Thursday, July 26, 2012

Till Death Do Us Part

I wrote a letter to The Daily mail. I feel certain it will not be published; in fact I know it will not be published, but I gained some satisfaction in writing it. The only paper that prints my letters is The Athens News.

The Editor,
Daily Mail.
Re: Tom Utley’s column, Daily Mail July 6, 2012

I usually enjoy Tom Utley’s column, a man who talks a great deal of sense so, to put it mildly I was little disappointed to discover in Friday’s column that our Mister Utley is something of a homophobe. Now I know from previous columns that he had a religious upbringing but isn’t it time, as a highly intelligent adult, he put aside the blinkers and accepted that homosexuality is as much a part of nature as heterosexuality? He might never have experienced it in any shape or form himself but to write that it is “against the facts of life” is plainly ridiculous. What on earth are the facts of life? The facts of life are myriad, homosexuality itself, just like heterosexuality comes in many shapes and forms and, as Goethe said, ‘How can you call anything in nature unnatural?
Poor Mr. Utley, however would you be able to cope if you suddenly discovered that one of your four sons of whom you are evidently and quite rightly so proud, turned out ‘against the facts of life’ to be gay? How would you cope?

Yours sincerely,

Would he, I wonder, like the Brazilian MP say, ‘Rather a dead son than a gay one’?
Sad, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, whatever happened to ‘till death do us part?’  I suppose it was really always a no-no, except for the happy few who celebrate countless anniversaries before one or the other departs this vale of woe. The Bishop of London has said promiscuity, separation and divorce have reached epidemic proportions in Britain, and the extent of youth unemployment in Britain is "appalling."  What the one has to do with the other I really don’t know but there you are, the Bishop is obviously a very worried man. He says people should use the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to restore strained relationships but he doesn’t say just how that is to be achieved.
He said although people were better off in many ways than in 1952, material progress had come at the expense of equality and communal life. Better off? At the same time I read that in Britain a family of four needs £36800 a year to stay above the poverty line. Writing in a Bible Society pamphlet, the Bishop said relationships had become more strained, fragile and broken than people cared to recognize.
A spokesperson (note the PC will ya?) for The National Secular Society said having a choice to leave unsuccessful marriages was something to be welcomed.
But back to the Bish. ‘Literally millions of children grow up without knowing a stable, loving, secure family life - and that is not to count the hundreds of thousands more who don't even make it out of the womb each year,’ he said. So abortion now enters his argument so we have divorce, unemployment and abortion.
Terry Sanderson, of the National Secular Society, which aims to challenge religious privilege, said that ‘while Britain had problems, there was no “epidemic”- of immorality. That people now have the choice to escape from painful and unsuccessful marriages is something to welcome,’ he said. ‘It has not always been so, and women in particular have borne the brunt of sometimes brutal marriages from which they could not escape - mainly because the Church would not let them. How many cases of domestic violence are reported every year and how many more that aren’t? Like so many other clergymen, the bishop is trying to convince us that we are immoral because we have progressed in ways that he doesn't like. And that is probably why his church is so empty.’
Caroline Davey, from charity Gingerbread, which provides support for single parents, said “poverty and conflict” were the most powerful drivers of poor outcomes for children. ‘Modern British family life is made up of a range of different family types, all of whom need and deserve support - not criticism - as they bring up their children in these difficult economic times,’ she added. That is being as starry-eyed as the good old Bish considering how many people are incapable of bringing up children in the first place.
Dr Chartres presented the biblical understanding of a Jubilee as an opportunity to take a long view, and think about the kind of environment being bequeathed to following generations. He said it should include a move to living within our means. I wonder what the Bishop’s stipend amounts to and whether he would be willing to forego any of it to aid a charitable cause, or perhaps divert some of the church’s immense wealth for the same purpose. Somehow I doubt it. After all what is the church for but to keep the higher echelons of the clergy on the gravy train?

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