The recent ridiculous Bishops’ Guidelines on sex come under the spotlight in this Barking and Dagenham Post opinion piece published 12.2.20
What is natural? There’s certainly nothing much ‘natural’ about Barking and Dagenham.
The forests and wild animals that once bordered the Thames have long gone. Nature equipped us with legs to get around, but now we use planes and boats and trains, not to mention cars, bikes and wheelchairs. And many of us have adopted the completely unnatural habit of wearing spectacles, unique in the animal kingdom. So why is there an obsession among some religious folk about whether sexual practices and predilections are ‘natural’ and accord with a divine plan?
In truth an endless variety of behaviours is found in nature, and in people, and always has been. If the joy of sexual intimacy is a gift intended for procreation then does not having children make life meaningless? And what of nuns, monks and priests who eschew this gift?
History is littered with religious zealots who have tried to dictate how we live and love. Rules have varied wildly on, say, numbers of partners and consent. For most of human history there was no such thing as marriage as we now know it.
No wonder the Bishops’ ‘Guidance’ published last month that ‘only married heterosexuals should have sex’ was greeted with outrage, dismay, and ridicule, not least among C of E members. This anachronistic nonsense provokes guilt, misery and bigotry. The established church enjoys unique powers and privileges, itself an anachronism. Better that they be used to tackle war, poverty and abuse of the planet, not how we love.
Chair, East London Humanists.