Negative history

IF MARTIN Conroy really thinks “the equalities ideal” is deeply rooted in Christianity (Letters, 27 June) then perhaps he can explain why Christianity’s treatment of gay people has been so abominable?

For centuries, homosexuals have been hanged, burned, flogged, tortured, castrated and imprisoned under laws enacted and enforced by Bible-quoting Christians. It continues today in Africa, where Christians, influenced by American fundamentalists, are conducting a pogrom against gay people. Nor should he kid himself that the Catholic Church is much better. Who was it who branded homosexuality “intrinsically disordered”? Catholics, both lay and clergy, enthusiastically join in the persecution.

Patrick Harvie was correct to say that “many religious bodies have been vocal in opposing every single step toward equality”. Every single gain made in the western world for gay people has been in the face of vigorous Christian opposition. Christianity is no friend of gay people.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

(Dr) Stephen Moreton

Marina Avenue

Warrington, Cheshire

MARTIN Conroy appears to be guilty of overstating his case when he asserts that “the [Catholic] Church is globally one of the leading advocates of equality and rights” (Letters, 27 June).

I do concede the tremendous work the Catholic Church does for the elderly, sick and homeless, but take issue with him claiming a crown for them as champions of human rights. While he may consider the Church as the strongest advocate of the rights of the unborn, others could characterise that as an attack on the rights of women.

On slavery, the Church championed the cause of slave owners in the 18th century while other Christian denominations, most notably the Quakers in the UK, were advocating emancipation. But to claim the Catholic Church champions gay rights takes the biscuit. The only evidence I can see for this assertion is the rather limp opposition of the Church in Uganda to the death penalty for gay people. But in Scotland, on this issue they can only claim a consistency of steadfast opposition to gay law reform.

From equalisation of the age of consent, repeal of clause 28, civil partnerships, anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, adoption, access to IVF and now gay marriage the Catholic bishops in Scotland have been outspoken in their opposition.

Few people can have missed this and most gay people would be justified in seeing the Catholic Church as the most potent enemy of gay rights in the Scotland at the moment.

Douglas Pretsell

Melbourne

Australia

PATRICK Harvie claims that I “refuse to accept the moral equivalence of a minority”, but this is just incorrect (Letters, 27 June). I refuse to accept the moral equivalence of an act, not of a group of people.

The moral status of homosexual sex is indeed a key issue in the same-sex “marriage” debate, but God’s standards of morality are not arbitrary: they proscribe behaviours that are ulimately harmful. My conscience and belief in biblical revelation lead to believe that homosexual sex is immoral, but the observed consequences of homosexual sex reinforce my view that it is not a good option.

When I encourage those with homosexual urges to choose celibacy or to seek to change their orientation, I do so out of what I genuinely believe to be their best interest. I also genuinely believe that diluting the institution of marriage will have a negative effect on adults and children in our society in the longer term.

Disagree with me by all means, but please don’t portray my position as prejudiced.

As a supporter of same-sex “marriage”, could Mr Harvie answer my oft-repeated question? The egalitarian argument employed to justify same-sex “marriage” can equally be marshalled to justify polygamous, polyamorous, platonic or temporary marriage.

What arguments can be made against them once it has been conceded that the definition of marriage is flexible?

Richard Lucas

Colinton

Edinburgh

I HAVE been following the debate on gay marriage (Letters, 27, 26, 25 June etc) with interest, and have been disappointed with the tone of some comments from some parties to the conversation. This is about civil marriage and equality under the law, and I do not see how some of the arguments raised are relevant to such a debate. Either gay people are equal to heterosexual people or they are not.

I do not make moral judgments on the relative value of other people’s relationships, and I expect a similar courtesy to be extended to me and my partner.

Alison Booth

Aberdeen