View from the pew: PM's same-sex marriage blunder

Unfortunately, for the theologically-challenged Cameron, God has never been a liberal when it comes to the state usurping his eternal laws

Will Cameron keep his fellow church-goers happy?
Peter C. Glover
On 12 December 2012 17:34

David Cameron’s litany of un-thought-through suggested new policies is extensive. In his vehement exposition of why he backs legalising ‘same-sex marriage’ however, he might just have gone too far for a party already on the ropes at the polls. UKIP smells more blood because of the obvious – to everyone except Cameron – link that legalisation opens up for the issue to be taken to European Court of Human Rights.

As a political commentator and as a fellow ‘church-goer’, Cameron’s political and Judeo-Christian cluelessness has led him to make a significant blunder.

Same-sex unions as ‘civil partnerships’ are clearly a fact of secular life. We all accept that. But why Cameron should opt to pursue such a controversial policy as legalising same-sex marriage – for many a contradiction in terms – when so many in his party and in the church to which Cameron himself claims to belong are patently opposed, suggests he has, once again, miscalculated badly. This might even prove politically fatal when the European elections are fought in 2014.

The Churches of England and Wales may have been exempted from performing gay marriage on this occasion, but state legalisation pressure for them to conform to same-sex marriage as a ‘human right’ is only going to grow. Actually, in churches, it is a God-given sacrament, not a human right. And even the liberal hierarchy of the Church of England has balked at the chaos it would cause among its churches as well as to society generally, which is why the Church of England will oppose the move even with its “quadrupal lock” caveats. But politics first.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has pointed out a clear strategic political error on Cameron’s part in his view that the European courts will have no say in the matter. One can only marvel at DC’s naivety. As Farage points out, since the UK is “a member of the European Union and subject to the rulings of the European Courts, both of Justice and Human Rights, he does not have the right nor the power to make such a guarantee”.

Farage adds, “It is dishonest in the extreme to suggest that he does.” Cameron claims it is only a reflection of the way society is already moving. That may be so, but that doesn’t explain why the state – and a church-going PM at that – is intervening to speed up a process of social moral decline, including resentment at the exempted established church.

Cameron’s deep disdain for thousands of years of Judeo-Christian teaching is perverse. But like all liberal thinkers Cameron appears to believe that even God-given laws are fair game for ‘evolutionary change’. By legalising same-sex unions as ‘marriage’ the government would be opening the way for refusals from any organisation, including the church, to find itself before the European courts. UKIP knows this. And Farage is plainly salivating at the prospect of using the link between the policy and EU membership to further “rip apart” the Conservative Party in 2014.

As an alleged fellow ‘church-goer’, Cameron ought to know that issues of sexuality and marriage are governed specifically by God’s law not state sanction. ‘Marriage’ was not state-instituted but was instituted by God. Whatever relationship others may see themselves forming, marriage is a union to which only a man and a woman can therefore aspire. Civil partnerships have been a state-created recognition of other unions.

For the church-going Cameron, same-sex or ‘gay marriage’ ought to be, religiously and theo-logically speaking, an oxymoron. Not to mention potentially, in terms of the state-church arrangement, a politically fraught one – as angry Conservative back-bench MPs are currently informing him. As a former Anglican Lay Reader and author of a raft of theological books, I would suggest the errant Cameron should perhaps be reminded of Judeo-Christian teaching. After all, it is Christmas.

First of all, God enabled man and woman alone to become one flesh (note the physiological clarity of that arrangement, David) in “marriage” as an unchangeable creation ordinance (Genesis 2:24). Second, the state is empowered by God himself (Roman 13) to act according to his will, not the vacillating opinions of focus groups or “progressive” social lobbies. Third, and most importantly, as former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith informed Cameron in the House, “This country will be passing a law that is directly contrary to what Jesus said about marriage in Mark chapter 10 and Matthew chapter 19.”

Unfortunately, for the theologically-challenged Cameron, God has never been a liberal when it comes to the state usurping his eternal laws. In fact (Malachi 3:6), he can be downright bigoted on the matter.

Peter C Glover is the author of The Politics of Faith: Essays on the moral of key current affairs and other theological books and is a contributing editor at The Commentator

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