Boris Johnson – illiberal twat

I still have lots on my plate but I can’t let this pass without comment.

Boris Johnson faces being drawn into a bitter dispute over homosexuality after banning advertisements on London buses promoting the idea that gay people can be “cured”.

Transport chiefs stepped in on the Mayor’s orders to block the posters, faced with a the prospect of the argument being played on the streets of the capital next week with rival advertisments.

Two Christian groups announced on Thursday that they had booked advertising space promoting the idea that people can become “post-gay” through therapy.

Anglican Mainstream, a traditionalist Christian coalition, and Core Issues Trust – a counselling group which practices controversial “reorientation” therapy – wanted to place full-length banners reading: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get Over It!”

They are a direct response to advertisements taken out by the gay rights group Stonewall earlier this month as part of the campaign for same-sex marriage reading: “Some people are Gay. Get over it!”

So Stonewall get to place their advert sending a message I don’t particularly care about one way or the other, yet the god squad groups are banned from responding with their claim that gayness is something that can be (not, it would seem, necessarily should be) cured. Personally I think it’s a stretch to claim that someone can be prayed straight or whatever the details are and I’m not sure how you’d distinguish between someone who’s gay and been cured and someone who’s gay and been inspired, persuaded or brainwashed into sticking a crucifix on the closet door and climbing inside. Seriously, how would you test that, and even more seriously why would you even bother? I don’t care that if someone is gay and I equally don’t care whether they were and have been cured through prayer or if faith is leading them to live a lie. As long as neither one is proselytising and/or shagging me their sexuality and religious beliefs are a matter of supreme indifference.

I also don’t care if they talk about it. I don’t have to read what they write and I don’t have to listen to what they say. I can walk away from either of them at any time so as far as I’m concerned there’s no reason why they shouldn’t both be free to say their piece. The Christians’ may be saying something that sounds like complete horseshit to me but if we silenced everyone for spouting horseshit politicians would be silenced almost forever. And no, even that’s not a good reason for doing it because freedom of speech is an absolute – if saying even just one thing is off limits then ipso facto speech is restricted and everyone is fair game. This is the reality, and I fucking hate it, and I hate it that fuckwit right-on politwats like Boris ‘The Ban’ Johnson – he has form in this area, remember – take huge, steaming shits on liberty in the name of fairness and sucking up to minorities.

“It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.”

So it’s offensive? And what, Boris? That I think these Christians are deluding themselves and that their gay cure is at best mind games and at worst purest snake oil would probably offend them, so can I say it or not? That you’ve decided they can’t say it almost certainly offends them, so can you say that they were being offensive or would that cause enough offensive for you to have to censor yourself? Or is it simply a case of offending them is okay because fuck Christians, but not the gay rights groups? I rather suspect it’s the last one.

Look, if they’re selling a cure, as in for money, then by all means ban it on trade descriptions grounds for claiming something that’s fundamentally unverifiable, but it sounds rather like the usual kind of religious claim that we all accept as stating beliefs rather than making actual claims. I mean, nobody has verified eternal life after death, but we don’t have mayors of major international cities in the supposedly free world demanding that all those churches with John 5:24 on big boards outside take them down.

So, Boris, here’s my suggestion: let the gay groups say their bit and the religious groups say theirs, and let both of them get as offended by the other as they fucking please. There is no right to go through life not being offended by anything, and if you suggested that there should be I for one would be extremely upset, and deeply offended, by the implied loss of the liberty to speak one’s mind.

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Posted on April 14, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. If anything it’s raised the profile of the anti-gay christian group. A Barbara Striesand effect. Everyone would have been better off letting the group spout what they want to say and not reacting. Reacting only means that they have ammunition to further their cause ’cause they know they will get a similar reaction in the future – and lots of publicity.

    Just look at the press a very very very very small very extreme religious group in America gets for putting up similar anti-gay signs.

  2. These bloody politicians. They think they’re so bloody right-on, don’t they?

    All they do is piss me right-off.

  3. ” It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness …..” Stop there Boris. No it isn’t, although some people may be offended. The statement might be wrong, but its not offensive.

    • Whether it’s offensive or not, and if some people are offended then I suppose it is, is irrelevant. If we start banning things because someone somewhere might be offended then we can end up banning practically everything. There is no and can be no right to not be offended.

      • The point I am making AE is there can be no sense in which the statement, or any statement, can be offensive in absolute terms. Offensive seems to be that which some people think is offensive, I.e it is their opinion because they feel offended. This is an emotional reaction. Therefore we have the nonsense that Person A can be guilty of an offence solely depending on the emotional reaction of Person B whilst Person C may not be offended at all. Therefore it is not the act which is criminal in itself, but it becomes criminal because of the other ‘s reaction. And who is in control of the emotions of Person B ? If it is not Person B, then who is it ?
        The whole thing seems to me to be a nonsense, and yes, there can be and is no right not to be offended.

        • Indeed. Offensiveness is entirely subjective. Boris, or you or I, might be offended by being called a muppet or not, but I’d hope that even if you and I found it deeply wounding Boris wouldn’t think to use his mayoral powers to yank an ad for The Muppet Show from the sides of buses, badly dressed boof-haired camel toe of a human being that he is.

  4. “illiberal twat” Cheers! I can use that in the post I’ve got coming up on the bus kerfuffle… 😉

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