An absolutely shocking week of racism in the UK. Ever since the inconclusive election on 8th June, Theresa May has been looking to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her wounded government. This has led to attacks on the Paisleyite DUP’s religious fundamentalism, anti-abortion stance and all-round bigotry and homophobia by the protectors of public morality at the Guardian, the Independent and (of course) the BBC. Don’t these people realise that attacking someone’s religion is the worst form of racism? And if that wasn’t enough, that political giant Tiny Tim Farron has been forced out of his job as leader as the Illiberal Undemocrats – despite increasing their representation in parliament from a puny 8 in 2015 to a muscular 12 in 2017 – because his Evangelical Christian beliefs led him to be less than enthusiastic about gay sex when interviewed on television. Horrible, horrible racism.I’m pretty sure that paragraph would get a pretty high reading on Professor Frink’s sarcasm detector.
I am quite content to expose the mad religious beliefs of the DUP and Tim Farron. As the political vehicle of the late, unlamented Ian Paisley, I have somewhere between zero and no sympathy for the DUP. I keep expecting vicar’s daughter May to shout “No popery” after one of her meetings with these latter day Puritans. The DUP are Creationists, they are opposed to abortion (although, to be fair, this seems to be common to both sides in Northern Ireland) and are opposed to gay rights. The aforementioned, still unlamented “Reverend” Paisley was heard to mutter about “Sodomites in Stormont” when Elton John put on a benefit concert in Belfast back in the 1990s. So, I am more than content for the DUP’s religious beliefs to be subjected to scrutiny and, if necessary, to ridicule, especially if they are going to the kingmakers in the new parliament.
Likewise, Tim Farron. He voted in favour of marriage equality for same sex partners and has said that he is “very proud” to have support his party’s efforts to introduce gay marriage. So far so good for the right-on defenders of modern morality. Unfortunately, Farron appears to have converted to Evangelical Christianity in his late teens rather than being born into religion. And Evangelical Christianity tends to take the Old Testament seriously. One of the favourite chapters of the Bible for those who would police other people’s sex lives is Leviticus 18 which, in verse 22, says…
“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”
Hard for Farron to get around that one. Especially as a couple of chapters later, Leviticus 20:13 announces the punishment for gay sex…
“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
If god botherers like the DUP and Farron are in politics they cannot escape criticism of their religious beliefs. Although I did think some of the disapproval directed at Farron was unfair; he did vote in favour of marriage equality for gay couples so his religious beliefs did not get in the way of his support for his party’s political programme. However, some folks expected Farron to come out with a ringing endorsement of gay sex which, given his religious views, he was never going to deliver. I find this attitude from some in the gay community rather odd. As far as sex goes, I’m an extreme libertarian – as long as everyone is over eighteen and no animals are involved, do what you like with whom you like. Just extend me the same courtesy and don’t expect me to “celebrate” your sex life.
Returning to my original point about attacking religious beliefs being racist, obviously I was being facetious. However, some of the people who have attacked the religious bigotry of the DUP are the same people who call any criticism of Muslim political groups and/or politicians “Islamophobic.” You can’t have it both ways. Go to your local mosque and I’m pretty sure that the congregation will be more in sympathy with the DUP and Farron about sex than with the denizens of Jimmy Savile House (who certainly know a thing or two about dodgy sex). Most Islamists and conservative Muslims have, shall we say, traditional opinions about sex and gender. If it is not racist to criticise the religious maniacs in the DUP then it is not racist to criticise the religious maniacs who follow the Islamic religion or its totalitarian political child, Islamism.