I’ve had some calls for thoughts on this current issue. So here are some from a different perspective.
For those of you who are not up with Australian current politics, we’ve just had one of our most decisive arguments (in the right and, at times, wrong sense of the word) about the merits of legalising gay marriage. As per usual the Christian voice was divided, weak, poorly thought through, and at times inappropriate in its manner of opposition.
But I am not about to add to the for/or against debate, but rather raise another issue that does not get enough of a hearing.
The de-liberalisation of society rarely occurs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, which some of us may have immediately thought. For example, it was not a reality for women and indigenous Australians to vote 110 years ago. It is is inconceivable that such rights would ever be turned over. Once the ball was rolling when women gained suffrage, it was only a matter of time before all Australians of age had the opportunity to vote.
Giving women the right to vote must not be seen as the start of the slippery slope that gave way to indigenous Australians having the right to vote; rather, it was the appropriate outworking of the law – that if a man could vote, then so could a woman and so could indigenous Australians of both genders. In this instance, the fact that one law followed on from another was not a slippery slope but a logical progression.
In this post I want to describe the logical compulsion that we as a society and church must deal with.
If marriage becomes legally something other than between a man and woman, then the concept of marriage is logically compelled to open itself to all permutations that might present itself.
In The Australian newspaper on the 10th of December there was an article that shocked me. Not because of the content, but on the logical certainty of it. The title read, ‘Three in bed more of a good thing.’ Now, polygamy is practiced throughout the world – legally in some countries, and illegally in places like Australia, but never has it ever been presented in such a way that it was in line for being recognised as a legal entity.
The first line of the article was telling,
FOR weeks, Sydneysiders and Melburnians who believe menages-a-trois and other polyamorous relationships can be just as committed, loving and valid as marriage between a man and a woman, slaved away together to earn their place in the sun.
The question is begging, how can we deny these people the rights that I enjoy with my wife, if marriage can be open to something other than a man and a woman?
The article goes on:
The polyamorous community has a further cause for celebration.
They believe last weekend’s vote by the ALP national conference to change the party platform to legalise same-sex marriage is a base on which they can build.
The agenda now is to seek recognition and the removal of prejudice against multiple-partner relationships, perhaps legislation to grant them civil unions and even legalised polyamorous marriage.
“My personal view is that any change that moves us towards a more loving, open and accepting society can only be a positive,”
Notice the language: removal of prejudice; seek recognition; movement towards a more loving, open and accepting society. We’ve heard it all before – many times! Voting rights, women in the work place, the gay and lesbian marriage push and many more. In every equal rights movement the language is the same, and how can we resist such inclusion? My argument is that on many of these issues we cannot. We are logically (though not biblically) compelled to show the tolerance that others on the same grounds have been afforded.
The photo above reads: Love knows NO Gender.
If this be true can we say that love knows NO Number.
Could we then say that love knows NO Age.
Further, perhaps it would be legitimate to say that love knows NO kinds of being, whether animal or human?
Ok, I’m getting a little silly but you get my point.
The issue that confronts us is not when do we stop, or when to draw a line in the sand, but on what grounds do we stop? What reason do we have to give for saying ‘No’ to the next bunch seeking recognition, love, and tolerance for their lifestyle. How can we say, ‘Sorry, that’s not marriage.’
If we cannot find a moral absolute then we have no basis to say to ‘No’ to any of the above searchers for equality.
It’s quite the moral conundrum… for some.