Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Blogger who's a "little bit homophobic" bores on with his petty prejudices

(Please see the PS/ at the end)

God! I thought I had got over this fellow's witterings.

Yesterday he wades into the debate about a gay Church of Scotland minister who is suffering some opposition to him taking up his new appointment in Aberdeen and comes up with this nonsense:


"As far as I am aware, within most religious circles it is (to put it mildly) frowned upon to be gay. A dead homosexual approaching St Peter at the gates of heaven will have his or her angel wings on a very shoogly peg, or so the apparent religious teachings would have us believe, Church of Scotland included.

"So if religion is inflexible in its intolerance of homosexuality, why should it be any more flexible in its intolerance of homosexual clergymen?

"Centuries old religion isn't the kind of thing you get involved with to try to change from within like your local Rotary Society. If you don't like the rules, join a different club.

"I'm with the conservative religious zealots on this one, and that's saying something!"

- actually, it's not saying anything we didn't already know - that he's highly prejudiced on this topic. As for the sentence "If you don't like the rules, join a different club.", if this idiotic statement was to be taken seriously, and applied, then folks like him wouldn't be supporting a fundamental change in our 'club' (aka 'The United Kingdom') by supporting the SNP aim of independence, they'd be going somewhere else and setting up their own 'club', just like the Pilgrim Fathers (also religious obsessives, of course) did some centuries ago. Again by this idiotic argument we'd still have slavery today - it's like something out of the script of Pleasantville where the burghers of that fine town believed in the 'non-changeist view of society'. Now I don't share the views of SNP supporters, that's no secret, but I don't dismiss their [to me 'crackpot'] ideas by telling them to cease and desist and go someplace else, just because I happen to disagree with them.

He told us last year he's a teensy-weensy bit 'homophobic' - I'd say it's rather [a lot] more than that. See the follow-up post to that one, too. And as usual with this person, when challenged by a commenter, he quickly admits how half-baked are his arguments (and not just on 'gay issues', but a whole lot more besides) and how IGNORANT he is - and he sure is! It truly astonishes me how much he is respected as a blogger. He tells us he is an accountant and prides himself on his statistical prowess, which he uses to try and forecast electoral outcomes - fair enough, good show ol' bean. However on a lot of matters where opinions and half-decently thought-through ideas are concerned, well I'm afraid he's basically a modern-day version of Alf Garnett, but this time with tartan trews. I hadn't been aware of his religion until recently, but he revealed here that he is in fact a Roman Catholic - this may help to explain some of his core beliefs, I suppose. Granted he is open about some of his prejudices and for that I applaud him [no, really], but that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore his basic prejudices when evaluating his seemingly oh-so-rational arguments.

I was brought up in the Church of Scotland, as it so happens, although I have a pretty mixed family background in religious terms, but I realised I did not believe in 'sky fairies' a long time ago. Quite apart from the fact I'm a gay man, I also sometimes wear clothing made of two different types of thread and do love a plate of oysters - watch this if you wonder why all this is relevant. If a religious organisation wants to proselytise any sort of weird idea, fair enough, provided they keep out of matters affecting an individual's rights in civil society, such as in this case employment matters or other fundamental rights; the Church of Scotland is very anxious to retain its charitable status (which inevitably affects me as a tax-payer) so I think, quite frankly, they should consider very carefully how they deal with employment matters. Why should it get a free ride if it allows prejudiced employment practices in its own organisation?

Now, should I press the 'publish' button on this ad hominem diatribe I've just written? Probably not, but I've had just about enough of pig-ignorance masquerading as sweet reason from this guy, so I'm letting my baser instincts have the say on this. No doubt I'll be back for more in due course, unfortunately, the next time something he writes causes a 'jaw-drop' reaction on the part of this particular reader.

PS/ (added 7 June 2009) As a belated postscript, a commenter has said this about me:

"You are seriously hard work!"

- I don't deny it, and frankly in the case of not-so-subtle homophobes such as the subject of this article, and his apologists, being 'awkward' and 'hard work' is a positive necessity! To be clear, I regret not one word of what I have written here and I think my interpretation of the comments is absolutely 'spot on'. And this is my blog so I am totally unapologetic about having the last word here on this matter as the comments are now beyond the period when all require my prior approval before appearing.

12 comments:

  1. Bill,
    I've posted in disagreement with Jeff's standpoint, but when an organisation (e.g The Church) is one set by it's beliefs, you can't really argue against what they're saying or doing. You can disagree, for sure, but the upper echelons of the Church set the rules for the organisation, it's their club.

