The story continues to run in the media of the couple – Mr and Mrs Bull – who have a Bed and Breakfast in Cornwall and have been branded as criminals by the UK justice system because of the stand of conscience they took in regard to unmarried couples sharing a bed.
It should be emphasised that their stance is not directed specifically against gay people, as has been widely reported in the press. Their objection is to any couple sharing a bed who are not married in the eyes of God.
Mrs Bull is recorded as specifically stating, “Our double-bed policy was based on our sincere beliefs about marriage, not hostility to anybody.”
In addition, their double bed policy is clearly stated alongside the booking form on their website so that nobody need be in any doubt as to their stance or their reason for its adoption.
In spite of this clear statement, it appears to be in the interests of some sections of the media to highlight the fact that the two people who have brought an accusation against the hoteliers happen to be in a gay relationship and therefore it is assumed per se that they were specifically discriminated against because of their sexuality.
The bible never denounces loving relationships between any two people whether they are of the same or opposite sex. An example of the former is King David and Jonathan of whom the bible says:
“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.” (1Sa 18:1).
Whilst there was obviously a very deep love between these two men, there is not the slightest hint that the relationship involved any kind of sexual activity. In fact the bible’s description of their relationship is entirely in accordance with the words of Jesus when He was asked which is the greatest of the commandments. His reply was:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
What the bible does denounce is sexual intercourse outside the narrow constraints of a lifelong marriage relationship between one man and one woman. That would be to exclude sexual activity between two people of the same sex, two people of opposite sex who are not married and even sexual activity between a man or woman and an animal.
God does not impose any kind of constraint without justifiable reason and there may be a variety of reasons for the bible’s prohibition about sex outside of marriage including, for example:
■ The bible uses marriage as an earthly illustration of the relationship God wants to have between Himself and His people, which is one of eternal commitment and dedication one with the other.
■ There is plenty of evidence to support the general principle that lifelong relationships between one woman and one man make for a more stable society and are also the best environment in which to bring up children. Whilst it is always possible to find exceptions to this principle, the mere fact that they are exceptional demonstrates the validity of the principle in general.
■ Free sexual activity can lead to a range of diseases and relationship breakdowns that would be far less prevalent in a society that followed the rules laid down by God in the bible.
There may be other reasons behind the decision of Mr and Mrs Bull to take the stand they have chosen. However it is a stand of conscience and it is a sad day when a couple are forced to choose between following their genuine conscientious convictions or being branded as criminals.
The views expressed about this case are many and varied and none are without merit. However, when a couple who have not harmed or intended to harm anybody or anything are branded criminals because they have sought to follow their consciences, it is perhaps time for all of us to sit up and take notice as to the direction in which our society is heading.