Church of England Goes Thumbs Down on Blessing Gay Marriages

The Church of England issued a report today in which it states that it will not support the blessing of gay marriages.

The report says in part:

… ‘marriage is a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace. Marriage, defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman, is central to the stability and health of human society. It continues to provide the best context for the raising of children.’

 the sexual differentiation of men and women is a gift of God, who ‘created humankind in his image… male and female he created them’. It is on male and female that God gives his blessing, which is to be seen not only in procreation but in human culture, too (Genesis 1.27-8).

In calling it a gift of God, we mean that it is not simply a cultural development (though it has undergone much cultural development) nor simply a political or economic institution (though often embedded in political and economic arrangements).

It is an expression of the human nature which God has willed for us and which we share. And although marriage may fall short of God’s purposes in many ways and be the scene of many human weaknesses, it receives the blessing of God and is included in his judgment that creation is ‘very good’ (Genesis 1.31).

In calling it a gift of God in creation, we view marriage within its wider life-context: as an aspect of human society and as a structure of life that helps us shape our journey from birth to death. 


This report from the Church of England comes after former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, issued a stinging op-ed rebuke to the Prime Minister and the whole movement that is pushing for gay marriage.

Recent polls indicate that “more than two-thirds of (British) Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority,” he wrote, ” … the prime minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.”

Lord Carey’s op-ed piece goes on to note that the Equalities Minister, Helen Grant, “recently gave her support to the Labour MP Chris Bryant’s campaign to turn the 700-year-old chapel of St Mary Undercroft into a multi-faith prayer room so that gay couples can get married there.”

It’s a powerful piece. I will put an excerpt below with a link so you can read it all. If you follow the link above, you can read the entire document that the Church of England issued today. It is titled “Men and Women and Marriage.”

I’m going to write more about this Friday, but it appears that British Christians are starting to come awake. From the news coverage I’ve read, the British press is almost as biased in favor of gay marriage as the American press. Some of the comments I read were completely over the top for anyone who claims to be a professional journalist.

All of us who follow Christ need to support and help one another. Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Southern Baptist, Evangelical — it doesn’t matter. We need to stand on the Gospel principles we share and refuse to be moved. We also need to aid and help one another, including emotionally, as we go through the waters ahead.

Here, from the Daily Mail, is Lord Carey’s op-ed piece:

I like David Cameron and believe he is genuinely sincere in his desire to make Britain a generous nation where we care for one another and where people of faith may exercise their beliefs fully.

But it was a bit rich to hear that the Prime Minister has told religious leaders that they should ‘stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation’ when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way.

At his pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders, he said that he supported Christians’ right to practise their faith. Yet many Christians doubt his sincerity. According to a new ComRes poll more than two-thirds of Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority’.

Their fears may be exaggerated because few in the UK are actually persecuted, but the Prime Minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.

He seems to have forgotten in spite of his oft-repeated support for the right of Christians to wear the cross, that lawyers acting for the Coalition argued only months ago in the Strasbourg court that those sacked for wearing a cross against their employer’s wishes should simply get another job.

More shockingly, the Equalities Minister, Helen Grant, recently gave her support to the Labour MP Chris Bryant’s campaign to turn the 700-year-old Parliamentary chapel of St Mary Undercroft into a multi-faith prayer room so that gay couples can get married there. The Speaker of the House of Commons is reported to be supportive of the move.

Now, there are many questions that we need to ask. If this means the removal of Christian symbols from the chapel to accommodate all faiths and even humanist ceremonies this would amount to changing the chapel fundamentally, even to banishing the Christian faith from the seat of political power. This would have implications for Her Majesty, the Queen, and could place her in a very difficult position as the chapel is a Royal Peculiar under her direct patronage.

As David Cameron knows, I am very suspicious that behind the plans to change the nature of marriage, which come before the House of Lords soon, there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society together for time immemorial.

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  • pagansister

    Disappointed but not surprised.

  • Mike

    Would this have made the news even 10 years ago in 2003? The marriage includes one man and one women?

    It’s all happening very fast and it feels forced.

    • Dale

      Mike, ten years ago the issue of same-sex marriage was very much a topic of discussion. The first country to legalize such marriage, the Netherlands, did so in 2001. Belgium followed suit in 2003, and a couple more countries (Spain and Canada) in 2005. In the US, the federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996, 17 years ago, precisely because same-sex marriage was being discussed.

    • Theodore Seeber

      I have been involved in this debate since the late 1980s in Oregon, and it feels forced to me. In that time I’ve gone from being extremely progressive to hated conservative without changing my views at all.

  • neenergyobserver

    Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah, for the Church of England!!

  • Bill S

    What gays need to do is realize that it makes no sense to try to be Christian and gay in this society. They should seriously consider atheism as their best alternative for living a free and happy life. They should view civil marriage to be as good as it gets.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, only a halfwit would chose atheism because faith says something the requires them to refrain from doing what they want to do. I admit, there are at lot of halfwits out there doings just that, but it’s tres stupid. If God is real, (and He is) then saying you won’t believe in Him because He says you can’t sleep around is a little like a child telling his or her parents that they won’t believe in them anymore because they have to brush their teeth, eat those icky vegetables, look both ways before cross the street, go to bed on time, do their homework and fasten their seatbelt. After all, parents who love their children would never put such childphobic restraints on them.

