If there’s one accusation that can be unequivocally levelled at the Catholic church, it’s that the church uses, and always has used a combination of strong-arm bully boy tactics, emotional blackmail, and threats to accomplish compliance amongst the population. Witchburning, ex-communication, purgatory – they’re all aspects of the same fear-controlling mentality that says “If you don’t obey, there will be serious – maybe even eternal consequences.”
In the dark ages, that kind of nonsense worked a treat. Even nowadays, in countries that have a more ignorant population, threats of ex-communication or hell might be enough to terrify people into obedience, but amongst the more educated countries in the world, Catholicism is apparently experiencing a significant and well-deserved drop in membership, due in part no doubt, to the church’s shameful handling of all the recent sexual scandals, and the recognition by ordinary people, of the gulf between what the church preaches and what it practices.
Which makes it all the more amazing to see that Scottish Archbishop Mario Conti going almost medieval in his opposition to gay marriage.
It’s heartening to see that mankind as a whole is gradually starting to accept the fact that love is love, regardless of gender, and that legal recognition of the fact that two people are prepared to make a lifelong commitment to be together is not something that should be reserved exclusively for heterosexuals. Quite frankly, whenever I hear of anyone who disagrees with the requests of homosexuals to get married, I always think they look like someone who selfishly wants to keep the good stuff for themselves, preventing those who are not exactly like them, from enjoying the same benefits.
Of course, many people argue about the “sanctity” of marriage. But with over 50% of marriages ending in divorce, and a far higher number involving cheating, there isn’t all that much sanctity involved anyway.
In any case, nowadays, marriage is often completely dissociated from any religious connection. Atheists marry, so do people of non-christian faiths. Marriage is a legal institution that comes with additional rights, and in the UK, tax benefits. The logic there is that marriage is a more child-friendly environment for raising a family. Personally, I don’t think that deciding to help with the over-population of the planet is something that deserves a pat on the back and financial rewards, but this is not the place for that debate…
Whatever the arguments for or against marriage, it’s fairly clear that the fabric of the universe or even of society is not going to fall apart if you allow two men or women who wants to spend their lives together, to enjoy the same legal recognition as two heterosexuals who want the same. Heck, I very much doubt that much would change if you allowed ducks to start marrying goats!
So when Archbishop Conti warns “There will be other consequences in law, and social policies stemming from it which need to be taken into account…” Of course there will be consequences – more people will be included in a practice which currently needlessly favours heterosexuals. But when he goes on to rant “…for example housing provision, social security entitlements and the legitimate expectations of families for support in having and bringing up children on whom the future of society depends, and for which society should make provision.” Conti is deliberately painting an apocalyptic picture in which the marriage of gays suddenly floods the welfare state of Scotland with scrounging gay couples stealing housing and state benefits from legitimate claimants – like all of the single unwed mothers for instance…
Let’s remember, that merely because the government offers gay couples the right to marry, it does not say that any specific church is obligated to marry them. Thus, if Scottish Catholics wish to continue live in the dark ages, alienating more and more of their modern-thinking flock, they are entitled to do so by law, and they can decline to marry whomever they like, just as they can now.
Completely unaware of the colossal irony of his words, Conti even cautions that allowing gay marriage will lead to “gross discrimination” of Christians, although in no way does he attempt to substantiate this outrageous claim. I can’t envision any possible circumstance in which allowing gay couples to be married by those clergy who wish to marry them, will discriminate against anyone. Perhaps what Conti fears is that in refusing to marry gay couples, his clergy will discriminate against themselves, by revealing themselves to be the tremendous bigots they are.
But honestly, even if this did somehow lead to discrimination against Christians – a good thing in my book, given the massive harm done to this planet’s psyche by Christians, isn’t that like discriminating against psychos or Nazis?
Conti is not alone in his narrow-minded views: another Scottish clergyman said that allowing gay marriage would lead to a “gross subversion of a universally accepted human right“. We’ll jump straight to the obvious contradiction here, and point out that if marriage is a “universally accepted human right” how can you limit whom its available to? But in any case, monogamous marriage is neither universal, nor a human right. More cultures on this planet practice polygamy than monogamy, and a human right? Let’s not overstate the matter! Monogamous marriage is a long-standing custom, which nowadays has legal dimensions as well. Being treated equally regardless of sexuality – now that’s a human right, because sexuality is not chosen; it’s bestowed by nature or childhood conditioning.
Ultimately I’m grateful to this bigoted lardass for his foaming at the mouth diatribe against gay marriage, because yet again, Conti has clearly showed the world why there is no place in this world, and especially no place in politics for religion.