Letters Overflow

Will marriage equality help make marginalised people feel fulfilled?

The emotive assertions, distortions and accusations volleying back and forth between
opponents in the marriage equality debate do little to help people make informed
decisions on the issue.

A progressively stable culture would not make any law without a significant reason for
doing so, especially if the law affects the status of private relationships.
Some greater community good would have to justify the particular framing and purpose
of such a law.

So why would a community, long ago, have gone to the trouble of making a marriage
law that recognises private partnering arrangements that, ostensibly, have been entered
into to satisfy a personal need?

Why would the state become involved in recognising, and protecting, the status of such
a private affair?

There must have been a justified belief that such a law served a broader community
purpose that was in addition to, and greater than, the individuals needs within the
private partnership.

But why would the state then go to the additional trouble of framing that law so it
applied only to consenting adults of a certain sexual orientation?

There must also have been a justified belief that the partners' sexual orientations were in
some way fundamental to the greater community purpose, or common good, served by
that law.

The state now believes it would be justified in reframing the application of this law to
accommodate same-sex marriage if the community demonstrates it no longer has the
same feelings it once had for that law's original purpose.

But citizens who feel marginalised, no matter which minority group they identify with,
will always be vulnerable to a manipulation that would have them believe their need to
be taken seriously is never completely satisfied.

Will changing the Marriage Act be enough?

Mark Dyer
Kent Street, Rockingham

Same-sex partnerships need a new word for ‘marriage’

In her letter, Change is the essence of marriage (POST, September 23), Chilla Bulbeck
cites polygamy as her basis.

This arrangement, however, still involves both men and women.
Only then can natural reproduction occur.

Are there historic examples of marriages – not just liaisons – between people of the
same sex?

Thomas Barwood's letter (Is marriage any more a sin than divorce? POST, September
23), mentions that divorce, common nowadays, was also earlier regarded as a sin as he
quotes Jesus' pronouncement on the infallibility of marriage.

Not quoted, however, is Jesus' reply to his disciples' query about Moses allowing
divorce: “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses permitted you to divorce your
wives.” (Matthew 19:8).

In other words, because not all marriages are made in Heaven, divorce has been
permissible from way back then.

What I cannot understand is why only the word “marriage” means “equality” when a
close relationship, whether heterosexual or otherwise, gives all the same rights anyway.

Once upon a time even heterosexuals spurned the marriage word.

Is it because “marriage” alone gives respectability?

In my view, loving partners who do not demand a make-believe marriage deserve more
respect.

A unique word for their union should be found.

On lacking qualifications for a job, one doesn't demand from the employer that the job
itself be changed to accommodate the missing qualifications.

Finally, I challenge Father Peter Manuel's assertion (Rainbow shines in Subi church,
POST, September 23) that every poll reveals the majority of Christians support marriage
equality.

Nobody asked this Christian and, despite her acceptance of same-sex partnerships, she is
a no voter for changing the current dictionary definition of marriage.

Gay Eivers
Kings Road, Subiaco

POST could not ignore Subi’s ‘rainbow church’

The POST printed my first letter (September 16) reasoning
against a change to Australian Marriage law.

Next week came two letters critical of my belief.

Achieving balance takes time.

While I agree with Richard Simpson that churches promoting
“marriage” equality are missing the Biblical balance of
compassion which also speaks truth, I disagree the POST
lacks “journalistic equality”.

Concerning the provocative front-page report, Rainbow shines
in Subi church (September 23), how could the POST not run
it?

This aspect of the campaign warrants coverage, especially if
we value freedom of belief and expression.

Our complaint about bias would be fairly directed towards the
vocal churches – most churches seem to be silent, cowed by
the threat of abuse – that promote a ‘yes’ vote on the grounds
of love, but depart from the immutable instruction of Jesus
their Redeemer.

The very emphasis on compassion speaks of our lifestyles,
whether heterosexual or homosexual, desperately needing the
love and truth of Jesus.

Thomas Barwood (Is marriage equality any more a sin than
divorce?, Letters, POST, September 23) is right.

I did only quote Jesus’ statement about marriage, not his
following teaching on divorce.

He rightly states that divorce is sinful: it is wrong, hurtful and
damaging to everyone.

Its prevalence doesn’t make it right.

As Jesus said: “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives
because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from
the beginning.”

This refers to God’s intent about marriage being ordained for a
man and a woman and to be a faithful, loving union for life.

It is impossible to say everything in 300 words.

The POST is generous, forbearing, but has a limit.

