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Showing posts from June, 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful (1,2,3)

This blog has always been a place where I have been critical of the Unitarian movement. I've always been acutely aware that the Unitarian movement is in deep trouble and has lost its way in many ways. It has been in decline, and many congregations have been devoid of the Spirit and very inward-looking. So I always try to balance this out when I can when I think I can say something positive. There are in fact many positive things to say. I feel more optimistic about the state of Unitarianism today than I did five years ago. I hope this is not just the effect of me becoming more mainstream within the movement and less of an outsider. I do think real changes have happened, and there are reasons to be cheerful. Here are some of them: 1. Some congregations are growing There are in fact many of our congregations that are growing. Some of our healthiest congregations have grown much more. Some congregations have grown steadily. Some congregations have gone from a tiny number to a he

Do Civil Partnerships undermine marriage equality?

I was never in favour of civil partnerships. Living in Massachusetts in 2004 I saw marriage equality come to that state, and I was very aware of all the debates at that time. In the American conversation civil partnerships were the conservative compromise position. Pro-marriage equality campaingners generally considered them to be based on a doctrine of "separate but equal" which had been rejected as a racial philosophy in America a generation earlier. So I was very ambivalent when civil partnerships came into force in the UK. They certainly provided a lot more rights for same-sex partnerships but they also made it very clear that same-sex partnerships were inferior to different-sex partnerships which could be solemnised as marriages. One of the ways that inferiority was expressed was that civil partnerships had to be, well, civil: i.e. non-religious. There was no way that same-sex couples could affirm their relationship in a religious ceremony. As a person of faith and a q