That stern warning was issued by Matthew Parris, the guiding light of The Times.
Apparently, during the recent Lambeth Conference the Archbishop of Canterbury failed to issue a carte blanche to “the celebration of same-sex unions”, limiting himself instead to protestations of “sympathy, ‘compassion’, ‘listening’, ‘understanding’, emphasising how God loves you despite everything. Jesus did not stare at his shoes and tell people how he empathised.”
Though a self-acknowledged atheist, Mr Parris then shows familiarity with Scripture by reminding us that, rather than limiting himself to wishy-washy pronouncements, Jesus drove money-changers out of the Temple.
True. But I don’t think his problem with the usurers was that they didn’t let homosexuals marry.
One has to infer that, should the Second Coming happen today, Jesus would act in the same decisive spirit and force the recalcitrant archbishop to start pronouncing newlyweds man and man. I must admit the logic escapes me.
Jesus acted in such an aggressive fashion to enforce scriptural rectitude that he felt was being debauched by the brisk trade going on in the Temple. Yet the same scripture unequivocally refers to homosexuality as “abomination”.
St Paul then repeated the term in his Epistle to the Romans. And, though he had never met Jesus in the flesh, none of the men who had, including the four Evangelists, took exception to Paul’s intransigence.
That means that, for once, Archbishop Welby was doctrinally sound. He refused to countenance the ritual blessing of a practice explicitly and emphatically proscribed in both Testaments.
That, warns Mr Parris, “is an insult to the whole of England”. He then tugs at our heart strings by telling an anecdote for us to understand the egregious depth of that insult.
A young vicar at a church in west London, whom Mr Parris euphemistically calls a friend, concluded his homily with “a short prayer for those who had fought bravely for acceptance in the face of persecution”.
“To my friend’s surprise, some people among the congregation started crying. His prayer had broken open wounds. The church they loved had inflicted this hurt.”
I know quite a few homosexuals and used to sit on the same Anglican pews with them. Yet I’ve never seen one burst into tears because the Church doesn’t bless homomarriage.
I wonder where Mr Parris got his mandate to speak for large groups of people, be that “the whole of England”, all homosexuals or even residents of west London. That’s where I happen to live, and I’ve never seen crowds of weeping and self-flagellating people agonising about having no access to the altar.
To his credit, Mr Parris makes no pretence of disinterested objectivity. “We gays are done with all that ‘feeling your pain’ business. We feel no pain about being gay. We do feel pain about Welby’s evasion… There is nothing more to explain, nothing to discuss, nothing to ‘understand’ and no need for sympathy. Simple respect is what’s missing from the Church.”
There is respect aplenty, but that’s not what Mr Parris is demanding. He wants the Church to prostitute Christian doctrine for the noble purpose of indulging a small vociferous minority of politicised homosexuals like him.
And it must do it on pain of extinction. “The C of E is our established church, a national institution, and if it wants to remain so it must allow the rest of us an interest in how it engages with our wider society.”
I wonder if Archbishop Welby gets the message. I certainly do: unless he starts “celebrating same-sex unions”, Mr Parris will personally disestablish the Church of England. Seldom does one read, even in our neo-barbaric time, such ignorant, arrogant, unadulterated bilge.
The C of E is indeed a national institution, one of several. But it’s different from, say, the monarchy, parliament, the Old Bailey, the National Trust and David Beckham.
Unlike them, it engages with “our wider society” on a different, transcendent level. The Church serves a kingdom that is not of this world and, whenever it attempts to serve any other, it compromises its mission. For, in the eternal hierarchy of pecking orders, the kingdom it serves is higher than this world – and infinitely higher than “our wider society”.
Mr Parris self-admittedly has no use for Jesus’s love. Yet if he did, he’d want Jesus to love him not despite his sexual aberration, but because of it. That notion is so preposterous that even he must be aware of it.
Anyway, that’s not what he is after. Homosexual activists want to bend the Church to their will not because they need to be married at the altar but because they need to grab more power, to impose their views not just on “our wider society” (they’ve already done that), but on the bride of Christ.
Like other radicalised minorities, they crave total, which is to say totalitarian, power. And, unable to get all they want by frontal assault (no pun intended), they resort to guerrilla action. The more institutions they undermine, the less will “our wider society” be able to resist their powerlust.
It’s only against this backdrop that one can grasp the meaning of Mr Parris’s article. Otherwise one would have to conclude that The Times’s star columnist is off his rocker.