Why should the Church endorse sin?
But, for my friend Ella*, these issues and obstacles seem blissfully trivial in comparison to the worries that keep her up at night as the big day approaches. She's marrying her girlfriend of two years in the summer, and the wedding preparations are well under way. It should be a time of excitement and celebration, despite the anxiety-inducing ‘wedmin’ – but Ella, as well as being in a same-sex relationship, is also a Christian. And, as things currently stand, this creates some pretty insurmountable problems.
We've both been attending the same Anglican Church for years, and actively serve as part of our church community, leading services and helping with children's work. It's a big part of our lives, one that we get a lot out of but also put a lot in to. Thankfully, it's a very forward-thinking (dare I say “liberal”) [Didact's note: yeah, which probably means its followers are abandoning it] church, and when Ella started a relationship with a woman, there was little in the way of fall out, criticism or, in fact, any reaction at all other than unconditional support.
However, tragically, [Didact's note: nothing tragic about it, dearie] this kind of loving acceptance isn't always the norm within the Church of England. As I sat with my friend one evening last week, genuinely devastated as she told me of the House of Bishops' recent ruling that vicars are not allowed to perform any kind of blessing at gay weddings, I felt something that is very rare for me: anger.
I was angry that the girl in front of me, who has devoted a huge amount of time and energy to serving her parish, suddenly feels unwanted by the Church. I was angry that this ruling, decided by what amounts to a room of old, conservative men, is making her question whether her relationship is wrong in God's eyes. And, most of all, I was angry at the hypocrisy that the Church shows in remaining so intractable in this area.
It's not for me to point the finger and call people prejudiced or narrow-minded – that won't get us anywhere. However, I can't help but notice the discrepancy between the issues where the Church of England has decided to relax its view, in spite of clear, Biblical doctrine to the contrary, and those where it refuses to budge.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.