Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Power and words

What do you mean - ban gay marriage? So that means that your church will not marry two persons of the same sex. That is your institution's right, but surely an enlightened community - the state? - has to uphold the higher universal right of people to seek and find their own paths to contentment - granted, without infringing the rights of others.

When a powerful institution such as the church condemns gays (in marriage) or any other group of citizens, it entrenches attitudes and creates the justifications that cause their believers/ followers to revile and do harm to others. Yes, words can harm. In certain communities, hating the homo has led to worse than verbal abuse, to physical attacks, to murder. Such attitudes have caused the most unnatural of acts - parents who ostracise or abandon their own children.

In normal English, catholic means "all-embracing" or "universal." With reference to the church, its aspiration - in keeping with the teachings of Christ - is to be an inclusive community of souls. But the church has always imposed limits - those who were not baptised; those who were divorced; and the infidel or heathen, under which category other world religions fall. This is certainly in keeping with most - maybe all - religious systems whose exclusions are those not born to, not aware of, or not accepting, their doctrine.

As churches, as associations or groups, institutions have the right to exclude, to determine the rules that define their community, keep their members in check, that mark them as different or special... Again, under universal law, without infringing the rights of others. Do institutions realise that they do infringe and hurt with the power of opinion?

We recognise the power to amplify and influence as the power of media, but tend to ignore the institutions that use or insinuate the media to promote their doctrine.

As an infinitely more literate thinker, John Fowles, wrote: "It is because men want to be good and do good that (the church) has survived so long; like Communism, it is inherently parasitical on a deeper and more mysterious nobility in man than any existing religion or political creed can satisfy." This deeper and more mysterious nobility in man was not created by the church but used by it. (My italics)


And this: "We may reject some of these (other philosophies) as we might reject certain houses to live in; we cannot reject them as houses for anyone else to live in, we cannot deny them utility in part, beauty in part, meaningfulness in part; and therefore truth in part."(John Fowles, The Aristos)


And so it is with respecting those who choose their partners differently.


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