Ethics & Morality

Without promoting marriage we cannot love the poor


Some truths are so blindingly obvious and yet, despite every reason to embrace them, we chose instead to turn our backs and walk the other way.

Take the case of marriage. Over the centuries its form and substance have morphed, but throughout all of these permutations it has remained a bedrock of societies around the globe. Polygamous, arranged and now same-sex marriage have all been embraced at various times. The place and status of women within the institution have drastically changed, too.

A legally-binding union between individuals sealed through the act of sex has been the foundation from which children have been expected to grow and develop. Even allowing for divorce, marriage has been seen as a place of permanence and stability. As an institution it has transcended race, wealth, class and religion. This has been the case throughout all recorded history – at least until the present age.

It is only in the last few years that we have seen seismic shifts in attitudes and practices toward the necessity for marriage. In this country, between 1850, when records began, until 1964, some 93 per cent of children were born within marriage. Fifty years on and we now find that almost half of British babies are born to unmarried parents. It will only be a short while until being born within marriage will put you in a minority.

As more and more children grow up outside of wedlock, the universal truth that marriage as an institution is good for our society is fundamentally challenged, if not irreversibly negated. We know that marriage is good not because it is the cultural norm, but because the evidence says so. It is not any kind of revelation: it has been proven empirically over many years. And still we find new research to reinforce it. Only last week the Marriage Foundation published statistics contrasting the family prospects for children born to married parents and those not (including cohabitation). The disparity is stark:

Currently, two thirds of women who get married and have children remain with the father for life. Among women who never marry, just one in ten will avoid splitting from their partner.

This is set to deteriorate at a rapid rate over the next few years. Only 5 per cent of the 48 per cent of 20 year-olds who will never marry are predicted to stay with their partners until their child hits their mid-teens.

The prospects of a secure upbringing for children of married families is not exactly fantastic, but it is even worse for their peers. Based on these predictions, which follow current trends, a GCSE class of 30 students will have at the most just one student whose biological parents live together outside of marriage.

What this means is that unless their parents are married it is highly probable that a child will either not ever live with their father or will go through their parents’ separating at some point as they grow up. And the consequences are serious. Data released this week has found that children experiencing separation are more likely to get into trouble at school, do worse in their exams, suffer from eating disorders and abuse drugs or alcohol. Children who experience broken family relationships are far, far more likely to live in poverty and suffer the wide-ranging consequences.

There are, of course, plenty of exceptions to the rules, but this is the state of play for hundreds of thousands of children who will take all of this through to adulthood and most likely end up doing to their children what was done to them.

The blindingly obvious truth is that we need marriage to be valued, encouraged and supported for society to be healthy. Logically, we should all care enough to make that effort because it affects us all. Instead, we have bought into a lie that has been both spread subconsciously and pushed by certain ‘progressives’ – namely that marriage is just a life-style option; unnecessary, restrictive or worse. ‘Saving yourself for marriage’ is now an alien concept, confined to the dark ages and archaic religious thinking. Stability and security have been supplanted by individualism and a rejection of responsibility.

Does anyone care? Is it only in our churches and other places of religion that the virtues and expectations of marriage are acknowledged and appreciated? Is it only in places of worship that marriage as the better way still exists? And in how many churches will the biblical teaching regarding marriage be mentioned in hushed tones out of a desire to be inclusive and to avoid giving offence?

Politically, out of the three main parties at Westminster, only the Conservatives have made the case for government supporting the institution of marriage with the Married Couple’s Allowance. It is to be introduced next year, but it’s really little more than a token. Labour and the LibDems see any such policy as a type of social engineering and so to be avoided at all costs: they have vehemently opposed it.

However, by doing so, they cause more harm than good: they negate even their professed objective of being on the side of the poor and driving down social exclusion. This is most clearly demonstrated in the last Labour government’s implementation of Working Tax Credits. By neglecting the importance of the family structure and by failing to recognise marriage, the resulting system made it financially disadvantageous for couples to marry. For many couples on the lowest incomes it makes sense to live apart, as Working Tax Credits ensure that couples receive the same income as lone parents. This has resulted in a a far more detrimental form of social engineering than anything the Married Couple’s Allowance will ever produce.

The biggest fall in marriage commitments over recent years has been among the lowest socioeconomic groups. According to the Office for National Statistics (which divides the population into seven groups), in 2001, when the figures were first collected, those in the top category were 24 per cent more likely to marry than those at the bottom. Thirteen years later, that figure has rocketed to 48 per cent. Marriage is increasingly becoming the preserve of the well-off. Outside of the welfare system, marriage largely brings economic security. But within, it causes harm and brings uncertainty. And there is no doubt that the wealth gap between rich and poor is widening. Benefits and housing, which have traditionally been favourable toward young single mothers, have done nothing to help.

The result is a welfare system which, rather than building up those who need the most support, is seen to produce and perpetuate segregation and family instability. Those who defend the status quo are doing no favours to anyone.

With so many politicians afraid to discuss this topic, and too many opposed to any move to that strengthen the institution of marriage, it is once again left to a handful of think-tanks and those outside the political system to make the case. As we move towards next year’s General Election, it is a good a time for church leaders to be making a robust case for a sea-change in political and social attitudes. The Church has an authentic voice that can be used to champion what it knows to be good. The commotion and disquiet caused by same-sex marriage demonstrate the robust and passionate concern that many Christians hold for the sacred institution. This needs to be harnessed and directed towards reviving and supporting the bedrock of society, because ultimately marriage benefits everyone. If we don’t bother, there will soon be too few married couples to register its value or worth. And the poor will only get poorer.

  • Intonsus



    Indeed, divorce is one of the worst forms of child abuse.

    Friedman and Martin found that children of divorced couples have a life expectancy reduced by five years on average. According to the authors:

    “Parental divorce during childhood emerged as the single strongest predictor of
    early death in adulthood.”

    A similar outcome can be expected for children adopted by homosexuals and transsexuals since such pairings are notoriously transient.

    Please see for more information.

  • CliveM

    Excellent article. I know you alluded to it but it is worth underlining. Labour and the Lib Dems are more then happy to indulge on a bit of social engineering, just not when it supports the family.

    Why they wish to destroy marriage and family is a question that needs asked.

    • William Lewis

      One could argue that Labour and the Lib Dems are being true to form in their failure to support marriage, protect children and promote a healthier society. To my mind, though, it is the Conservatives who have done the most damage by redefining the institution itself. Their token Married Couples’ Allowance is an election gimmick that only serves to rub salt into the wounds.

      • CliveM

        It’s interesting though, the self styled party of the poor, labour, is not interested in genuine support and help for the poor, but appears more interested in ensuring a client vote.

        And they say the Tories are the nasty party.

    • alternative_perspective

      Surely its a remnant of marxist dogma, where equality is found in the commonality of our biology alone but even in that doctrine that is not sufficient to differentiate use from other bio-chemical processes and even atoms in movement.

      In atheism there are no absolutes and no objective referants. Everything is quite frankly relative (even that self- defeating little claim to truth).

      Couple atheism with any ideology or motivation and Nietzsche’s Will to Power becomes the definining characteristic of atheism.

      Where that is centred on nationalism it becomes racial supremity. Where its class war its the domination of the proliteriat. Where its freedom of choice, its complete and unadulterated liberty. Whatever it is, apart from the defining characteristic, the philosophy leads to the radical equalisation of all matter and opinion. If everything, everyone, every thought, every act is relative then everything is equal.

      Meaning, value, morality, truth and even life itself dissolve in the solvent of “absolute” relativity. Only the defining characteristic remains and all hope for meaning and purpose coalesces around it. It becomes the locus of devotion and hope and as this solvent eats into the ideology itself: focus moves inwards. Racial supremacy becomes a cult around an individual or lineage; the will of the people centres on the state, the government and eventually the party and freedom to choose become freedom from all restrictions.

      All this time all acts other than those sanctioned by the cult, which imbues commands with faux objectivity, become homogenised and all relationships equalised.

      The elevation of anything above the definining characteristic, above the cult becomes idolatory. Anything that is not approved represents an authority. Any authority other than the locus is a threat. An implicit denial of relativity, an echo of objectivity and the denial of atheism.

      So to answer the question: “Why they wish to destroy marriage and family”. The simple answer is its a threat. It denies radical equality, it opposes the progress of our “liberal athesim”, thus it denies relativity. Its an echo of objectivity and implies atheism’s falsehood.

  • “We are living at a time where some people, as my daughter used to say, they want to test whether the milk is good before they buy the cow …”

  • len

    Marriage (between a man and a woman) is one of the main building blocks on which a stable society stands.As one affected in infancy by the marriage break up by my parents I can give first hand testimony of the lasting damage that occured which has affected me through my entire life.
    Marriage( as God invisaged )is a covenent between two people not to be entered into lightly and especially not with’ an escape clause’ in mind. Marriage is a commitment that need a lot of love and sometimes compromise to be able to work…
    Much has been done to undernmine marriage not least by Government policies and financial pressures and our politicians need to uphold and value marriage as an institution that stabilizes our society and our youth.

  • Albert


    This is terribly judgemental and opinions such as these should not be allowed.

    • Who are we to judge?

      • Albert


        • Tragic.

          • CliveM

            ‘Earth creature’ sounds creepy!

          • Linus

            An excellent refashioning of a deeply flawed story!

            Removing male bias from scripture won’t make it any truer, but if it can persuade Christians away from a patriarchal model, it may do some good.

          • You missed this bit then:
            YHWH then fashioned the two halves into male and female, and presented them to one another.”

            However hard one tries, it’s just impossible to get away from male/female complementarity.

          • Linus

            Adam and Eve never existed so their complementarity is purely fictional. But even if they had been a real couple, there’s nothing proscriptive about their relationship. Just because the first marriage was between a man and a woman doesn’t mean the all subsequent marriages had to be too.

            Also, if the biblical story is true then Adam and Eve must have shared the majority of their genome. You could liken their relationship to that of a twin sister and brother. And yet they still married.

            When two extremely close relatives marry, we call that incest. So following your logic, which states that all marriages must resemble Adam and Eve’s marriage, Christians should really only be allowed to marry their sisters.

            Of course if the scientists perfect human cloning and genetic manipulation soon, you’ll be able to go one step further and whip yourself up a bride straight (sic) from your own DNA. That must surely be what God wants or he wouldn’t have given you the example of Adam and Eve to start with.

          • Lol …. what have you been smoking on this first Sunday of Advent?

          • Linus

            Just the sort of reply I’ve come to expect from Christians. When logic and reason form an argument that your superstitions can’t bat aside, you resort to ad hominem attack as your only way out.

            I am neither a smoker nor a drug user. Strange that a Christian who’s supposed to love his neighbor and not spread false witness should publicly intimate otherwise.

            Between your belief in astrology and your flagrant flouting of Christian commandments, I wonder whether you really are a Christian after all. If they’re all like you, no wonder the religion is in such disarray and failing before our very eyes.

          • Again, Jack is chastened by your rebukes. When Jack was a child at school he asked similar questions about Adam and Eve to the one’s you posed.

            Genesis tells us that Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel, was exiled by God, and then we read that Cain had relations with his wife. Where did Cain get his wife?

            Adam lived several hundred years so having lots of children was not a problem. By having many children it is certainly possible that there were many women around. This would mean that Cain married a sister, niece, or some other relation; and their children had children. As you say, the question of inbreeding is raised. The prohibition against incest was not proclaimed by God until much later (Lev. 18:6-18) when incest started to become a problem.

          • Linus

            Ah, so God has forbidden marriages that resemble the first marriage of Adam and Eve, has he?

            That means all heterosexual marriages deviate from the original pattern of male breeding with close female relative. They are not according to God’s original plan.

            This being the case, they can’t be real marriages. So I guess I’ll just have to underline that fact by referring to them in the future as “marriages”, in much the same way as many Christians refer to same sex marriages in crude inverted commas.

            I also wonder what God’s intention was. In forbidding marriage as originally instituted (and remembering that God is never wrong and never changes his mind), perhaps he was trying to wipe out the human race the slow but easy way rather than having to go to all the exertion of whipping up a deluge and getting rid of us all at once.

            But whatever the case, if you want to forbid me from marrying because it’s “not part of God’s original plan” then you’ll also have to get rid of your own wife. Unless you’ve disobeyed the God you claim to follow and married your own sister. Or had a bride cloned for yourself out of your own DNA.

          • What on earth are you talking about, Linus?
            God ordained marriage between male and female for the purpose of companionship, support and procreation. That’s why there’s biological complementarity and compatibility and men are men and women are women. God really couldn’t go around extracting body parts from men to form women once they’d been kicked out of Eden, now could he? Once there were sufficient men and women around, who were getting into a real mess with all sorts of peculiar behaviours, like at Sodom, He chose a people to begin to reveal Himself to and His plan, and established Covenants with them. The first with Noah, then Abram, next Moses, and finally through Jesus.
            The way marriage is meant to be is between a man and woman, who are sexually intimate for reasons of love and procreation. And now the earth has been populated, there are plenty of distant cousins, goodness knows how many generations removed from one another, so it would be strange to marry one’s sister, don’t you think?

          • Linus

            And yet your marriage is not like Adam and Eve’s marriage. You are not closely related to your wife. So you have deviated from the biblical model of marriage and turned it into something it was not at the beginning.

            Using the model of the first marriage to beat same sex couples over the head with is the pot calling the kettle black. Your marriage is just as different from the first marriage as theirs. God changed his mind about marriage and decided to transform it from an incestuous to a non-incestuous relationship. And if he changed his mind once, he can do it again.

            There may be nothing in the Bible about same sex marriage, but the Bible has grown and been added to over the centuries. Had it not been, we wouldn’t have a New Testament. God changes his mind about things and what was once abomination becomes holy. Think about that the next time you’re eating a pork chop or a strip of bacon.

          • Albert

            “Earth creature”? Why especially should that name a human being?

