Thursday, March 04, 2010

Civil partnerships in Church?

I must admit I still scratch my head about this one and struggle to see how it can work given the practicalities. Hopefully the government can work something out.

I am glad that the House of Lords did vote in this way. Kudos to Lord Alli who has been a fantastic performer in the House of Lords on this and on many other issues.

I am also glad for the fact that there is some respect for the spiritual autonomy of minority faiths such as Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Judaisms.

I think, ironically, that religion is quite a good angle to come at this problem and that it leads us to the view that for some faiths they will be able to marry people in church (or synagogue); others might not be happy to marry in church or synagogue but might doctrinally be happy to provide civil partnerships and others may opt for either civil partnerships or civil marriage.

I am for respect for spiritual freedom for churches, faiths and individuals and I think that this is the way to approach this issue.

The attitude of the Church of England is sadly pitiful. It's the kind of attitude of "Why on earth do people need religious services?" whilst being a church that wants (presumably) wants to attract people to have a service.

This attitude can only (a) put people off coming to church for a ceremony and (b) when they do have a ceremony they are likely to see through the church's spiritual bankruptcy and see this as a ceremony but no more and it's a pathway to a profound divorce between church and people which is very sad.

The scare stories about litigation against priests who refuse to conduct a ceremony are utterly mendacious and badly reflect on the bishops' seriousness and integrity - clearly people that daft (or frankly dishonest) have no place in our Parliament and should be kept out of any reformed upper chamber.

Thinking Anglicans has been great on this issue as well as Ekklesia.

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