Religious freedom threat is real

The Church of England will be between a rock and a hard place if a same-sex couple from Essex follow through with their stated plan to sue over England’s Marriage Act.

My first observation is that I ought to be reading ‘PinkNews’ as often as I can stand. I do give credit when special interest reporting does not seem entirely preoccupied with preserving a certain image. Where else should I learn about an eminent drag queen arrested for arranging a sexual tryst with a father and his two young children (who turned out to be police), buying risqué gifts for the kids in anticipation? There’s an article that almost writes itself…but I digress.

A second observation is that these must be the Nobodies I keep hearing about…as in “Nobody wants to force the churches to blah blah blah.” Apparently Nobody is now going by the name Drewitt-Barlow.

Back to the C of E: I believe in the long run, they’re in trouble, and they probably know it. The concept of “separation of Church and State” is all too often a transparent excuse to silence people with unpopular opinions these days, but at a time like this, I confess I am relieved that the head of my church is not also my Head of State. Please, let me not be misconstrued. Schadenfreude is an inappropriate response; there is nothing to enjoy. These are my English brothers and I’m deeply perturbed to see them under attack. Any relief I feel now will be short-lived because whatever happens to them can happen to us, just more slowly, as we have somewhat different pretenses to keep up on this side of the Atlantic.

My gut feeling is that they may skate by this time if it is widely believed that the would-be plaintiffs are mainly interested in their own aggrandizement, as appears to be the majority view represented in the comments on the article. It is encouraging to see the annoyance provoked and the low confidence in this lawsuit idea among the readers (a note to those folks who complained that this would give us knuckle-dragging, cave-dwelling bigots ammunition: DUH! Sulk all you want, you admit that our predictions were true). However, some commenters did conclude that the system cannot stand (edited for brevity):

Good luck to them. They are entirely correct. The Government is enshrining discrimination in law against people just because they are gay. That is exactly what the Government has done.

john 9 HOURS AGO
I just don’t know these guys are challening the govt NOT the CofE. I think they are entitled to that. The quadriple lock is put there by Govt NOT by the church of England and therefore is that really religious freedom.

Here are a few more that were relatively sanguine in their support:

Some of us appear to believe that religions should have the freedom to follow the convictions of their faith. However, religions have been forced to alter their convictions in the past. Christians believed in the scriptures advocating slavery and commanding them to stone to death any woman who was raped. There are many things in the bible guiding Christians what to do and believe that would now repulse them. That change in belief means that they conveniently ignore those parts of the bible, yet they hold onto the homophobic bits. The only reason why they changed their opinion about slavery and stoning etc. is because they were forced to change their opinion. That force was a change for the better. Why can’t forcing them, via the courts, to change their opinion about how we should be treated, be seen as no different to how they have been forced to change their opinion on slavery, rape, etc. If they are forced to change they will have to ignore the anti-gay bits in the bible.

It’s a tricky one and their methods and timing are pretty unwise but for me, LGBT rights trump religious rights everytime. I don’t care what their ‘teachings’ have said or how long they’ve said it — they’re wrong. That’s why LGBT rights always trump religious rights, because quite simply they are wrong, and we are right. ‘Religious Freedom’ to continue practicing an ideology that has scarred humanity beyond repair? No thank you. Can’t be trusted, causes too much misery and suffering, makes too much money, is based on lies and oppression. Sorry, can’t agree with it on any scale. If gay people are nuts enough to want to get married in a church like everyone else wants to get married in a church (despite hardly ever being religious) then they should be allowed to. I don’t care what the pope or the bible or the bishop says because they are wrong wrong wrong.


First we have garden variety ignorance – commonplace, if not excusable. But just take a breath and drink in the hubris of the second one. “I don’t care because you are wrong, period, end of story, so do what I say.” Nice!

We should not become complacent if this is not, at the moment, a majority view. I contend that as the cross does come to us, it will not be in such a brazenly obvious fashion, but will be more subtle and more insidious. Money and influence concentrated in the hands of a determined few can have a disproportionate impact. There’s nothing quite like seeing the flag of one’s opponents flying over the Governor’s residence to drive that lesson home. Nor should we assume the Constitution will confer some magical protection on us. Constitutional guarantees are a nuisance to the Mr. Pinks of the world, an obstacle to their frightful concept of justice. No, it will only be as good as the people willing to defend it. It’s up to us. I hope we will be joined by an increasing number of former naysayers who have begun to hear the music and don’t like the tune.

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