Motes and beams

While I was browsing I read the Church of Nigeria's statement supporting the Nigerian Same Gender Marriage (Prohibition) Bill.

It was illustrative of the thinking of biblical literalists and their ability to fillet the Scriptures and arrange the pieces as social policy. Perhaps a random quote generator would lead to a more equitable society.

However one paragraph, one phrase struck me with some force:

Marriage is a creation of God between a man and a woman

(c) Those who argue for the legalization of this unwholesome practice [same sex marriage] on the claims of human rights must first of all recognize and respect the right of God to order his creation the way he wants it. Human rights therefore should not infringe on the right of God to remain God. (emphasis added)

First there's the hubris: isn't there some biblical quote on claiming to know the mind of God? Second, there's the idea of divine rights placed alongside human rights - not exactly a biblical idea.

Both of these seem to me to diminish God, to reduce God to a small town mayor struggling to cope with new people who haven't grown up in the place but who still want to have their say.

But maybe in our different ways we are all tempted do this: to co-opt God to our priorities, selecting the best fillets of scripture to support our view, reducing God to something manageable, and then telling other people they should follow what we believe - because, of course, it's not me, it's God that's telling you.

Perhaps contrition and a much sharper awareness of our own limitations before God, a continual recognition that we are judged as well as loved, and that our sins and failures are the sins for which we are primarily responsible, should be the dominant note of any religious foray into social policy. Could the CofE, perhaps, as a matter of religious principle start with a recognition of its own complicity in whatever public wrong its latest report condemns?

Perhaps this could be done before we start pointing at the mote in other people's eyes. Now, where does that come from?


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