What's the point of religion if you can't be bigoted?

Share
Related Topics
I WAS brought up a Roman Catholic, so when I was a child I was frogmarched to church every Sunday. Like most children, I found Mass rather a bore, but there was one particular type of service I loathed and detested. About once a month, our local church would have an evening Folk Mass, and my mother would drag us along because she saw that the ghastly creatures who sung on these occasions strummed guitars, and she associated all guitar strumming with pop music. Seeing that we were already drifting away from the faith, she hoped that we would be so excited by the lovely pop music of the Folk Mass that we would leap back into the fold. Being teenagers, my sister and I were so speechless with rage that our parents existed at all, it was impossible to communicate with them on any level, let alone try to convey to them that Marc Bolan yelling, "Oh you don't fool the children of the revolution! No! No! No! No! No!" or Alice Cooper screaming, "No more Mr Nice Guy!" is not the same as some myopic semi-hippie and his red-faced sister bleating, "Oh Jesus is a-coming again! Tra-la! la! la! la! la! He is our savey-yah! Tra-la! Tra-la! Tra-la! Tra-la! Tra-la! la! la! la! la!". I remember simultaneously cringing with embarrassment and fuming with anger. I was going through a Maoist stage at the time, and I used to pray for Red Guards to storm into the church, drag the singers to the front and shoot them.

I ALSO hated school assembly. Different teachers took assembly each day. There was one woman who was Plymouth Brethren, and would jabber on about meeting a chap who was selfish and unkind, so she'd dunked him in the sea and he'd come out lovely and kind and speaking in tongues. We called her The Mad Old Bag. Then there was the deputy headmaster, who kept reading us drivel from a book by Cliff Richard on how he saw the light. I have hated Cliff Richard ever since, and wish him nothing but harm. Only the headmaster read from the Bible and gave us what we wanted, Christ performing miracles or Elijah bringing down fire and brimstone on the priests of Baal, and we thanked him for it. It's not that we were Conservative, it's just that if we had to be religious, we wanted our religion to be religious, not stupid.

IT SEEMS to me that the Church of England is going down the road to Tra-la! la! la! la! la! land. Now it wants to allow people who live in sin to be welcomed into local congregations. It already allows women priests, and is under pressure to recognise the fact that many vicars are homosexual. All these measures are designed to bring it into line with modern society and rid it of hypocrisy. But the whole point of religion is surely that it is a mixture of faith, bigotry, irrationality and hypocrisy. I suspect that most people in the C of E like that blend, and if it is all sorted out they will leave in their droves.

THE CHURCH of England seems to be changing under the guidance of the likes of Peter Tatchell. His pickets seem to be speaking louder than Leviticus, which states that homosexuality is a sin. Perhaps when he has had Leviticus disowned he will start picketing churches to get old soldiers to "come out" and admit they killed people in the war so that he can get "thou shalt not kill" banned from the commandments. The church has beaten Tatchell to denying adultery is a sin, which he must be pretty browned off about. Then, of course, there are women priests, so don't mention St Paul. It won't be long before the church will bring forward a document recognising that after death the brain haemorrhages and makes rising from the dead after three days physically impossible.

I DON'T think there's anything wrong with gay or women priests, or worshippers who live in sin, or denying the validity of commandments or the word of St Paul or the virgin birth or the resurrection. People should feel free to be in a church that caters for all these things. I just question whether this is the church most members of the Church of England want to be in. I also question whether such a church would last very long. If religion bends to society's whims, like Peter Tatchell himself, it ceases to be religious, so what's the point?

People don't want to go Tra-la! la! la! la! la! They want that blend of faith, bigotry, irrationality and hypocrisy that gives them certainty in an uncertain world. Look at Northern Ireland. Who is the most popular man in the pulpit? Ian Paisley.

LIKE most lapsed Catholics, I will probably return to the fold when I start to fear death. When I do, I want the Bible to be as it was 2,000 years ago, not a new improved version, and I want Gregorian chants, not Tra-la! la! la! la! la!s. I'll be sorry there aren't women priests, but that's St Paul for you. I know there'll be lots of gay priests and bishops, and I don't mind at all, it's between them and their consciences, and if they preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, they are supposedly conveying the word of God, not their own opinion as fallen men, and as a fellow fallen man I won't judge them. A priest spreads the word, and as a private person he should live by that word, but if he fails, it is because he is man, not God, therefore he is a sinner. He can ask to be forgiven for being a homosexual, or if he doesn't believe his sexuality is a sin he can answer to his Maker when he dies, as I will have to answer for sins I have committed but don't accept, like supporting homosexual rights in society and using contraception. It's not really a big deal. Call it hypocrisy, call it irrationality, call it bigotry, call it faith - I call it religion. Without all these factors, the Catholic church would not have survived for two millenniums . If people don't like this strange mixture, fine, like Peter Tatchell they shouldn't be religious. But unlike Tatchell, they shouldn't try to mess with other people's faith, for they won't change it, they'll destroy it.

React Now

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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Women are working in some of the lowest-paid sectors such as cleaning, catering and caring  

Women's wages have gone backwards. Labour would give women the pay they deserve

Gloria de Piero
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker