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Good intentions undermined by unyielding doctrine

Good intentions undermined by unyielding doctrine

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG reacts to the Church of England’s guidelines for eliminating homophobic bullying in schools by illustrating what happened last time they attempted to oppose homophobia. From Haller’s blog post, “Getting Real”:

The leadership in the Church of England is in the difficult position of wanting to oppose homophobia while retaining a the doctrine that gives homophobia its underpinning. They ran into a similar bind when, in an effort to scuttle last year’s changes in civil marriage, they tried to pretend (contrary to the facts) that they had been supporters of the alternative of civil partnerships….

The real problem, of course, is that few in the church are willing to admit that “traditional” marriage does not qualify as one of those things that meets the test of Vincent’s canon (“always believed, everywhere, by all”). Yet it acts is if that were the case, talking about a biblical “definition” where one in fact finds myriad “descriptions” and a long and controverted history of reflection as to what constitutes marriage, and a longer series of equally contesting regulations concerning who can marry whom.

Had they approached the latest proposal (adopted by the state) as simply one more variation in an ongoing symphony, perfectly at harmony with much of the foregoing (though clearly dissonant with much of it as well) there might have been some productive dialogue and thoughtful engagement. But the pretense of a monolithic and unchanging “institution” from the time of creation even to this day is risible to anyone familiar with the Bible or the human history which that Bible in part records, to say nothing of the pilgrimage of the institution of marriage under the church’s care.


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