THE SILENCE OF ANDREA MINICHIELLO WILLIAMS REVEALS THE REAL AIM OF CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL ACTIVISTS: RECRIMINALISATION OF HOMOSEXUALS
Ever since reports of her speech in Jamaica urging retention there of the law which imprisons homosexual men for ten years with hard labour, and arguing that in this way Jamaica would be a beacon for Europe and America to follow, C of E General Synod member, Andrea Minichiello Williams, has gone to ground.
The details of her attack on gay people can be read at www.changingattitude.org.uk December 17th.
This silence is highly uncharacteristic for the normally publicity-hungry self-styled mouthpiece of the Almighty. All attempts by national and local media to contact her have failed. For once she is ‘unavailable for comment’.
Changing Attitude Sussex believes it is because she has blown the gaff about the true intentions of conservative evangelical Christian activists: to recriminalise homosexuals. She has spoken the truth which they did not want made public. She has let the cat out of the bag.
During all the recent debates over same-sex marriage Williams’ organisation, Christian Concern, was never really interested in discussing the finer points of Biblical marriage which can only be between a man and a woman and therefore, alas, sadly and regrettably excludes two men and two women. She and they were driven by a much darker motive: a visceral revulsion for homosexuality and a fundamental belief that homosexuals per se are abominations who have no rights to freedom, and ultimately no right to life itself. According to reports, American fundamentalist evangelicals supported her at the Jamaica conference. American fundamentalists are also believed to be implicated in the politicking in Uganda to bring in a law which would see homosexuals hanged.
It works like this. The gut-felt abhorrence is then overlain with a sanctification based on the dangerous doctrine of Biblical literalism which many evangelicals unfortunately believe. This pernicious dogma proclaims that every word of both Old and New Testaments is literally God’s Truth with a capital T. God writes in Leviticus Chapter 18 verse 22 that men who lie with each other as with a woman are an abomination, and then God goes on in Chapter 20 verse 13 to tell the faithful to kill such men because they do not deserve to live amongst God’s holy people.
To be fair to Ms Williams and her supporters this position is at least logically consistent. She numbers herself amongst God’s faithful and so she has to follow his commandments and endeavour to keep the people holy by expunging the impure and the abominable. Much more difficult is the position of moderate evangelicals who want to have their cake and eat it. They want to use Leviticus to condemn gay men (and bizarrely gay women as well who, it goes without saying, are not capable of sodomising anybody) but they are a bit queasy about exclusion from the community of the holy through imprisonment and still less by judicial murder. And yet this is the literal meaning of the text they claim to believe is literally true. Theirs is a truly untenable stance.
Ms Williams’ though is the real deal. She is part of a worldwide evangelical movement seeking to reverse the freedoms won by gay people over the past half century. But in order to advance this agenda, which surveys suggest the vast majority of ordinary people in the developed world find highly objectionable, she needs to be a bit cautious. Her comments in Jamaica were anything but. She let herself go and probably now regrets it. Hence presumably the silence.
Into the vacuum left by Ms Williams’ silence have stepped would-be defenders.
On the one hand there are those who want to defend her by saying we can’t be sure she said these things. See for example Peter Ould who devotes his blogpost on December 18th to attacking the reporter Lester Feder, a classic case of shooting the messenger when you don’t want to hear the message. But if Williams did not say these things what did she say? At a conference where other speakers were also advocating imprisonment for gays. And why is she so uncharacteristically unwilling to tell us what she said? Peter Ould simply does not want to face the fact that he is metaphorically in bed with some rather distasteful bedfellows.
On the other hand there are those who want to say hear! hear! to what she is reported as having said. Julian Mann, for example, in a blogpost published by Anglican Mainstream on December 20th, describes Williams as ‘an orthodox Anglican who upholds the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is wrong in the sight of God’. He also condemns the Bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner for saying that Williams’ remarks have no sanction in the Church of England or the Diocese of Chichester, that her words were offensive and unacceptable, and that the glory of God is innate in every human being.
Bishop Martin’s statement should be a wake-up call to all of us, gay and straight, Christians and non-Christians. There is a cuckoo in the nest. In the nest of our society and in the nest of our national Church. Organisations such as Christian Concern are campaigning to rob LGB&T people of the fundamental human rights and freedoms which are taken by most people today to be a matter of common human decency. Ms Williams’ silence now she is back in the UK is eloquent. We now know just what kind of obstacle Christian Concern represents to civilised values and to the mission of the Church of England.