George Carey used to be the Archbishop of Canterbury (the leader of the Anglican Church worldwide). He is still entitled (along with a few dozen other Anglican Bishops) to sit in the House of Lords and influence UK legislation by virtue of his Christianity. His religion is enshrined in our education system (alas, we have no separation of church and state here in UK) and is headed by the monarch, also known as the ‘defender of the faith’.
It’s interesting then that such a bloke could consider himself to be part of a marginalised and persecuted group of UK citizens. Yet that is precisely what he claims.
A long-standing opponent of equal rights and equal marriage Carey seems to interpret the state’s support of human rights for LGBT citizens as a direct attack on Christianity. It’s really difficult to see where this idea springs from, especially since (according to scripture) Jesus himself had precisely nothing to say on the subject.
Not to be deterred though, dear old George has taken it upon himself to berate modern UK on behalf of a downtrodden and persecuted group of Christians. These Christians, it seems, are regularly beaten, driven from their homes, murdered, denied employment and incarcerated. Oh no – hang on – that’s North Korea. Persecution of Christians in UK is a little different.
Here we vilify Christians by teaching their religions in state schools. UK citizens regularly persecute Christians by granting them law-making status and making their holy days public celebrations. Brits torture and ostracise Christians by screening their religious programmes on TV with astounding monotony.
We don’t allow Christian nurses to flaunt infection control protocols by wearing dangly crosses that could jeopardise the lives of hospital patients. We don’t allow Christian bed and breakfast owners to humiliate and expel paying guests because they disagree with those guests’ sexuality and we tend to take a dim view when local councillors try to impose Christian prayer on non-believers.
We also let non-Christian citizens express their opinions and follow non-Christian lifestyles without harassment from the state.
Perhaps that’s Lord Carey’s real problem with UK’s attitude to Christianity. We won’t let bigots such as him persecute others for their non-belief in the irrational creation myths of a few bronze age nomads. Nor do we insist upon acceptance of a few metaphorical parables plagiarised by a 1st century Jewish rebel from the oral traditions of various, much older societies.
And we don’t persecute gay men and women for being different. We also take a very dim view when out of touch clergymen like the former Archbishop misuse their platform of public attention to incite division with their deceitful claims of persecution and victimisation. This aggressive sophistry (inciting discrimination whilst claiming victimhood) is typically passive-aggressive and has come to characterise Carey’s approach to his particular brand of oppression. He has long been an opposer of minority rights and as such seems about as far removed from modern, British interpretations of Christianity as it is possible to be. Fortunately most UK Christians seem far less inclined to attack the rights of their fellow citizens. Our society is evolving beyond the bigotry of the past and the Anglican church, although lagging a little behind the majority, seems to be evolving with it. With the exception of a few dinosaurs like Carey, of course.
So – as one straight Brit to another let me say to George Carey –
“Get over yourself – what gay citizens choose to do in the privacy of their own bedrooms has nothing to do with either of us.”