We have to admit it. For the time being the social liberals have won the culture and media wars and, aided and orchestrated by the trendy politically-correct metro-nanny BBC (no longer our spinster Auntie), they completely dominate public discussion.This doesn’t make them right, and I’d certainly lay at their door responsibility for the destruction of the family – the glue of society – which has resulted in so much dysfunction amongst our emotionally-deprived and troubled youngsters. However there are achievements of the left-liberal PC brigade which I reckon are wholly praiseworthy. See for instance how our public attitudes towards disability have changed for the better over the past two decades.
But now this PC dominance has become suffocating and unhealthy. Like Harriet Harman, political-correctness lectures, hectors and handbags us into line. It promotes blandness and conformity, suffers from post-imperial guilt and self-loathing, talks in empty elastic management-speak, dismisses independence and character, and stifles real debate. And, appallingly, it plays directly into the hands of the BNP which, rising from the grass roots, is a growing protest against such top-down elitist control of debate and policy.
But what’s this? Into the politically-correct public arena steps the gentle, saintly and scholarly figure of the Rt Revd Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester and member of the House of Lords.
Instead of resting in the comfy armchairs and imbibing at the cocktail parties of the great and good like the Oxbridge don he yearns to be, this Pakistani refugee from persecuting Islam strides into both church synod and peers chamber uttering orthodox 2,000-year-old Christian truth.
Its explosive stuff of course, the sort of stuff that got Jesus Christ murdered by the religious and political establishment of his day. Inevitably the current Church of England establishment is embarrassed. “Christian truth?” murmur liberal bishops. “Please don’t talk about that.”
Over recent days gays have dominated the airwaves of the gay-obsessed BBC, run at senior levels by a lesbian mafia according to insiders. The programming was prompted by the 40th anniversary on 28th June of the Stonewall riots in New York and by last weekend’s huge Gay Pride march in central London. Much of the discussion has been inconsequential, reflecting perhaps that the homosexual agenda is now so mainstream it has nothing new to offer. See for instance the vacuous political squabble between the gays of the two front benches (here).
But Bishop Michael spoilt the party. He threw a rock into the pool. He told the Sunday Telegraph that gays ought to repent (here) – a universally applicable idea he borrowed from the Founder of Christianity and Saviour of the World (Matt 4:17, etc).
Of course the balloon went up with the usual suspects queuing to heap opprobrium onto the Bishop’s balding head. The often admirable Peter Tatchell called on Dr Nazir-Ali to repent of his sins (here). And even some unknown Tory frontbencher called Nick Herbert who claims to be gay (“me too, me too”) had a go, ludicrously lumping together gentle bishops like Dr Nazir-Ali (and perhaps the equally gentle and scholarly Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright) with homophobic bullies at home and gay persecution abroad (here). Really?
It’s probably inevitable that Bp Michael should have decided to resign (here) from the Bishops’ Bench – the C of E cannot contain a senior man of character and courage like him. It seems backbones of jelly are required for leaders of our national church, and this mild-mannered courteous man refuses to fit that bill.
He’s a true scholar and gentle-man as well as a true Christian leader. I honour him.