Friday, February 08, 2013

A beautiful argument

I am an analytic philosopher by training. I really like arguments - sequences of premises and conclusions. An elegant or striking argument has an attraction for me even if I don't agree with it. In that spirit, here's a corker.  Hat-tip to 'Protect the Pope'.

The argument is this. The point of same-sex marriage is to make SSM 'equal' to traditional marriage. But if some churches don't accept it, it's not equal: heterosexual marriage will available everywhere, but SSM only in certain, restricted places. 

Compare the argument of people campaigning for women bishops in the Church of England. If 'traditionalist' parishes can opt out of being governed by women bishops, they aren't bishops in the full sense. No one is allowed to opt out from male bishops: there is an inequality here. Because of the attitude of their opponents, they would be deprived, under some of the proffered compromise schemes, of true episcopal authority.

It is true. In both cases it is true: the hold-outs, even if very few in number, aim to prevent the gay couple or the bishopess from being interchangeable with a mixed-sex couple or a male bishop. If the hold-outs get even a 'room to breath' concession, they have in a sense won, because they have stopped the innovation being made completely normal. The innovation remains something only allowed in certain places.

There is no room for toleration here, friends. This is a fight to the death. 


  1. Wouldn't we have to tinker with the marriage rite in order to facilitate same-sex couples?

    ... isn't that state-mandated liturgical reform? :S

  2. From an MP to me
    "I will support the Bill being put forward by the Government tomorrow because I believe fundamentally in the equality of all UK citizens before the civil law. I also believe that Churches and those of all faiths should be able to make their own decisions over who is blessed by marriage as a religious rite.
    I do not believe the Bill interferes with that rite"
    I am sure that this understanding of a sacrament will be as reassuring to Catholic readers of this blog as it was to me.