By Rev David Phillips of Lytham St Annes
Goodbye Holy Matrimony? It is no secret that we have a large number of secularists in parliament who have a mission to reduce the expression of Christian faith to something done by consenting adults in private. Mr Cameron, nominal and non-practicing member of the CoE, seems to have fallen for their charms. The big issue is Same Gender Marriage. He claims widespread support. However, it is an issue that arouses considerable anger throughout the land and within the Conservative Party. It will be interesting to see where Mr Cameron is in five years’ time. I believe it will deeply scar the party for years to come. That matters far less than the scars inflicted on society as a whole. We are all too aware of encroachments of government over the territory of our lives. We are not as free as we were. Government in Britain seems more about coercion and control than management. The Equality Agenda has diminished our freedoms, inconvenient and unpalatable though they seem. The jury is out as to how far the rule of law can improve relations within society. A straight-jacketed public is a dangerous beast. The incompatibility between Same Gender Marriage and religious faith will lead to secularisation of the entire institution. After 12 months of debate, and a consultation that seems anything but, the government has discovered a blanket ban on churches celebrating Same Gender Marriages will be open to challenge under Equality Law. This suggests either legislation is made on the hoof or the government is redefining marriage to make it impossible for some faith communities to accept. In its place we will have State Sponsored Marriage, weddings man to woman, woman to woman, man to man officiated over by a local government functionary in a secular venue for a fee payable to public coffers. What a blessed prospect. I do not wish to offend any who have celebrated marriage at Festival House within a short walk of lap dancing clubs and whelk stalls, but is this how we want it to be in Mr Cameron’s ‘one size fits all wedding industry’? The religious can go to their chosen place of worship after and ask the Almighty’s blessing but must the state first give permission? Mr Cameron is not listening. But where does Fylde MP Mark Menzies stand on this vexatious divisive issue? Is Holy Matrimony as it presently exists something he would defend? When legislation is laid before Parliament, will he vote in its defence?