Church accused of 'scaremongering'
By MARTHA LINDEN, JOE CHURCHER - THE INDEPENDENT
Added: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 13:42:36 UTC
The Church of England has been accused by gay rights campaigners of orchestrating a "masterclass in melodramatic scaremongering" after it warned that same sex marriage could threaten its relationship with the nation.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, the campaigning gay rights group, dismissed fears raised by the Church of England that introducing same sex marriage would undermine its centuries-old role as the established Church.
He said polling commissioned by Stonewall has shown more than 80% of people in Britain under 50 are in favour of introducing same sex marriage - amongst religious people, he said, three in five said gay people should be able to get married.
"That holes below the water line the tendentious claims being made by a small number of clergy," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
"Many bishops in the Church of England today will be rather pleased because once again they are not talking about global poverty or the HIV pandemic - they are talking about the subject that obsesses them, and that is sex.
"I have not come across such a masterclass in melodramatic scaremongering - that somehow this is the biggest upheaval since the sacking of the monasteries - since as a journalist myself a decade ago I was summoned to a government briefing to be told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
Mr Summerskill's remarks come after the Church of England said that introducing gay marriage would threaten the establishment of the Church of England and lead to an unprecedented clash between its own canon law - that marriage is between a man and a woman - and that of Parliament.
The Church also warned that in spite of ministerial assurances that churches would not have to conduct gay marriages, it would be "very doubtful" whether limiting same-sex couples to non-religious ceremonies would withstand a challenge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
A successful legal challenge brought at the ECHR could make it impossible for the Church of England to continue its role conducting marriages on behalf of the state, it said.
- - BBC News Comments
A new poll suggests that atheism is on the rise in the US, while those who consider themselves religious has dropped. What's the cause? Two writers debate.
- - human rights first Comments
Blasphemy Laws Exposed: The Consequences of Criminalizing “Defamation of Religions”
Ed Kilgore - Political Animal Comments
update - too crazy even for the evangelical right
Barton’s Fall From Grace
David Barton says his documents prove that the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men who built America on Christian ideas - but do his sources check out?
Cory Doctorow - BoingBoing Comments
Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich has given a tremendous closing statement, which is a masterful summary of Russian oligarchy
Graham Veale - Saints & Sceptics? Comments
Refuting Richard: Dawkins Doesn’t “Get” God
- - BBC News Comments
The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.