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The oddest British poll issue: Gaysexit

30 April 2017

3:08 PM

30 April 2017

3:08 PM

A make or break question has emerged in UK election fever over the past week. Is it school funding? No. Is it healthcare? No. Does it relate to any current legislative proposition? No. No; the most pressing hot topic is whether or not candidates for membership of the House of Commons believe that homosexual acts are sinful or not. Every party leader, every candidate is being asked this question as though it were a minimum requirement for being able to represent the people of the UK.

We all watched in awkward horror as the beleaguered Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron MP was bullied from a perfectly sensible position in not wanting to comment on his personal religious views whilst simultaneously showing support to homosexual couples, to being forced to explicitly address a theological question relating to sin.

This new interest of the progressive media and lobbyists in truly grappling theological questions is intriguing; can we look forward to further hermeneutics on the myriad of other philosophies related to the human condition and matters of individual conscience? It’s so advantageous to address these questions to MPs rather than those ‘know-nothing’ theologians and religious figures, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not as if England has an Established Church with bishops in the House of Lords or anything, is it? Is the short walk down the corridor to the red carpet too far to tread?

The call for all potential MPs to affirm homosexual acts is utterly ridiculous and a dangerous concept for anybody who believes in religious freedom, freedom of expression, and democratic principles of peaceful disagreement. Is it really in the interests of parliamentary democracy that no orthodox Christian, Jew, or Muslim with traditional views can hold public office? How could people of faith be represented in parliament if this was the case? I wonder why it wasn’t a Muslim or a Jewish MP that was asked this question?


Homosexual acts between consenting adults are not currently crimes in the UK, and there is no suggestion that this is to be changed at all; what possible consequence would the personal views of individual parliamentarians on this subject have on those who engage in them? The only discrimination on show here is the discrimination from those speaking for the LGBT+ communities towards people of many faiths.

The irony is that the House of Commons is exactly the right place for those who disagree to debate together in order to test the best possible way for the people of the UK to live in peace with mutual respect. It is of the essence of democracy to encourage a wide spectrum of views and opinions. Diversity, the great cry of ‘progressives’, is defined by sharing a range of opinions, not only those currently in vogue.

A natural punchline has been added to this ridiculous debacle; the very same Tim Farron MP has been forced to de-select David Ward MP for alleged anti-Semitism. It would seem that offending people of religion is not altogether okay on the one hand, and required on the other. Calls for people of faith to renounce their consciences or exit parliament over gay sex must be robustly refuted.

I can’t speak for Jews and Muslims, but as a Traditionalist Christian I look forward to these questions of faith developing beyond what secularists see as regulations to the final beautiful conclusion: yes, Christians believe in sin, but we also believe that we are all sinners in need of love and grace. We believe that God offers that love in Jesus Christ, and that we are called to show that same radical love to all people regardless of their personal lifestyle choices. If MPs are called to represent all people in their electorate, I’d say a Christian who holds these views is a pretty good choice!

Fr Chris Yates is the Vicar of St Saviour and St Peter’s, Eastbourne, UK and was formerly Rector of Raymond Terrace, NSW. He was a Police Officer in the UK for 10 years prior to training for the priesthood in Oxford.

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