Friday, 21 January 2011

Christians and Public Morality

It has taken me a while to get my thoughts clear about the Christian couple who have lost a case about their refusal to let a gay couple have a double room. (details here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-12214368) A few years ago I would have thought they were right so I do have a certain amount of sympathy for them.

But, and it is a big 'but' why did they think they had the right to impose their Christian morality on non-Christians? I suspect the answer goes back to the days of Christendom when it was assumed that the whole population was Christian and so public morality meant Christian morality. However we now live in a post-Christendom society and we have no right to impose our views even if we are right.

We are called to be light to the world not to burn others with our morality. It is important that we treat those who we meet with love and respect and not moralising or we can never show them the joy of living in The Kingdom of God.

2 comments:

Jim the Baptist said...

Sadly I suspect that both sides in the case had an 'agenda' instead of trying to understand, and respect, the other people's point of view.

Alastair said...

I think a lot of this also depends on one's definition of "Christian morality". The Christian morality of Christian Voice or Anglican Mainstream on the one hand is quite different from the Christian morality of, say, Dr Jeffrey John or even the Archbishop of Canterbury. Whose version of "Christian morality" is correct?! Almost impossible to decide objectively. (Is objectivity even desirable here, or in any moral dilemma?)

Then there is the tension between what certain passages of the Bible might say about what is (was?) or is not (wasn't?) acceptable sexual practice, and Christ's example of welcome towards and association with those who were marginalised and despised.

For my money the judgement is a good one - due process was followed and the law of the land correctly applied. Whether the law of the land is correct or not is clearly another question for some people, but as the law stands it seems quite clear, and a judge at that low (County Court) level cannot really contemplate radically changing the law.