Sunday, 26 August 2012

Scottish Catholics and their campaign against gay equality



Cardinal Keith O'Brien, a man that believes he has the right to impose Catholic
 ideology on non-Catholics against the will of the majority of Scottish people.
In August 2012 the leaders of the Catholic church in Scotland took the extraordinary measure of sending letters to every parish, to be read out to the congregation during Sunday service. The letter outlined the Catholic opposition to the concept of gay marriage, criticised the Scottish National Party government for promising to legalise gay marriage and called upon their followers to continue to act against efforts to "redefine marriage".

The Scottish government have defended their right to introduce same-sex marriages and made clear their determination to bring in the legislation by 2015, despite the objections of the Catholic church. 

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Church in Scotland, a man who has described the concept of gay marriage as a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right" also used the letter to announce the launch of a new group called the National Commission for Marriage and the Family to co-ordinate a campaign against gay marriage.

This letter and the wider Catholic campaign against gay marriage can be seen as yet another example of Catholic bigotry. If they don't believe in Gay marriage, then they don't have to carry out the ceremonies, but their attempts to deny this right to non-Catholics is an absolutely clear demonstration of their determination to impose their own ideology on others. I can't see why any right thinking gay couple would want to be married in a Catholic church (other than perhaps to try and kick up a massive stink), so the Catholics actually have nothing to fear from this legislation.

The Catholic church likes to dress up their stance as an attempt to "support and sustain marriage" and "defend families", but it is quite clearly an expression of their homophobic bigotry and an attempt to impose their values on the rest of Scottish society.

In June 2012 an Ipsus Mori poll found that 64% of Scots agreed that same-sex couples should have the right to marry and 68% agreed that churches should have the freedom to wed same-sex couples if they choose. These results show that the majority of Scots are reasonable and tolerant people that believe that gay couples should be able to express their love and commitment for each other through marriage. The fact that the Catholic church have expressed their determination to undermine same-sex marriage legislation shows that they are a divisive influence acting against the will of the majority of Scottish people.

One particularly interesting fact about gay marriage is that many of the very first nations to have introduced gay marriage legislation have been traditionally Catholic countries (Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Portugal). Perhaps this is indicative of the fact that people in Catholic countries are becoming increasingly sick of Catholic attempts to interfere in secular affairs.

Once the newspapers began reporting the Catholic anti-gay letter, there were a lot of predictable comments from the usual band of atheist reactionaries and anti-theists claiming that this is yet another example of religious bigotry and using the homophobic stance of the Catholic church in order to have a go at religious people and religious organisations in general.

There is one piece of information that should shut up these obnoxious atheists, which is that the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have been lobbying the government (and even the Queen) for years to recognise their gay marriage ceremonies as legal marriages. This is an absolutely clear demonstration that not all religious people and organisations are bigots and homophobes.

Anyone making generalised claims of bigotry against all religions and all religious organisations, should be considered bigots themselves. They are displaying their intolerance by lumping all religious people together and then defining them by the attributes of the worst members of the group, exactly the same kind of generalisation and stereotyping strategies used by religious extremists to demonise those that they deem to be "sinners", "heretics" or "apostates".

Sure, atheists and anti-theists should feel free to criticise the Catholic church for their homophobic stance, but they should quit using obvious double-standards to tar all religious people and organisations with the same brush, since some religious organisations are actually very progressive and have done a lot more to bring about gay equality than these reactionary atheists (that ignorantly condemn such religious progressives as bigots with their pathetic generalisations) have ever done.

The Catholic stance on gay marriage and their determination to impose their (warped) values on everyone else is revolting, however having a dig at religion in general isn't going to help. Progressive people; Quakers, deists, atheists, humanists, agnostics, spiritualists or whoever, should stand together in united opposition to Catholic bigotry and condemn their desire to impose Catholic values on many millions of non-Catholics.


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