Sunday 13 February 2011

The State Bigger Than God?

You can just imagine the self-satisfaction within the coalition for announcing this on a Sunday, can't you? Just to remind you all that the state is the most important entity in life even on the sabbath.

Ministers are expected to publish plans to enable same-sex couples to "marry" in church, the BBC has learned.
Although not having a strong view one way or the other, I reckon the inverted commas surrounding the word 'marry' are very well placed here. The reason being - and I would love to know the thoughts of this blog's official theologian on the matter - that it is surely theoretically impossible for gay couples to be married under the auspices of the church.

If the church is run along the rules laid down by the Bible and scriptures, and a truly religious ceremony is banned under those rules, then it really shouldn't matter what law is proposed by the state.

Sure, they can say that same sex couples can be allowed to use spiritual venues, but unless the faith concerned is theologically aligned with the principle, the union wouldn't be blessed by whichever God is worshipped there. On that basis, If I were gay I'd struggle to see the point in choosing a church for my ceremony.

Of course, if the church were to declare that the rules had changed because they said so, surely that then casts doubt on the entire faith. Because faith in the ancient rituals and writings - if you boil it all down - is the only concept that holds religious groups together. Once it is decided by humans that these can be discarded, the cohesion of the religion buckles and its relevance falls apart.

It would appear that the usually ebullient Peter Tatchell understands this very well.

Mr Tatchell said: "Permitting faith organisations to make their own decision on whether to conduct same-sex civil partnerships is the democratic and decent thing to do.

"The current law prevents them from doing so, even if they want to. No religious institution will be forced to perform civil partnerships if they do not wish to do so."
It's not just the decent or democratic thing to do, it is simply the only option. There is nothing to push hard for here. Same sex couples will never be spiritually 'married' in a church even with legal consent behind them, it would still be a civil ceremony albeit conducted in a church. So all this turns out to be is that a few more pretty buildings are available for use. Big deal.

John Lennon famously got in a bit of a pickle by stating that the Beatles were 'bigger than Jesus', but should faiths be ordered to accept same sex marriages in the true sense of the word, it would be the state declaring that they are 'bigger than God', and even dull-witted politicians can recognise their powers are limited in that respect. Well, one hopes so, anyway.

If a day ever does come where legislation is passed to force religions to endorse gay marriages equally with heterosexual ones, we are into a whole new world of government arrogance. It would be an official declaration of the coming of the Lord. The one and only new God ... the state.


WitteringsfromWitney said...

Welll DP, it seems to me that this latest idea, from what is most definitely a queer form of government, is based on a queer equality argument that I am sure theologians will most definitely 'queery'

Anonymous said...

Nebuchadnezzar declared himself greater than God, more knowing than what was Absolute Truth - and look what happened to Babylon.

In the new Babylon, AntiChrist will be the new Nebuchadnezzar, only it will be 100x worse this time around, worse even than Hitler.

Smokers, fatties and drinkers will be rounded up and sent to concentration camps, for the good of the people.

The state stepping in to force itself over the natural laws will at some point backfire and result in eventual physical destruction.

The Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, high priests and Romans who all denied natural law and existence of God's place above that law are no different than the government leaders and apostasized "churches" that succumb to the same today.

Whore Babylon will be anything but true to God or Universal Truth when it gets up and running, being built on feet of clay, proganda and lies - and much like in Hitler's days, the Catholic Church and others will be quick to jump on the bandwagon and sign treaties with the devil, as long as it allows their centre of power here on earth to remain unchallenged, even if it means apostasizing the faith and turning it over to essentially devil worship.

All this false gimmickry and propaganda to place an earthly ruler higher than God will eventually lead to the destruction of everything - as has been predicted, long, long ago and has been repeated often throughout history, which apparently has no relevance any longer among the new world order elite bringing every nation on earth into this hell bound one world government they so much desire.

It's obvious on the face of it if you step back and see that is the direction all governments seem inclined to take this day as we seem to be moving into the final day of judgement, more or less, however that might be interpreted, literally or metaphorically, neither way being anything good about it when it comes.

Anonymous said...

