Friday, April 06, 2012

Dearly Beloved

Chris Wells has asked me to put-up this column, writing that "On Good Friday, of all days in the year, the Thanet Gazette refuses to publish an article on religious fears on civil marriage equality."

Of course, if the Gazette, is being as selective as it usually is, then it's probably right that I give Chris, who has strong personal views on whether it is proper to debate this at full Council, an opportunity to have his say here and invite readers comments on his argument:

Civil Marriage Equality – National Myths & Local Farce

'Dearly beloved, we are gathered here 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…'…the opening words of the 1662 Prayer Book Solemnization of Matrimony reflect very clearly the important role public marriage plays in the stability of our society.

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. Throughout history, marriage has always reflected the complimentary natures of men and women in creating a stable union for family life. It is not perfect, divorce and death may wreak havoc through some of it, but the research into family life clearly shows that children do better with a married mother and father.

First it was ordained for the procreation of children. Marriage remains the basic building block of family life, carrying with it key elements of the moral tone and inter generational glue of our communities. The success and popularity of church schools is as often about the stability of the married, committed, families that attend them as of anything else. It is fascinating that the government’s consultation document airbrushes children out of marriage with casual disdain.

Second it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication….the price of multi partner parenthood is all around us, and generally causes more difficulties for our society than the long term union of marriage. Campaigner and government failure to include the risks to bringing up children in their consultation is uncomfortable, and dishonest.

Thirdly it was ordained for the mutual society, help and comfort that the one ought to have for the other, both in prosperity and adversity….something quite properly reflected, and celebrated, as fully in civil partnerships, which brings all the legal benefits of marriage.

It is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly. To redefine marriage, we are told, is an imperative of diversity and equality. It is fascinating how diversity is demanded constantly as a reason to redefine institutions, but when diversity campaigners are asked to permit some diversity into their demands, grey socialist uniformity is all. The European Court of Human Rights has recently ruled that same sex marriages are not a human right; and suggested that if same sex couples are allowed to marry, for churches to refuse same sex couples weddings will be discrimination – a decision that destroys the government’s promise for religious marriage contained in its consultation. To quote a leading discrimination lawyer: ‘if same sex marriage is legalised, it would be illegal for government to prevent such marriages happening on religious premises.’

Therefore if any man can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter hold his peace. This sham of a consultation shows clearly that government only seeks views on how to deliver this ill thought through change; but also offers opportunity for members of the public to state clearly they do not agree with redefining marriage, particularly where the risks to children’s upbringing, and the threats to the status of religious marriage, are so neatly hidden. As in the ringing tone of the marriage ceremony itself, people must speak, speak now, and speak loud to save traditional marriage, and its vital contribution to family life, from destruction.

Duly considering the causes for which matrimony was ordained. Why a District council, with no power over Registrars and their operation, is being pushed to consider this item is an even sadder story. Two councillors, stitched together as an ‘independent’ political party, who have both already abandoned the ticket on which they were elected after less than a year, are seeking public attention in an attempt to define difference between themselves and the voters and colleagues they have variously abandoned. It is a shabby and shameful tale, which must cast enormous doubt on their individual integrity and commitment – ironically, and tellingly, the key elements of a successful marriage; the issue they have chosen to exploit.

And they threaten those of us who may oppose them with all the tools of the campaigner armoury. One colleague has already been accused of homophobic attitudes, and I have been told if I dare to express my views I will be seen as like someone from the South African government in the 1980’s. Now Peter Tatchell and national campaigners will await us at the council chamber.

Well, gentlemen, bring it on. Bring him down early and let us debate the question away from wasting time in the council chamber on matters councillors cannot influence. I am sure a city sophisticate like Mr Tatchell will not fear locking horns with a local yokel like me; and your own tactics and dissembling dishonesty could do with a wash in the disinfectant of transparency.

Perhaps, most of all, I ask you all to reflect that those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder.

52 comments:

Tom Clarke said...

Well said, Cllr Wells, a voice representative of the religious community at last.

