Back in Your Cage, Widdecombe

With all the serenity and poise of a beached whale, Ann Widdecombe has waded in to support religiously-inspired discrimination, and she has appointed herself as the official spokesperson for all Christians. Oh, and all Christians are homophobic, apparently.

I think of Ann Widdecombe in much the same way that I think of my own appendix: an unsightly, useless collection of cells which is the legacy of something that was useful a long, long time ago but which now simply exists and is generally harmless – until it starts playing up.

Widdecombe, a repressed, sorry devout, Christian, has given her support to the Pentecostalist couple who were denied foster-caring placements because of their religiously-inspired anti-homosexual views.

Like a bungling detective quick on the scene, doughnut still in mouth and breath heavy with stale coffee, she has quickly surveyed her surroundings and instantly diagnosed this waste of court time as anti-Christian persecution. As she puts it, “Christian rights have been all but wiped out.”

As I explain here, though, this couple were not subjected to persecution, and they were not denied foster-caring placements on the grounds that they were Christian. It was simply made clear to them that their anti-homosexual views could lead to discrimination in the provision of a public service and that the religious motivation behind their views was no excuse.

So, Widdecombe’s diagnosis that this case is evidence of anti-Christian persecution is wrong. It’s evidence that Christian privilege, or any type of religious privilege, is being wiped out, but that’s a jolly good thing.

Dumbness I can live with, but what really turns my stomach about this woman (other than the sight and the sound of her) is that she has appointed herself as a spokesperson for other Christians. As I explain here, you can’t assume that all people within a given group share the same views on a given issue. That rule applies even more so when the group is something as arbitrary as a religious one. But you can assume that all people within a given group share the same opinion on a given issue if you’re a member of that group, and if you’re Widdecombe, and if you have a direct line to the Christian God.

From what Widdecombe is saying, I logically deduce that Christians are homophobic and/or that they expect special treatment before the law. Is that not a slur on Christians? I don’t consider myself a Christian, even though I underwent a weird but ultimately completely harmless Christian initiation ceremony after I had been breathing for only a few months and while I had 0% control over my bodily functions, but if I did consider myself a Christian, I like to think I wouldn’t be a homophobic one. And if Widdecombe attempted to speak on my behalf, without my authority, I would be inclined to say to her firmly, loudly and not in the least bit politely, “NOT IN MY NAME, YOU OBESE WOMAN”.

I’m sure there are Christians out there who agree with Widdecombe, either on the basis that they are homophobic or that they like the thought of having a religious trump card to play in court.

I’m also sure there are Christians out there who disagree with Widdecombe, either on the basis that they are not homophobic or that they do not expect the law to treat them differently just because of their personal religious views, and I am guessing that at least some of these Christians do not enjoy being dumped within the same cage as Widdecombe, by Widdecombe, and tarred with an oily brush brandished by Widdecombe.

I’m also sure there are homosexual Christians out there, and I haven’t got the faintest clue what they think about Widdecombe because I reckon even they probably don’t all agree with each other, but that’s precisely the point I’m making: Christians, like any group of people, have different opinions about different things – even Christianity! Widdecombe has no right to speak on their behalf.

If she wants to investigate whether “Christian rights have been all but wiped out”, she should have a think about the following:

  1. Our Head of State = the Head of the Church of England. Discuss that.
  2. The Church of England is the only official State religion. Discuss that.
  3. Church of England religious leaders sit in the House of Lords as a matter of constitutional right. Discuss that.

Yes, I know she’s a Catholic and not an Anglican, but I think my points are still valid.

My free advice to this poor, deranged woman is to stick to what she is good at, which is very shit dancing and the completely successful preservation of her sacred virginity.

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