State of affairs
IN reverend David Seccombe’s Speaker’s Corner (“No equality in same-sex vows”, Voice, October 14, 2017) he articulates a Christian case against changing Australia’s marriage law.
I would like to respond.
What reverend Seccombe doesn’t address is that the subject matter of the current survey is not what marriages should be performed in a church but, rather, what marriages should be recognised at law.
This is not a church matter, but a state matter.
It is a long held principle that the state should not make rules for the church.
Equally, however, the church should not make rules for the state.
The state has long enacted legislation that reflects developments in secular civil thinking without impacting on differing church teachings or practice.
The decriminalisation of homosexuality has not impacted on the freedom of some Christians to continue to hold that same-sex intercourse is a sin; sex discrimination legislation has not forced the Catholic church to ordain women.
Similarly, the recognition at law by the state of same-sex marriages will not require churches to perform or recognise those marriages.
The reverend points out that marriages have been taking place in churches long before the Commonwealth of Australia started making laws.
That is not to say, however, that church marriages have gone unchanged in that time.
The Anglican reverend’s own church was established to allow a divorcee to remarry; something the Catholic church does still not do.
The Catholic church would not recognise the remarriage of a divorcee.
The state, however, having made its own rules, does.
The two exist, side by side, without the enforcement and suppression of dissent that the reverend Seccombe claims will follow the current proposed change in the law.
The reverend’s piece also implies that when society moves away from a morality informed by Christian teaching, it ditches morality altogether.
Religion and morality, however, are not the same thing.
One does not have to be religious in order to be moral.
One could go on to question what moral authority Christian churches have these days following the child abuse cover ups and current domestic violence scandals now confronting Christian churches of several denominations.
So, by all means, warn us.
That is the church’s prerogative and nothing should restrict it.
But nor should the beliefs of some restrict what laws a secular state may, by consensus, enact.
If society wants this change in the law, it is not the church’s place to obstruct.
Robinson Avenue, Perth
RESIDENTS living in the vicinity of a proposed new building at 180 Bennett St, East Perth, received notification of the proposed building plans being submitted to council.
The letter was dated August 8, 2017, but, thanks to our postal service, took a while to be delivered.
Consequently, only a relatively short time was available for submissions to the Perth city council, as they had to be presented by 25th August.
The application cited in the letter to residents was for a 14-storey residential hotel.
The application, approved subject to a number of provisions (none of which allay the main concerns of local residents) by an “absolute majority” of the council, was for a 16-storey residential hotel, with 85 hotel rooms, a restaurant and bar, and no provision for off-street parking.
This hotel will be built on a relatively narrow block, and will be about 10 storeys higher than every other building in the vicinity.
It will stick out like the proverbial ‘sore thumb’.
So, why do we have the building regulations, precinct plans and design policies below?
• 4.4 Building Design (Context) Unsympathetic contrasts of scale and materials relative to adjoining buildings should be avoided.
• Residential/Commercial Development: this type of development should contain a mix of residential and commercial uses.
Building design should be complementary to surrounding residential development in terms of scale and design.
• The above policy states that buildings around Wellington Square have ‘a continuous edge of appropriately scaled peripheral buildings of relatively consistent height, abutting the front boundaries of their sites’.
Although they state “abutting the front boundary…”, the set-back towering construction on this particular block is going to stick out in a very obvious fashion, and will certainly not be complementary to surrounding developments, but will be an eyesore!
Wickham Street, East Perth
A bridge too far
REGARDING the Burswood Bridge, has any person been made accountable for the stuff up, of what should have been a simple pedestrian bridge over the river?
It is great to see a bridge or building that is pleasing to the eye, but it must also be practical.
A good concrete bridge such as The Narrows Bridge would have been adequate, with maybe a fancy railing to brighten it up.
The bridge should have been designed strong and wide enough for emergency vehicles should the occasion arise.
Part of the bridge should be covered, with the west side glassed in.
I am sure this type of bridge would not have cost anywhere near what the bridge is costing now.
The bridge would have been finished now.
Melville Beach Road,