    • Dale

      Bill, while reading the comments at some gay blogs (okay, LGBT blogs) I have seen a great amount of hostility towards Christianity. In many cases, the anger grows out of past hurt inflicted by Christians against them personally. I don’t know if those comments are representative of feelings at large, but I think they represent a great loss.

      We should bebuilding bridges to persons who are in the LGBT community, not encourage the burning of those bridges.

      As for marriage, I am not sure if the attitudes of gays and lesbians are different from the attitudes of the general population. A large proportion don’t see a need for it, being happy with co-habitation. And if marriage is chosen, religious trappings are nice…. but that may be the extent of their involvement with faith. In my opinion, the marriage battle was lost 30-40 years ago. It was during that time frame that the definition of marriage changed to being a loving bond between two persons, with or without children.

      The Church of England statement which we are discussing is nice and all. Is there anything in it which a Catholic would disagree with? However, ultimately it will be an irrelevant document unless the C of E, and all Christians, start evangelizing.

  • Manny

    I’m just the opposite of pagansister.

    I am so pleasantly surprised!!! I really didn’t think it was going to come out that way.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      What about Lord Carey? He da man!

      • Fabio P.Barbieri

        Lord Carey turned out to be a good deal more formidable once he was retired. He is the loudest voice for proper Christianity in England, not only among CofE, but among Catholics and Evangelicals too. The Catholic Bench of Bishops is so pathetic that for a long time even Pope Benedict could not find one candidate not made of jelly (it is significant that the head of the English Church, Archbishops Nicholls of Westminster, has never been made a Cardinal) and he only recently appointed a reliably Catholic one – too late, one fears. But then Lord Carey himself in an exception and something of a freak: the CofE is penetrated from top to bottom by the ruling class, full of homosexuals in high places and agnostic bishops, and I think Cameron would be right to be shocked at this sudden act of defiance. Perhaps it is just that he has gone too far. One hopes that even the latitudinarians, time-servers, homosexuals and secularists who lead the CofE have simply been unable to reconcile any notion of a Christian body with Mr Cameron’s favourite cause. Interestingly, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, whose promotion has been corrupt even by Anglican standards – one year as Bishop before being immediately moved to the Primate’s seat – has shown an almost Beckett-like willingness to displease Cameron, who had hand-picked him. And while he has not yet spoken clearly on “gay marriage”, the fact that he neither suppressed nor disassociated the Church from Lord Carey’s report is interesting and hopeful.

      • Manny

        Sure is!

    • Mike

      Yeah I am kinda surprised too and it seems no equivocation to boot! I still think it’s too late and they’ll start blessing them in secret but still something.

  • Dave

    This is a pleasant surprise! Perhaps there are signs of life in the C of E after all…

  • Bill S

    Yes. If a gay man decides to check out alternatives to Catholicism or any denomination that does not condone gay marriage and finds out that it is a true religion and he must abide by the rules then he’s got a problem. But, if, as a result of his research, he finds that it is not a true religion, he can free himself of its moral laws and adopt a morality that better suits his lifestyle. I think this is what many have done and are now living happier and more fulfilling lives. I did it for my own reasons and, although it didn’t make my life happier or more fulfilling, I believe I have a clearer understanding of myself and the world around me. That’s a good thing not a bad thing.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, you’ve told us that you are still attending a Catholic Church, an active member of the Knights of Columbus and married to your wife. Based on the things you say here, it would seem that the only thing you have done is decide to post about your decision — whatever it was — anonymously on the internet.

  • Bill S

    “…the only thing you have done is decide to post about your decision — whatever it was — anonymously on the internet.”

    Yes. That is correct. I have gained no advantage from my research. In one sense, I have learned that I can really do and believe just about anything I want to in terms of not having to worry about sin, judgement, hell, etc. However, the people around me would be worried about me if I told them how I really feel about Catholicism. The people on the Internet offer good counter arguments and do not appear to lose their faith over anything I say in my rebellious rants.

    I have always had trouble with authority figures like the nuns at my school. This has carried over to resenting the Church for telling people what they should and shouldn’t do. But for the sake if those around me, I cooperate and voice my resentment on the Internet.

    • Mike

      Hmmm…well Bill I guess if it works for you it works but still seems kinda wrong, your deceit, or yourself of course – don’t worry God is not mocked :).

    • Theodore Seeber

      “I have always had trouble with authority figures like the nuns at my school.”

      Has it occurred to you that the problem *might* be only internal to your own head?

    • Manny

      Bill you are in need of prayers. You sound like a good soul who has become spiritually lost. May you come back home.

      • Bill S

        Thank you, Manny. Although I am now an atheist, intellectually, I am a Catholic at heart.

  • Bill S

    “it works but still seems kinda wrong, your deceit, of yourself of course”

    Yes. I see no solution to this predicament. If I were a believer, my problems would all be solved. It’s the opposite of someone suffering for what they believe. I am suffering for what I don’t believe.

  • SteveP

    My initial reaction was one of surprise. I’m grateful for a pause in the culture war as “same-sex marriage” advocates ponder the next objective.