Yesterday, the Archbishop’s grating comments on marriage equality rolled the eyes of a nation. But, as someone who considers themselves religious, I’m tired of being tarred with the same brush.
In a conversation that breeds division, I’ve noticed that the marriage equality issue has birthed another. The automatic derision of religion as a concept is nothing new in this country. The Census highlighted that truth, illustrating we believe now that no religion is the best religion. The through-lines are easy to mark out. The Catholic church is our national antagonist, we just needed another reason to rail against it.
The Church is an easy target, as it remains a hokey remnant of who we used to be, and not who we represent as now. And I completely agree. That being said, I consider myself religious. I attend services every week, I believe in a life after this one, and I happen to believe in the bible.
But I have a real problem on how it is being interpreted. In turn, how that interpretation is turning people against us.
Chief to this, was yesterday’s comments from the Archbishop Anthony Fisher, who made headlines with his surmisal that same-sex marriage should not be up for discussion, stating: “Governments should, in general, keep out of the friendship business and out of the bedroom”
To be honest, it looks bad. And it should. It was a stupid thing to say. The knock on/drip down effect is that the standard non-religious Australian cannot see the difference between the Church and the teachings f the religion they twist. We’re not helped by those who tie themselves to the institutions, for whatever individual reason. You think of Tony Abbott, you think a conservative zealot. Every time you see Cardinal Pell in the headlines, you think of systemic child abuse and murky depths of covering it up. It doesn’t matter if Pell is exonerated, or Abbott is kicked out of the Abbot, your first impulse is how you feel, and your opinion of the church is how you view that religion as a whole. The same can be said about Islam. A few bad examples within has coloured the backdrop.
Which is unfortunate. I weep for the silent who donate their time to feed the abject, the enfeebled. Those who fling open their doors to strangers, those who wage their own war against hateful circumstance, to give love, because it’s the only thing to do. But, in the collective eye, we’re all a mass of bible thumping, pulpit maniacs who desperately cling to the past. And yes, some people are that, but there are many who aren’t. In conversation with the ABC, Sister Helen said in response to the Archbishop’s comments: “I think the church may advise and direct people but I really don’t think the church should dogmatically rule in things like that.”
I’ll freely admit that I voted ‘Yes’ in the survey. I did it, because as the bible says, I should love my neighbour as I do myself. A far as contemporary interpretations of an ancient text goes, I’ll take it.
A comment, which shouldn’t lift the eyebrows of the uninformed. We all don’t row the same way. And, yes not all of us look to do good, much like any other human enterprise. And yes, we absolutely apologise for the heinous acts of the awful. But they’re the loud exception to the silent rule. Those who do good, not for personal benefit, but for good, as the Lord would want us to, those people don’t deserve to be tarred with the same brush.
But that’s one side of the issue. I’ll freely admit that I voted ‘Yes’ in the survey. I did it, because as the bible says, I should love my neighbour as I do myself. A far as contemporary interpretations of an ancient text goes, I’ll take it. However, holding that view in my religious circle is a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous as we’re equally split as the rest of society is. But, we’ve discussed the issue as the church wants us to discuss it, not as the prophets would. On a personal basis, save for churchgoers of my age, we don’t ask. You just assume. You assume they voted the same way as you did, because we believe in the same beliefs.
This split is systemic to the large issue. People are listening to the church, or whatever loudest figure they can find, and are ignoring the text, or the actual lessons. Conversely, those who read the headlines and form assumptions merely magnifies the issue. It goes both ways.
Those who easily criticise the ignorant are merely promoting their own ignorance.
I’m saying you shouldn’t cast your stones, you should. Just aim your rocks at the culpable individual, not the crowd near him.