The debate in the UK on gay marriage continues to hot up, for now, mainly between opposing factions of the Anglican Church. After months of mainly negative, occasionally hysterical comments, from both Catholics and Anglicans, the tide seems to be turning with a series of more positive Anglican pronouncements.
Leading Anglican clergymen have written to the to the Times suggesting that equal marriage is a cause to celebrate, and that the Church of England has “nothing to fear” from the extension of marriage to same-sex couples. Signatories to the letter include Dr Jeffrey John, the openly gay dean of St Albans, Canon Giles Goddard of the General Synod, the suffragan bishop of Buckingham, and the deans of Norwich, Guildford and Portsmouth.
In the letter, the signatories, including five former bishops, observe that recent statements by “church leaders past and present” may give people the wrong impression that the Church has come out against equal marriage.
“Marriage is a robust institution,” they continue, “which has adopted much over the centuries. That there are same-sex couples who want to embrace marriage should be cause for rejoicing in the Christian Church.”
More good news.
Doctor Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales has added his voice in support to gay marriage, saying: “All life-long committed relationships deserved the welcome, pastoral care and support of the Church."
He focused on the welfare of gay people whom he feared could be made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in churches by the negative tone emerging from other religious leaders as Government proposals for same-sex marriage are debated nationally.
Dr Morgan said: “The Government’s consultation on civil marriage raises a whole host of theological questions for the church.” But he added, "My concern at the moment is that in any discussion which might ensue on this, gay people may once more gain the impression that the church is uncaring and unsympathetic.
An Anglican priest has said the relationships between Jesus and his disciple John suggests he was gay, but that this is of no spiritual significance.
Paul Oestreicher, Canon Emeritus of Coventry Cathedral has written in the Guardian newspaper that the evidence for the Christ being “what we today call gay is very strong”.
Canon Oestreicher’s parents fled Nazi Germany in 1938 for New Zealand. He was ordained a priest in London in 1960.
His interesting viewpoint reprised the message he had preached on Good Friday in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital.
Less good news. But it doesn’t count for much.
Lincoln’s Conservative MP, Karl McCartney has rejected a constituent’s suggestion that he support marriage equality for gay and straight couples. In his opinion, gays have ‘exhausted the cause of equal rights’.
In a letter reported by Political Scrapbook, Mr McCartney cast doubt over “Lynne Featherstone MP’s ‘consultation’ currently taking place. Even someone who had no feelings either way would not consider this a neutral consultation as it presumes an action”.
He told his constituent gay people have “exhausted the cause of equal rights and have now picked on an issue which would possibly only affect a few thousand people every year, whilst also uprooting thousands of years of Christian tradition."
Lustralboy can't help wondering if he was referring to Christian traditions like burning witches at the stake, crusading across Asia, fiddling with choirboys and the Spanish Inquisiton. Might not those traditions be best uprooted, Karl?
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