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In Full . . .

Church should fight prejudice

Posted on May 19 2012 at 11:38:17

I am writing in response to Rev David Martin’s article on marriage in the May 2012 edition of The Grapevine (parish magazine of St Laurence Church, Alvechurch http;//www.alvechurch-stlaurence.org).

The Rector begins with disclaimers intended to position his arguments as non-homophobic, stating he’s “numbered many homosexual men” as friends over the years. The inference being that, since I am friends with people in this minority group, I couldn’t possibly be prejudicial.

As for the main content of the article, Rev Martin describes homosexuality as a “condition”, a “phase”, and something that people “grow out of”. He implies that homosexuality is a clinical condition which can be “caused” following “psychological harm”.

Notwithstanding the lack of evidence for this, his public denouncement of homosexuality as a “sin” is an enormously retrograde step in a society that is trying to fight the last sanctuary of prejudice. If the Church is describing homosexuality as a sin, what message does this send to the playground, the football field and the office?

These are all domains where discrimination persists despite legislative intervention. These ill-considered sentiments are clearly counterproductive in this fight.

Imagine if I were to use the public platform afforded by my job to highlight how religion is a psychological condition and that, following the indoctrination of youth, many individuals grow out of this phase?

Indeed, if I were to encourage discrimination (albeit indirectly), I would most likely be made unemployed. I feel Rev Martin should be acutely aware of the responsibility that comes with the power of his office.

The Church has a lot of power in this country and can be a force for enormous good. However, in order to be taken seriously it must stop obsessing with the bedroom. Surely, the fact that two adults love each other is a wonderful thing?

The Rector appears to argue that legalising same-sex unions will send a confusing message to young people and may somehow bewilder them into becoming homosexual.

Sexuality is not a fashion (even if it were, it would not matter as long as adults were consenting), it is a fundamental part of an individual’s identity.

As a chap who has recently got married (to a woman, no less), I am acutely aware of how farcically patriarchal the process is. It’s outdated – as are Rev Martin’s views.

Perhaps he should focus his energies on reducing the pain and hate in the world by combating discrimination rather than perpetuating it.

Andy Johnson, Alvechurch


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