It’s the juxtaposition of news items that often grabs me.
The first item I read today was about the protests against Jan Moirs column on Stephen Gateley in yesterday’s Daily Mail which caused the Press Complaint Commission’s web site to crash and companies to withdraw advertising from the Daily Mail’s web site.
Jan Moirs described the circumstances surrounding Stephen’s death as being “more than a little sleazy.” She wrote: “Under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.” and commented on celebrities whose lives are “shadowed by dark appetites or fractured by private vice.” Stephen’s funeral is taking place today.
Stephen Fry said that Moirs had written something “loathsome and inhumane.” Charlie Brooker in the Guardian wrote that he is “struggling to absorb the sheer scope of her column’s hateful idiocy.”
Moirs implies that is it the fact of being gay and all that by implication goes with it that caused Gates’ death. She refers to his ‘lifestyle’ because he was homosexual. ‘Lifestyle’ was the word used by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his GC Reflections to which I took exception. The British public has become intolerant of inappropriate language and prejudiced, bigoted remarks made about LGBT people and have learnt to react and campaign effectively against those who make or publish them.
The second news item is highlighted on the Anglican Mainstream web site. It’s a report on Stand Firm about funding given by the Arcus Foundation to LGBT causes and in particular to Integrity and the Chicago Consultation. Fr Andrew Goss says money from a secular organisation is being used to tilt the balance of power within our churches. Arcus says people don’t know what the day-to-day reality is like for gay men and lesbians in many parts of the world … It’s really a matter of telling the stories of courageous individuals around the world.”
Comments on Stand Firm reveal attitudes which closely approximate to Jan Moirs column in the Guardian. Conspiracy theories abound in the world of the radical conservative re-asserters in the Anglican Communion. People are shocked to discover that money is used to advocate for LGBT people in our church. “Arcus has picked up the religious right to destroy,” comments one. They are “forcing their warped views of the world on everyone using their capitalistically obtained wealth and destroy tradition and orthodoxy in the Christian world…” Another says “Now we have ironclad proof that the LGBT lobby is well-funded, and is behind the seizure of the Episcopal Church…” “Vast left wing conspiracy,” says yet another.
Representing the extremely poisonous and un-Christian attitudes of the religious right, Floridian writes:
“All that money is being spent to kill the people Stryker and Arcus propose to help, temporally and eternally.
They are actually leaving them in bondage to feelings that are symptoms of pain and distress, disoriented and incomplete identities, and that lead to more pain from addictions, compulsions, unstable emotions and relationships, harmful and deadly behaviors.
They can foment propaganda, reinvent words, cover up the truth, change laws and change minds, but they cannot change reality.
They cannot change research, health and police statistics.
They can change some people’s beliefs and theologies, but they cannot change GOD’s eternal Word and Truth.
Whatever they do, they cannot make homosex healthy, happy or holy
Which brings me back to Jan Moirs comments in the Daily Mail. Conservatives supporters of Stand Firm and Anglican Mainstream are advocating an attitude to LGBT people which is seen for what it is not only by pro-LGBT Anglican groups but by the mainstream of UK society. It is prejudiced, hateful, bigoted and un-Christian. Changing Attitude continues to represent a Christian attitude and ethos which society now embodies but which the Church of England is taking a long time to catch up with.