Tuesday, 8 March 2011

David Cameron, by his comments about homosexuality, demonstrates that he does not understand what true tolerance actually is

The number of cases involving Christians falling foul of the prevailing orthodoxy on homosexuality is growing steadily.

I commented recently on that of Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, a Manchester GP, who was sacked by the Home Office from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) simply for quoting an article published in a peer-reviewed journal supporting a link between homosexuality and paedophilia.

Then there is Lesley Pilkington, a counsellor, who is facing disciplinary proceedings by the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy for trying to assist a man who had approached her asking for help dealing with unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction. He turned out to be a gay undercover journalist who was seeking to expose her, as she discovered when the story appeared in a national newspaper.

Most recently we have the case of Eunice and Owen Johns, who were effectively prevented by a judge from becoming foster parents after telling a social worker they would not tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable.

Some commentators, who ironically are well known for supporting the gay rights agenda, are saying that these judgements and disciplinary actions have gone too far.

Former Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris has said that he felt Dr Raabe’s sacking was discriminatory.

Gay historian David Starkey said on BBC’s Question Time on 3 March that penalising Christians for their beliefs about homosexual behaviour is ‘intolerant, oppressive and tyrannical’.

Commenting specifically on the cases of Christian foster carers and B&B owners who have suffered under unjust equality policies, Starkey added, ‘It seems to me that what we are doing is producing a tyrannous new morality that is every bit as oppressive as the old.’

He warned that this new morality was intolerant, oppressive and ‘intrusive into family life’ and claimed that ‘we are producing a new tyranny’.

Against this background, Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments, when questioned in Derby yesterday about the Johns’ case, appeared quite bizarre.

Asked if he thought Christian views were incompatible with an acceptance of homosexuality he said: ‘I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad minded.’

Pointing out that he also went to church, he added: ‘This matter was decided by a court in the appropriate way and I think we should rest with the judgement that was made.’

Taken at face value, the Prime Minister seems to believe that expressing the view that homosexual acts are immoral is now unacceptable, even for Christians.

This view is consistent with his sacking of Tory candidate Philip Lardner last year for stating on his website that he believed homosexual acts were ‘not normal behaviour’, a view held by a significant section of the British population.

Tory MP Chris Grayling’s comments about Christians offering ‘bed and breakfast’ being justified in denying double beds to gay couples staying in their homes almost certainly cost him a cabinet post.

Theresa May managed to hold on as Equality Minister after the election, despite over 75,000 people joining a Facebook group asking for her to be sacked on the basis of her past ‘homophobic’ voting record, but only because she said her views on homosexuality had now changed.

It seems that it is no longer acceptable in the Tory party to express the view that homosexual acts are in any way unnatural or immoral. But in fact the orthodox Christian position, upheld by the Bible itself, is that they are both. (I discuss the matter of 'homophobia' elsewhere)

The fact that at least one of these incidents predated the formation of the coalition government suggests that David Cameron is personally committed to his views, and does not hold them simply in order to appease the Liberal Democrats.

But he is advocating a very strange form of tolerance.

Voltaire, the French philosopher, satirist, the embodiment of the 18th-century Enlightenment, is remembered as a crusader against tyranny and bigotry.

His teaching on tolerance is summed up by the quote, ‘I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.’

David Cameron uses the word ‘tolerance’ but seems not to believe in the same sort of tolerance as Voltaire. When the Prime Minister says that Christians should be tolerant, he means that they should not express beliefs with which people like himself disagree.

By contrast, Voltaire sought to defend the right of his opponents to express views he strongly disagreed with, and saw this freedom as a bulwark against tyranny and bigotry.

David Cameron also seems to want to encourage Christians to teach that homosexual acts are not immoral.

Here he finds himself disagreeing not with Voltaire but with Jesus Christ himself. In speaking to the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29, Jesus, after commending them for their ‘deeds, love and faith, service and perseverance’ goes on to say: ‘Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality…’.

