If You Appease Bullies…

…they will rule you.

Those who follow the news in Britain will be aware that the Prime Minister is intent on pushing through legislation that allows gay marriage to take place in churches. Full assurances are being given that no one will be forced to marry homosexuals. They are simply allowing it to take place if that is what people want. Uh huh.

Let’s try to remember how this has all unfolded. I lived in England. I remember. The first step was the legalization of homosexual civil unions. “This is not marriage!” the modernizers told us. “This is simply a matter of civil rights and granting homosexual people the same legal protections and rights as heterosexual married people. This is not something which can happen in church. It is not marriage.”

Nevertheless, when homosexual people had their “civil partnerships” in registry offices many of them found sympathetic Anglican vicars, rabbis and Methodists who were happy to conduct informal “blessings” of the civil partnerships. The fact that they were breaking the rules of their own church didn’t matter. They were “brave pioneers” and “prophetic voices against injustice”. They were like Rosa Parks–the ones who were willing to go against the old, harsh, legalistic church establishment to stand up for “freedom and equality.”

Once civil partnerships were accepted followed by blessings in church, the agenda had to be moved on. The language shifted and the term “civil partnership” quietly fell away and “gay marriage” was the term used for what happened in the registry office and the church afterward. Once that milestone was reached the campaign started to allow these “marriages” to take place in church. And why not? If anyone thinks the Church of England will stand firm on this issue they should think again. Already a good number of Anglican vicars conduct blessings of same sex civil unions in church. A fair number of Anglican clergy are open and active homosexuals themselves. I would guess that the majority of diocesan bishops are personally in favor of “gay rights” and wouldn’t have any objection to gay marriages in church. The Archbishop of Canterbury is designate says he too is “listening carefully” to the voices in favor of gay marriage.

This battle is already lost, and if anyone thinks that the assurances, “Of course no one will be forced to conduct a marriage for homosexuals in church if they don’t want to…” have any force they’re living in what the English call “cloud cuckoo land.” Furthermore, the population, both here and in the UK, are largely complacent about the issue. They don’t care if homosexuals get married or care what they do, and they will increasingly view anyone who objects as being a nasty, out of touch, old fashioned, religious bigot on a par with the Ku Klux Klan. Britons increasingly consider marriage to be worthless anyway, so who cares?

The only ones who will hold out will be the Catholics, and when they do they will be persecuted for it.

It used to be that America was five years ahead of England, and whatever was new and modern here eventually found it’s way over there. It’s the reverse now. Americans–what you see in the culture of England will eventually come across the Atlantic this way.

This is what happens when you appease bullies of any kind–whether they are racist bullies, feminist bullies, union bullies, ideological bullies–whatever.

They are never satisfied. They will come back again and again for yet another fight. Let them have their way and suddenly they want something more. This is because their movement and cause (whatever it is) is fueled by rage and suppressed self hatred. (but that’s another story…)

Brace yourselves.


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  • flyingvic

    Is the UK really ‘ahead’ of the USA in this? Is same-sex marriage not already legal in nine states of the Union? Did your President not voice his support for same-sex marriage earlier this year? And declare DOMA unconstitutional last year? Has not the Episcopal Church of America been opposing any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriages since 2006? And has it not published an official liturgy for same-sex ‘blessings’ this year?

  • John

    I cannot help but note, Father, that in your “Who Governs the Church of England” post of 11/20, I made the following comment, postulating about the argument Democrat lawmakers might make concerning gay marriage:

    “Gay Rights are the civil rights struggle of our time. It is immoral, and therefore ought to be illegal, to deny homosexuals rights enjoyed by so-called “straight” people. Therefore, legislation will be introduced that will impose penalties (revocation of tax-exempt status, jail time, etc) for those institutions that refuse to wed same-sex couples. Religious institutions that continue to deny same-sex marriage rights will not have their “marriages” recognized by civil authorities, and “straight” couples who are “married” in such hateful institutions will be denied state marriage licenses.”

    It was followed by this reply comment from Sus: “I don’t think churches will be forced to marry gay couples.”

    Heh. As you say, “brace yourselves.”

  • http://thewayoutthere1.blogspot.com/ Fr Levi

    That’s the problem with this ‘I’m a victim who has rights nobody ever thought or heard of before’ mentality: it never ends …

  • Al Bergstrazer

    Behavior that gets rewarded gets repeated.

