If a golf club had a rule precluding a woman from becoming the clubhouse manager, or refused to serve homosexual couples drinks, there would be a small outcry. The story would almost certainly make the national news and the golf club in question would be laying itself wide open to litigation.
When a church has a rule precluding women from becoming bishops and refuses to marry people of similar gender – well, there is also a small outcry and the story makes the national news.
But wait, there is a difference; the golf club is obviously run by a bunch of odious old bigots who need slapping down and quickly. The leaders of the church are nice but misguided people struggling with an issue of conscience.
My wife often accuses me of seeing things in binary rather than fully considering the nuances of an argument, so I shall refrain from drawing a conclusion about the church’s recent policy stances other than saying that we often seem to make different judgements about what are essentially identical scenarios based upon the context in which they are given to us.
Here’s another germane example. I have an ISA. I know, aren’t I a bastard? I’m AVOIDING TAX! Of course what I’m doing is perfectly legal, it’s not tax evasion after all, but it is morally outrageous. I’m deliberately, deliberately I say, structuring my affairs to reduce my tax bill and thereby depriving ‘hard working families’ of vital services. It’s worse, I’m a higher rate tax payer (not in the 45% bracket in case you’re wondering), the saving my ISA gives me is MORE than that a basic rate tax payer would get.
What’s that? You have an ISA? You pay higher rate tax (but not 45%) ? You don’t think there’s anything wrong with that?
Have you not been reading the papers? We’re the new lowest of the low. Starbucks, Google, Amazon and now us.
Of course there is no difference apart from Starbucks, Google and Amazon are big and successful and vaguely sinister and they’re companies and they’re American.
I am none of these things.