          • Apparently the Hebrew word is genderless – mankind. This is a sexist word because of the term ‘man’. Adam was made fro the earth. Better to have an earth creature” and an “it” instead.

            Apparently …..

          • Albert

            Yes, let the word cease to imply humanity at all. That sounds much more ecological as well. Everyone’s a winner…except human beings, of course.

  • Without promoting … [sound principles concerning sexual relationships and the purposes of] … marriage we cannot love the poor.

  • carl jacobs

    The social purpose of marriage is to bind a man to his children and capture his labor for the benefit of said children. Toward that end, marriage was given a monopoly on the fulfillment of sexual pleasure. In order to receive the privilege of a sexual life, a man was expected to bind himself permanently to a woman and take responsibility for the children produced as a result of that union. Marriage is the social means by which couples were given public permission to go forth, have sex, and reproduce. It is therefore inherent in the structure of marriage that the private act of sex has a very public component. This is why sexual behavior is traditionally regulated. The establishment of marriage includes a defense of its monopoly hold on sex.

    The Sexual Jacobians overthrew this monopoly in the name of autonomy. Their purpose was to destroy the public regimentation that restricted sexual behavior to a publicly approved relationship. Specifically they wanted to break to two things – 1) the connection between sex and monogamy and 2) the connection between sex and children. In other words, the sexual revolutionaries wanted to make sex a purely private act. A re-definition of marriage was built into the Sexual Revolution because the traditional structure of marriage was the target of the sexual revolution.

    Instead of focusing martiage on childten, the sexual revolution refocused marriage on the relationship between adults. It changed marriage into a mutual aid compact to which children were incidental. The incidental nature of children to the relationship removed the need for a lifelong commitment. And it lead inevitably to the legitimization if any other relationship that adults might choose to enter. The Sexual Revolution removed the cause for public regulation of sexual behavior. Monogamy became a choice instead of a requirement. Open marriage became a choice instead of a contradiction. Homosexual marriage became a natural extension instead of confusion. Virginity became a cheaply disposable commodity. And children became a tragedy of the Commons.

    What happens next is very predictable. Men stop taking responsibility for their children. Women find ways to make illegitimacy work through pesonal wealth or Gov’t aid. The subsequent generations of children produced increasingly grow up without a father and to defend the revolution, we all pretend this doesn’t matter. There is a terrible account balance to be paid for all this. But at the moment we are rich and we can carry the debt. And so we don’t care.

  • JDW

    The idea that we can control attitudes to marriage through financially advantaging the married seems to be an attempt at “Evangelical social engineering” which I cannot see as being Biblically justified. It also betrays a poor understanding of the doctrine of man when we believe we can impose Christian morals on those who are unregenerate, and begs the question whether we should be doing this at all?

    As a Pastor, I have attended many “Evangelical Christian weddings” where sermons have been preached on “Christian marriage” which have, to say the least, a very wobbly theological foundation. Most tend to use Ephesians 5 as a springboard into preaching an evangelical sub-culture approach to marriage, much of which lacks a biblical basis.

    Moreover, as the overwhelming majority of Evangelical churches are populated by the middle classes, the attitude to “The poor” is often detached and at worst, patronising.
    Also, on a personal level, having experienced the entire Thatcher period as an adult, my confidence in a Conservative government doing anything to help the working class poor is non-existent

    • carl jacobs


      preaching an evangelical sub-culture approach to marriage, much of which lacks a biblical basis.

      Explain please.

      having experienced the entire Thatcher period as an adult, my confidence in a Conservative government doing anything to help the working class poor is non-existent

      And where do you think you would be without Mrs Thatcher? A Socialist paradise of milk and honey where miners can extract 19th century coal at 21st century prices and still produce a profit? The best aid program is the creation of a vibrant growing economy and the inculcation of the moral capital necessary to benefit by it.

      • JDW

        Where do I think we would be without Mrs Thatcher? A country that did not experience the divisive policies which characterised the mid to late eighties. This division still exist to some degree when on her death some advocated a state funeral and others street parties, neither of which by the way, I approved of. I understand that this blog is on marriage, not political persuasion, but I make the point as the writer seemed to be linking the argument to a particular view point. For those who favour Adam Smith there will always be a Keynsianism counter argument and vice versa which is the privilege of living in a democracy

        Having been involved in free evangelicalism for 30 years, 20 of which as a minister, we have a sub culture which confuses what might be good advice and morality with the teaching of Scripture. The NT has relatively little to say on the practical day to day living within a marriage yet Christian bookshops/semiinars are awash with advice which in itself may not be wrong in teaching people to live what might me termed “Christianly”, but very little Scripture underpins such concepts relative to the authority claimed for them. Evangelicalsim has a language and mindset which someone outside it would need to have explained hence the sub cultural view of, amongst other things, marriage.

    • William Lewis

      And yet, the facts show that solid marriages raise healthier children and the broken or casual relationships, that are so much more prevalent outside of marriage, generate more of the social problems of the, often dysfunctional, society that we see. One could easily throw the Bible and Conservative manifesto out the window and still make a strong case for supporting marriage, your issues with evangelical churches and 1980s Conservativism notwithstanding.

    • CliveM

      What’s your proposal?

      • JDW

        The only way society will be brought into line with Gospel principles is through conversion, so obviouisly prayer and committed evangelism is the starting point. I believe we need to help and treat all in society equally when it comes to help regardless of lifestyle choices and religion/creed without condoning such things, which was the principles seen in the life of Jesus. Evangelicalism also needs to be more reflective of society as a whole both from an ethnic and social perspective. The Early church comprised fishermen and educated Pharisees, jailers and business women. We need God given wisdom to reach out, understand and welcome those who in any other circumstances we would not cross the path of. The wider the cross section of church members, the more wider cross section of society we are likely to reach

        • JDW
          Happy Jack believes God’s laws actually work. We have been created to live according to them. If we do we are fulfilled and society benefits. If we don’t we will suffer and society suffers too. This means that there must be secular arguments that can be advanced in support of objective morality. This holds for promoting marriage.

          Jack doesn’t want to take God out of the picture because we can only live according to His ways with His grace and blessings. However, in politics one has to be aware of research and advance temporal arguments as well as spiritual ones.

  • Royinsouthwest

    It is unfair of Gillan to suggest that the Labour and Lib Dem parties do not support marriage. They do – for homosexuals and lesbians.

    • Linus

      They support marriage for anyone who wants to marry.

      What bugs you is that marriage used to be a club exclusively for straights. Now anyone can join, it’s lost its exclusivity and you feel less special as a result.

      Poor you! The indignance of an entitlement syndrome outraged knows no bounds. But you’ll get used to it one day. You don’t have much choice.

      • Royinsouthwest

        So you know better that almost everybody who has ever lived up to the present, including virtually all your ancestors who, no doubt, would be utterly disgusted by your attitude.

        • Linus

          Human beings progress in knowledge. That’s how we evolve.

          My ancestors knew nothing about disease and thought they could cure it with spells and incantations. Then we learned better. If we heeded your call to live by the values and knowledge of our ancestors, we still be dying of illnesses we can easily prevent, but choose not to “because we can’t possibly know better than our ancestors”.

          Do you follow Christ or Confucius?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Human beings progress in knowledge. That’s how we evolve.

            Well, the level of scientific and medical knowledge in the Germany of Adolf Hitler was certainly superior to that of the Germany of Beethoven. Perhaps you think it had also progressed morally.

          • Linus

            Hitler’s Germany was a good example of the evils of religion, or religious-type belief systems.

            Nazism wasn’t based on scientific knowledge. It was based on arbitrary beliefs that were not backed up by empirical knowledge. It was far more akin to a religion than anything else. And as religion is the scourge of humanity, it’s hardly surprising they went off the rails.

          • carl jacobs


            How do you advance in knowledge when the knowledge base you are investigating is totally arbitrary?

          • Notaracistjerk

            Nothing quite like a little racism to go along with my daily dose of atheist trolling. I wonder how “Do you follow Atheism or Aristotle?” would go down with East Asian readers.

          • Linus

            So the mere mention of an Asian philosophy makes me racist does it? Now that’s really being scared of your own shadow.

            Confucianism is ancestor worship, which is why I mentioned it. The fact that it comes from China is neither here nor there. It could come from Croydon for any difference it would make to my argument.

            What counts is that Confucians worship and defer to their ancestors, whereas my point is that evolution and the accumulation of knowledge over time means that we have a better understanding of where our ancestors were wrong. We therefore don’t have to repeat their mistakes.

      • William Lewis

        It’s not about feeling special, it’s about traditional marriage being special. It is special because of the uniqueness of the heterosexual, monogamous, sexual relationship and its value to society.

        So tell us Linus; have you decided to join the “club” that has now been conformed to your own image or have you decided, like most gays, that it’s not really your scene? Perhaps you are just happy that we “don’t have any choice”.

        • Linus

          I hope to marry some day, but I haven’t found the right man yet. When I do, I’ll “join the club” with great pleasure. If I never find him, well … that’s the danger of any search. You hope you’ll find what you’re looking for, but there’s always the danger you might not. The hope of finally succeeding is what keeps you going.

      • magnolia

        It is not a “club”, it never was a “club” It is not about who is in the club nor who is excluded; that is just ridiculous as no discernible community is formed of straight married people, and not a little neurotic. It is a description that follows, not precedes, the actuality of the norm that men are sexually attracted to women and pair-bond with them for prolonged and for many exclusive periods in order to raise the children who are their combined genetic progeny, and whom therefore, they are the best equipped in theory (practice can always fall short) to bring up.

        As for exclusion, gay clubs frequently exclude straight people, and I have known gay couples who go silent and look bored when a straight couple joined their table at social events, only to chatter away when another gay couple arrives. It goes both ways, and it is often more to do with shared experience than anything else, just like birdwatchers or golfers gather together. Let’s be honest!

  • len

    ‘Gay marriage ‘has seriously undermined conventional marriage between man and woman and David Cameron must shoulder responsibiity for pushing for this in the UK (with no mandate from the electorate for doing so)

    The reason why gay marriage has devalued marriage ?.

    The evidence indicates that “committed” homosexual relationships are
    radically different from married couples in several key respects:
    relationship duratiomonogamy vs. promiscuity, relationship commitment,
    number of children being raised, health risks,
    rates of intimate partner violence.( source )

    • DanJ0

      You may as well quote the National Enquirer as the FRC.

  • Shadrach Fire

    I am not so sure about Gillans Hypothesis that ‘Without promoting marriage we cannot love the poor’. There are definitely some gaps in the concept. There is an innate sense of caring in all mankind and I just don’t see that marriage is the catalyst to helping the poor.
    Now if you had said that becoming a Christian was the formula for helping poverty I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly. The seriously committed Christian (what I would call Born Again) develops a new sense of self in worth in Christ and a greater ability for self help. They further develop a lack of dependency and are more independent.
    Traditional Marriage is a vital tool for the Christian for the bonding and development of the family and the stable family will be part of the community to help with the poor.

    • Phil R

      Married people are richer and have better outcomes for the children. That seems to be fact.

      Are they richer because they are married or vice versa?

      That is the key question.

      I think the evidence points to the former

  • DanJ0

    Article: “Currently, two thirds of women who get married and have children remain with the father for life. Among women who never marry, just one in ten will avoid splitting from their partner.”

    I wonder why that is? Is it just the vow?

    • It’s called loving your biological children, Danjo. Putting them above all other considerations.

      Speaking personally, violent abuse aside, there was no power on earth that would have led me to consider leaving my children – ever – or to risk such a scenario arising. And, even as adults, one’s children look for the security that comes from parents being together.

      And it doesn’t have to be about religion. Jack believes it’s in-built into us in some way but needs to be developed, supported and reinforced by our culture and mores. In my experience, the vows, if sincerely taken, actually become more binding, psychologically and emotionally, once children arrive. Their arrival cements the bond and takes the relationship to a different level.

      • DanJ0

        Does that really follow from what I said?

        • It was a direct answer to your question:

          “I wonder why that is?” ( … two thirds of women who get married and have children remain with the father for life. Among women who never marry, just one in ten will avoid splitting from their partner …) “Is it just the vow?”

          • DanJ0

            Am I to infer that couples who don’t marry love their biological children less than couples who do?

            According to the ONS, 48% of couples divorcing had at least one child aged under 16 living with the family. Presumably the data isn’t tight enough to say whether the child is living with its biological mother and father. But even so …

          • No …. but the foundation is weakened when trials come along. Without the vows, with the sense of permanence coming from the ritual, the significance of what the relationship is actually directed towards is diminished.

          • DanJ0

            According to the ONS (if I’m reading the spreadsheet correctly), in 2012 there were 46,251 divorcing couples with no children stated and 57,139 divorcing couples with one or more children aged under 16 stated, out of 118,140 divorcing couples in total.

          • Is the author of the article wrong:
            ” … two thirds of women who get married and have children remain with the father for life. Among women who never marry, just one in ten will avoid splitting from their partner.”

            And if figures you cite are accurate, they merely reinforce the point that marriage is being undermined. You weaken marriage and shared parenthood by separating it from its purpose and the selflessness needed to make it successful.

          • DanJ0

            I usually go straight to the horse’s mouth in these cases:


            The phrase you quote is rather loosely worded.

          • The phrase was taken from Gillan’s article.

          • DanJ0

            Thanks, Dodo. If only I had realised then I could have quoted it as being from the article in my opening comment …


          • Then why question Jack about it being “loosely worded”? Are you saying it’s not an accurate account of the research? If so, direct that at Gillan.

          • DanJ0

            I’m not questioning you about it. I wrote the opening comment, questioning why, based on what one could infer from it.

          • And Jack answered that opening comment in his reply.

          • DanJ0

            Which I’ve partly undermined with data, it seems.

          • It seems not if Gillan’s figures are accurate.

            “Only 5 per cent of the 48 per cent of 20 year-olds who will never marry are predicted to stay with their partners until their child hits their mid-teens.”