  • Howard

    The real problem is with people doing things they know are wrong and do not really want to do because they want to show the other kids they are cool. “Cool” in this case is pronounced “progressive” or “enlightened”, and the “other kids” may be one’s co-workers, the mayors of larger cities, or fellow MPs, depending on one’s social circle. I think this explains why the mayors of cities in very conservative states push “gay rights” — they want to show the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco that although they may live in a square state (in some cases almost literally), they themselves are totally cool. In short, I think the real pressure is not coming from noisy “gay rights” advocates; instead it is an example of peer pressure, even peer pressure combined with a mistaken perception of what one’s peers really think.

  • Michael

    Thanks for reading this article agree wholeheartedly I believe you’re right on with theme of bullying

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Good point. I think we’re still behind…but not far.

  • Sus

    Are churches now “forced” to marry every man and a woman who requests it? Let’s say two people show up at the rectory asking a priest to marry them. They tell the priest that they are atheists but want a pretty place to get married. Does the law say the priest has to perform their marriage ceremony in the church?
    I thought the priest could say he doesn’t want to perform the ceremony and was free to tell the couple to go elsewhere. Am I wrong?

  • Truth

    Talking about irony. Aren’t you the one who pretends to be a victim by suggesting that criticism of a Catholic bishop is persecution?

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    That’s how it is presently, but let’s say he rejects them because they are black. That wouldn’t be allowed. The same argument will be made by homosexual people–that he is not permitted to reject them because they are homosexual.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    I wasn’t suggesting that criticism of a Catholic bishop is persecution, but was using the article as an indicator of which way the wind is blowing.

  • flyingvic

    In the UK a single man and a single woman have the right to be married in the CofE if either of them lives in the parish (a legal entity with clearly defined borders), worships regularly in the parish, or can demonstrate a clear and strong historical family connection with the parish. If they can satisfy the criteria I cannot refuse to let them be married in the church for which I am responsible – even if I think them unsuited to each other or believe that their reasons for getting married in the church are unworthy. I may only, however, use the authorised form of service – so if one or both are atheists they are still required to make their vows in the name of the Trinity.

  • FW Ken

    Gay rights it’s not a legitimate successor to the civil rights movement, because “being gay” is not the same category as bring black. The later outs a natural variant of human experience, while homosexual attraction is not. The gay rights movement is based on fake science.

  • Truth

    It’s very clear which way the wind is blowing. You will not find me disputing that more and more people are joining my side, but that has nothing to do with “persecution”. Some of the more outrageous privileges religion has been granted will be pared back, but you will remain free to be a Catholic, if you wish.

  • Truth

    Churches can reject people because they are black.


    This doesn’t mean that they won’t face criticism over doing that, but insofar as the law is concerned, it’s their right.

  • Kathy

    “If You Appease Bullies…they will rule you.” If you stand up to bullies, they will attempt to destroy you. I know this from personal, painful experience. Nevertheless, STAND UP TO THE BULLIES WE MUST!!!!!!! Courage, my friends, courage.

  • FW Ken

    The wind often changes direction. I wouldn’t get too smug, there.

    Not that truth is determined by majority opinion.

  • servo

    Oh, I’ll be free to remain a Catholic if I wish. Thank you, master.

  • Truth

    Religion has been losing influence for centuries. The only way religion can maintain itself, is through coercive power. Whenever people are legally and socially free to reject religion, religion slowly but surely declines.

    There is absolutely no reason why this would change. The only question is whether deism or atheism will be the majority opinion in America by the end of the 21st century.

    And really, all I can ask you is to spread your anti-gay messages far and wide, and to explicitly connect them with your religion.

  • http://www.thecatholicbeat.com Gail Finke

    “Truth” above shows exactly how the persecution will begin. And may have already begun.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    The citizens in Soviet Russia were not only legally and socially free to reject religion. They were required to reject religion. Then when they were legally and socially free do choose religion again they chose it in droves.

    Why don’t you try reading some history and try something called “thinking”?

  • Honest

    Truth would be better called “Liar” or “Propagandist” or “Jerkish New Atheist Type”. Almost every single thing the man says is bunk, new athiest agitprop. God bless the non-believing fundies, heh.

