible for the pro-ssm lobby in the Church to cover these facts up. It is not credible, given the radical changes over the last 40 years to family life, to claim that further radical change will not happen. It us not credible to support same sex marriage when Jesus said marriage was one man and one women, NOT two people of any gender.

...

The Church needs to wake up to the truly evil reality of where "gay rights" will lead us.

Father Ron Smith said...

"There are no limits to govermental hubris any more." - Andrei -
(Horseman of the Apocalypse?)

Certainly, this type of 'hubris' - on the part of our government - is much less toxic than the hubris of those governments that legeislate to kill or imprison innately Gay people. I'm quite sure which is less dangerous.

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, may I suggest there is a slight weakness in your argument - that, by excluding those who would like polygamy included in the marriage stakes, the government is somehow being unfair to those who would like that to happen.

The government is also not going to facilitate marriage between a person and their cat. do you suggest the RSPCA has a claim to put for discrimination here?

I do think common sense has a lot going for it on such matters.

Father Ron Smith said...

"So let's stand alongside of LGBT individuals. Let's let them know they are loved, they are welcomed, they are not alone. I think when we do, we will find that Jesus has been there with them for a long time now. It's time we joined him."

Whoever said this Peter, and I'm not sure whether it is you or Derek Flood; it sounds mighty like the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ! And most certainly, it echoes the behaviour of OLJC. Deo gratias!

Hear what The Spirit is saying to The Church! Thanks be to God!

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter. I'm not sure if you have purposefully excluded my last post in response to this by Shawn:-

'The Church needs to wake up to the truly evil reality of where "gay rights" will lead us.' - March 16 -

because I think my indication that H.M. the Queen is about to sign up to a Commonwealth Charter, to condemn discrimination against innate differences of gender and sexuality, would clearly render Shawn's remark suspect, to say the least.

(Has my remark got lost in the post, or did you consider it to be in your category of 'ad hominem'?) Just asking.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
yes, I did exclude that post. whether or not it constitutes 'ad hominem' it used words which I felt did not foster warm relationships between you and Shawn.

I included Shawn's comment, including his remark about evil reality because he was pointing ahead to where society is heading, not to any one person or group as constituting that evil reality.

Shawn Herles said...

ALL forms of government hubris are dangerous in the long run. That is the essential point being made by Bryden and myself.

The entire twentieth century was a lesson in the horrors of arbitrary State power. Justifying the use of such power for one reason (gay rights and marriage) means the the State will use such power elsewhere, and in fact already has and does on a daily basis.

Assurances that the State will not do this or that ( such as enforcing "non-discrimination" laws) are meaningless. Sooner or later it will.

What the State defines it sooner or later enforces.

The Church will sooner or later be forced to comply.

Ron brings up the example of people who identify as homosexuals being persecuted and murdered, and he is right to do so. That is surely an evil far worse than enforcing gay rights.

But surely that example reinforces the point that the arbitrary use of State power over peoples lives is wrong and dangerous.

When the State is so powerful that it can put an otherwise law abiding citizen to death for a consensual act (homosexuality) then surely that degree of power and control of other people's lives is evil.

But just as surely a State that can fine or imprison a Christian minister for speaking against same gender marriage (as happened in Sweden) is also evil and for the same reason; it is an abusive and coercive use of arbitrary State power.

And surely a State that can discriminate against conservative Christian parents who want to foster children on the basis that such parents will not promote homosexuality to children (as happened in Britian) is evil, and for the same reason.

Non-discrimination laws so easily become excuses for discrimination.

The arbitrary use of State power is almost always wrong and detrimental to a free and civil society.


mike greenslade said...

Kia ora Peter,
If the Anglican Church is painted into a corner - which I doubt it is - it is not the govt who is at fault, but the Church itself. If we continue to want church weddings to have legal standing, then we create our own problem. If we want autonomy, then we must separate what happens in church from the registration of a marriage.

As for all the nonsense about marriage equality being the thin edge of the wedge leading to all variety of forms of marriage - where to begin? Homosexual partnerships are a legal entity in our country. Polyandry, polygamy, polyamory and marrying my cat are not. What the law change is requiring is equal rights for equal relationships. If polygamy became legal in NZ, then there may be a case for it too, but that has never been proposed at any significant level.

There is no devil in the detail. If we want to make noise about peoples behaviour, we should be looking at what goes on in boardrooms rather than bedrooms.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Mike
I agree that the church now ought to extricate itself from the business of doing the state's work in witnessing the registration of relationships.

I suggest there are two points that can be made about polygamy, marrying one's cat. One is that gay marriage is the thin end of a slippery slope to such things. (Not a point I am trying to make right now). The other is that gay marriage involves a supporting argument and the supporting argument could, or should consistently new applied to other matters. (I am trying to make that point).

Andrei said...

Mike there are polygamamous marriages inNew Zealand today - those conducted where polygamany is legal and those that have arisen without legal recognition but perhaps religious, recognition perhaps not.

This is one reason why the "gay marriage" debate is so silly - from all the rhetoric you would be led to believe that some sort of vice police were tearing "loving, monogamous same sex couples" apart, whereas everyone is free to organize their domestic relationships in any way they please.

This is about changing the time honoured and universally understood meaning of what marriage is for perposes which are not benign.

It is not about human rights, that is a smokescreen

Bryden Black said...

I guess any blog, by virtue of the medium, runs the risk of hasty reading, and so with the hasty drawing of conclusions ... But it is less than helpful when a lack of careful, close reading nonetheless persists.

