Saturday, 1 June 2013

Response to Telegraph Letter

In the Telegraph today 'religious' leaders have seemingly united to protest this government's equal-marriage legislation.

I suspect that many of my friends and those who have contact with me via social media will recognize that the Telegraph is not an organ noted for its social liberalism or progressive stance and thus provides a focal point for more conservative opinion. If my liberal friends are inclined to start frothing about 'gay-hating Christians etc' please remember that a) this is a letter in the Telegraph and b) the Christian figures represented among the signatories hardly represent either the vast majority of Christians in the pews or are significant active leaders of the church. Indeed, Michael Nazir-Ali may have been Bishop of Rochester but he has retired and is well-known for his conservative social and political outlook. Indeed, upon retirement he aligned, certainly for a period, with the conservative Anglican group GAFCON. Equally Rod Thomas may be very good at making noise in the public square, but his conservatism is hardly of the popular kind.
I am keen to see religious leaders working together. I am disappointed that it seems to be over matters of sexuality. Our common energies would be better exercised protesting that deconstruction of the welfare state which has led to an ever growing dependence on food banks. Equally we should be decrying and acting to end the criminal exploitation of the poor and vulnerable around the world. But that, of course, is hard. It requires a vision of society not grounded in privatized individual morality but in community respect and love. It requires a move away from an obsession with personal morality to ethical living.


  1. Thanks you, Rachel, for putting this in context. I have a nightmare vision of a clump of 29 bishops in the No lobby on Tuesday along with Norman Tebbitt and chums, I hope many of them wondering what they're doing there.

  2. Good grief, Alan, what an image. Praying that good sense and generosity prevail.

  3. They're as much on the wrong side of history as the Dutch Reformed Church' support of Apartheid.