Sunday 28 October 2012

The Noisy Minority

Hugo Rifkind is described (in this week's Spectator) as "a writer for the Times", so we know he is usually best ignored. His pompous piece in the Spectator, though, makes him appear like a self-confident leader writer for the Thunderer of old - except that in those days someone would have checked his grammar. "People .. who want to antagonistically get married &c". Tut, tut.

But it is not his grammar which needs correcting so much as his assumptions. He writes for a very noisy minority. We have a duty to get the voices of the less noisy (even silent) majority heard whenever possible. What follows I have sent to the Editor, but I have little hope of its appearing in the Speccy, so here it is for you, my select readership.

'Hugo Rifkind has written that “Gay Marriage is going to happen, and that’s a fact”. Then he says that civil gay marriage will not inevitably lead to churches being forced to conduct gay marriages – “There surely cannot be many people, gay or otherwise, who want to antagonistically get married in a place that really doesn’t want them.” Where does Hugo Rifkind get his news? Has he not read about the boarding house owners who were plagued with gay couples determined to make them toe the PC line? Once the State admits to gay marriage, the pressure will immediately be on the churches to follow suit – most especially the Church of England as the Established Church, but after them all the rest of us..


He asserts that the only real argument against gay marriage is the Christian one; and since I am a Christian that means he can safely ignore anything I write. But perhaps part of the reason I am a Christian is because the Church’s stand on gay issues [as also on abortion on demand and assisted suicide on demand] seems to me entirely consonant with being human. He might not have noticed, but historically Humanism began in the Christian world.


Gay couples can already have a Civil Union, with all the benefits which accrue to married couples. Why do they want to hijack the language of Marriage? (though in fact many of them do not). A union between two women or two men may be the equivalent of marriage; but it is not the same. “I am in favour of gay marriage even if gays aren’t” he writes. There is generosity of spirit for you! What Mr Rifkind believes, everyone must believe.


I suppose any argument from design carries no weight with him; but in case he has not noticed, the union between a woman and a man can result in procreation, the union (however achieved) between same-sex couples cannot. It is the first reason for marriage, God given as many of us would say. Which is why the language of marriage  - husband and wife, father and mother - must be protected. Or does he want us to go down the route of Brighton City Council and forbid us to say or write "father and mother"? Try as he may, he is the one who is going to fail in the end, by ignoring human nature.'


  1. Hey,

    Musings on the Year of Faith and documents of Vatican II.

  2. “Has he not read about the boarding house owners who were plagued with gay couples determined to make them toe the PC line?” What rubbish you write, the issue of the B&B owners is not about

    Curious is not that these poor Christian B&B owners make no mention of their Christian faith on their websites. A Christian run B&B, which lays its cards on the table in its advertising, rather than choosing to turn people away, when they booked a room in good faith would be refreshing. A self-proclaimed Christian B&B would be enough for many gay couples to stay clear. Tho’ I should imagine it would put a good number of other people off too, which is probably why they don’t do it: a case of wanting your cake and eating it – hiding one’s faith when it might eat into your profits and proclaiming it when it might excuse your prejudices…

    As for churches being forced to conduct gay marriages, there are NO plans for this. Religious organisations get out of lots of things – there are many amendments and clauses in current legislation protecting religious organisations from wider legalisation (tho’ if you believe some Christians, so intent on playing the victim card, and revelling in inverted pride and blaming others for their own failure to have an impact on society... It’s always someone else’s fault... you think poor Christians were suffering terrible persecution). Again and again it has been said there are no plans for churches to be forced to conduct gay marriages and again and again a certain flavour of whinging Christian, intent on spreading slander and fear says otherwise.

    “Gay couples can already have a Civil Union, with all the benefits which accrue to married couples. Why do they want to hijack the language of Marriage?”

    It is amusing and particularly ironic when a Christian writes of ‘gays couples’ as a monolithic whole. As if being gay means a person behaves in a particular way, has a particular worldview and thinks and acts in a certain way. The irony is that centuries of Christianity have shown that Christians are adept demonstrating they don’t think, act and believe on one monolithic manner. Whenever two or three are gathered in Christ’s name they have an odd habit of disagreeing about just what it is to be Christian. You’d think, given Christianity’s well known ability to schism and difference (an ability that has shed much blood over the centuries) they would be able to extend to ‘gays’ the belief that not all gay people think and act the same. But of course, it is necessary to take away the humanity of any group one wishes to oppress... QED

    Well done, in one post, you have spread fear and been more than economical with the truth... A fine example of Christian fairness and integrity.

  3. Well, Peter, I suppose a real example of unfairness would have been to junk your comments; but let hem stand. Certainly it seems that SOME gays do want to hijack the language of Marriage; and a priest forced to conduct a same sex marriage would (I think) find it hard to say that these two are "called by God to this holy estate". And am I wrong in saying (as many press reports said) that the B&B owners were forced out of business by gays determined to exercise their 'rights'?
    But do say, why do you want to use the MARRIAGE language, without all the rest of it (bride and groom, husband and wife, father and mother)? Marriage is about more than the couple; it is at the centre of the whole nexus of family, on which society is built.

  4. Having read Fr Edwin's article and Peter's rather highly-strung response, I would just like to correct any impression that Fr Edwin has "spread fear". The use of "equality" legislation to force people to act against their consciences, or to penalize them when they do so, _does_ spread fear. Similarly, talk in terms of "X is going to happen," when the majority don't want X, is likewise calculated to unsettle and to confront.

    As regards fairness, and regarding same-sex unions: why are cohabiting siblings excluded from this deal? Why may an aunt and her niece not have recourse to the protections afforded by civil partnership contracts? Indeed, why should any two arbitrary people of either sex not be able to enter into one if they are both freely minded to do so? Is that fair?

    For centuries in our civilization, the institution of marriage has been supported by rules about validity, and about "permitted degrees" (i.e. consanguinity). What is being proposed for this framework? Is it to be retained only in the case of heterosexual marriage? And if so, is that fair?

    So much of public consciousness favours the powerful adults in the domestic unit. It's as if the only criterion for fairness is whether it's fair to one or possibly two parents. What about the child? Is there no issue of fairness arising out of the situation of the (possible) child? Surely the precedent of abortion entitles us to conclude that justice for one or more parent can never be assumed to be justice for the child.

    A final issue of fairness is the question of the mandate for legislative change. I'd like to know what percentage of the voting population would support these changes and, if that percentage is _irrelevant_, why we have yet to hear any rational justification for the change, as opposed to all this threatening talk of "this WILL happen no matter what".

  5. Um, speaking of words, perhaps better to say 'people who are gay' than 'gays'

    Remember we all human first.