Not Again !

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  • Ohher wrote: »
    Clearly, these folks believe the parishioner must be made for the church. The church cannot be made for the parishioner.
    That jives with my comment on disestablishment. It's having the attitude you cite, combined with a stance of being the default nationwide church for all.

  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Eutychus wrote: »

    It also seems to me that some same-sex couples very explicitly wanted a status that afforded similar protections that wasn't marriage, with its opposite-sex and religious connotations, while others have militated for marriage out of a desire to obtain exactly the same rights, exactly the same recognition, and some kind of an end to the conservative religious connotations.

    The solution, with my legislative drafter's hat on, is not to create separate statuses, but to get rid of the opposite-sex and religious connotations.

    Certainly that's the way Australia is trying to head, helped in no small part by our High Court saying some years ago that neither of those connotations formed a part of our constitutional notion of what a marriage is.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    orfeo wrote: »
    Most people in England didn't get married in a church until the law forced them to (in 1753 apparently). Only rich people with lots of property bothered to go through the formalities so everyone knew which children got to inherit.

    For centuries, ordinary people just started living together as husband and wife.

    The whole notion that the church wants you to have the right piece of paper is a relatively recent idea in the scheme of things.

    And it was 1836 when people started being allowed to have non-church formal marriages.

    So this whole "most of the Church of England's history" notion? It covers a period of 83 years.

    I believe that is a misconception. Before Lord Hardwicke's Act, a marriage still had to be celebrated by an Anglican clergyman. The novelties introduced in 1753 were a.) banns and a licence became mandatory; b.) you couldn't get married in a parish where neither of you lived. Wikipedia link.

    The situation you describe is AIUI true of the Middle Ages, but that's prior to the Church of England's existence.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    I think the problem is that for most of the Church of England's history, canon law has been able to define the civil requirements for a marriage,

    (Sorry, lots of cross-posting going on here...)

    However long (or short, @orfeo) that "history" may have been, this information offers objective grounds for my intuition that disestablishment would at least be a good starting point for bringing some clarity). Thanks @Ricardus.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Ricardus wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Most people in England didn't get married in a church until the law forced them to (in 1753 apparently). Only rich people with lots of property bothered to go through the formalities so everyone knew which children got to inherit.

    For centuries, ordinary people just started living together as husband and wife.

    The whole notion that the church wants you to have the right piece of paper is a relatively recent idea in the scheme of things.

    And it was 1836 when people started being allowed to have non-church formal marriages.

    So this whole "most of the Church of England's history" notion? It covers a period of 83 years.

    I believe that is a misconception. Before Lord Hardwicke's Act, a marriage still had to be celebrated by an Anglican clergyman. The novelties introduced in 1753 were a.) banns and a licence became mandatory; b.) you couldn't get married in a parish where neither of you lived. Wikipedia link.

    The situation you describe is AIUI true of the Middle Ages, but that's prior to the Church of England's existence.

    Interesting. And I followed links to the article on "common-law marriage" as well.

    Interesting it says celebrated by a clergyman, but not a church.

    The question then is at what point the church muscled in and started having hard and fast rules.

    Also, if 1753 represents the end of church control as parts of that article suggest, rather than the beginning of it, that still tends to negate the idea that the CofE has got to dictate the rules of marriage for most of its history.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    The solution, with my legislative drafter's hat on, is not to create separate statuses, but to get rid of the opposite-sex and religious connotations.
    The problem is that not many people approach this issue wearing just one hat, and the hat they are wearing is not usually a very dispassionate one.

    Debate quickly gets confused because the legal, religious, and cultural aspects all get mixed up.

    In France we are fast approaching a state of affairs where civil marriage offers exactly the same rights and obligations to same-sex and opposite-sex couples, with complete freedom for anybody to bless or celebrate that union - or not - in any non-civil way, provided it's after the civil ceremony. That seems like a good compromise to me.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    I think the problem is that for most of the Church of England's history, canon law has been able to define the civil requirements for a marriage,

    (Sorry, lots of cross-posting going on here...)

    However long (or short, @orfeo) that "history" may have been, this information offers objective grounds for my intuition that disestablishment would at least be a good starting point for bringing some clarity). Thanks @Ricardus.

    I don't know that disestablishment is needed. The Scandinavian countries have state churches but seem to have avoided the kind of hoo-ha over marriage experienced in the UK.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    The question then is at what point the church muscled in and started having hard and fast rules.

