Church accused of ‘scaremongering’


The Church of England has been accused by gay rights campaigners of orchestrating a “masterclass in melodramatic scaremongering” after it warned that same sex marriage could threaten its relationship with the nation.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, the campaigning gay rights group, dismissed fears raised by the Church of England that introducing same sex marriage would undermine its centuries-old role as the established Church.

He said polling commissioned by Stonewall has shown more than 80% of people in Britain under 50 are in favour of introducing same sex marriage – amongst religious people, he said, three in five said gay people should be able to get married.

“That holes below the water line the tendentious claims being made by a small number of clergy,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Many bishops in the Church of England today will be rather pleased because once again they are not talking about global poverty or the HIV pandemic – they are talking about the subject that obsesses them, and that is sex.

“I have not come across such a masterclass in melodramatic scaremongering – that somehow this is the biggest upheaval since the sacking of the monasteries – since as a journalist myself a decade ago I was summoned to a government briefing to be told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

Mr Summerskill’s remarks come after the Church of England said that introducing gay marriage would threaten the establishment of the Church of England and lead to an unprecedented clash between its own canon law – that marriage is between a man and a woman – and that of Parliament.

The Church also warned that in spite of ministerial assurances that churches would not have to conduct gay marriages, it would be “very doubtful” whether limiting same-sex couples to non-religious ceremonies would withstand a challenge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

A successful legal challenge brought at the ECHR could make it impossible for the Church of England to continue its role conducting marriages on behalf of the state, it said.

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Written By: Martha Linden
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  1. I vote – whilst in a majority of one – that I start this thread with Carto’s wonderful and humorous post from ‘The Dark Side’.

    Comment 9 by Cartomancer

    by acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity which includes, for many, the possibility of procreation

    “But why procreation? Or, rather, why procreation by coitic
    means, since procreation is eminently possible through other channels.
    Surely there are more important, worthier things to protect in law and
    culture, like love and respect and companionship. Things which don’t
    harm the environment by clogging it up with yet more resource-guzzling
    people the planet can ill afford?

    Yet this phrase amuses me. “underlying biological complementarity”.
    What it means, I think, is that one party has a hole in the middle and
    the other party has a sticky-out bit (with both possessed of an equal
    number of additional holes and sticky-out bits in the form of nostrils,
    fingers and so forth). Which seems a very odd basis around which to
    construct one’s social conventions to me, but then again I’m not an
    elderly addled bigot in a dress.

    If we are playing at that game, though, then I think two men have
    much greater “underlying biological complementarity” than a man and a
    woman. After all, between them they have an equal number of holes and an
    equal number of sticky-out bits to put in those holes if so minded.
    Such a relationship is far more equal and complementary, because it
    gives rise to more potential hole / sticky-out-bit combinations and
    possesses a much greater symmetry in its construction, with both
    partners able to participate to the fullest in all ways. Furthermore,
    with both parties experiencing similar social, cultural, hormonal and
    phenoytpical conditions in their lives the psychological compatibility
    and mutual understanding is so much greater. How often do you hear men
    saying that they don’t “get” how women think? Or women saying that men
    are a mystery to them? Men are from Mars, Women from Venus, as the books
    and songs tell us. Well same-sex relationships have none of that, both
    participants understand their own gender’s psychology and biology
    intimately, making for a much closer bond.

    So, you see, by the church’s own logic same-sex marriage is much
    superior and should thus be fully endorsed in canon law and also the
    only form of marriage offered by the state from now on.”

    Again, wonderful.



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