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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

An equality too far?

“Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has come to the defence of a Christian housing manager who was demoted over remarks be made on Facebook opposing same-sex marriages,” the Christian think tank Ekklesia tells us.

Ekklesia goes on to make the pertinent remark: “This is the fourth time that Tatchell has come to the defence of Christians who have become embroiled in controversy over their stance on LGBT issues.”

He spoke last year in defence of a street preacher who held antigay views. His stance was that of free speech. I for one – but I can’t speak for others on the list of potential contributors to this blog – agree with him. Once we start mucking about with free speech, even if that speech is railing against our own interests, we deliver a blow to that very principle, and will soon fall into the hands of those who would like it curbed altogether.

What’s more, by showing to those who would deny us free speech, free expression and freedom to be ourselves when it comes to our sexuality that we believe they have the right to make their banal statements, we take the moral high ground. And we can demand a reciprocal arrangement, and our opponents would look bad if they refused it.

“In the latest case,” says Ekklesia, “Adrian Smith, a Christian, was found guilty of gross misconduct by his publicly funded housing association for saying that allowing gay weddings in churches was ‘an equality too far’.”

He’s entitled to his views. It’s good that the housing association concerned doesn’t like his views, and should, of course, speak loudly against those views, but he said this in a private capacity. He’d put it on his personal Facebook page. But for that he was downgraded to a lower posting and lost £14,000 a year.

Smith says on his Facebook page that gay marriage is

an equality too far [. . .] the bible is quite specific that marriage is for men and women if the state wants to offer civil marriage to same sex then that is up to the state; but they shouldn’t impose its rules on places of faith and conscience.

So the guy’s a prat for having views on human relationships in the 21st century that are clearly based on mythology and fly in the face of all that is decent. But let him have them. Argue with him using debate and, if necessary, ridicule.

1 comment:

Diesel B said...

Free speech, save for a few obvious exceptions like inciting violence or hatred, is non-negotiable. Peter Tatchell is correct to defend the right of Christians to express anti-gay views that fall short of incitement, not least because it demonstrates how civilised and grown up secular humanists are, compared to the inevitably censorious religious fanatics who rarely subscribe to unfettered free speech.