A Largely Improvised Note on Tim Farron, Gay Sex, and Christianity’s Importance to Western Civilisation

I might be the only person who both roughly corresponds to one of the endless colours of the rainbow and its corollary and also endless initialism and who actually kind of appreciates Tim Farron for coming out, as it were, and admitting that he had previously tempered his views on homosexuality, specifically his belief that gay sex is a sin, for PR’s sake. Given the backlash he is now receiving—the strength of which might surprise you given that most people seem to have forgotten he existed following the snap election in which he was outshone a trillion-fold by Theresa May’s hubris blowing up beautifully in her face, no lessons learned from her old mate Dave—is it any surprise that he was not one-hundred percent forthcoming about his Christian convictions when he was leading the LibDems?

I don’t appreciate what he has said because it riles up the LGBTQQIAATSP+ lingo police, which is actually a thing that exists for some reason, but because, even though it no longer matters, he admitted his mistake. I think he should have been clear on it in the first place, but then I think that every politician should be clear about who they are and what they believe, precisely because most of them would never be elected on that basis. The class of PR slickers sitting ugly at Westminster are a product of power for power’s sake, unprincipled and self-aggrandising, by which our democracy is rendered base; but it is not Machiavellian, because it is artless. Tim, who in public appearances often wears an expression of having just soiled himself, is not among this class. For all his faults he seems like a bloke of conviction, who had at least some faith in the system when he entered its revolving doors opposite whatever the outgoing flavour of the month was back then, and has been chewed up and spat out by the teflonising machine only half-coated, frightened and at least semi-disgraced.

But why Tim, specifically? Because he is a somewhat prominent politician? Because he is a LibDem? Or, worse, because he is a Christian? In a time when gays are holding up placards declaring their love for Palestine, which we may safely assume is not mutual, or marching with Linda Sarsour, who wants to instate in the West the same legal apparatus that in the “Islamosphere” sees people like myself, and perhaps you, hanged slowly from cranes, or pelted with rocks until dead, it seems awfully odd that followers of our own, now long-liberalised church should be met with such disdain for espousal of archaic beliefs to which it clings yet has neither the will nor the power to manifest as action, whatever form that would take. Is it the association with Europe’s history of imperialism that makes Christianity especially unpalatable? It seems lately that we are obsessed with the concept of decolonisation, which extends beyond questions of land and resources to cultures, fashions, languages; you name it, it must be decolonised, wrested from the hands of the white Christian male. Then is Tim, perfectly within his rights in asserting his belief in an idea others may find uncomfortable, just praying at the wrong altar when he says these things? If he had prefaced “gay sex is a sin” with “Muhammad, pbuh” would we still be up in arms? Maybe we would, but likely for different reasons.

The question is, if one’s Christianity does in fact merit sterner rebuke for controversial statements than one’s Islamity, where does it go from here? I am not a conspiracy theorist, nor do I believe that the Muslim family across the street from me wants to cut off my head for the glory of Allah. Still, there is a concern that—in a worrisome variation on what they have done in the United States, tearing down fairly hideous Confederate monuments—we might one day begin tearing down actually great symbols of our history, our artistic and cultural heritage. Obviously, Tim is not going to be remembered as a Pitt the Younger or any figure of equivalent importance or greater in Western history, but you have to start somewhere. If this is a trend and I’m not just enthralled by caffeine, what happens when we go after Bach, or any of the great Christian composers? Will we have our own Entartete Kunst, and will it be made up exclusively of Christian art? I am no lover of Christianity, nor of any religion, but its importance to Western civilisation, culture, and art is undeniable, and we would destroy our own foundations if we did deny it. It has by long centuries on our shores been tempered, and with yet greater time we may temper it further, but I do not think that outrage over mere words, clumsy as our Tim may have been in unloading them, is tantamount to a valuable liberalising challenge of the underlying belief.

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