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You don’t need their blessing

I kinda feel the need to apologise for this one. I don’t watch TV news programs very much these days, nor much TV at all come to that, but I happened to walk past the TV when Mrs SAoT was watching SKY news.

Now if it’s lightweight, fluffy dross you want, SKY news is your thing. There are some decent correspondents ~ Tim Marshall in particular on the foreign affairs stuff is very competent and one or two of their defence analysts aren’t bad, but the studio presenters ~ oh dear. The morning show has the generic cliché blonde airhead and Eamonn Holmes. I think Viz have an interesting take on him.

Anyway, they do newspaper reviews (news commenting on news?) with the publicity-seeking lightweight D-lister making comments of such inanity that to call them shallow vastly overstates their depth. They are kind of media pond-skimmers, never really breaking the surface, making no waves at all.

Today’s commentary was about the Church and gay marriage. The celeb, perhaps not wanting to bite the media hand that feeds him, was predictably in support.

First off, Mr celeb didn’t seem to think the bible had a position on gay relationships one way or the other. Now if you are going on TV to make some points, here’s a hint. Have at least a remote, sketchy grasp of what you are talking about. It makes you look a bit less the twat. It seems to me difficult to argue that the bible is silent on the issue. By all means point out inconsistencies, say they are metaphorical, allegories for a simpler age if you want, talk about Constantine and the Nicene creed if you must but know the basic text.

But more significantly, why on earth would gay people want the legally enforced (and therefore surely utterly meaningless) blessing of the established church? Personally, I couldn’t care two hoots of the church find Mrs SAoT’s Muslim faith makes me an infidel, or whether they regard me as unmarried in the eyes of God. If they don’t want to marry me, so be it, it’s their belief system, not mine.

I do not require their blessing, their validation or any forgiveness. They can damn me to hell for eternity if they see fit. Nor in fact do I need the approval of the state. I see the argument (such as it is) for equal treatment before the law, though such an argument is simply an argument demanding equality amongst tax slaves, but okay.

So guys really. You don’t need people who believe in highly unlikely bronze-age stuff to say you are okay. You don’t need the government either; they are just a gang of coercively violent criminals. Live the life you want to live in freedom and happiness, just don’t try to use state violence to coerce others into declaring they believe something which many of ‘em patently do not.

You are trying to replace discrimination with thought-crime if you do that. As my mum used to say “just ignore them”

24 Comments

  1. There is a law, which discriminates between people on the basis of their gender. It is better to remove the law – so making marriage a contract between people that can be written as the parties desire – or you can remove the discrimination. The second choice of course opens up all sorts of other unintended consequences and possibilities of conflict but is likely all we will get “before the revolution comes”.

  2. JuliaM says:

    “But more significantly, why on earth would gay people want the legally enforced (and therefore surely utterly meaningless) blessing of the established church? “

    Because it’s nothing to do with the stated claims of ‘equality’, and everything to do with ensuring forced ‘acceptance’ by what a tiny minority of political activists see as their enemy.

  3. The law should not be involved. If it is it should not discriminate. I don’t care if anyone thinks marriage is between a man and a woman. That is a personal not a legal choice. As things stand non-established churches, like Quakers, who want the option and so presumably do not accept the CofE line, are legally prevented from marrying same sex partners.

  4. NickM says:

    Ian (nto) b
    I have been trying to make the point here for months that the Quakers, some Jews and some Methodists want gay marriage on their gaffs so the religious freedom matter cuts both ways. Nobody apart from a fringe of loons wants to force Catholic priests to marry Adam and Steve. And I would suggest those people really dot’s have “a gay in this fight” as oppossed to seeing this as a tool to hit religion with.

    If I were to guess this has all been raised to an epic bun-fight by the CofE because of the prospect that some priests (and certainly some vicars – probably a lot) will want to do gay marriages and this shall further fragment the CofE in particular. And this puts the willies (so to speak) up the CofE hierachy. They’d definitely lose the African churches. Ultimately this would lead to disestablishment as the CofE became ever more fragmented.

  5. “Ultimately this would lead to disestablishment as the CofE became ever more fragmented.”