    If French history is anything to go by, I suspect it emerged along with bureaucracy. As keeping good registers became more important (mostly for the purposes of conscription and taxation), absent the forced repatriation of those registers to the State (as happened in France) the Church set about defining more rules for entry into the registers it held in a sort of parallel legal universe. But that's a complete guess.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Also, I get to wear 3 hats: being a gay Christian* legislative drafter was mostly a maddening experience during our same-sex marriage debate.

    Frankly I'm still a little in awe of the gay Christian legislative drafter who actually worked on some of the relevant legislation. But he is a much calmer, more placid individual than I.

    *Well, sort of, at least well-versed in the church, actual status slightly ambiguous these days on account of looking at a lot the church and not wanting to be associated with it if at all possible.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    The Scandinavian countries have state churches
    What, like Sweden, you mean?

  • orfeo wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    Most people in England didn't get married in a church until the law forced them to (in 1753 apparently). Only rich people with lots of property bothered to go through the formalities so everyone knew which children got to inherit.

    For centuries, ordinary people just started living together as husband and wife.

    The whole notion that the church wants you to have the right piece of paper is a relatively recent idea in the scheme of things.

    And it was 1836 when people started being allowed to have non-church formal marriages.

    So this whole "most of the Church of England's history" notion? It covers a period of 83 years.

    I believe that is a misconception. Before Lord Hardwicke's Act, a marriage still had to be celebrated by an Anglican clergyman. The novelties introduced in 1753 were a.) banns and a licence became mandatory; b.) you couldn't get married in a parish where neither of you lived. Wikipedia link.

    The situation you describe is AIUI true of the Middle Ages, but that's prior to the Church of England's existence.

    Interesting. And I followed links to the article on "common-law marriage" as well.

    Interesting it says celebrated by a clergyman, but not a church.

    The question then is at what point the church muscled in and started having hard and fast rules.

    Also, if 1753 represents the end of church control as parts of that article suggest, rather than the beginning of it, that still tends to negate the idea that the CofE has got to dictate the rules of marriage for most of its history.

    Yeah, I didn't phrase it very well. I was trying to get across the idea that, for the most part, the Church and the state worked together in defining marriage; the state outsourced the registration of marriage to the Church (with a few exemptions), but the Church's canon law had to (and still has to) be passed by Parliament.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Eutychus wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    The question then is at what point the church muscled in and started having hard and fast rules.

    If French history is anything to go by, I suspect it emerged along with bureaucracy. As keeping good registers became more important (mostly for the purposes of conscription and taxation), absent the forced repatriation of those registers to the State (as happened in France) the Church set about defining more rules for entry into the registers it held in a sort of parallel legal universe. But that's a complete guess.

    Yes, this is probably accurate. A podcast I listen to actually made a fascinating point about how the whole culture of rules we live in is a pretty recent invention, only a few centuries old.

    The context being to point out that reading the Bible as if it's God's rulebook is a wild anachronism that Old Testament Jews would never have recognised. People used to largely solve problems as they arose without appealing to a written precedent as if it was a hard and fast rule about how to do things.

    Then we all start travelling further and everybody doesn't know everybody and their history, and then more and more we want to write things down so we know where we stand.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Eutychus wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    The Scandinavian countries have state churches
    What, like Sweden, you mean?

    Like all the others besides Sweden, and like Sweden until 2000, and people debate where Sweden stands these days because it has a special status and is regulated by a piece of legislation. Yes.
  • The Swedish Lutherans I know seem to have no illusions about being a state church in the way the CoE seems to assume it is the UK's.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    Eutychus wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    The question then is at what point the church muscled in and started having hard and fast rules.

    If French history is anything to go by, I suspect it emerged along with bureaucracy. As keeping good registers became more important (mostly for the purposes of conscription and taxation), absent the forced repatriation of those registers to the State (as happened in France) the Church set about defining more rules for entry into the registers it held in a sort of parallel legal universe. But that's a complete guess.

    Yes, this is probably accurate. A podcast I listen to actually made a fascinating point about how the whole culture of rules we live in is a pretty recent invention, only a few centuries old.

    The context being to point out that reading the Bible as if it's God's rulebook is a wild anachronism that Old Testament Jews would never have recognised. People used to largely solve problems as they arose without appealing to a written precedent as if it was a hard and fast rule about how to do things.

    Then we all start travelling further and everybody doesn't know everybody and their history, and then more and more we want to write things down so we know where we stand.

