News Letter article on equal marriage 12/2/2013

IS questioning our beliefs from time to time healthy?

“The ayes to the right 400. The noes to the left 175, so the ayes have it, the ayes have it.”

What I’m talking about, of course, is the Equal Marriages Bill which passed on its second reading in the House of Commons last Wednesday.

I have noted, however, that much of the opposition to the bill comes from the religious section of our society, mainly Christians.

When I go to Twitter and read tweets such as: “Pray for Parliament this week as MPs vote on legalisation of gay marriage! Protect marriage, one man, one woman! God’s word is clear #Matthew 19:4-6” I let out a whimper of sadness because, for me, it summarises neatly why religion is bad for society. It’s often I hear people say that they oppose equal marriages because “it’s not God’s will”, then they hit me with the biblical definition of marriage. Of course, I will respect everyone’s beliefs but surely one must ask oneself from time to time – does this reflect what I as a person, detached from religion, would believe? Is there not an inherent danger in acting on the teachings of a book which is thousands of years old because the book says so and I believe what is said in the book to be true? Should it not be the case that everyone should question their beliefs every now and then?

I do have the greatest respect for people who hold religious beliefs but surely – and I am no one to judge – you cannot ‘pick and choose’ between biblical teachings. In the Bible we learn that all sin is wrong. If we are to take the example of lying, taking the Lord’s name in vain, and getting drunk, as sins, I would be liable to the accusation of being pedantic if I were to suggest that people who claim to live their lives for God, but do these things, should not get married as, like being gay, it is against God’s will.

Therefore, I would challenge anyone who opposes equal marriages on the basis of ‘it’s against God’s will’ to instead ask yourself – how does this really affect me, if I detach myself from my religious beliefs for just a minute?

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