Comments: Evangelical Alliance publishes guidance on new Marriage law

Sorry to post another link, but this is interesting too in its reporting that US conservative evangelicals fighting the culture wars against lgbti people are not only getting tired but that they are realising that it isn't working. In this context the advice from EA seems akin to the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke (sorry am I allowed to use that simile these days?) They are just going to get swept away by the sea change in public attitudes: Justin Welby's 'revolution'.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/the-quiet-gay-rights-revolution-in-americas-churches/278646/

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 9:36am BST

This seems to be a fairly clear and straight forward statement of the legal position. The only strange part is in the Introduction:

"It is essential for Christians to continue to defend and promote marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman, but this does not mean that they should provoke accusations of homophobia. Indeed, it is worth remembering that many people from the gay community also opposed David Cameron’s plans."

This seems to imply that they should not be homophobic because many gay people opposed gay marriage. Not only is this factually incorrect - a few high profile people did oppose the legislation, but certainly not "many" - it is also a strange reason for Christians to resist homophobia: not because all people are made in God's image, but because some of them "agreed with us"!

Posted by Iain Baxter at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 10:04am BST

I can't remember when I last read a more reactionary and negative document. Surely, if the "traditional" understanding of marriage is so commendable, one would expect an alliance of evangelists to be wholeheartedly commending it, and responding to FAQs of those who long to do likewise. But there is no news here, good or otherwise, just the same old, old story. For a profound lack of confidence in the Gospel, look no further.

Posted by ExRevd at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 10:23am BST

Sorry I've seen evangelicals at their worst, particularly in an alliance.

If it is not in the vernacular try this one "social deprivation". This is where the "incrowd" attempt to deny the legitimacy of someone, accuse them of slander/insanity etc. and make it that no one "respectable" will speak to them. They then threaten defamation lawsuits or litigation if anyone tries to expose their game.

Solution? Treat everyone as you would want to be treated. Be fair to everyone in the way you would want to be treated fairly. Treat gays as you would want to be treated.

In reality, in humanity, most murders are committed silently. Humanity as a species recognises and deals with those who murder. Do not be silent on abuse, the abusers are exposed, and humanity collectively finds a solution.

There is a saying that history is shaped by wars. I do not agree. History is shaped by humanity's collective will to avoid wars and bloodshed. That is why we have dams, electricity supplies, food chains, property laws. These are expressions of the collective will to provide a safe environment in which to raise children/grandchildren and beyond.

There might be struggles but it is the commitment that counts.

Posted by cheryl clough at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 10:40am BST

Use it with a care for spelling where US viewers are concerned, Richard. In those parts, the Little Dutch Boy had his finger in a dike, with an "i". A "y" would convey a totally different meaning.

Posted by Roger Mortimer/Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 1:00pm BST

In my opinion, this EA document is noticeably less negative in tone than earlier ones. See
http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/politics/new-resources-on-marriage.cfm
and in particular this briefing note issued only a few days earlier than the one linked above
http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/politics/upload/The-redefinition-of-marriage-Church-briefing.pdf

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 1:21pm BST

Roger, at the risk of provoking the esteemed moderator of this blog, my Chambers dictionary allows both spellings tor either meaning!

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 3:45pm BST

Chambers is a British dictionary, Richard. US usage is as I described above. Moreover, even the most reputable dictionaries can be idiosyncratic. The shorter OED bought when I started university, noted of the verb "masturbate" that it is "intrans".

Posted by Roger Mortimer/Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 4:38pm BST

I think EA have done a considerable public service by producing this factual, accurate and balanced publication. Of course they are catering for people opposed to marriage for same sex couples but they do so in a calm, measured way which I think is helpful. One can see less of the apocalypse in this document than is often the case with EA.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 9:48pm BST

I sometimes think that it would be rather nice to have those 'like' buttons here, as they do on Facebook.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Thursday, 15 August 2013 at 10:33pm BST

There is the law of a government, which is always changing, and the beliefs of a Church, which should not change. Maybe it shouldn't matter to the Church what the government's current law is, except to recognize it but apply one's own beliefs. I'm not sure why a belief about the meaning of marriage means one is "homophobic" if they disagree with current law. It just means they disagree, without using inflammatory language to paint an inaccurate picture of the person.

Posted by Brian at Friday, 16 August 2013 at 2:54am BST

Thanks, Brian. With friends like you, our enemy quotient is dead full.

Awesome!

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 16 August 2013 at 8:54am BST

"There is the law of a government, which is always changing, and the beliefs of a Church, which should not change."

Really? Not even when those beliefs contradict proven science? Does the sun revolve around the earth? Are the stars and planets merely points on a succession of spheres surrounding the earth?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 16 August 2013 at 11:33am BST

'It just means they disagree, without using inflammatory language to paint an inaccurate picture of the person.'

You will find, if you care to look, that anti-gay MPs, peers and archbishops both RC and C of E, do indeed employ very intemperate and 'inflammatory language' while they seek to deny those of us who happen to be lgbti a place in both community and in their denominations.

Do not not try to paint them as simple, victimised believers, please.

Posted by Laurence at Friday, 16 August 2013 at 12:36pm BST

"the beliefs of a Church, which should not change"

So the Catholic Church should be proscribing heliocentric models of the cosmos and asserting that Jews bear the guilt of killing Jesus, in order to remain consistent?

Posted by Interested Observer at Friday, 16 August 2013 at 4:36pm BST

I think it's a little unkind to denominate Brian as an 'enemy' (I have no idea whether he is or isn't). The point is that the law that has been passed does decide the question of whether same sex marriage should be allowed to couples who wish to marry and also to churches and synagogues who wish to marry them and a mechanism to allow that to happen (a somewhat cumbersome one as it happens but there we are); the law also recognises the bona fides of those who are not on the same page and can, as a result, continue as loyal citizens, respecting their own beliefs in the matter as long as they respect the already in place discrimination laws. There is a certain balance to be struck in these things.

Posted by Craig Nelson at Saturday, 17 August 2013 at 10:33pm BST

Laurence - 'You will find, if you care to look, that anti-gay MPs, peers and archbishops both RC and C of E, do indeed employ very intemperate and 'inflammatory language' while they seek to deny those of us who happen to be lgbti a place in both community and in their denominations.'

Are you really denied a place in their denominations? Just because a homosexual couple cannot be married in one of their churches does this really mean they are denied a place in that community?

Posted by Steven at Sunday, 18 August 2013 at 11:58pm BST

Today, New Zealand celebrates its first Same-Sex Marriages, with some religious bodies agreeing to perform the ceremonies. In the meantime, the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches will not be joining in the celebrations. This does not prevent some anglicans and Catholics from joining with our LGBT sisters and brothers in celebrating their committed, faithful, same-sex relationships.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 19 August 2013 at 12:23am BST

You can rest assured there will be some gay marriages in Anglican Churches in Aotearoa/NZ, as the Governmment has no coercive powers over the Church.

Posted by robert Ian williams at Monday, 19 August 2013 at 5:43pm BST

`from the historical and biblical definition.'

That would be the historical view that held women as property until the last couple of centuries, would it? And the biblical "definition" that somehow ignores Solomon having 700 wives and 300 concubines?

*barf*

Pull the other ones, they have bells on.

Posted by Tim at Thursday, 22 August 2013 at 10:05pm BST
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