From privatized morality to ethical living

By Rachel Mann
June 1, 2013

In the Daily Telegraph today (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/10092592/Same-sex-marriage.html) 'religious' leaders have seemingly united to protest this government's equal marriage legislation.

If my liberal friends are inclined to start frothing about 'gay-hating Christians etc' please remember that (a) this is a letter in the Telegraph and (b) the Christian figures represented among the signatories hardly represent either the vast majority of Christians in the pews or are significant active leaders of the church.

Indeed, Michael Nazir-Ali may have been Bishop of Rochester but he has retired and is well-known for his conservative social and political outlook. Upon retirement he aligned, certainly for a period, with the conservative Anglican group GAFCON. Equally Rod Thomas may be very good at making noise in the public square, but his conservatism is hardly of the popular kind.

I am keen to see religious leaders working together. I am disappointed that it seems to be over matters of sexuality. Our common energies would be better exercised protesting that deconstruction of the welfare state which has led to an ever growing dependence on food banks.

Equally we should be decrying and acting to end the criminal exploitation of the poor and vulnerable around the world. But that, of course, is hard. It requires a vision of society not grounded in privatised individual morality but in community respect and love. It requires a move away from an obsession with such privatised morality to ethical living.

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© Rachel Mann is an Anglican parish priest and writer. She is Resident Poet at Manchester Cathedral and her work has been widely published in magazines, anthologies and newsprint. This piece is excerpted from her regular blog: http://therachelmannblogspot.blogspot.co.uk/ Rachel's acclaimed book, Dazzling Darkness: Gender, sexuality, illness and God (Wild Goose Publications, 2012) has been reviewed on Ekklesia here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17836 More from and about Rachel Mann on Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/rachelmann

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