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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Our friends in Christendom

I’m glad to report that we have some Christian allies when it comes to homophobia.

Symon Hill, of the Ekklesia think tank, has been writing in the Guardian about the case of the bigoted homophobe Lillian Ladele, the London registrar who thought that her belief system should somehow trump her employers’ insistence that she do the job they’re paying her to do.

Ladele lost her case against Islington Council after she’d refused to tie the knot for same-sex couples in perfectly legal ceremonies that registrars are expected to carry out as part of their job description.

Symon Hill admits that he was once homophobic himself, but is clearly now someone who hates to see people using their Christianity as an excuse for homophobia.

I understand how many Christians have come to the appallingly mistaken conclusion that homosexuality is wrong. To my shame, I admit that when I became a Christian in my late teens, I was persuaded to adopt such a view myself.

But why, if Ladele could not officiate at ceremonies that went against her conscience, did this affect only one aspect of her faith? Why has she not refused to marry straight couples who are not truly in love with each other? Would she marry a man and a woman if they were planning an open marriage? Or if she discovered that one of them was secretly committing adultery? Her position is absurd.

Well, perhaps she hasn’t yet been faced with knowingly having to marry such couples, but the point is taken. What would happen if such a situation arose in the future? She has to be able to say to her employers that she is willing to perform the ceremony for anyone who legally seeks an official splicing.

Hill makes reference to the rabidly homophobic Christian Institute:

Ladele’s case has been backed all the way by the Christian Institute, a socially conservative pressure group. A senior figure at a major evangelical organisation recently told me that he thought that success for Ladele’s appeal was the most important issue currently facing British Christians.

Some would choose more colourful words instead of “socially conservative” for the Christian Institute, but Hill is obviously a polite man.

We’d say wankers.

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