    Yeah, my impression is that the desire to regulate marriage corresponds with the growth in cities; in a village, everyone knows who is married to whom, but in a city you can have a wife back home in the village and none of your neighbours are any the wiser.
  • I just don't see why any church needs to talk about sex - just let everyone get on with it and preach the gospel.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    This reminds me of marking a mock GCSE paper many years ago. The warm up question (2 points) was, "Where do Christians say the correct place for sex is?". The answer was almost correct, "At a wedding"!
  • The Rogue wrote: »
    I just don't see why any church needs to talk about sex - just let everyone get on with it and preach the gospel.

    O if only...although Our Blessed Lord did have a few things to say about adultery, so I guess there should still be some reference to that.
    This reminds me of marking a mock GCSE paper many years ago. The warm up question (2 points) was, "Where do Christians say the correct place for sex is?". The answer was almost correct, "At a wedding"!

    :lol:
    The right answer, presumably, being 'After a wedding'?
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I do not have all the details to hand, but the history of the church and marriage in Western medieval Europe is messy.
    I think medieval church doctrine was that marriage was contracted by a promise between the two people concerned with witnesses present. The aristocracy was not happy about this, as it allowed children to get married without the consent of their families. At the Council of Trent as a compromise that pleased nobody canon law changed so that marriage required a priest, but still didn't require consent of the families. That is, IIRC.
  • SpikeSpike Admin Emeritus
    I think it’s a little unfair of people to accuse the church of being “obsessed with sex”. It seems to me that whenever the church does speak out in this, the press pick it up and run with it but seldom report on other proclamations that are made, so if anyone is obsessed with sex, it’s the British press.

    Although I take a pretty liberal view on this sort of thing (yes, I had sex before I was married, with more than one person, and what’s more, I enjoyed it!) what the bishops are saying here is official Church of England policy which is pretty much the same as the teachings of just about all the other major religions on the subject of sex and marriage. Oddly, we don’t see the press getting their knickers in a twist over what Jews or Siques believe about this.
  • I'm pretty sure Judaism accommodates a wide variety of views beyond the repressive dictats of the Orthodox.
  • orfeo wrote: »
    The whole notion that a marriage is any different to a civil partnership is a legal, linguistic and cultural minefield that needs a hell of a lot of unpacking.

    As has already been observed, the whole notion that the church has anything at all to do with marriage status is something that the English-speaking world has clung to far more than most of the rest of the planet.

    IMHO, countries that have allowed civil partnership as some kind of placation of the supposed defenders of marriage have done the logic of the law a massive disservice. And they also did a massive disservice for a long time (and still do in some places) to homosexual couples when they said they could have civil partnership but not marriage. All that did was allow the bigots to think "but you're not really married".

    And it enables that thinking against heterosexual couples as well.

    Just have one system of legal recognition of sexual partnerships. Call it marriage. Tell the churches they can perform whatever rituals they like and have whatever rules they like (such as the Catholic one about divorcees) but the State decides what partnerships it will recognise. The end.

    So the Muslim world and the Jewish world and the Hindu world and the Catholic world and the Orthodox world are all more liberal than the English-speaking religious world about marriage?
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    Spike wrote: »
    I think it’s a little unfair of people to accuse the church of being “obsessed with sex”. It seems to me that whenever the church does speak out in this, the press pick it up and run with it but seldom report on other proclamations that are made, so if anyone is obsessed with sex, it’s the British press.

    Although I take a pretty liberal view on this sort of thing (yes, I had sex before I was married, with more than one person, and what’s more, I enjoyed it!) what the bishops are saying here is official Church of England policy which is pretty much the same as the teachings of just about all the other major religions on the subject of sex and marriage. Oddly, we don’t see the press getting their knickers in a twist over what Jews or Siques believe about this.

    Fair comment. The Church is rather at the mercy of the ever-prurient Meeja - not that this is a new phenomenon.

    FWIW, I modify my earlier, and rather acid, comment about Fruitcakes In Pointy Hats. I daresay that some bishops (male, and female) have different (or even opposing views) about sex, marriage, etc. etc., and it would be refreshing to hear from them once in a while, without them toeing the party line, so to speak.

  • Two quotes come to mind:
    The first was from a TEC priest, prior to TEC authorizing same sex marriages: I can bless their house, I can bless their car, I can bless their children, I can bless their dog….. but I can’t bless THEM?