Stephen Lipple
Lynton Street, Swanbourne

Church should embrace those wanting inclusion

As a regular member of the congregation of St Andrew's
Anglican Church in Subiaco, I am referring to Richard
Simpson's letter (Rainbow church has lost its way, POST,
September 30).

While acknowledging that everyone is entitled to their own
opinion, I must disagree with his comments that the church
has lost its way.

Surely Christian teachings are to value and treat everyone
equally, and to express love and inclusion to all.

In these days of diminishing numbers in the church, the fact
that a section of the community wants to feel included should
be embraced and encouraged.

Who are we to deny our sons and daughters equality in
marriage that their siblings take for granted?

Janis Sawyer
Price Street, Subiaco

Only faith explains the Christian mystery of holy matrimony

The purpose of my letter last week (Rainbow church ‘has lost
direction’) was to express dismay at the perceived bias in
mainstream media, and to highlight a paradox in St Andrew's
Anglican Church's response to the issue of marriage equality.

Mainstream media bias prevents a clear presentation of the
actual issues, depriving people of the opportunity to make
informed decisions.

The problem with St Andrew’s is more perplexing.

The official teaching of the Anglican Church is that Jesus Christ
embodied a message of self-sacrificial love and restoration of a
broken humanity in himself, through the cross.

The unique quality of his love, and the surrendered response it
evokes among those who receive it, are uniquely expressed in
the union of a man and his wife.

The lover and the beloved are ontologically differing elements
of that union.

By the limits of this definition, then, this image of God cannot
be shown in a same-sex relationship, no matter how caring or
loving it may be.

When this vision is absent from holy matrimony (as, for
example, it is in the St Andrew's Anglican conception of it),
then it ceases to be a signifier or witness of God's redeeming
love.

This Christian teaching on marriage is a mystery, one that may
only be apprehended by faith.

This is why it cannot be accepted by secular media or our
culture itself, or even some who call themselves Christians.

This is why the Church cannot expect the world to accept its
definition of marriage, and why the world should not force the
Church to accept another.

Therein lies the conundrum.

The issue is not equality, it is what kind of relationship signifies
the spiritual reality.

There may well be vital secondary implications for humanity
(identity, societal order and foundations, children, sex education
etc) but the argument is actually, at its heart, a religious one.

Perhaps if this is understood, we might have a more productive
dialogue.

Richard Simpson
View Street, Peppermint Grove

They can love, but they can’t marry

The "rainbow church’s" compassion for supporters of same-sex marriage is
to be commended (Rainbow over Subi church, POST, September 23).

Yet compassion and kindness need to be based on truth.

Being kind carries responsibility to be truthful.

We must voice disagreement with people when their welfare requires it.

The Bible teaches very clearly that homosexual sexual behaviour is gravely
wrong and, if unrepented, leads to eternally dreadful consequences.

Individuals engaged in this behaviour need to be warned.

The Bible that condemns homosexual behaviour also tells of the mercy and
saving grace of God in Jesus Christ, who loved people truly and kindly
without endorsing their sin.

Encouraging the pretence that homosexual relationships are just the same as
male-female relationships is not only unkind, it is untruthful.

Encouraging the false belief that same-sex marriage can be the equivalent of
male-female marriage is appallingly unkind.

These falsehoods condemn homosexual people to lives of pretending and
posing, mimicking male-female relationships.

Rather than the liberation these individuals seek in the status of “marriage”,
the reality will be unhealthy, inauthentic lives impersonating real marriage.

God has designed man and woman to be alike and yet different with the
capacity to marry each other.

Only the sexual union of male and female can produce a child naturally.
Two same-sex individuals cannot.

The biological similarities and differences of male-female can serve as a
guide for those who do not have faith in God.

A same-sex couple cannot have a real marriage.

This is not because people and society are mean to them, but because humans
are so designed biologically that marriage requires both a man and a woman.

There can be, and are, precious and loving relationships between individuals
of the same sex, but not marriage.
 
A.P. Stockdale
Henry Street, Shenton Park

No gossiping

Re Pinch of salt (Letters, POST, September 30).

In 1 Corinthians 14:34, Paul does indeed say women should be silent in churches.

However, in 11:4, he advised women who pray or preach to cover their hair, as was modest
for a woman of his day, but not necessarily for today.

I suggest Paul was saying that women have as much right to preach and prophesy as men
do.

But whatever the gender of the preacher, women should pay attention to the preaching or
prophesying and refrain from gossip or discussing family matters.

I am tempted to go to further and suggest that churches without women preachers are hardly
Christian.

John H. Taplin
Railway Road, Shenton Park