Mainstream religion never doesn’t want it both ways. Its proponents want everyone to think ordinary mainstream religion is moderate and compassionate and not at all associated with the barbarism of old holy books. But at the exact same time they want to force everyone to do what they say.
This is why clergy from archbishops down admit in private that miracles are silly, then insist from the pulpit the very next Sunday that they are literally true.
Those of us outside the religious community call this Lying For Jesus. The theological gents justify it in various tedious ways.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien has a solid gold hat. He seems pretty pleased about it. He’s not very pleased about gay marriage, however.
He likened the legalisation of gay marriage to the legalisation of slavery:
Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that ‘no one will be forced to keep a slave’.
“Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?”
Let’s see. Let’s actually tease this apart, shall we?
We’d be outraged if slavery were legalised because it is an astonishing offence against the people enslaved. The victims are those whose rights are denied. For reasons hardly anyone would ever argue with (even though, of course, the Bible shows that Yahweh clearly expects the faithful to keep slaves).
O’Brien’s analogy suggests a similar outrage about gay marriage. But who is the victim? Well, we know the answer by now. It’s O’Brien and his cohorts who feel they are being oppressed if homosexuals are allowed to marry. If homosexuals are allowed to marry, O’Brien and his cohorts are being treated no better than slaves.
He says a whole lot of unbelievably idiotic, hateful shit from the safety of his solid golden hat. I don’t have time to go into it in as much detail as I’d like, so let me just cite this excellent article by Nelson Jones.
I disagree with one thing in particular: mainstream religion is the shark. It’s outraged when people do things it doesn’t approve of, while all the time pretending something about universal love. We seem conditioned to think of mainstream religion as not extreme. Fuck you, O’Brien. It’s extreme to say hateful things about a bunch of people. It’s extreme to arrogantly decide that there’s one way people should behave and that they are reprehensible if they behave otherwise.
Nelson Jones’ article is good, but O’Brien hasn’t jumped the shark, he’s just revealed where he wants to bite people.