The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey was interviewed on the Today programme this morning. He’s upset by what he sees as the gradual marginalisation of the Christian Church in the UK. He thinks the right to practice Christianity is under attack. He’s written about this, he told Ewan Davis three times, in the book he has written with his son, Andrew, We Don’t Do God.
He thinks the High Court ruling that a Devon town council acted unlawfully by allowing prayers to be said before meetings is all part of a deliberate campaign to get rid of Christianity as a public faith.
The Archbishop gave as another example the case of Ms Lillian Ladele, the Islington registrar, who lost her job when, as he put it, Islington Council changed their policy when civil partnerships were introduced. She felt, said the Archbishop, that as a practicing Christian she couldn’t supervise that kind of marriage.
Marriage, yes, that’s what he said. Woops! This week at General Synod, in various conversations, bishops and others have been at pains to clarify the difference between civil partnerships and marriage. They may be called marriages in common parlance, but in the Church of England, they are not, and a careful distinction has to be made.
Well, thanks George, for demonstrating that on this, at least, you stand with the (largely un-churched) mass of the population. They perceive lesbian and gay relationships as sharing all the qualities of marriage and refer to them as such. Marriage equality is the next thing on the Government’s agenda. The period of consultation begins next month.
The Church of England doesn’t have much time in which to develop a considered theology of lesbian and gay relationships, a truly pastoral response, and a recognition of what the majority, both outside and inside the church, accepts as divinely inspired – the love and commitment seen within same-sex relationships.