Heavenly Prurience

It has always fascinated me why the Judaeo-Christian/Muslim god is so fixated about what consenting men (and women) choose to do with and to each other in private. You would think that with all the famine, war, and general sinfulness abounding, He would have his hands more than full enough to worry about a little buggery between friends. But given the way this issue seems to get His self-appointed representatives on earth so steamed up, you would be forgiven for thinking that stamping out homosexuality was his number one priority. It is particularly puzzling since He presumably thought that making sex one of our strongest drives was a good idea in the first place; and given the boundless creativity of his finest Creation, it was inevitable that Man would over time come up with an infinite number of inventive ways to scratch that particular itch.

Personally, I couldn’t care less one way or the other what people choose to get up to when the curtains are drawn – but then, I am not an omnipotent, infinitely loving supernatural entity of indeterminate sex who clearly has issues with those that have more limited perspectives.

After much prayer and soul-searching, the prelates of the Scottish Anglican communion have decided that in this respect at least, they (unlike their English counterparts) have hitherto got God’s intentions wrong. How they reach that conclusion is baffling since St Paul is quite clear on the matter: the ‘effeminate’ and ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’ will not ‘inherit the Kingdom of God’[1 Cor. 6.9-10.]; and, the Judaic/Old Testament God is, in his characteristically bloodthirsty way, even more explicit:  ‘If a man also lie with mankind . . both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death’ [Lev. 20.13].

But let us not be cynical: their decision to recognise gay marriage is to be welcomed, even if one suspects that they would still prefer such married partners to refrain from actually doing the nasty – as I understand many such already claim to do. It would be interesting to hear the views of Tim Farron on the Scottish decision. After similar conscience-wrestling, he recently opined that perhaps homosexuality was OK after all, but one felt that his heart was not really in it. Mr Farron has clearly had enough of such theological juggling and has resigned as Liberal Democrat leader to be free to maintain his relationship with his prurient deity. Apparently, homophobia is inconsistent with a liberal and progressive oulook – who knew?!

However, even in this ambiguous move, there is also cause for uncynical celebration. Mr Farron took the opportunity to state his belief that people like him have no right to seek to impose their beliefs on others. If this is – as I think it must have been – a defence of secularism, then Mr Farron deserves our thanks. Perhaps I should send him a copy of my book The Christian Fallacy – it could free him of the religious constraints on his instinctive liberalism, and might even be the instrument of him returning to politics. (In which case, perhaps not then).