Thursday, 7 February 2013

shopping our love around

I am indebted to "Libby T" at Harry's Place for citing a popular actor named Charlie Condon, who is in a soap which I believe may be named Coronation Street, who has this to say:

There remains the problem of the opt-out: individual churches can “opt out” of gay marriage on grounds of religious “conscience”. Does this mean that if we get married, we are going to have to shop our equal love around to various churches until we find a priest who is willing to allow it to be equal? That isn’t really equal.

Well, actually, it is. As Libby T says. Better than I can. I cannot, these days, call myself a secularist. Although I do, increasingly, believe in the separation of church and state. But think about it. If you believe that, then the state's laws (such as on gay marriage, abortion, racial discrimination, whatever) are just that. Anything which is state funded should comply with them. But a voluntary organisation need not, so long as it does not breach any law. If a church will not bless your union because you are gay, then personally I think that would be wrong, but that church is free to do so. And I, or you, would be free to attend a different church, or no church at all. Some churches today will not marry those who have been divorced. The Catholic church has a whole set of rules about that, and many other things, It remains my abiding view that someone who says they are Christian and therefore may object to housing, or working with, or dealing with, people who are gay, is utterly wrong. But the state should not be trying to stop them from holding or expressing that view. It just should not be funding them to do so.

One of the last things the murdered Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid wrote before he was killed (in daylight, outside his home) was "They can kill me, but they cannot silence me".  Those of us who live in places where being gunned down outside your home is unlikely to happen cannot really conceive of how much courage it takes to write that. He knew that he, and his family, would be safe if he just shut up and went away. But he didn't. I have had death threats myself for writing things which some people have not been comfortable with. I  have not taken them seriously. I have been condemned and criticised, and campaigned against, for writing what some people do not like. I treat that as cry-baby behaviour, and do not take it seriously. Read the comments on previous posts, especially about Israel and about Islamists, and you will see what I mean. Nobody is going to gun me down in the street. Largely because I am not an important person, just an individual. But not only because of that. Also because I live in a country where there is democracy,human rights and the rule of law. Which didn't just happen. In France, in living memory, Jews were rounded up and sent away to be killed. Sometimes their neighbours helped in this. The rule of law, which keeps most of us safe most of the time, can be damaged or destroyed. All it takes is for people who know something wrong is happening to do nothing.


Martin S MP, Reading said...

Don't they show Coronation Street in Froggy-Land? They could dub into Foreign or use subtitles like Borgen and the Killing.

Jane Griffiths said...

They do not. Borgen is shown here, but dubbed.