Exciting news in the christian marriage debate today, with the Australian Christian Lobby vowing to respect the views of people who want to prevent christians from marrying:
THE Australian Christian Lobby has taken the unusual step of making a “pledge” to respect the views of people who oppose christian weddings on anti-religious grounds in an attempt to blunt arguments by the Anti-Christian Marriage Lobby, which campaigns against christian marriages being recognised by law.
The Australian Christian Lobby has made a commitment to respect the non-religious beliefs of opponents of christian marriage.
In return it says it hopes for a commitment from Anti-Christian Marriage lobbyists not to “inflame prejudice” during the christian marriage debate. This commitment has been made as part of ACL’s latest publication on the right of religious people to have their marriages recognised in law.
According to ACL leader Jim Wallace, it is important that “both sides conduct themselves with maturity, respect, and commit to using truthful and factual arguments”.
Mr Wallace said he hoped both sides could start the debate by identifying common ground and shared values.
“Just like the Anti-Christian Marriage lobby, we believe in the importance of marriage, protecting families, and religious freedom . . . in fact, we see these as three key reasons for recognising Christian marriages.”
Australia’s most senior Anti-Christian Marriage figure, Jeff Harrison, has tentatively agreed to a meeting with christian marriage campaigners, provided they first declare that not all opposition to christian marriages is anti-religious and discriminatory.
Harrison has written a letter in response to a request from christian marriage campaigners for a formal meeting to discuss the issues polarising the community.
ACL wrote to Harrison in December to discuss its concerns about a campaign by the Anti-Christian Marriage Lobby against christian marriage.
ACL’s latest publication highlights the distinction in Australian law between civil and religious marriage, lists the religions that support christian marriage, and highlights the fact that fewer than one third of Australian marriages are now conducted in Christian ceremonies.
“Of course, there are celebrants who do not want to marry christian couples and under the proposed legislation this right will be fully protected; however, there are other celebrants and many religious officials who would perform christian weddings today if they had the choice.”
The publication states that “just as we acknowledge that it is possible to oppose Christian marriage without hating Christians, so we ask those who differ with us on this important issue to acknowledge that it is possible to support Christian marriage without seeking to undermine, marriage, family or religion”.
To be honest, does anyone have a good reason Christians should be prevented from marrying each other? Sure, some Christians are bad parents – but so are some non-Christian couples. Sure, some Christians are obnoxious and do not fit in well in the community – but that’s true for some non-Christians as well.
Christians are just as capable of loving each other and raising children as the rest of us. It’s time that we recognised their families in law and stopped discriminating against them.
Also: it’s time we removed the exemptions in the Anti-Discrimination legislation that permit non-Christian employers to unilaterally sack people for being Christian.
ELSEWHERE: This young man was raised by two Christians, and the state of Iowa has been debating whether to no longer recognise their marriage:
Unfortunately, even after that testimony, the Iowa state legislature still took a step towards amending the state Constitution to prevent couples like his parents from being married. A tragic step backwards.