    No bad thing anyway. Anything that reduces the state’s (which really means politicians’) capacity to stick its nose in should be welcomed.

  6. JuliaM – “Because it’s nothing to do with the stated claims of ‘equality’, and everything to do with ensuring forced ‘acceptance’ by what a tiny minority of political activists see as their enemy.”

    The RC Church and the established churches ARE the enemy for what they want to impose on others. Its easy to lose sight of that because they don’t try to impose their will by blowing people up, but do it in a much more insidious way.

  7. Radical Rodent says:

    What riles me the most about this is that I recently read two independent statistics: 1) homosexuals make up about 1.5% of the population; and 2) less than 10% of homosexuals are bothered about “marriage”. In other words, this whole farrago is for the appeasement of little more than 0.1% of the population; is this how democracy works?

    My own feelings are that this is just smoke being puffed out (pun intended) to screen something even more odious.

  8. Radical Rodent: OR In other words, this whole farrago is about 99.99% of the population imposing their will on a tiny minority because they can; is this how democracy works?

  9. Furor Teutonicus says:

    XX ian (not that one) b
    June 13, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Radical Rodent: OR In other words, this whole farrago is about 99.99% of the population imposing their will on a tiny minority because they can; is this how democracy works? XX

    Yes, actualy. It is in fact, probably THE definition of “democracy”

    The majority get to say/do/ban what they want. If you don’t like it, start a party and get voted into parliament so YOU can be the majority and say/do/ban what you want.

  10. John Galt says:

    Okay, since I do have a dog in this fight (being a closet member of both the International Conspiracy of Faggots and The Alliance of the Friends of Dorothy), I’ll bite.

    We are a minority and despite claims by the liberal lefties, practising LBGT (Lesbians, Bisexuals, Gay and Trans-Gender) individuals are only a small %-age of the general population, probably around 2% or so.

    The influence of LBGT on leftist politics is much greater than their population size as LBGT are much more likely to be politically active on leftist issues.

    For most of the current LBGT population, most of they became politically active due to the introduction of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 under Mrs. Thatcher’s government. This was felt by the LBGT population as a whole to be a turning point given all of the positive forward movement since the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act 1967.

    The final liberalization as most of us saw it was The Civil Partnerships Act 2004, which provided the necessary recognition in law for LBGT relations and secured equivalent rights in taxation, inheritance and other aspects of the state.

    However, with “Gay Marriage” LBGT activists are overreaching themselves and moving from a justifiable position of equality in law to an outright assault on religious institutions, especially the Church of England.

    The vast majority of the LBGT community do not support this and are tolerant (if not exactly supportive) of the position of the Church of England.

    If the state uses it’s “monopoly on the use of force” against the CofE to require vicars to marry LBGT couples whether they like it or not, then this will only lead to alienation of those who hold religious views.

    I don’t support this and I know that only a small minority of LBGT activists do. Most of us think the churches, synagogues and mosques should be allowed to follow their own conscience on this.

    Britain has become a far more liberal society than it was 2-generations ago, in another 2-generations they will probably wonder what all of the fuss was about.

    The simple passage of time alone might bring down these barriers without resorting to legislation.

  11. Robert the Biker says:

    I just wonder O tyrannical one if you advance this viewpoint about ‘bronze age institutions’ at the mosque. Perhaps you should do so when lecturing the imam on tolerance, diversity and gay rights – particularly their right to marry in his institution.

  12. NickM says:

    RtB,
    Well, the Koran is Dark Age, not Bronze Age ;-) Anyway, the “Go tell it to the imam” line has grown a long beard by now. Apart from anything it makes the spectacular assumption that Islam is monolithic. In much the same way during the Motoons farrago I drew some toons and put ‘em online on “drawmohammed.com” or whatever it was called. I was threatened on that forum with such niceties in pidgin English as the buggering of my sister . Apart from it being mouthing off I don’t have a sister. So bugger Nick’s “imagination sister” to your heart’s content pal. But a general theme in the opprobrium that site produced amongst the users of delinquent English was the assumption that all Westerners are Christians and/or Crusaders and/or Zionists. Do you see what I’m getting at?

    John,
    Closet? Not round here you aren’t!

