So despite the fact that feedback to the public consultation was, as several MSPs admitted, ‘overwhelmingly negative’ the Scottish Parliament has enacted legislation permitting same sex marriage anyway.
The debate was notable for its attacks upon Christianity. Patrick Harvie (Green) suggesting that opposition to same sex marriage was necessarily homophobic. John Finnie (Independent) equated opposing same sex marriage to religious groups who throw goats off towers to their death. Mary Fee (Labour) asserted that the Bible should not be used to attack same-sex marriage because the ‘Bible also supports slavery’, and prohibits cutting hair.
So far so bad. But, as usual, there is worse to come. A number of amendments to the bill designed to protect churches and other religious institutions from potential legal action or discrimination were all rejected. Protection for charities and registrars was deliberately omitted. The legislation was deliberately enacted with a weak opt in provision for faith groups or individuals which opens the door for further gains by the homosexual lobby. Churches at present can still refuse such marriages but if they wish to in the future they can opt in and provide same sex marriage ceremonies.
We should take this in conjunction with the statement from the CofS spokesman. Alan Hamilton, Convener of the Church’s Legal Questions Committee: ‘The Church of Scotland holds to the mainstream Christian belief that marriage is properly between a man and a woman.
‘Although there are a range of views on this issue within the Church, this will remain our view unless changed by our General Assembly, the supreme decision-making body in the Church, which meets each year in May.’
Technically accurate but what it means is that the GA is wide open to the redefinition of marriage, and in the present climate how long will it be before the GA reverses its position? We have ministers who whole heartedly approve of same sex marriage and will themselves take the opportunity to enter such an arrangement. Can we realistically see the GA saying it disapproves of their action or considers such to be un-Christian?
Some day in the not too distant future a homosexual couple will approach a carefully selected Church of Scotland minister and ask for a church wedding. If the minister complies, as is entirely possible, they get their wedding and the church gets a problem. The church will have to decide what to do about the minister. If they don’t institute disciplinary proceedings the church de facto accepts same sex marriage. If they do discipline the dissenting minister he or she will inevitably become a martyr to the cause and focus of dissent within the denomination leading to the eventual acceptance of same sex marriage. If a civil case were to be brought against the church by the minister can we be sure that in the prevailing climate the church would win?
It does not take the gift of prophecy to predict this, merely reflection on recent events. Whenever the homosexual lobby have campaigned for a gain it has been with the assurance that this would be all they wanted. As soon as they get what they want they move on to the next gain. We can all remember declarations that all that was desired was civil partnerships and that there was no wish for marriage.
This will happen because the homosexual lobby is relentless. Their view of freedom is that they should be free to say and do what they like and we should be free to agree with them. Dissent from the prevailing homosexual orthodoxy is not a permitted option.
Homosexual orthodoxy already has such a grip that many Christians find themselves in extremely difficult positions. I recently had a letter from a young friend asking for advice. A gifted classical singer, choral director and composer he finds himself under pressure if he wishes to continue working in his chosen field. The same letter, however, could have come from a teacher, a medic, a registrar, a couple wishing to adopt, from any of us. With his permission I include part of his letter.
‘I experience and have experienced first hand a form of militant liberalism from within and without the church which I find, frankly, terrifying. Having been a Christian all my life, living out my Faith as best I can, I suddenly find myself labeled as an extremist, a fanatic, and considered a danger to society. This is not an exaggeration! When I was a scholar in a certain episcopal cathedral, some of the beliefs I held were regularly described as abhorrent (though I must confess I was not, at the time, brave enough to profess them openly).
‘I would value any advice on how a young Christian with some influence should respond to the environment in which I regularly work. I must confess, I find myself increasingly living in fear of being asked direct questions which, answered honestly, could lead to me being black-listed at best and hated a worst. I am most afraid of being read wrong. For example, I have many friends and colleagues who are gay. How could I expect them to understand that their life-style does not make me love them any less, and yet I cannot agree that homosexual relationships are acceptable. And then the other end of the spectrum: I believe that God has given me a calling for working with children and I spend great amounts of time and energy on that calling. As a young, single male, you can guess how many of my peers view that calling…
“Any words of wisdom / scripture references and/or advice would be most welcome.”
What advice or help would you offer to a young Christian friend?