While for many years I mulled over the option as being an either or in relation to my faith and who I found myself to be it took a lot of searching to find out that both was an actual option. One thing I hope that people like Iris Robinson can come to understand in the long-term. Blair says in the interview:
"For many people in the world of religion, they have found they’re facing the same challenge as everybody else is in changing times, when it comes to the role of women, the issues to do with sexuality, and so on. But the problem within the institutions of organised religion as opposed, for example, to those in politics, is that those attitudes get mixed up with those of doctrine. For something that is religious in nature, it can be far harder for them to break with the past. They’re hard – they’re really difficult. Because people are debating – what is the word of God? If something is expressed in a particular way in the Bible or the Koran or elsewhere, can you possibly contemplate a process of modernisation where attitudes change over time? But my own view is
that it’s better to have these views debated within religious circles than to pretend that they don’t exist.
"...also to treat religious thought and even religious texts as themselves capable of evolution over time. You have to understand the context and the society in which they were expressed. So, when people quote the passages in Leviticus condemning homosexuality, I say to them – if you read the whole of the Old Testament and took everything that was there in a literal way, as being what God and religion is about, you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece."
If you just look at the raft of legislation that has come in under Labour since 1997 and consider if the 1997 brand of Conservatism that was on offer would have made such in roads. 1997 homosexuals weren't allowed to serve in the military, teachers were unable to defend gay pupils in the classroom, there was a status of legal homophobia in the workplace and in failing to recognise partners. So great strides were being made towards equality (despite at the same time the liberties of us all being eroded simultaneously).
Blair says the highpoint of the various pro-gay legislation that he oversaw come into being was the introduction of civil partnerships. However, these are separate arrangement and still not equal. The equal marriage campaign is seeking for Scotland to:
- Lift the ban on same-sex marriage and mixed-sex civil partners
- Allow religious and humanist celebrants to legally solemnise same-sex marriage
- Put an end to the discrimination faced by transgender people and their partners
Is it doable? I think so. I think this statement of Tony shows that we are on an evolutionary trend where we can get this done.
"This process of evolution and change [in religious thought] carries on the whole time. Otherwise, you end up pitting religion against reason, and that is the single most dangerous thing you could ever do. Because in the end, if you force people to choose between religious faith and reason, they will choose reason. But that is not, in fact, what should happen. Religious faith and reason are actually in alignment, in my view – or, at least, that is the argument."
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