Playground Politics of the Buses

The bus ad that's caused so much controversy...
Well, you've got to hand it to born-again Christians. They've got a way with words and they know how to get under the skin of secular society.

While our Catholic Archbishops make 'prudent' and 'pragmatic' allowances for such things as gay civil partnerships, evangelical Protestants are grabbing the bull by the horns and saying outrageous things that have mayoral candidates, the Pink Paper and The Guardian united in a call to suspend the principle of freedom of speech in the UK because the spirit of an advert runs contrary to the tenets of liberal tyranny. Yes, that's right: liberal tyranny, not liberal democracy.

Before I go any further, however, I thought I'd just say that I don't personally like the bus ad that has Boris Johnson falling over himself to win 'pink votes' and endorse Soviet-era censorship on London buses at the same time, something which, by any stretch of the imagination, is quite a political feat. I think that the tone set by the advert is wrong-headed primarily because it stoops to the playground mentality of Stonewall, whose original advert looked like this:

The ad that wasn't controversial at all...
Na-na-na-na-na-na! The gay community say some people are gay and we should all 'get over it' while the evangelical Christian mob say 'Some people used to be gay, but now are not, so there!'

The headmaster, Boris Johnson, has stepped in to side with the gay community and letters are being sent to the evangelical Christians parents to say that this 'really is jolly well not on' and that, for the time being, the Christians are suspended.

The reality, of course, is that both Stonewall and the evangelicals at Core Issues Trust are extremists. There are, naturally, men and women who have been through the gay lifestyle, and who 'come out' the other end finding someone of the opposite sex, fallen in love and had children. After all, birds do it, bees do it and even educated fleas do it, so why should humans not do it? Not, I hasten to add, that a proportion of the birds, bees and fleas are engaged in a sub-culture of homosexuality.

Personally, I do have very serious doubts as to how effective the therapeutic counselling offered by the Core Issues Trust really is and Protestantism does have a pretty long track record of offering 'healings' for a vast range of disorders, both moral and physical, only to later be found to be quite fraudulent. Despite this, it may be that there are men known to Core Issues Trust who have benefited from their service. Who am I to say that they have not? However, that is not why the Core Issues Trust have produced the advert. They have produced the advert to have a good old dig at the Stonewall crowd and while a part of me thinks 'about time' another part of me thinks that this is not the way to do it.

Are we really so anti-democratic as a nation that the forum for the discussion of politics, religion and belief has become adverts on buses? The same thing happened with the Dawkins adverts concerning God's existence/non-existence. Didn't a Christian group then respond with similar playground antics? To me it shows the depth of extremism in the United Kingdom that really flourishes only when a liberal elite smother debate and the voices of those who seek to engage in the political debate, but find themselves excluded, ridiculed, silenced, ignored and marginalised. It reminds me rather of George Galloway's recent electoral success in Bradford West.

The 'Some People Are Gay, So Get Over It' ad by Stonewall is strident and aggressive. What if, for example, you know that some people are gay, but you don't actually go along with the idea that society should embrace the culture of homosexuality. What if you're a bit, you know, old fashioned? There is a sense that politicians, media types and trendy liberals look down upon anyone who isn't quite au fait with so called, 'queer politics'. I personally dislike the Core Issues Trust in terms of their approach, their theology, their playground tactics, and quite frankly unChristian approach to tackling the stridency of the gay community. It may be that there are people who used to be involved in the homosexual culture but who moved on and settled down. It may be that there are people who moved on so much that they would call themselves an 'ex-gay', like perhaps some alcoholics might move on so much at AA that they describe themselves as 'ex-alcoholics'. These people are surely free to say that this is where they currently feel they are in life. However, is a London bus the best place for this to be said? I doubt it.

And yet, despite my doubts about the Core Issues Trust, despite the fact that I think they're being a bit silly, are probably a little bit on the loony fringe of the Evangelical mission, and despite the fact that this episode shows us just how far removed are politicians are from the concerns of a larger percentage of Britain than that of the homosexual community - despite all of this - something about Boris's dabbling with censorship for personal political gain and the instrinsically totalitarian and freedom of speech crushing defense of the gay agenda by our elite leaves me feeling rather uncomfortable.

Personally, I think the Core Issues Trust is a silly and ungracious response to a silly and ungracious advert by Stonewall. Even if men move away from homosexuality and into heterosexuality, Christians aren't meant to be 'proud' in that way. They're not meant to rub their new found life in marriage in the faces of those they would doubtless see as 'backsliders'. In God's eyes we are all sinners dependent on His mercy who are loved greatly, infinitely, by Him. In conclusion, I think the Core Issues Trust ad is plain silly. That said, in a liberal democracy we are allowed, or should be allowed to say things which are even a little bit silly and even offensive to some. As Boris should know, we are, in this country allowed to say things that are both silly and offensive. As far as I know, it isn't actually illegal.

After all, the Stonewall ad was, frankly, silly and offensive to some. People are entitled to our different points of view and the expression of that view. Or, at least, people used to be. In Boris's London and in Cameron's Britain, it seems, double-standards, hypocrisy, the stifling of debate and censorship are the way ahead. Eventually, I fear, in the long run, the refusal of our metropolitan elite to facilitate a full and frank public discourse on the issue of homosexuality because of the lobbying and media-generated power of Stonewall is likely to lead to more extremism or even violent extremism against the gay community, because it will be perceived that it was the gay community that destroyed freedom of speech and thought. It's becoming like a coup d'etat by a small clique of radicals hell-bent on destroying the country's heritage, religion, morality and culture in order to force society to worship the sexual desires that they themselves worship.

The gay agenda is essentially totalitarian. Eventually, it has to be to enforced to be believed. The fact that the bus ad has been banned by Comrade Boris will ensure that more and more people wake up to that fact. That is not, despite the silliness of the approach of the Core Issues Trust, healthy for democracy. Even Tom Chivers today has it right. Boris Johnson, today, is the Mary Whitehouse of the 21st century. That may win him votes in Soho, but he'll likely still go down in history as the man who suspended freedom of speech in London.

"London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance." - Boris Johnson, 12 April 2012

I thought it was Ken who was meant to be 'red'...


Lynda said…
Totalitarianism in action. Destruction of all values, culture, civic society and the reservoirs of same - family, community, nation, Church. It is the same force at work in Ireland that is attempting to abolish religious schools/education and impose schools of atheistic, relativist indoctrination where the only objective truth recognised is the right (might) of the State.
Lazarus said…
I don't know if the Core Issues Trust campaign quite comes off, but the principle behind it -that Christianity has to defend itself using humour, wit and playfulness- does strike me as being right. And if you're going to engage at that level, it's inevitable that sometimes the humour isn't quite going to work: every comedian dies sometimes. The institutional Church isn't good at this and shouldn't be: it needs to keep pointing back to the serious depths. But I think it's an important part of the lay vocation.
Amfortas said…
I bet you go down a treat with all the hidden gays in the St Mary Mag congregation.
The Bones said…
Everyone at St Mary Magdalen's knows that I am a sinner.