Sticks, stones and names. Ouch!

Dear George Leonard Carey, Baron Carey of Clifton PC FRSA FKC and former Archbishop of Canterbury,

Today at a “mass rally” in Birmingham, as part of a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in opposition to equal marriage, you reminded us all so presciently of the difficulties faced day-in, day-out in Britain by those who are Christian and who oppose equal marriage.  I knew it was tough for you, these days, to hold onto what some might call outdated, or even hurtful, beliefs (especially when we live in a country in which 70% of kind, caring and loving people think that gay couples should be allowed to marry) but I had no idea the situation for you anti-gays was as bad as you outlined it to be today.

I did not realise that the name-calling was getting all of you down so much.  It really isn’t big or clever to call people names, because, as we all know, words can be just as powerful as actions when it comes to damaging the psychological health of vulnerable people.  Nobody should be going around saying that all Christians are bigots, because that’s simply not true.  Of course, those Christians who believe, based on their religious conviction, that same-sex marriage is wrong and who attempt to legislate that religious conviction into law most certainly are bigots, but, then, I think that’s obvious to everyone, isn’t it?

In your speech today you alluded to the little-known, and terribly shocking fact that being a Christian who opposes equal marriage in Britain today is like being a Jew in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.  I am ashamed to say I had never considered that this might be the case and had not realised that things were so bad for you.  I had no idea that the State was making plans to persecute you; to force you to wear badges announcing that you’re anti-equal marriage; to seize your assets; to bar you from schools and universities; to close your shops, factories and churches; to limit your travel; and to send you to prison camps.  How could this have escaped my attention?!  It’s remiss of me, to say the least, not to have noticed any of this.  But, as you quite rightly point out as you cheerfully compare the ‘plight’ of several thousand closed-minded Christians with the horrific destruction of the lives of millions of Jews, it all starts with name-calling.  What a slippery slope, eh?  Thank you so much for giving me a heads up on this one.

In your speech you also alluded to the terrible dilemma that would be faced by teachers who, if equal marriage was legalised, might be thrown out of their jobs if they refused to teach that gay people have just as much of a right to marry as straight people.  Shocking.  What is the world coming to when a bigoted teacher isn’t allowed to damage the lives of the several gay children in his/her school by teaching them that they are second-class citizens?  It’s government intervention gone mad!  If teachers don’t want to teach tolerance, respect and love for all, why should they have to?  After all, the Church of England certainly doesn’t.

Well, I’d better wrap this up here.  I just wanted you to know that I had no idea things had become so difficult for you, and to let you know that I am thinking of you.  Don’t let the names thing get you down.  One of the hurtful names I used to get called a lot, in my Christian days, was “sinner”, but I soon realised that I wasn’t a sinner and I got over it.  I’m not sure you’ll be able to get over the “bigot” moniker quite so easily, as you do actually seem to fit all of the criteria, but, hey, try not to let it get you down anyway.