Today the Coalition for Marriage posted a blog in which it revealed the shambolic nature of the Government’s supposed ‘listening exercise’ in making its decisions about the proposed changes to marriage laws. It’s worth reading. I post it here again in an attempt to increase awareness of the huge bias on the part of the Government to fulfill the wishes of small but extremely loud and persistent campaign groups who are out to bully their agenda through parliament while a great many sincere people in the nation are trying to work out what they think of this and what the ramifications might be.
It is not right for our government to be so blatantly biased and so obviously rushing the process through. Boris Johnson: “Let’s just knock it on the head and move on!” – all proponents have been speaking like this as though there were a complete national consensus. They’re not out of touch, they’re just choosing not to keep in touch.
But on a broader note: I find it amazing that the prime minister of the nation has the right to introduce something, namely same-sex marriages, in churches; who gave him that jurisdiction? Unfortunately, Henry VIII did, and in my opinion, we would stand a much better chance of holding our ground as the church if we weren’t married to the state. That’s one marriage I’d be happy to see ‘changed’.
The trouble is we have been okay with state church as long as we have thought that it is right to in some way ‘govern society’ as Christians, an idea which was born in the days of Constantine, not Christ. The New Testament says submit to those in authority, not necessarily join them or try to be them. I’m not against engagement in politics, nor was Jesus; but he certainly did things from the ground up rather than the top down.
I am inclined to side myself with Stanley Hauerwas who recently said something to the effect of: “I’m one of those rare kinds of Christians who believes that I should just find out who’s in authority and work out how to survive under them…”
In another context recently I was listening to Andy Knox, a descendent of Scottish Reformer John Knox. He spoke honestly from his experience as a GP often faced with women considering abortion or having been through it (to take one of the other hot religio-political topics of recent times) and said that he did not think change could come merely through law. His experience more profoundly showed that just loving people, serving them and caring for them at a relational level had the power to change hearts and minds, so that women considering abortion very often went through with the pregnancy, and that some of those who had had abortions at some point in their lives and were now struggling in some way emotionally, found healing and forgiveness through his unique ministry as a Christian doctor!
This is how Jesus did it, and how I really believe he wanted his followers to do it: change from the ground up, not coercion from the top down.
And if anyone in the CofE does feel like recommending disestablishment, feel free… 😉