A Christian minister and politician has defended the sanctity of marriage in a discussion about infidelity on national television.
Revd George Hargreaves, former leader of the Christian Party, stressed that there are “consequences” for people who have an affair.
He was speaking after Ashley Madison, a website that facilitates extra-marital affairs worldwide, was targeted by cyber-hackers who are threatening to reveal the identities of its members.
During a discussion on BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live programme, Hargreaves responded to claims by another guest on the show that adultery is becoming acceptable.
He said: “No consequences? Recreational? This is crazy. Of course there are consequences because actually, marriage and sex are intertwined and actually, the sex act is part of the covenant making of a marriage.
“So when you break that covenant by taking your sexual activity outside the marriage, of course there are consequences.
The Ten Commandments
“You know I read somewhere, I think it was the Ten Commandments, that thou shalt not commit adultery.
“These were not ten suggestions, these were commandments, because actually it’s not that God wants to stop you having fun, it’s the best thing for society.
“For this marriage bond to be secure and the trust to be maintained and part of that is the sexual act stays within the marriage.”
Unpleasant and misleading
Earlier this month a group calling themselves the “Impact Team” warned that, unless Ashley Madison is shut down immediately, they will expose users’ names, addresses and explicit images online.
The Daily Mail reported that many marriages and relationships have been permanently damaged by people using the website, which 1.2 million Britons have signed up to.
Harry Benson, Research Director at the Marriage Foundation, said that such sites are “thoroughly unpleasant and misleading”.
“They actively encourage people to look for an affair by making that option available”, he added.
Benson concluded: “To pretend that adultery is a good thing in an otherwise long-lasting, loyal relationship is utter nonsense.”