Mike; I have NEVER made the argument that the current piece of proposed legislation is “the thin edge” of any “wedge” ... Rather, as Peter has now correctly observed, the point and the sole point is the arbitrary exercise of State power to draw the boundary ‘here’ rather than ‘there’ - when the premise of their supposed argument just does not warrant such a drawing of boundaries. For in fact, the very premise does not warrant the central proposal of their stance anyway! Just so my initial observation: “the short answer is the governing principles [of “equality” and “non discrimination”] on their own are woefully inadequate to define the true nature of human marriage.” In the Christian scheme of things, with its sacramental ontology, human marriage, between a man and a woman, comprises a far richer reality than that derivable from presently crusading ideologies as expressed in this Marriage Amendment Bill.

Then Ron; of course you are right to highlight the horrid persecution of other States in their own abuse of power when they unjustly discriminate against gays and lesbians via forms of legislation which run counter to a Christian ethic. But as I’ve said before on ADU: two wrongs don’t make a right. And now Shawn has carefully detailed something of what this means ...

As I’ve also said before on ADU, quoting Herbert Butterfield, those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. I try not to forget the lessons of the Barmen Declaration ...

Father Ron Smith said...

"This is about changing the time honoured and universally understood meaning of what marriage is for perposes (sic)which are not benign. It is not about human rights, that is a smokescreen" - Andrei -

With all due respect, andrei; one wonder what is 'not benign' about the 'loving, same sex, monogamous relationship that is being proposed on the Government Marriage bill?

What is so sinister about such relationships - which involve"two people who love one another and wish to share their lives together for the rest of their lives"?

Surely this is infinitely preferable to heterosexual 'serial monogamy' which seems to be a larger problem in the world than Gay people loving one another?

In today's Gospel passage, Jesus is criticised by the self-righteous for allowing a notorious Sinner to anoint his feet! "Where Charity and Love are: there is God" (Maundy Thursday Liturgy)

Father Ron Smith said...

"This is about changing the time honoured and universally understood meaning of what marriage is for perposes which are not benign. It is not about human rights, that is a smokescreen" - Shawn -

Shawn, I think you'll find that the UK Government will discourage foster-parents from actively discriminating against Gay people - which was what was happening in the case you mention.

The State is not in the business of actually 'promoting' homosexuality - or, indeed, encouraging of anyone doing so. The State merely want a level playing field for a social arena where discrimination can be harmful to a Gay child's nurture. That sound quite Christian to me.

Shawn Herles said...

Actively preventing "discrimination" in the private sphere with regards to homosexuality IS promoting homosexuality at the expence of freedom of religion and freedom of association. Thus the State is in the business of promoting homosexuality. Preventing discrimination is being used as an excuse to discriminate against conservative Christians.

Anything can be justified in the name of preventing discrimination, but if that involves the coercive use of state power it is still wrong.

Freedom of association is essential for a truly free society, and by it's very nature freedom of association means the freedom to discriminate.

Freedom means the right for parents, whether biological, adoptive or foster, to pass on their values and religious heritage without interference from the state in the name of preventing discrimination.

And yes, freedom means that if two, three or however many people of whatever gender mix want to make a legally binding contract amongst themselves and call it a marriage that is their right, so long as they respect the right of other free individuals or private organizations, such as independent schools and churches, not to agree with that definition or be forced to recognize it.

It is surely contrary to reason to believe that freedom can be established by increasing the power and scope of the state's control over people and by over-riding freedom of religion, conscience, and association in the name of preventing discrimination or enforcing arbitrary, biased and selective versions of "equality".

The state cannot enforce economic or social equality without increasing it's own power at the expense of genuine freedom for all, and without wielding power in a coercive, arbitrary and thus unjust manner. That surely is the salient lesson of the 20th century, a lesson which in some cases led to the murders of millions in the name of state enforced equality.

Bryden Black said...

It's good to see Ron that we both view 'serial polygamy' an issue to be addressed. That said, perhaps I need to repeat: two wrongs don't make a right.

You and Welby are absolutely right Peter. "The bridge" of which you speak I've found to be best is simple friendship. Seems to go quite a long way in most walks of life, hey!

Shawn Herles said...

The answer to the impasse is to get the State out of the business of defining marriage in the first place. If marriage as far as the State is concerned was merely a matter of private contract, and if the State upheld freedom of contract, association (including the right to discriminate) and property, then both the right of self-identifying homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists, or whatever, to contract privately and call it "marriage" if they so wish, would be upheld, and the right of churches, voluntary associations, private schools, families, parents and individuals who believe in traditional Christian marriage (or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu) to freely preach, teach, practice and pass on their view to their children without fear of sanction by the State.

This is why I do not support the proposed marriage bill nor trust the long term intentions of it's backers.

If this bills authors and backers really wanted marriage equality in any real sense they would privatize marriage. Give up State power and control. But instead we get a bill that discriminates every bit as much as the current law, just in an arbitrarily different way, and promotes a growing inequality between the State and civil society.

Father Ron Smith said...

"And surely a State that can discriminate against conservative Christian parents who want to foster children on the basis that such parents will not promote homosexuality to children (as happened in Britian)(sic) is evil, and for the same reason." - Shawn -

Contrary to my last post, where I mistakenly attributed the headline I had quoted, to Shawn; it really belonged to Andrei.

My headlined quotation here, is the one to which I actually responded. To save unnecessary duplication, my response to Shawn is in my previous posting - but with the wrong H/L attribution.

(sort that out; it's a puzzle)

Father Ron Smith said...

"Freedom of association is essential for a truly free society, and by it's very nature freedom of association means the freedom to discriminate."

- Shawn -

Your statement here authorises the practise of discrimination against Christians and Christianity. I'm not sure that this is a good thing - even in a 'free society' that you are advocating.

I'm all for 'freedom of religion', myself.