Such a parcel of rogues in a nation – Scotlands Shame

Tonight I am utterly ashamed of my country and its largely spineless politicians, who whilst congratulating themselves on being ‘progressive’, have actually done the most regressive thing I have ever seen in politics. Scotland is returning to the Dark Ages – if not to the Greco_Roman Pagan view of society! By an overwhelming majority MSPs voted to allow Same Sex ‘Marriage’.  One wonders how many of these MSP’s who are boasting about their debate and their advent into the modern world were actually in favour of SSM ten years ago- I suspect very few. But all of a sudden it is the obvious and enlightened thing to do! They have not considered the consequences and they have allowed themselves to be browbeaten into this regressive legislation . The government minister Alex Neil even admitted that SSM was not a human right according to the European Court, but that the Scottish Parliament were doing this to keep up with other ‘progressive’ nations!   Not for the first time it can be said of Scottish politicians, such a parcel of rogues in a nation. I thank the Lord for those such as Roseanna Cunningham and others who had the courage to stand against the tide. Such a shame there were only 15 of them. Lord have mercy!

Here is the Free Church response which I wrote:

http://www.freechurch.org/index.php/scotland/news_events_item/gay_marriage_vote_sad_day_for_democracy/

On the other hand here is the Church of Scotland response.   It is bad enough when the politicians are unaware and spineless.  It is ten times worse when those who are supposed to be the prophets are –

http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/news_and_events/news/2013/church_of_scotland_response_to_proposed_same_sex_marriage_legislation
And here is a quote from the one Labour MSP who voted against:  Labour MSP Elaine Smith spoke strongly against the Bill, and was the only one from her party to vote No. “Since indicating that I did not intend to support the redefinition of marriage, my religion has been disparaged, I have been branded homophobic and bigoted, I have been likened to the Ku Klux Klan, and it was suggested that I be burnt at the stake as a witch,”

And another – Jennie Baillie – “For many of us, this is about how we see ourselves as a nation and how others see us – about the values that we hold and whether Scotland is indeed a confident, progressive nation where equality is truly valued,” – kind of says it all – its all about perception.

19 thoughts on “Such a parcel of rogues in a nation – Scotlands Shame

  1. Such a parcel of rogues in a nation
    /
    Ah.
    Very topical to quote from the poem that talks about being “bought and sold for English gold”.
    The analogy with the present is presumably that the nation’s moral heritage is being jettisoned by its politicians.(perhaps for some quick perceived political advantage)
    But can they really do this even if they wanted to?
    Can anyone interpose himself between the sacrificial death of Christ and the injunctions he places on his people.
    Thankfully no.
    Politicians will come and go.
    Their influence is quickly forgotten rather like that eponymous fish supper wrapper.

  2. Could you explain what your problem is with the Church of Scotland voice here David? They seem to be putting forward a position with which you agree. Care to elaborate?

    I would also suggest that the church is not supposed to be a prophet in the sense I think you are meaning (telling the world what is right and wrong), but rather some will be gifted with prophesy as according to the teaching of the New Testament. Our job (as prophets if you will) is to show the love of Christ to all the nations, preaching the good news of God reaching out to all people throughout the world with an invitation to intimate relationship with him through his son Jesus Christ. I am not aware of a Christian calling to preach about marriage to non-believers. Within the Church, we will continue to minister the love of Christ and help those who are believers who wish to enter into a marriage covenant with teaching, support and love. Each minister will be allowed to act according to his or her own conscience, and I am grateful for the legal protection being assured.

    I know you disagree but I honestly believe less harm will come of extending marriage covenants to homosexual couples than to continue to drive it underground and to continue to inflict such pain on our gay brothers and sisters by forcing them to repress their sexual identity according to a conservative understanding of sexuality. Rather than returning to a Greco Roman pagan world of temple prostitution and sexual promiscuity, we are moving forward to encouraging faithfulness, monogamy, and love in a marriage covenant to homosexual and heterosexual alike.

