Rev. John Rogers (FILE)
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Not only has the Church amended the wedding vows removing the word obey and “till death do us part” but it doesn’t encourage couples to stay in relationships that are “killing them”.
And although some people may view the high rate of divorce in Barbados as a negative thing”, times have changed and women no longer had to tolerate their husbands infidelities and abuses, and rely on them solely for financial support. They are no longer expected to satisfy them sexually as encouraged by their mothers and grandmothers decades ago.
“I think now we’re having a sense of gender equality where women recognise their rights and recognise who they are and the strong men will recognise who they are as well,” Independent Senator, Reverend John Rogers said Wednesday in the Senate during debate on Family Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, and the related Family Law (Dissolution of Marriages) (Validation and Indemnification) Bill 2019.
Rogers, rector of St George Parish Church, said the church says that “in marriage, husband and wife give themselves to each other and they begin a new life together in the community”.
“It is a way of life that all should reverence and therefore it must not be entered into carelessly, selfishly, or wantonly but responsibly, honestly, and after serious thought and prayer.”
He believes that “what we may be experiencing [that is divorce rate] is the residual, where some are still stuck in an old system of expectations of women, things that pertained a long time ago before they were perceived as our equal”.
“In fact, the church also recognises that because even in our vows we do not stipulate to obey and neither do we say anymore till death do us part. The church’s vows now say ‘I ‘A’ pick you ‘B’ to be my husband or wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish for the rest of our lives, according to God’s holy law.
“It’s almost like an exit clause – according to God’s holy law. If that is not there, everything else falls apart. And the same thing for exchange of rings – ‘I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. All that I am I give you to. All that I have I share with you within the love of God . . .’”
Rogers asserted that he did not want people listening to the debate “to leave with the impression that the institution of marriage is useless or weak”.
“The church has it that it ought to be grounded in a relationship first with God and that is what is meant be being equally yoked. That the persons are on the same page and God is their guiding force in their relationship.”
The clergyman said too that he “always” infuses “an element of sobriety” when speaking to young couples.
“They come preparing for marriage, they come with stars in their eyes and looking forward to the wedding day but there’s an element of sobriety that I tell them. I do not, and the church does not, encourage persons to stay in relationships that are killing them – be it physically, emotionally, spiritually or otherwise because personally, financially, you’ve already promised for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.
“ . . . I would rather be performing a service in church with two people sitting one in the front and one in the back because they do not want to be close to each other than to be performing a service with one in a coffin and the other at Dodds,” he said. (GBM)