    Yes, society has become enormously more liberal about most LGBT issues and I would say increasingly so through the passage of time and the greater openness of gays and lesbians because they feel they can be. The two have a geometric effect taken together. Look at TV through the last 30-40 years. In the ’70s gay characters were very Larry Grayson. Then there was EastEnders with that gay kiss which was an “ishoo”. Then you have Dr Who MkII with Captain Jack…

    I take your point about CPs but I do think part of the mess we are in now over all of this is that compromise. If civil marriage (which in England anyway is totally secular – you can play a song but nothing even vaguely religious – not even, as has been reported, Robbie William’s singing “Angels” – had simply been opened to any two consenting adults then the legislation would have been easier). I objected to CP because I saw it as the cause of “more law”. And yes there are some subtle differences between a CP and CW and if I am being cynical here legal-types like Tony just love arguing over subtle differences at other people’s expense. It was a classic New Labour wheeze of not simplifying a law (and I could have changed that in ten minutes with a biro) but introducing a whole new one. You know they made it specifically illegal to interfere with the wreck of the Titanic? It’s that mentality.

    Oh, there is so much more! I have been struggling for months to cohere this but it is so bloody complicated. A few more remarks…

    As to the sanctity of marriage. Doesn’t hold water. Some right straight numpties get married. Consider all those “Hello!” exclusive deals? When the inevitable divorce comes, well, that’s another magazine deal. I think that does more contra the sanctity of marriage… Except it doesn’t really. It doesn’t effect my marriage because marriage is (should be) intensely personal (though it must be externally recognized* – perhaps that paradox is the real rub here).

    And then there is the numbers game. The number of homosexuals is a notoriously difficult (and pointless) figure to pin down anyway. I don’t think it has a a role to play here. I am extremely uncomfortable with the idea of people’s most intimate relationships being “democratically determined”. If we ignore multiple marriages then all marriages, CPs, whatever are between a vanishingly small proportion of the population – i.e. just two people**. Another way to look at it is if the UK is a mere 1% gay (for whatever value of gay) and only 10% are fussed (I suspect both figures are rather higher) that is still 62,000 people or a reasonable sized town.

    But really the whole thing is a right unholy bugger’s muddle.

    *The later is a really big thing which makes me wonder about “just a contract between two people”.
    **When you fill out the forms they don’t have a clause at the registry office which enables them to supply “an alternative wife of equal or higher value”. It doesn’t work like that.

  13. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    RtB ~ I did not advance the argument that anyone has a right to marry anywhere in the original post. As to the Muslims I know (loads given the extended family) I tell the true believers that there is no God and the unbelievers that whilst Laphroaig is really, really nice, they should give Canadian Club a go.

    That said, in fairness there are none of the beardy-weirdly variety.

  14. The proposed legislation does not aim to use the ‘power of the state’ to force the CoE or any other church into carrying out same sex marriages.

    Despite that – “an outright assault on religious institutions, especially the Church of England.” And your problem with that is? It administers a part of the law relating to marriage for the state. The CofE is an arm of the State. It participates in government via its presence in the House of Lords.

    “Most of us think the churches, synagogues and mosques should be allowed to follow their own conscience on this.” Fine – but do the churches, synagogues and mosques allow others the same freedom? No, as the histrionic campaign by the CofE demonstrates, they want to impose their mediaeval morality on everyone else.

    “The majority get to say/do/ban what they want. If you don’t like it, start a party and get voted into parliament so YOU can be the majority and say/do/ban what you want.” – somewhat missing the point of a libertarian site don’t you think? Even as a non-libertarian I can grasp that point. The non-aggression principle isn’t about the imposition of force but about freedom from it.

  15. John Galt says:

    @NickM:

    “It was a classic New Labour wheeze of not simplifying a law (and I could have changed that in ten minutes with a biro) but introducing a whole new one.”

    If your intention is to scribble out every reference to “a man and a woman” and replace it with “two natural persons”, then I’m not sure how you would avoid exactly the problem we are now discussing.

    If they had simply created a one-line amendment to The Marriage Act 1994, redefining the basis of marriage as “two natural persons”, then the instant any vicar refused to undertake the marriage of two of his parishioners on the basis of them not being “a man and a woman” then the whole Equality and Human Rights brigade would have jumped on his/her head.

