King's Evangelical Divinity School

20 February 2013

Are You a Homophobic Bigot

This is a guest post by Chris Lazenby.

I wonder how many readers of this blog heard last week’s Any Questions (BBC Radio 4, 8pm, Friday 8th Feb 2013). The panel for the evening included feminist Julie Bindel. Ms Bindel describes herself as a ‘radical feminist, not the fun kind but an out and out proud lesbian.’ As the topic of ‘gay marriage’ is hot in the news at the moment, I listened carefully to her comments. Ms Bindel began by saying that ‘those who are opposed to equal marriage are either ‘homophobic, bigoted or are on nodding terms with bigots’ and commented that being against gay marriage is ‘gross discrimination’.

After several such negative comments, she rather surprisingly went on to denigrate marriage, saying that she is ‘very critical of marriage and its patriarchal trappings.’ She went on; ‘Why lesbians and gay men are so desperate to enter into a system that has its roots in inequality I do not know. In the 1960s and ’70s, feminists blew open this myth that marriage was a great institution and kept families and communities together, because we saw that it was about old fashioned property ownership; we saw women rushing to the domestic violence refuges, and also talking about their children being sexually abused; about their unhappiness about the extra-marital affairs, et cetera, et cetera.’ She later talked of marriage as a ‘heterosexual mistake’ and continued; ‘Now that we can, let’s start fighting to abolish marriage and give civil partnerships to everybody, including heterosexuals.’ Although quite a few in the audience applauded, I was confused. It seems to me that Ms Bindel wants gay people to have the right to be married, but once that right is won, she would like to see marriage abolished.

Ms Bindel’s words reminded me of parts of the the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto (1978) which describes a family as consisting of ‘the man in charge, a slave as his wife, and their children on whom they force themselves as the ideal models.’ This document later says; ‘… we are not in fact being idealistic to aim at abolishing the family and the cultural distinctions between men and women. True, these have been with us throughout history, yet humanity is at last in a position where we can progress beyond this.’

For me (and millions of Christians world-wide) such ideas seem – to put it mildly – misguided. It is not the institution of marriage which is at fault (though heaven knows, there are unhappy marriages), but the sinfulness of human beings. Does Ms Bindel really believe that if marriage were to cease, cruelty to women and children (and homosexuals) would end? Has she not noticed that far fewer people today get married than used to, yet stories of unfaithfulness, violence, bullying and cruelty continue to fill our newspapers? And conversely, is she not aware that millions now and throughout our history have lived happy, fulfilled lives in loving family relationships?

When I feel that I’m being accused of homophobia and bigotry, I can feel quite depressed and distressed; and such pronouncements from the media seem to increase by the week. Ms Bindel’s accusations had the same effect on me, and no doubt, millions of others who uphold traditional marriage, love their families and feel no particular hatred towards anyone. Will she care about causing any such feelings? Of course not. We’re the bigots, not her!


Lorrie said...

There's that double standard again. These folks always consider themselves broad minded and intellectual. In truth they are deceived in their narcissistic pride. Sad really. Nevertheless, what does it say for society when because of it's relativity and political correctness these folks are applauded? It's like a mad co-dependency. Without a moral foundation society is sunk and at the mercy of dark chaotic wieldings instead of God's loving rod and staff.

Blessings to you. Nice to have a post from you in my reader :-)

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me that Ms Bindel wants gay people to have the right to be married, but once that right is won, she would like to see marriage abolished."

It's obvious that she wants to see legal recognition of marriage abolished, but if that isn't going to happen, she would prefer for it to be open to gay and lesbian people too (though presumably not bi and trans people, as Bindel is well-known for her irrational hatred of those two groups of people, and so isn't exactly the most popular gay rights activist). Kind of like how many homophobes would like to have no legal recognition of same-sex relationships at all, but if that isn't possible, they will settle for them being given some kind of insulting "separate-but-equal" status instead of marriage. It really isn't hard to understand - sometimes if people can't get exactly what they want, they will settle for a compromise. Maybe not religious fundamentalists, but normal people often do this.

"When I feel that I’m being accused of homophobia and bigotry, I can feel quite depressed and distressed"

Now imagine how you would have felt if you had grown up being told you are sinful, evil and disgusting just for existing. And not just by obscure campaigners on the radio, but by respected political and religious leaders, "family", and "friends". I would have killed to only feel "depressed and distressed" throughout my teenage years, as opposed to self-loathing, paranoid, and suicidal. Besides, you can stop opposing LGBT equality if you don't want to be called names - I can't stop being gay (believe me, I tried really hard). So no, I don't care about your feelings.

Unknown said...

Hello 'Anonymous' and thanks for your comment. I'd no idea that Ms Bindel had an irrational hatred for the groups you mention. She's dropped even lower in my estimation!

I can't imagine why anyone would talk to you in the appalling way you describe - calling you evil and disgusting etc. I'm really sorry you've had such experiences in your life. I spent most of my (senior) school days being abused, verbally and physically. I was talented musically and hopeless at sport (especially football); a fatal combination in a rough secondary school in the 1960s. I was called 'opera boy' and kicked and beaten mercilessly till I used to weep at night (even up to being 14 years old) from the sheer terror of having to go back the next day. And so in my own way, I can understand just a little of what you must have experienced.

But the fact that such wickedness goes on does not mean we should suddenly start redefining things which have been understood in certain ways for many centuries. The arguments for 'traditional' marriage are so many that I can't even begin to go into them here. All I know is that my common sense and the teaching of the New Testament tells me that the definition of marriage as it has been understood for millennia is the way it should stay. I can't change my views at the drop of a hat, any more than you can change your own sexual feelings (though I know you might find that difficult to understand or accept).

I don't expect you to care about my feelings; having heard something of your personal experience, your attitude is not surprising. But I still don't understand why someone like Ms Bindel should be allowed to trade such insults on prime-time BBC Radio. I am certainly not a homophobic bigot, and it seems to me that such cheap insults are no better than the ones used against homosexuals not that many years ago.

God bless you