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They always come in threes

It’s been a good week for bigot-spotters. First, we had Vladimir Putin saying that gay people could come to the Olympics just as long as they didn’t give Russian children the gay. Apparently, just a word of affection for a member of the same sex is liable to set off an epidemic of homosexuality throughout the country – won’t someone ban this sick filth!!!

Then Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni blocked legislation to introduce life imprisonment for homosexuality, because there were better ways of dealing with the “abnormality”, such as killing them. Such a great ally to the cause! He also claimed that some people become homosexual for “mercenary reasons”, which might explain the apparent ease with which Russian children can be turned. Read More…

The true cost of gay marriage

Happy CoupleGay marriage is here. It’s legal in many countries, it’s been approved by an ever-increasing number of US states, and the UK has now announced the date when same-sex couples will be able to get properly married, instead of separate-but-equal not-really-marriage.

Unsurprisingly, the dire predictions of terrible consequences should people of the same sex be allowed to get married haven’t come to pass. Polygamy, incest and bestiality remain as illegal and taboo as ever, existing marriages have persisted despite the claim that this “redefinition” threatened them in some way, and society is yet to collapse. Read More…

Welby’s self-awareness is too little, too late

Gold RingsOn Wednesday, Justin Welby “came out” in his own way. And what a very strange and inconsistent way it was. Speaking to the Evangelical Alliance, a group with little sympathy for gay rights even if evangelical laity are now pretty much evenly split on the issue, the Archbishop accepted that his opposition to the new same-sex legislation was alienating the church from the younger generation, who see it as “wicked”. He could have chosen a less ambiguous word in the context, but the overall message was clear.

Later, Welby went on to explain that the old man who lives in the Vatican turns out to be a Catholic, and that bears continue to shun modern flushing toilet facilities which fundamentally redefine the act, preferring the traditional, divinely approved form of a bush in the woods. Read More…

Religion is no excuse for bigotry

Bible“I’m really sorry, I don’t hate you and I’m not a bigot, but I can’t deny what the Bible says.”

If you haven’t heard this sort of apology much in the past, get used to it now, because you’re going to hear it a lot in the next few years. With same-sex marriage on the final stretch towards full legal approval in the UK, there are plenty of people who will be making excuses for their refusal to accept this fact, and particularly their contortions to avoid using the word “marriage” to describe any relationship they don’t approve of.

I’ve been in a similar position myself, and tried to apologise for my views while continuing to promote them and marginalise people as a result. I understand the explanation, and it’s superficially appealing, but it doesn’t really stand up. Read More…

How not to persevere: a case study from the Church of England

Wedding RingsThe Church of England has hardly been shy of expressing an opinion on same-sex marriage, having fought against it tooth and nail, describing the very idea as an outrageous imposition which destroys marriage as we know it. But this week, having been soundly defeated in the Lords despite some outspoken criticisms of the bill, the good old CofE has suddenly started to make rather more accommodating noises.

Obviously, I welcome the fact that the church has belatedly recognised that they’re fighting a losing battle, and that the will of both houses is clearly in favour of the legislation. But if it’s a vital issue of morality and fundamental definitions of terms they believe are Christian ones (as they’ve consistently argued), it would be utterly bizarre to relax your opinion and stop fighting based on a simple matter of popularity. It makes me wonder what Bible they’re reading. Read More…

How Lord Carey made millions of Christians simply vanish

I always sit up and take notice when Lord Carey speaks. Admittedly, that’s because I expect him to say something I’ll want to be incredibly rude about, but I imagine he’d be pleased that he’s not being completely ignored.

His latest intervention is no exception to that rule, although his spat with David Cameron at least manages to be entertaining. The sight of the two of them blaming each other for a rising tide of secularism based on their own peculiar definitions of what secularism actually means is like two bald men fighting over a comb that doesn’t even exist.

Leeds MinsterMy first instinct was to write about Carey’s belief that he’s being persecuted, but I think the people at Newsthump have dealt with that pretty effectively. Then I thought about obliterating Carey’s description of “aggressive secularism”, a concept on a par with militant fairness or angry non-discrimination, and possibly inspired by Chomsky’s nonsense sentence “colourless green ideas sleep furiously”, but Dean Burnett did it better than I could have done. Read More…

The hypocrisy of Keith O’Brien is too easy a target

Hypocrisy (n)
1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
2. The practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc., contrary to one’s real character or actual behaviour, esp the pretence of virtue and piety

PriestKeith O’Brien, everyone’s favourite recently retired Scottish ex-cardinal, has issued a statement relating to the accusations made against him by four young priests, dating back many years. He admits to general failings, remaining uncommunicative on the specific allegations. While the statement is carefully worded, I think we can take that as an admission to the essence of the claims, if not the details. Read More…

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