    I for one applaud the bravery and leadership shown by our politicians, in particular the bravery of people like Ruth Davidson to speak so openly and movingly in a personal way that opens her up to attack from opponents. Likewise, I deplore that others such as Elaine Smith have been equally abused for expressing her own views.

    I fully anticipate a strongly worded rebuttal from you, but I do appreciate that you allow disagreeing voices on this blog and hope we can contribute to the ongoing discussion in a spirit of love and grace. God bless.

    1. Monk…you need to muse a bit more!

      The C of S position is we hold to traditional biblical marriage until the Assembly says otherwise. It is the worst of both worlds. The Assembly overrules the Bible.

      And I don’t agree with your pietistic inward looking view of the Church – concerned only with itself and not with the poor and the rest of society.

      And your logic that allowing SSM will do less harm does not make sense. Maybe you should regulate for legalised racism – it will do less harm!

      I also don’t live in your fantasy world populated by faithful monogamous gay couples!

      Even less do I recognise the world in which you declare that our political leaders have shown ‘bravery and leadership’. I had to laugh at that one. Which of the leaders would be attacked or abused for supporting SSM? Ruth Davidson did not open herself to attack – she spoke in such a way that made any attack impossible! On the other hand if anyone had dared to speak against SSM it would have been a different story – the hate mail etc (and they would probably have lost their job). Our political leaders have been spineless and thoughtless. None of them ten years ago were for SSM – now they all are. What happened? Have they been convinced by the overwhelming case? Or have they just bought into the zeitgeist of the time….? As I said – such a parcel of rogues in the nation…and it seems, the church.

      1. Thank you for your reply David. I can see how the Rev Hamilton’s choice of words “until any future GA decides otherwise, that remains our position” might sound weak to those who wish it to permanently be the position. I suspect it was meant in light of the fact that there is great debate and discussion going on with regards sexuality, so in that context he is reminding us that the position is the same because discussion and debate about God’s view and interpretation of the Bible do not change a C of C position, but rather the courts of the General Assembly must do so.

        However, I am slightly bemused (another form of musing! 😉 ) that you consider the words I wrote “Our job (as prophets if you will) is to show the love of Christ to all the nations, preaching the good news of God reaching out to all people throughout the world…” would classify as ” pietistic inward looking view of the Church – concerned only with itself and not with the poor and the rest of society”. Perhaps you missed that line or misunderstood me?

        With regards to people on both sides of the debate being attacked for their views, what this shows me is the sad state of human nature that we constantly go on the attack when in disagreement and are far from Paul’s teaching of loving our enemies and praying for them and even blessing them. For any reader unclear which passage I am referring to, it is Romans 12:9-21.

        I hope that while I have challenged your views at times, you have never felt attacked by me. If so, please let me know.

        I have had enough interactions with you to know that I am not going to change your mind on issues of sexuality. I do hope, however, that you and others will see some common ground and shared concern for loving God and loving our neighbour to have ground on which we can build together. The history of the Church, right from the beginning has been one of disasgreement, infighting and division. And yet, Jesus clearly saw something in us that made us the vehicle for the expression of his love on earth. I see glimmers of that in you and hope you see glimmers of that in me, despite our disagreements. God bless you and your readers.

      2. Not just weak. Positively insipid. Imagine wanting Gods Word to be unchangeable and not able to be re-written by whatever power faction was in control at the time! The Bible is not up for such ‘re-interpretation’.

        The pietistic inward looking refers to the claim that we are not to be prophets to the world – declaring the Word of God.

        Not sure why you cite Romans 12:9-21 – Surely you should wait until the General Assembly reinterprets it according to the zeitgeist?! And why cite Romans 12 when you ignore Romans 1?!

        AS for common ground. Yes of course in that we are humans who profess a love for God. But no, if you accept that the church has the right to play fast and loose with the Word of God. There we have no common ground at all.

      3. Thanks David. I think Romans 1 is really important. As is Romans 2. And Romans 12 and 14, and in fact all the other bits of Romans!

        In Romans 1:21 and 28, it is made clear that Paul is not writing about Christians, but is clearly referring to pagan temple worship (v 23). The entire book of Romans is about how two different branches of the church can live together, so the irony is huge that Romans 1 is so often used to try to promote division.

