Monday, September 17, 2012

The Hon Michael Kirby speaks at the 42nd Rev Dr Barry Marshall Memorial Lecture...Religion and Sexuality: Uncomfortable Bedfellows


The grace of the message that our religion brings to the world is designed to heal and comfort those who might otherwise be driven to close down their basic human emotions.  Any person who is driven to that state of affairs is left only half a human being.  And that is not, by any means, the objective of Christian beliefs and the loving message that lies at their heart...

Sadly, there are those today, including amongst Protestant Christians and others who should know better, who read Scripture with arrogance.  Who believe that, doing so, they can entirely defy the evidence of the natural world and science, now available to us.  In a sense, they are making the same error as those who fought and resisted the Reformation.  They want to adhere to comfortable old ways of understanding.  They resist those who bring a new message of truth and insight.  As someone raised in a Protestant tradition of Anglicanism, a mere layman, I have to remind these pretended evangelists of the core of the Protestant approach to Christianity.  It is a humble and simple core, based upon open mindedness, free inter-congregational dialogue, a search for truth and a connection to the real world beyond tradition, power and superstitious ignorance... 
In the battles that are now being waged concerning Scripture and sexuality, it is not surprising to see some in the line-up of power-brokers clinging to old beliefs.  But it is astonishing, and distressing for me, to see them joined by those who claim to be faithful to the Protestant tradition of Scripture-based Christianity.  And this is a nice thing about Protestant Anglicans.  They believe in the virtue of a bracing cold shower from time to time.  In the matter of religion and sexuality, this is what realism and truth require today...

With all respect to those of an older, narrower and a more authoritarian view of such matters, the change in the United Church of Canada is one that I believe is comfortable with the Scriptures; conformable to the central loving tenets of the Christian religion; and consistent with modern scientific knowledge as well as social and individual reality.
I am here to say these things, not despite the fact that I am a Sydney Anglican.  But because of that fact.  Not despite the words of Scripture.  But because those words, read in context and with the light of reason and love provide no impediment.  Not despite my upbringing in the Anglican tradition of Christianity.  But because of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment