Thursday, February 02, 2012

John’s Cole and Sentamu

John Cole writes:

In fact, everywhere you look these days, if Christianity or religion is getting a mention, it means something ugly is happening and someone somewhere is being victimized, marginalized, or otherwise abused.

He’s right.  He’s talking about people like the execrable Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who claims that he and his god (how does he know?) both value homosexuals, but just think they shouldn’t have the same rights as heterosexuals.  This is a man who thinks that a government’s attempts to remove restrictions on marriage is a dictatorial act; an absolutely unfathomable position, since dictating what other people are allowed to do with their private lives is exactly what he wants to do.

Sentamu might have argued against gay marriage on the grounds that his bible regards gay sex as an abomination. But he didn’t do that for two reasons:

  • He’d have to consistent. He’d have to condemn the eating of pork and shellfish.  He’d have to campaign against people who trim their beards or wear synthetic fibre.  He knows that all this stuff is palpably nonsense and that he’s engaging in special pleading because he just doesn’t like the idea of gay people having sex.
  • He’s well aware of the shit-storm that would rightly cause.  He’d no doubt try to nuance it, but the message to take home would be that homosexuals are abominations.  He knows that’s an untenable political position.

So instead he speaks cowardly about ‘history’ and ‘tradition’ in a brazen attempt at justification rather than valid argument.  Let’s be clear: John Sentamu wants to deny rights to homosexuals on the grounds that we’ve always done it.  There’s a history and tradition of slavery too (which, by the way, his god is totally fine with). But Sentamu does not support slavery, which clearly suggests that history and tradition are not really what Sentamu is concerned with.  When an argument from history comes up against an argument from justice, it’s revealed for what it is.  It’s not about history and tradition.  It’s not about the Bible. It’s about the fact that John Sentamu doesn’t like the thought of gay sex.

His argument that legalising gay marriage is a dictatorial act is just plain confounding.  It would be an act of liberation and empowerment.  The government would be giving up some its authority to determine who can and can’t get married.  By contrast, doesn’t banning a whole section of the country from marrying seem rather more dictatorial?  The government is changing laws to reflect majority view, which is what democracies do. Sentamu and his church want to impose their views on everyone, whether they believe in the god that’s supposed to motivate this nonsense or not.  Sentamu goes on to justify his statement by apparently claiming that legalising gay marriage is what dictators do,  I’d be very interested to see some examples, I can’t think of a single one.

More from John Cole:

But from where I stand these days, the only thing I see religion doing in the public sector is gay bashing and telling women, mostly poor and desperate and in deplorable financial and personal situations, what to do with their bodies. I see busybodies deciding what drugs they can dispense to which customers, or deciding that they don’t have to issue a marriage license because of some petty deity that I don’t believe in told them to hate their fellow citizens and ignore the law. In a country in dire financial straits but still spending billions and billions of dollars on education, I see religious folks actively and openly working to make our schoolkids dumber. I see them shooting people who provided a medical procedure, and I see others rummaging through people’s personal lives to find out who hasn’t lived up the word of God. I see glassy-eyed fools running for President claiming that vaccines that save lives actually cause cancer, or that if you get raped and are pregnant, you should just lie back and think of Jeebus and make the best of a bad situation.

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