    While I disagree with not allowing gay men to preach, it's an organisation based upon the teachings of a book written thousands of years ago, and asking them to change what they believe or interpret(and in turn, condone) is like 60 years ago someone telling you to stop being gay because it's 'just not right'.

    And your comment about Roman Catholics? Don't tarnish people with one big brush, I remember the days when homosexuals received such treatment and we know from those times, it's "just not right".

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  2. I don't, for the record, disagree with them preaching whatever they want (provided it's within the law, of course), I do object when my taxes help to fund them (or their exemption from tax under charity rules). I also object to the church's position within our theoretically 'secular' constitution.

    What comment about Roman Catholics? I don't really follow what you're saying here.

    Freedom of speech cuts both ways; people should be free to say whatever they want, within the law, and that includes me. I don't have the right not to be offended, nor does anyone else, provided legal limits are observed.

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  3. Well, I know non-smokers who don't believe they should pay for the treatment of smoking-related illness. I personally don't believe we should be subsidising IVF treatment when there are kids out there in need of homes. But tough sh*t, we live in a democracy and our taxes pay for a variety of things and tax breaks count towards that, even if we don't agree with it all. The Government decides what is worthy of tax breaks, and we cannot argue with democracy.

    The comment you made about Roman Catholics was "he is in fact a Roman Catholic - this may help to explain some of his core beliefs". I take huge offense at this statement. What I'm saying is that purely because he is Roman Catholic, you are implying that this automatically makes him homophobic because the RC Church's view has long been viewed to be the most anti-gay. In turn, you are implying that all Roman Catholics hold this view, and I can strongly insist upon you that this is not the case and am agog that you can make such a bold statement. That is the sort of 'closed and shut' thinking that makes people say muslim = terrorist.

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  4. The Government decides what is worthy of tax breaks, and we cannot argue with democracy.Sorry to be pedantic, but in fact actually it is the Charity Commissioners, acting under legislation passed by Parliament. Not even in the UK is it yet the case that government decides, without even having the pretence of rubber-stamp approval from Parliament. As for arguing with democracy I take your point, but if one followed Jeff's criteria one would simply have to accept the status quo and no law could ever be subject to revision. Charitable status is not an automatic right for a church or any other kind of charity, it is based on regular assessments of whether institutions [continue to] meet the relevant criteria which justifies the granting of that charitable status; that is what the link to the CoS website that I included in my article referred to.

    The comment you made about Roman Catholics was "he is in fact a Roman Catholic - this may help to explain some of his core beliefs". I take huge offense at this statement. What I'm saying is that purely because he is Roman Catholic, you are implying that this automatically makes him homophobic because the RC Church's view has long been viewed to be the most anti-gay. In turn, you are implying that all Roman Catholics hold this view, and I can strongly insist upon you that this is not the case and am agog that you can make such a bold statement.I'm equally agog that you should take offence. I have not stated, or implied, that being a Roman Catholic necessarily implies that a person holds 'homophobic' views. It is however the stated policy of the Roman Catholic Church that 'homosexuality is wrong' and it is a fact that Jeff has stated he holds certain views and has further stated that he is a Roman Catholic and his views may be at least partly explainable by the religious faith he professes to follow. That is ALL that I have observed, nothing more; if you choose to be offended by that, then I am sorry, but I can do nothing about that. I know that many Roman Catholics are in fact quite 'liberal' in their views on social matters - for example I know that many Roman Catholics quietly ignore the teachings of the Church on birth control and/or abortion. Further, a long dead uncle lived for over 35 years with his long-term boyfriend and both were devout Roman Catholics who played a big lay role in their local church (in one of the smarter parts of London, for your information), no doubt the local church hierarchy choosing to 'turn a blind eye' to their situation because their commitment to the church and to each other demonstrated they were 'good people'; their relationship long pre-dated the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales in 1967 so it was I suppose very risky for them personally and possibly dangerous for their Church too, given the climate of fear (and the risk of blackmail) that existed then.

    Finally, and no matter how much you may dislike it, outsiders can hardly be criticised for drawing certain conclusions about those who profess to be Roman Catholics, based on what is known about the Church's official teachings and policies on social matters, as well as observing how the Church behaves in practice (I refer here specifically, for the avoidance of any doubt, to the scandalous covering-up by the Church over many years/decades and in many countries of priestly paedophilia, until it was forced to comply with the law in the United States in particular and suffered huge financial penalties, quite rightly, for having failed to do so before). I'm afraid I take a pretty old-fashioned attitude to some things - I tend to judge people by the company they keep, even if all of their own personal behaviour and belief systems are not entirely orthodox in relation to others in that cohort.

