The other morning, I heard a 'gay activist' on the wireless explaining how the Church of England should stop its endless discussion on sexual matters such as gay bishops and women bishops and instead discuss problems like World Hunger.
Prescinding from the rather obvious question of how far a General Synod debate would go towards filling one single empty mouth, I want briefly to analyse the presuppositions of this argument. The aim of discussing world hunger instead of sexual matters could be attained if one or both of the following options were taken:
(1) 'Gay activists' stopped demanding 'gay rights'; or
(2) 'homophobes' stopped denying 'gay rights'.
The radio speaker seemed not to be aware of the possibility of the first option. It was his assumption that only the second existed. In other words, the apparent reasonableness of his call rested on a logical ellipse and in fact constituted simply a totalitarian demand for the unconditional surrender of his opponents.
Frankly, I am not without some sympathy for people such as that speaker. I am appalled by the homophobic frenzy of those Evangelicals who take a very stern line on homosexuality but who have themselves 'remarried' after divorce or who have taken no very shrill line against others who have done so. And, looking at the abysmal quality of the Church of England's Bench of Bishops, I would find it difficult to be too certain that Dr Johns would not have very considerably improved it had he been preferred to the See of Southwark; he would certainly have been an immense improvement on the buffoon who has just vacated that see, a Mirfield apostate with a nasty manner towards those with whom he disagreed. But I dislike the dishonesty often implicit or explicit in most activisms, and that includes the 'gay' one.
Even in tiny details. Some years ago they kidnapped the adjective 'gay' for their own exclusive use. Ah well ... languages do move on. And so, here in Oxford, we had an annual Gay Pride March. Fair enough.
But not now; not this year. Now we have just a Pride March. In other words, the noun 'pride' is now deemed automatically to imply homosexuality. So those of us who have to live our lives under the curse of heterosexuality were robbed, a decade ago, of the right to be gay; now, it seems, we are to be robbed of the right to be proud. How much more of the English Dictionary does this aggressive movement wish first to colonise and then to appropriate for its own exclusive use?