I appear to have been wrong in what I blogged about wedding licences in 2008.
At that time we had a surge in applications, often involving a combination like an Egyptian man and a Lithuanian woman. On 10th August I noted that some asked ‘whether we are being naive and in some cases visa manipulation may be a factor’, and I opined ‘but there doesn’t seem to be any advantage of this sort when marrying another foreign national’. On 4th September I mentioned that the Church Times then identified this as a national phenomenon and our church licence system as being a loop hole for sham weddings, but I persisted in suggesting that it was legitimate for resident foreign couples to seek to avoid excessive state fees by seeking a church wedding.
A little while later the Border Agency showed an interest in the particular church at which most of these weddings were taking place and straight away the stream of applications dried up, and last week the Church Times returned to the subject reporting the prosecution of a clergyman from elsewhere for knowingly facilitating a similar spate of sham marriages; it mentions that there is indeed an advantage in terms of permission to reside for someone from outside the EU when he or she marries an EU citizen.
All of which raises the question for me about how wrong I might be about a whole range of other things which seem self evident to me (some of which I blog about with equal confidence).
In which context, I’ve enjoyed the following quotations in another blog.
First, the Chief Rabbi:
The test of faith is whether I can make space for difference. Can I recognise God’s image in someone who is not in my image, whose language, faith, ideals, are different from mine? If I cannot, then I have made God in my image, instead of allowing him to remake me in his.
And roughly the same point succinctly from Anne Lamott:
You know you have created God in your own image when he hates all the same people you do.