Monday, 6 July 2009


It's one of the paradoxes about the C of E that even non-believers like myself feel they can pass judgement on its priests and bishops, and that still we have something invested in our national church. I like the big Anglo-Catholic parishes with incense and Tallis; I like gothic cathedrals with their canons and queer old deans; and in particular I like the limpid, subaqueous light on the white-washed walls of empty rural churches, smelling of floor-polish and stale flower-water, hanging in the air like centuries of piety. It's nice to have somewhere to go and do my brass-rubbings, you see.

On which note, I was sorry to see that old +Nazir-Ali of Rochester, like a fallen elephant slowly expiring in the grassy savannah, has emitted another of his feeble trumpetings. The daft old nancy's latest call for homosexuals to 'repent and change' (deftly analysed over at Lathophobic Aphasia) provokes in me a profound state of meh. What's the old dear like?!

I suppose, searching in my heart for any thread of compassion (ཨོཾ་མ་ཎི་པ་དྨེ་ཧཱུྃ།), +Nazi-Rally's had a difficult life: uncomfortably transcultured on several levels, promoted well beyond his intellectual capacity but still disappointed that the Holy Spirit inexplicably didn't see fit to nudge Tony Blair in the direction of making him Archbishop of Canterbury---well, bless my soul! Making a personal combo out of the self-aggrandising pomposity of institutional Christianity and the rigid charmlessness of Islam, our very own Mullah-lite really is a gloomy, narrow little mopsie.

I feel very sorry--in the sense of having wholly genuine compassionate empathy--for anyone who really feels they have to struggle on with this kind of thing. I can't think of a worse Purgatory in life than feeling genuinely called to confess the risen Christ in the environs of such as Nazir-Ali.


Mariana said...

What is the point of telling gays to repent, when their sexuality is not a choice, and telling them to change when they wouldn't know how, and apparently neither does the church?

I'm all for options. If the church, or any institution, has figured out a way to change people's sexual preferences at will, I'm sure there would be a market for that, and a profitable one. But I suspect it's the old "pray and ye shall receive" advice; and if you don't get your wish and God doesn't de-gayify you, you just didn't pray/believe hard enough, so it's back to being your fault. If they were to say that to a crippled girl (God didn't cure you because you didn't believe) people wouldn't stand for it. This is just bullying as usual. If they can't help, why don't they shut up?

I didn't like the response from the gay community, though, all that talk about how the bishop lacks compassion, and should ask forgiveness from God. Unless being gay is pitiful, what need to they have for compassion? And it's no god who has been offended, it's gays. People don't know anything about rhetoric anymore.

Bo said...

Quite so. It's a profoundly unscientific view: whatever the aetiology of homosexuality--which I suspect, with Paglia, will turn out to be totally different in men and women--it's fixed well before puberty, in my experience. It's also very often woven deeply into one's personality: I can't separate my gayness from my verbal quickness, sense of humour, or sensuality. It's not something that grows like mould in the cellar of the personality, that a determined bishop with some fungicide could 'cure': it is a fundamental, inbuilt part of the homosexual individual's being-in-the-world.

Spot on about rhetoric! It's also a marvellous instance of Jungian enantidromia again: when preaching against homosexuality, Nazir-Ali never sounds like anything so much as a spiteful old queen.

Queen of Romance said...

I saw the headline in passing yesterday and thought 'What a knob!'

Not much more to say, really. People can analyse the rights and wrongs of his statement, or wonder at his motives, and shake their heads at yet another nail driven deep into the coffin of the C of E, but really, this guy's just another self-aggrandising knob produced by one of the largest and least self-aware knob factories in the world.

I have to return your lovely FQ book, Bo. I got 84% in the end and I'm sure it's largely down to that book.

I may be visiting family in Folkestone in late July/early August. Will you be around that area then? Email me! Jx

vilges suola said...

Quite right - if I were not homosexual, I would be somebody else. I have known since I was about six. I get so angry with those Christians who insist that it is a choice, however much we might protest that it is no such thing. It's all of a piece with the old patronising view of homosexuals that we are immature and not to be trusted.

Heronmist said...

I know what you mean about the C of E

As for N Ali I heard him on the radio this morning - why do they give people like this air-time? He was asked if it was part of his religion to be negative about particular groups. He said no he was for an idea. Hm

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