Last week the Church of England had the chance to show exactly how to place inclusivity at the heart of a movement. They had the opportunity to uproot a homophobia that has long-since plagued and contradicted those who call themselves followers of Yeshua, particularly within the estranged sub-culture of a sub-culture – evangelicalism.
The cameras were on the men in cassocks, as they reviewed their theology on those who make up the wonderfully resilient, patient and vibrant LGBT community. I dared to believe, even as a straight man, that my sisters and brothers who happen to sit outside of what our stunted reality deems ‘the norm’ would be apologised to by a religion that claims to be loving. And that after the apology, the bishops would take power tools and furiously hack ‘LGBT Welcome at all Levels’ into the brickwork of every church and cathedral up and down these lands.
But no. In an age where reason seems to be as popular as fibreglass pants, the church chose to spin a PR line worthy of a tory leader to hide the reality of what they actually agreed upon. Yes, in a room of educated and seemingly rational thinkers, it was deemed appropriate and wise to conclude that ‘nah, real marriage is only for a penis and a vagina’ and in literally the next breath, say ‘Oh but we, the church, need to rethink our homophobic attitudes’. That’s like a bully telling its victim that it’s not going to stop handing out the occasional beating, but it will be rethinking its bullying attitudes. And whatever you use to dress up this fucking outrage, that’s what it is, bullying. To tell two people who love each other that even if they could get married, it would never be a real marriage because they share the same reproductive organs, is embarrassingly nasty.
“But Alex, it’s in the bible”.
“Yes, you complete and utter plank. And so is ‘going to the ant’ to discover wisdom. But guess what, I know for a fact that you haven’t visited your local ant community in years, in which case, you’re going to hell. Ant hell.”
We know, don’t we, deep within that aching flicker of evolution that introduces each and every one of our heartbeats, that any rational and loving being wouldn’t actually give a flying fuck if someone is gay, straight or bi. And you know why? Because if we were created by said rational and loving being, then he/she wrote these very genetics into the script in the first place.
“Yes, but Alex, God’s ways are higher than our ways”.
“Ah, you again. Ok, with that argument, we could literally get away with thinking anything we want. Furthermore, that blanket excuse for draconian doctrines is a prime example of how religious radicalism functions. Think something crazy because someone told you to, and when it’s challenged, blame God, he’s big enough to take it. Wake up, planky, ask yourself this: what’s the most reasonable and loving thing to do? Surely it’s to treat all sexes and sexual orientations with the same respect?”
Was I surprised that Henry VIII’s love child movement, that now boasts of less Sunday guests than members of the Wildlife Trust, (I love the Wildlife Trust just to be clear) took the decision to stick with their ancestors’ definition of marriage? No. The CoE is nothing more than a caricature these days, so disengaged with secular reality that it still thinks it has a voice of authority in modern life. Let’s be honest, TOWIE has more respect than those leading the church. (Cue a bunch of angry evangelicals googling TOWIE).
Look, I was going to write a long and drawn out exposition on why the church’s decision to keep the old definition of marriage was theologically redundant, but why should I? Why should I show that much respect for a group of posh, disengaged, socially unaware herd of cassocks, who think it’s totally fine to rubbish the covenant of love between two people? No, they deserve no more respect than what they’re showing one of our most treasured and important communities. In an age where the leader of the free world unleashes his dogs of bigotry on those who don’t fit the mould of his wretched mind, the Church of England saw it fit to leave the LGBT crowd out in the cold, again, with no room at the inn of righteousness.
So to those failed clowns who run that dying sub-culture, divorced from diversity and separate from society, I say this: They were strangers and you did not take them in, they were naked and you did not clothe them, and whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Yeshua.
And when future generations rise up and destroy your exclusive movement, your prejudices will follow you all the way to ant hell. But don’t worry, all the ants will be straight.