“Traditionalists” are actually correct in their belief that the Church of England is presently under the control of moral relativists. However, they are wrong in identifying “progressive” Christians as the culprits. It is in fact the centre of the Church, those who can be identified by their abiding fear of upsetting “traditionalists” who have walked into the dark valley of relativism where there is no logic and where consistency does not abide.
THE TELEGRAPH is claiming that the bishops of the Church of England (at least, the ones who get to sit in the Lords and tell other people how to behave) have given up on the idea of scuppering same gender marriage legislation completely by the support of ethically suspect sabotaging of the bill, and have decided to change their tack and concentrate on amending the bill to protect themselves and other homophobes from being taken to court for human rights violations.
Bishop Stevens said: “The concerns of many in the Church, and in the other denominations and faiths, about the wisdom of such a move have been expressed clearly and consistently in the Parliamentary debate.
“For the Bishops the issue now is not primarily one of protections and exemptions for people of faith, important though it is to get that right, not least where teaching in schools and freedom of speech are concerned.”
Such an attitude would be fine, in fact worthy even, if we were talking about the covering of brazil nuts in chocolate. Although manufacturers should be allowed to create such confectionary in the same way that they can cover coffee beans with chocolate, there must be protection for confectioners who don’t want to dip their nuts in liquid cocoa. And nobody should be forced to eat chocolate covered nuts, especially those people who suffer from a life threatening nut allergy.
But we are not talking about sweet manufacture here, we are discussing a moral issue. Furthermore, it is a moral debate which cannot lead to an ambiguous conclusion. Same gender marriage is either right or wrong. It is not right for some and wrong for others. In this respect, same gender marriage is no different to moral issues, already decided upon by secular government, such as female equality and the banning of discrimination against black people and those with disabilities. Therefore, if the bishops of the Church of England insist that the oppression of gay people is intrinsically different to the oppression of women, black people and the disabled to the extent that people should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to be homophobic or not without censure, then they are being about as relativist as you can possibly get. They are saying that an offence, in this case discrimination against LGBT people is relatively less offensive if practiced by clergy, schoolteachers and registrars than if it is practiced by bus drivers and brickies. If you apply this claim to the oppression of women, black people and the disabled it becomes immediately clear to those of a logical disposition that it is an impossible position to sustain. But we are not talking about logical people here, we are talking about the bishops of the Church of England who, despite secular legislation, exploit previously won opt out clauses to continue to oppress women and the disabled with impunity. A bishop who can sack a priest for having suffered from depression without feeling even a twinge of conscience is not going to have a problem with denying happiness to two people because of their sexuality.
The extremely vocal condemnation of same gender, faithful sexual relationships by most of the House of Bishops in the past has led to the perception of the church by those outside the church being one of an unloving institution that puts dogma before care, tradition before happiness and the past before the future. That was bad enough. Now, with their championing of a cloud cuckoo land “solution”, the bishops are going to be seen as even more irrelevant and removed from reality, a bunch of talking heads dedicated to ensuring special privileges for themselves and a few people they employ in their schools. They will be seen as a group that is not subject to the same laws as everyone else and who do not even have to conform to the same high moral standards as the rest of society. In other words they and their church will become outsiders, no longer a part of the community in which they reside. The elitists, isolationists and separatists will have won. Not only will the church be not of this world it will also have f**k all to do with it. How then will it continue Christ’s commission “to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour?” Perhaps it doesn’t even want to.