            You do know about structural-functionalism?

          • DanJ0

            As ever it’s like trying to hold a wet eel, having a conversation with you Dodo. Read the sub-thread from the start.

          • Once again, Danjo, ad hominem.

          • DanJ0

            The article seems to argue for this:

            “The result is a welfare system which, rather than building up those who need the most support, is seen to produce and perpetuate segregation and family instability. Those who defend the status quo are doing no favours to anyone.”

            That is, there’s a ‘class’ divide in the marriage and divorce statistics.

          • There are vast amounts of data that back up what I’ve written about above so I’m not concerned if the data I’ve presented doesn’t tell the whole story. It would switch too many people off if I bombarded them with statistics. Just try and find a piece of research that concludes that marriage is worse than cohabiting or single parenting. Divorce is a terrible thing too, but that’s something else to write about on another day.

          • DanJ0

            My parents separated when I was 11, and my mother divorced and remarried, so I have some personal experience. Anyway, this is a sub-thread arising from my wondering why getting married seemed to make such a difference, and leading onto the specific argument presented by Dodo rather than the one in the article itself. But when one looks at the number of married people with and without youngsters who divorce, the difference may not be quite so significant as it seems. I’ve just been looking at a thesis online about some of the possible reasons for the differences too.

          • Cressida de Nova

            If one needs a wedding ring homosexual or heterosexual to stop them shagging about then there is something seriously wrong and deficient in the person’s character. Marriage was not designed to stop people from shagging about. Single people and those who cohabit do not necessarily shag about. It is natural to just want to make a life with one person and in most cases of the opposite sex.Only damaged and unhappy people shag about and there is a lot of them unfortunately.

          • DanJ0

            As Gillan notes, the social institution of marriage has changed at various times. In the past in England, it was primarily a financial and political contract between families, at least for gentlemen and above in social rank. In that respect, it was important that women only produced children from their husbands, and for men to not formally acknowledge their bastards. No doubt many men of that rank shagged around quite happily, with their wives ignoring it, and did not consider themselves damaged or unhappy at all. I think you have a very Western view of traditional marriage, and ironically a very modern view of it too.

          • Am I to infer that couples who don’t marry love their biological children less than couples who do?
            I don’t think it is necessary to make that inference. Is it not possible that God blesses, not every marriage, but the institution itself? Marriage is God’s gift to all mankind (Heb 13:4). Those who ignore it, or treat it lightly, forfeit a great blessing

  • DanJ0

    Article: “The commotion and disquiet caused by same-sex marriage demonstrate the robust and passionate concern that many Christians hold for the sacred institution.”

    One might have thought that a robust and passionate concern for the social institution would lead to support for non-religious same-sex marriage too, which ought to be better for society than a couple merely co-habiting, or individuals flitting around like bees sampling the nectar. It ticks many of the same boxes for social stability, such as financial and emotional support, mutual care, a shared home possibly with ownership too, and so on.

    • Except …. there’s an ingredient missing.

      Posted this earlier:

      Without promoting … [sound principles concerning sexual relationships and the purposes of] … marriage we cannot love the poor.

      • DanJ0

        Whether there’s an ingredient missing in your view of it or not, is it better for a society that a couple marry, or merely to cohabit, or just flit around? I’d have thought it was better for society that they marry myself. Hence, why I wrote what I wrote.

        • Promiscuity, irresponsible sex and serial monogamy is damaging for a society and the people involved. We can agree on that, certainly.

          However, giving same sex relationships or, for that matter, common law heterosexual relationships, the same status, protection and benefits as marital relationships, devalues marriage and threatens family life.

          • DanJ0

            Do you have any evidence for your second paragraph, or is the statement just a personal opinion?

          • Have you read the article?

          • DanJ0

            Yes. In particular, I’m interested in the “same sex relationships” bit. I’m inferring from the phrase that you mean same-sex marriage or civil partnerships there given your comment about the same status, protection and benefits as “marital relationships”. That said, “common law heterosexual relationships” don’t exist in England and simply co-habiting most definitely doesn’t provide the same protection and benefits as marriage, so goodness knows what you’re actually trying to say.

          • It’s clear what Jack is saying. Relationships, homosexual or heterosexual, should not be given the same status and afforded the same supports and protection as a marriage between a man and a woman.

          • DanJ0

            But why, in the case same-sex marriage? There’s no worth in waving your personal opinion at me.

          • Er …. because it reinforces the notion that sexual pleasure and self fulfilment are ends in themselves. That’s what the sexual revolution has achieved. When a couple do have children these remain as prized as the child’s wellbeing.

            And it’s not a “personal opinion”. And the sociological evidence is mounting and hopefully professionals in the field and academics will find the courage to research it and voice this.

          • DanJ0

            So, you were hoping to ride your personal opinion about same-sex marriage on the back of the article and now you’re waffling to cover it up. You could have just skipped past my comment, you know. I wouldn’t have minded. In fact …

          • Jack repeats – it’s not personal opinion.
            You can’t answer the case against the negative consequences for the common good of removing the cultural and moral framework governing sexual relationships. Then, to cover this up, you use your standard tactic of ad hominem.
            At this point – talk to the hand, Danjo.

          • DanJ0

            Given the context of my opening comment in this sub-thread, it seems to me that same-sex marriage is adding to the framework. It brings a whole new group of socially functional people into the social institution of marriage who would otherwise have been merely co-habiting or even shagging around. Which of those is the least negative? Afterall, I’ve not heard of any straight people at all who have thrown up their hands and said that: “Now Elton John has got married, the whole thing has been devalued for me and I’m going to cohabit or even just shag around instead!”

          • Let them live together if they choose – quietly and without ceremony. And if they shag around then they suffer the consequences, not children. Where’s the evidence homosexual *marriage* will prove monogamous or stable? Just don’t give this relationship the same social value and status as ones directed at raising the next generation. And don’t teach children it’s acceptable or has the same standing as marriage proper.

          • DanJ0

            It’s noteworthy that you prefer co-habitation rather than marriage in this particular case. Your position descends into incoherence at this point, I’d say, leaving you to assert a personal opinion instead.

          • Happy Jack’s position is entirely consistent and coherent. We protect and strengthen marriage by reasserting what it is for and develop social policy around this.

          • DanJ0

            There’s evidence there. Loosen the discipline and control around sex and all sorts of other ills follow. And it’s based on 40 years professional experience too.

            The research is problematic too in this field because its so ‘politically sensitive’ i.e. homosexualists would be all over one like a rash and academic institutions would lose finance.

            For the purposes of historic accuracy, that was added after I replied below.

      • If we were able to write longer titles I might just have used your version Jack.

        • Jack hopes that is not meant ironically, Gillan. His opinions on these matters are not universally popular.

  • Inspector General

    Now see here Gillan. If you’re going to make a serious point about marriage, you need to drop this same sex rubbish. It’s not going to be long before the Inspector starts to canvass what will hopefully be a sympathetic political party in power to replace all legal references to it with the correct terminology – ‘Civil Partnership’. Not marriage at all, but a device to secure property and like rights for two, and just two, individuals of the same sex who for their own personal reasons cannot envisage marriage themselves.

    We need sterner stuff from you on Cranmer, old man. We’re used it to, you know. It’s the right thing to do. We cannot wait for you younger types to come to their senses and appreciate those eternal truths that cannot be changed, no matter the fickle fashion of the day. You can oppose same sex whatever, as you should, without being sent to bum camp for two weeks to be ‘re-educated’, as the communists like to put it.

    It’s entirely down to individuals playing fast and loose with what marriage is that caused the problems to start mounting up, don’t you think ?

    That aside, do carry on…

    • Back to the old chestnut, Inspector. You’re putting the cart before the horse. It’s not what marriage is about. It’s what sex is about, old chap. Read Carl’s earlier post for a bit of insight. And he’s not Roman Catholic.

      • Inspector General

        What in hell’s name are you on about ? Not you going into the bedroom of good Christian’s again, by chance ?

        • No …. Jack isn’t into voyeurism, Inspector.

          Read Carl’s post.

          • Inspector General

            Still don’t follow you. One has ticked Carl’s post. Agree with it all. What was your first response about then. Explain yourself…

          • carl jacobs

            As a general rule, it’s always wise to agree with Carl. You should learn from the Inspector’s counsel, Jack.

          • Yes, Carl, but he doesn’t appear to have grasped the essential element. Care to explain it to him?

          • Inspector General

            Ah, that’s it. You’re hijacking the thread ( again) to put one over on us all. Glaringly obvious, now you come to mention it…

          • carl jacobs

            Why, Jack. I should think the essential element is obvious. “Carl is always right.”


          • Self praise is no praise, Carl.

            Have you acquired a British passport yet so that you qualify for nomination as Christian of the Year?


          • Inspector, read this slowly:

            “Toward that end, marriage was given a monopoly on the fulfillment of sexual pleasure. In order to receive the privilege of a sexual life, a man was expected to bind himself permanently to a woman and take responsibility for the children produced as a result of that union. Marriage was the social means by which couples were given public permission to go forth, have sex, and reproduce. It is therefore inherent in this structure of marriage that the private act of sex has a very public component.”

          • Inspector General

            No idea why you wish to point that out to this man. He is in agreement. If it wasn’t for the time of year, one would fear you’d been left out in the sun for too long…

          • The point, Inspector, is that sex between a man and a woman needs a moral framework that incorporates fidelity, permanence, expression of love, the meeting of lust and, last but certainly not least, producing and raising the next generation.

          • Inspector General

            Off you go then Jack. Despite your advanced years, one feels sure you can ‘knock one out’ as they say in midwifery circles…

          • Inspector General

            And you have attempted to hijack the blog (again).

            Shame on you !

    • I’ve written plenty about SSM at God and Politics. If you want to know my opinions on it, I recommend you head over. I’m not really interested in going over old ground now I have a new home here. Try this for starters:

      • Inspector General

        Shortage of time, dear boy. One finds devotion to Cranmer takes what there is available for on lining. Look, if you’ve done your best, then we’ll accept that for now…

        • (Ahem) … apart from one other site that has of late has been the cause of some unfortunate and distressing infections.


          • Inspector General

            As it happens, that site is the raw and maggot infested underside of corrupt humanity. You can learn a lot from there….

          • Inspector, it’s what Jack imagines Hell might be like.

      • DanJ0

        Well presented argument by ‘Joe’ under that article.

  • Inspector General

    We don’t have real poverty in this land. The so called poor aren’t that poor at all. They are in the main horrible types who are largely the authors of their own misfortune. The lower orders in society, if you will. Dafties. They will always be around, and who really cares if they are ? When it comes to it, they are happy enough in their own mire. They don’t know any better and they don’t intend to find out either. Too much bother for their lazy indolent hides.

    If you want to help them, albeit indirectly, you could do with highlighting the general malaise around these days that does not promote the idea that people better themselves. To reach further. To aspire. Maybe the malaise itself is a result of this failing.

    So, no time for these blighters really. Feckless crowd not worth bothering with. But if they sincerely want to improve their lot, send them to the Inspector. He’s interested then…

    • len

      the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you
      cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his
      demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I
      was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked,
      and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you
      didn’t visit me.(Matthew 25;31)

      I certainly wouldn`t want to be called’ cursed’ by the Lord Jesus Christ.

      • *gasp*
        Not suggesting “good works” are you, Len?

        • len

          As long as they do not count towards salvation HJ 😉

          • No … but they do reduce time in you know where, Len ;o)

          • William Lewis

            The spiritual naughty step?

      • Inspector General

        Well, if the Messiah returns in the Inspector’s lifetime, he’ll know to put him up, and get the bottle out…

        Anyway, now you’re a prison visitor Len, one hopes you’ll still have time to ‘contribute’ to Cranmer : –>

        • len

          Your`e’ messiah’ seems to be created somewhat in your`e image Inspector..?

  • DanJ0

    Article: “Data released this week has found that children experiencing separation are more likely to get into trouble at school, do worse in their exams, suffer from eating disorders and abuse drugs or alcohol. Children who experience broken family relationships are far, far more likely to live in poverty and suffer the wide-ranging consequences.”

    This seems to refer to the Resolution study:

    Which is actually about divorce. Given the yearly number of divorces in the UK now, I’d have thought that the primary focus of Christians regarding marriage really ought to be campaigning for a change in divorce law rather than banging on about what is basically just another format of marriage. That is, Christians should be trying to stop heterosexual people from being able to divorce. I mean, look at the effect it has on the children of people who got married in the first place.

    • Inspector General

      For a devil’s advocate, with your own agenda in mind, that’s a surprisingly good post…

      • DanJ0

        It’s not the first time, or the second, or the third, […] that I’ve pointed it out down here in the comments section of the blog. However, I usually add a comment at the end along the lines of: naturally, that won’t happen because Christians will probably be as welcome as a pork pie at a Jewish wedding afterwards because they’ll be targeting everyman / everywoman instead of a bunch of poofs and dykes.

        • Or possibly as unpopular as a Roman Catholic *dogmatist*.

          And it’s not either/or – it’s both. Homosexual *marriage* needs repealing and divorce needs to be made more difficult. As does abortion and the handing out of contraceptives like sweeties. However, achieving these aims means unpicking the moral chaos of the sexual revolution. This takes us to education and the cultural levers of our society.

          • DanJ0

            Perhaps the government should be throwing tax-breaks and welfare benefits at homosexuals to encourage them to get married, and to stay married, so that we have a more stable and caring society from the ground up. It’s surely better for society that homosexuals are married rather than merely co-habiting or shagging around, as I have said. Or worse, than hiding in uncomfortable heterosexual marriages or in the Roman Catholic Church clergy where their unmarried state is less remarkable.

          • What needs to happen is a return to old fashioned sexual morals, Danjo. A sense of shame and societal stigma for behaving outside of these parameters.

            Sex confined to a life long between a man and a woman for the purposes of enjoyment, open to the possibility of life, and the relationship directed to selflessness and raising children. This rules out all irregular relationships.

