Thursday, 6 November 2014

Christian Values

Among the sillier items on BBC news this morning was the story of a gay couple in Ireland who ordered a cake with the words ‘Support Gay Marriage’ written on it in (no doubt pink) icing sugar. The bakers refused the order, saying it went against their ‘Christian Principles’. Instead of going to another baker, the couple made a fuss to some government department charged with enforcing equality, and the bakers are being made to pay compensation to the couple. I’m not sure if they’re also going to be forced to bake the cake.

Dear me. What messes people do get into.

Support Gay Marriage? Well, personally I’m not sure I support any kind of marriage. It seems to me very irresponsible to swear to what is supposed to be a life-long commitment to one person, especially when one is perhaps in that highly neurotic and judgement-clouding state called being in love.

Christian Principles? I am an admirer of Christ’s teachings and I try to model my own moral beliefs and even behaviour on his. For instance, I rarely go to church. Christ was notorious for consorting with ‘Publicans and Sinners’ and his best girlfriend was a whore. And then there’s the much-misunderstood parable of the Good Samaritan, a modern equivalent of which might be an Israeli story of the Good Palestinian, or a German one of the Good Jew. I have noticed many times that people who openly call themselves Christians are uptight, intolerant, quick to judge — all the things Christ wasn’t. It seems the mere profession of Christianity gives one a licence to behave badly.

A government department to enforce equality? Well, I suppose so; some manifestations of prejudice should be illegal, but I am reminded of the Kurt Vonnegut story in which beautiful people have to wear masks and ballet-dancers leg-irons.

And why didn’t the couple just try another baker’s? Could it be that they wanted to provoke a big fuss, or exact revenge?

There is something that might have saved everybody in this whole silly story: a sense of humour.

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