A Christian Attitude?

The Most Reverend Vincent NicholsFollowing the storm around Cardinal O’Brien’s bigoted statement about the Government’s proposed changes in the law allowing same-sex marriages, it now appears that The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster has decided to pour more fuel on the fire.

He has been reported as saying that such a legal change would be a ‘profoundly radical step’ that threatens the ‘fundamental humanity’ expressed by matrimony. But who are these people to try to dictate just what humanity’s fundamentals should, or more importantly, shouldn’t be?

His statements come in a letter, due to be read out in 2,500 Catholic churches across the country this Sunday. The aim of said letter is to urge parishioners to sign a petition by former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey’s Coalition for Marriage, which argues that the current law does not discriminate against same-sex couples.

The whole episode smacks of rank homophobia and flies in the face of the Christian teaching that we are all made in the image of God. If there is a God, and we are indeed made in his image, surely that applies to everyone, not just the heterosexual amongst us. It is akin to the apartheid laws banning mixed race marriages that existed in South Africa or the similar colour bar laws in the USA. Both of which have been repealed many, many years ago.

Buddhism is an inclusive religion, it does not exclude anyone, for any reason. Nor, in the case of Nichiren Buddhism, does it have any form of duality, a set of dos and don’ts, just the fundamental principle of personal responsibility. Having exclusive rules, such as those of marriage, simply serves to promote the idea of ‘them and us’ and totally belittles the idea of loving thy neighbour.

We live in a modern, accepting, multicultural society and should strive to embrace the differences between the members of that society. If we are found to be discriminating against sex, race or creed, we are rightly subject to censure, so why are homosexuals excluded from those social ideals?

In this respect, the Catholic church further illustrates the fact that it is totally out of touch with modern thinking. Of course there will be people who champion that, but these are the very people who aim to divide society and subjugate minorities with whom they disagree.

Surely the people who look to the Catholic church for spiritual guidance deserve better. A good Christian attitude is to be applauded, it shows wisdom, courage and compassion, all of which are needed to accept the differences between us. But in my view, this is anything but a good Christian attitude, so let’s nip this farce in the bud and urge the Government to press ahead with these long-overdue changes to an arcane law.

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