          • DanJ0

            I don’t suppose most people will spot your trolling there. When you were last banned, you were doing something similar to the blog owner about his mental health as I recall. I missed it completely myself at the time but I went back afterwards to look and there it was in black and white. You’re quite subtle at times, I’ll give you that. You have what one might call a ‘low cunning’.

          • That you see the comment as “trolling” says more about you than Happy Jack.

            Talk to the hand.

          • DanJ0

            You operate on two levels at once, as we both know, with the careful selection and repetition of phrases. One for general consumption so you can claim innocence if challenged, and one specifically mano y mano to try to get underyour target’s skin. I’ve seen it used before online, albeit almost always by women.

          • If general statements of principle get under your skin, Danjo, then that’s your problem and not Happy Jack’s.
            So enough of all this personalising nonsense. Stick to the subject matter or …. talk to the hand.

          • DanJ0

            They very rarely do despite your best efforts, Dodo. However, I think I should highlight what you do if only to explain why I continue to treat you with such contempt.

          • The hand has nothing to say to such self obsessed nonsense.

          • DanJ0

            Actually, I’m polite and respectful with a number of them here, including 3 or 4 Roman Catholics. Almost all of my free-standing comments here are for the purposes of polite debate too. It usually you, and one or two others, who leap on them for your own games.

          • DanJ0

            I suppose pair-bonding has now been added to the list given your latest attacks at the top of this thread. No doubt I’ll be seeing that term popping up regularly in your ‘general comments’ over the coming weeks, as I did with the a-theists really know god exists thing after you saw my reaction to Martin’s claims. Chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, etc. The phenomenon of trolling is a fascinating but slightly disturbing thing, it reveals something about human nature itself I think despite it existing because of modern social media. But hey.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            Their will always be a place for a ‘Catholic Dogmatist’!

          • Jack is sure there is. Whether he wants to go there is another matter altogether.

          • CliveM

            The cut down version of this post makes a lot more sense!

          • Indeed it does ….

        • CliveM

          To be honest the last but confused me?

          • DanJ0

            I’ve said for a long time that the heavy focus on homosexuality by Christian pressure groups and the like is because it’s easy to target us as we’re a minority. Pre-marital sex, adultery, and divorce are harder things to campaign about because most people can relate to those things. If the Christian Institute et al tried as hard to get the legal option of divorce removed as it did to stop same-sex marriage being legalised then I expect the general population would be rather less tolerant of Christianity.

          • Phil R

            Logically you are right of course and divorce / pre-marital sex, adultery should be condemned as these are also clear sins in the Bible

            The Bible shows us though that God is particularly intolerant of homosexual practices.

            I agree though that tolerance of divorce has got us to where we are now and we cannot blame homosexuals for pointing out our double standards.

          • CliveM

            Ok now I understand.

            Firstly I’m not sure just how tolerant wider society is anyway, but that’s for another day.

            I personally think that why homosexuality is particularly targeted is more complicated then that. Firstly SSM is new. Not long ago it wasn’t even on the agenda and a lot of Christians feel lied to on this issue by the current Gov. This has led to quite bitter resentment.

            Secondly a lot of Christians see this as simply wrong.

            Thirdly, it is what Hannah would describe as the disgust factor. Sorry!

            Finally and it is sadly true, some of it is down to simple hypocrisy. Divorce rates, pre marital sex rates, don’t vary much in Christian circles. So it is much harder to attack these problems.

            I ‘m ow going to get into trouble!

            However one issue I also feel has a negative impact on the family and that is secularisation, particularly it’s close cousin relativism. Christianity defiantly teaches that excessive concern with self and selfish concerns is wrong. Secular society doesn’t. Indeed it seems to spend a large part of its time preaching that a selfless concern for others is unhealthy and that looking after number 1 is both rational and necessary,

            None of which makes a good marriage.

          • DanJ0

            It’s be interesting to see the divorce rates for our Muslim and Hindu citizens in that case.

          • CliveM

            I’d be guessing but I suspect a lot lower.

          • Inspector General

            You’re suggesting grades of wrongness.


            We need to concentrate on what is achievable. Unfortunately for you, repeal of the ‘gay laws’ is just that….

          • DanJ0

            No chance now.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t count on it. Remember this, we’re going to sweep parliament clean next election…

          • CliveM

            I look forward to seeing the photo of you in a pinnie, feather duster in hand, sweeping the floors of the House of Commons post the election!

            Oh, hold, perhaps that not what you meant!! 🙂

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I rather see the Inspector brandishing a musket rather than a feather duster…

          • CliveM

            Yes Dear Lady, I did rather misunderstand his post!

            Still it would be a photo that you could use to good, profitable effect………

          • So long as it is one or the other ………

          • Phil R

            No chance at the moment……

            But look back at attitudes 10 50 70 or 100 years ago and think about how attitudes change

            One thing we can be completely sure on is that future attitudes will be very different to today

            SSM is an experiment, the effects of which have not been judged yet

          • DanJ0

            I expect some people said that about inter-racial marriage at times over the last 40 years. Perhaps that is still an experiment; I know some people still find it a little strange even now. I think one religious argument goes that if god chose to create races of skin colour then who are we to undermine them by cross breeding? What do you think, Phil?

          • Phil R

            Interracial marriage is widely accepted. But lets take another idea that became fashionable but is now out of favour. Eugenics. In the 1920s liberal / human rights (LOL) people thought that Eugenics was a rational course of action to solve a host of societal problems. Of course it was later tried out on a grand scale.

            What is clear from the Eugenics example and other similar ideas, is that society sometimes gets it wrong.

            To answer your question. Interracial marriage is not an issue for a Christian, as the only instruction is to marry another believer.

          • DanJ0

            However, you recognise the argument a religious person might make, and people certainly did in America in the debates about the miscegenation laws at the time? Interracial marriage is widely accepted in the UK, but is frowned upon within some ethnic groups. I’m not sure it is widely accepted across the world. Still, I expect same-sex marriage is moving the same way quite rapidly, at least amongst the non-religious anyway.

          • Phil R

            Logically you are correct. However, you should also realise that as some Christians supported miscegenation and use the Bible (incorrectly) to support it. Some Christians now support SSM and use the Bible (incorrectly) to support this scriptural behaviour also.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            You think Eugenics has fallen out of favour? Consider then the New Labour project and the replacement of the English…

          • Eugenics is what drove the contraception movement in the 1920’s – stop the uneducated and genetically inferior breeding. It’s what was behind abortion too. Eugenics is very much alive – we just call it “family planning” nowadays.

        • Cressida de Nova

          If everyone should marry, then all poofs should marry women…. fantasise their wives are boys when copulating ( otherwise they would not be able to consummate the marriage) and then destroy their families lives when they are caught out expressing their true natures in a public toilet somewhere. Of course this would and has lead to a lot of suicides so women will end up as single mothers anyway .Not a solution and a ludicrous concept ….and really, when you think about it, what is being recommended is quite perverted, disgusting and unchristian.

          Heterosexual women do not want poofs or bisexuals as natural fathers to their children. Having said this I reiterate I am opposed to same sex marriage ( totally unnecessary in light of all the new laws that had been passed to give homosexuals equal rights anyway )and in spite of the attempt to normalise homosexuality by introducing ssm I fear that ssm in the future will only cause a lot more problems for homosexuals than they presently encounter. It was a mistake and a stupidly unnecessary one at that…too late now~!

          • DanJ0

            I think that’s what polite people call a ‘stream of consciousness’ comment these days.

          • Cressida de Nova

            No it’s not. If you were more au fait with the use of literary device you would know this is not’ stream of consciousness’
            rhetoric. Besides politesse has never really applied to you Danjo. Not so long ago I recall you giving us a blow by blow description of your fellatio performance on your boyfriend and obsessing over Dodo’s underpants !

          • CliveM

            Please, please please, no! Two images I could have gone to my grave without having.

            I need a darkened room with soothing music now!

            And a strong, alcoholic drink. Actually make that a bottle.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            My Lord the Bishop finds a glass of Sanatogen stiffens his sinews…exactly what stiffens Mr Slope I leave to dear DanJ0…

          • CliveM

            Having had a sheltered up bringing in the boosom of the Church of Scotland I like not to dwell on what stiffens Mr Slopes, ahem, whatever.

            Or anyone else’s!

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Goodness! My horses are duly frightened…

          • CliveM

            Shocking behaviour. None of us should be subject to such unpleasantness……

          • Imagine how Dodo must have felt !

          • Ouch !

  • CliveM

    Before this blog becomes completely hijacked by SSM, the concerns highlighted in the article; increasing divorce rates, increasing levels of single parenthood and the mpact of all this on society in increased rates of delinquency etc all pre-date SSM (or even for that matter civil partnerships), so I am not entirely sure how repealing SSM is going to change this, or even address it.

    This is an important institution which underpins a stable society and usually gives children the best start. Govts need to start recognising this.

    • And the roots of same sex marriage lie where? The ‘sexual revolution’ actually first hit the West in the 1920’s and really took off in the late 1960’s. Guess why?

      • CliveM

        Happy Jack

        At most then SSM is a symptom of a wider problem within society, rather then the problem itself. In which case (as any Doctor will tell you) you need to address the causes and not the symptoms.

        Really was their anything factually wrong in my statement, when I said these issue were a problem before SSM (or even before it was on the horizon?).

        If so how does addressing SSM as a priority help?

        • Clive M
          So what is homosexual *marriage* a symptom of? And, as most Doctors will tell you, some symptoms have to managed whilst the actual sickness is addressed over time. Otherwise, you’ll have a dead patient on your hands.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            You haven’t answered my question. This is about stable, loving families giving children the best start.

            To do this best you need a strong social and moral contract ie marriage. The question is how is this to be supported.

            I refuse to get drawn into a SSM cul-de-sac. Frankly the questions Gillan poses are too important. The only way it would be rational to do so, is if you could show me that SSM is the cause of the problems highlighted and that by repealing SSM, we would solve these problems.

            But you won’t be able too.

          • No because it’s a symptom of the sickness griping the West. Just as divorce is.

    • Inspector General

      Not so Clive. It’s a sore that needs healing. After that, we’ll get the homosexual age of consent raised to 18. Plenty of 16 and 17 year olds running around with HIV thanks to {AHEM} ‘opening their bowels’ to an older predator lover.

      • CliveM

        See my answer to HJ.

        Their maybe a discussion to be had on SSM, but if the discussion is about how to bring children up in the best stable and loving environment, it is at best peripheral.

        • A stable, loving marriage between their biological parents is what all children need. It’s not rocket science, Clive. It’s what’s getting in the way of the sustainability of marriage that needs to be understood. Tackling this will need more than tweaks to the tax and welfare benefit system.

          • CliveM

            I agree we need more than a couple of tax tweaks.

            What is underlying the rise in divorce rated? The increasing number of feckless sexually immoral single parent mothers with multiple children with different fathers (this problem is becoming such an issue that is some estates unintentional incest is becoming a concern)?

            What is the root cause of the increasing number of selfish, sexually in continent males, walking out on their children and moving on to the next woman?

            This is what needs to be addressed. Cleaning up the rules of marriage don’t cut it, if these people don’t care about marriage in the first place.

          • “What is the root cause of the increasing number of selfish, sexually in continent males, walking out on their children and moving on to the next woman?”
            It’s not just males anymore, Clive.
            So what has caused selfish, incontinent men and women pursing personal desire and gratification? What has facilitated irresponsible sex without apparent consequence?
            Think breakdown of ‘old fashioned’ morality and taboos accompanied by artificial contraception and abortion. Think absence of personal shame for serial, temporary relationships. Think economic advantage for having children – access to housing and to a regular income source.
            Even without a change in morality, what would happen if tomorrow there was no contraception, no abortion, no divorce, no access to housing or to regular income for unemployed mothers?

          • CliveM

            With regards your last questions I don’t know the answer. As I said to DanJo (perhaps not very well) I think at the root of a lot of these changes is secularisation in society. The belief that my needs come first. I’m not saying all atheists are like this, but I think all secular societies are.

            If these things happened ie no divorce etc, I don’t see that without addressing the secularisation of society, it would change much. Indeed in such circumstances, I could see banning divorce for example being the final nail for marriage, as people would be even more reluctant to marry if they thought they couldn’t get out of it .

          • It’s moral relativism and secular atheism, in Jack’s view. It’s quite possible to have a secular society based on common, shared understandings about morality and family life.

          • CliveM

            I thing it’s possible for secular society to come up with a moral framework, but I think it needs a ‘glue ‘ to enable it to stick to this framework, without this glue the framework will become empty words. And I think this glue is faith or more specifically Christianity.

          • Surprisingly, it’s not just Christianity that holds to ‘old fashioned’ moral values. Unfortunately, Christianity and Judaism is ‘modernising’ and this is creating a hardening of less helpful attitudes within Islam. Hinduism is weird and has so many layers and, in Jack’s estimation, some of its teachings have driven the West’s preoccupation with self fulfilment.

          • CliveM

            Some if the old fashioned values Islam holds onto I’m not comfortable with.

            Went in a long car journey through work with a Hindu, got into a chat about what they believed, the caste system etc. it was fascinating. Always felt a bit more tollerent of Hindus since.

          • DanJ0

            I expect it helps considerably that Hinduism is inherently tolerant of other concepts of god and approaches to it.

          • CliveM

            “It’s not just males anymore, Clive”

            I started off by mentioning women.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Fear not dear Clive, I am watching the antics of Signora Neroni with gimlet eyes from my vantage point in the north tower of the Palace (opera glasses are such a boon, don’t you think!). The constant to-ing and fro-ing of the young men of Barchester, hoping to slip in unobserved, is very worrying. Why, I have even seen Mr Slope tapping on her knocker…much good it will do her.

          • CliveM

            Opera glasses are indeed a boon and so easy to hide about your person. Sadly we no longer live in a society when it was only the senoras that lead our young men astray!

