Still no answer to my question from the Archbishop of Dublin! A couple of weeks ago I sent an email to the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin asking him if it would be a sin for a Catholic to vote ‘Yes’ in the marriage equality referendum. The Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Methodist Church have all urged us to think this over and vote ‘No.’ This means that three of the four main Christian bodies in Ireland have come out against marriage equality. Annoying as this may be for the Christians in the pews who disagree with their leadership, they are entitled to their position, but none of them are prepared to help disentangle their congregations’ moral uncertainties by letting us know that we are free to vote as we choose without fear of hell and damnation. One would be forgiven for thinking that perhaps they are banking on this uncertainty. This is far from the leadership people deserve, and is just about enough to help ordinary people lose all faith in their church leaders. Then I received a tweet from one of my heroes.

Gene Robinson, the Episcopalian Bishop of New Hampshire, was the first openly gay bishop consecrated by the Anglican Communion. He certainly felt the heat for this movement of the Holy Spirit; other than his mitre he had to wear a bulletproof vest on account of the death threats. He felt the cold too; schism was threatened in the worldwide Anglican community, and the Archbishop of Canterbury left his name off the invite list to the Lambeth Conference. The pressure exacted a huge personal toll from him, but with the support his diocese and the Christian folk of New Hampshire he saw it through. Bishop Robinson isn’t content to think that he ‘got through,’ no, he sees his rights as human rights, and they are just that. Our own bishops may be confused or reluctant to take a stand, but Gene isn’t, and the Holy Spirit chose him too. He is the prophetic voice calling out in the wilderness, and I am on his side. He is on our side. When he gets to Dublin I’m taking him to the Tea Garden – who’s for coming? “The right to marry the one you love is a fundamental HUMAN right! VOTE!”

Ùr-Fhàsaidh is a Christian social justice blogger and the author of his own random public journal – the Tuppence Worth blog. If the Christian faith is to have a place in the public discussion it must first ensure that it is a source of liberation for those who are oppressed. Faith of any kind means precious little if it is not about and for people.



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