John Dunn

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Gay marriage and the amoral logic of the economic system

Monday, 4 Mar 2013

Gothic arches on Staff and Scrip, Dr John Dunn Formerly in Thought pieces 2012

It is a sorry spectacle to see the opponents of gay marriage floundering around, trying not to look intolerant, when really they have the opportunity to put the boot firmly on the other foot.

“All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned” Marx famously said when considering the relentless destructive power of capitalism’s advance. Cameron and Obama are the willing servants of capitalism in this respect, moving us further along a path which is intolerant of choice and diversity. We are witnessing the ruthless imposition of sameness, whether it be through legislation at home, or through the militaristic imposition of neo-liberal values abroad. Globalisation renders us all increasingly the same, commodities to be exploited, just like the world’s precious mineral and other resources which are, in the neo-liberal mindset, reduced equally to commodities for sale on the market. Diversity simply upsets the smooth running of the machine as economists see and measure it. That marriage can be arbitrarily redefined by secular legislators to mean the same for gay couples as for unions between men and women is just another example of the erosion of difference.

What is astonishing is the way that Cameron and Obama get away with presenting this imposition of rigid uniformity upon the world as something to do with rights and liberty. Wrong - capitalism is an ethics-free zone. No moral force is allowed to stand in the way of economic expediency, and this applies to all spheres of life, including the financial world as well as the sphere of personal relationships.

The churches have only themselves to blame for withdrawing from economic life, leaving practically everything we do to the law of the jungle. They can’t stay safe and secure within a moralistic bubble and then make empty criticisms when the world changes outside.

It is time that the churches recognised that moral issues are insuperably linked to economic issues. Gay marriage results from the amoral logic of the economic system and, in a world increasingly run by the bankers, its emergence now in the US and UK should be no surprise. Understand this and the churches might be in a better position to make a stand on moral issues generally.

John Dunn.

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