Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Whinge if you're glad to be sad

I suppose I have to make some comment on what is passed off as a ‘response’ to a UK government consultation about gay marriage by the island’s Anglican area manager (see http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/bishop-s-view-on-marriage-reform-1-4654915 ). But, really, is there any point?
Oh well, then….
Firstly, the Bishop of Sodor & Mann has never had a right to sit in the House of Lords, but is the only bishop in the British Isles who, of right, sits in the upper assembly of another government. It is therefore a little puzzling - and more than a little rude - that he feels able to submit an opinion to the Westminster government when he is not governed by that country's laws, but is an unelected member of another country's government (and an unpopular and unwanted one at that).
Secondly, prior to his appointment as Bishop of Sodor and Mann, Paterson was personal chaplain to John Sentamu. He was chosen as the Manx bishop at a private meeting, attended only by three tame Manx politicians and three senior clergy, which was chaired by John Sentamu. Unlike the standard process for selecting a bishop - whereby Lambeth puts up two candidates and the selection committee chooses - his was the only name considered. Draw your own conclusions as to his ability to either act or express a theological opinion independently of his former 'line manager' (who, of course, was over here on a week long visit last month).
Third point, if you want to know what he actually said to his fast diminishing flock, go to http://resources.pihomebuild.com/sites/713/docs/www_1207.pdf .
Fourth point, he didn’t even come up with this guff. The ‘suggestion’ of introducing vows into civil partnerships to avoid having to introduce gay marriages is lifted wholesale from the Christian Institute. The rubbish about maintaining a distinction between ‘civil’ and ‘religious’ marriage is another direct lift, this time a CARE argument made when the Scottish marriage act changed a few years back.
Bottom line – both Christian fundies and the leadership of the larger churches (but not their general membership) are bricking it because when gay marriage is introduced in the UK (and it will be) the position of churches becomes even weaker – even if by some miracle they manage to bluster a way out of having to let those religions, Christian denominations and clergy who want to offer legally binding ceremonies to gays do so.
Think about it. What is the point of the churches being allowed to carry out ANY legal ceremony of commitment if they cannot - or will not - conduct them for most people, or even recognise that the vast majority of people’s chosen legally binding ceremony is the real deal?
They will, quite rightly, become even more of a laughing stock in the eyes of the general public than they already are, and there will inevitably be pressure on the UK government to finally remove the ridiculous privilege which allows them to pretend they are fit to rubber stamp any adult relationship as ‘legit’.
So can I just leave it at that?
Because a little while ago I vowed never again to knowingly add to the sum of misery in the world, and even having to acknowledge the dishwater dull ‘judgements’ outlined at the links above by this terribly sad man is depressing to anyone with more than half a braincell. Religion, politics and commerce are all sources of misery by the bucketful, and frankly, I cannot bear to consider them ‘seriously’ unless I have a VERY large bucket close to hand.
And incidentally, I know the 21st century gay community goes to great pains to stress they are now just as drab, and lead just as dismal and pointless lives, as everyone else. But I still think any gay couple who want to get married in a church should be reported to the Taste Police. Because some things are just so tacky they cannot even be passed off as camp.

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