26 May 2009

"McAdam and Eve, not McAdam and Steve"?

Not many people in Britain will have heard of the National Organisation for Marriage. Lucky them. The nation in question is, perhaps predictably, America. Equally predictably, the ‘marriage’ that they are for is strictly one man + one woman. To quote from the anonymous witty intolerant who drafts the placards for demonstrating Christ-like groups, the National Organisation for Marriage’s essential creed is “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve”.

This being
America, however, they don’t just hash up some ineffectual banners, round up a phalanx of frothing flagellants and troop towards whatever event offends them. Heavens no. Quite naturally, they produce an advertisement for the television. And what fruits their labours produce! It is easy to forget, or rather, not to appreciate, how generally beneficial and beneficent our public discourses are, by contrast. Scuffles surrounding Scott Rennie’s simultaneous “homosexual lifestyle” and summoning by the congregation of West Cross Church to officiate over their funerals, baptisms and weddings noteworthily kept peace about a general, secular sexual object choice.

For those who do not embrace a Biblically informed sexology – I would say a majority are included in this category - the only Demon King to lay a goatish hoof anywhere near the public stage were those inspired by the Good Book. And that benevolent monarch came with a compassionate expression, advocating prayerful dialogue and love in his ventricles.

The point I am slowly wending towards is twofold. In the first instance, you’ll find below four choice adverts from this National Organisation for Marriage. All of them wondrously loathsome, ponderously argued, impressionistically intolerant – and perhaps most of all – insisting of the good conscience of the intolerants. All in all, a highly uplifting minute of film. Prize for the worst is for me, pretty much an even toss up between “A Gathering Storm” and the Curious Children short. I quiver for their parents if God is just. See for yourself.

On the second point, to subtly slip a tartan cassock over this story’s head, the question of secular and religious norms in Scottish public life. As I’ve mentioned before, our politics in Holyrood adheres to a sort of sensitive-fingered quietism, eschewing divisive or combustive political questions. I disagree with this nervy sensitivity, generally. Such issues are, to my mind, to be pursued. They are one of the crucial aspects of the intellectual case for devolution. While we may flatter ourselves – generally ignorantly and with an oily air of self satisfaction – that our American cousins are less informed, shallow-pated, guileless folk – the States have a far clearer appreciation of their own legislative, idea-forming strength in some respects than our own jurisdiction.

Ask yourself, why doesn’t Scotland permit marriages, whatever gender the various parties are? Why does it criminalise multiple marriages, and demand that the normative essence of public relations are strictly pairings? Take another example which I’ve blogged on previously and at length, on the legality of assisted dying. My point is, these debates in other places are not idly to be gazed at, content and irresponsible. Devolution has made these debates our debates. These choices our choices.

People interested in the tittle-tattle of politics, gossipmongers, placemen, toadies hardly have time to notice this sort of thing. They are more concerned about the tonal qualities of one of David Cameron’s farts than the justice or injustice of these questions.

Don’t lets have more of this in Scotland. Lets be divisive. Lets be decisive.

1 comment :

  1. A difficult subject for me being perhaps the last generation to be brought up in a rigid presbyterian home.

    The sexuality of others has no interest for me, but I find my concern lies with today's children. They seems to be losing such a valuable party of their lives these days and the pc brigade are obsessed with providing them with information which is not required until say they reach 10 or 11.

    Childhood and innocence used to go hand in hand. Of course children need to be informed but isn't it better for parents to provide this on a question and answer basis?

    Entirely agree we do need to debate this but let us remember marriage is about reproducing not about sex or sexuality. It was originally brought into law to protect the production of a hetrosexual relationship.

    Nowadays it's no longer defined as such but I still rather like the original concept. Maybe we ought to introduce another commitment ceremony for ALL those who cannot reproduce - such as myself who is well past that use-by date.

    Just the meanderings of a silly woman ...