Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Cardinal Keith O'Brien promises fierce campaign to stop the SNP Government plans to legalise same sex marriage, is this Salmond’s 'Poll Tax' moment?
Cardinal Keith O'Brien is the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and Britain's most senior Catholic.
He is unhappy and in a very militant mood.
The reason for his ire is the plans to allow what some people term as equal marriage so that members of the LGBT community can get legally wed.
Under human rights people have the right to be treated equally by the State in accessing the same services, unless there is a provision in law that prohibits.
O’Brien is promising a particularly fierce campaign to stop the Scottish Government going ahead with its current plans to legalise same sex marriage.
Cardinal O'Brien has every right to lead such a campaign in an open, democratic society because this is his right under human rights law, to exercise freedom of speech.
And as he is a man of faith, we can expect him to exercise that right to the hilt.
So, who is exactly against equal marriage?
Catholics, the Church of Scotland and the Muslim Communities, they have all united as one on this issue.
For the SNP Government, this represents a major problem, they aren’t carrying the people; so if they press ahead, we can expect all of the above to motivate their members to vote against independence and further down the line Holyrood 2016.
I have previously written articles in support of civil marriage being available to the LGBT community, because there is an injustice there. We all accept that everyone should be treated equally by the State to ensure that there isn’t discrimination.
As to religious marriage option, that isn’t a human right and has been so ruled by the European Court. The reason is that third party consent would be required from faith groups such as Catholics, Protestants and Muslims.
And that will never happen.
For many people, the Pope in Rome is very much a figure head on such matters; and no Pope will ever agree to this, marriage is seen as a cornerstone which has been unchanged since the dawn of Christianity.
2,000 plus years of faith cannot be tamper with.
In the context of the independence debate, the SNP Government has painted themselves into a corner.
There isn’t a King Alex Bible and church leaders speak with legitimate authority on behalf of many hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland.
When I use that word, I don’t mean compromise, it will probably be used by the SNP Government to put marriage on a legal footing in regards to the civil aspect, there won’t be agreement on that by the Catholics, the Church of Scotland and the Muslim Communities. They are having none of it, its faith and a matter of principle and conscience.
We shall probably hear in the near future SNP politicians talking about compromise and using the buzzwords such as ‘listening’ but I don’t think anyone will believe the soundbytes.
Elected politicians seem to think they are the ultimate power in our society, but their power is based on people voting.
And just as there are reasons to vote for a party there are reasons to vote against them and put them out of Government.
When people look at this as a numbers game, the membership of our political parties is relatively pitifully small. The number of people in a political party willing to be activists is a tiny tiny proportion of even that small number.
The number of activists in the decision making process is even smaller than those willing to go out.
Unfortunately for political parties, the active adherents of the main religions in Scotland far outnumber, on a huge scale, the committed members of political parties.
Votes are "lent" to politicians on a temporary basis.
So, to judge how serious this is taken by the Catholic Community, First Minister Alex Salmond was said to want to see the Pope in Rome, the Catholic Church it was said were approached and were said to be open minded to a visit.
Alex Salmond has since been blocked from meeting the Pope because of the Scottish Government’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
A Catholic Church source said that “approaches were made” about the meeting, but that the plans for “same-sex marriage completely destroyed it”.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien is the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and Britain's most senior Catholic may not be a politician but he has enough power and a network if used properly to turf out any government at the ballot box.
There is a reason why there is separation of Church and State, they are incompatible and people in the Scottish Government should remember that.
I support civil same sex marriage because it is an equality issue under human rights, but I also support the right of faith groups to hold their deeply religious beliefs.
And we should all remember that God comes before Alex Salmond.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University