The BBC is being praised for premiering a same-sex wedding on a longstanding show.
Songs of Praise is a religious program that shows Christian hymns being sung in UK churches of varying denominations. The religious reality series, that started in October 1961, is one of the longest-running series in its genre around the globe. And a show with so much history, religious culture, and international eyes on it has blessed us by acknowledging marriage equality for the first time.
This week’s episode included the wedding of Jamie Wallace and Ian McDowall, two gay men from Scotland. The show covered the grooms exchanging their vows at Glasgow’s Rutherglen United Reformed Church. In addition, the musical aspect of the episode held political weight with a Northern Irish choir being chosen to sing. With the country heavily consumed in marriage equality conversations, it’s hard to think the choir choice wasn’t a politically conscious one.
Jamie & Ian have married in a United Reformed Church thanks to its approach to same-sex weddings. They know it’s not agreed by all Christians, but tell @revkatebottley their own personal reasons. See more Sunday @BBCOne at 13:00pm and https://t.co/uNWTvEBrda #songsofpraise pic.twitter.com/FA1YPT6p9q
— BBC Songs of Praise (@BBCSoP) August 16, 2019
Watching a church embrace two men get married is truly joyful. Everyone should be free to love & be with whoever they want. As a gay Christian, I look forward to the day when same sex couples can get married in all churches. Hopefully I'll be one of them!! 🏳️🌈🌈⛪💖 #SongsofPraise pic.twitter.com/aBAyk0ihW5
— Cllr Joe Porter 🇬🇧 (@JoePorterUK) August 18, 2019
During the program, Wallace’s mother said that her son, “always wanted to get married in a church”.
“It means the whole world,” she added. “[His faith is] very important to him, ever since he was a wee boy.”
But despite this happy occasion, there were moments of reflection on Christianity’s oppression of gay love.
“Jesus preaches about love, inclusion, kindness, compassion,” Mr. McDowell said.
“A good lady who comes to this church told us in one of our discussions, people will change, and don’t underestimate older people, either. They just need to think about it, and they’ll get there one day.”
Three years ago before I tweeted about 🥐, I was live tweeting #songsofpraise episodes. So this is one of those full circle, means the world to my Queer heart moments
— Joey (@JoeyKnock) August 16, 2019
But as Rev. Andy Braunston explains in the program, support of gay love and marriage is up to each individual congregation.
“We didn’t want to carry on arguing about it so we decided to live with the difference,” he remarked.
And as cast member Kathryn Jenkins noted, the show’s reformating is meant to represent the Christian faith of today and all its different looks and appearances.
“Today we do have our congregational moments but we show the different ways people worship,” she told the DailyMail. “If you do that walking over mountains rather than in a cathedral, it doesn’t make you any less of a Christian.”
“It’s about adapting, making faith personal. Loads of my friends watch, most of them on iPlayer. I have one who enjoys it in the gym.’
And thankfully, that led to this wonderful televised moment.