Let’s get this straight (if that is not, given the subject, too unfortunate a turn of phrase!). UKIP has produced a manifesto that would give workers with traditional views on sex and marriage the right to refuse to carry out tasks which they believe would amount to condoning same-sex unions.
This, they claim, is no more than standing up for traditional Christian values. Alongside Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (the DUP) – likewise not renowned for embracing diversity – they are enthusiastically endorsing ‘muscular Christianity’.
The usual suspects, including the Christian Institute and Christian Concern, which display equally reactionary views on contraception, were quick to express support.
The problem is this is not so much ‘muscular’ Christianity as hypocritical Christianity. It is not aimed at the millions of Christians in the UK who happily embrace diversity. Worse, it is a policy that dissolves into absurdity the moment you poke at it.
For Christians don’t hate homosexualism. Oh, no! As a pastor from the Christian Institute attempted to explain on the radio this morning, shortly after comparing being gay to padophilia, it is just the act that is condemned. Besides, they condemn adultery every bit as much as homosexuality. So this is a moral stance, not specific to the LGBTI community at all. Honest.
Let’s roll that one briefly round the nearest B&B bedroom. If it’s solely the act that matters, then presumably they can have no issue with two adults, same sex or otherwise, sharing a bed. After all, as former Tory leader William Hague once explained: it makes good frugal Yorkshire sense to do so.
So if they want to add such a right to English law, they are going to have to have to quiz all guests in advance, just to make sure they aren’t doing anything vaguely unChristian after lights out. Are you gay? Check. Are you planning to have sex tonight?
If gay coupling is anything like its straight equivalent, the chances are that will be a big fat no. I’m not even going to mention the phenomenon known as ‘lesbian bed death’, or the cessation of sexual relations that allegedly sets in about two weeks after two women move in together.
If this really is about antique morality, as opposed to thinly disguised hatred of LGBT people, they will have to be quizzing their supposedly non-LGBT customers as well. Are you married? Can you prove it? Are YOU planning to have sex tonight?
If this muscular tendency means what it says, then a ‘no’ should suffice. Though I am unclear what happens if the mood changes: must the guest ring reception and ask to be transferred to their nearest Travelodge? Or are they allowed a swift knee trembler out in the car park before returning to their rooms for a proper biblical sleep?
And menstruation. Don’t forget menstruation. For as Romans 10:4 clearly explains, having sex with a menstruating woman is also an abomination.
For good measure, mein Christian host could also display notices in each bedroom, explaining in graphic detail what is, what is not allowed to take place. Or if that would upset the dear children, they could issue check lists of do’s and don’t’s for the carnal voyager.
It is, of course, a load of nonsense. Short of fitting all guest rooms with CCTV and motion sensors, there is no way of distinguishing those guests sleeping the sleep of the just, from those enjoying the delicious lassitude of the just shagged.
UKIP, the DUP, the Christian Institute all know this. Which means that in the end, their policy cannot target ‘the act’, will always endorse a hatred of the person for the simple crime of being presumed LGBTI.
Besides, UK law already includes a religious exemption. If any business wishes to be a bit pickier about who they allow to stay overnight, then the solution is simple: they can declare themselves a Christian B&B – a charity, perhaps – and donate their earnings to good causes.
Of course it might mean foregoing some profits, and that might not suit all: but in the end, this – the rejection of personal wealth in favor of a life of service – feels far more muscularly Christian than turning away individuals in need of a roof for the night.