    Remember this? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15811223

    You’d get exactly the same again at churches up and down the country until a court heard the case and it would probably have gone the same way.

    At least by introducing the new civil partnerships as it did, we’ve dealt with most of the problems without explicitly tackling “Gay Marriage”.

    I accept that some churches and synagogues might want to move forward on that and it might be sensible to remove specific restrictions to allow that, but I believe it would be wrong to force the issue.

    Equally, all the focus has been on the CofE – what about the mosques? I’m not sure how the equivalent works under Islam, but assuming there is one, how long would it be before some LGBT activists forced the issue by being denied an Islamic wedding?

    There would be rioting and bloodshed – I don’t want that over a relatively minor issue and I think that view would be shared by the majority of the LGBT community.

  16. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    OK, as a gay man who also has a couple of post-graduate degrees in theology and philosophy, I’m gonna stick my neck out and say that I cannot make any sense of the problem. None at all.

    The problem, as far as I can tell, is solely down to a lack of definitions (how Ayn Rand-ian is that?). Here’s how I see it:

    First (and most obvious), a marriage is not, despite common usage, the same as a wedding. A marriage is a state of relationship between two persons, while a wedding is a ceremony that announces publicly the inception of that state.

    Second, there is no such thing as marriage. This is where the definitional confusion comes in. In fact, there are at least three different things, all unfortunately called marriage, and the failure to keep these different things, erm, straight is the root cause of the difficulty.

    The first thing called ‘marriage’ is a relationship recognised by the State. Two persons who meet the State’s criteria for being married are granted certain legal privileges. This has been discussed here previously so I won’t enumerate them. In this case, there is no difference between a heterosexual marriage and a gay civil partnership. Both confer the same legal rights. We (by which I mean we shirt-lifters and scissor-sisters) are already equal with breeders.

    The second thing called ‘marriage’ is a relationship recognised by a religious body. Different religions, denominations, sects, affiliations and so on will each have their own definitions and will grant or withhold their acknowledgement of, and blessings on, a relationship according to their own lights. And as libertarians we should have no problem with that.

    The third thing called ‘marriage’ is a relationship recognised by one’s social group. This may be as narrow as one’s family or as wide as ‘society’ as a whole. In short, we’re talking about social attitudes, i.e., whether one’s social group considers a particular partnering a valid ‘marriage’ or not.

    So that’s the definitions sorted. Now, the problem the Church of England is having with gay ‘marriage’ really comes down to the intermingling of Church and State. The majority of most religion’s wedding service is really just another type of religious service.

    That said, (and this is an important point) UK marriage law requires a particular form of words to be said in order for a wedding service to be valid initiation of the marital state. No, seriously, there is a brief but specific formula that must be said in order for a wedding ceremony to be recognised by the British government as a valid wedding. All of the wedding ceremony up to this point, and all of the ceremony after it, is a variable religious ceremony (the second thing called ‘marriage’ above). But for those few minutes that a priest is reciting the State-mandated formula, he is no longer a functionary of his church but a functionary of the State. He is, in effect, wearing two hats: one of his religious order and the other of the State.

    In Germany, I’m told, all of this folderol is avoid by splitting the civil aspect of a marriage from the religious side. All couples wishing to be married must attend a ceremony at the town hall. That ceremony grants them the legal privileges accorded by the State. If they then wish to have a religious blessing of their union then they arrange that with the relevant organisation.

    The Church of England’s submission suggests the possible disestablishment of the CoE, as if this would be a bad thing. As Instapundit says, ‘Faster, please.’

  17. JuliaM says:

    ian (not that one) b: “The RC Church and the established churches ARE the enemy for what they want to impose on others.”

    Yes, I’m terribly affected by what people in a little club I’m not forced to join want to impose on their members…

    *rolls eyes*

  18. JuliaM says:

    ian (not that one) b: “The proposed legislation does not aim to use the ‘power of the state’ to force the CoE or any other church into carrying out same sex marriages.”

