Today sees the first same-sex civil marriage ceremonies in England and Wales. There has been a plethora of comment from all sides, including this, characteristically contra mundum, from the art critic Brian Sewell.
One hopes that one day (though it will probably not be in my life-time) it may be possible to discuss these issues in a less politicised atmosphere where everyone who has reservations about the huge cultural shift this change in the law represents is not subject to a process of vilification and demonisation. It would be good, too, not to have to compete in the competition for victim status which all too often characterises our rights-obsessed society.
Caroline Farrow reminds us here of the price to be paid when our society's elites and those who so slavishly follow them promote a definition of 'equality' without any respect for the freedom of speech which should accompany and, indeed, underpin any understanding of equality worthy of the name:
"...On the way back to the car, a group of young people spat at me. Marilyn then caught up with me, calling out “were you the lady at the front”, neither of us recognizing each other before the penny dropped. She is not an extrovert, doesn’t enjoy the spotlight and was shaking like a leaf. We saw each other to our respective cars safely.
I was expecting a Twitter hate-fest but have still been shocked by some of the vehemence and spite. I am not advocating penalising or punishing people on account of their sexuality and neither did I say that marriage was solely about children. The Twitterati were hearing what they wanted. What intrigues me as ever, is why no-one can see that not once have I judged individuals but instead made judgement calls on situations, which is what we are called to do as Christians. As ever ironically enough, it’s those who are accusing me of judgmentalism, who are in fact being the judgmental ones and claim to be able to gaze into my soul and confidently state that the position is based on hate.
But this is the kind of thing that faces those of us who will continue to stick to our guns and propound a traditional view of marriage. As the night has gone on, I am beginning to worry about my safety. Back in 2011 when David Cameron suddenly announced his intention to introduce gay marriage, I didn’t envisage things would get so nasty. Given my time again, I would still do the work I have done but definitely used the net under a pseudonym....."
The next episode of this staged 'battle' will be fought within the provinces of the British Isles, but, of course, we all know the Anglican theological 'war' itself (if there ever was one in reality) has already been lost....
My prediction: in the short term, anarchy, as the rather half-hearted attempts (in conjunction with some subtle and less than subtle undermining from within) by the Anglican bishops to exercise any form of discipline collapse in farce, followed in a few years by what will be the de facto proscription of the historic Christian tradition - an example of Neuhaus' law again, I very much fear.
There's an interesting discussion here about what has become known as 'the Benedict option' - to put it positively, a closer following of the Rule of St Benedict by those not called to the traditional religious life in community, or described more negatively (or at least reactively) as “pioneering forms of dropping out of a barbaric mainstream culture that has grown hostile to our fundamental values.”
For the Church, dangers and opportunities in equal measure ...
Oh, and .. presumably when the clocks strike thirteen, British Summer Time begins tonight -
So remember, without a trace of irony, Spring forward, Fall back ....