Are You a Homophobic Bigot?

I wonder how many readers of this blog heard last week’s Any Questions (BBC Radio 4, 8pm, Friday 8th Feb 2013). The panel for the evening included feminist Julie Bindel. Ms Bindel describes herself as a ‘radical feminist, not the fun kind but an out and out proud lesbian.’ As the topic of ‘gay marriage’ is hot in the news at the moment, I listened carefully to her comments. Ms Bindel began by saying that ‘those who are opposed to equal marriage are either ‘homophobic, bigoted or are on nodding terms with bigots’ and commented that being against gay marriage is ‘gross discrimination’.

After several such negative comments, she rather surprisingly went on to denigrate marriage, saying that she is ‘very critical of marriage and its patriarchal trappings.’ She went on; ‘Why lesbians and gay men are so desperate to enter into a system that has its roots in inequality I do not know. In the 1960s and ’70s, feminists blew open this myth that marriage was a great institution and kept families and communities together, because we saw that it was about old fashioned property ownership; we saw women rushing to the domestic violence refuges, and also talking about their children being sexually abused; about their unhappiness about the extra-marital affairs, et cetera, et cetera.’ She later talked of marriage as a ‘heterosexual mistake’ and continued; ‘Now that we can, let’s start fighting to abolish marriage and give civil partnerships to everybody, including heterosexuals.’ Although quite a few in the audience applauded, I was confused. It seems to me that Ms Bindel wants gay people to have the right to be married, but once that right is won, she would like to see marriage abolished.

Ms Bindel’s words reminded me of parts of the the Gay Liberation Front Manifesto (1978) which describes a family as consisting of ‘the man in charge, a slave as his wife, and their children on whom they force themselves as the ideal models.’ This document later says; ‘… we are not in fact being idealistic to aim at abolishing the family and the cultural distinctions between men and women. True, these have been with us throughout history, yet humanity is at last in a position where we can progress beyond this.’

For me (and millions of Christians world-wide) such ideas seem – to put it mildly – misguided. It is not the institution of marriage which is at fault (though heaven knows, there are unhappy marriages), but the sinfulness of human beings. Does Ms Bindel really believe that if marriage were to cease, cruelty to women and children (and homosexuals) would end? Has she not noticed that far fewer people today get married than used to, yet stories of unfaithfulness, violence, bullying and cruelty continue to fill our newspapers? And conversely, is she not aware that millions now and throughout our history have lived happy, fulfilled lives in loving family relationships?

When I feel that I’m being accused of homophobia and bigotry, I can feel quite depressed and distressed; and such pronouncements from the media seem to increase by the week. Ms Bindel’s accusations had the same effect on me, and no doubt, millions of others who uphold traditional marriage, love their families and feel no particular hatred towards anyone. Will she care about causing any such feelings? Of course not. We’re the bigots, not her!

  1. How can Ms Bindal speak of ‘gross discrimination’ after her sweeping comment on the supposed position in thought and attitude of all ‘who are apposed to equal marriage?’She has not supported her comment with any official data at this point.
    This sort of comment is obviously highly emotive with no basis for serious consideration. In the meanwhile,though understood, is not accepted by Ms Bindal, Christians uphold a divinely instituted marriage between man and woman, God’s gift and covenant in which He is glorified through the mystery of oneness and procreation. This is acted upon on the basis of the witness of ancient writings that have been acknowledged and canonized by as holy unto the Lord God of the Holy Bible.
    Some scholars who engage with politics such as Ronald J. Sider, advocate a ceremony that might acknowledge the desires of homosexuals who wish to cohabit, thus keeping the divine institution/covenant for the purpose for which it was ordained. However, for others, this would be a considerable step toward compromising God’s clear instruction.

  2. Hi there Chris,
    I’ve now managed to obtain a password for the School Blog 😛 .
    There is a registered company in Sotland who are called Scotland for Marriage, who are campaigning that marriage is maintained as a traditional institution. Scotland for Marriage don’t tend to approach the issue from a theological perspective, however, they do have some interesting statistcs. With these statistics they claim:
    In Spain, after gay marriage was introduced, the marriage rates aross the country plummeted.
    Within the UK, just 4 in 10 members of the gay community prioritise same sex marriage, with only 25% of the gay community stating that they would actually enter marriage.
    Most people in Scotland (64%) opposed any plans to legislate for same sex marriage.
    The most recent data shows that, within the UK, there is only 0.5% of all households headed by a same sex couple.
    Now I know Ms Bindal seems to use a pejorative tact in her debate, however, if she was perhaps aware of these statistics from Scotland for Marriage, I wonder if she would reconsider her stance?
    It is clear from a section of the statistics that the gay community have been given a ‘voice’ on the issue.
    The majority of conservative Christians view this issue from a religious faith perspective. Their intentions are objective. i.e. Bible centred, and whatever their feelings on the matter, they maintain that GOD has disclosed the matter within the Bible for good reason.
    ‘Homophobic’, ‘Bigoted’, these are strong terms used by individuals who perhaps don’t consider that Christians can love and have frienships with an individual who is gay, or indeed display Christian love to the gay community at large.
    Perhaps we should pray that GOD will enlighten others into the perspectives of those Christians whose intentions are pure.

    GOD Bless.

  3. Hi Brendan and Marylin
    Thanks for these interesting thoughts, and Brendan, thanks for the stats on the Scottish position. These are quite revealing are they not? However, re your comment on Ms Bindel maybe changing her stance on seeing objective evidence… I’d be very surprised if she did!

    God bless


  4. You’re very welcome Chris. Yes, the stats are very revealing.
    Yes, I concur that Ms Bindel would probably not change her stance, once seeing objective evidence.
    As more scientists are discovering and affirming that there is no genetic evidence for homosexuality, perhaps the issues surrounding the concern may conclude in matters of faith.

    GOD Bless.

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