        There are some useful commentaries on Romans 1, including this one here: http://www.acceptingevangelicals.org/2011/10/bible-focus-part-4-romans-1/

      4. Romans 1 is written to the Church. It is clear that it is saying that homosexual practice is the judgement of God for human beings who reject him. When the church goes the same way as the world the same thing happens. And you really want me to take the commentary of a lobby group of homosexuals as a standard for biblical commentary. It is a case of eisegeis – reading into the scripture what you want to be there. It just makes the whole bible a mockery.

      5. If God can speak through Balaam’s donkey, can he not speak through the words of people with whom you disagree? You seemed very quick to dismiss an alternative view without any attempt to engage with the views put forward.

        With so much fervent prayer over this issue, are we declaring God impotent or unwilling to intervene? Is there not even the slightest possibility that we might have misunderstood what the Bible says regarding homosexuality and that God is actually doing something far deeper than we understand? The church has been wrong before. Are you not willing to even have a conversation with another believer who thinks differently, in order to better understand their view and how they came to believe it, or is every opposing view merely an argument to be won?

        I have created space on my own blog where I would be more than willing to have these kinds of loving conversation. I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength (or at least, I strive to). I love my neighbour as myself (or at least, I strive to). I invited the Holy Spirit into my life when I came to faith. I love the Bible and see it as the Word of God. I read God’s word differently from you with regards homosexuality following much prayer, study and research. I have no motivation other that to see Jesus glorified. I am a married, heterosexual man.

        To act with integrity, my views and actions must be consistent with my reading of Scripture, which on this one single issue, is different to yours. For this reason I must support moves to allow homosexual Christians to commit to lifelong, faithful marriage covenants.

        How do you think God wants you to respond to someone like me, David? Am I a brother in Christ with whom it is worth talking and hearing different views from?

      6. Yes – I think God can speak through Balaams donkey. No I don’t expect to meet many such talking donkeys in my lifestyle! In these last days he has spoken to us by his son.

        No I don’t think God is obliged to answer fervent prayer – the prophets of Baal were pretty fervent! Yes there is always the possibility that we have misunderstood something in the bible. However in this case it is far more likely that 2000 years of church teaching is not wrong, but rather that those who are seeking to change it are more influenced by the culture than they are by the Bible.

        Marriage does not exist between two people of the same sex. Jesus taught that marriage was between a man and a woman. God gave us marriage between a man and a woman. The question for me is not whether you are acting with integrity (it is after all possible to be sincere and wrong), but what does the Word of God say.

        I have no idea if you are are brother in Christ because I don’t know you and its not my position to judge. I take it at face value that you are, but one who is seriously compromised by adopting the worlds interpretation of the Scriptures. Of course it is worth talking to you and hearing different points of view about – but given that I have wasted more than enough time on this subject over the years (and having read Roy Clements and many other apologists for homosexuality) and I honestly don’t expect you to bring anything new to the table, I won’t be entering into yet another series of pointless arguments. I find it one of the saddest things possible that the devil has managed to get some evangelicals to do along with the zeitgeist of the times and really undermine and attack the church today. Attacks from within are always the most harmful.

      7. Thank you again for your reply David. I was meaning the fervent prayer of conservative evangelicals such as yourself.

        You’ll note that I offered loving conversation, not pointless arguments. However, it is clear that you do not wish to discuss this any further and are set in your mind and believe that I have nothing new to offer. There seems little point of further comment from me on this thread therefore, and I can only continue to pray that God’s will continue to be done, with or without our blessing. Thank you for at the very least being willing to post my comments. I hope they are of benefit to others.

        God bless.

      8. Thanks Monk! Its a neat trick to contract pointless arguments with ‘loving conversation’. The latter sounds so sweet and Christlike. The kind of thing that the Galatian heretics would have said, or the Pharisees. This is just a matter of interpretation, lets talk in the spirit of love. Its like someone saying lets be nice as they slowly strangle you. Also I suspect that you are just as closed in your opinion – you think you have new revelation that means the church got it wrong for the past 2000 years. And your mission on earth is to enlighten those of us who have not quite grasped that. If you were able to show me anywhere in Scripture where marrriage is spoken of as between anyone other than a man and a woman, then I would be more than happy to listen to you. Please feel free.

