Fr. Armstrong 6
VOX POPULI, VOX DEI
(The Voice Of The People Is The Voice Of God)
Is that so? Well it would depend on the context in which it is used. Why not put it to the test through a referendum on the issue of legalizing same-sex marriages in Barbados? Much has been written, for and against; there are those who have expressed their views on Down To Brasstacks and other public news media. The Government of Barbados is in the centre of all the tensions that arise between the international requirements, on the one hand, and the wishes of Barbadians, on the other. That problem will be solved when the Government can say that the ‘Vox Populi’ must come first. It seems that there are two issues of concern: same-sex ‘unions’ similar to regular heterosexual ‘unions’; and same-sex marriages. So, here is a suggested solution that should satisfy most of the organizations and individuals involved.
Step 1: have a referendum on same-sex marriage as soon as possible, and I am sure that the majority of Barbadians would vote against it. I believe that it will also ‘protect’ the political future of the Government.
Step 2: permit same-sex unions with the same rights as those of heterosexual couples ( living in what the Church called “faithful concubinage”)
Going this route would be a ‘happy compromise’: Barbadians would have a ‘voice’, so that the Government can tell any organization what the ‘vox populi’ is; and people who live in same-sex unions can have some rights as well. I say ‘some’ rights, because they would be prevented from proceeding to legal same-sex marriage, which would not exist if Step 1 above is completed.
Even as a social anthropologist by academic discipline, and a Priest by profession and vocation, I do not see them as ‘mutually exclusive’; I combine them by beginning with God. I love and respect the dignity of every human being as a ‘child of God’. My love for people has nothing to do with their sexual preferences. I can therefore recognize the civil rights of everyone involved here, and at the same time say, “Thus says the Lord.” There is ‘marriage’ as a legal relationship; and there is ‘Holy Matrimony’, as a legal and God-approved and God-blessed union. The latter is for the Church to defend.
I commend the Prime Minister and her team for the very good work they are doing ,especially in the context of this pandemic; and I implore Barbadians to let your voices be heard, less in complaints, and more in thanksgiving to God for the many blessings He continues to shower on you. Don’t ‘give up’ on Him.
G. Llewellyn Armstrong (Rev. Canon Dr.)
Rector: The Resurrection Anglican Congregation, Brooklyn, New York