Without any preamble I am going to state my position on the upcoming marriage equality referendum. I support the right any person to marry the person of their own choosing irrespective of sex or gender. I have never made a secret of my religious faith or of my political opinions, and I do not make a habit of remaining quiet on public issues which have moral consequences for the rest of society. Each day I say my prayers in the hope that heaven listens to me, yet I have no special insight into or knowledge of the mind of God. Some would argue, as they hunt witches and enjoy their shellfish, that it is the Bible which informs us of God’s thoughts on homosexuality, but their lack of integrity precludes them from directing my own thoughts on this matter. Rather my faith in God, who is limitless love, convinces me that all people reflect that divine love and bear the fruit of it in their lives no matter their particular sexuality. Too long has the arrogance of assuming the mind of God taken people down the darker paths of intolerance, yet the truth remains that by the fruits of this intolerance we shall know their hearts – and this fails to reflect the love of God.

Most of us have grown up within Christian cultures, within churches and groups, which have hidden behind the misunderstood and therefore meaningless language of tradition and values that have served only to hurt and alienate our sisters and brothers. The Gospel, the very bedrock of the Church, knows only one tradition from which all of its values are derived, and that is the instruction to love God and our neighbour. Our love of God and neighbour is neither a love of the other in the abstract, nor are they two distinct objects of our love. We are called to a love leading to encounter; meeting God in others – all others – indiscriminately. We cannot profess a love of God and yet fail in our love of people. Equally we cannot be open to loving others in a life of encounter without being brought to a love of God. This love must be open to appreciate the love of others as in itself a reflection of the love that is God, and from which all love springs. In standing against the fullest expression of the love between two people we assume for ourselves some sort of divinity – which we cannot in the least begin to understand. At best this is well meaning foolishness, and at worst wickedness and blasphemy. Our consciences must be content to love, and allow others to grow in that love.

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