Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Equality - it's OK for us but not for you

Michael Cashman is Labour MEP for the West Midlands. The biography on his website indicates that he is a founder member and first chairman of the lesbian, gay and bisexual lobby group Stonewall. He was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, in the light of reports of the most recent British Social Attitudes survey and after the House of Lords had voted to remove provisions of the Equality Bill that were of concern to Churches. (Further coverage here.) Referring to the rapid change in society's perceptions of homosexuality, and observing that there were still bastions of intolerance, Michael Cashman observed:

We haven't won that argument with organised religion yet, but we will.
The content of Stonewall's own website is usually rather careful to disguise an anti-religious intent - its "bigot of the year" competition gave the game away a few years ago when Archbishop Nichols was a nominee for the award because of his opposition to the sexual orientation regulations during the preceding year.

But Michael Cashman's words express an explicit intent on the part of gay activists to attack religious convictions on this question, and to refuse them the rights in the public square that they are claiming for themselves. I think we should view the "entry-ism" of groups such as Cutting Edge Consortium (and note the track back to the British Humanist Association) in the context of the declared intention of gay activists in this regard.

One can be forgiven for thinking that, as far as gay equality is concerned - equality for us, but not for anyone who disagrees with us.


Anonymous said...

Zero says
Ypu may like to "Listen again " to Jeremy Vine's programme today where a learned gentleman (I didn't get his name)was from a Chrisian org.?"Ecclesia". Jeremy seemed quite surprised at what he was saying. he said the Bible is now read differently from the past and thinking does change and interpretation has always changed over thousands of years. He I presume is a Chrisian and it sounded like his own views had changed. Hear it- I think it will give you lots to comment on.

Joe said...


"Ekklesia" is one of the component groupings in the Cutting Edge Consortium. Will try and listen to the Vine ...

Francis said...

Michael Cashman used to be in Eastenders. I have come across him a few times in the media and he always seems cross.

But is there a point about The Bible being read differently? It seems to me that it is perfectly common to be Christian who doesn't believe the world was made literally in seven days, in the Tower of Babel and that adulterers should be stoned to death.

Francis said...

Me again, Joe.

You write:

and to refuse them the rights in the public square that they are claiming for themselves.

I missed the interview. What rights does he want to deny religion?

Francis said...

Just checked out the Bigot of the Year awards. I think it is a bit of a jump to go from the nomination of Nichols as proof of an attack on the entire Church. Jean Moir, Chris Moyles, Jeremy Clarkson, Ian Paiasley Jnr and Iris Robinson have all either been nominated or won the award. So it could equally said they are after journalists and politicians.

Iris Robinson IS a bigot and a hypocrit. If she were to suffer the same Biblical punishments she would like to dish out to homonsexuals then she would have been stoned to death by now.

I wonder how many of the priests who have been revealed as pederasts were railing about the sin of homsexuality? Bigotry. Hypoocrisy. Whited sepulchres.

I can see the point of view of the Church in not wanting a gay person (or at least a practising gay person)holding a position with religious duties.

The question I wonder is: why would he want to be a member? Why would a black person want to join the BNP? If your behaviour is regarded as sinful,shameful, unclean etc. why would you want o mix/work with/for peple who held you in contempt?

I don't think being told 'But I don't disapprove of you I disapprove of your behaviour' cuts it. For many Gay people the two things seem to be closely inter-related.

Joe said...


In a random order:

1. Amongst nominees for Stonewall's "Bigot of the Year", is there a disproportionate number of people who oppose Stonewall on grounds of belief, as opposed to out of bigotry? Archbishop Nichols, for example, opposed them politically, which is what I think earned him his nomination.
2. Rights in the public square, eg with regard to employment: why should organisations of a religious nature not be allowed to employ people who support the aims and purpose of the organisation?
3. That we might fail to live up to the standards set by our belief systems is a hazard we all face, LGBT activists included. It doesn't mean we should stop advocating those standards; it does mean we should do so with a certain humility. Stonewall do not, for me, demonstrate that humility when they publicly run a "bigot of the year" award. And there are gay people who have been responsible for abuse of young people.
4. I do think it is possible to disagree with the moral rightness of someone else's lifestyle, and be open with another person about this in a polite way, and so do it without holding them or their lifestyle in an attitude of contempt. I have a personal experience of achieving this.

Francis said...

Dear Joe, regarding point 2 I think they can. The question is do they have to employ- or at least give equal consideraton to- people who don't support their aims?

But why does the Church oppose the employement a practising homsexual and not the employment of somebody using contraception?

Anonymous said...

seconds out ,round six...

Joe said...


One aspect of your question lies in that of whether or not something is publicly known/visible - living in a civil partnership, for example, is likely to be publicly known, when practicing contraception might not be. An active pro-contraceptive campaigner would perhaps be a closer analogue to the person living in a civil partnership. In Canon Law I think this distinction is referred to as one between the "internal forum" [whose locus would be considered perhaps to be the confessional, and so confidential] and the "external forum", where a public step might be taken such as that of not employing.

The second is that, if I have understood the situation correctly, the key question is not so much one of "not employing homosexuals" at all, but that there are some roles connected with teaching (eg but not exclusively being an RE teacher, and one might argue any pastoral role like being a form teacher) where supporting the Catholic ethos is essential to the role, and so forms a part of a genuine occupational requirement. Recent legislative attempts were even trying to overcome this.

In general, I would think that Catholic schools would wish to appoint staff who support Church teaching more rather than less.

Anonymous: Please don't be shy - do join in!

Francis said...


Thanks for introducing me to the distinction in paragraph one, particularly the exploration of the analogy in the second sentence. I think it is a good one.

It still seeems to me, a bit, to create a situation where people are sort of living of some grey, morally ambiguous area between the postion they seem to be taking and what they actually believe.

It may be a bit like use of 'soft' drugs. Many teachers may warn against the use of them whilst actually using them (or having used them) themselves.

The person who says I am a homosexual and live in a civil partnership or the person who says I believe in the legalisation of cannabis and I smoke it perhaps have to accept that the consequence of their honesty is that they cannot work for an organisation which sees these activites as fundamentally wrong.

Anon: I really don't see my discussions with Joe as a boxing match!

My position is: I am an atheist but not a miltant angry aggressive one. I have a lot of respect for the church and churchgoers and sent my children to a Catholic primary school. I went to one myself and it never did me any harm (apart from my sexual fixation with women in habits; something of a niche market in terms of top shelf literature)

I like discussing religion but admit to enjoying the odd bit of teasing (see reference to nuns, above).

However, I have no desire whatsoever to 'turn' believers. In fact, in some strange way, I feel that people who try to do this haven't really freed themselves of religion!

Anonymous said...

It was me, Zero, by the way who wrote "seconds out round six"

Joe said...

Francis and Zero:

Wasn't quite sure that I should publish the above two comments .... [It might be worth explaining for those who do not realise that Francis and Zero are known to each other ....See this post: http://rccommentary2.blogspot.com/search?q=gay+hussar]