Sin, verily a Biblical pick ‘n’ mix
The jobs market for publicity-hungry retired MPs seems to fall into four main categories: presenter of programmes about trains; presenter of radio shows about jazz; reality TV; and the most popular of all, the spouting of bigoted opinions about people, writes Nicola Miller.
We’ve seen Anne Widdecombe harangue sex workers about their choices, whilst cowardly avoiding challenging their pimps, and now we have our favourite local moral guardian, Norman Tebbit, getting hot under the collar about sodomites.
Tebbit is only concerned about the sex lives of gay vicars, though. He’s not so bothered about the possibility that heterosexual vicars employed within the Church of England, might enjoy a bit of backdoor action, as might some of their heterosexual congregants. He doesn’t seem too bothered about sitting next to them, despite the fact that their Friday Night Special might result in the non-conception of children which his bible is quite hot on, congregation numbers falling and all that.
Does the Bible even explicitly name homosexuality as the main reason for the destruction of Sodom? Many scholars argue it does not, adding that the sins of pride, oppression, hatred, inhospitality and injustice were just as important a criteria for the cities’ downfall. I find Tebbit’s comments terribly inhospitable, especially considering he is a relative newcomer to this town. However, this seems to have left him untroubled.
Let’s not forget that when the men of Sodom called Lot, asking “to know” the two angels staying with him, Lot offered up his two virgin daughters instead, telling the men they “could do to them as you please”, so indulge me in my belief that Genesis 9-11 is not exactly a lesson in contemporary morality, despite Lot being seen as a good man. And if we now know it is wrong to offer up young girls to would-be gang rapists, we should also know it is wrong to discriminate against gay people
I also struggle with the idea of an infallible God because if all men and women are sinners, and men put pen to paper to write the Bible, then how can you assume the infallibility of its teachings? We already know that some Christians (the judgemental, fundamentalist ones, anyway) show great fallibility in their adoption of the word of God, using a pick ‘n’ mix approach which minimises cognitive dissonance wherever possible. Leviticus 11:8, on pigs: “You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you” is ignored by Tebbit, whose 2013 Christmas lunch recipe for The Spectator features pork belly (and very delicious it sounds, too). Rabbit is also banned and I suspect that as a connoisseur of game, Lord Tebbit has surely eaten a bunny or two; Leviticus again: “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.” I’m pretty sure I’ve seen many a Christian fundamentalist in wool- cotton-viscose mixes, and I bet they’ve not paid too much attention to ensuring all their beef comes from cattle with pedigrees as pure and long as their KC-registered Labradors.
Lord Tebbit, you may not consider yourself a Christian Fundamentalist but you sure are acting like one, hence my citation of Leviticus.
Some Christians will tell me that these words are from the Old Testament, which they do not necessarily see as ‘law’, but surely if you are going to ignore a section of God’s word which bans tattoos, pork, shellfish, men without testicles or a penis being allowed into church (one in the eye for anyone who’s had testicular cancer - how compassionate!), fabric blends and bowl-shaped haircuts, then why on earth are they quoting Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination”) as ‘Law?’ Of course, they will argue that this law and covenant continues into the New Testament but to any politician, current or former, I offer the following, from Mark 7 20-23: “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual impurities, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Bearing in mind the state of political play at the moment, and the defiling of our democracy by nefarious forces which as of yet go unchallenged by party elders such as Tebbit - forces which have indulged in several of the sins listed - I would ask of all of them, what gives you the right to accept communion - and to judge others - while you remain silent on the harm being done to our country?