On the eve of Gay Pride — a massive, brightly-coloured celebration consisting of not-always-clothed people gyrating and pouting in a bid to tell the whole world that what they do with their genitals is no one’s business — the words of Tim Stanley ring truer than ever: “being tolerant is not merely enough; you must celebrate. Otherwise, there is no place for you in politics”.
We’re at the stage now where the diktats of our new illiberal liberal society demand that not only are we to tolerate leftist ideologies such as abortion and same-sex marriage, we must also celebrate them. It is not enough to say, “I disagree with your ideas, but I respect you” — we must also drive a rainbow-coloured float to work each morning while a team of feminists throw handfuls of abortion pills at passers-by to the tune of Bad Romance blasting out over giant nipple-shaped speakers.
Take Tim Farron, for example. Despite not proposing a single policy that would adversely affect the LGBTQ+ community or abortion law, he wasn’t rainbow-affirming or abortion-loving enough and so quickly found himself in breach of Liberal Democrat orthodoxy. In other words, Tim Farron was too liberal for the Liberal Democrats.
Then there was that time the Thought Detectives came after Dan Walker for having the sheer audacity to present a TV programme and be Christian at the same time. In this Brave New World, presenting a breakfast TV show or leading a liberal political party is a job reserved only for the enlightened, you see. “You religious should stick to herding goats,” they seethe with love and tolerance.
Now that the dust has settled on the Tim Farron episode, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Liberal Democrat’s sister party here in Northern Ireland, the Alliance Party. Just like Tim Farron, the Alliance leader, Naomi Long, also claims to be a person of faith. Unlike Tim Farron, however, she has no such issues reconciling her faith with the liberal zeitgeist; she’s more than happy to proclaim that marriage is more of a government registry of friendships than what Jesus describes in Matthew 19, and her position on abortion is vague and watery enough (“I don’t like it, but…”) to gain her the acceptance of the progressive magisterium. For now, anyway.
So – since the Alliance Party never shy away from telling us how progressive and diverse they are, I’d like to ask them this: is there room within your party for a public representative who publicly states that gay sex is a sin? I’m not convinced there would be — Tim Farron said it wasn’t a sin and his progressive inquisitors still weren’t happy — but I could be wrong. Maybe the rainbow colours they put on everything are really a celebration of the Noahic Covenant.
Or, if nobody is willing to admit to disagreeing with gay sex, what about the lesser secular sin of disagreeing with pre-marital sex? After all, pre-marital sex is wrong in many religions, not just Christianity. If their answer is, “No, we’re progressives. We believe in sex before, during and after marriage. Take your troglodytism elsewhere,” then not only does that exclude many Catholics and Protestants, but also Muslims and Jews who seek to live under the beliefs of their church from publicly representing the Alliance Party.
These are fair questions to ask because, for the benefit of those who don’t know, the sins of pre-marital and gay sex are long-standing and fairly bog-standard Christian doctrines. Of course, there are some Christians, like Naomi, who are happy to embrace other sexual philosophies (but not all sexual philosophies; we still have a long way to progress in that regard) — but many don’t.
So, would these Christians — and adherents of other faiths who hold to traditional values — feel safe to publicly air their views, or would they be advised not to? Would they enjoy the public backing of their tolerant and fair-minded leader or would they, like Tim Farron, find working for Alliance while holding certain beliefs impossible?