It seems that this 'Thyatiran' approach is exactly what David Cameron is advocating. But it is not a form of tolerance of which Jesus Christ himself approved.

Christian teaching is very clear that all sex outside the context of marriage (a lifelong, covenant relationship between a man and a woman) is morally wrong.

There are of course many sins other than sexual sins. But Christians should be free to believe and teach what the Bible itself teaches, without being castigated by a 'churchgoing' Prime Minister for doing so.

David Cameron, by his comments yesterday about homosexuality, demonstrates that he does not understand what true tolerance actually is.

17 comments:

  1. Peter, you have made some excellent points regarding tolerance for dissenting opinions.
    I do not consider myself homophobic, indeed I have good friends who are gay. But I find the notion that everyone in the country has to automatically accept other people's way of life, just because the gay lobby say so, extremely oppressive. I am only an ordinary person, so I am free to say this. However, David Cameron is a politician. What is more, he is the Prime minister. He cannot afford to "speak the truth". He will be out on his ear if he dares to antagonise the gay lobby. This is the reality. Better that he should skirt over the issue, and stay in power, than speak his mind and allow Labour back into the political arena. After all, he hasn't actually said that he approves of what is going on, but cunningly talked of equality and lack of discrimination, without actually committing himself. Spoken like a true politician!

    Raghu

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  2. "The fact that at least one of these incidents predated the formation of the coalition government suggests that David Cameron is personally committed to his views, and does not hold them simply in order to appease the Liberal Democrats."

    I think he holds them to appease the very powerful gay lobby and the 'tolerant' Guardian-reader-types. Woe betide any politician who doesn't toe the politically-correct line.

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  3. Seems like the views of a few are more important than the views of the many; politicians are trying to alter public opinion almost as if via positive thinking...if they say something is ok enough times, that we might believe it to be so.

    Smokers were very much in the minority, yet had huge lobbying power. seems to be the same situation with homosexuality - that the weight of evidence suggesting it is not the best way to live your life physically or emotionally, let alone bringing morality into it, is pushed aside because of what appears to me to be plain old political correctness.

    Yet, like so much of political correctness, those being positively discriminated invariably lose out through that positive discrimination in the end through misinformation and misunderstanding, create a deeper divide of understanding between groups of people.

    I remember an interview on Radio 2, many years ago, about homosexuality. The debate was, not unsurprisingly, very one sided.

    When a GP rang in to that debate, wishing to raise the point that the physical problems associated male homosexuality are never discussed in debates about about homosexuality, he was cut off. This was, apparantly, because that point which he wanted to make was unsitable in a deabate discussing whether homosexuality is acceptable as a lifestyle choice or not.

    My prayer is that the lobbying of the CMF to get the government to accept the scientific/medical data around homosexuality be heard and have a more open debate about this subject, be heard and acted upon.

    I believe that the truth will set you free; it is not always pleasant, but the truth, by its very nature, is the truth.

    I pray that the efforts of the CMF, and others, will be successful.

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  4. In my opinion, 90% of the people of this country are homophobic, whether they are Christian or not. They resent the fact that homosexuality is being given so much credence in law and education. Only a national referendum will prove this and, bring back wholesome family values.

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  5. There's that favourite suffix among all who would rather not enter an intelligent discussion - "phobic." We hear it a lot these days; homophobic, Islamophobic. A phobia is an irrational fear and it seems to me that it is the gay lobby and the politicians they have on the run who are phobic - afraid of open and honest debate.

    Make no mistake, there is a gay agenda and it has nothing to do with simply being accepted in society. It is all to do with a libertarian ideology that sees the end of all moral restraints such as lower age limits, conduct in public places and freedom of speech for the moral majority.

    "In my opinion 90% of the people in this country are homophobic..." writes Anonynmous.

    It is an established fact that 99% of the population are heterosexual so maybe there is something to discuss here after all. Maybe it is paranoia that is driving gay groups to scream "homophobia" every time someone looks at them the wrong way. Maybe its time the great majority stood up for what is normative in society before this tiny minority start taking us to court for thought crimes.