No doubt you will attract the same abuse that Sir Roger Gale did over his newspaper article, for these people that shout do not do democracy. If you dare to differ you must be cursed with some ism or phobia.

All I can say is that, if such is the case, then thank God I am.

Anonymous said...

Well Bloody done! How dare these two "excuses" of cllrs waste such valuable time and tax payers money just so they can showboat - they should both do the proper thing and resign and re-stand if they are so interested - it appears only interested in themselves and holding the council to ransom.

Tom Clarke said...

Unfortunately, the leader of the council seems prepared to pay the ransom in order to cling to power. Probably realises that after this shambles he will never get the chance again.

Disgusted from Birchington said...

Well done Chris, you have voiced the views of the greater majority who are sick and tired of this nonsense brought about by Worrow and his mate. It is just as well for Worrow that he was in a family with a mother and father otherwise TDc would not have been blessed with his presence on the otherhand?>

Michael Child said...

Interesting use of the modifications to the Sarum Rite wedding, that the political dictates of the reformation made into The Book of Common Prayer wedding.

Tricky area using the history of Christianity, liturgical and textural references plucked out of the last two thousand years to make a case for something that has developed over that period, from purchasing a bride, to marriage today.

The problem that the church has to face here is, is the blessing of the life partnership of a couple, regardless of gender something they ought to be doing?

I think that the other matter of why the government instructed local authorities and not just county councils to debate the issue is one to take up with government.

However as our council is going to be the first to debate the issue with the national media focusing on them, if members are going to argue on religious grounds against it, I hope come the time they can come up with something a bit more convincing.

Anonymous said...

From John Kirby - as I have just past my 48th Wedding Anniversary I really resent deeply the activities of the strange duo bringing this matter to TDC Full Council. My wedding vows are meaningful and sacred and to have them aligned with the already generous terms given for civil parternerships is a step too far.I am not a deeply religious person but my wedding vows - between a man and a woman are sacrosanct

Birch Tree said...

Both your blogs today have been excellent Simon, and clearly the not so silent majority is starting to rise up. Surely even Clive Hart can realise that all this is a cost too far. There is nothing now that he cannot refuse Worrow and Driver - if he does they withdraw their support - this is not democracy this is lunacy. If you can't run the council fairly Clive - give it back.

Alasdair Bruce said...

A line has very eloquently been drawn in the sand by Chris Wells - and I stand by him and his words.

Tim Clark said...

Well said Cllr Wells, and about time too. Christianity in our country has for too long wallowed in polite deference to secular excesses. The State should have no power to intervene in religious affairs; I can't imagine even the most liberal of Governments trying to enforce same-sex marriages in mosques or synagogues, let alone interfere in Roman Catholic sacraments. Michael's last sentence is typical of the lazy attitude of the modern Church of England and he should remember from his Catechism that Holy Matrimony is a sacramental rite. Why should only Christianity bow before the behemoth that is modern-day secularism?

Gordon Blimey said...

I'm not sure Jesus would have aligned himself with intolerant, possibly homophobic, free maket-type Tories. I always think of him as a bit of a Commie. That's if he even existed of course.

If any so-called Christian can prove that JC was against the religious union of same sex couples then I'll eat my words but I rest safe in the knowledge that they will never be able to do such a thing.

In fact, if he was around today I'd imagine JC would be on the side of those striving for full equality and would probably be in the same camp (no pun intended) as Worrow, Driver and Peter Tatchell. I'm convinced he would have little to do with Tories like Cllr Wells and his supporters commenting here.

simon moores said...

I don't believe that anyone is challenging the principle of same sex union or indeed, anyone here is 'Homophobic' as you suggest.

Rather and as in previous posts on the same subject, the debate surrounds the traditional principle of 'marriage' and how this is understood by most religions and the bulk of the world's population.

Peter Checksfield said...

I strongly suspect that Jesus was gay anyway. Certainly there's no record of him having a girlfriend.

Tim Clark said...

