I’m watching with relish as the angst-ridden Church Of England ties itself into knots over the latest gay marriage of clergy-crisis, possibly as a prelude to imploding altogether.
Instinctively I feel some sort of empathy with the liberals: Equal rights for women, tolerance for homosexuality etc – surely these things are only fair and rational ? Well yes of course they are – the only problem is that Christianity isn’t.
So actually the conservative bigots who are getting so worked up over Rowan Williams toleration of gay clergy are, sadly, in the right. At least on the basis of scripture it’s pretty clear that the Christian God regards homosexuality as an abomination - as He also does eating shell-fish, cutting your beard, tattoos, disabled people, mixing linen and woollens, menstruation - and that’s just for starters. But it’s not all negative and judgmental though – He's pretty tolerant of incest, slavery, genocide.
(Admittedly my evidence is based on nothing more than some random googling of bible quotes but then again that methodology is at least as scientific as most courses in theology).
Which means that if you a liberal Protestant who believes that scripture is divine revelation (including all the obviously mental and/or evil bits) - you have a problem. Likewise if you are a liberal Muslim or liberal Jew.
You just can’t have your cake and eat it: You’re either a well adjusted and rational being with compassion and tolerance for your fellow humans. Or you’re a follower of a primitive and barbaric belief system(s) adopted in specific historical circumstances two thousand years ago by a particular group of desert dwellers.
Good news for liberal Catholics though. Your not encumbered by a belief system that relies only divine scripture – you’ve got the teachings of the One Holy Apostolic Church to reveal the truth as well. (Of course this may stand on their head things that have been held to be immutable for centuries - but hey God’s only just decided that lowly mortals can now be trusted with the real truth. And it turns out quite a lot of priests were gay all along - whoops don't even go there).
I’m sure that a lot of decent tolerant believers will be offended by all this. Tough – you can’t have it both ways.