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  5. Here's an idea. You don't like what he writes, don't read it.

    I drink with Jeff a lot and he's a thoroughly decent, thoughtful and considerate guy. Which I expect if you took the time to chat to him, you'd discover also.

    Maybe next time your back in Scotland it might be an idea to have a meet up and chat?

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  6. Hi Malc

    Thanks for your comments.

    1) If I choose to read and comment on the bigoted nonsense that Jeff writes on occasion I'll do so and attempts to get me 'to cease and desist' because he's a drinking buddy of yours whom you happen (it would appear) to like, then please let me inform you that they are unlikely to succeed;

    2) I write what I please in my own little blog, just as you do in your own (and Jeff does in his); it's called 'free speech', which in the case of my little blog is respected provided it complies with the 'Terms of Use' I have put in place and which may be read by clicking on the link near the top right of my blog page or by clicking on this link - http://www.billcameron.net/blog/content/othercontent/Coprht1.html#Te ;

    3) I think what I have written is fair comment and I stand by every word of it;

    4) I shall in fact be back in the UK tomorrow (and Scotland the following day), but as I am sure you are aware I do not live in Edinburgh so opportunities to "have a meet up and chat" are unfortunately unlikely to occur at all frequently as I do not visit Edinburgh very often, but if I do plan a visit there sometime I will bear your suggestion in mind (however, the last time I tried to set up such a meeting a couple of years ago during a short visit to Edinburgh only one of those then blogging was available it seemed); similarly if you, Jeff or any other 'central belt' blogger is up in the Inverness/Nairn area, perhaps a meet could take place there. As the BT ad used to say "it's good to talk".

    Thanks again for commenting.

    Bill

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  7. Like I said, it was an idea. Feel free to ignore either or both of my suggestions (which, as a grown man, I'm sure you feel able to do without my direction!).

    The point I made about reading it is valid. If you are going to get offended by everything you read on a blog (and respond to it) then you probably won't have much time left in your day. Why did Jeff get the special treatment? Because you read it?Don't get me wrong, I'm fine (delighted) with free speech. It's why blogging works. Just felt your post was a bit of an over-reaction to Jeff's.

    Also, I'm pretty sure I never told you not to attack the guy on the basis that I drink with him. That's taking what I said (that I drink with him and he's a decent guy) and implying something else (that you shouldn't debate with him). Which is just wrong.

    Anyway, my folks live up north (Keith) and if I'm ever up there, I might give you a shout. Certainly could be an interesting meet!

    Best,
    Malc

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  8. ... Feel free to ignore either or both of my suggestions (which, as a grown man, I'm sure you feel able to do without my direction!).

    The point I made about reading it is valid. If you are going to get offended by everything you read on a blog (and respond to it) then you probably won't have much time left in your day. Why did Jeff get the special treatment? Because you read it?Don't get me wrong, I'm fine (delighted) with free speech. It's why blogging works. Just felt your post was a bit of an over-reaction to Jeff's.What to say here.
    I really DON'T feel the need to justify what I write in my little blog, so I was tempted to ignore completely this seemingly pointless addendum to your earlier comment, except that you obviously felt a burning desire to say something more, so frustrated you seem to be that I am so obsessed/stupid/dumb not to 'get' what you are trying to say. Suffice to say I 'get' it (and 'got' it yonks ago). I simply don't share your viewpoint, period. I'll bore on about this for as long as I feel the need (which is probably as long as there is breath in my body) - homophobia, pure and simle, that is - my blog has been in existence for a little over 7 years now and I've seen blogs come and go and if you care to read some of my earliest posts in this blog (http://billcameron.blogspot.com/2002_04_01_billcameron_archive.html) and the comment areas of my main website which preceded it by a few years (http://billcameron.net/cmar2000/comment2000Arch.html), you'll perhaps understand that I have 'staying power' on this topic, if nothing else. I'll be around for a few years yet, not shy of nailing twerps like Jeff when the need arises. Candidly speaking.

    Now to end on a note of sweetness and light, which believe it or not is my 'default' emotional state (no, really), if you find a moment during one of your visits up north to the Keith area, a meeting would certainly be interesting and intellectually stimulating; I've enjoyed reading your blog since I became aware of it a while ago so would certainly enjoy the opportunity either 'up north' or in 'auld Reekie'.

