I would like to thank Alan Swift for his courteous and reasoned response last week on the subject of same-sex marriage and parenting.

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It is easy for the debate on such an emotive subject to become over-heated, which I hope we can continue to avoid.

However, I would make two points in response.

Alan wrote about parenting ability in general, and wanted us to avoid stereotyping people according to their faith, experience, relationship status or sexual orientation.

This approach also tends to minimise gender in the matter of parenting.

I don’t think, though, that it is a case of prejudice to state that motherhood is something that a man cannot offer to a child, no more than a woman can offer fatherhood; and that these two qualities, combined in marriage, are the ideal foundation for a child as it grows up.

Where I would absolutely agree with Alan is that just having two people with the titles ‘mother’ and ‘father’ is no guarantee of good parenting, as we are probably all aware.

There is a need for men and women to learn the skills of being a good mother or father (as well as being a good husband or wife, dare I say).

The question I would ask is - from whom do we learn this?

What is the source of our wisdom on this matter?

Ultimately, this brings us to ask spiritual questions about parenting, which Alan did not address.

Are we male and female by chance, or is there a purpose and design in our complementary characteristics?

And if we are male and female, mother and father, by design, should we not look to the designer for help in performing this vital role of parenting, for our children’s sake?

It is no coincidence that in the Bible, God wants to make himself known to us as ‘father’, and to teach us, as his children, how to live peaceful and harmonious lives in our family relationships.

To ignore this, and to come up with some sort of alternative design, as it appears we may do if same-sex marriage becomes law, is surely to court disaster.

Lee N Emerson

Pastor

Scott Drive Church

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