Christianity, Secularism & Same-sex Marriage Essay

Submitted By rosseverdell
Words: 1684
Pages: 7

Ross Everdell

Evaluate how the sexual ethical principles of three Christian variants are applied to the contemporary debate about same sex marriage and contrast this to the current secular debate in Australia.
Ethics are the philosophical and religious reflections on moral beliefs and practices. Most religions have an ethical component, often derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance, which supposedly provide structure and direction in everyday life. In religion, the word ethics is an umbrella term that refers to the definitive moral guidance of numerous societal elements, including sexual ethics; which are principles concerned with issues from all aspects of human sexuality. As well as discussing human sexual behaviour, they also regulate the proper religious attitude on homosexuality and other alternative lifestyles. Broadly speaking, sexual ethics relate to community and personal standards regarding the conduct of interpersonal relationships. Over the centuries, Christianity has divided into numerous denominations with each denomination having its own distinctive beliefs, practices and ethical teachings. The Roman Catholic Church, being the largest Christian denomination, upholds a firm stance on same-sex marriage, but is by no means as militant as Jehovah’s Witness, or sympathetic as The Uniting Church. The current secular debate regarding same-sex marriage concludes that the majority of citizens are in favour of marriage equality [1], but political format and order so far prevents any further action being taken in the development of nationwide, legal and religious same-sex recognition.
The debate over marriage equality has always been a divisive issue. The Catholic Church argues from a theological perspective against recognizing same-sex unions and appears firmly rooted in their ways. The Church acknowledges – in common with traditional marriage – that same-sex unions do involve love, affection, monogamy and lifelong commitment; however they differ from heterosexual unions in fundamental elements. The sexual ethical principles of Catholicism are interpreted within numerous doctrines, though only two are of chief concern. Persona Humana [2], issued in 1975 by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, states that acceptance of homosexual activity was against the church's teaching and morality. The document concluded that a distinction existed between people who were gay because of a ‘false education’ or ‘a lack of normal sexual development’ and those who were innately or pathologically homosexual. It then continued to argue that homosexuality was an anomaly that gay people suffered from. Likewise, the Catechism of the Catholic Church [4] encompass’ similar ideologies and is equally as pejorative in portraying them. The document states that homosexuals are contrary to the natural law, close the sexual act to the gift of life, do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity, and may be approved under no circumstances. The Church regards marriage, as based on the sexual complementarity of woman and man, as a marital union intrinsically ordered towards family development and new life. The Catholic Church argues that same-sex unions cannot be equated with marriage because they are not based on male/female complementarity and subsequently are not ordered towards the growth of family and new life. In other words, the ability for same-sex unions to develop family and new life are not naturally intrinsic to the relationship. Instead, they are extrinsic additions to the agreement, therefore making such unions unviable under what it is that constitutes marriage.
Cheering in support of the Catholic Church is the Jehovah’s Witness’ radical rule that bluntly conveys a stance on homosexuality. Despite being a smaller Christian denomination, they are very outspoken and discriminatory when referring to homosexuality. Jehovah’s Witnesses