Unsurprisingly, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, is against David Cameron’s plans for marriage equality in the UK. But instead of just saying that, he made some pretty bold statements in an op-ed in Sunday’s Daily Telegraph:
No Government has the moral authority to dismantle the universally understood meaning of marriage.
Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that “no one will be forced to keep a slave.”
Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?
Wow, His Eminence must have some big brass ones under that robe.
The article is full of the usual straw-man arguments of the right: that polygamy is next, that second-graders will be made to watch gay porn in school, and that churches will be forced at gunpoint to marry a man and his goat.
But he also made some wild factual claims (much like his post-modern descendent, Kirk Cameron.)
As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by governments and should not be changed by them. Instead, recognising the innumerable benefits which marriage brings to society, they should act to protect and uphold marriage, not attack or dismantle it.
Marriage predates government? A job of a government is to create laws and regulations—contractual obligations—that its citizens abide by for the greater good. (Whether there’s a prime minister, a president or a council of elders.)
Marriage is a contract. Without public/governmental approval you can’t have a “marriage—at least not how O’Brien and his ilk define it. It’s two people saying how much they like each other. (That’s not to denigrate the love felt by unmarried couples—we’re talking contract law.)
Y’know what does predate government? Slavery. Heck, slavery is in the Bible. The Israelites had slaves through the entire Old Testament, which approves of the practice and even spells out how to treat your slave,
After his piece ran, O’Brien discussed the issue further with John Humphries on Radio 4, where he said if same-sex marriage were enacted, “further aberrations would take place and society would be degenerating even further than it already has into immorality.” He later compared homosexuality to abortion.
Responding to accusations that his use of language, including the word “grotesque,” was inflammatory, he said: “I am not saying it is grotesque, but perhaps to some people it might appear grotesque. I don’t think it’s inflammatory at all. I think it’s handing on the teaching of the Christian Church for more than 2,000 years and I am doing my best to hand it on in a way than many people can hear it. I think if the UK does go for same sex marriage it is indeed shaming our country.
Damn he sounds desperate. Good.
Keep crazying it up, Father—you’re doing our work for us.