After liberating Libya in 2011 the British prime minister David Cameron addressed himself to the question of gay marriage in an unrepresentative House of Commons, and successfully challenged the Christian doctrine of marriage (held indeed by members of the Christian churches to be a sacrament).
At the time (2013) Mr Cameron’s view on gay marriage was a minority view in the Conservative Party in the House of Commons. But who knows what the British Conservative party stands for apart from political power?
This arbitrary decision (without a manifesto commitment) by the undemocratic House of Commons has inevitably led to a crisis of faith for members of such churches as the Church of Ireland, the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland.
The British are great believers in religious freedom (as, for example, in respect of Jews and Muslims).
In these circumstances it has become necessary for Christian religious leaders to speak out explicitly on the doctrine of marriage and to give guidance to their beleaguered congregations.
It is one thing for a British parliament to pass a law on gay marriage, the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and as law-abiding English subjects naturally we accept the rule of law.
But it is quite another to be told that we have to believe in gay marriage. That is fascism disguised as freedom of thought.
I urge Christian religious leaders to clarify the doctrine of Christian marriage.
We cannot blame Arlene Foster or the Presbyterians in Northern Ireland for the lack of spiritual leadership and guidance by the Archbishops of Armagh (there are two) on the vital question of Christian marriage.
Dr Gerald Morgan, FTCD (1993), Dublin