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  6. David Cameron is a fool, who lost the election and thought some how finding himself in power, knows that he has neither the power or authority to govern. He knows that we know that he knows that we know he and Clegg are an elected, discredited and devalued duo of a devalued discredited and un elected government.

    Peter you are too kind this quisling

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  7. Back in 2008, or whenever it was, during the Conservative annual conference held in Bournemouth Cameron said that he believed in marriage, not on any religious or moral grounds but simply on commitment. Marriage could be between a man and man, a woman and a woman or man and man, just so long as they were committed. This criteria doesn't even come near the morality of Peter Tatchell, who at least believes that such relationships be consensual, enjoyable and safe. There is only one thing Cammeron is hungry for and that is personal power. The sooner he goes and a true Conservative replacing him the better.

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  8. Whilst I agree with the sentiments expressed in this post and the comments, I believe we are in danger of forgetting what the Lord Jesus Christ said ti His disciples and to those of us who follow Him today.
    That is that we are in the world but not of this world any longer and that if they persecuted Him then they will surely persecute those who believe and follow Him.
    Paul went on to rejoice in the sufferings he faced for Christs sake, we too should rejoice when we suffer for the name of Christ - regardless of what form this takes.
    Finally there are many who walk with the Lord Jesus - I being one - who believe that these things must happen before the Lord Jesus returns. Alleluia, praise His glorious name.

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  9. Concerning Voltaire's quote. May I suggest a visit to
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Evelyn_Beatrice_Hall
    I find this mis-attribution to Voltaire a commonplace matter.

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  10. Yes you are right about Voltaire which is why I was careful not to attribute it to him explicitly in saying 'His teaching on tolerance is summed up by the quote, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."’

    It doesn't appear verbatim in any of his writings as I understand although most would accept it as a fair summary of his viewpoint.

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  11. It is understandable that 'homophobic' is a label that no one wants to have. However when the term was first used it actually meant something quite different.

    It is understandable that 'sodomite' is a label that no one wants to have. However when the term was first used it actually meant something quite different.

    It is understandable that 'arsenokoitai' is a label that no one wants to have. However when the term was first used it actually meant something quite different.

    It is understandable that 'christian' is a label that someone wants to have. However when the term was first used it actually meant something quite different.

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  12. I was a "Christian" for forty eight years...and Gay. I saw such hypocrisy and pretence that it actually made me leave the church..... the church has lots of homosexuals, and they live in terror of the bigots who witch hunt us.

    I dont give a shit what people think who have mistranslated scriptures...I have my life partner of fifty years, and we are far more moral than a lot of bible thumpers I can tell you.
    Oh....and we have dumped Christianity....it is all imagination anyway

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  13. Dear anonymous

    I respect your views and hope and pray you can forgive those Christians who have been judgemental and unloving towards you. I hope you can still love Christ himself if not the church

    A well wisher

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  14. I liked the way you have presented various things together in a beautiful manner. I am really impressed that there’s so much about this subject that’s been uncovered and you did it so well, with so much class. Good one you, really great stuff here.

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  15. You're acting as if christians with certain beliefs about homosexuality are the victims of a McCarthyist witch-hunt. In response to the specific example of the foster parents who want to teach children that being gay is morally wrong, their beliefs might be rooted in what your favourite book said a couple of thousand years ago, but they are in contradiction with equality laws in this country. When a child is taken into care the state has a duty to ensure they are cared for, and this means conforming to equality laws.

    Nobody is saying they can't exercise their beliefs, just if that's how they feel they aren't allowed to care for vulnerable children.

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  16. Sexuality in humans is not as fixed as you assume and numerous authors have written about this extensively.

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  17. TRUE tolerance can only be founded upon what people ARE first and then what people BELIEVE second.

    So do gay rights come above Christian rights?

    Yes.

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