Thursday, 30 June 2016

Jonathan Mclatchie: Gay Marriage is "Madness" but Terrorism is..

Jonathan McLatchie calls gay marriage "madness" yet when it comes to terrorist attacks such as the Orlando shootings, it's not called madness. It's called Islam - this is the message we get based on the videos of one of his colleagues, David Wood*, which he shares on his FaceBook page. All this despite there being more support from Christian authorities for gay marriage than support from Muslim authorities for terrorism!

You have the modern phenomena of indiscriminate killings of civilians which all Muslim scholastic bodies have condemned to be against the spirit of Islam. Dr Timothy Winter of Cambridge University states "terrorism is the arbitrary targeting of the innocent in order to place pressure on governments, which is something which doesn't have origins in Islamic culture or ethics and comes out of the French revolution and certain 19th century anarchist movements that used terrorism. As a doctrine in the Muslim world it's very recent and it's an expression of Westernisation. Terrorism, 9/11 for instance, according to classical Islamic Law is classified as hiraba which carried the death penalty"

An excellent quote from Muhammad Asad's book rebuking McLatchie's fellow evangelical Christians (Jeremiah Johnston and Craig Evans) who parse terrorist attacks in a similar manner to McLatchie and his friend David Wood:

"Simply put, every Muslim scholar - whether Sunni, Shia, Salafi, Deobandi - has condemned and spoken out against Daesh. Their arguments against Daesh and its acts are derived from traditional Islamic religious texts and  based firmly in Islamic jurisprudence".

The evangelical Christian inconsistency

Contrast that with the equally modern phenomena of gay marriage. Although there is a growing number of churches, Christian leaders and lay Christians accepting gay marriage as being within the spirit of Christianity, Jonathan would dismiss gay marriage as "madness".

More Christians who are involved in the CoE believe gay marriage is right rather than wrong. A recent survey by YouGov suggested 45% of Church of England followers felt same-sex marriage was right, against 37% who believed it wrong [stats sourced from Huffington Post]. According to the Huff Post, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and now the Presbytarian Church (USA) sanctify the marriage of two men or two women.

Rev. Dr. Mark Achtemeier, who has served the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1984 as a minister, theology professor, and writer states there's an overwhelmingly positive case for gay marriage in the Bible:

Fortunately, the church across the centuries has developed guidelines for interpreting Scripture that help keep our use of particular passages in touch with the true portrait of God’s love in Christ. When we apply these guidelines, the Bible’s teaching about gay people and their relationships appears in a whole new light. In my book I show how the application of these time-tested principles of biblical interpretation produces an overwhelmingly positive biblical case in favor of gay marriage. I came to realize how my former reliance on fragmentary, out-of-context quotes from Scripture had led me to lose touch with the “big picture” of God’s love that lies at the heart of the Bible’s witness.

All this in the eyes of Jonathan McLatchie is "madness". Yet if he would just step back for a few moments he would observe the huge inconsistency he and his evangelical colleagues operate on. There's actually much more support for gay marriage from Christian authorities, churches and lay Christians alike than there is for terrorist acts such as Orlando.

If McLatchie was consistent he would say, that gay marriage is CHRISTIAN not "madness". I'd imagine for him, Christian proponents of gay marriage decontextualize and rely on fragmentary readings of the Bible. BUT he and his colleagues are not even cognisant to this being the case for Muslim terrorists despite:

In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5’s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could . . . be regarded as religious novices.” The analysts concluded that “a well-established religious identity actually protects against violent radicalisation”, the newspaper said. [Mehdi Hasan]

I recently heard rabbi Tovia Singer, a man who has no horse in this race, say terrorists abuse texts from the Quran and Hadith. Ask yourself why a Jewish rabbi can be more scholarly, consistent and fair than Jonathan McLatchie and his evangelical Christian colleagues - a crowd who claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit?

There's clearly an agenda at play here. Perhaps Jonathan McLatchie will enlighten us on this glaringly obvious inconsistency and why it is operated on. For now, smart and fair-minded people are not impressed.

* David Wood, in pretty much the immediate aftermath of the Orlando shootings made a video effort claiming Omar Mateen's actions were in line with Islamic texts. Maeten's former gay lover has now come out and said he thinks it was nothing to do with religion but a revenge attack concerning a sexual liaison with a man/men who did not inform him of  a HIV positive status - see the Independent. David Wood has a history of hurdling over facts and fair-minded analysis.