You remember the post a short time back about Iris Robinson, MP & MLP and her appalling comments on homosexuality and the furious exchanges which came from it? Well the chair of the Health Committee at the devolved Northern Irish Assembly has now well and truly poured a tanker of petrol on the fire:
“There can be no viler act, apart from homosexuality and sodomy, than sexually abusing innocent children.”
Right. So gay people and gay sex are now not just as bad as murderers, but we and the way we express our relationships are now worse than child molesters too? She didn’t even say this on a radio show or in a TV interview – she actually had the nerve to say this to the Westminster Parliament. Madder than a bag of cats, I say, but when she was questioned by the Belfast Telegraph over the quote she went further:
“I cannot think of anything more sickening than a child being abused. It is comparable to the act of homosexuality. I think they are all comparable. I feel totally repulsed by both.”
She then said that her comments were not made out of hate.
“I am trying to reach out to people. I try to reach out and love them. That is what Christ teaches us. He wants us to help all people and give them an opportunity. We all have the opportunity to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything I say is out of love. I am not hate-mongering. I cannot leave my Christian values hanging at the door when I go into politics.
“I am speaking out more now because we are getting it more and more rammed down our throats that the minority views are more important than the majority views. I am not trying to alienate anyone. Anyone can come to me with any problems. I do not turn anyone away.
“I would never water down anything with the scriptures and I don’t think I should. I find it (the controversy over her comments) amazing, if not unexpected, as these days Christians are persecuted for their views but that will not stop me. There will be a judgement day and when I am judged I want to know that I did all I could to spread the word of God.”
Not hate-mongering eh? Sure you are. Can’t leave your Christian values at the door Iris? Well homophobia isn’t a religious value, so it’s really your choice. Given that your job and your profession are committed to the representation and equality of all, the attitudes which you are now clearly pushing are in direct contravention of those goals. Persecuted for your views? Sure you are – as I would hope any homophobe who tried to push their views in public were persecuted – quite right too; your religion doesn’t justify your homophobia. We live in a society governed by the rule of law, which aims for the equality of all, not the superstition of and interpretation of scripture by people who think they’re more equal than the rest of us merely because they have religion.
That she’s repulsed by homosexuality is her business (I fail to see why we need to have her personal tastes repeated to us again and again), and surely if she’s so put off by it (which you’d expect, being heterosexual) she just shouldn’t do it? The ego of this woman is quite breathtaking. Her argument whereby her religion justifies her bigotry really needs to be taken back and recast, as Sir Ian McKellen did in his interview on the Andrew Marr Show with Gene Robinson. The problem she and her ilk have is not persecution for their views, but a refusal to countenance social change they don’t like, and rather than taking responsibility for their homophobia they:
“root around in the Bible to discover the very few passages that seem to be relevant…the argument is one we have to…take seriously.”
Except of course the Bible has been interpreted, translated, reinterpreted and retranslated, not to mention having been written for a specific culture at a specific time in world history. To literally believe that every word in it is equally applicable now as it was then is to deny the responsibility we have to use our intellects. A book which cannot be critically evaluated is no better than a weapon, but even then we should remember that even fundamentalists like Iris do critically evaluate it – Iris is hardly going around arguing for the death penalty for adultery, is she? We indeed have to take her argument seriously, because it will be seductive to some, although underneath it’s about plain old hate.