Follow Me On
The Woman in White Marble

{Click Marble or visit Books in the main menu}

Dis-Ease: Living with Prostate Cancer

{Click or visit Books in the main menu}

« Gazing at Windows | Main | Pantomime Politics »

Get Over it!

For the month of April Stonewall is running a London bus campaign with the slogan “Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!” The campaign links to Stonewall's equal marriage campaign website, and it’s good seeing the buses proudly telling people they should “Get Over It!”

It does make me wistful, however. What would it be like to be a part of an organisation that can say what it believes without having to appease or apologise to those that disagree with its declaration? Imagine going into the struggle without having to deal with attacks from members of your own organisation. Imagine being able to actually say what you want to say. Amazing!

I don’t think Stonewall’s aim is to offend people, but if people are offended by its stance on justice for gay men and lesbians, then so be it. Justice has never been won without offending someone. If there were no one who would be offended then there probably would be no need for justice in the first place. Imagine not having to sooth the offended bigots in your own organisation before being allowed to speak. Or imagine not having to shut up completely because the first call of duty is not the struggle for liberation, but rather is to avoid offence. Amazing!

I wonder what it’s like to actually have as your first priority the liberation of people rather than the maintenance of peace and unity in your organisation. People first. The maintenance of your organisation second. Imagine that. Amazing!

Perhaps I spent too much time in the church. I’m glad I’m retired, though don’t tell anyone I’m glad about that. It might offend someone.

I rather boldly put this on Facebook the other day, reflecting on the Stonewall bus campaign, I said:  

If the URC had a bus campaign – I know, I know, we would never do such a thing, God forbid! – but if in some fantasy never-never-land the URC did, we could say: “Some People Are URC. Don’t Tell Anyone!” Or, if we wanted to get really controversial – again, I know, we would never do that either, double God forbid! – we could say: “Some URC People Are Gay. Don’t Tell Anyone!” Oh, goodness. That was silly of me. Peace and Unity.

I say “boldly” because I assumed I would get in trouble for disturbing the peace and unity of the URC, which stands for the United Reformed Church. I was told once in a meeting that I could not use the word “inclusive” because it went against the peace and unity of the URC. Amazing! No one protested, I assumed not because everyone agreed, but because no one dared offend the speaker. The fact that I was offended seemed unimportant. You see, this mainly mainline to liberal body is now wagged by a minority of its evangelical/fundamentalist minority tail.

To be fair it is wrong to single out the URC. In many ways it is probably the most liberal of the churches in Great Britain with regards to gay rights - with the significant exception of the Quakers. While all the other churches have policies of faith-based discrimination against gay people, the URC doesn’t have a policy of discrimination or of inclusion. I know. Not very impressive, but it’s a lot better than the rest. Still, even in my somewhat progressive church, we care more about our peace and unity then justice. It’s not that we don’t care about justice. It’s just that justice can wait until we’re all feeling good about everything and feeling that all together - no one offended, no bruised spirits, just all of us comfortable and happy. Of course, our peace and unity is illusionary. It depends on people like me keeping our mouths shut, and even more so,  it depends on our gay friends, members, elders, ministers and church leaders remaining in the closet. I actually believe that the large majority of people in the URC would want fairness for all, no matter who they are. But, fairness is less important right now than avoiding offence.

So there you are. We’ll leave it to organisations like Stonewall and the government to move the cause of gay rights and secular values forward. The Labour government before it and the coalition government now have fought and continue the struggle  for gay rights while the churches fights such efforts with all their might. The Church is never simply satisfied to be able to practice faith-based discrimination against the people it chooses without legal consequences. No, it wants everyone to practice discrimination against the people the church chooses. I’m glad to see Stonewall cares less for offending those who discriminate, whether religious or secular, and more for justice. Good for them.

Copyright © 2012 Dale Rominger

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>