Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The anger of religionist conservatives

There are various ways that one can make a point. Sometimes, it takes a lot of work, making sure that you get everything right, that you dot the i's and cross the t's.

Other times, your opponents make it easy for you.

Take the arguments about gay equality. The reliance of opponents on essentially falling back on 'yuk-factor' arguments which were so blatantly homophobic those in the middle didn't want to be associated with them was a great boon to those working for equality.

We see much the same happening in the CofE. Basically, the conservatives are getting so ridiculously angry that they fail to see where they are falling into traps, or where their oft-heard cries that they really don't hate gays at all are belied by the sheer fury and nastiness of their pet blogs. The sheer loathing and personal nastiness they display to Bishop Gene Robinson is an example ( have a look at Stand Firm website for examples)

The problem they have is that they don't see how Gene comes over to those not involved. He is great on the media. Like ot loathe what he has to say, he has the common touch, and he comes over as warm and folksy as the good ol' Southern boy he is. And whilst he does this, his opponents get angrier and angrier. They just don't see how the average CofE parishioner isn't impressed with hecklers disturbing a church service - whether that be Peter Tatchell or some unnamed fundamentalist.

Then you have silliness such as trying to find out whether Gene Robinson is to celebrate the Eucharist whilst in the UK. Its obvious that no group is going to respond to an inquisitory email by a known opponent of gay equality who has set himself up as a professional anti-gay campaigner online (amusingly, one who started off ranting about how he preached without permission whereas he is not prevented from preaching - which has now been acknowledged). Yet this same person kept digging - and digging. And just doesn't see how he comes over and how the axe he has to grind is crowding out the issues and making him, and only him, look daft.

OK, we have our goons too - those who won't accept sensible compromises ( who really cares what CP's are called when they give you all the rights of civil marriage and when everyone calls it marriage anyway?), those who pursue agendas which don't have wider support (reduction of the general age of consent - I don't support that, I don't think any of the sensible groups do) - and those who manage to lose tribunals by their sheer ineptitude and failure to carry out basic procedures and treat everyone fairly.

But I think that sometimes, we end up winning arguments largely because of the inability of our opponents to argue cogently and because, quite simply, they are too furiously angry to appreciate their image to those who have no strong feelings.

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