        • Inspector General

          We’re trying to clean up marriage Clive, and you say ignore SSM ! It’s a symptom of the corruption that has been occasioned to marriage, and no less…

          • CliveM

            I’m not saying ignore SSM, I am saying on this question and how to address it, it is almost irrelevant.

  • Clive9

    Dear ++Cranmer, you wrote:
    “Over the centuries [marriage] its form and substance have morphed, but throughout all of these permutations it has remained a bedrock of societies around the globe.”

    It was you who brought about the Book of Common Prayer and BCP, dated 1662, is still legally accepted as a marriage service, so ironically you are the one who provides the written evidence that marriage has NOT changed.

    Henry VIII, for example, was very interested in divorce but he didn’t change marriage at all.

    You claim, quite wrongly, that the Conservatives are pro-marriage yet it is Cameron who has destroyed marriage and now, through DfE, pursues with prejudice against the family and discrimination against children (through OFSTED amongst others) anyone who believes in traditional marriage. Cameron only teaches same-sex activities and ignores traditional marriage even though the law allows it.

    The claim you make of seismic shifts in society’s views is without evidence. It is exactly what politicians and the media wants you to believe but the Office for National Statistics shows that it really isn’t that simple and, whichever way you look at it, it isn’t true.

    • CliveM

      It was Gillan who wrote this article.

  • Inspector General

    Heavy stuff, what !

    Perhaps time to lighten up the subject of marriage. Two old friends happened to meet in the high street….

    “Oh hello you. I’m sure I saw your new son in law earlier today”

    “Yes, you probably did. They’re just back from honeymoon”

    “Ah, South America, wasn’t it”

    “No, Canary Islands actually. What made you think it was the South Americas”

    “Well, your son in law did. Talked to him at the reception. Told me he was looking forward to taking your daughter up the Orinoco”

    • CliveM

      LOL 🙂

  • Inspector General

    …and from a 1979 edition of the Burkiss way,
    recently re-aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra

    “And our next guest will introduce himself”

    “Eric Pode, from Croydon”

    “Hello Eric. Tell us something about yourself. Are you married”

    “I have a wife, but she’s 34 stone”

    “Do you have a job…”

    “Nah. It’s impossible, mate”

    • dannybhoy

      Great stuff. The wife said I could chuckle

  • Rules for a Successful Marriage
    1. The Female always makes THE RULES.
    2. THE RULES are subject to change without notice.
    3. No Male can possible know all THE RULES.
    4. If the Female suspects the Male knows all THE RULES, she must immediately change some of THE RULES
    5. The Female is never wrong.
    6. If it appears the Female is wrong, it is because of a lagrant misunderstanding caused by something the Male did or said wrong.
    7. If Rule 6 applies, the Male must apologize immediately for causing the misunderstanding.
    8. The Female can change her mind at any time.
    9. The Male must never change his mind without the express, written consent of The Female.
    10. The Female has every right to be angry or upset at any time.
    11. The Male must remain calm at all times, unless the Female wants him to be angry or upset.
    12. The Female must, under no circumstances, let the Male know whether she wants him to be angry or upset.
    13. The Male is expected to read the mind of the Female at all times.
    14. At all times, what is important is what the Female meant, not what she said.
    15. If the Male doesn’t abide by THE RULES, it is because he can’t take the heat, lacks backbone, and is a wimp.
    16. If the Male, at any time, believes he is right, he must refer to Rule #5.
    17. Every house belongs to the oldest female living there.

    • Grandpa Jack was celebrating his 100th birthday and everybody complimented him on how athletic and well-preserved he appeared.

      “Gentlemen, I will tell you the secret of my success,” he said. “I have been in the open air day after day for some 75 years now.”

      The celebrants were impressed and asked how he managed to keep up his rigorous fitness regime.

      “Well, you see my wife and I were married 75 years ago. On our wedding night, we made a solemn pledge. Whenever we had a fight, the one who was proved wrong would go outside and take a walk.”

    • Cressida de Nova

      If only all men possessed this wisdom, peace and harmony would reign in the world. You are a fine example of what a husband should be Jack.

      • One develops these oversights over time through trial and error, Cressie. It’s been a bumpy road fraught with difficulties but his wife has been patient in guiding him towards this understanding which, as you say, leads to wisdom, peace and harmony in the home and in the world.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Goodness! I must say I commend your understanding of the way things should be, dear Happy Jack! I shall send you a tin of freshly-baked hobnobs immediately…but don’t eat them all at once!

      • Dear Mrs Proudie, thank you so much and Jack will be sure to share these hobnobs with his wife.

  • Graham Goldsmith

    Its true that few politicians want to discuss marriage even if they were aware of the research suggesting its benefits. In social matters generally they respond to perceived public opinion. Secularists believe in the evidence based approach as it fits the claim to scientific rationalism, but not if it restricts personal freedom. Choice is king and you can choose anything you like including attitudes that loosen covenant, obligations and responsibilities. It requires something or somebody more compelling to change attitudes and transform human beings. Politicians and Media are too conflicting to get a uniform view on marriage. The church must use every opportunity to speak about agape love and selfless giving in marriage and challenge the prevailing mindset among media and politicians

  • Hi Gillan

    Thanks for a thoughtful article.

  • Hi all

    Can you help me join the dots here. Gillan has written an intriguing and thoughtfully written post about how to strengthen marriage. I assume as an evangelical Christian he refers to traditional/ straight marriage. And yet the bulk of the comments below revert to the same one track, one issue obsession of gay marriage. I can appreciate that it will NEVER be certain Christians cup of tea, but it has nothing to do with heterosexuals not marrying, having children,outside of marriage etc.

    Gay marriage will not “threaten” family life because family life in the tradition sense of the word is alread becoming the minority, as the article is suggesting and as any cursory glance at the statistics will show this secular trend has been going on well before I was born. I’m not indulging myself here as to whether or not this is right, from a moral or societal sense, but it is fact. It’s almost as if you guys know that to oppose heterosexual relationships and families who aren’t married is going to make your churches or yourselves personally (say at work) unpopular, because of this trend.

    But you should either be blaming yourselves for not having the courage of your convictions and pointing out heterosexual sin ( heterosexual sex outside of marriage, I believe is as sinful as gay sexual activity? ) or heterosexual people who’ve voted with their sex lives to not go for traditional family or married life, but I feel you don’t because it’s far easier to single out gay people for special treatment of our particular “sin” and because there is the “icky” factor which probably puts gay sex up there as a worse type of sin than the heterosexual equivalent.

    • CliveM

      Well put.

    • It’s not either attack heterosexual sin or homosexual marriage. Both need to be addressed. And when discussing the shocking state of modern marriage, why focus on same sex marriage? Because it’s a measure of our rejection of our Creator’s intention and purpose in bestowing on us the gift of sex and how this should be ordered for our individual good and the common good.

      Heterosexual sin is acting outside of the God given moral boundaries for sex. Homosexual sex is a rejection of those boundaries.

      • CliveM

        But Hannah makes a good point. On these pages homosexuality seems to cause more correspondence then heterosexual sin.

        For example, HG puts up a thought provoking article on the slaughter of ME Christians and the AoB’s attempted response and certain individuals try and turn it into an SSM issue!!!!

        Sexual issues are important but sometimes some people give the impression it is the only important thing, and specifically a narrow part of it.

        But I have expressed my irritation to you on this before.

        • Hi Clive

          Yeah I get that. I checked the 170 posts I’ve done since August on my 2 blogs. There’s more entries about Dr who (about 30), then there is about anything gay. I did a poll this week of my readership and almost a quarter are from ultra orthodox backgrounds. I mused this morning as to why these Jews, who are unequivocal about opposition to any kind of homosexuality , would be interested in my views. I got an e-mail from a guy in a yeshiva in Israel, written in Yiddish, and he said whilst I’d got the yeah ra(the evil inclination) my yetzer tov(the good inclination) was much stronger. That and he likes Dr Who. So not everything spins on whether one is gay or not.

          • CliveM

            Even amongst most Christians not everything revolves around homosexuality! At my Church I can’t remember when SSM was last mentioned and it’s not because it is particularly liberal, neither are the people in it.

            Of course these blogs are also an artificial environment so things get a bit out of perspective. Exaggerated if you will.


            Hope that right!

          • Hi Clive

            Peace back to you!

            I understand that blogs are likely to lead to some lively polemics & I understand most Christians don’t focus solely on homosexuality. Also , yeah, I’m sure being a grandfather someday will be cool for you.

          • CliveM

            Of course my son may have a different view! After seeing my parenting skills, he may decide he wouldn’t want to risk making the same mistakes on any of his own children!

          • dannybhoy

            Shabbat Shalom Hannah!

      • Hi happy Jack

        So it’s nothing to do with the fact Christianity is afraid of being consistent in its approach to sin?

        Also, I don’t get the idea of how heterosexual sexual sin is acting outside of God’s moral order, but homosexual sexual sin is rejecting it altogether? Surely BOTH are rejections of God’s moral order (viz Christian sexual ethics anyways?).

        • No, so far as Jack is concerned, it is not to do with Christians being afraid of a consistent approach to sin.

          The difference between heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual sex? One is a misuse of ordained sexuality; the other is a wrongly directed use of sex.

          • Hi happy Jack

            I just can’t grasp what you’re saying. They’re either both sins or neither are sins. You seem to want to make heterosexual sexual sin more acceptable than the homosexual sin. Bizarre, but not surprising.

            Well I’m off now.

            Shabbat shalom!

          • They are both sin; one is neither less nor more morally acceptable than the other. However, in what is harsh language, one is “intrinsically morally disordered” – a “perversion” i.e. wrongly directed; the other are inherently God given gifts that are being misused.

            Shalom to you and yours.

          • dannybhoy

            Hannah is quite right. Sin is sin -including adultery or lust etc.
            I posted on this before. We are talking about two aspects of life: the spiritual and the temporal.
            I am against same sex marriage especially if it comes into churches.
            And against two men with children or two women, because this is against God’s clear mandate for Godly people.
            In society I accept that non Christian homosexuals have civil partnerships because that isn’t marriage and that’s how society has gone.

          • Hi danny

            Fwitw, my point was about the extent to which the conversation here is about the Christian concepts of sin and what these are (I’m not endorsing them*) and how to apply them consistently and as we say in Sephardic Judaism in a “lenient” or not fashion.

            I’m in favour of ssm in the civic or secular sense, but believe each religion should be free from state or court inference in deciding whether or not to embrace ssm as part of their religious rituals/sacrament/ordinances etc. Personally I can’t see the case in Jewish law-so I’m still within my own belief system- and so I don’t think Judaism should undertake ssm, although my reform brethren do so and the conservative Jewish movement in the UK is allowing each synagogue to make up its own mind(but they’ve rather interestingly pitching this as a kind of Jewish civil partnership, than Jewish marriage).

            I’d like to elaborate and expand further but a comment on a blog post isn’t the best medium to do so.

            *e.g. I’m sure you know Judaism doesn’t see divorce as a sin nor does it prevent people from remarriage.

          • dannybhoy

            Christianity majors on the state of the heart Hannah, as opposed to (I think) the Jewish emphasis on the Law as a way of life.
            As you know Jesus spoke a lot about hypocrisy to the Jewish religious parties of the Pharisees and Saducees.
            It just seems strange to me even as a Christian the way homosexuality comes up again and again in Christian circles compared to other sins.
            As a kid I remember that churches often had the Ten Commandments up on display and sermons were based on them. But this emphasis on sinfulness and hypocrisy was also reflected in the Tenach wasn’t it? It wasn’t just about keeping the law and the mitzvot.

          • Hi Danny

            Looks like the time spent in Israel rubbed off on you and a very rabbinic response there(responding via the way of a counter question). Well it looks like we’re getting into a Jewish verses Christian discussion, on the “correct” basis of what Judaism is about, which is something you implied you didn’t want to do? But anyways I don’t want to engage on that topic here, so I’ll leave this discussion for another day and another forum.

          • dannybhoy

            Hannah as a devout Jewish girl you know your own religion, so out of deference and respect I can only refer to the Tenach and the history recorded there.

            Psalm 1
            “Blessed is the man[a]who walks not in the counsel of the wicked nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
            2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
            3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
            In all that he does, he prospers.
            4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
            6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

            (True) Christians can benefit from this Jewish psalm too and be both inspired and admonished by it. I met some extremely wise and godly Israelis and was challenged by their devotion and compassion.

          • “Well it looks like we’re getting into a Jewish verses Christian discussion, on the “correct” basis of what Judaism is about, which is something you implied you didn’t want to do? But anyways I don’t want to engage on that topic here, so I’ll leave this discussion for another day and another forum.”

          • dannybhoy

            “I’m in favour of ssm in the civic or secular sense, but believe each
            religion should be free from state or court inference in deciding
            whether or not to embrace ssm as part of their religious
            rituals/sacrament/ordinances etc.”
            I have no argument with civil partnerships, but don’t believe two people of the same sex can marry. Live in a relationship together yes, but marriage by definition is between a male and a female in all cultures. No culture in history had a tradition of both hetero and homosexual marriage.
            So why desire marriage? Children cannot be produced from two people of the same sex, so instead of a couple a “triple” is required; a sleeping partner if you will so that the couple can indulge their desire for children.
            True, or not true?
            My wife and I have (technically) a civil partnership, a civic form of marriage. We don’t hanker after another religious ceremony because we both know what our faith teaches about divorce.
            So I think if we know what our faith teaches about the importance of marriage in society and the need of children to be nurtured and taught by the father and the mother, then to want to introduce a variation into the mix is to go against our God who ordained marriage.

          • “I’d like to elaborate and expand further but a comment on a blog post isn’t the best medium to do so”.

        • CliveM

          Christianity isn’t but some Christians are.

          But isn’t that also true for other groups?

          I have a Secular friend, very pro Gay and SSM. Ask him how he would feel about it if his son came out…………

          He admits he would find it ‘difficult’.