    The other attributed to Sister Wendy, commenting on nudity in paintings: Why would God give us such marvelous toys and then expect us to not play with them?
  • With the increasing number of moslems, in UK and France for example, I wonder how the current legal side of things applies, or perhaps how they apply it to their adherents. Am I right in thinking that the number of various types of civil partnerships is very low?
  • SusanDoris wrote: »
    With the increasing number of moslems, in UK and France for example, I wonder how the current legal side of things applies, or perhaps how they apply it to their adherents. Am I right in thinking that the number of various types of civil partnerships is very low?

    I think with Muslims, particularly with non-native brides, the issue of concern is unscrupulous men having a religious ceremony, but not a ceremony that is legally valid. I believe the number of Imams licenced to conduct weddings in England is proportionally lower than ministers in quite a few other religions, so couples would also require a civil ceremony in a lot of places.

    Essentially women who don't know what the legal requirements are, are getting religiously married, and think they're ok as that would be enough in their home country, but the ceremony itself is not recognised in English law unless the minister has the right authorisation. As a result when it comes to those women finding themselves in need of legal support, they've found that their marriage certificate is not worth the paper it's written on in terms of enforcing their rights. It's not vast numbers doing that, but there definitely have been cases. The French equivalent would be omitting to have the civil ceremony because it suits the men to be able to just dump them under sharia law if they want to.

    I expect that civil partnerships would only really feature in really liberal Muslim circles, or amongst people who aren't observant, because they've been cold-shouldered for being LGBT, as I think that their stance on same-sex relationships is even stricter than the CofE or RC church. Certainly there have been cases where gay and lesbian couples have got married to each other, so that they don't have family pressure to choose a heterosexual spouse, but live with their same sex partner and only go around with their opposite sex spouse when social propriety demands it.
  • Pendragon

    Thank you - that was interesting. It is a worry to think of many women and girls in vulnerable positions and being made use of.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    @SusanDoris The situation in France is quite different to the UK. The only way to contract a legal marriage here is to go to your local Town Hall and see the mayor. After that you are free to have any kind of religious ceremony you choose, but it has no meaning in law. The civil ceremony always comes first and most ministers of religion won't perform a religious blessing if you can't produce a copy of the civil marriage certificate.

    If a person wanted a Shariah wedding without going through a civil ceremony first, they would have to find an unscrupulous imam or they'd be turned away.
  • Meanwhile, we Lutherans have long held that the Estate of Marriage is a civil concern, not a spiritual concern. Frankly, I find our position rather freeing.
  • I remember my class in sacramental theology where my Dominican professor asked us 'Why is marriage a sacrament?"

    To which my fellow pious Roman Catholic classmate responded "Why Our Lord was at the Wedding at Cana"

    He then smirked, "so attending a party naturally creates a sacrament, then?"

    I wonder how many people miss the detail that there is no indication that Jesus officiated at the marriage of the couple at Cana.

    Incidentally in my preaching class, when I did a mock wedding homily using that same scripture passage, my very Protestant professor told me that that text isn't really a suitable scripture for a wedding because the point of the miracle of Cana isn't about a marriage.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    To be fair the point of a heterosexual couple getting a civil partnership is that they think it's not a marriage. That does however prejudge the question of whether they think it differs from a marriage in any way relevant to CofE doctrine.
  • orfeoorfeo Suspended
    Martin54 wrote: »
    orfeo wrote: »
    The whole notion that a marriage is any different to a civil partnership is a legal, linguistic and cultural minefield that needs a hell of a lot of unpacking.

    As has already been observed, the whole notion that the church has anything at all to do with marriage status is something that the English-speaking world has clung to far more than most of the rest of the planet.

    IMHO, countries that have allowed civil partnership as some kind of placation of the supposed defenders of marriage have done the logic of the law a massive disservice. And they also did a massive disservice for a long time (and still do in some places) to homosexual couples when they said they could have civil partnership but not marriage. All that did was allow the bigots to think "but you're not really married".

    And it enables that thinking against heterosexual couples as well.

    Just have one system of legal recognition of sexual partnerships. Call it marriage. Tell the churches they can perform whatever rituals they like and have whatever rules they like (such as the Catholic one about divorcees) but the State decides what partnerships it will recognise. The end.

    So the Muslim world and the Jewish world and the Hindu world and the Catholic world and the Orthodox world are all more liberal than the English-speaking religious world about marriage?

    They vary. But the majority of the world sees legal marriage as something that is regulated by civil authorities and isn't the business of religions.
  • There is now a letter about the Pastoral Statement being sent to the two Archbishops, with lead signatories Andrew Foreshew-Cain, Jayne Ozanne, Peter Leonard (Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight) and Christina Baron (GS member for Bath & Wells).