  3. From my own blog:

    “A rose, by any other name, smells just as sweet”, the English Bard has his character Juliet argue, in Romeo and Juliet (Act II; Scene I). The argument is that the names of things don’t matter, only what they “are”!

    However, although there is an element of truth in the statement – an ‘apple’ is the same as a ‘pomme’, or a ‘manzana’, or a ‘μήλο’ (melo) – it is not completely true. Some names have a meaning that makes them of greater importance than others.

    One such word, I would still argue, is the word ‘marriage’. Regardless of the language into which it is translated, it is still the union of a man and a woman, for life, and to the exclusion of all others. That is so, regardless of the voting decisions of any group of politicians!

    Wednesday evening’s vote in the Scottish Parliament had more to do with the impassioned speeches of some of the members in the Chamber, than it had to do with reason and common-sense! Of course, as the last Sunday School teacher that I ever had (by 15 I was considered too old, and had to leave!) often said, “The problem with common sense is that it isn’t very common”!

    I was unable to listen to all of the debate. However, it struck me that the strongest pleas came from those who, like the Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, are openly homosexual/lesbian/bisexual. I didn’t pick up on anyone confessing to be transsexual. It also struck me that those speeches which I heard, from the aforementioned groups were very personal – as Ms Davidson stated in her opening remarks, “… this could be the most personal speech that I will ever make in the Chamber.”

    Therein, I would contend, lies the problem! All of those speakers whom I heard supporting the Bill appeared to be doing so from the perspective of either personal choice (to do with their own sexuality), or on the basis of ‘equality’.

    I fail, utterly, to see why the very fabric of our society should be altered merely to suit the personal lifestyles of certain politicians – politicians who are elected (although, in the List system used by the Scottish Parliament, the majority are not even directly elected, but are put in place by their respective Parties!) to represent the public, not to use their positions of temporal power to achieve their personal ends!

    The others, it seems to me, have yet to understand the difference between ‘equality’ and ‘equivalence’! Yet there is, in fact, a world of difference between the two terms. To put it simply, ‘equality’ means being treated the same; ‘equivalence’ means being the same.

    The Civil Partnership legislation gave, and gives, same-gender couples all of the legal rights of heterosexual married couples. That is equality. Indeed, they have far greater rights, in law than, for example, two elderly same-gender siblings, or a mother and (full-time carer) daughter, sharing the same family home – but not the same bed! That same Civil Partnership, we were assured at the time (and that was less than ten years ago!), would not lead to any further demands from the homosexual (etc) community. Of course, it was politicians who gave the assurance and, as the old joke (with too much truth in it to be funny) asks: “How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving”!

    It is more than interesting that these “representatives” totally ignored the expressed view of almost fifty-five thousand petitioners (almost 670,000 for the whole of the UK – but David Cameron ignored them and realised, too late, that he had made a major mistake!) who were, and are, opposed to the proposal. They realise that neither two men, nor two women, is the ‘equivalent’ of one man and one woman – any more than two oranges, or two bananas, is the equivalent of an apple and a kiwi fruit!

