Friday 29 May 2009

Melanie Phillips’ world of intolerance and persecution

Melanie Phillip’s article in the current edition of the Spectator majors on the idea that what is normal is being subverted and destroyed in our society. Melanie knows what normal is, normal lifestyle, normal ethical principles, normal sexuality.

She thinks that a liberal society should show tolerance of homosexuality but thinks this has been hijacked by an agenda which aims at destroying the very idea of normative sexuality altogether by smearing it as prejudice.

Lesson one for Melanie (from my psychotherapy training) – there is no normal. Normal is what the majority think or what a culture has accepted as normative for them. In truth, though, each person’s normal is unique to them. Normal for me is being gay, loving my male partner, waking up in the morning with him, eating muesli and making toast.

Christians being persecuted by Equality and Human Rights Commission
Melanie Phillips’ argument is that the freedom of Christians to practise their religious faith and live by its precepts is being prevented by profoundly illiberal and oppressive ‘progressive’ voices in church and society. The Equality & Human Rights Commission is being used persecute Christians, a tool of oppression designed to stamp out all such heresy. It is making homosexual practice, once outlawed, compulsory and is prohibiting Christian practice.
When people make such obviously exaggerated and false claims, and when every day Anglican Mainstream publishes such assertions, you know that they are in a desperate corner and are using extreme language and arguments to support an ever weaker position.

The church is being asked to honour and respect the presence of LGBT people in church and society. It is not being asked to approve patterns of behaviour which is judges to be unhealthy in heterosexuals.

Melanie Phillips says tolerance of homosexuals is right. But she goes on to make a series of statements that are so laughably extreme that she undermines the potential reasonableness and integrity of her own position.

“The Equality Bill is the latest and potentially most oppressive attempt to impose politically acceptable attitudes and drive out any that fall foul of these criteria.”
“..the attitudes being imposed constitute an ideological agenda to destroy Britain’s foundational ethical principles and replace them by a nihilistic values and lifestyle free-for-all ..”
“.. they represent a direct onslaught on the Judeo-Christian morality underpinning British society.”
“Most people have been intimidated into silence under this onslaught.”
“… Christians in particular are being unfairly targeted by discrimination laws …”
“… religious groups will be banned from turning down gay job applicants on the grounds of their sexuality ... so churches, mosques and synagogues will therefore be forced to employ, for example, gay youth workers.”

LGBT people have been persecuted for centuries and are still being persecuted in many countries. Christianity has been and is still a major influence in this persecution. LGBT people are victims of persecution, but I am not and will not allow myself to be victimised. I observe with some bemusement conservative Christians now playing the victim card in their argument against the full inclusion of LGBT people.

Christians and other faith groups are being treated unfairly, says Melanie. They have no right now to uphold their belief that certain types of sexual behaviour are wrong. This is simply trumped by gay rights, which allows them no space at all (her italics) to uphold their religious beliefs. It is totalitarian.

Thank you Melanie and Anglican Mainstream, for so consistently overstating your case. I am confident that the carefully reasoned case presented by Changing Attitude, a Christian organisation, that the church should grant full equality to LGBT people, is being heard and will eventually be accepted by the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Colin - as always, for your incisive analysis but even more so for your determination not to allow yourself to be victimised. More than once you have brought me up sharp when I've started to feel ever so "poor little me" and defeatist in the face of all that nonsense being thrown at us.