The song beloved of English people everywhere, Jerusalem, is in danger of being “reserved for homosexuals”, MPs have heard. Labour MP Chris Bryant suggested heterosexual couples are being discriminated against because many churches refuse to allow them to sing the song at their weddings because it is “not a hymn addressed to God”. Even if a heterosexual couple were to opt for a civil service, they would still not be able to sing it because of its religious references.

Ironically, under government plans to allow civil partnership ceremonies to include a “religious aspect”, gay couples would be able to sing it.

Mr Bryant, the openly gay former Foreign Office Minister, told the Daily Mail that he was “fighting for the rights of straight couples”.

COMMENT: Due to the jealousy with which vicars and music directors guard their right to choose the hymns at church services, their own wedding is probably the only occasion in their whole lives that people (including regular churchgoers) get to choose the hymns to be sung during a service. To be dictatorial about the hymns they can choose on that one occasion does seem incredibly mean-spirited and, therefore, fully in keeping with the general ethos of the Church of England.


AND DID THOSE JACKBOOTS . . . ? — 7 Comments

  1. I don’t get many requests for “Jerusalem”, but it’s a different matter where “Morning has broken” and “Lord of the dance” are concerned. The youngsters sang these songs in school, and they’re the only two hymns they and their friends know. I gently point out that to print the words of MHB on their service sheet they will have to pay the copyright holders in London for the privilege, and that when they look at the words of LOTD, do they really want to sing “they stripped and they whipped and they hung me high” at their wedding, unless they’re really into the whole bondage scene? Perhaps unsuprisingly they then look for two alternatives, some choosing one of the three hymns specifically written for weddings that go to the tune of MHB.

  2. Oh dear….TEC has MHB in the Hymnal, so we’re ahead there. When the bride and I tied the ecclesiastical knot, we marched up to the sanctuary behind the crucifer and the altar party, and everyone sang hymns from the hymnal. She commissioned a piece from her hammered dulcimer teacher that was played at the offertory – hammered dulcimer and handbell choir. Very nice, and special.

  3. “Jerusalem” is that whole 12 Lost Tribes came to Blightey thang? O_o [I believe we have the tune in the ’82 TEC hymnal—“O Day of Peace, that dimly shines”?—but have been spared the lyrics!]

  4. No, JCF. It’s a humanist poem by William Blake about how it is up to us, not God, to rid England of our capitalist oppressors and build the Kingdom of God on a land rescued from the pollution of industry and returned to its original pastoral state.

  5. If it was good enough for Kate and Wills, it should be available to anyone!!! Not that I agree with it, but who am I to tell them what they can have? I’ll sing almost anything at a wedding for money(except “Can you feel the love tonight.”

  6. Most of the North of England has already been liberated from industry; didn’t Thatcher close the mines to do precisely that, stop pollution?