Where Atheists Dare Not Tread

Feb 7, 2020 by

by Jake Scott, The Mallard:

In case you hadn’t heard, the Church of England has stated that sex is for married, heterosexual couples. It declared this in 1534, when it separated from Rome – of course, you would be forgiven for thinking it declared this in January 2020, following a statement made in a guidance on the new Civil Partnerships legislation. Naturally, we all immediately became theological scholars, ready to provide our opinion to everyone who didn’t ask.

It doesn’t really seem to matter that the Church of England’s presence in its own country is dismally low – just over 1,000,000 Englishmen describe themselves as Anglican. While the wider faith enjoys a support of 59.4% as per the 2011 census (inevitably it will be lower in the next census in 2021), the Church of England seems to be the chosen punching bag of atheist know-it-alls. It hardly seems surprising that the Church made a statement consistent with its own doctrine in response to a new law, at least to anyone with any knowledge of Anglican doctrine. Though, you can’t help but wonder – why is the Church under fire for a very typical attitude amongst faiths?

There definitely feels as though there’s a readiness to criticise the Church of England for taking a stance consistent with its own teachings and not “catch up” to modernity, and not other faiths. Amongst the most egregious was a Guardian piece calling the guidance ‘staggeringly stupid’ made up of letters to the editor. One wonders whether the contributors (all ostensibly Anglican) really do consider themselves Anglican or adopt the title merely as that – a title; or perhaps they believe themselves better placed to interpret scripture? Some of them are Fathers, but the established hierarchy of the Church is very clear. Further, one also wonders why a set of guidelines are so ‘staggeringly stupid’ when it makes no attempt at coercive control, and instead relies on those two very important virtues underpinning the life of a member of the Clergy – discipline, and abstinence.

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