Thursday, 29 August 2013

Gays, blacks, women – sometimes I feel like I’m living in a Maoist political re-education camp

The head of my church, Justin Welby, has ordered his flock to “repent” over our past attitude to homosexuals, which were, he assures us, “utterly and totally wrong”. The media has been full of coverage of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I had a dream” speech – and the message is that, while progress towards equality has been made, “more needs to be done”. And a former BBC presenter has been supporting an enforced 50% quota for women presenters in local radio, all in the name of “fairness”.

Let’s deal with homosexuality first. As a Scots-Norwegian Christian who believes in the concept of original sin, I usually rush to embrace the premise that wearealltoblameinaveryrealsense. Maybe I’m not in a mea culpa mood right now – or perhaps I’m just getting bloody sick of teams of left-wing social engineers spraying me with spittle as they shriek the latest batch of enlightened buzz phrases directly in my face – but I reckon it behoves wiser heads (i.e. mine) to keep calm and ask why we should be shriving ourselves because our forbears were unfortunate enough not to live in modern-day Islington, where they would have realised their folly in imagining that homosexual acts were somehow contrary to natural law.

First, I’m pretty sure the Archbishop feels genuinely sorry for the church’s former attitude to gays – I presume you don’t become a priest unless you respond readily to a perceived injustice. Second, I suspect that Welby is trying to divert attention from his opposition to gay marriage, which many would see as a hate crime. Third, I’m absolutely convinced that traditional Christian attitudes to homosexuals were largely based on a general disapproval of promiscuity, i.e. sex outside marriage. By definition, gay sex has always been sex outside marriage – until David Cameron decided to court voters of a liberal disposition by redefining concept of marriage. (Obviously, the fact that St Paul is very clear on the issue will have played a part in shaping Anglican views – it’s all there in the New Testament, which used to count for something in the church.) Four – and here we reach the heart of the matter - Welby drearily and inevitably points out:
We have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 not only think that what we’re saying is incomprehensible but also think that we’re plain wrong and wicked and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice. We have to be real about that. 
So, all this pro-gay posturing (here) is designed to make the church more “comprehensible” to young people. It isn’t about truth or morality – it’s about getting down with the kids. It never seems to occur to liberal Anglicans that the reason the church has been haemorrhaging congregants is not because it doesn’t change its attitudes fast enough, but  because it changes them constantly: it’s so cravenly eager to embrace cultural change – even when those changes directly contradict the church’s teachings - that it’s in danger of sliding into moral relativism – and a church whose beliefs are based on moral relativism deserves to perish.

As the triumph of gay rights has been one of the UK’s major social themes over the past half century, what about our temporal leader giving Anglicans a big pat on the back for being so extraordinarily willing to adapt ourselves to changing cultural trends? If only the rest of society were as tolerant of Christian beliefs! And while he’s praising us, what about homosexuals pitching in with a few thank-yous at the same time? We have an openly gay priest at our church – and a very good one he is – and I’m reliably informed that several members of the congregation are homosexual. I’m not aware that any of these people have been shunned or discriminated against or made to feel unwelcome because of their sexual proclivities. What a bunch of narrow-minded rotters we are, eh?

As for the Martin Luther King anniversary, again, most of the coverage implied that the reason that blacks still tend to end up at the bottom of whatever pile happens to be available is down to continuing discrimination. Even Colin Powell got in on the act this week (here), telling us that – yes, you guessed it – “more needs to be done”. Really? Really??? 

The US has moved on from rightly outlawing discrimination against blacks to implementing legislation just as discriminatory as the Jim Crow laws – only in their favour. The results of all this generous, liberal do-goodery – as I’ve pointed out many times - have been disastrous for blacks and for American society as a whole. (The same thing, of course, is happening here in the UK.) In both countries, as far as I can see, we whites have played our part in removing obstacles to progress. Any lingering white racism isn’t the result of ingrained, atavistic attitudes – it’s about general black underachievement in the face of endless government initiatives designed to make it easier for them to succeed. Why are we whites being asked to make even greater efforts to clean up our own act when it would seem more useful to ask whether the problem isn’t actually that blacks have been enervated by all the “help” provided by white liberals? You don’t have to be a paid-up member of the KKK to suspect that the standard knee-jerk self-blaming anti-white narrative on this issue is simply no longer credible.

