Friday, March 9, 2012

When I was a kid I remember we used to play a card game called Happy Families and I wonder if it is still played today or whether computer games have taken over entirely and such innocent pastimes belong well and truly to the past. The pack of cards consisted of a number of families, the butcher’s family, the baker’s family, etcetera and consisted as I remember of mom, dad, son, and daughter, the perfect module. The idea was to collect as many families as possible by asking opposing players if they held a particular card. If they didn’t you lost your turn to ask. The person who ended up with the most cards was the winner. What brought this to mind was my never ending wonder at the reasoning of the human mind: how it makes excuses, how it explains, how it analyses, how it arrives at conclusions true or false. Of course nurture plays the biggest part in your thinking. If you’ve been brought up to believe that something is true and you continue to believe it then your thinking will most definitely be biased in that direction. Think of fanatical Nazis who were willing to continue fighting and to die in an almost destroyed Berlin even when they knew it was all over and the Russians were baying at their heels.

The government's plans for gay marriage have been criticised by the most senior Roman Catholic cleric in Britain. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland. He said the plans were a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right". He said the idea of redefining marriage, which David Cameron has said he supports, would "shame the United Kingdom in the eyes of the world". He said it was wrong to deliberately deprive a child of a mother or father. "Same-sex marriage would eliminate entirely in law the basic idea of a mother and a father for every child. It would create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father." Really? How come I never thought of that?

So the Cardinal has found a new and previously unmentioned reason for opposing gay marriage. (I still hate that emotive word and wish it had never been used but there you are, for good or bad it is there.) He’s not maintaining that homosexuality is unnatural or any of the other reasons put forward for homophobia but because every child deserves a mom and a dad – i.e. Happy Families!

Right Cardinal O’Brien just think for a moment and carry your reasoning on a step further. What about (a) Divorce? Now I know divorce is forbidden to Catholics but Catholic couples do separate so children of those marriages do not have both a mother and a father. They are with one or the other. Outside of the faith divorce is now so common the lack of both parents is even more obvious. And what about (b) the unwanted children who are farmed out to homes and foster parents thus losing their own natural mummy and daddy? And what about children who lose their parents at an early age through an act of God - an accident for example? (c) What about unmarried mothers? There was a time, not so long ago in fact, that when a girl gave birth out of marriage it was considered shameful and a disgrace but today kids hardly into their teens are popping them out like peach pips with no thoughts of marriage and in many cases don’t seem to know or care who the father is, and the boy certainly doesn’t want to know and accept the responsibility. There was a case fairly recently of a boy who had fathered six children all from different girls, thought nothing of it and was all for carrying on in the same fashion. Maybe he was a catholic and believed contraception to be a sin. But those six children do not have a daddy and more than likely will not have one. Give me your thoughts on that, Cardinal O’Brien. And finally what about those children born to abusive parents and whose lives are a misery, sometimes ending in early death, for example baby Peter who suffered 160 injuries before he was murdered. I shouldn’t think if he, so young, had been in a position to chose, would he have cared about having both a mummy and a daddy.

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