          I suppose we all have a hoped for future for our children and although I would love my son, never matter what, I would grieve for the future I had hoped for him.

          I hope to join Happy Jack in Grandparent hood some day!

    • William Lewis


      You are right that in some sense SSM did not happen in a vaccum and that marriage was/is not in a particularly good way so far as society generally is concerned. And you can also point out that people also need to castigate divorce and adultery if they are to uphold the virtues of marriage without looking hypocritical (or even homophobic). Nevertheless it’s also true that SSM was a profound shock to many people (and I’m not just talking Christians here) when it came in and, whereas divorce and adultery undermine marriage, SSM fundamentally removes the uniquely sexual, procreative and traditional child-rearing characteristics that made up the core of marriage. Some people think that this removal was deliberate and unnecessary, particularly with civil partnerships already allowing the state to recognise, and people to publicly celebrate, committed same sex unions. In this sense, at least, I think that SSM is unique in its assault on traditional marriage.

      From my point of view I care very little if two men (or women) decide to call themselves “husband” and “wife”, but I care greatly about what has been lost in this merger of these different unions into one institution.

      • Hi William

        The point being made by me was that the traditional marriage idea that you’ve put forward above, was already halfway underwater well before civil partnerships or ssm marriage. If this is the case you guys are going against the wrong people here. Dispute it , that is the decline vin traditional marriage,with the teenage single mother or the heterosexual middle-class family who choose to cohabitation, with marriage possibly only after the second child, who are equally as sinful in the church’s eyes (according to traditional teaching). These are the people are also undermining “the uniquely sexual, procreative and traditional child-rearing characteristics that made up the core of marriage”. But no-one here attacks single mums, or decent hardworking heterosexual couples who choose to have a family outside of the traditional culture.

        So still im not clear on 2 issues:

        Why do Heterosexuals not engage in traditional marriage in the numbers they used to?

        Why do people here focus exclusively on homosexual marriage and homosexuality above and beyond any other sexual sin?( assuming that the answer isn’t blatant homophobia).

        • carl jacobs


          Why do Heterosexuals not engage in traditional marriage in the numbers they used to?

          Women traditionally enforced marriage as a pre-requisite for sex. Women, after all, get pregnant. A pregnant woman eventually gives birth. Childbirth is a public act that imposes legal obligations on a woman. She wants help fulfilling that obligation. So traditionally she demanded a legally-binding relationship to secure the place of both her and her children. Two things undermined this dynamic.

          Safe and effective contraception that didn’t depend upon a man’s agreement. This technology greatly reduced the fear of women getting pregnant outside of marriage. It didn’t eradicate the risk but it mitigated the risk. Women no longer felt the necessity to impose marriage before sex. Of course, contraception is not fool-proof and so abortion was added as the ultimate guarantee. But contraception allowed women to indulge foolish fantasies about “sex as love” instead of “sex as commitment.”

          Wealth The excess created by modern capitalism allowed women to “marry the state” in a way. She could get benefits and financial support for her children without having to deal with a permanent partner. Alternatively, she might make enough to pay for childcare on her own. A woman doesn’t feel the financial need to find support like she once did. There is an infrastructure in place to help her with those responsibilities traditionally shared by parents.

          The principal beneficiaries of this new arrangement have been men (who now get sex for free) and those women who don’t want children. But it has demolished the social expectation of permanence in relationships. And marriage is intended to enforce permanence. Why in this new reality should people choose to foreclose options? Why bind yourself if you don’t have to? The answer used to be about children. But it’s not about children anymore. Do kids have a right to a mother and a father? We have legally abolished the roles. And all the state cares about is that the state not get stuck with child support.

          You should fear the arrangement because it all rests upon wealth. A sudden reversal of economic fortune would not instantly change the dynamic. Men have been taught that sex is about their gratification. That isn’t going to change simply because women no longer have access to an infrastructure intended to replace a husband. And then what will happen?

          • Thanks Carl

            I’m off blogging until about 5 my time tomorrow. I’ll read through that post during Shabbat.

            Shabbat shalom/gut shabbos

          • dannybhoy

            Don’t agree.
            God declared that “it is not good for the man to be alone..”
            Now I haven’t done a survey.,..
            But I think most women want to be in a deep relationship regardless of children.
            I think men are often afraid of a deep lasting relationship until they are actually deep into one.
            I think too that at times of stress both sexes will look around for comfort, affirmation etc.
            The couple who share a common faith are much less likely to break up (although in my own case that is what happened.)
            I think God’s commands are such because God wants us to be happy and fulfilled. (After all, He designed us..)
            The influence of evolutionary thinking has whittled away at Christian/Judaic morality and replaced it with
            “Do whatever makes you happy because once you die it’s eternal lights out.”
            I think this philosophy is driving so much of the loneliness and unhappiness we now see in western societies.

    • carl jacobs


      I believe (and have previously stated on this blog) that Christian reticence about speaking against divorce is a product of cowardice. Yes, you are correct. We should be calling out loud for a repeal of no-fault divorce laws. There should be condemnation of divorce from the pulpit. There should be church discipline applied to those who go their own way on this subject. But it is not fear of the outside world that drives resistance to these actions. It is fear of division. There are lots of divorced and remarried people in the church. They don’t want to be told they did something wrong. They want dispensation for circumstance. And they will get angry if you confront them. It is much easier to let the subject of homosexuality take point because that is a unifying issue.

      The problem then is that the church does not want to confront its own moral compromise. Christian sexual morality is a seamless garment. You can’t divide it and still keep it whole. So the homosexual apologist is right to beat the hell out of us on this issue. We deserve it.

      • Hi Carl

        Kinda what I was thinking above, but from a different viewpoint.That’s what I respect about you, because you’ve been perfectly consistent and straightforward with your views throughout the years. Did you have a good thanksgiving?

        • carl jacobs


          Yes, we did Thanksgiving this year for the first time. My mother-in-law isn’t strong enough anymore. It’s that awful point in life when your parents stop being the focus of family life, and the baton is formally passed to you. What was is no more and will never be again.

          All in all, it’s easier being a kid.

          • CliveM

            I remember when this happened with my Father (Christmas) and his roles passed to me. It didn’t seem right and their was a sadness about. And now the same thing is happening to my Mum.

            Your right, childhood gets more attractive!

      • Carl, that is precisely why the recent Catholic Synod on the Family, despite the concerted efforts of some, rightly rejected the acceptance of access to the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried (adultery), concessions to all non-marital sexual relationships (fornication) and the attempt to claim some value in same sex relationships (intrinsically morally disordered).

        • carl jacobs


          For now. But who is that guy working feverishly behind the scenes to reverse the field? Oh, yeah. He’s the Pope.

          The spirit of Vatican II roles on

          • Yes but despite what you persist in presenting, the Pope is not the Magisterium of the Church. He is unable to change the Truth. His job is to protect and to teach it. Without commenting specifically on Pope Francis, there have been good, bad, indifferent, even heretical Popes in the past.

          • carl jacobs


            I have never said the Pope is the Magisterium. I know better. What I have said – and what other RCs have confirmed to me – is that you have no standing to reject an authoritative pronouncement of the Magisterium.

          • Agreed, Carl. Jack as an individual has no such standing. Catholics believe no pronouncement given as definitive or infallible from the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, or the Extraordinary Magisterium, can possibly be erroneous. God would just not permit it.

          • carl jacobs

            Exactly. So if this upcoming Synod on the family tells you it has rethought divorce and homosexuality, and proceeds to authoritatively add that this re-thinking is completely consistent with 2000 years of Catholic Magisterial teaching, you have no choice but to submit to this determination. Which is why I am mystified by all the Sturm und Drang that accompanied the meeting in October. You couldn’t possibly know if it was heretical unless the Magisterium as current constituted told you so. You can’t just pick up the Bible or the Canons of Trent and judge what was said.

            But I can. Reason number one for “Why I am not a Catholic.”

          • “So if this upcoming Synod on the family tells you it has rethought divorce and homosexuality, and proceeds to authoritatively add that this re-thinking is completely consistent with 2000 years of Catholic Magisterial teaching, you have no choice but to submit to this determination.”
            Carl, should know, the Synod is not the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium. It is a pastoral meeting of invited representatives that has been called to assist the Church develop approaches to the crisis facing family life in our times. It has no authority. Jack thinks you’ll find any subsequent Encyclical released by the Pope will comply with Catholic doctrine. Homosexuality aside, there was a move to adjust Catholic teaching on divorce and remarriage towards Eastern Orthodox Church practise. Having read about their practice, Jack can understand this. Whether the Catholic Church is in a position to make these moves, is where he will have to rely on the Magisterium when it finishes its deliberations and decides.
            “Which is why I am mystified by all the Sturm und Drang that accompanied the meeting in October. You couldn’t possibly know if it was heretical unless the Magisterium as currently constituted told you so. You can’t just pick up the Bible or the Canons of Trent and judge what was said.”
            Mystified? Those Bishops and Cardinals present, who are a part of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and who the Pope will have to carry with him if he wants to amend teaching, pointed out existing Catholic doctrine and insisted the Synod remain within this. Those pushing for change outside of established truth had no option but to comply. That’s where reason comes into play alongside tradition. And of course Jack and all other Catholics are entitled, even obliged, to comment on such debates.

            “But I can. Reason number one for “Why I am not a Catholic.”
            Yes and so can all other Protestants which is why there is so much theological variety and confusion amongst non-Catholics.

        • dannybhoy

          If our vicar had said we couldn’t take Holy Communion I wouldn’t have had a problem with it. I don’t think my wife would either.
          When my own divorce happened I was distraught. I couldn’t understand it, as I believed of course that marriage is for keeps.
          I think what some people here miss out on
          “The problem then is that the church does not want to confront its own moral compromise”
          is that the early church was very different to the disparate often lonely often indifferent loveless lifestyles of many churches today.
          There is no real authority because churches are for the most part not modelled nor administered on the early church model.

          • “There is no real authority because churches are for the most part not modelled nor administered on the early church model.”
            Circumstances in the West are certainly very different to those facing the early Church, agreed. A world wide Church; more members in diverse situations with differing understandings of the faith; buildings and funding to organise; more ministers to form in the faith, ordain and support; etc. However, Jack is not sure what you mean about there being no real authority or, aside from the model and administration needing to adapt to these changing circumstances, in what way things are different.

          • dannybhoy

            What I mean is that the composition of churches has changed, there are far more outward distractions

            tvs smart phones internet holidays sports entertainment
            Because Christianity became the dominant faith

            (however they did that…. 😉 ) Christians are safe, can express themselves, are not so committed etc.
            So for example if I/we had been tied into a much more close knit church I would have looked to the church leadership for support and guidance, but as it was we were new to the area having returned from overseas, and it just didn’t happen.
            But Carl’s stuff was just annoying as far as I am concerned. I don’t believe in divorce in principle. The reality is though that in my case it happened. It hurt very deeply, it completely threw my Christian life into chaos and there was noone to pick up the pieces.
            But, there is no point going over it all again. I’ve spent twenty years doing that.

            My attitude is this. God knows the ins and outs of it, He knows the heart, and He knows what I personally did and that I accept He will deal with it all one day.
            As an aside, I am disappointed again that a serious issue has been initiated by Hannah and answered by Carl.

            I respond to Carl’s post as one of those people he was talking about, and …..zilch.
            No one’s got anything much to say beyond general statements. I think that says more about where we Christians are at than the ssm/divorce thing.

          • To be fair, Danny, this is a public weblog and it’s difficult to tailor one’s responses to particular individual circumstances. All we can do is address the general themes. Much like a Minister should from the pulpit and then speak privately with individuals about their personal struggles and how they can conform their life to the Gospel.

            Happy Jack knows a number of Catholics who are divorced and remarried. They are encouraged to come to Mass and accepted in the Church without there being an issue. Their children have been raised as Catholic too. The discipline imposed is denial of access to Holy Communion unless their relationship becomes one of ‘brother and sister’ i.e. remains celibate. This is because, based on scripture, we believe to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin – any gave sin – is seen as sacrilege. Jack knows this teaching by the Church that such relationships are a sin – adultery – is painful for the individuals concerned. Like you, they trust God will understand. The exact same requirement is imposed on homosexuals.

            Balancing God’s Divine commandments with the mess of people’s lives is a tricky business. What we cannot do is misrepresent those laws or change them to accommodate societal change or to make people feel better. However, we have to do all we can to help those struggling with meeting the demands – and they are demanding.

          • dannybhoy

            that’s a very good and thoughtful answer HJ.
            I think overall there is a difference between Christians who want to live their Christian life as they feel is right, and those of us who accept the guidelines and commandments of our faith, but (as you so eloquently put it) find life sometimes messy. We don’t seek to change God’s order, but we do -or at least I finally did- realise that God is the God of new beginnings and is not interested in condemnation only renewal.
            I deeply love my wife. We have been together 23 years now. At the time of the breakdown of the first marriage “the heavens were as brass” and I had no answers from any quarter.
            A few dodos tried to tell me I hadn’t been a Christian in the first place. I found that extremely unhelpful. I read all the books, talked it through with ministers and old Christian friends.
            I think it’s really a case of honesty and repentance and moving on with God again.

          • CliveM


            I haven’t responded simply because I couldn’t think of what to say that wasn’t trite. As HJ says these sort of forums are good at broad issues, but aren’t great at sensitive specifics.

            My response to Carl was more to do with his last 2 sentences and how they related to Hannah’s point.

            There is a divorce going through in my family at the moment and I am shocked how vicious it has become. Considering the marriage was abudive in many ways I can’t but feel it is the right thing.

            And then I see how the mother is destroying her daughters life to get at the father……………..!

            We all fail. Every day. I am not in a position to judge you or what happened. In a sense I don’t think divorce is the issue ( again I see it as a symptom) it’s how many people approach marriage, parenthood and relationships in general that appears to me to be the problem.

