The Primates Oust The Episcopal Church (for now)

At the recent meeting of the Anglican Primates, the issue of same-sex marriage rose to the surface. In a refreshingly conservative, faithful and courageous move, the Primates have issued a statement declaring that the Episcopal Church in America, because of its unilateral choice to part ways with the Anglican Communion by solemnising same-sex unions in contravention of both Scripture and the teaching of the Church (which welcomes all people and celebrates marriage as taught in Scripture), is no longer a representative of the Anglican Community. Things will remain that way for three years, giving the Episcopal Church a chance to get things in order. Continue reading “The Primates Oust The Episcopal Church (for now)”

Jesus never said ANYTHING about X!

Christians shouldn’t oppose X, because Jesus never said anything about X! Right?

With same-sex marriage being the topic of the day for a lot of “progressive Christians,” this is an argument I’ve seen lately. Since Jesus never said anything about same-sex marriage, Christians shouldn’t oppose it either. When I last saw it, I queried whether it was even true, but the same line was repeated back to me each time: Jesus said NOTHING about same-sex marriage (the capitals were used in the reply). Continue reading “Jesus never said ANYTHING about X!”

Gay cakes and business by association

When you engage in business and provide goods and services, is your conscience switched on? Are you in some way condoning the event for which you are providing your wares? Or is it strictly business, as the mafia men might say?

By now some of you will be sick to death of the noise being made about the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the United States Supreme Court (with some dissent) ruled that there exists a constitutional right for same-sex couples to have their unions recognised by law as marriage (via a marriage licence). I’ve commented on the Bill to create same-sex marriage in New Zealand in the past (a Bill that was passed), and – on quite another note – I’ve commented on some criticisms of the observation that the Bible prescribes marriage as the union of a man and a woman. I may have more to say about the latter in the future, but throughout all of these conversations the issue of religious freedom has popped up from time to time. There have been some cases of Christian business owners (bakers and florists in particular) who were asked to supply products or services for a same-sex wedding but who, due to their views on marriage, declined. In a libertarian society this would be a simple matter: They chose not to engage in business with somebody, so no contract was formed. Still, there are plenty of other bakers and florists out there, most of whom will be only too glad to take your money. Continue reading “Gay cakes and business by association”

Free to discriminate, part 1

This is a two-part blog about the legal right to the free exercise of religion and discrimination, in that order. Prompted by the current fuss over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, part one will look at the situation in Indiana that sparked the current discussion, and part two will step back from the headlines and address the more principled philosophical question about liberty and the right to discriminate. Continue reading “Free to discriminate, part 1”

Into the Anglican Fray on Marriage

anglicanYou’ll be hearing more about this over the next little while, but we’re moving in an Anglican direction.

My wife and I are dragging our kids along (actually it’s not proving to be terribly hard) to the Anglican Church. It is not official yet, but that will come in time. I won’t go into the story of that just now. I’ll start right where we are now. We’ve walked (deliberately) into a Church – and plan to invest ourselves in a Church – that is beautiful, that has heritage, that proclaims the good news, that has a marvellous legacy of great thinkers and examples in the faith, and which, right now, is constantly under pressure to change, and in part due to the dedication and persistence of a few, the cracks are starting to show in the old girl.

Continue reading “Into the Anglican Fray on Marriage”

Free speech and the crusade against Brendan Eich

We know that constitutional or legal freedom of speech was not violated when you bullied Brendan Eich out of his job at Mozilla because of his view on marriage. But lift your standards a little. “Legal” does not mean “good.”

Sometimes, public, ugly spats, cases of abuse or bullying, hate, or division can have the effect of causing misunderstandings – or perhaps just properly understood but really wrong views – about moral and legal issues to come bubbling to the surface of public discussion. The appalling treatment dished out to Mozilla’s Brendan Eich recently has been just such an example. In particular, the issue of freedom of speech and the consequences of the exercise of that freedom have been much discussed. Continue reading “Free speech and the crusade against Brendan Eich”

Mozilla vs the open society

So Mozilla’s CEO has, in effect, been forced to resign. He was forced to resign because he believes that marriage ought to be regarded as the union of a man and a woman, and he has in the past donated money ($1,000) to a campaign to have the law in California reflect that belief. He didn’t want to go, but he was pushed, and pushed very hard.

Obviously this is a case of bullying. Obviously this is a case of free speech being stifled,1 and equally obvious (or it should be) is the fact that Mr Eich’s view on what constitutes a marriage is not, in any way at all, an attack on the equality of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.

But what is perhaps worst of all (perhaps, I’m not sure – this sort of bullying is despicable enough) is that Continue reading “Mozilla vs the open society”

  1. Yes, I realise this isn’t an issue for freedom of speech as concerns the US constitutional right to freedom from interference with free speech on the part of the government. No, I am not confusing the two different concepts. []

I do not support the so-called Marriage Equality Bill

This probably won’t shock any of my readers, but I do not support Louisa Wall’s proposed amendment to the Marriage Act, which will make legally recognised same-sex marriage a reality in New Zealand.

The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill recently passed its second reading in Parliament, and our ever-eager-to-say-they-made-a-difference politicians will almost certainly vote it into law this year. The new legislation would see the definition of marriage used by the Marriage Act 1955 expanded to include unions of two people of the same sex. Existing prohibitions would remain in place (e.g. close relatives still will not be able to marry), and the definition of marriage will not be broadened to include unions of more than two people. Continue reading “I do not support the so-called Marriage Equality Bill”

The Same-Sex Marriage debate and religious divisiveness

Should religious people keep their divisive beliefs away from policies about marriage?

The green activists got up in arms about the introduction of genetically modified plants into the New Zealand market. But there is, as far as I can see, no widely lampooned caricature of people with environmental concerns as being socially divisive – in spite of those among their number who vandalised the farms of people suspected by them of having genetically modified crops. Large numbers of parents (the clear majority of those who voiced their opinion, in fact) raised their voices in protest when the government threatened to criminalise all use of any force in disciplining a child, while offering the benevolent promise that not all such criminals would be prosecuted (guess which way I lean on that). Parents were ignored and the law was changed, but more importantly here, nobody now thinks of parents as a uniquely divisive group within society. Many other people with common concerns or causes have likewise raised their voice in unison over other issues that concern them, but the fact that groups who do this in general do not get singled out as divisive or polarising is demonstrated by the way that just which groups spoke out over what issue is the kind of thing that tends to fade into obscurity in a relatively short time. But religion? Oh, that is different. Continue reading “The Same-Sex Marriage debate and religious divisiveness”