Gordon of course displays another of the modern age's lazy traits - it can't be proved therefore it can't be true. He also pulls the usual agnostic/atheist trick of quoting Jesus and then saying he didn't exist. And yes. I see him as a bit left wing, if by left wing you mean supporting the underdog. He also instructed his followers to abide by the Scriptures - he didn't exclude Genesis 14.
Between a third and a half of the worlds population subscribe to one of the Abrahamic religions. As said before, it's lucky for the two independent Independents that they don't live in a country where the youngest of these religions holds sway - in Saudi Arabia it's a brief kneel in the market square after noon prayers on Friday if you're caught. And no, I don't subscribe to that view; it's barbaric and has no place in any civilised society.
Here's a dilemma for Worrow. Given that Islam is still a minority religion in this country what would be his stance if a local Muslim asked him to back the Islamic view on homosexuality?

Tom Clarke said...

GB, you forget that marriage predates both the Christian church and our parliament. You also choose to ignore that it is a Conservative PM who is endeavouring to push through same sex marriage.

I think this issue is more of personal view than party politics for, only yesterday, a gay Labour MP stated that most of the gay community are happy with civil partnerships and see no need for this potential conflict with religious groups.

As in so much in life, minority groups of agitators protest on issues irrespective of even the opinions of their fellow members. It is more about protest than anything else. When one protest is resolved move on to the next one.

Tim Clark said...

Peter. There is a strong body of evidence that Mary Magdalene was a bit more than just a friend, and no this is nothing to do with the Da Vinci Code.
The real misogynist in the pile was St Paul. There is also a decree from an Archbishop of Alexandria in the early Third Century, instructing Christians that MM was a hooker. Seems a bit of overkill for someone who is a bit player in the four official Gospels.

Peter Checksfield said...

He was probably bisexual, like myself. Almost everyone is, whether they realise it or not.

Anyway, I do agree with most on here that the word "marriage" isn't neccesary for homosexuals; "civil Partnerships" or whatever seems like a perfect compromise to me, as long as they have the same LEGAL rights as married men & women.

Tom Clarke said...

Peter, if you are bisexual, so be it, but please don't claim something you cannot possibly know. I cannot speak for others, but I know that I can think of nothing more revolting than getting it on with another bloke.

I really would find it hard to believe that I am in a minority amongst my fellow men.

Anonymous said...

If you look in the newspapers today, 400 000 have signed a Downing Street petition to keep the institution of marriage between a man and a woman. As the gay M.P. Ben Bradshaw says," it isn't a priority for the gay community which have already won equal rights with civil partnerships". In any case, this isn't really about gay rights, this is about two irresponsible councillors wanting to bandstand. This will be the thin end of the wedge as they will never be happy until they get their way - nothing to do with democracy and therefore shouldn't be part of the council remit.

Tim Clark said...

Tom
If you were in a minority then I'm sure the Worrow/Driver team would come to your rescue. Probably better to be in a majority.
I agree with Peter's view that Civil Partnership bestows the same legal rights as conventional marriage so I'm not sure what this argument is all about. I am pro-civil partnerships and anti gay marriage. If the LGBT community insist on suborning another English word then how about the non-LGBT community finding one to define themselves - how about "normal"?

Tom Clarke said...

Tim, I like normal and I wonder if TDC would let us have a 'normal' parade through Thanet this summer. Since they have already nicked pride, maybe our slogan could be 'Chuffed to be Normal.'

Anonymous said...

Or how about a "United" parade, where straight / bisexual, young / old, black / white, all walk down the seafront holding hands?

Anonymous said...

Very credible 6:39 but if the LGBT community can have a Pride march why can't those of us that are not of that persuasion have a Normal march.

If you do get your United march off the ground be interesting to see how many Muslims you have walking along holding hands with gay folk.

Anonymous said...

Quite a few I would've thought. It's quite normal practice in many Eastern countries for men to hold hands.

Anonymous said...

C4m.org now have over 408000 signatures in favour of the institution of marriage between one man and one woman. Let the majority rise up!!!!!!

simon moores said...