            None of that was directed at you and I’m sorry if my response to Carl upset you, I will try and be clearer in future!!

          • dannybhoy

            You didn’t upset me Clive. Really
            The reason I shared that was because I thought Hannah raised a very valid point and divorce is a big issue, and Christians are inconsistent or should I say unbalanced.
            I could have said nothing and noone would be any the wiser but I have nothing to hide.
            I can tell you I shed a lot of tears in total bewilderment at what had happened, had a lot of nightmares and my life was totally fracturedI think it took me nearly ten years to get over it. Fortunately there were no children.

            My own observation is that our societies just don’t function like they did. We are far more mobile and transient. But I also think that the Lord can make something positive out of something negative if we come to Him in repentance and humility. If there’s at all a chance to save a marriage then those chances should always be taken…

      • CliveM


        • dannybhoy


      • dannybhoy

        “But it is not fear of the outside world that drives resistance to these
        actions. It is fear of division. There are lots of divorced and
        remarried people in the church.

        True. we’re one such couple.
        They don’t want to be told they did
        something wrong. ( You surveyed?,/i>
        You know how people respond to divorce? You know how traumatic that can be for a Christian who has served the Lord in mission work?!
        My wife divorced her husband and my Christian wife divorced me and I spent the next 20 years in the spiritual wilderness)
        They want dispensation for circumstance. And they
        will get angry if you confront them.

        (Again, you or somebody carried out a survey? Personally I don’t get angry; I am profoundly sad about it. When my wife and I decided to returnto church we told our vicar exactly where we were at
        and it was a while before we felt right about taking communion.)

        It is much easier to let the
        subject of homosexuality take point because that is a unifying issue.

        This I also disagree with. I don’t know why Christians ‘bash ‘ homosexuals so much, but I suspect it has more to do with fear than unity.
        I personally have no problems with civil partnerships for non Christians, but am totally against marriage and children. Neither the Christian or Jewish understanding of God allows for it.

        I don’t believe it is good for society and I would refer anybody to Stonewall or similar sites to see what the educational agenda is. To say it will have no impact on society is naieve.

        • carl jacobs


          You realize that you have confirmed what I said by your series of posts, correct? You felt confronted, got mad, and appealed to circumstance.

          I don’t know the circumstances of your divorce. I don’t know if you has sufficient grounds to re-marry or not. I do know that there are lots of people in the church who are re-married without such grounds. And that is something the church should deal with as a matter of church discipline. But it doesn’t. Why is that?

          I didn’t make the rules. I am not the one who said that a remarriage without grounds is adulterous in its essence and cannot be made otherwise. You may not like that. But there it is.

          • dannybhoy

            You realize that you have confirmed what I said by your series of posts,
            correct? You felt confronted, got mad, and appeal to circumstance.

            No Carl,

            I didn’t feel confronted and I didn’t get mad or appealed to circumstances.
            I explained what happened and how it all panned out.
            What I was pointing out to you was that you are making assumptions about people who have experienced divorce as Christians.
            You are of course right to state what the Bible says, and of course I knew what the Bible said too.
            You are not right to judge how people react to these disasters, only the Lord can see what’s in people’s hearts and I suppose if their hearts condemn them not they go to their church and ask for help.

          • What grounds are there for remarriage after divorce if one’s former spouse is still living? Are there any?

  • Christian marriage – a reminder of its Divine origin and purposes:
    The Book of Common Prayer 1662:

    Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this Congregation, to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

    First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the
    fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

    Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.

    Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the
    one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which
    holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined ….

    Revised Version 1966:

    Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God himself signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee, and is commended in Holy Writ to be honourable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly; but reverently, discreetly, soberly, and in the fear of God, duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

    First, It was ordained for the increase of mankind according to the will of God, and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name.
    Secondly, It was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God, should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate, should continue therein in pureness of living.
    Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort,
    that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
    Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be
    joined ….

  • len

    I think the point being missed here by those who are in favour of’ gay marriage’ (which is part of an ongoing attempt to’ normalise’ and make’ acceptable ‘ homosexual behaviour )that it has devalued marriage which for centuries has been part of the Judeo / Christian heritage.
    So marriage between a man and a woman is a state ordained and blessed by God.
    SSM is in direct opposition to the ordinances of God and cannot recognised as ‘a marriage’ at all unless one want to be in direct opposition to the Creator.
    So calling SSM’ a marriage’ defines one as opposing God`s right to define ‘marriage’and places one in direct rebellion against God.
    “So what” ! I hear the voices…..

    That is the nature of rebellion and the character of fallen man part of the old condemned creation.
    When we start to condone what God calls sin we become part of the problem not part of the solution so I call sin sin , no matter how anyone prefers to ‘dress it up’ and rename it.
    Unless we are very clear about what God defines as sin we make it impossible for anyone unsaved to see clearly the need of a saviour to save them and that to me at least) is the height of selfishness and self indulgence.

    • Well said, Len.

    • DanJ0

      “So marriage between a man and a woman is a state ordained and blessed by God.”

      As most people no more believe in your god than they do in Allah, where does that leave you in the scheme of things?

      • Jack thinks you’ll find most people posting here believe in God, therefore Len’s comment has to be read with that in mind. It’s also highly probable most (all) people believe in (know there is) a Creator God too. Where that leaves Christians is appreciating we have to promote and explain the Gospel and engage in the spiritual and cultural attacks being waged against it by those describing themselves as atheists.

      • len

        Whether you personally believe in God is not the issue.
        God exists.
        There are spiritual laws equally as valid as physical laws
        because you deny their existence does not make them invalid.
        If you break these spiritual laws there is a cause and effect…
        It could be compared to the law of gravity you cannot see it but you see the effects of it.
        We are seeing the affects of breaking God`s Moral Law throughout our society.

        • DanJ0

          Len, Muslims think Allah exists, and Hindus think Brahman exists. You deny they exist. There seems to be a bit of an impasse there. Where does that leave you all, other than clamouring to assert your own undemonstrable beliefs?

          • You know many Muslims or Hindus who accept divorce or homosexual relationships? No? Thought not.

          • DanJ0

            Nice try, slippery eel man.


    Obviously, so called “same sex marriage” is not the sole reason for the decline in marriage. Rather, this is a bi-product of the Anglican Church’s 1930 Resolution 15 on sex and marriage accepting contraception, thereby violating the procreative aspect of the conjugal act. Up to 1930, ALL mainline Protestant churches had opposed both contraception and abortion. In the decades following Resolution 15, resistance to anti-life practices such as abortion, divorce, euthanasia, pornography and homosexual civil union gradually diminished. In 1968, Paul VI in his Encyclical Humanae Vitae very accurately prophesied the negative consequences for marriage if the use of contraception became widespread.

    Please see: for 20 pages of purely
    secular arguments and information on the harms caused by “same sex marriage” and homosexual adoption.

    • Inspector General

      Marriage remained fashionable until the 1960s. You do the maths. It all started to fall apart when we elevated unmarried mothers to life long benefit dependants and made it attractive to be so. One can’t help feeling the churches did their bit to achieve that by canvassing government…

      • APRODEFA

        Coincidently the first contraceptive/abortifacient dates from about 1960.

        • Inspector General

          Well, we’ll ignore the prophylactics issued to WWII soldiers then. It wouldn’t fit in with your way of understanding…

          • Have you ever tried swallowing one of those in the morning? No, neither has Happy Jack. One suspects they’re much more difficult than the pill.

          • APRODEFA

            It would seem to fit well with the notion that the contraceptive mentality had already taken hold in the period following the Lambeth conference of 1930. The resulting
            increase in promiscuity contributed greatly to the weakening
            of marriage.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t delude yourself. When young horny women were assured of financial security ‘if anything happened’ that was it. Still is.

          • DanJ0

            Two things, at least to my mind anyway: 1. The lowering of the risk of pregnancy for woman by contraception; 2. The emancipation of women in general in society. The first essentially deregulated the sex act by limiting the consequences, and the second led to women imagining themselves with careers and independent lives. I’d rather have a more laissez-faire attitude to marriage in society than give those things up again.

          • “I’d rather have a more laissez-faire attitude to marriage in society than give those things up again.”

            Danjo, let Jack reassure you about a couple of things. As a male, you cannot become pregnant. Really, you can’t. And female emancipation does not apply to you.

            Besides, it’s a selfish and destructive attitude. Who are the immediate losers in this great redesign of marriage? Yes, that’s right, children. Then the old and sick who have no one to care for them. How can you honour your father and mother when they keep changing? Then everyone, as the burden of care shifts away from the family to the state.

            And all because ….. some groups wanted a “laissez-faire attitude to marriage.”

          • DanJ0

            Dodo, your obsessive-compulsive thing has obviously taken control now. You don’t need to reply to everything I write, even so, especially with a load of crap like that. Sometimes, less is more. You can still satisfy your consuming desire to interact with me daily by marshalling yourself and trying to write something that actually follows my point. Try it, you may find it suits you better in the end.

          • The hand, Danjo …. the hand.

            When you post your opinions and share your ‘knowledge’ about Christianity, homosexuality and what you call ‘morality’ based, one has to suppose on utilitarianism and some mixture of sociology, anyone is entitled to respond. The only rule on this weblog that Jack tries to adhere to is to do so politely and reasonably.

          • APRODEFA

            What you are describing is a faustian bargain

            Pills like Yaz and Yasmin are suspected in more than 23 deaths of Canadian women. The prevalence of cancers the pill causes far exceeds the cancers it prevents. WHO lists the pill (estrogen/progestogen) as a Group 1 cancer-causing agent.

            As a result of the promiscuity resulting from the contraceptive mentality, up to one quarter of the population are suffering STD’s. The resulting increase in abortion has lead to significant increase in breat cancer.

            Indeed, the multiple harms of a more laissez-faire attitude to marriage are well deescribed in the document I linked to above.

          • DanJ0

            Personally, I think society can have marriages which last and equal opportunities for men and women. I don’t see it as inherently a Faustian bargain, even though we’re where we are now.

  • Inspector General

    Hannah. This whole SSM episode. It is bad law. It is not conducive to the order of society, whereas CP is for those who require it’s financial protections.

    That said, you asked a question and an answer you will get. And furthermore, without any false feeling of immodesty, the Inspector will tell you you won’t get one

    SSM opens so many doors for militant homosexuality. The country is at risk from militants, and now always will be. Did you know gayers have already written
    books propaganda aimed at young children with titles like‘Rosie Has Two Mummies’. They were right in there like a shot on that. No doubt will come ‘A is for Apple and B is for Bi-sexuality’ for the under 5s. Would you be happy with that ? And don’t think it will stop there. Teenagers will be given graphic instruction on how to bugger each other eventually. It has to come the way things are going. Do you
    really want that ?

    The strategy is simple. They DEMAND that homosexuality is a valid lifestyle. As valid as heterosexuality. Well it damn well isn’t. It is a handicap in life. It’s like saying the para-Olympics are just as important as the real Olympics. Whereas the truth is that the former is a somewhat sad and pitiful and depressing spectacle, verging on the distressing at times. To think that the blind pistol shooter who gets the gold medal could quite easily take you out with a mis-aimed head shot and wouldn’t even know about it is nothing short of comic.

    What has SSM achieved that CP didn’t provide. Apart from two queers calling each other husband, to everyone’s disgust. The answer is that SSM has made people furious, and homophobic crime figures reflect that. The Inspector feels the Prime Minister has pushed his head down and rubbed his nose in the blighters own droppings. Violated is the word ! Frogmarched into a new order that appals him, joining what the EU has degenerated into. Like that destructive failing setup, SSM has to go, and go it eventually will.

    • Well said Inspector. One hopes that both the EU and SSM disappear into the mists of time never to be seen again.

  • len

    Of course there are other things which devalue marriage.So take adultery for example. Most people know that adultery is wrong because it contributes towards chaos in relationships affecting all concerned.This does not stop people from commiting adultery and many excuses are made for commiting adultery.
    But supposing I started a campaign promoting adultery as an ‘alternative lifestyle ‘ and made some very good points for promoting adultery?. Freedom of the individual to express one`s sexuality, the right to swop ones partner if someone better or more attractive came along?.
    I could probably make a very good case and given enough time (adverts on buses`etc) campaigns with a prominent figure leading the cause I could convince people that everyone should accept my ‘adultery movement ‘ and even get it made a law if I could convine good old Dave Cameron to back me .
    But would it be right for society..?.

    • DanJ0

      “But supposing I started a campaign promoting adultery as an ‘alternative lifestyle ‘ and made some very good points for promoting adultery?”

      If it was a consensual thing within a marriage then I suppose it’s each to their own. One could calling it ‘swinging’ or something. However, I don’t suppose it would suit that many people. It’s not really in keeping with human emotions and an inclination to pair-bond, you see. But hey. Of course, adultery is rarely consensual within a marriage and therefore it’s a breach of trust and of promises. It usually devastates a marriage, and hurts people very deeply. Relationships break down, peripheral friendships are lost, children are damaged, and so on. In short, it causes significant harm to those involved. So, on that basis, how is any of that comparable to a same-sex marriage based on love, like other marriages? Jesus. Talk about stretching an analogy until it bears almost no resemblance to the original.

      • Inspector General

        ” So, on that basis, how is any of that comparable to a same-sex marriage based on love, ”
        Another gay survey out recently. 50% of gay couples enjoy physical or mental abuse or both. Of course, gayists will say that’s because of society’s disapproval of queer love, but we know better, don’t we…

        • DanJ0

          I understand your homophobia of course, given your age and personal circumstances, but the comment is ultimately about harm and its relevance in the analogy.

          • Inspector General

            Hmmm. homosexuality and stable relationships eh.
            ‘Broken Rainbow’ is your man if you yourself have been slapped. No doubt they’ll tell you what a loveable lamb you are and that he’s not worth it.

