Dear Friends,

As the letters arrive in our letterboxes to give us opportunity to vote on the change to marriage laws this is surely the time for Christians to stand up and speak up.

Here we are in the Reformation (500th) anniversary celebrating the courage of Martin Luther to stand alone for God’s truth and are there Christians appreciating what he did and deciding to do the opposite?? God save us.

You may be thinking to yourself that you are weary of the subject and that the ‘yes’ vote is inevitable and even that the ‘yes’ vote is loving – and I urge you to think again.

Though you may be alone in your workplace, school or even family you are not alone. ‘If God be for us who can be against us?’ You and I have been called by God to stand for His word, we have been made salt, light and a city on a hill and the mark of love for people is that we say what our Sovereign and loving Lord says.

I asked a man from another church what he would say if a camera and microphone confronted him in the street saying “will you vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and why?’ and he said – “I will say no because I am under authority”. He is exactly right. Jesus spoke of disciples being brought to trial and not being afraid because He would give them words to say – and we have been given the words!

– Genesis 1 -2 tells us that the world is filled and blessed when a man and woman give themselves to each other in marriage for serving God, supporting each other and (ideally) producing children.

– Matthew 19 tells us that Jesus refused to discuss alternatives when pushed but went back to this foundational truth on marriage.

You may think that a ‘no’ vote is negative and unloving and unkind when in fact you are saying ‘no’ to the removal of a safety fence.

You may feel that a ‘no’ vote is discriminatory when in fact discrimination is another word for discerning. You know God’s word brings life and light.

You may hear that a ‘no’ vote is homophobic when you know that you are not fearful of people but afraid for their journey away from Jesus.

My observation of the lead up to this postal vote is that almost every media outlet is not only resoundingly ‘yes’ but provides almost no place for a ‘no’ vote. And yes, of course, ‘no’ sounds unfriendly – the question has been set up to sound like that.

But all over the world there is a ‘no’ going on in a thousand places that is as loving and wise and informed as possible. People are saying ‘no’ to children exploring unhelpful websites. People are saying ‘no’ to slack standards in hospitals. People are saying ‘no’ to carelessness around North Korea. People are saying ‘ no’ to forcing young children into marriages. Every one of these ‘no’ decisions is sane and loving and informed.

Now we who believe –
– the definition of marriage is God’s word and will
– a minority of .25% who want a same sex marriage should not steamroll the 99.75%
– children should be ideally raised by a father and a mother
– people of same sex attraction already have equal rights in a relationship [2008 government decision]
– people of all race, religion, sexuality and status need to know the God who loves them

We should make our voice heard in this postal vote.

You may be afraid of your friends – afraid that they will ask you “did you vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’?” And you may need to say “I am under authority”. Or you may need to say “sometimes love says no”. Or you may need to say “my vote was based on information very few know about – I’ll tell you if you are interested”. But don’t waste your vote and don’t be a reed blowing in the secular wind.

Simon Manchester

P.S. The pastors at St Thomas’ will be voting ‘no’ in the postal vote to guard a biblical view of marriage and we urge you to do the same.