No religions are rooted in their texts and scriptures - they all operate on the 'current interpretation' of those texts.
That's what allows different branches of religions to uphold wholly different stances to suit the whims of the times, Islam probably being the most inconsistently intepreted currently. although ever-flexible Christianity runs it a close second.

In truth, they are no different from political parties, who will always manipulate their allegedly core values to fit the 'message of the day' (too many examples to quote here).

There is no real truth in any religion, just a mass of manipulated myths and fairy tales, originally created for controlling the uneducated masses and then continually updated to try to fight off the inevitable rise of questioning.

In a logical world, whether gay-folk are allowed to 'marry' in religious buildings is a complete irrelevance, rather like religion itself.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon @ 22:02: Sounds like you're not too keen on religion, which is your choice and fine by me of course. But I'd venture that undermining something which affords comfort to many people is a rather evil thing to do (not that I'm saying you're doing that by the way, but others may).

Those I know who are religious would prefer to keep their religion exactly as it is or it isn't worth a carrot. If someone isn't into that sort of stuff, then fine, but it's damn selfish and/or rude to interfere IMO.

Look, if those who live outside of the church's teachings choose to do so, they must take it as read that there are some things they can't do. We all make choices in hundreds of areas like that every day. It seems to me that the current way of thinking from government is that you can have whatever you want, whenever you want, as long as it's commensurate with ideological state thinking.

Tradition and the preferences of regular service users (in this case church attendees) can go hang. It holds true in many areas.

"There is no real truth in any religion, just a mass of manipulated myths and fairy tales"

Quite possibly, but who are the state to arbitrarily pull it all down on the basis of their current politically-motivated ideals?

Religion should have nothing to do with the state except for politicians to protect the chuch - and its followers' - freely chosen ideals.

Anonymous said...

The teaching of the Church has always been that marriage is the union between 1 man and 1 woman for life with each giving to the other and sharing their lives together.

When did 1 man and 1 woman change into 2 men or 2 women? Civil partnerships provide a similar formality, open the door to a similar commitment and affords the same legal advantages.

If the civil partnership couple wish their union to be blessed by religion and they can find a church or an individual to carry out a ceremony of blessing on their union - fair enough.


To have it imposed (presumably with penalties or it is not being imposed) if the Church refuses is not allowing religious freedom.

Incidentally, why is a civil partnership limited to homosexual couples with an implied sexual relationship? Why can't the same rules be applied to any two people who have committed themselves one to another for life? Such as 2 spinster sisters who could well be totally supportive and committed to each other, have demonstrated this for decades and wish for the same legal benefits, especially on death.

Since we are as a society opening up the rules to move from marriage having a uniquely beneficial position, why not give the same legal benefits to other couples who make the same commitment to each other?


Wrinkled Weasel said...

Well there is a problem here and as usual it it the Muzzies. Nobody gives a shit anymore what they do to the CofE, but Muzzies, well that's different. Start insisting they do same sex marriages and a few more people with rucksacks might sit next to you on the bus.

As for dear Auntie CofE, it should be disestablished forthwith.

But of course you are correct about marriage. Any attempt to hijack the term by others is pure etymological terrorism.

Anonymous said...

"Religion should have nothing to do with the state except for politicians to protect the chuch - and its followers' - freely chosen ideals."

DP 22:25


That hits the nail on the head. Used to be religions told the government what to do. Then church and state become unentangled. Now they want to tie them both together again, but with the state sticking its nose into everyone's religion.

Since when can the state go around ordering churches what they must or must not do when it comes to religious preferences and observances.

If the church, in its heyday burned witches and heretics at the stake, what's to stop this new hierarchy of the state ordering the religions around from burning modern day witches and heretics, of the secular nature, at the stake for not abiding by government dictates.

Seems clear enough to me.

Budvar said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again A Civil union is not now, nor ever can be a marriage.

A marriage is compose of 2 parts, 1 the ceremony and 2 the consummation.

Basic anatomy precludes the consummation part of any civil union and therefore by definition can never be a marriage.

The government could legislate the definition of a marriage to be anything it wish it to be, in much the same way it could legislate the definition of a dog to be a cat.

The reality remains it's still a dog.

Anthony said...

If I was a homosexual insisting on getting "married" then I would also insist that the ceremony was held in a mosque. If the government can force the Church to allow it, then surely it follows that Islam should be forced to allow it.

