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21 June 2012

Equal debate?

Equal debate?

David Robertson of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity says that the debate around same-sex marriage has been far from equal.

Oh no – not another article on same-sex marriage! Is that your reaction on reading this? If so it would be understandable. And yet if that is your reaction, you have fallen into the ‘non-debate’ strategy of those who are seeking to undermine marriage in Scotland, the UK and indeed the whole Western world today. The concern I have as a Christian is that this whole debate is being conducted as if there were no debate. Allow me to explain.

First, those who are seeking this change are the ones who are obsessed by it. It is generally not the Church. For some reason same-sex marriage has become the cause celebre for Western liberals, being seen as the mark of a progressive and advanced society. That is why you will find continuous articles in the Independent, the Guardian, the Times, the Scotsman and the Herald, advocating and supporting same-sex marriage. You will rarely read the opposite point of view. For example over the past three Sundays there have been three pro same-sex marriage articles in Scotland on Sunday.  When the Church responds to these we are then accused of being obsessed.

Second, there is the question of language. You will notice how homosexual marriage has been turned into same-sex marriage and is not ‘equal marriage’.It’s a neat trick. Who after all is going to be against equality? And yet this is a misleading and deceitful use of language. The Equality Network are not for equality of all. They do not believe that two brothers have an equal right to marry. Nor are they prepared to offer ‘equality’ to those who want to marry more than one person. But this deceitful use of language is deliberate. The words sound good: equality, tolerance, love (the modern politicians of motherhood and apple pie), but out of context they are largely meaningless. David Cameron, for example, speaks of being for same-sex marriage because he is a conservative. It takes a peculiar kind of post-modern mindset to think that by redefining marriage for all in order to allow same-sex marriage, that somehow one is conserving marriage.

This leads us to the third way that debate is being stifled. If the first is a continuous onslaught of propaganda, and the second the confusion of language, the third is just simply bullying. Just attend a BBC Question Time or similar and suggest that you support traditional marriage and you will soon feel the hatred and contempt expressed. How ironic that you are more likely to experience hatred at an anti-hate meeting than anywhere else! If any of our politicians had courage enough to state what they really thought on this issue (assuming they do think), then watch out for the contempt campaign, hate mail and questions about their careers that will inevitably follow. Why is this the case? Because we live in a largely dumbed-down emotive society where concepts of truth and reason have been reduced to whatever one feels. Those who are attacking marriage know that politicians and journalists don’t want to appear unloving, homophobic bigots, so they just declare that anyone who opposes same-sex marriage is an unloving, homophobic bigot and if you don’t recognise this then you must be an unloving, homophobic bigot too. That is why there is no debate.

How can we respond? By listening, loving, praying and speaking truth. We have to ask questions, challenge pre-suppositions and let people see the consequences of where their irrationality is leading them. We just simply point out that the emperor has no clothes. We need courage to stand for the truth and not allow ourselves to be swept away by the propaganda, confusion and emotive bullying.  Here we stand. We can do nothing else.

David Robertson – Solas Centre for Public Christianity