Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Gay Marriage: Christians show their love

Isn’t it fascinating that there’s such fierce opposition to the legalisation of gay marriage?

The Bishop of Leicester tells us that the move is leading to divisions between politicians ‘and the vast majority of practising religious people’ in this country.

Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
Spoke out for the offended majority of believers

That was quite interesting because there’s been a lot of talk this week about the findings from the latest census, held last year. It showed, for instance, that those who regard themselves as ‘Christian’ are now down to 59% of the population of England and Wales. 

The second biggest group, dwarfing all the minority religions combined, is those who classify themselves as non-believers: they’re now up to 25%.

But those who call themselves Christian are by no means all particularly assiduous in their practice. Other studies show that only about 15% of the people attend church regularly – and that doesn’t mean weekly, just once a month or more.

My suspicion is that ‘the vast majority of practising religious people’, for whom the Bishop of Leicester chose to speak, would come to around 10% of the population. And gay people probably represent around 6%. So we
’re faced with two substantial though hardly huge minorities, one of whom we have to offend to please the other. What a dilemma. 

Except that it isn’t, really. After all, no-one’s trying to force the Bishop of Leicester to contract a gay marriage. Apart from anything else, he’s been in a straight one for nearly forty years and it would be a bit unfair to his wife. This whole business really isn’t about foisting anything on people who don’t want it – most of us can stick to straight marriage, just as we did before – it’s about allowing it for people who do.

Christianity is based on the fundamental principle that God is Love. If someone wants to do something which affects no-one else, how could Christians, under the injunction to love their neighbours, possibly refuse them the right? Why, if they did that, you might think they’d want to impose their beliefs on people who don’t share them.

Surely Christian believers would never behave that way, would they?

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