After all, I have the same rights now, don't I? Don't I?

banned said...

"There are no plans to compel religious organisations to hold ceremonies" Liars, it will soon become compulsory once the compo monkeys get going through the courts.
I'm gonna convert to Islam and see how the Mosque likes the idea of being forced to marry me and my man-wife.

Anonumouse @various, get yourself a name and join in properly.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Dick and readers

Dick, you are correct in what you say as is Anonymous 13 Feb 20:46.

The New Testament condemns same-sex unions in more than one place. Unfortunately, our clergy are on the road to perdition, mainly in the US but also here in the UK.

Here is what St Paul has to say on the matter in Romans 1:26-27 and 1:32:

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error … 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

And in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

9 Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, 10 Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God…

The Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts recently married a lesbian couple in St Paul's Cathedral in Boston. One of the women (who would have been the bride in this case? ;) ) heads the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. The other is a Canon!

I was disappointed in the Abp of York John Sentamu's reaction which was that he didn't want the State to dictate to the Church. Whilst this is certainly true and a commendable sentiment, it would have been better had he made the point that Scripture condemns these acts.

It seems highly unlikely that these ceremonies will be mandated elsewhere than in Christian churches. There is no way that mosques and Hindu or Sikh temples are going to conduct them.

I'll post on this later in the week, as we may see further news on the matter.

Thanks for bringing up the subject and for another excellent, well-reasoned post!


Anonymous said...

Churchmouse said:

"It seems highly unlikely that these ceremonies will be mandated elsewhere than in Christian churches. There is no way that mosques and Hindu or Sikh temples are going to conduct them."

IIRC, there was talk of reformed Judaism being another possible. So "reformed" it would appear that they have forgotten that the Pentateuch is what made them Jewish. Within Christianity, I can see parts of CofE being involved by choice but definitely not RC or (?) Orthodox.


Anonymous said...

Spot on DP. Speaking from 'the other side of the fence' I would have to be totally fecking barking to want to have a ceremony in a church. Theres always some that want to 'push the agenda' but this is certainly not it. Surely it's for a church to decide and not the state. The disappointment is that the coalition are almost just as bad as the bunch they replaced.
Keep up the good work DP.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Of course, if the church were to declare that the rules had changed because they said so, surely that then casts doubt on the entire faith. XX

That is EXACTLY what the "church" has been doing since it was invented. Surely?

Their hobby, THEY get to make the rules. Simple.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Follow ups. (I am SURE I must be doing something wrong with this bloody Google thing....)

Anonymous said...

Although not having a strong view one way or the other, I reckon the inverted commas surrounding the word 'marry' are very well placed here.

I'd suggest that they might also have been appropriately used around the word "enable"

Anonymous said...

I do not know the details, but the State ruled against the Catholic Adoption Agency who did not allow same sex couples to adopt.
I do wish that the state would not interfere with the church, nor the church with politics.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

A: (the last one) I just wish the bloody state wouldn't interfere with the people!

JuliaM said...

To coin a phrase, 'amen'..!


MU said...

So it's basically a permission slip to attached ceremony to civil partnership?

Was there even a law against that in the first place? Have we moved to a, if it's not written down it's allowed, tis verboten paradigm?

Grim's Reality said...

But what if god likes shirt lifters and rug munchers, but those that wrote the Lords words didn't so just edited it out?

Apologies for flippancy (well sort of).

Budvar said...

"What if God liked shirtlifters?".

Leaving aside the whole omnipotence thing he being God and all, why would a shirtlifter liking God choose homophobics to write down words only to have them changed?

It would be like the BNP having Trevor Phillips writing their blurb.

Not totally beyond the realm of possibilities, but about as much chance as me owning a herd of unicorns that shit skittles and piss Jack Daniels.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"about as much chance as me owning a herd of unicorns that shit skittles and piss Jack Daniels"

If you do find such a herd, please let me know. They sound fun. :)

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Budvar said..
It would be like the BNP having Trevor Phillips writing their blurb.XX

Trevor Phillips, and his "race relations board" or whatever they call it this week, is the best recruiting sergeant the BNP EVER had.

But that's another topic.