When I worked in Saudi Arabia a lifetime ago, one of my first culture shocks was seeing two policeman holding hands. Looking much like Laurel and Hardy,they were strolling down the road, best mates, holding hands on the inside with machine guns grasped on the outside.. just in case of course!

It took some getting used to but is quite normal!

Michael Child said...

I guess this is down to more of the modifications of reformation England that changed the simple English marriage ceremony of pagan origin reflected in the Sarum rite into a more complex contract giving stronger religious affirmation to what was often a legal process involving estate and state. At this time along with making homosexuality illegal for the first time they also reduced the age of consent set by Edward II at twelve - yt shall bee dymed illegal to ravage a maiden, type of thing – to ten. However you look at it five hundred years of men holding hands being likely to result in imprisonment or worse, takes its toll on a society.

The pre-reformation English rite starts:

“Brethren, we are gathered together in the presence of God and his angels and of all the saints, before the church, to join together two bodies, which is to say, of this man and of this woman.”

I assume it could be modified for same sex couples, quite easily.

By the way, I am not saying that the Church of England has no case against same sex marriage, just that the arguments presented here appear weaker than those for sanctioning paedophilia.

Ian Driver said...

i am become very concerned by the agressive, threatening tones of some of the comments directed at John Worrow and myself. Please take note that neither john or I will be bullied over this issue and will continue raise issue of dignity and human rights whenever there is a need. Some of the comments that the moderator of this blogsite has allowed to be published are extremely offensive. Please stop allowing such posts

please see the advice about homphobic abuse on the stonewall website . Be warned you are sailing close to the the wind


http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_home/hate_crime_domestic_violence_and_criminal_law/2639.asp

Ian Driver said...

i am become very concerned by the agressive, threatening tones of some of the comments directed at John Worrow and myself. Please take note that neither john or I will be bullied over this issue and will continue raise issue of dignity and human rights whenever there is a need. Some of the comments that the moderator of this blogsite has allowed to be published are extremely offensive. Please stop allowing such posts

please see the advice about homphobic abuse on the stonewall website . Be warned you are sailing close to the the wind


http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_home/hate_crime_domestic_violence_and_criminal_law/2639.asp

Gordon Bennett said...

Mr Driver don't start spouting about dignity when you ignore the right of marriage to be solely between a man and a woman. You appear to ignore everyone's else's human right to freedom of speech - particularly when they don't agree with you. Simon Moores allows us the dignity to express that freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

Mr Driver how dare you presume to threaten anyone for expressing an opinion that is not in line with yours. You are the one using bullying tactics

Anonymous said...

That's rich Ian, considering you two are bullying all the other councillors to debate something that is none of the local council's business.

Ian Driver said...

sugesting that someone be hanged or horsewhipped becuse they disagree with you is hardly an expostion of freedom of speech or dignity. Grow up wheover you are

Peter Checksfield said...

Ian, I thought John was going to employ "Blog Wardens" to keep an eye on us.

Are you one of them?

Gordon Bennett said...

You're clearly reading a different thread mr Driver - keep up. In any case when I go up, I hope I learn to spell as well as you and have such nice friends!

Tim Clark said...

Ian Driver must be hallucinating since I can find no reference to hanging or horsewhipping. I did refer to the Saudi punishment for homosexuality, which is public beheading, but I did state that I thought that this was barbaric.
I have to say that you have a case to take to the Diversity Champion - Cllr Driver is bullying you

Anonymous said...

Rights for women,black people immigrants,asylumseekers,homosexuals,dogs,cats and rats-what rights have white heterosexuals got left?
Well according to Worrow and Driver
"you have the right to remain silent,anything you do say"etc,etc.

Anonymous said...

I just hope they don't try to take down my particulars 3:24!

Anonymous said...

Could someone just remind me why people get married? I've never personally felt the need and I'm astounded that so many of you are prepared to enter such a hate-filled debate on something that's supposed to be about love. And why - again - can't everyone do it if they really want to?
Christine Tongue

simon moores said...

