The Full Text of the Email Interchange Between Jeffrey John and the Times’ Ruth Gledhill

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note that the original blog thread on this was there--KSH).

Of course the procreation of children by two same-sex partners is not possible. But the Church has never seen procreation as a necessity for marriage, and so has always married partners past the age of childbearing. Even in Genesis the first reason given why God created Eve is not childbearing but because ‘God saw that it was not good for man to be alone’. While the Prayer Book states that marriage was ordained first for ‘the procreation of children’ the modern marriage service begins by emphasising the quality of relationship between marriage partners ‘that they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind.’

So same-sex monogamy seems to me to be spiritually indistinguishable from a marriage between two people who are unable to have children together. Admitting same sex couples to marriage would extend the sacrament, not undermine it. Like the Church’s decision to admit women to the sacrament of ordination, it is a lot less revolutionary than it seems at first sight. The ordination of women has not fundamentally changed the priesthood, but has extended and enriched it. The same would be true of extending the sacrament of marriage to people of the same sex. It is not the physical gender of the people involved that matters, but the quality of their commitment and their response to the call of God.

It is important that you take the time to read through it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & TechnologySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

11 Comments
Posted March 15, 2012 at 6:29 am

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/41725/



1. stjohnsrector wrote:

So, since we have changed the sacrament of Holy Orders by admitting women, we can go further?

March 15, 8:14 am | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

Note that he has to explain away the natural ability of men and women to have babies as against the natural inability of same sex unions to produce babies.  And he does so by lifting up the inability of some men and women to conceive.  Here he lifts up the natural process of aging which prevents women from conceiving, men of course can naturally procreate until they die.

Nevertheless he must overlook the facts that God has used barren women to produce offspring.  The natural ability of men and women is still there just disabled. 

Same sex couples by their very nature cannot reproduce.  They don’t physicaly fit.  Sodomy can never produce life.  It is this critical fact that Johns disingenuously ignores as he raises up the failure of the natural reproductive process as justification to marry those, who by their very and inherent nature cannot reproduce.

March 15, 8:49 am | [comment link]
3. frreed wrote:

” Even in Genesis the first reason given why God created Eve is not childbearing but because ‘God saw that it was not good for man to be alone’.”

In his own words he explains why the Father’s intended relationship is male and female.  God created Eve (not Steve) so that Adam would not be alone.  John’s argument is as shallow as it is heretical.

March 15, 9:23 am | [comment link]
4. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Of course the procreation of children by two same-sex partners is not possible. But the Church has never seen procreation as a necessity for marriage.

Seriously? Do you really historically want to go there?

March 15, 10:38 am | [comment link]
5. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Even in Genesis the first reason given why God created Eve is not childbearing but because ‘God saw that it was not good for man to be alone’.

Oh my. I don’t even know where to begin on this one. The first commandment God gives is in Chapter 1 of Genesis is: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”

Adam and Eve don’t come up until the 2nd chapter. And if you follow the JEPD Historical/Source Critical method, then that’s a completely separate creation narrative.

March 15, 10:43 am | [comment link]
6. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

Admitting same sex couples to marriage would extend the sacrament, not undermine it.

I can’t believe he rhetorically went there. Once you open that can of worms then the sacrament can be extended to anything, including polygamy. That’s lunacy.

March 15, 10:45 am | [comment link]
7. jamesw wrote:

I was actually rather astonished at how bad John’s arguments are.  I mean they might work for people who think very superficially, but they can’t in any way be regarded as serious, intellectual arguments.  Is this really the best that the liberals can do?

John claims to be “Anglo-Catholic” yet seems to have no clue about what it means for marriage to be a sacrament.  A sacrament points to an underlying spiritual truth.  Genesis 1:26-28 says

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness…. So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth…

If marriage is sacramental in that it reflects the image and love of God, then a “same-sex marriage” is very deficient.  The image of God is “male and female”.  What John and his ilk are really all about is the elimination of gender as a defining characteristic of people - or rather, of making gender into some sort of self-expression under OUR control, instead of an aspect of us that we were created as by God.  This strikes me as the exact attitude that is represented in the Fall - human beings seeking to be “like God”.

Also, the claims that same-sex marriage won’t lead to polygamy are ridiculous.  The same jurisdictions that are enacting same-sex marriage are also bending over backwards to please and accommodate Muslims.  Just how long do you think it will take before plural marriage is enacted to please the Muslims?  And if the state has already redefined marriage once, why not do it a second time?  (And speaking for myself, if same-sex “marriage” becomes law, then I don’t see how I could logically or ethically argue that polygamous marriage should not also be permitted.)

Speaking of the whole polygamy thing, why not just tweak John’s words here:

So same-sex monogamy seems to me to be spiritually indistinguishable from a marriage between two people who are unable to have children together. Admitting same sex couples to marriage would extend the sacrament, not undermine it. Like the Church’s decision to admit women to the sacrament of ordination, it is a lot less revolutionary than it seems at first sight. The ordination of women has not fundamentally changed the priesthood, but has extended and enriched it. The same would be true of extending the sacrament of marriage to people of the same sex. It is not the physical gender of the people involved that matters, but the quality of their commitment and their response to the call of God.

Why not just say:

So polygamy seems to me to be spiritually indistinguishable from a marriage between two people. Admitting more than just couples to marriage would extend the sacrament, not undermine it. Like the Church’s decision to admit women to the sacrament of ordination, it is a lot less revolutionary than it seems at first sight. The ordination of women has not fundamentally changed the priesthood, but has extended and enriched it. The same would be true of extending the sacrament of marriage to groups of more than just two people. It is not the actual number of the people involved that matters, but the quality of their commitment and their response to the call of God.

John’s purported arguments work the same for both scenarios.

March 15, 12:56 pm | [comment link]
8. jamesw wrote:

BTW - please don’t read my comments in post #7 as an attack on Muslims.  Rather, my point is simply that if we redefine marriage to suit the current minority-group-of-the-day (which for now is homosexuals), then what logically stops us from doing it for the next minority-group-of-the-day (which will be Muslims)?  Why should Muslims be discriminated against?  Personally, I think marriage ought to remain defined as one man plus one woman.  But IF that definition goes out the window, and marriage is defined as “society’s recognition and approval of whoever you want to sleep with while establishing a semi-permanent contract with them”, then I would think that those inclined to polygamy should have THEIR preferences similarly given state recognition.

March 15, 1:02 pm | [comment link]
9. Dcn. Michael D. Harmon wrote:

Oh, polamory—polygamy, polyandry, incestuous relations, the lowering or even the abolition of ages of consent—that’s all on the table now, thanks to SSM.  I think many of those who support SSM think that they can give the gays what they want and that will be the end of it.  And Hitler only wanted the Sudentenland, too.  (Sorry about the Godwin’s Law violation. But it fits.)

March 15, 4:54 pm | [comment link]
10. Dcn. Michael D. Harmon wrote:

Sudetenland.  Entschuldege, bitte.

March 15, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
11. jamesw wrote:

Homosexuals won’t push for polygamy.  Rather, they will push for the principle that “monogamy” means general commitment to each other and not necessarily sexual fidelity.  They are already pushing this.

March 15, 8:30 pm | [comment link]


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