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?


  1. A sobering blog post. I recently heard of a similar experience from a young Christian friend who expressed his belief in the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman during a discussion at university on diversity and rights of minority groups. He explained that his statement was meant with ‘massive negativity’ and that the tutor then went on to explain to him how obvious it was that his statement was wrong. Frightening stuff.

    I can’t help but think that Christians are now called to replicate the example of John the Baptist who confronted Herod over his relationship with his brother’s wife. Despite the cost, we must be bold in our application of the truth to the lies so prevalent in our culture today (no doubt easier typed than done!). Much prayer is needed.

  2. in terms of the young man who wrote to you…
    Loving is difficult. How do we love without judging? The Bible says we haven’t to judge – in fact we’ve to be extremely wary of the logs in our own eyes, and if we’re not free from sin (which we aren’t), we shouldn’t be casting stones. Does the young man have friends/colleagues who are in an opposite sex relationship but aren’t married? Does he have friends/colleagues who engage in other behaviour that doesn’t meet God’s standards? Does he feel differently about them, in terms of his anxieties about “being read wrong”? And if not, why not? And how does he love them? And are there any other group of people (apart from gay) where we would consider pointing out their particular sins (as we see them) before they can come to Christ? Does God have to deal with a gay person’s sexual practice before he deals with any other part of their life? Might someone in a gay relationship come to Christ, and be in the situation where God deals with lots of other things first so that that person continues to be in Christ, and in that gay relationship until the day he/she dies?

    1. The young man who wrote the letter made no assumptions concerning the relationship between his homosexual friends and Christ, simply presented a problem concerning his homosexual friends’ relationships with him.
      The assumption that because someone has a concern in one particular area of wrongdoing he therefore has no concern with other areas of wrongdoing seems condemnatory and judgemental.

      1. Hi Campbell – I made no assumptions – hence the question marks. And if he is concerned about these other areas of wrongdoing, which I would imagine he is, it might help him to think through how he relates with these other people, and therefore how he could relate with his gay colleagues/friends.

      2. Thank you for the gracious correction.

        I will write out 1000 times ‘I must not be so combative, it leads to hasty assumptions.’

      3. Thank you for the gracious correction.

        I will write out 1000 times ‘I must not be so combative, it leads to hasty assumptions.’

    2. Kaper’s first premise is wrong. Matt. 7 does not forbid but calls for wisdom in how we judge. Jesus goes on to tell us not to give what is holy to dogs or to cast pearls before swine. This requires us to discriminate what is holy and precious from that which is not. The Book of Proverbs is replete with calls to judge what is good from what is evil.

  3. ‘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 Rev Dr John Cameron, of St Andrews, I believe, has already offered himself for this dubious distinction, according to his letter published in the Scottish press on Tuesday.

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