    You can read a copy of it and add your signature (if you wish) here.
  • As usual Dave Walker has a great cartoon about it https://twitter.com/davewalker/status/1220436904543473664?s=20
  • Spike wrote: »
    Although I take a pretty liberal view on this sort of thing (yes, I had sex before I was married, with more than one person, and what’s more, I enjoyed it!) what the bishops are saying here is official Church of England policy

    Not wanting to be Jesuitical but I'm not sure it actually is.

    a. The Church of England, on an institutional level, does virtually nothing to discourage sex among unmarried people (unlike sex among gay people).

    b. The bishops may well have an opinion, but absent any concept of the Magisterium, I am no more bound by their opinion than by that of any other Christian.

    c. The Thirty-Nine Articles are silent on the matter.

    d. The liturgy is also silent on the matter, so it doesn't pass the test of lex oranda, lex credenda*. Someone will probably bring up 'for the avoidance of fornication' in the BCP Solemnization of Matrimony, but that's a direct quotation from the AV translation of 1 Corinthians, and it's not to me obvious that St Paul is saying in that passage what the bishops need him to be saying.


    * i.e. What we pray is what we believe.
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    @Ricardus are you clergy? I am, and would love to bless a gay relationship (not that I've been asked to). But I've also sworn an oath to obey my Bishop in "all things lawful" (I think that's the phrase) so would feel torn if this situation came up.
  • @Ricardus are you clergy? I am, and would love to bless a gay relationship (not that I've been asked to). But I've also sworn an oath to obey my Bishop in "all things lawful" (I think that's the phrase) so would feel torn if this situation came up.

    No, I'm not. Of course, if I was, then my point (b) wouldn't apply due to my hypothetical oath of obedience. But I thought Spike's point was that the bishops are justified in forbidding clergy from blessing civil partnerships because it is already Anglican doctrine that unmarried people shouldn't have sex. I don't think any such doctrine exists - one can argue it ought to exist, and historically Anglicans have behaved as though it did exist, but - on the way the Church of England is set up - I don't think it does.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    To cross-fertilise two threads, this is why the Church is fucked to death. Its inexhaustible, smug self-satisfaction, coupled with its paranoid refusal to allow itself to test any of its tenets against the lived experience of those in its pews, or indeed its clergy housing. This is the origin of the dialogue of the deaf which has killed the church: neither side is willing to hear the other without being heard, so tradition, interpretation of the scriptures and reason are being sealed hermetically away from lived experience, and vice versa, by a kind of furious, weaponised mutual consent. Thus, the church is commiting the heresy for which the Cathars were burned at the stake by saying that material creation is not a gift of God's love. Our materiality, our creation is a divine gift entirely worthy of a place within the life of God's pilgrim people, which is surely what the church is trying to be.

    More God, less church seems to me to be the requirement. Let all church planters be retired until the two sides stop screaming at each other.
  • @Ricardus are you clergy? I am, and would love to bless a gay relationship (not that I've been asked to). But I've also sworn an oath to obey my Bishop in "all things lawful" (I think that's the phrase) so would feel torn if this situation came up.

    Feeling "torn" isn't good enough when the Archbishops, supported by most of the diocesan bishops, issue statements that not only make the church a laughing stock but, in the eyes of many who actually worship in the CofE, behave in such an un-Christian manner. In fact I'd go further and say that the conclusion reached by their graces (!) shows them to be completely lacking in those qualities expected of any Christian, never mind an ordained minister, and that if they truly believe what they have issued in their statement that they are Bad Men. The question then becomes: do members of the CofE stand by and watch while their leaders bring not just the institution but the faith it is meant to hold, represent, preach and promote into disrepute?

    If it were me, I'd be inclined to remember the words of John Stuart Mill: Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.
  • To cross-fertilise two threads, this is why the Church is fucked to death. Its inexhaustible, smug self-satisfaction, coupled with its paranoid refusal to allow itself to test any of its tenets against the lived experience of those in its pews, or indeed its clergy housing. This is the origin of the dialogue of the deaf which has killed the church: neither side is willing to hear the other without being heard, so tradition, interpretation of the scriptures and reason are being sealed hermetically away from lived experience, and vice versa, by a kind of furious, weaponised mutual consent. Thus, the church is commiting the heresy for which the Cathars were burned at the stake by saying that material creation is not a gift of God's love. Our materiality, our creation is a divine gift entirely worthy of a place within the life of God's pilgrim people, which is surely what the church is trying to be.