    What is also interesting is that it is not, as the media have persistently portrayed, only ‘religious’ people who are opposed to this redefinition of marriage. Prominent homosexuals have voiced their opposition – including Rupert Everett (actor), and David Starkey (academic); or their indifference – Alan Bennett (playwright) has stated that he isn’t bothered, and doesn’t even know anyone who cared, one way or another! Indeed, even the (largely tax-funded) homosexual rights organisation, Stonewall, didn’t start pushing for the redefinition of marriage until after Civil Partnerships had been introduced!
    Paddy Manning, a homosexual commentator, writing in the Irish Daily Mirror, said that with same-gender marriage, the state remakes the institution as “an anything-goes irrelevant partnership agreement between adults”. He further commented that same-gender marriage “asks us to ignore reality and children’s rights”, and stated that “I’m a gay man, I’m not a victim and I reject this notion that traditional marriage should be drastically altered for some fantasy.” He said that Civil Partnerships are sufficient. Of course, he was writing within the context of the Republic of Ireland having announced that, in 2015, it is giving all of its citizens the opportunity to vote in a referendum regarding the redefinition of marriage to include two persons of the same gender. Jim Eadie (SNP) provided the debate with the views of three (3) of his constituents (none of whom actually elected him!) out of the hundreds that he claimed he had received urging him to support the Bill. It would be of great interest to know how many requests he received urging him to oppose it! I wondered, too, if those who support the Bill are so convinced that they have the electorate on their side, why we were constantly refused the very referendum that the Republic of Ireland is being given!
    Of course, the Bill has two further stages to go though and so, although the signs don’t look good, I am one who will continue to campaign, and pray, that it will be defeated. What if it passes all stages, and is enacted? All that I can say to that is that this is not human beings seeking to change that which was introduced by human beings – such as the Butter and Margarine Act, 1907! This is human beings flying in the face of the Creator, and Sustainer, of all that exists, and Who ordained, from the beginning, that it should be a man and a woman who come together for their mutual comfort (strengthening); for the procreation of children (a definite ‘no-no’ for same -gender partners!); and for the good of society. Those who are supporting this measure, or who have supported it in the Westminster Parliament, will ultimately answer to Him – and “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31).

    Blessings, and shalom.

    Brian

  4. David, I might be misunderstanding the debate but can we demand the State impose our beliefs on everyone else? Yes, the Bible condemns homosexuality and that’s what any Bible-believing church must preach. However, can we then say that the State and non-believers must adhere to this too? As long as there is a protection for churches who do not wish to offer gay marriage – and I believe there is – then what else can we reasonably expect?

    1. William, you are falling into the modernist secularist trap in which Christianity is considered to be a private club like a knitting society. Let me put it this way – do you think Christians should only be concerned for feeding themselves, or protecting only their children from sexual exploitation? After all it could be argued that just because it is the churches standards that people should be fed and children protected, why should we seek to impose it on the rest of society? Likewise with gay marriage – our concern is not with protecting ourselves, but rather with the devastation this will wreck on the whole of our society. Marriage is not just for the church.

      1. I take your point, David, but I do agree with Sundown that it smacks of wanting a theocracy. How did the early Christian church cope with State laws to which they disagreed? They were in the world and not of the world. They lived according to their own decrees.

        If the intention is simply to convey the importance of marriage as a proven bedrock of civilized society then I don’t think the churches have communicated this very well.

      2. It only smacks of wanting a theocracy if you think that justice is just for Christians. Thankfully our forefathers were not so individualistic and pietistic. How did the early Church cope with State laws they disagreed with? They got on with life until they were able to change them. Just like we should. I agree with your last point.

  5. “And as for the civil magistrate’s part, is it not holden that he may not enjoin us ” to do that whereof we have not good ground to do It of faith and that, “although all thy external condition Is In the power of the magistrate, yet Internal things, as the
    keeping of faith, and obedience, and a good conscience, are not in his power.” For every one of us ” shall give account of himself to God,” Rom. xlv. 12, but until you hear more In the dispute of the power which either the church or the magistrate hath to
    enact laws anent things belonging to the worship of God, and of the binding power of the same, let me add here touching human laws In general, that where we have no other reason to warrant onto us the doing of that which a human law prescribeth, beside the bare will and authority of the law-maker, In this case a human law cannot bind us to obedience.”

    So writes George Gillespie in “The Puritan’s Armoury.”

    Eminently scriptural, sensible and something all Presbyterians should know (as they once did).

    And the Scottish Government’s decision clearly falls into “the bare will and authority of the law-maker” category and cannot therefore bind us to obedience.

  6. Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ wast,
    An’ weary Winter comin fast,
    An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
    Thou thought to dwell,
    Till crash! the cruel coulter past
    Out thro’ thy cell.

    There is a danger in having a mouse-eye view although it is no doubt a noble creature.
    God is in control and the gates of hell will not prevail.

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