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Cardinal Defends ‘Gay Marriage is Like Slavery’ Comparison

Cardinal Defends ‘Gay Marriage is Like Slavery’ Comparison


Cardinal Keith O’Brien, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland and Britain’s most senior Catholic, has been forced to defend comments he made saying that the British government’s legalizing of gay marriage is, in human rights terms, the same as legalizing slavery, saying he thinks it is “a very, very good example.”

The Cardinal faced a staunch challenge by presenter John Humphreys on BBC Radio 4′s the Today program on Monday, who said he felt that O’Brien’s words risked being “inflammatory” and devisive. O’Brien remained defiant however, saying that the comparison was ”a very, very good example” and that he was just “doing his best” to hand down Jesus’ teachings.  You can listen to the full interview segment here, but a transcript of that particular part of the exchange appears below:

Humphrys: The idea of introducing the notion of something as grotesque as slavery, and I use the word there advisedly, the ultimate denial of a person’s human rights, in this context will itself prompt many people to think that this is grotesque, that your notion of it is grotesque.

O’Brien: I’m not saying that it’s grotesque, perhaps to some people it might appear grotesque.

Humphrys: But you’re a Cardinal! Should you be using that kind of language? Equating, even as remotely as this, the notion of gay relationships with slavery?

O’Brien: I think it’s a very, very good example as to what might happen in our own country at this present time and I feel I’ve duty, a responsibility to preach and to teach and this is one of the ways in which I do it.

Humphrys: Sorry, you lost me a little here, what might happen? Legalising slavery and the equivalent of homosexual marriage?

O’Brien: It is a perfectly good example as to what could happen in our own country if we go this way. I’m simply handing on the teaching of the Christian Church down through the years.

O’Brien goes on to say that countries and regions that have legalized same-sex marriage are breaching human rights because it goes against “natural law.” O’Brien also says that legalization of same-sex marriage would be the “thin end of the wedge”, saying: “Further aberrations would be taking place and society would be degenerating even further than it has into immorality” and that legalizing marriage equality is “changing the whole notion of what marriage and what a family is. Children have the right to have a mother and a father.”

The Cardinal, writing in an op-ed for the Sunday Telegraph, made a number of baseless claims which we dissected for you here. The comment that has caused the most controversy relates to the Cardinal’s opinion on the British government’s promise of concessions to religious institutions so that the church would not have to solemnize or recognize such unions. Calling this “arrogant,” O’Keith said: “Imagine for a moment that the Government had decided to legalise slavery but assured us that ‘no one will be forced to keep a slave’. Would such worthless assurances calm our fury? Would they justify dismantling a fundamental human right? Or would they simply amount to weasel words masking a great wrong?”

Cardinal O’Brien’s attack on marriage equality follows former Archbishop Lord Cary last month making a concerted, if fact-free, assault on the government’s plans to legalize same-sex marriage while helping to launch the campaign group the Coalition for Marriage, a religious conservative group quietly being championed by leaders of The Christian Institute and other such groups who want to prevent the government from legalizing marriage equality.


Related Reading:

UK Passports to Get Gender Neutral Parent Options
UK Considering Gender Neutral Passports
British Gov. Announces Gay Marriage Consultation


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Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to the Catholic Church of England and Wales.

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7:05AM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

I fail to see the link between slavery and homosexuality unless he is comparing physical slavery to being enslaved by our desires?
In any event why aren't pedophiles in jail for the rest of their natural lives?
The government has no right (in the US at least) to dictate religious doctrine.

3:04PM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

Another religious nut!

1:36PM PDT on Apr 16, 2014

And this is from the man who had to resign because of "inappropriate" behaviour towards young seminarians.Sometimes, homophobes are hypocritical self-hating closeted gays.Cliches can be true.Little wonder that Catholicism has a bit of a credibility problem.....

3:59PM PDT on Jun 25, 2012

This is wonderful from a church that embraced the spanish inquisition and the nazi party. Both of who made sure human rights didn't exist for them

7:54AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

What do you expect from a man who claims to be Christian but is a Catholic, such mucked up people's religion.

5:22PM PDT on Mar 20, 2012

I hate it when celibate men claim to have knowledge about heterosexuals, gays, transsexuals, etc.

7:45PM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

I just read The Forgotten History of Gay Marriage, maybe the Cardinal should as well. However I doubt if it would do anything to change his POV. So sad that those who most profess to love everyone certainly manage to preach what to my humble mind sounds more like hate.

12:07AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

Care2, Why were my comments not added to the list of others ?

12:05AM PDT on Mar 14, 2012

Three cheers for the Cardinal upholding God's standards as expressed in the bible. There seems to be so many wishy washy ministers saying the popular thing that Gay marriage is ok. If gay marriages do come in God will not be pleased at us flouting his laws. His wrath will become evident mark my words.

6:11AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

I'm beginning to wonder if the bits which annoys him about "homosexual acts between consenting adults" are "consenting" and "adult". As Gay marriage I think it is a bit of a long shot but it might be a problem with commitment is the problem for a man who is supposed to have never had sex, unless hiding all those altar boys and choirs boys getting molested is not really sex.

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