A changing climate

Much furore about the UKIP councillor who told David Cameron the flooding was due to God’s wrath at gay marriage.

The best reactions have been humorous – “At least there is one UKIP member who believes climate change is man made” or the bid to get “Its Raining Men” into the Top Twenty.

Some reactions have been just a bit sinister.  There’s a petition for him to resign which says religious views should have no place in politics.  When Desmond Tutu thought God was calling him to fight apartheid through peaceful resistance and moral courage, should he have shut up about the God bit?   There’s a world of difference between saying religious views should not be given some magic status unprotected from criticism, which non religious views are not, and saying we should declare certainly philosophical positions verboten in the public arena.

But I am now feeling sad, at the vision of a God of whose wrath is so oddly and indiscriminately applied, not to those who lend money at interest (banned in the Bible) or who oppress the poor here and abroad… not to those who buy weapons we won’t use or sell them to dictators who use them against their own people… a God  who punishes some people for the supposed faults of others… who frankly is not a force of love but Zeus rebranded.  Traditional marriage in the Bible was the purchase of a woman from her father by her husband, he could take other wives without her permission and divorce her on the flimsiest of grounds.  The New Testament is still not describing a form of marriage we could possibly support today, outside a cult.

Some opposition to same sex marriage is understandable – its a new idea, its not what we were brought up with, many people find same sex relationships uncomfortable. Part of the rage however comes from those who believe they have a right to assert a position as Godly and be deferred to and fawned over because that is their argument.   Some liberals of faith can fall into the same trap.   Anyone anywhere in the religious spectrum needs to be very careful about that line of thinking.

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