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Gay unions a non-issue here

(Fr) Clifford Hall

Gay unions a non-issue here

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WHO SAYS we’re to have  gay marriage?

It is surely impossible to disagree with the assertion in your Editorial of June 1 that in our society, what you refer to as Christian values must ever have their place; that’s to say compassion, love, sharing and charity. Though these are not exclusively “Christian” values, they are most certainly Gospel values, and there are many others.

However, when we speak of the priority of Christianity in our land we must, surely, be careful, for there is no uniform strand. Some would even say that much of what passes for Christianity is merely Pharisaism, window dressing, even hypocrisy.

As an Anglican priest,but speaking only for myself,

I would have no difficulty in principle in blessing an LGBT person and this in the name of Christ, which is to say in the name of love and the Gospel. Moreover, I simply don’t believe that LGBT status – a person’s sexual orientation – is a sin in itself which somehow puts his immortal soul at risk. Others would ask how Idare say such a thing.

On one point, however, I must take serious issue with you. This refers to what you describe as a “cultural flashpoint”, the “legal union” of LGBT people. You assert that developed countries, as distinct from gay activists and others, are pushing this agenda on small nations such as Barbados.

Not cultural

I’m sorry. This is a distortion. First, the issue is not really “cultural” at all for there are LGBT people in every society and race, and it’s really only a matter of time before they assert what they regard as right, if they haven’t done so already.

Second, the pattern is abundantly clear – that it is for the state to determine for itself what it regards as “marriage” and under what circumstances.

Third, though the Anglican provincial bishops, for example, reported against gay marriage in 2013 and said, in effect, that the former colonial power was blackmailing us into accepting it, they were, to put it kindly, very wide of the mark.

What Mr David Cameron,  Britain’s prime minister, had said was that unless Commonwealth countries observe human rights, for present purposes the rights

of LGBT people, British aid might be in jeopardy. His remarks were made at the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Summit in Perth in 2011 and specifically referred to repressive penal laws directed against LGBT people – in our context the penalisation of buggery in Section 9 of the Sexual Offences Act.

UN resolution

This was in line with the Commonwealth Affirmation of Values of 2009, as Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma stressed. It was also in line with the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council on LGBT rights in 2011.

Mr Cameron’s remarks had nothing to do with gay marriage. Yet the bishops claimed that “gay marriage” was a live issue which interfered with the right of Caribbean people to “affirm their cultural and religious convictions”.

Well, they may be right, but it must always be remembered that it was the British who introduced anti-buggery laws here in the first place. Interestingly, The Bahamas has repealed its own along with South Africa, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Lesotho which, apparently, had no problem with either culture or religion. In many other African countries, same-sex activity has never been the subject of penal laws anyway.

So please, dear Editor, do not shout “Eureka”, mere empty noise, for what is simply not there. You will find no angels on the pinhead. I hear no clamour here for gay marriage and until there is, this non-issue is not so much a “cultural flashpoint” as a damp match.

The reality is, however, that the debate about it is in danger of being used to ferment all the intolerance and superstition associated with homophobic agendas, allegedly in the name of Christ. Indeed, I’m sure it won’t be long before we hear that it’s all the work of the devil and causes earthquakes.

 (Fr) Clifford Hall