  • Honest

    Because he is a new atheist fundie. Yes, it’s that simple.
    They talk big on things like “thinking” and “reason”, but have little use for either. Their ‘history of religion’ shows this tenfold!

  • FW Ken

    My own theory is that material prosperity promotes acceptance of same-sex relationships, and is probably tied to sterility in general (falling birthrates, I mean). Rome is one example, but it seems to be true of places like 14th century Florence as well.

  • Truth

    And you show that in the absence of real “persecution”, you are more than willing to invent it. You’ll just label criticism “persecution”. Problem solved!

  • Truth

    Did I mention the Soviet Union? As a matter of fact, you’re actually wrong about most Eastern Block countries, with the exception of Poland and maybe a few others. People certainly are not embracing religion en masse. Numbers may be higher than the unnaturally high equilibria under communism, there are still significant contingents of atheists in even the most conservative countries in the Eastern Block. And more than there would otherwise be. Eastern Germany is still significantly less religious than Western Germany, despite being poorer (correlated with religiosity). Breaking the back of the churches had a lasting effect. Elsewhere in the civilized world, the percentage of religious people declines every decade. See the World Values Survey.

    As I said, by the end of the 21st century, you will be a small minority. Don’t worry, we will treat you better than Christians have treated people who disagreed with them over the past 1700 years. But the many demands for privileges and special rights will go unheeded.

  • Truth

    What a surprise, it’s not about freedom to be a religious person. It’s about privilege and special rights.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    By then you’ll have to cope with the hoards of immigrants from the undeveloped world who are passionately religious. What will really be interesting to see is what the Muslim immigrants do to the atheists. I think their holy book commands them to behead you.

  • Brian Westley

    Atheists likewise stand up to Muslim bullies.

  • Oldgeezer

    Truth is a “Troll”. Best ignored.

  • Frances M

    “Truth” subscribes to the religion of the last superstition, as ably described in Edward Feser’s brilliant new book of the same name: “The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.” As Feser says, the adherents of this irrational and immoral superstition “find it difficult, indeed almost impossible to perceive their true condition. The less they know, the less they know it.”

  • Kelso

    Absolutely true Father, especially your last sentences. Even those moderates who are opposed to same sex ‘marriage’ are slowly becoming cynical and, as you said, could care less. Only the true Catholics will hold out and suffer the consequences, hoping for the reward to come.

  • FW Ken

    Despite his/her rather inventive fantasy life, “Truth” has offered some useful notions.

    First, criticism really is not persecution. Now, “Truth” has not offered any criticism. Instead, we’ve gotten slanders and historical absurdities which might be construed as persecution. With 100,000 to 150,000 Christians being killed each year, though, it seems to me better to respond to the slanders without claiming “persecution”.


    Second, it’s worth studying the truth behind the New Atheist claim that religion is declining. The fundamental fallacy is that today’s trends extend unchanged into the future. Beyond that, the various sources I’m finding focus on prosperous, culturally western societies, while religion in the developing world is well known to be exploding; see Phillip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom. All in all, Christians have no reason for complacency. Catholics have been stable at about 18% for a generation, but “stable” hardly constitutes making “diciples of all men”.

  • Truth

    I was not addressing the persecution of Christians in countries like Pakistan and Iran, which is heinous. I was addressing people who claim that Christians are being persecuted in America. The fact that criticism is labeled persecution is only made more galling and offensive that there are actual victims of actual persecution.

    As for secularization, whether it will continue in the future depends on the theory that you hold. I certainly would not claim that secularization is the inevitable result of time alone. No secularization took place between the years 1000 and 1500. If anything, people became more religious. My theory is that secularization results from increased education and the loss of religion’s coercive social and political power. At one time, you would be burned at the stake for voicing doubts about religion. When we got past that, you would still be shunned by your friends, family and social group for being an atheist. Once that is gone, the floodgates for irreligion (atheism and deism) will really open.

    I do not doubt at all that Christianity in Africa is exploding. Good for you, better Christianity than Islam. I addressed only the Western world, where Christianity will be a negligible presence by 2100.

