Did anyone hear this discussion on the radio this morning? Cardinal O’Brian, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was being interviewed about same sex marriage and made some rather startling statements.
I found it really hard to follow some of his logic, even as someone who has been in and around churches all my life.This is what he was saying;
If we allowed gay marriage, it would amount to ‘shaming’ the country.
We would be taking standards that are ‘human rights’, from the UN declaration of human rights and turning them on their head.
We would be redefining marriage to something it is not, as marriage could only happen between a man and a woman.
He then compared gay marriage to what might happen if the government suddenly decided to legalise slavery. Thought this a ‘very very good example of what might happen in this country’.
Then he started to describe the ‘thin edge of the wedge’, referencing the Abortion Act in the 60’s.
I could start to tell you my position on this issue, along with whole pages full of justifications. I could get into the relationships between scripture and culture, and the authority of certain OT texts.
I could also discuss the position of love as opposed to legalism, and the fact that sexual ‘sin’ has taken far to central a part in our understanding as opposed to (for example) gluttony or usury.
I could also tell you how bored I am with the way church is ripping itself to pieces with this issue. How hard hearted and foolish we look from the outside. How different camps use this issue as a ‘totem’ of acceptability.
I could wonder aloud why we could not just agree to disagree and focus on finding a path of grace to walk on for our own lives.
And I could describe the feeling I have that this issue will look and sound very different in 30 years time, in the same way that remarriage after divorce and (dare I say it) slavery are viewed as theologically different now than how they have been previously.
I could also talk about how church leaders who seek to ‘defend’ the church, or take us back to some mythical state before ‘progress’ damaged and destroyed our Christian way of life are often talking utter nonsense. As if God is not big enough to stand up for himself.
But rather than all of this, I will just say that the Cardinal made an ass of himself.