Not just a question of numbers

Looking for guidance?: "'Marriage Equality' is a catchy slogan but manipulatively unhelpful and desperate for a thinking mind’s critique.
Looking for guidance?: "'Marriage Equality' is a catchy slogan but manipulatively unhelpful and desperate for a thinking mind’s critique.

It probably isn’t too surprising that people ask the bishop his views on same sex marriage. Recent air travel on Qantas didn’t prevent two customers asking my views.

Alan Joyce may not have been pleased with my response but at least I still had the freedom on Qantas to do so. The first person told me he was undecided on the issue while another young woman happily shared she would vote yes. Both conversations were friendly, no angst, just a sharing of ideas and our reasons for them.

As a listener, a number of alarm bells were raised with me. Firstly the abuse of language. Words like “equality” in slogans like, “Marriage Equality” are emotive, affecting the psychology of people.

An unthinking acceptance of such a slogan is just dangerous without boundaries. The slogan could apply to polygamy, polyamory and other more unedifying relationships.

Logically, if you exclude some of these then marriage is not equal for everyone. That being the case, on what basis are people equally entitled to marry?

“Marriage Equality” is a catchy slogan but manipulatively unhelpful and desperate for a thinking mind’s critique.

“Love” is another word that requires some serious attention. Love the One You’re With might have sold records for Crosby Stills and Nash but the Royal Commission into institutional abuse makes it obvious that love has its boundaries.

But who or how are the boundaries determined?

Even the atheist, Richard Dawkins, admits that without God there is no ultimate way to define good and evil.

Common struggle

The second thing that bothered me but is completely understandable is decisions determined by particulars.

The common struggle for all of us when it comes to same sex marriage is friends and relatives who are gay. Not all of whom, it needs to be said, wish to get married or appreciate the LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning).

In fact some same sex-attracted people make a volitional decision to live celibate lives reflecting principles or absolutes greater than self.

When a loved one seeks same sex marriage it is difficult for us to extricate ourselves from emotional attachment to make decisions from the larger universal principles.

While the principle ordinarily would apply, the emotionally-charged particular requires a high degree of commitment to your absolutes or, alternatively, the absolute gives way to permission giving.

The third thing I noticed is the emphasis on numbers. A plebiscite or postal vote as a determiner of a nation’s decision making is not, and never will be a moral determination.

At best, it’s decision by popularity, at worst, the outcome by peer group pressure.

Each side argues their polled perspective but numbers are not the determiner of right and wrong. Nazi Germany is a point in case.

Slippery slope

Fourthly, the slippery slope argument is always a dangerous one.

Slippery slope arguments often confuse the issues surrounding the particular.

However, when the particular challenges the universals or absolutes of a culture or history, there will inevitably be a slope.

To advocate same sex marriage is itself a slope away from traditionally understood marriage.

The LGBTIQ and liberal progressives have been intentional in their attempts to re-educate society. The unsafe “Safe Schools” program and gender theory are not part of a slippery slope at all.

Slippery slope arguments suggest accidental outcomes but there is nothing accidental in the social re-engineering that will come with same sex marriage.

So how does one consider the boundaries of equality and love? From where do we draw the principles or absolutes that inform our thoughts about the particulars of life?

And if numbers don’t determine what is moral or true, then how can such determinations be made? What is the slope beyond a decision to change the definition of marriage?

I believe God is the answer to all these questions and the most dangerous slope is the one that slopes away from Him.