12 March 2007

You must be Joe-king

The Joe in question is Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell, who has antagonised me before. This is the first time I've been asked to comment on a story. Well, I say asked, that's not strictly accurate but I'm taking the comment as a hint that it's worth saying something (By the way, Grant, if you want to bash the Bishop, that's fine, but do you have to do it on my blog?).

Basically, Bishop Devine has had another pop at Labour for forsaking Christianity by supporting civil partnerships, so he won't be voting for them, and his congregation aren't as strongly disposed to supporting Labour as normal.

Why would they be? Labour are 10 years into government at Westminster, and 8 at Holyrood, so even in staunch Labour areas, an element of fatigue will be setting in. Meanwhile, off the top of my head, I can only identify two groups of people who might give a rat's arse about civil partnerships. The first consists of gay voters who might want to take advantage of the legislation at some point in the future, and while for me that point is some way into the future, I count myself in this group. For this group, the legislation is a good thing. The second consists primarily of fundamentalist nutjobs who are obsessed with what people might be getting up to in their bedrooms and who they get up to it with, and I count Bishop Devine in this group. What will everyone else be concerned about?

Why will everyone else be switching? It might be to do with hospital closures, Iraq, the exponential increase in Council Tax. It might be connected with Labour's fixation with a dull, grey status quo. Those are just some of the possible reasons to switch, there are many, and every member of Devine's congregation will have their own, so the Bishop's attempt to link the two is wrong.

Margaret Curran's hands are baffled by his decision: they shake angrily (they always do) as the rest of her rightly points out that Labour were far from alone in backing the legislation. She's right: there appears to be a consenus between the leadership of the various mainstram parties that gay rights are generally a good thing. I therefore agree with Margaret Curran, and I will never forgive the Bishop for making that happen!

However, following Devine's many rants against gay rights, Curran needn't be baffled or disappointed: she should be relieved that this man won't be joining her on any platform, and my advice to all parties is as follows: avoid this man. If he walks towards you, cross the road. If he calls you, hang up. If he e-mails you, empty your inbox completely, and format your hard drive just in case. This man is radioactive - touch him and you will be tainted. His endorsement, far from being a good thing, is an utter disaster, an embarrassment for any party who wants to be seen as modern and forward-looking.

Take your faith into the polling place, by all means. Vote according to your principles: that's the general idea, anyway. But remember this: there is one person, and one person only, who can decide with any finality how you should cast your vote. That person is you, yourself. It's not Bishop Devine (unless you are Bishop Devine).

He has a right to say what he wants (no matter how retarded). He has a right to vote how he wants. He has a right to say how he intends the vote. But if he even thinks of telling his congregation how to vote, then he has crossed a line. He may think I'm sinful, and I'll live with that, but to turn to people who respect him and value his opinion, and say "I'm voting for X, because it's the right thing to do as a Catholic," is immoral: it is, for me, an abuse of his position.

And he has the gall to say it's immoral to let people commit in law to spending the rest of their life whomever they choose!

I'm not a religious man, but I would ask a favour of those readers who are: pray for wisdom for Devine's congregation, and pray that they are strong enough to vote for who they want to win the Election, not who Joseph Devine wants them to vote for.

1 comment:

Surreptitious Evil said...

There is always nu-Lab's statist contempt for the rule of law and their own Human Rights legislation. Even if I was Trotly inclined (and I had forgot to take my medication), this alone would stop me voting for them.

ID Cards, extended detention, most of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, but especially s132 to 138, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. I could go one, but you would just get bored.