Tuesday 5 May 2015

Marriage Equality 2015 - Waking up to the Importance of the issue

I have tried very hard not to get sucked into the current Marriage Referendum debate - I have often spoken out from an inclusive standpoint on human sexuality issues both within the Church and in the public square - I voted with my feet in attending the Consecration of my friend Gene Robinson's (1st openly gay bishop) consecration as Bishop of New Hampshire USA in 2003 which was one of the highlights of my life to date - I am conscious that for many this event is seen in a very different light but for me it was Spirit filled and inspirational despite having to pass through a demonstration by the hate filled Westboro Baptist Church and Airport level security (due to death threats against Bishop Gene) to attend the Consecration service. The consequences for me in supporting my LGBT brothers and sisters have not always been entirely positive - I have experienced vile personal abuse both verbally and through hate mail and have been driven to some intemperate and less than constructive comments and responses to 'the other side'. That is probably why I haven't really engaged publically in the current referendum but tonight a threshold was crossed. I was watching the RTE Prime Time debate and realised that this is not a discussion I am free to opt out of - This is a social justice issue and I cannot as a Christian priest opt out of justice issues - As I listened to the No protagonists trot out one dishonest, irrelevant and cynical argument after another I knew I could no longer sit on the fence or I would be complicit in this dishonesty. The God I believe in isn't black or white, gay or straight, liberal or conservative but a God who is able to embrace a greater diversity than any one human being can contemplate - who am I to define the limits of Love when I am loved unconditionally and who am I to stand by when others seek to define the limits of that Love?

9 comments:

Bock the Robber said...

Stephen I commend you. We might not share a belief in a deity, but we certainly share the same sense of right and wrong.

Póló said...

One good thing has come out of this referendum already, you're back blogging. I have missed reading your solid reflections on the issues of the day.

As far as the subsistence of the post is concerned, I share brother Bock's sentiments. I don't believe in a deity either, but when I take the holy bits as a sort of an idiom and go beyond them, I can find myself in agreement with all sorts of holy people.

I owe a debt of gratitude myself to another Bishop Robinson from further back and it is good to see that despite their belief in an eternal deity many holy people and their pastors are capable of change. In this regard I have found the CofI a warmer place than my own church of origin, though, of course there are always personal exceptions.

Anyway, good on ya for the blog post.

Stephen Neill said...

Thanks guys -, Appreciate the feedback :)

Dave Miller said...

"The God I believe in isn't black or white, gay or straight, liberal or conservative but a God who is able to embrace a greater diversity than any one human being can contemplate - who am I to define the limits of Love when I am loved unconditionally and who am I to stand by when others seek to define the limits of that Love?"....how wonderful and refreshing to hear this from a man of the church.

Stephen Neill said...

Thanks Dave :)

Dave Miller said...

No worries Stephen. Thinking of checking our your parish next weekend. When and where is the HC service next Sunday (June 7th)? Thanks. Dave

Stephen Neill said...

Newcastle Lyons 9am HC
Straffan 10.15 Service of the Word & Baptism
Celbridge 11.30 HC

Dave Miller said...

Thanks Stephen...planning to attend Celbridge at 11:30am next Sunday.
Cheers,
Dave

Stephen Neill said...

Great :)