A friend of mine recently posted the following link: http://www.mrconservative.com/2014/06/43128-churches-now-legally-obligated-to-perform-gay-wedding-ceremonies/
Which got me thinking.
I've come to the conclusion that given that we live in a secular world now, that people should be free to do as they like (within reason) in this secular world. Legislation Gay Marriage secularly is one of these things. However, having read this article I find it disturbing that secular society is enforcing its law upon the Church.
I'm not going to discuss gay marriage again. It's a controversial topic and discussing it tends to cause more harm than good. What I do have an issue with in this case is the law forcing a church to do something that, more than anything, is contrary to the beliefs of that church. Why is the law not doing the same thing to other religions?
It's the same issue I see all the time: the contradiction of the world. The concept that is trying to be brokered is equality and yet there is a distinct inequality when you are forcing one group to do one thing and yet not others. I may be ignorant, and there may be other groups who are required to - but this article does not mention them and I have heard of no such cases in other locations.
It's the same issue I have with the laws for Torres Straight Islanders and Aboriginal Australians. I appreciate the attempts being made to help these groups out - to repay some of the centuries of damage done by 'white settlers' (of which sadly my ancestors are included). Yet to provide groups of people with special rules and not others? That to me is wrong. It's bias - only reversed and with the understanding that 'we're really helping these people'.
Yes, there are many times where wrong has been done to minority groups and to other groups of individuals. But I actually no longer see the concept of providing 'special laws' to help these groups as correct and proper. The Holocaust and Nazi Germany is often used in relation to such things - now did you ever see specific laws be created to help out the Jewish people? I haven't really - but then again I could be missing something because the one thing I'm realising the more I learn is how much I have to learn.
When specific rules are created to help one group of people out and not the other - I see it as creating a specific schism of inequality, even when those laws are for equality's sake. And as I've argued before, I believe equality is a flawed notion - that we need to fight less for equality and fight instead to recognise the strengths that each person (and groups of people have). Labels and laws don't help these causes in my views.
Let me finish by saying this - secularism was intended to help protect religious freedom. In many ways it's being used to prevent specific religious freedoms (though this also depends on observation and point of view). Whatever you believe about the issues raised in relation to the law and Churches (euthanasia, abortion, LGBT rights etc.) there is one thing I'm merely trying to state here. Governments and individuals say that we should keep the Church out of government decisions (lobbying, policies and so on) - but why is the government then allowed to make decisions which affect the Church without allowing them a say in the matter? It seems very opposite to the type of democracy that we all should be striving for.
I'm not trying to merely defend the Church. As a Christian I've seen Churches do plenty of terrible things - like this: http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/29127/20100617/church-wants-taylor-henderson-to-renounce-tv-stardom.htm
But that doesn't mean that faith and belief aren't important - because radicalisation is something that can also be a danger. What I am saying is that if you want both Church and State to be separate then they need to be separate. In other words - the Church should have its own laws and the Government should have theirs (and never the twain shall meet and so on). Pardon my sarcasm though (I tend to use irony and be cynical more than I should - though I'm a positive cynic).
Obviously that type of separation doesn't work out. So all I'm saying or trying to say is that if you want true equality, then stop imposing laws on one group but not others. And when the Church wants to have its say on particular issues, then don't deny them the opportunity to do so as a Government or society. All people should be allowed their say and nothing - gender, religion, ethnicity, values or so on - should be a deterrent for hearing that voice. Unfortunately though, this is not always the case...