16 July 2010

Logic and lexicography

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?


The Raven (C. Corax) said...

I had always assumed that they meant "pride" as in "pride of lions" (their activists do seem to run in packs).

Perhaps a different deadly sin could be a more apt collective verb: "a vanity of Tatchells", perhaps?

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

Collective noun, I mean (retires to the library with revolver).

Peregrinus said...

Having appropriated the first of the seven deadly sins, I imagine the other six are well in view.

johnf said...

So lions are homosexual? - I didn't know that.

And what about 'Mothers Pride' bread. Is that now exclusively for gays? Or is it now off the market - sorry - back in the closet?

Kent Community Activist said...

Well said Fr.

radex33 said...

That was a rather snide post Fr. Hunwicke. You made some mildly sympathetic remarks about Dr John and then launched into pedantic and hostile comments about the gays hijacking the words 'gay' and now 'pride'. You don't get too many critical comments on your blog because most of your readers agree with you. Well I agree with you about most things, but I deplore your occasional lapses into a lack of charity towards homosexuals. I wonder if this is a natural characteristic, or are you altering your thinking to fit with the Vatican? The Vatican describes homosexuals as 'depraved' and instructs its bishops to oppose civil partnerships. Anglo-Catholics moving to Rome will be required to assent to such malicious nonsense. I do not see how to do that with a clear conscience.

Athanasius said...

"The Vatican describes homosexuals as 'depraved'"

Does it? News to me! I think 'objectively disordered' might have been the phrase you were looking for... along with "Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." All quite a long way off 'depraved'.

Now, what were you saying about malicious nonsense?

"instructs its bishops to oppose civil partnerships"

Sadly, I don't think the Vatican makes any such instructions, but if it did, I doubt the bishops in this country would listen. But officially at least, yes we still condemn people living in sin, and I suspect most Anglo-Catholics wouldn't have any problem assenting to that at all.

Jonathan said...

'How much more of the English Dictionary does this aggressive movement wish first to colonise and then to appropriate for its own exclusive use?'

Probably about as much as those who claim words such as 'orthodox' and 'catholic' to mean little more than 'conservative'.

Enjoy your forthcoming union with Rome Fr, you will experience both conservatism and liberalism that will blow your socks off. I wonder what language you will try to harness to differentiate yourself when your current vocabulary is already claimed by those from whom you will differ.

Peregrinus said...

Thank you for the clarity, Athanasius. radex33 not only has his facts askew but a displays a rather strange notion of what a clear conscience might be.

Fr John said...

johnf - after being depressed all week with the good old of C of E, my life came alive again reading your comment!

I recall as a young boy the local Mothers Pride Bakery at Breierly Hill burning down. At the time I thought it an act of arson, I now understand that it was infact a homophobic act - it is all so clear now!

radex33 said...

Dear Athanasius,

Cardinal Ratzinger in the 'Letter on the Care of Homosexual persons' (1986)described homosexuality as an 'intrinsic moral evil'. John Paul II in the document 'Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons' (2003)says "Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts 'as a serious depravity... (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10)'. This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”
(In fact none of the passages cited by the Pope describe homosexual acts as 'depraved').
If I say of Mr X 'his behaviour constitutes serious depravity' I am implying that he is depraved.
I repeat, the Vatican describes homosexuals as 'depraved'.
The RC Church places so much weight on 'the judgment of Scripture' because it holds a biblical fundamentalist view. Ch. 3 of the Vatican II document 'Constitution on Divine Revelation' claims that the Old and New Testaments "in their entirety, with all their parts...were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit...they have God as their author...everything asserted by the inspired authors must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit...it follows that the books of Scripture must be acknowleged as...without error". This is an untenable stance to which the Free Presbyterians could happily subscribe. Do Anglo-Catholics contemplating Rome realise that they would have to assent to such fundamentalism?
The Considerations document instructs politicians to oppose civil partnerships. It stretches credulity to imagine that the Vatican did not also instruct its Bishops to oppose civil partnerships.

Jonathan said...

The institutional church has never really recovered from the 18C Enlightenment. Gallileo has only just been grudgingly acknowledged as having been generally right and it may take just as long for the Bishop of Rome to understand that he is as wrong about gay people as his predecessors were about about the relationship between the planets and the shape of the earth etc etc

In the meantime millions more good people, made in the image of God, some called to office in the church but who happen to be gay, will have been condemned by the Church.

Given the current rate of ecclesiastical decline in the Western world, by the time the church gets it right I doubt that anyone will notice - or care.

Little Black Sambo said...

I hope this blog won't turn into a gay pick-up joint like some of the London churches.