This is a story about Keith Starmer falling afoul of a righteous brigade in his own party. Apparently he visited an evangelical Church in London which is helping with the vaccine rollout. But it turns out that the pastor of this Church holds traditional religious views on homosexuality. According to the article the pastor wrote to the Telegraph in 2006 to criticise proposed New Labour legislation (secondary legislation the ‘Sexual Orientation Regulations’) and to argue against this legislation on the grounds that it would oblige Churches to promote homosexuality. This is what he wrote:
The regulations force Christians in churches, businesses, charities and informal associations to accept and even promote the idea that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality. For the sake of clarity, this is not what the Bible teaches and it is not what we believe to be the truth. In our view, these regulations are an affront to our freedom to be Christians.
And in 2013 the pastor again wrote to the Telegraph to protest against gay marriage. This was before the law was passed. This is what he wrote:
If the Government gets its way, it will not be a victory for equality. Equality requires diversity, and diversity requires distinctiveness, and marriage is and always will be distinctively a union between a man and a woman. By changing marriage from its historic foundation it would be creating a legal fiction, and consequently devaluing this vitally important social institution. The Government is not respecting difference, and it is not promoting a plural society.
As readers can see this is the pastor arguing for his own value system and traditional views.
Following Keith Starmer’s visit to this Church an internal Labour party “LGBT” group has criticised the leadership:
We have spoken with the leader of the opposition’s team regarding his visit to the church on Good Friday that does not align with our values on conversion therapy or LGBT+ equality…
This visit was unacceptable and we made this clear to LOTO.
The leadership issued the inevitable grovelling apology.
That is – because the pastor of this Church at the time that legislation on gay issues was being debated in parliament wrote a letter to a newspaper expressing his point of view (against the proposed changes in the law) no one from the Labour party can ever meet him. Not ever. (Regardless of any other good work he may be doing in the community – such as promoting vaccine in minority ethnic communities; where it is sorely needed).
I wonder if these people have any grasp of what they are doing, of what kind of society they envisage? For a start they certainly don’t believe in the traditional British idea of democracy; that when legislation is being debated in parliament people can write to newspapers arguing for one side or the other. Not it seems have they embraced the idea that “I respect your right to hold an opinion even though I disagree with it”. They want to send the pastor into complete Coventry, for ever, because he had had the temerity to express (in a newspaper) a traditional value system which conflicts with their own. They propose a society in which there is only a single truth. This is in fact a cult. These people have the same kind of mental fragility as is typically found in cult followers. They can’t cope with difference and diversity. They need a simple world with a single truth.
I hope that in 20 years time people will look back on this as an extraordinary time. Some kind of aberration. But I fear that this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.