Christine

I don't see any "hate-filled debate" here or anywhere!

Rather this involves people debating two very simple questions:

1) Is it appropriate for TDC to spend valuable council time debating a matter over which it has no remit?

2) When the LBGT community already has its rights fully protected by civil partnership, why does it need to lay equal claim to the word 'marriage' which is implictly heterosexual and is strongly connected to the world's largest faiths for which it holds a special meaning going back several thousand years.

Anonymous said...

Re Christine Tongue - if you do not agree with her she is prone to attribute negative qualities to your character. I recall her referring to anyone who was not impressed with the Occupy wasters as 'bitter'. Now if you do not agree with same sex marriage, she refers to you as 'hate filled'.

Tom Clarke said...

Par for the course with Christine I am afraid, Simon, for everyone is hate filled apart from her, yet she spends her life revolting, chained to a tree or denying others the opportunity, by dominating the floor, to ask questions at public meetings. She has a very limited view of democracy largely seen through very red tinted glasses.

Tim Clark said...

The only hate being displayed is that by Ian Driver. He clearly hates anyone who doesn't agree wholeheartedly with him, which must make him a bit of a lonely person.
Christine. Joining this debate now that you don't have your Broadstairs hall to campaign about I suppose.

Anonymous said...

What a busy life I seem to have! Sorry I misinterpreted the hate - I didn't realise how good natured you all are at heart. Have you seen the Youtube clip of John Worrow debating with Nigel Farage?
Christine

simon moores said...

Christine, you must be 'having a larf!' I suggest you read through the rather large number of comments on the Royal Sands entry where Cllr Worrow's 'debate'.. sorry I almost choked laughing with everyone else.. is posted.

Tim Clark said...

We're only trying to have a sensible debate on a subject that is clearly close to a lot of hearts. I don't hate anyone, although Cllrs Driver and Sorrow sorely try my patience

Birch Tree said...

Christine - bit late for an April fool, well another with Worrow's performance. That wasn't a debate, he's not up to playing with the big boys, should go home and do his homework before shouting the dribble he considers as debate.

Anonymous said...

As there is only two of them in TITS - that's Two Independant Twits - what happens if they put the whip on?!?

Peter Checksfield said...

Yes, I've seen it Christine... I've also seen the seafront protesters video on your YouTube channel & I've asked why they left, but (as when I've asked you elsewhere) you've chosen not to reply. Seems like Worrow isn't the only one who doesn't like debating with anyone unless they 100% agree.

Tom Clarke said...

Peter, as they have still not been paid for protesting outside Thanet Earth they have downed tools (or should that be tents) and moved off to a better paymaster.

Also a word of advice, Christine never debates and never comes back when you call her bluff. I will now be a sad person or hate filled.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! The sweating, stuttering Worrow was 'debating' with Farage was he? Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Sorry again Simon - didn't spot where you'd put the film. It was funny wasn't it?

But what I'd be really interested to know is what do all the Conservatives think about Nigel Farage - are you all split about his views?

And re Occupy, I think it's a kind of ongoing protest that may crop up anywhere. There's a statement in the recent Thanet Watch from Occupy Thanet that may help you all understand what it's all about. And the Gazette did a very long and analytical piece on the Occupy movement a few weeks a go. Tom Clarke: what bluff? I'll answer if you tell me what you'd like to know. You could email me on inmeds@yahoo.co.uk. Commenting on blogs is a very cumbersome means of communication and I'm not very good at it!

Tom Clarke said...

Christine, assuming the last anonymous poster is you, I apologise for not responding earlier, but the world had moved on and I had missed your question to me.

To be brief, many times on blogs I have challenged statements made by you, yet you seldom respond. OK, if you find blogs an unsatisfactory way of debating, so be it, but that is where we are.

I am well aware of your politics and stance on various issues which is invariably diametrically opposed to mine. I really, therefore, see no point in an exchanges of emails.