left biblioblography: The Catholic Cee Is Getting Their Kilts In A Twist: Scotland Is Taking The High Road

Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Catholic Cee Is Getting Their Kilts In A Twist: Scotland Is Taking The High Road

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisscotlandtolerance

I personally snicker with glee when I read items like this:

Scotland is ready for gay marriage, whether Cardinal O'Brien likes it or not

My lodger, a nice Catholic librarian, once told me that at her Highlands church the anti-gay marriage postcards were put on a table at the back, no one taking much interest. A Glaswegian friend told me those postcards were actually being handed out to each mass-goer, and those signed collected back at the end of the service.

Signed avowals of homophobia, is what they are.

In 2011, Cardinal O'Brien had the Catholic Parliamentary Office send 200,000 postcards, pre-printed with a message against gay marriage, one for every mass-going Catholic to sign, to every parish in Scotland. They got 28,000 of them back: about 170,000 Catholics ignored them. Thirty-six per cent of the total responses to the equal marriage consultation in Scotland are those postcards.

Gotta love them stats.

"Scotland for Marriage" and other opponents of same-sex marriage point to figures stating that 77,508 responses to the Scottish gay marriage consultation, only 36% were in favour of gay marriage and 64% were against. While civil rights in a democracy are not awarded by majority vote, this does sound fairly conclusive, doesn't it?

As the author points out, civil rights are not granted by mob rule.

But Cardinal Keith O'Brien has announced a fundraising Sunday in August – he wants £100,000 to run an advertising campaign against same-sex marriage. Odd, since they claim to be supported by the majority.

Of course, since eliminating poverty is out of the question, let’s dictate how the hoi polloi copulate.

If you count only the full responses to the consultation – not postcards or petition signatures – then 49% were in favour of same sex marriage and 50% were against and a few hundred forgot to answer the question. But nineteen per cent of the total responses came from outside Scotland: most of them apparently from online forms set up by the Christian Institute and Christian Concern. Those responses were overwhelmingly against Scotland making same-sex marriage legal.

It’s always interesting how busybodies outside a country (or in our case, outside the state) want to stick their beaks in.

Count only what the Scots wrote to Holyrood on consultation forms and letters, and the 2011 consultation reports 65% in favour of same-sex marriage and 35% against. Which matches almost exactly what Ipsos-Mori found when they carried out a poll on same-sex marriage in June 2012: 64% of Scots agree same-sex couples should have the right to marry, 68% agree that churches should have the freedom to wed same-sex couples if they choose.

Well, Scotland obviously is not having the same issues with Catholic priests that their neighbor Ireland has had.

So gay marriage should become lawful in 2014 – at least a year earlier than planned for England, which will be great for the tourist trade in Gretna Green.

Always good news.

Will this mean Catholic priests and Church of Scotland ministers and Amos Starkadders of the Church of the Quivering Brethren could be sued by engaged couples who are unexpectedly keen to have the celebrant join them in holy matrimony while muttering "Ye're all damned!"?

Hey, tell the churches to suck it (literally and figuratively), and go get married by the state.

With praiseworthy consideration for religious freedom, the Scottish government is asking the UK government to slightly amend the Equality Act. Religious celebrants from churches against gay marriage were already protected by the act: this change will ensure religious celebrants from churches for gay marriage are also definitely legally protected if they wish to refuse.

I should say that’s a non-issue: as much as I detest religion, a group of any sort should be able to stand by its principles, askew as they may be. This will help push more people away from the madness that is religion.

That's as it should be (and so say 93% of responses to the equal marriage consultation). But will Scotland for Marriage be content with certainty that any celebrant from any church will have the right to refuse? That Cardinal O'Brien can continue to call same-sex marriage "grotesque" as long as this makes him happy?

They should have a drive to pelt this clown with eggs.

They will not, and I think I know why. I think they know that once it's legal, the churches against gay marriage understand it's only a matter of time before everyone takes it for granted. And many of their priests and ministers, asked by a devout and faithful couple, will quietly perform the wedding as a calling of their ministry, and never mind what the church hierarchy says about it.

Or better yet, stop depending on any church at all for the ceremony.

This is a sore spot for me: I have waxed and whaled at this nonsense before. Our rites of passage need not be blessed by someone intangible. Rather, they should be celebrated by our own flesh and blood, toasts to the sky only in jubilation and not in obeisance: we give our thanks only to each other, and no supernatural being need be acknowledged.

And that day is drawing closer, but not quickly enough for my taste. But it will happen.

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