    Kind regards
    Bill

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  9. PS/ Just to be clear, I noticed a post in Jeff's blog, soon after he wrote it, a few days after my blog entry:
    http://snptacticalvoting.blogspot.com/2009/05/convention-politics.html
    - which linked elliptically to this blog post. I note that you were yourself the first commenter to that post, so whether you actually became aware of my blog post then or only as a result of the more recent Scottish Blogging Roundup(*) post or not I cannot say. Suffice to say I chose to ignore that particular example of Jeff's perspicacity, as indeed I do with most of his writings; I must consider my own blood pressure, not to mention my own 'up chuck' reflexes. He remarked in that blog entry "That may make some people have an even lower opinion of me" - frankly that is only marginally possible. Need I really say more?

    (*) - Although I am aware of various references to my blog elsewhere, I almost never refer to them and never comment upon them.

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  10. So you got what I meant the first time. Apologies. And if you don't share my view, that's fine too.

    My comment was simply meant to challenge your view of Jeff - which I believe you have wrongly formulated on the basis of (what you suggest is) the few posts of his that you have read.

    Disagreement and debate breeds better ideas; shying away from discussion only ignorance (hence, in my view, the rise of the BNP). It was for this reason that I was suggesting a discussion with Jeff on the issue. But you seem to have made up your mind about him.

    Anyway, glad we cleared that up. Hopefully we can organise something if either of us are ever where the other is!

    Best,
    Malc

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  11. And if you don't share my view, that's fine too.

    So glad you agree it's 'fine' for me to hold views other than those you hold. I'm sure you didn't mean that sentence and the rest of that paragraph to come across as patronising as it seems.

    My comment was simply meant to challenge your view of Jeff - which I believe you have wrongly formulated on the basis of (what you suggest is) the few posts of his that you have read.

    I think I got that rather obvious point already. Whilst I may not have changed my view of jeff at this stage, it is certainly clear to me (not that I was ever in any doubt about it) that others hold different views about him. Just as, I expect, people hold varying views about me and you. I note, in passing, that I have read practically every blog article Jeff has written (and many if not all of the comments) in his present blog, since before he returned to the UK from Australia. This is no particular obsession on my part relating to Jeff's blog, I could say the same for very many of the blogs in my RSS feed reader (which are much more numerous than those in my public blogroll) - I don't comment particularly often in other people's blogs, but I do read a great variety of blogs and indeed have always tried to blogroll and to keep up with blogs
    covering a very wide spectrum of opinion, whether I happen to agree with what they write or not. It would be a very boring existence if I only read blogs that always agree with me; yes disagreement is good for debating ideas - which rather neatly 'segues' into what you wrote next ;)

    Disagreement and debate breeds better ideas; shying away from discussion only ignorance (hence, in my view, the rise of the BNP). It was for this reason that I was suggesting a discussion with Jeff on the issue. But you seem to have made up your mind about him.

    Sor far the name of that organiisation has not been mentioned in these comments (and it certainly wasn't in my original article). Why bring it up now? As for your final sentence, we all have views about many things, some fixed, some less so - no doubt if one day I was to meet up with Jeff and have an opportunity to exchange ideas with him (which I would welcome, by the way) I might modify my present opinion of him somewhat. Meantime I'll continue to opine as I find, based on my only way of judging him - what he writes in his own blog.

    Anyway, glad we cleared that up.

    What have we cleared up exactly? Is there a touch of 'snideness' in that remark by any chance?

    Hopefully we can organise something if either of us are ever where the other is!

    I would certainly welcome a meeting sometime so that we can put faces and personalities to the sometimes rather artificial boxes that bloggers put each other in - and that possibly applies as much to your seeming view of me as you believe it does to my views on Jeff. Meantime, have a great week! :)

    Now I must do the final bit of clearing up I've got to do this morning at my house here in Spain (where I've been since med-February) before heading off mid-afternoon to the airport for my flight back to the lush Spring growth of the UK (fuelled by the copious rain I been seeing reports about in the weather reports) and a summer at home in Scotland.

    Until later then (probably a few days in my case until I get organised back home and continue to tackle some of the problems associated with helping to secure the future happiness and well-being of a frail and rather unwell aged parent).

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  12. You are seriously hard work!

    You read way too much into what was supposed to be an innocuous comment. I meant that it’s fine that we won’t ever agree.

    I mentioned the BNP as evidence for my line of thought. I swear it wasn’t intended as a reflection of the discussion we were having, it was merely an example of why I think debate is healthy for society.

    The “cleared up” comment – I thought I had cleared up why I’d commented on your piece… but apparently not. Snideness? Nope. Again, you read too much into it.

    Travel safely and have a great week too. Genuinely. With no hint of "snideness."

    And I think I’m done.

    Best,
    Malc

    Ps – I’ve read through this comment three times, and I can’t find anything that you might read the wrong way. Fingers crossed!

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