Do as I Say Not as I Don’t Do

Good old Iqbal Sacranie. One can see why the BBC and similar are always so eager to ask the MCB for its opinion on matters to do with ‘the Muslim community’.

Sir Iqbal said of civil partnerships: “This is harmful. It does not augur well in building the very foundations of society – stability, family relationships. And it is something we would certainly not, in any form, encourage the community to be involved in.”

Why? Why doesn’t it?

He said he was guided by the teachings of the Muslim faith, adding that other religions such as Christianity and Judaism held the same stance.

Yes, they do. A cardinal was saying so just the other day. So what? Why should anyone care? Why is that supposed to be a reason? We don’t want religious pseudo-reasons for public policy, we want real reasons, based on actual arguments. But we don’t get them – not from people who think their ‘faith’ is reason enough. That’s because they don’t have any. All they ever manage to come up with is meaningless hand-waving about the family.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien criticised Westminster over civil partnerships and the Scottish Executive over changes to the laws on uncontested divorce…He argued that alternative lifestyles were “undermining values which for generations have been treasured”. The cardinal claimed that the family remained “the basic social unit” to be recognised, protected and promoted as the most vital building block of society. He told his congregation: “When our lawmakers condone and endorse trends in society which are ultimately ruinous of family life we are entitled to question their motivation and condemn their behaviour.”

But why are civil partnerships ultimately ruinous of family life? Why do they not ‘augur well in building the very foundations of society – stability, family relationships’? Why? Because – what – married straight people will look around them and see (how?) that some gay people have civil partnerships, and – what? Be filled with despair and rage and bitterness and a sense of futility, and wonder why they ever bothered, and turn their children over to an orphanage or out onto the streets, and run off to Tahiti and Hoboken respectively, there to become layabouts and pickpockets? Or what? Straight people will contemplate the existence of civil partnerships and decide not to get married themselves because, I mean, after all, it’s obvious – ? Or what? What is the problem? Why does civil partnerships for gay people have any effect on marriage or ‘the family’ whatsoever? Hey – suppose somebody informed us all that, contrary to previous scientific opinion, ostriches and geckoes have formal, legal marriage, just like human marriage, right down to the new dishes and the arguments over who has to wash them. Would that make humans stop getting married and become pirates instead?

Sacranie does make an effort, to cobble together some sort of argument other than ‘because God,’ but he doesn’t do much of a job of it.

Asked if he believed homosexuality was harmful to society, he said: “Certainly it is a practice that in terms of health, in terms of the moral issues that comes along in a society – it is. It is not acceptable.”

The moral issues that comes along in a society. Right. Which ones? Why is it not acceptable? Other than hand-waving?

Not to mention, of course, to revert to the cardinal for a moment, the redolent irony of celibate priests fussing about the family. If you’re in such a sweat about the family, you prosing chump, why don’t you go have one? And if you don’t want to have one, why are you nagging everyone else about the family ‘as the most vital building block of society’? What do you mean by it?

Creeping theocracy, that’s what it is.

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