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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Kommandant Keith pronounces on marriage – again

“Catholic cardinal criticises gay marriages plan”.

Believe it or not, the journos at the B bloody B bloody C decided this morning on at least the seven o’clock Radio 4 news (maybe others for all I know) that this was the top story.

It isn’t news.

I’ll say it again.

It isn’t news.

So why are the B bloody B bloody C claiming that it is? OK, so a senior bod in the Catholic Church (he’s Keith O’Brien, the big man in Scotland) has made a pronouncement, and, according to page 37, Clause 3, Subclause 3.5 of the How to Be a Hack and Just Go Along with What’s Expected Instead of Thinking for Yourself prats guide to journalism, some news editor decided that a story of sorts had to be done.

But why lead the bulletin on the bloody thing?

What on earth do they expect a bloody high-flying Catholic to do but oppose gay marriage? Sorry, but I thought reporting news was the art of reporting the unusual, or at least the new. It’s not a new pronouncement on the part of these monsters.

To top it all, the B bloody B bloody C has simply nicked the thing from the Sunday Telegraph. That’s where the cardinal’s words are to be found.

So a Catholic cardinal has said something against gay marriage (so far, so predictable) in a rabidly right-wing newspaper.

Blimey, I’ve just watched some paint dry. Fascinating.

Sorry, I was distracted there from a story in a right-wing rag about a right-wing prelate who is against gay marriage.

This twat says that, if same-sex unions are allowed in Britain (and it’s the government’s wish to do so that has prompted his predictable response), it will “shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world”.

Why? And how? Which parts of the world? Those parts that agree with Cardinal bloody Keith bloody O’Brien, that’s all. Which parts of those parts? Is there no diversity of opinion? Yes, there is. So such a statement is meaningless.

Gay marriage, says this moron, “would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father”. Your point being? There’s anecdotal evidence we read here and there that kids brought up with two dads or two mums do just as well.

If they suffer at all, it’s because the likes of Cardinal bloody Keith bloody O’Brien help create an atmosphere in which such kids are going to be teased and possibly bullied.

But that’s a fair price to pay, he would say, for his being able to hold up the sanctity of marriage as the preserve of one man and one woman, as thought fit by God botherers whose time is running out (unless they change their ways).

Kommandant Keith says that same-sex marriage “is an attempt to redefine marriage for the whole of society at the behest of a small minority of activists”. Who defined marriage in the first place? You or your ilk have said hitherto that marriage precedes even the Church, so exactly whom are we robbing of the right to define marriage?

Indeed, in the Telegraph piece he says: “As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by governments and should not be changed by them.”

Note, though, how the Church is missed out here, the inference we’re meant to draw being that it’s not a state or government thing, so it must be a church thing – or at the very least bound up with religion.

And why should it not be changed by governments? Governments administer formal marriage; they legitimise it for the purposes of tax and benefits and inheritance; they keep track of formal marriages (and divorces) in their records. Perhaps O’Brien should reconsider government’s place in marriage entirely, and say marriage should simply not be officially recognised at all. Just let people get on with it, using whatever ceremonies they choose.

As for what is right or wrong, at one time and in many places today marriage was and is severely frowned upon (and punishable, sometimes by death) among members of different castes, different religions, different classes, different races. Who is going to say that such a thing is wrong, as many would (that love should be allowed to prevail) and then say that marriage of one man to another, one women to another, is wrong, too (that love should not be allowed to prevail)?

Then we move to semantics. “Can a word whose meaning has been clearly understood in every society throughout history suddenly be changed to mean something else?” asks Kommandant Keith? Yes, it can. Word meanings change all the time. They change with changing habits, changing conventions.

One definition of “marry” is to splice rope ends together (it’s used as a nautical term here, of course). Are the ropes meant to be one male and one female? It’s also used in a nonspecialist sense to bring two things together harmoniously.

“There is no doubt that, as a society, we have become blasé about the importance of marriage as a stabilising influence and less inclined to prize it as a worthwhile institution.” The implication here is that it cannot be a stabilising influence if it is within a same-sex arrangement, and nor can it be worthwhile. Who is he to tell us whether our marriages are worthwhile? Such arrogance.

And back to the child “Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father.”

Is he happy, then, with failed marriages, provided they’re straight ones? There are many kids being brought up, for better or worse, but often successfully and lovingly, by single mums and dads because of death or divorce or simply because the father of a child is unknown.

Then he uses the slippery-slope argument. If you can have marriage between two of the same sex, why not three? But no one’s saying there will be three. Why, I could add, not a man, a woman and a dog, or just a man and a goat? The fact is, such things haven’t been discussed.

He chooses as a quote from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this: “. . . the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State”.

Yes? Well there are families of two dads and a couple of kids? Or one mum and a kid? Combine them how you will, people come together into families and often benefit from the mutual love and support such an arrangement provides. That can only be a good thing.

I wonder if he’ll be so happy to cite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights if it’s revamped to take same-sex unions into account explicitly. It will then magically have become the work of the Devil, no doubt.

(FYI, I don’t actually go along with state-endorsed, formal marriage, anyway, but it’s this chap’s specious argument that’s got me going.)

1 comment:

Stuart Hartill said...

I can hardly imagine the headlines when someone at the Beeb finds out the Pope is a Catholic