Saturday, November 12, 2011

Daily mail invents outrage

It’s not much of a shock.  This time, it has noticed that Tesco has stopped sponsoring the Cancer Research Race for Life – a charity for which it has raised hundreds of millions of pounds over more than a decade – and is coincidentally sponsoring Pride London.  This, the headline tells us, is an outrage.  It tries to hide behind the highly dubious idea that cancer research is inherently more important or deserving but this is a thinly veiled cover for simple homophobia because the two events are not connected anyway.  Corporate sponsorship deals don’t work that way and Tesco themselves have said that the one is not a replacement for another.  They are funding hundreds of other events too, but there’s no suggestion that any of these is less worthy of funding than Pride.

Naturally, they drag in some mainstream religious organisations to make ignorant comment.  I don’t suppose they had to try too hard to get the quotes they wanted.  Francis Phillips of the Catholic Herald said:

Tesco is a supermarket.

Its remit has been to sell good-quality food and other items at very reasonable prices, and in this it has been hugely successful.

Why has it now aligned itself with an aggressive political organisation such as Pride London?

‘Why has it given up its sponsorship of Cancer Research? Or at least…why hasn’t it taken up with another mainstream charity such as the British Legion or Age UK?

‘There are thousands of ex-servicemen and wounded soldiers needing help in this country, and millions of elderly people in danger of neglect.
‘They are a fundamental part of the fabric of our society – the kind of fabric that Tesco should be reflecting.’

I rather think Tesco can choose whatever remit it likes.  I assume Phillips would be perfectly happy if Tesco were to give money to that other aggressive political organisation, the Catholic Church.  Her last paragraph is particularly interesting. She obviously thinks that homosexuals are not a fundamental part of the fabric of our society.

David Skinner of Anglican Mainstream has written to Tesco to complain about the fair treatment of LGBT people:

For Tesco to sponsor a tiny homosexual minority – according to the Office for National Statistics, that amounts to little more than 1 per cent of the population – will be showing the utmost contempt for a large proportion of British society that still adheres, more or less, to the morality and values of the Ten Commandments.’

This is another extraordinary statement.  I imagine Skinner would not object to Tesco supporting other charities that addressed a small percentage of the population.  It’s also interesting to see the near panic with which he tries to downplay the number of homosexuals.  I imagine him staring around in terror with bloodshot eyes, back to the wall of course.

They both want people to boycott Tesco for promoting the idea that people should not be discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality.

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