Giles Fraser: Why Opus Dei link rules Ruth Kelly out of equalities brief

Share
Related Topics

The minister for equality has had a bad week. Ruth Kelly is under fire overher beliefs and her ministerial portfolio. Does she think homosexuality a sin, runs the enquiry. I'm "not going to get into these questions", is her reply. She doesn't have to.

As a member of Opus Dei, Ruth Kelly is committed to the teachings of Catholicism, including the belief that homosexuality is "objectively disordered". That's why she has played hooky from the Commons when there's been a vote on gay equality. So why did Tony Blair think she was suitable to hold the brief for equality and inclusion?

Opus Dei was founded with the notion of taking the teachings of the church to work. As its founder, Josemaría Escrivá, said: "Everyone is called to sanctify himself or herself through situations that are part of their daily life."

Thus, according to the very ethos of Opus Dei, Ms Kelly is not able to claim that her Catholicism can be left at home. Under cross examination on BBC Five Live, she must have realised she'd said something daft when arguing that it was not for ministers to make "moral judgements". If morality has no place in politics, then it's a more cynical business than we'd feared. But she didn't mean that; she just floundered.

It's not going to help that The Da Vinci Code is due out in the cinema. Thanks to Dan Brown, Opus Dei is now associated with a devious menace, involved in high-level treachery. This is often little more than warmed-up anti-Catholicism. It would be sad if those calling for a greater commitment to inclusion were to bolster their case with a prejudice that has scarred our history since the Reformation.

The Kelly appointment is more cock-up than conspiracy. These are mistakes made in the last gasp of crumbling empire. Following disastrous local election results, Mr Blairreshuffled his pack and was too distracted to really consider Ms Kelly's brief.

And it's not just about gays. The Catholic church has also resisted the notion of women as priests, let alone as bishops.

Ruth Kelly's loyalty to asexist and homophobic church is incompatible with her ministerial brief. She got the wrong job. She must go.

Dr Giles Fraser is the Vicar of Putney

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Isis in Iraq: Even if Iraqi troops take back Saddam’s city of Tikrit they will face bombs and booby traps

Patrick Cockburn
The Royal Mint Engraver Jody Clark with his new coinage portrait, alongside the four previous incarnations  

Queen's new coin portrait: Second-rate sculpture makes her look characterless

Michael Glover
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003