Sunday, 24 May 2015

Presbyterian Church in Ireland seek to redefine victimhood

I am saddened to read the statement of the PCI in light of the decision made by over 62% of those who voted in Marriage Referendum in Ireland. So much so that I feel it needs a few comments from me.

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has issued the following statement on the result of the Marriage Referendum.
Commenting on the result the Very Rev. Dr. Norman Hamilton, Convener of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Council for Church in Society said, "We are deeply disappointed and saddened that the Constitution will no longer reflect the historic – and Christian – view of marriage that it is exclusively between one man and one woman; the position the Presbyterian Church in Ireland upholds and maintains. The Constitution of Ireland only came into effect on 29 December 1937. On the 17th June 1996 the referendum on the 15th Amendment allowed for Divorce in that constitution and indeed "Divorce does not prevent you from getting married in the Presbyterian Church" - Getting Married in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
"The issue before voters was an intensely emotive one and to express the historic view of marriage during the referendum campaign often brought hostility and rejection yes and indeed some of the comments from Very. Rev. Dr. Norman Hamilton appear to have not been following the Pastoral Guidelines on Same Sex Attraction. We hope that those who continue to uphold this view will not be marginalised or demeaned. We would also encourage all Christians to love their neighbours – as the Bible calls us to do – particularly those with whom we might disagree and if demeaned, to turn the other cheek, for Jesus' sake. Wow! In recent days I have received a number of comments from "Christians" that demean me, as have straight friends who have supported the cause. I called on Christian groups to stand up against these so called Christians pouring oil on the flames with their words and have heard nothing from that end, this line appears to ignore the demeaning that has been going on from the side of the Churches in recent days and it is bit late to call on loving of neighbours, without clearer instruction,
"While the result is a significant change for Irish Society, as a Church we will continue to reach out to all people, whatever their situation, as all are equally welcome. I have written previously that currently my past experiences over this very issue have made me feel less than welcome. If anyone from the PCI wants to actually enable a safe space to talk about these things with Presbyterians who are LGBT I would welcome that action point being followed through from the pastoral guidelines and would be willing to contribute.
"Whilst reaffirming our understanding of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, we pray for wisdom for the Government and urge it to consult faith groups over the coming months as it formulates the necessary subsequent legislation." I trust that the Irish Government will do the same as those of Scotland, England and Wales and leave the option for Faith Groups to come to their own decision on whether they carry out same sex marriages. While the PCI may currently be that way minded other faith groups should have the same freedom of religious expression that they themselves want. Because here is the thing LGBT groups are not trying to force churches to marry them, they want them to choose to marry them, but they only want the barriers to be taken down to allow civil marriage and truly welcoming faith groups to carry them out.

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