My daily routine means that I often catch Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 (until I can be bothered to get up and switch it off). This often leads me to question whether there aren’t far too many women on BBC Radio, especially the sort that drone on po-facedly about the kind of feminist issues that seemed faintly risible when they were first raised in late ‘60s, and now stricke one as utterly ludicrous. Apparently, we men are still treating women abominably, and the only answer is to provide 10 years’ paid maternity leave and force private companies to employ female directors and limit the Commons to a two-hour working day and for the state to provide chauffeur-driven limousines to anyone suffering from PMT or post-partum depression.

Naturally, the BBC is leading the fight for “equality” (i.e. inequality) by imposing quotas for female presenters. This from the current Director General Tony Hall (who, I notice, didn’t turn the job down in order to make way for a female DG):
We have got to be more reflective of our audiences who are listening to our programmes. That is why by the end of 2014 I would like to see half of our Local Radio stations with a woman presenting the breakfast shows.
Well, Tony (I use his first name because he gave me my first break in TV and helped me enormously in those early years), if you want to reflect your audience, what about a 40% quota for right-wing presenters? And another one for blacks (see above)? And fat people? And ugly ones? Where, exactly, does this strange enthusiasm for mirroring the listenership end? It’s all pish and tosh, mate – and you know it.

The real reason for this silly move is revealed by the enthusiastic support of former Radio 4 newsreader, Alice Arnold, who shrieks in the Telegraph (of all places!):
Lord Hall has given permission to local managers everywhere to give women
the opportunities they deserve. In the next year or so some women may get jobs over men, simply because they are women. Well hooray for that! Let’s redress the balance of the last 2000 years! And don’t tell me they are not as good as the men. I don’t want to have to list all the men I hear on the radio, who frankly are an assault on the ears. These guys got their jobs through pushiness, nerve and gumption, but certainly not talent.
I bet you didn’t know radio existed 2000 years ago. If Tony Hall’s aim was to gain the approval of one rather bitter-sounding former BBC employee who can’t write for toffee, he has certainly succeeded. (I'd better careful - Ms Arnold used to be "in a relationship" with Sandi Toksvig and is now the civil partner of Clare Balding, which means she must live arround here somewhere). If the DG wished to advance the cause of women in broadcasting (where, by the way, gender simply isn’t a problem, no matter what Ms Arnold would have you believe) he will achieve the absolutely opposite effect. From now on, whenever a woman gets a job in local radio, everyone they work with will assume they got it because they don’t have a penis.

Listen, all you hectoring busybodies – I am not to blame in a very real sense. Okay? 

Hang on, one of the guards has spotted me - I'd better post this now and get back to reading the Guardian: there's going to be a test later on, and, if we fail, they'll make us listen to a recording of that gay lefty vicar Richard Coles attacking Mrs Thatcher on Saturday Live!


  1. I'd like to invite you to the Free Church of England.

    You're welcome to come to St. Stephen's REC, here in Flowood, MS. on Sunday but you do have more local options.

    1. Thanks very much for the invitation, e.f. - but my wife needs the car this weekend. Seriously, I'd love to attend mass at St Stephen's some day. So you really are an Anglican (or Episcopalian - same difference, I guess). Your bishop has the coolest name - Royal U. Grote? That's brilliant!

  2. I am indeed...just like Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee. :)

    There are many of us who have left the churches we grew up in for the historic church...liturgical churches. The mainline churches seemed to be buckling, then there are the good time rock-and-non-denominational-roll churches. We call ours Six Flags Over Jesus (Six Flags is a popular chain of amusement parks in the South).

    There's the Baptist church. There's no governing body there just associations. We have a few members from a particularly well heeled Baptist church because the minister couldn't say for sure that Jesus was the Son of God. That's not a problem in the Southern Baptist Churches where I grew up but, there, the focus is on winning souls...after the seventh stanza of Just As I Am, you walk the aisle...moved by the Holy Spirit or an equally motivating desire to make it make your decision for Christ. You are saved. Then what?

    There's also the problem of Fundamentalism. I don't mean it in the pejorative sense that it's often used...I mean it more as a theological issue... see The REAL old time religion by Conyers. Midwestern nonsene.

    So...I am a Reformed Episcopalian and am in full Communion with The Free Church of England...and many other Conservative Anglicans around the old Empire.