    More God, less church seems to me to be the requirement. Let all church planters be retired until the two sides stop screaming at each other.

    Amen! Preach it!

  • Interesting point about the Cathars, who, it's said, taught that non-procreative sex was preferable to procreative. Most churches seem to teach the reverse. I suppose, being charitable, the view is that sexuality, especially variegated, is dangerous, and must be contained within marriage. Secular society has broken down those boundaries, so is there panic in the episcopal bosoms?
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited January 2020
    Excellent Comment piece in today's Times from Libby Purves - I don't think it's behind a paywall if you search on (name) sex and bishops (can't give a link, I have a subscription, sorry).
  • TubbsTubbs Admin
    edited January 2020
    Spike wrote: »
    I think it’s a little unfair of people to accuse the church of being “obsessed with sex”. It seems to me that whenever the church does speak out in this, the press pick it up and run with it but seldom report on other proclamations that are made, so if anyone is obsessed with sex, it’s the British press.

    Although I take a pretty liberal view on this sort of thing (yes, I had sex before I was married, with more than one person, and what’s more, I enjoyed it!) what the bishops are saying here is official Church of England policy which is pretty much the same as the teachings of just about all the other major religions on the subject of sex and marriage. Oddly, we don’t see the press getting their knickers in a twist over what Jews or Siques believe about this.

    The refusal to bless a civil partnership regardless of who the participants are is new and makes no allowances for changes of belief etc.

    The rest of it is no more nonsensical than Baptist policy. Congregations can vote to allow their buildings to be used for equal marriage, but any minister who performs one risks losing their accreditation. Even if they're happy to do it and have the support of their congregation.
  • The basic problem here has been the CofE being 'established' and the nation being nominally of one religion, originally RC, then CofE, and then CofE plus Christian dissent. This meant that 'marriage' was being conceived in 'Christian' terms.

    If instead society is thought of from the start as plural with many different and broadly equal beliefs including atheist and agnostic as well as religions, the need is rather different. Essentially the state needs a category of legal relationship which is personal rather than business (and yes I am aware that a lot of past marriages among the well off were 'business' as well!); and actually that kind of legal relationship needs to be not only for 'marriage' as religions conceive it but also for some kinds of non-sexual relationships (adult 'adoptions' such as Roman emperors used to do, and situations like an elderly single lady and a companion).

    In effect, in a plural society 'marriage' as different religions conceive it is not totally th' state's business. What is needed is that the state doesn't do 'marriages' as such at all but supplies, for its own and its citizens convenience, a more flexible and wider-ranging legal relationship which can also be used as the legal foundation of different versions of 'marriage' in differing religions - a not necessarily sexual "civil partnership".

    In terms of the OP, Christians will enter into a 'civil partnership' for legal and secular convenience, but will also get 'married' in Christian terms usually in a church ceremony.

  • I generally disagree with that. I think it is the state's business to encourage long-term relationships, so it makes sense to try to encourage marriage, in as many forms as are required.

    What makes zero sense is to have a state religion which does not represent the majority view having the benefits of being part of the establishment whilst simultaneously trying to exclude people.

    Either marry anyone it is legal to marry or stop pretending to be a state service.
  • @Blahblah said:

    What makes zero sense is to have a state religion which does not represent the majority view having the benefits of being part of the establishment whilst simultaneously trying to exclude people.

    O if only the Pointy Hats would read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest this!
  • Perhaps understandably, the leaders don't want to give up the privilege of their position.

    One would think at some point that this would be impossible to continue and, like every other religious group they could have a principled view on a range of issues without being seen as some kind of state appendage.
  • Well, Episcopal Palaces, seats in the House of Lords, cars, chaplains, pointy hats, splendid copes etc. etc. are not available to everyone, so I'm sure there is something in what you say.

    Disestablishment, anyone? Might work...at least, it would put the Anglican Church in a more realistic position, no?
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    I can’t help wondering who the bishops think their audience is. It strikes me that the sort of people who care about conservative bishops’ views on sexual ethics aren't going to get civil partnered anyway – they’ll get married.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    ISTM that there are two issues around the blessing of civil partnerships.

    The one which has generally (and not at all surprisingly) been the focus is the question of equal marriage. In the Church of England that’s very much under discussion.

    The second (IMHO separate) issue is the question of what kind of provision should be made for a covenanted relationship which doesn’t include a promise of sexual fidelity.

    Even if the first question (gender of the participants) was not there, the church would still want to address the second.
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