    Oh, and I did like this one! Because legislation never has a way of metamorphing into something its creators never intended, does it? Still, I guess if they didn’t ‘aim’ to do it, that’ll be ok?

  19. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    PST – That is a really comprehensive and well reasoned comment.

  20. Umbongo says:

    Seriously, because I don’t know the answer, what is the deficiency attaching to civil partnerships which the same-sex marriage legislation seeks to cure? Seems to me that civil partnership is marriage in all but name. AFAIAA it confers the same legal privileges as the institution commonly referred to as “marriage”. If two people in a civil partnership wish to refer to their status as “being married” who cares? If I did care then I can ignore their choice of how to describe their legal status. That, of course, might upset them but, then again, why should I – or anybody else – care?

  21. zack says:

    I’m with JuliaM on this one. Marriage is not something that The State created; they were instituted/developed much earlier then the modern state has. Conservatives/Libertarians in America rightly got upset when Obama said that he wanted to ‘fundamentally transform America’ – why would be OK with the government attempting to fundamentally transform something as basic to human society as to redefine marriage?

    The issue of legal equality concerning things like taxation, inheritance and other aspects of the state can (and apparently have been in Britain) been addressed without touching marriage; the only reason that I can see for people wanting to push this redefinition is that they want to use it to, as Julia says, “ensuring forced ‘acceptance’ by what a tiny minority of political activists see as their enemy.”

  22. Nestor says:

    “It seems to me difficult to argue that the bible is silent on the issue. By all means point out inconsistencies, say they are metaphorical, allegories for a simpler age if you want, talk about Constantine and the Nicene creed if you must but know the basic text.”

    EK-chooally Reginald, i believe that there is only just that one sentence in just that one of Pauls letters to the Sarceans OR, whoever it was,..something to the effect of – the end is near so marriage is a waste of time, but if your one of those pervs who cant last a few weeks, then be married….. and doing it with women is better than doing it with other men – though it was even implied (in that one letter) that doing it with men is better than doing it to yourself….but nowhere in any of the gospels, is Homosex mentioned, much less condemned..there is the business of 2000 years of legal,cultural and church precedent, although you cant blame this on “the scriptures’, which “are silent” on the issue (no pun intended)…go on…lets have the scriptural condemnation of homos, then. quote for us the text.

  23. Philip Scott Thomas says:

    Umbongo –

    I think you’re correct. Like I said previously, I really can’t see what the fuss is about. A civil partnership is, as far as the State is concerned, a marriage in all but name.

    As far as I can tell, the proposed gay marriage legislation has to do with something I mentioned toward the end of my earlier comment – the intermingling of church and State.

    Performing wedding ceremonies is one of basic functions of the local Registrar’s office. Employees of the Registrar’s office are direct functionaries of the State, natch. But current legislation allows for other people, people not directly employed by the Registrar’s office, to conduct marriage ceremonies, provided they are suitably licensed and registered and so on. Members of the clergy are one class of persons allowed to conduct the ceremonies.

    As I said before, a religious wedding is really just a religious service with a civil ceremony embedded in it. At the point of the civil bit, the priest becomes, essentially, a functionary of the State. This has been the case for decades, centuries even, in Britain. But the civil partnership law, as I understand it, specifically forbids a priest conducting a civil partnership ceremony. The ceremony cannot be embedded in a religious ceremony at all; it must be strictly secular. The proposed legislation, then, would allow for the same intermingling of church and State for civil partnerships as it does for (straight) marriages.

    That’s it, as far as I can see. I’m happy to be corrected if I’ve missed anything, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s hardly going to bring about the end of British society.

  24. JuliaM – are you really saying that the RC church does not try to impose its views on the rest of society? From priests lying about condoms in Africa, to the pernicious influence of the Church in places like Ireland, to the ludicrous claim that only they have the right, no only they have the ABILITY to make moral judgements, there are examples galore to choose from. If you want to voluntarily submit yourself to the church, but don’t tell others what to do or what to think.

    The CofE is in some ways doing the same thing – they are losing their more hidebound members to either the RCs or to the evangelistic movement so now they come up with the latest crap about the supposed ‘threat’ of disestablishment.

    Organised religion is but one enemy of freedom among many of course.

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