More binary thinking comes from that arch hater of gay people, the soon-to-be-no-longer Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali.
He’s always banging on about how Christianity is essential to our existence, and this time is no exception.
He’s quoted in Britain’s Telegraph as saying at his farewell service, “I believe that the Christian faith is necessary for the life of our country. We need to get away from the constant making of moral decisions by opinion poll. [. . .]
“It is obvious to many people that the weakening of family life is responsible for what we face on our streets, in our classrooms and in homes. It would be irresponsible for a Christian leader not to point this out.”
And here’s the black-or-white thinking: the question of family life. But he’s not talking just of family life: he’s talking of heterosexual family life, “normal” family life, family life as he believes God would want it. We know this from previous bleatings.
If you live in a “normal” family with heterosexual, opposite-sex parents, you’re OK; if not, you’re part of the problems that beset society. There is no in-between state, it seems. Yet people who are in “normal” families often do bad things; people who are not often do good things.
People who are in “unconventional” families are just as likely to be sensitive to their fellow human beings as are those in “normal” ones. And, of course, people who are not in families at all are as equally likely to be “good” or “bad”.
He just has a thing about homosexuality. He can’t see that family life can take several forms, and they don’t have to be a parent of each sex, officially married, preferably “in the sight of God”, with 2.4 kids.
In general he’s stating the obvious, because any kind of cohesion is necessary for society to function well, and a sense of belonging to a family group, a community, a city and moving outwards to a nation can strengthen this, as can a general feeling of being human and having respect for other humans, gay or straight, black or white – but you get my gist.
It doesn’t take a Christian to point that out.
But Nazir-Ali means your “normal” family, and he’s being disingenuous to blame a lack of what he perceives to be proper family life for the woes we find ourselves facing.
Religious faith can help some people to cohere, yes, because it brings people into groups with a shared interest, but it’s not necessary. The likes of Michael Nazir-Ali just drive wedges further into society by their attitudes towards sexuality. If Christianity is about loving your neighbour, it’s about being inclusive.
But let’s just try being human, shall we?