Adam Bird

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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

What on earth do we tell our children?

Marriage

My last blog post was way back at the end of last year in memory of my departed Grandmother. Writing something new would make that old news and I’ve not wanted to archive it just yet. Life however, moves on and barely at the end of the first month of the new year, there is so much that has happened and so much to look forward to.

Already this year we’ve had new babies, a wedding, a trip booked and for me personally a huge and exciting change with the promise of a new job. After three years at ais London, I decided to seek ventures new and have secured a new position at James Villa Holidays, which means not only am I going from agency to client-side, but it means that after seven years I’ll be leaving London and returning to the bright lights of Maidstone.

I’ll probably take a nostalgic look back at my time in London over the next few weeks, but for now I wanted to write something for myself, something therapeutic, something argumentative, a dear diary piece that helps channel some of my thoughts and opinions.

When someone dies as my Nan did last year, it forces you to reassess things, look at life slightly differently and appreciate it for what it is. A brief, unknown period of time where everyone needs to make the most of what they’ve been given. Maybe it’s coincidental, or it’s been happening for a while and I’ve not really noticed it until now, but recently I’ve felt disgruntled, annoyed at politicians for making bad decisions and feeling powerless that things happen and you have no control over them despite the priviledge of being able to vote.

One of the constant fights I always find myself battling is that of religion and my own views on what I perceive to be my own rightful place in the grand scheme of things. It’s always there, I can’t escape it, all my family are Christian’s and I’ve Christian friends and my Uncle is even a Pastor of a local church. Working with him last year and seeing the fantastic work that they do hasn’t softened my stance or made me think perhaps I am fighting a losing battle and that there might be a place for me afterall. In fact, I’d probably say that I’m further away from where my family would like me to be than I've probably ever been.

One of the hot topics in the press over the last few months has been a mixture of both of those things, that of allowing same-sex marriage. Religion by itself is a tough enough subject, as is politics, but when the two collide all sorts of ramifications and arguments both for and against occur. But what on earth has the rights of allowing homosexuals to marry got to do with me? Well the answer is nothing, absolutely nothing at all. But the Christian response purely highlights everything that I find wrong with the religion and everything that prevents me from reconciliation with any of my families views.

When Stephanie and I got married, we were married in a civil ceremony. There were no religious connotations, no promise to a heavenly father that we would unite as one flesh. We made our vows as a solemn promise and commitment to one another that will last us for the rest of our lives. If either of us had the imagination to write our own vows we would have done and we’d have meant each and every word. What difference then does it make if two men or two women make those same vows?

The Christian view is that marriage is a gift from God, between one man and one women. Various denominations have variations about what is and what isn’t acceptable, including views on divorce, same-sex marriage and those people who are happy to remain single and celibate. I can accept the more liberal views and I can accept that same-sex marriage isn’t the same act of marriage as described in scripture, but then once again, nor is mine and Steph’s, because we never married as scripture described and as yet have no intention to.

What I can’t accept is the discriminatory and hateful tones that are coming from some areas of the church. Views such as God hates Gays, and that being born homosexual is no different to being born a peodiphile which I find vile and extremely offensive. To compare the two scenarios is a measure of pure ignorance and damn right hurtful. But then the church has history for blatant discrimination. During the civil rights movements in 1950s-1960s America, church leaders would come out in support of the white race and use scripture to back up there poisoned arguments. Such views would cause outrage in today’s world - and rightfully so.

We are as people, human beings, with thoughts, feelings, desires and sexual preferences. Mine might not be the same as yours and vice versa, but as human beings we might one day be lucky enough to meet someone else who shares those very same things. Why then would I want to keep looking for someone else? I wouldn’t, I’d want to share my life with that person and enjoy those things together, which is why I married my wife, and why a man might want that with another man and a woman with another woman. It’s not for me to judge and say that it is unnatural or against human nature. It is what it is and each to their own. Love is, what love is, however much we fail to understand the flawed chemistry of same-sex appeal.

What’s the difference then in two women marrying and dying together of old age, living a long life of relative sinless existence vs a married Christian couple who sin repeatedly and ask God to forgive them for their sins? When the gates of heaven open and a couple are turned away, why should the gay couple be the ones that are condemned? If God really is such a discriminatory deity why the hell should I spend a lifetime worshipping Him?

It might seem like a lot of thought about nothing, why on earth put so much effort into thinking about something that has nothing to do with me at all? The answer for me lies solely as being a parent. I want my children to be brought up with the knowledge that they are who they are and to be comfortable within themselves. That people shouldn’t be discriminated against for any reason. When they ask me me why their grandparents go to church and their parents don’t - I can give them valid reasons why not. When they learn of Christians with discriminatory views what do I tell them? That it is okay, they are good people, they are Christians, they are allowed to discriminate because it is what their God does?

Can anyone blame me for feeling disgruntled?
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