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Advert decision appealed by bigots on grounds of popularity

You wouldn’t think it possible that anyone could object to the introduction of a policy on the grounds that some people might support it, but that’s the view of Christian charity and kneejerking busybodies The Core Issues Trust. They object to the rejection of their offensive bus advert (below) on the grounds that Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, may have hoped to win votes from the ban. Um, yeah.

Core Issues Trust Advert

To be fair to them (and this does cause me a great deal of pain, seeing that they are strongly into the “gay cure” therapy that’s even being rejected by fellow conservative wingnuts), it does appear that Boris attempted to make political capital out of the decision in a rather crude way. It’s also possible that he acted improperly in interfering with the decision-making process. So Boris is still a self-serving prat, but even stopped clocks can be right twice a day.

What makes this appeal futile for all purposes other than publicity and stirring up the tired old “persecuted Christians” narrative is that whatever the decision, Transport for London will still have the right to refuse the advert, and almost certainly will on the very reasonable grounds of offensiveness and discrimination against a protected characteristic. This advert, targeted at gay people, simply asserts that sexuality is chosen, implying that anyone who chooses the “wrong” option should not expect to be treated with dignity.

At this point, you can just imagine the bigots chiming in and screaming that it’s not fair, because “they” (i.e. Stonewall) got to put their advert up. In fact, you don’t need to imagine it, because here’s Andrea Minichiello Williams, never short of a few words:

In a mature democracy both sides of a debate should be heard but it seems that Boris Johnson, Transport for London and Stonewall are intent to shut down the Christian side of the debate by fair means or foul.

Do you see where she’s going wrong here? Well, there’s the implication of a massive conspiracy between BoJo, TfL and Stonewall – I’m dying to know what secret bunker they meet in – as well as the idea that there’s a debate, as opposed to a few fanatics peddling “cure” treatments which are not only unproven (to be generous) but actively damaging, and the prejudging of the case before the court right now. But that’s not all. Have a look at Stonewall’s advert:

Stonewall Bus

The observant among you may have noticed a significant difference between this and the Core Issues Trust effort. Stonewall’s advert essentially says “This is just who we are, stop oppressing us” while the response amounts to “No, because you chose to be like that, so stop making such a fuss”, with a side order of “degenerate, hellbound sodomites” served as a subtext. Really, there’s no comparison.

Nor is it possible to claim that the Core Issues Trust advert is equivalent because both are by (and addressing) protected groups, either a sexuality or a religion. In one case, it’s a simple statement of fact and a plea for tolerance. In the other, it’s an assertion that might best be described as controversial, directly aimed at another group and challenging its members’ self-identification. You don’t need me to tell you which is which.

Incidentally, I do wonder at the wisdom of any media strategy which identifies your own group as being inextricably linked with the intolerant bigotry addressed by the Stonewall advert, as Andrea Minichiello Williams appears to do. But it’s also odd that they seem to be implicitly admitting that bigotry isn’t as popular as the alternative with voters, or at least that bigots are less likely to be swayed by a cheap bus-related policy gimmick.

Soon, they’ll give up on the “Christian Majority” rhetoric altogether, and spend all their time calling for protection as an oppressed minority. It’s starting already. The emptiest vessels really do make the most noise.

Images courtesy of Core Issues Trust and κύριαsity, used with permission

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…

Judith Reisman, pornography and the gay moth myth

Pornography really seems to attract the quacks. I’ve heard people blaming it for all sorts of social ills, but Judith Reisman and Donald L Hilton Jr between them have taken the usual pearl-clutching terror in a direction I’d never have imagined anyone would consider – they say pornography causes homosexuality.

KissHonestly, it’s hard to know how to respond to anything so totally bizarre, and I find myself caught between serious and flippant responses. The snarky part of my brain wants to say that this explains why there’s so much demand for lesbian porn (or, you know, so I’ve heard *ahem*), but anyone who views the argument as having any basis in fact might be so cognitively challenged that they’d take my sarcastic putdown as a statement of genuine agreement.

I want to deliver a firm factual rebuttal, but I fear that any hint of taking the claim seriously would be giving it too much credit. Nevertheless, I’ve been giggling about this since I heard it, so I’m going to try to have a bit of an each way bet and cover both angles as best I can. Read More…

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