Sunday, 24 January 2010

The True Meaning of Christian Equality?

Today, Church leaders in Britain have called for an exemption from the Equality Bill, because they claim it will force them go against their beliefs ( In reality, they already have an exemption, they can refuse to employ someone as a minister or priest if the person is gay or transgendered or a woman, but they are now demanding the right to refuse to employ anyone in any role for the same reasons. Put bluntly, Christians want the right to be prejudiced.

The Equality Bill is a piece of very just human rights legislation. It says that someone cannot refuse any one person goodies, services or employment because of their sexuality, or their perceived sexuality (“They looked gay”). This is for me, as a gay man, a wonderful relief. For so much of my life I’ve had that shadow hanging over my shoulder, that I will be turned away because I’m gay. The hotel owner will refuse me a room, a taxi driver will refuse to let me into their cab, a doctor will refuse me treatment all because I’m gay. It’s not some paranoid fantasy, for so many people it’s been a reality of life, I’ve been on the receiving end of it. The Equality Bill offered a chance to halt this, a welcomed protection to many of us.

Almost before the ink had dried on the Equality Bill Christians were up in arms about it, demanding first its repeal and then exemption from it. They have mounted legal attempts, the Christian Institute has bankrolled several legal challenges to people who were dismissed for refusing services to gay men and/or lesbians, without much success. There have been also constant Christian campaigns, in the media, on videos, etc… against the bill. It now feels as if Christians only have two subjects they’re vocal about, homosexuality and how they hate the Equality Bill.

Christians are now actively campaigning to limit human rights protection. For a religion that professes to be based on love their actions show very little of that, but I feel there seems very little care or compassion coming out of the Christian Church. All Christians seem concerned about is sexuality, especially homosexuality, and sex, though much more about gay sex. Christians seem silent on so many other subjects. On the Credit Crunch and the question of Bankers’ Bonuses the church has been very quiet, they could have given needed moral guidance. The same can be said on the subjects of binge drinking, the way young people are portrayed in the press, swine flu and the lies in the press about the vaccination, and how government resources should be spent in light of our county’s deficit. But no, all Christians seem interested in is homosexuality and pulling down the Equality Bill. Christians have completely lost their moral compass, turning into the stereotype of the homophobic bigots.

The final irony is that the Equality Bill was extension to LGBT people rights, under law, already enjoyed by Christians and other faiths. You don’t hear of lesbian and gay charities and companies refusing to employ someone because they were a Christian, if that happened the Christian Institute would be screaming blue murder. There are deep double standards at play here. Christians appear deeply reluctant to give up their traditional homophobia, but they have been forced to do so with their racism and Anti-Semitism.

What would Jesus do…


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