          • DanJ0

            I know lots of same-sex couples in stable relationships, and lots of heterosexuals whose relationships, including marriage, have fallen apart. The article itself points out the level of divorce in the country, so there’s no dressing it up as a homosexual / heterosexual differentiator. Also, it has to be pointed out that you yourself are a man well into in his 50s who has not managed to form a marriage or even a stable relationship yourself so you don’t have a great deal of high ground on this, do you?

          • It’s not homophobia to point out the dysfunctional nature of many homosexual relationships. In addition to the high prevalence of violence and abuse in male homosexual relationships, there’s also considerable recklessness associated with chemical highs, promiscuity and unsafe sex.

            *Marriage* and civil partnerships does not appear to be making much difference.

      • William Lewis

        Actually Len’s analogy is a good one (though I’m not sure what “Jeez” has to do with it). Adultery does not exist for SSM and therefore will be removed as a concept (and as grounds for divorce) for all marriages (‘cos it’s equal marriage init). No doubt adultery will pass out of space and time and be remembered as some quaint heterosexual thing that people once thought was a bad idea. Some people are already lining up to demand their equal rights under “new marriage” and they have a point because now that marriage is just about two people loving each other, who they actually copulate with is neither here nor there is it? If no adultery is good enough for gay marriage, then it must be good enough for straight marriage too. Don’t you think?

        • dannybhoy

          I read somewhere that the government is preparing new birth certificates and marriage certificates which will omit husband/wife, father/ mother and replace them with partner 1 partner2 and parent 1 parent2.
          I think these changes already exist in some other countries.

          • William Lewis

            Very true Danny Boy the knock-on affects for families all lie ahead of us. Still, at least the swingers should have an easier time of it.

            PS I was sorry to read of some of the comments you received from your church during your divorce about you not being a Christian. It must have been a very difficult time.

          • dannybhoy

            Thank you William.
            I don’t want to mislead, so it wasn’t anyone in our church that suggested I hadn’t been a Christian, but a couple of Christian colleagues at work. but time helps to get a perspective on things, an what I came to see was that whatever the failing or the sin, if there is genuine remorse and repentance our Lord can come into any situation and bring something good out of it.
            He’s into reclamation rather than condemnation. I still don’t believe in divorce but I don’t judge people because I can’t know the whole story.

          • William Lewis

            Agree with that. Clearly genuine remorse and repentance is the key – for all of us.

          • dannybhoy

            Last word!
            Prior to that divorce I was a sold out, gung ho! evangelical Christian wanting to serve the Lord etc. I was very quick to condemn non Christians, very quick to judge Christians who in my view were “off message..” That’s why the divorce was so traumatic, it completely dislocated my life.
            So I think part of the good that came out of that most awful experience is that the Lord blessed me in another relationship and as a person I became more contemplative and l realised that as HJ said earlier ” life is indeed messy..”

          • Dominic Stockford

            Your accusers have beams in their eyes, and, of course, it wouldn’t be much of an accusation to tell a true Christian that they weren’t a “perfect Christian”. Which is in fact the case for all Christians.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t think anyone is accusing me.
            After all having been married (even worse, we were married in a registry office) for twenty three years, what would anyone have me do now?
            I don’t believe in substitutional “blessing ceremonys.”

          • Dominic Stockford

            You said that christians at work accused you of not being a Christian because of the divorce. I am confused.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh sorry,
            I thought you meant on this blog… 🙂

        • William, do get with it. Copulation is now an outdated concept. It doesn’t exist in homosexual *marriages* where there can be no consummation or adultery. It’s who you give your heart to and decide to *pair bond* with. Sex doesn’t come into marriage anymore.

          • William Lewis

            Sorry Jack. I was forgetting myself.

          • It’s difficult William but we must learn to adjust. We can have sex now with whoever we want as it’s no longer a part of modern marriage. “Pair bonding” is all that’s required.

            (If Mrs Lewis is as old fashioned as Jack’s “pair bondee” he suggests you do not share that insight with her.)

          • William Lewis

            Mrs Lewis will just have to get with the programme.

            But I probably won’t mention that tonight.

            In fact, I’ve probably spent too long at the computer this evening so it’s time to bid you a goodnight.

        • DanJ0

          Is the concept all that is stopping you shagging around from within your marriage, William? I’m monogamous myself and I can’t imagine I’d want to be otherwise. Personally, I think we’re inclined to pair-bond as a species attribute. What about you? Do you think pair-bonding is in reality just a social construct? Or perhaps you think two men or two women cannot really pair-bond together because of the physical similarities between them?

          • William Lewis

            Clearly “pair-bonding” for any significant length of time is difficult and/or undesirable for many people – as the data on divorce and family breakdowns attests. And of course shagging around will only become even more socially acceptable once adultery is removed from the statute books. As this charming lady attests. As to whether the physical similarities of same sex partners makes them less likely to pair-bond or not, I have no idea. Certainly the data shows that gay men have more sexual partners of shorter duration then straight men.

          • DanJ0

            The adultery thing is primarily a legal issue, not a social one, at least to my mind. Same-sex marriage has been show-horned into the existing set of law for political reasons and the result is a pig-ear of a thing. Personally, I know what adultery means in practice for two women in a same-sex marriage even if the law makers have shied away from listing ‘tipping the velvet’ with someone outside marriage as adultery, and a drunken kiss on the lips as something that may undermine the trust in a marriage but not a sufficient reason for one party to force a divorce.

          • DanJ0

            Also, adultery has been socially acceptable for gentleman and above for centuries. It’s been socially unacceptable for women when ‘traditional’ marriage was based on contracts for political, financial, and lineage reasons because, in pre-contraception days, resulting pregnancies threatened the social order. Your marriage is a evolved social institution already, having changed from a contractual thing for the reasons above, at least when women needed dowries, to a modern, Western thing based on mutual love for many people. In fact, I daresay that this is one more reason why marriage as an institution has declined: marriage no longer necessarily ties two wider families together so the impact of separation or divorce is more individual. Perhaps we should encourage more of a South Asian view of marriage in the UK and have families arrange them for other family members?

          • Clive9

            Dear DanJ0, I’m afraid you have taken your personal opinion and projected it as if it is true. The truth is adultery is not acceptable for either a man or a woman.

          • DanJ0

            Yet the aristocracy has had bastards in their family tree for many centuries, and it was almost impossible for women to seek a divorce for adultery. For example, I’m sure you know Henry VIII’s marriage history and the events around them as well as I do. My personal opinion is that adultery is the normal sense of the word is morally wrong for both men and women. What I have referred to is what I believe to be historical facts, socially speaking. Argue against my presentation of history with a presentation of your own if you can, at the moment I think what I said is generally known to true.

          • William Lewis

            Does anyone really care if adultery can be anatomically and legally defined for men and women in same sex relationships? Not any advocates of SSM so far as I can see and, frankly, what would be the point? The distinction would be an arbitrary one and really just a further attempt to map same sex relationships to heterosexual ones. Clearly the direction will be to remove adultery as a legal entity, social construct, and thence even a concept, from “equal” marriage altogether.

          • DanJ0

            The distinction isn’t arbitrary if the social institution of marriage in the UK is to create building blocks in private space from which to construct society, at least in part. Those building blocks rely on commitment, and commitment relies on fidelity. The State shouldn’t legislate for fidelity other than bind it into the social institution through marriage law, but what that does is provide the means for one partner in the marriage to hold the other to account. That is, if one partner commits adultery then it’s up to that the other partner to act if he or she chooses, not the State to act on its own initiative.

          • DanJ0

            I’ll also note in passing that Resolution, the family lawyers organisation whose study was referred to in the Article and on the Christian Institute’s website, has these current campaigns:


            That is, for no-fault divorce and strengthening the law for co-habiting couples. It seems to me that there’s an opportunity for Christians, including organisations like the Christian Institute, to mobilise against them. Go team!

          • William Lewis

            We never seem to get any adultery advocates, campaigners to make divorce easier or more freedom for fornicators on these threads. When it comes to marital and sexual relations, it’s always the pushers of SSM who turn up.

          • DanJ0

            We have same-sex marriage already, it’s a done deal so there’s no need to push. However, most threads here are diverted to homosexuality by Christians. It had already happened on this one when I arrived. Any hint of same-sex marriage or homosexuality in the article is jumped upon. Many Christian regulars here seem to think more about homosexuality than I do, and I’m homosexual. If they’re not thinking about it then they’re looking at the sky all the time waiting for it to fall in as a result of it. I expect they’ll be like 1st Century Christians waiting for the Second Coming with that.

          • William Lewis

            Well sexual fidelity, if it can even be defined, was clearly not the goal of SSM as it would have been introduced, as a concept, from the start. No, the goal was to equalise homosexual and heterosexual relationships by the shortest route possible. It’s not called equal marriage for nothing. And if that means removing the provisions for “shagging around”, then so be it.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Small correction – with so-called SSM one partner can commit adultery, by engaging in sexual congress with someone of the opposite gender. Bizarre I know, but still the case.

          • “Sexual congress”? Jack has never tried that. Is there a leaflet somewhere explaining what’s entailed and giving instructions?
            The world is a strange place, Dominic.

      • How narrowed minded of you Danjo.

        Once monogamy is rejected as an unnecessary, artificial and unreasonable burden then, with education, there will be no harm. Surely it’s only because people expect sexual fidelity that they react so adversely to sexual pleasure being sought outside of monogamous relationships? It’s all so old fashioned.

        Once society is re-educated these “human emotions” and unreasonable expectations will be replaced and it will be understood there is no breach of trust in seeking gratification elsewhere.

        Sexual liberation demands a departure from all restraints. ‘Adultery Pride’ is a necessary advance in promoting human freedom.

  • Pair Bonding 2050

    Earth creatures, men, women, intersexual, and transgendered people, and others yet to be identified, we are gathered here in the presence of the Universal Spirit to pair bond these two people for as long as they choose to be pair bonded.
    Not all biological males are heterosexual and male-identified; not all biological females are heterosexual and female-identified. Pair bonding permits us to recognise all this wonderful diversity and the universal drives that transcend these surface distinctions. Heterosexuals, bisexuals, and homosexuals have exactly the same set of deep universal drives to love and stay together for as long as the relationship is self fulfilling and promotes growth and pleasure. There is no one set of sexual values, principles, and lessons for heterosexuals, and another for bisexuals and still another for homosexuals. Past patriarchal and heterosexist distortions have been identified and rooted out.

    • We’re living in the age of Aquarius HJ, an age of defiance and of
      unfettered freedoms to create what we want simply because we want to.
      But, we’ll go so far until one day we get what we haven’t bargained
      for. Then the age of Capricorn will commence, which will be a period
      of redress, restrictions and punishments for our sick and grotesque

      • Linus

        Given that an astrological age lasts about 2,160 years and that we may or may not have just entered the age of Aquarius, which we don’t know for sure because the various methods of calculating the precession of the equinoxes don’t all agree, worrying about what might happen when the age of Capricorn arrives seems a little premature.

        • Oh Jack doesn’t know about that, Linus. some of us have grandchildren who will have grandchildren, who will have grandchildren. We are obliged to think ahead.

          • Linus

            So a Catholic is worried about the threat posed to the 50th generation of his descendants by the prognostications of a New Age superstition that his Church and his Holy Book, in which he claims to have complete faith and confidence, expressly tell him is false and wicked.

            Just hedging your bets, eh? Or is your subconcious expressing the kind of doubts that your normal orthodox and pious bluster strives so hard to conceal?

            Have faith in the Lord, Jack. I mean, if even his crack combat troops don’t have confidence in his Word, what are the rest of us supposed to think?

          • Quite right, Linus. Well said. Jack is suitably chasened by your comments. Victory is assured.

      • CliveM


        I’m assuming your astrological references are meant ironically?

        • Clive, who knows? We’re forbidden to use astrological methods for predicting the future. This doesn’t mean there isn’t some foreshadowing of things to come in the stars. The whole of creation manifests God. The Three Wise Men and the star they followed, spring to mind.

          • CliveM

            I have to admit this is where my rationalist side and religious side are completely at one. Religiously I believe astrology to be wrong. And rationally I believe it to be rubbish.

            I think the star wasn’t astrology as we understand it. ‘Age of Aquarius’ just makes me think of hippies!!!

  • Anyone want to tread into ‘dangerous’ territory and comment on the biblical acceptability of divorce amongst amongst Christians? Given Jesus’ definitive commands about the indissolubility of marriage, how do we view the prevalence of divorce and remarriage in those professing to be Christian? Is it adultery? Or should concessions be made by the Church in the name of pastoral love and mercy?

    • No concessions by the Church for divorcees wishing to remarry in it.

    • Clive9

      Dear Happy Jack,

      Divorce appears in the Bible as words by Jesus – See Matthew 19: 1 to 12 (I have not repeated other references in the gospels).

      Notice that in verse 8 that the law about divorce was given because people were “hard-hearted”…. and in the same verse note that the law about divorce wasn’t given at the beginning of the world, but it follows that the law about divorce came about because of the fall.

      In Matthew 22 verses 23 to 33 (again I haven’t repeated references from other gospels) you will see that divorce has no relevance for the resurrection.

      This makes divorce unique, so it is no surprise that divorce is handled by the Church according to the gospels.

      Note in Matthew 19 verse 5 marriage is between a man and a woman.

  • IanCad

    The wisdom of God is seen in the Creation Week.
    Marriage – to give us joy. Sabbath – to give us rest. The first rule of health, if you will.

  • Hugh_Oxford

    I’m not sure that the substance of marriage has changed. Marriage is the way that human societies order, structure, protect and promote mating, motherhood and procreation, rooted in the protracted and intense needs of mothers and children.

    Nor, indeed, is it clear that the state or the law is necessary for marriage.

    • Clive9

      My son recently married (in 2012) using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer which is still used as legal marriage and proving that marriage has NOT changed.

    • dannybhoy

      No. but all cultures celebrate marriage according to their religious beliefs. As civil governments took over from the Church so they became increasingly involved in more and more aspects of life.

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