  • Truth

    New Atheists like Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris have done a better job of standing up to “Muslim bullies” than Christians. If you read their books, they all single out Islam as the worst manifestation of religion. Let’s compare that record to the Catholic Church – which condemned the Satanic Verses and the Danish cartoons.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    The pendulum swings. Atheism will eventually bring despair and people will turn again to religion for hope.

  • FW Ken

    No secularization between 1000 and 1500? You clearly have not heard of the Renaissance, beginning in the 14th century and arguably parallel to social changes in our own day. Its arguable that the protestant movements beginning in the 16th century were a secularizing force, but that’s probably a different discussion. Read some Martin Luther.

    In any case, I’ll stand by my theory that secularization is a function of economic prosperity. For fun easy reads “Brunelleschi’s Dome” by Ross King or his “Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling” give a good feel for the era. I think you get the same story with different details from Eamon Duffy’s works on 16th century England. “The Stripping of the Altars” is sort of the gold standard.

    As to “persecution”, I don’t suppose you noticed that I agreed with you, “Truth”. I only noted that you aren’t offering “criticisms”. You do seem wedded to the victim role. in any case, the horror stories that come out of atheist countries match those of Muslim cultures. When the atheists ruled the Russian Empire (aka, the Soviet Union), I suspect 150,000 dead Christians was a slow year.

  • s masty

    I fear that once gay marriage is legalised in Britain, the European Courts will swiftly quash any church unwilling to so ‘reform ‘ and the modernists know that. It will become tough for UK Catholics because the Church is so tied up in state subsidies (tax-free properties, school support, etc) that we individuals shall have to become much more generous in order to keep our Church working, once our enemies find a convenient way in which to shut us down. Back to attics, caves and cellars, perchance.

  • savvy

    I have to agree that the UK is less liberal on this issue. The majority still opposes gay marriage.

    “As one gay writer has observed, gay-marriage advocates are obsessed with protecting homosexuals and their allegedly fragile rights from ‘the tyranny of the majority’, and have thus come to believe that ‘the courts are the place to go for the redress of grievances’ (1). A Tory-supporting columnist for the Telegraph counselled PM David Cameron to ignore ‘majoritarian opinion’ – which apparently doesn’t appreciate how important gay marriage is – and press ahead with his equal-marriage plans on the basis that ‘a government enacts civilising measures because they are the right thing to do, not because they are mentioned frequently in focus groups’. Here, as across the pro-gay marriage spectrum, a distinction is made between the ‘civilised’ elites who know the historic import of gay marriage and the public, with its tyrannical passions, who do not.”


  • savvy

    1. Several Christians were arrested in the Uk for criticizing homosexual behaviour
    2. A pastor in Sweden was arrested in his own church.
    3. In Canada Catholic schools have been forced to not teach their sexual ethics, because it offends gays.
    4. French Socialists have called for a crackdown on pro-marriage supporters such as Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox Jews.
    5. Not to mention the continuing assault on conscience rights. Remember Elane photography vs. Venessa Wilcock.
    6. The UN’s sexual rights movement states that sexual rights trump free speech, religion and parental objections.

  • savvy

    Your theory is not very informed, since the average person in the West knows less and less. The only thing is that they not aware of their own ignorance.

  • savvy

    Nobody is anti-gay. Why don’t you get that not everybody finds certain arguments convincing?

  • savvy

    I would add, the overall decline is of white Christianity. Since Christianity is exploding in Asia, and Africa. South America is steady. Europe and North America will see more immigration. Philip Jenkins, in his book, “The New Christendom” spoke of how we would see reverse Evangelization of whites by coloured people.

    John Allen, of National Catholic Reporter, described this as Christianity as politically liberal, but socially conservative.

  • Sue from Buffalo

    Fr. Longenecker, I agree with you about Russia. I am now finishing up a book called “With God in Russia” written by a priest who was held captive in Siberia for 23 years starting in WWII. There were many many many people who wanted to attend Mass, have their babies baptized, have their weddings conducted by priests but had to do it in secret. The reason for this priest’s captivity? They claimed that he was a “Vatican Spy.” Solely because he was a priest.
    The atheists there could not wrap their minds around the thought that someone would do anything good solely for the love of God.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    With God in Russia is a great book!

  • PAUL F

    Any so called catholic who has not “stood up ” against same sex marriage will have to answer for it (big time) someday.