Government to legislate for 'gay marriage'
And Parliament says this of the institution:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this Congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.Parliament authorises the liturgy of the Church of England. It is difficult to see how, on the one hand, Parliament may decree and define marriage as an institution between one man and one woman primarily for the procreation of children, while, on the other, determining that it is between two men or two women for mutual society. His Grace is all for viae mediae, but this is a blatant contradiction.
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgement, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful.
It should be evident to politicians of all political persuasions and faiths that marriage is not an exclusively Judaeo-Christian institution; it is a union observed in all cultures, and seems, according to Aristotle, to exist by nature. Marriage in the Bible is essential for the functioning of society, and is the model used to explain the mystery of Christ’s relationship to the church (Eph 5:25-32). The Church of England ‘affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman’. This has its basis in the Old Testament, where YHWH says: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’ (Gen 2:18). It continues: ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh’ (v24). Although these verses do not purport to define marriage, they do describe its origin, and are therefore crucial for understanding the Bible’s teaching on marriage.
Last year, David Cameron said: “I don't want to get into a huge row with the Archbishop here, but the Church has to do some of the things that the Conservative Party has been through. Sorting this issue out and recognising that full equality is a bottom-line, full essential.”
It seems he has changed his mind. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not particularly disposed to 'huge rows', but he's not very happy about this proposal. And there are one or two Anglican bishops who are disposed to rows, and one or two more in the Roman Catholic Church, not to mention a couple of thousand in other Christian denominations and religions. Mr Cameron is of the opinion that ‘if our Lord Jesus was around today he would very much be backing a strong agenda on equality and equal rights, and not judging people on their sexuality’.
When he uttered those words, His Grace begged to differ, saying that if Our Lord Jesus were around today, there is nothing at all to suggest that he would be remotely interested in talking about ‘equality’ or ‘rights’: he would be preaching the gospel, in season and out, and calling on people to repent of their sin and prepare for the coming of the Kingdom.
But Mr Cameron doesn't do that kind of Jesus.
Mr Cameron's Jesus is basically a socially liberal Tory. Speaking a few months ago 'as a church-goer' himself, he expounded his Christology: "I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad-minded."
Prefacing his comment with a declaration of being a church-goer, he placed the imprimatur of the Bride of Christ upon his belief. It is a little like the Pope coming to Westminster Abbey to talk about Christian unity, and just happening to preface his homily with a casual mention that he’s the heir to St Peter. ‘I’m a church-goer, and...’ is to arrogate to himself a certain spiritual authority; to appropriate a superior experience; to claim charismatic insight; to place his theological judgement over and above those who do agree with his ethical and moral worldview. Cameroon Anglicanism trumps the traditional Catholic and Reformed variety, which is manifestly illiberal and religiously regressive.
And so the inference is clear: if you disagree with the Prime Minister on the matter of 'gay marriage', you are intolerant, unwelcoming and narrow-minded, which amounts to the same as being unloving, inhospitable and bigoted: Cranmer's Law QED. To be a clanging cymbal with no love is not to be a Christian of any kind. Same sex relationships can, of course, be loving: heterosexuals do not have a monopoly on the divine agape. But gay civil partnership cannot be marriage, because Parliament decrees in the State Church 'that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful'.
And herein lies Mr Cameron's perpetuation of discrimination. He may have said last year that 'full equality is a bottom-line, full essential'. But this year he is legislating for civil 'gay marriage'; religious marriage is to remain the preserve of the heterosexual. It may be a step forward, but it is not full equality, and so, a decade hence, when some of the more militant gay couples are banging at the church door and harassing the vicar and demanding their rights, the issue will need to be revisted, and the Church will eventually be obliged to marry them - or face the consequences.