With Greystones Presbyterian Minister David Montgomery commenting on some posts made back in December (in the idyllic pre-Fall days), I realised that there might be a bit more to be said about the EAI statement on the proposed civil union legislation.
A friend in Cork asked me about an aspect of civil union that she felt had not been addressed in my posts made back in December.
A homosexual couple in Ireland currently have legislative rights to foster children but not to adopt. This is because they are not recognised as a family unit. Under a civil partnership bill this would open up the definition of what a family unit constitutes of and i dont think it would be long before the boundries of adoption would be open to same sex couples too.
My wife has left me alone with my bourbon this evening and so she isn’t on hand to give me an exact figure but there are currently hundreds of children in state care in Ireland. Just today, John Waters has published an obviously very personal piece in the Irish Times on proposed legislation that may well see that number increased. Now without needing to agree with everything John has to say, most can agree with his closing sentiment:
Yes, Irish children need to be protected, but history tells us that mainly they need to be protected from the State.
I think sex outside of marriage is sinful. I think homosexuality is sinful. But if you give me a choice between children brought up in state run homes or children raised in families, however flawed, give me foster care and especially adoption every time. The only good thing about one of the crappier Douglas Coupland novels was its title: All Families Are Psychotic. Maybe it is more true to say dysfunctional but to answer Dr. Suess, I am not too perturbed by the idea of gay adoption, accepting of course that it is still someway off, not implied in any way by the proposed legislation and not likely to be approached on a gay-same-as-straight moral equivalence since sociological research clearly supports monogamous male-female relationships for child rearing.
She also shares that she finds it hard to “explain God’s design of sexuality to a gay friend who sees it as restrictive and oppressive.” My question to her is: do you not feel it restrictive and oppressive? I have a naked lady fetish. Left to my own lights, I’d have sex with pretty much every girl who would jump in the sack with me. I helpfully lay this out in Venn diagram here:
You can read that two ways. One way is that I just want to have sex with my wife and there are a few other girls who wouldn’t throw me out of the bed for quoting Karl Barth. The
right other way is that even with my magnetic attraction to women, I just mention that I keep a blog where I quote bits of theology books and the ladies just melt.
Jesus dares to restrict both my appetite and my natural urges when he makes the almost absurd demand that I either stay faithful to the wife-unit or never have sex at all. Jesus says hard things that go against our nature. But the realm of sexuality is just like the realm of finances and even social life: Jesus lays out boundaries that feel restrictive but that set me free. His yoke is easy, or something.
The reality of my friends who are gay causes me no more theological anguish than the reality of my straight friends who live with their partners. And I understand both in the light of the continued existence of sexual sin in my own life. I am happier knowing that my agnostic and atheist friends will be able to shack up together and not face trauma about visiting rights if one gets sick or inheritance if one dies. (Plus, I won’t have to marry them in my church building and preach a sermon that is nothing but hypocrisy) And I am praying that in my life and in the lives of my friends who are Christians, that those of us who are married can live that calling out with a style and joy that testifies to the fact that is actually more the way we are meant to be.
(But I’ll leave it to another day to ask someone to explain why celibate singleness isn’t actually the norm laid out in the New Testament… !)
Your Correspondent, Unable to pulverize his own kidney stones.