This is our truth, tell us yours
So after an election campaign when Tim Farron’s views on queer people followed him around, like a bad queerphobic smell he has now resigned. It is not uncommon for leaders to resign after an election, or to find the pressures of the job too much. However Farron’s resignation letter is so deeply self pitying and self centered that it answers the very questions he refused to answer.
First things first, some Christians are queer, some Christians are not queer but are not hung up on a few verses of the Bible. Every Christian has to decide for themselves whether they think queer people are merely something to be tolerated or simply people, to be loved as we are called to love all. So when Tim Farron claims;
To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible for me.
He is pretending that somehow these choices do not exist. He is pretending that to be Christian means to struggle with LGBTQ people. I have news for him, it doesn’t.
Farron has been defended by others, who perpetuate this myth that somehow there is an inevitable conflict between faith and queer people here, Farron himself referred to this in his resignations statement
“A better, wiser person than me may have been able to deal with this more successfully, to have remained faithful to Christ while leading a political party in the current environment
The suggestion that somehow in the current environment demanding that queer people are not lesser, not tolerated, not second class, has forced him to resign is just “political correctness gone mad” repackaged. Claiming it is incompatible with his version of Christianity removes the fact he chooses his brand of Christianity. Choice is at the heart of Christianity, it is why even those who practice infant baptism have confirmation. Confirmation is the moment at which you choose your faith. Those denominations which practice adult baptism make this an even more central part of their beliefs, you choose, with full and informed consent, to accept Christ as your saviour.
You do not choose however homophobia. That is personal, there are denominations which fully embrace queer Christians. There are even strands within the Church of England who reject the idea that being queer is something that the church merely tolerates. It needs to be said over and over that Farron chose not to choose one of those strands of Christianity. He chose to be conflicted, he chose to struggle with this, and for it to be an issue.
The nasty whining that it is somehow “illiberal” to not accept those who struggle to accept queer people frankly sounds more like those who demand straight pride and white lives matter than the leader of a supposedly liberal party. That other Lib Dems like Simon Hughes have leapt on the “white Christians are the most oppressed” bandwagon is also deeply worrying. This has been the battle cry which brought Trump to power in the US. It is a born this way theology, that posits hate for difference as an inevitable part of Christianity.
You always have a choice, you have a choice to say queer people are part of my church, fully, and without reservation. If you cannot say that, it is not about your faith, but your beliefs about queer people. Hiding bigotry behind Christianity happens far too often, and it needs to stop.