Eid mubarak and gay sex

Eid Mubarak” (or blessed Eid) is a traditional greeting exchanged among Muslims at the time of the celebrations that mark the end of Ramadan, which has just ended. I couldn’t help noticing on that day a number of Muslims in their best traditional dress in and around the town centre and the local mosques, something not long ago I would not have been aware off, but nowadays not only are there many more Muslims they are also more confident when it comes to celebrating their faith. When I bumped into an intelligent, affable 15 year old Muslim lad, whose family I know, and asked him how his Ramadam went, he was remarkably up beat and it was evident his religious devotion and sense of purpose was in marked contrast to that witnessed among many among in the non-Muslim populace.

Today, we had the announcement by the Prime Minister on measures to be introduced to curb Islamic radicalization. There was little to surprise and my earlier comments that the government do not in the main understand Islam remain. Too often they adopt a sledgehammer that still fails to crack a nut approach, given they want to be seen be liberal and even handed, as they seek to crack down on anything that might be deemed as giving offense while trying to stop something that they rightly see as a dangerous threat. As a gospel preacher, this raises alarm bells as I am fully aware that telling people they are sinners and liable to incur God’s wrath may well upset some people. Sometimes it seems that while tolerance is the new religion, the certainties of the old one are now no longer being tolerated. When I tried to broker a meeting with the local mosque with some of those tasked with implementing the government anti-radicalization agenda, I sensed the Imam’s feeling of awkwardness matched my own – his because most radicalization took place outside the mosque where their influence was limited and mine because I am not in the business of promoting anyone’s agenda, especially if I am not in full agreement, but a meeting was arranged with my approach as a robust advocate of the Christian faith, that engages by befriending Muslims, remaining intact.

As I was checking out this story and the seemingly unrelated one to do with gay sex, which I will come onto, I was drawn to article I came across a little while back that had the title: “Muslim extremism: Why David Cameron’s views are dangerously naïve”. Besides suggesting go read the article, I would say the crux of the argument is that faith is sometimes at odds with the type of society that Mr. Cameron and the liberal elite that appear to run the country have in mind, want, and wish to promote, even if it does mean casting aside the long held Christian consensus that was once taken for granted. It bothers me that my own Christian faith is being undermined in all sorts of subtle and not so subtle ways and the importance of faith is ignored in practical terms, even if paid lip service to. While I have my qualms concerning Islam, I do share some of the concerns of my Muslim friends, especially those whose take on faith matters is more traditional. If these are not recognized as is the need for those who are of faith to be able to hold values and opinions that  sometimes sit uncomfortably with what is deemed to be the status quo, albeit within the law, Mr Cameron’s attempts to curb religious extremism won’t succeed.

The gay sex story is to do with the interview with the recently appointed leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Tim Farron, a committed Evangelical Christian, who was asked if he believed gay sex to be sinful. As it happens, I found it rather refreshing that the LibDems, whose views seem to me most at odds with Evangelical Christianity, compared with the other main parties, has creditably appointed a leader who is an Evangelical Christian. But he failed abysmally to answer the question, even though it was asked three times, although not answering the question is a common trait among politicians, especially when it is inconvenient to do so. Although it is easy to be wise after the event, if I were he, I might have said “yes, if you define sin as missing the target (i.e. obeying God’s commands as set out in the Bible), even if it is by only a millimeter, and realize that any sex outside of lifelong marriage between one man and one woman and any failure to love our neighbor, especially the poor and dispossessed, is sin … and may I say, with due respect, baiting this politician in order to stir up strife and gain points at someone else’s expense may also be deemed sinful”. It might have meant cutting short my career as party leader, but at least I will have maintained my integrity. In fairness to Tim Farron, there are many other (some would say a lot more important) issues to attend to in his new role and I wish him well as he offers ideas as to how these might be addressed.

I was rather taken with an article titled: “Channel Four, John Humphreys and the new thought police” that began: “Recent interviews with Tim Farron demonstrate how ‘intolerant, authoritarian and anti-Christian’ British society is becoming”. The author’s point and one I have argued in past blogs is that there is an agenda to do down those whose views do not align with the prevailing liberal mood that powerful vested interests have helped to foster and they are fair game, and to ask loaded questions like the one asked to Tim Farron, and not to do so in the case of worse sinners, who happen to go along with the status quo, is perfectly ok. Checking out various websites, the poor man was pretty well castigated, in a way that I don’t see with other politicians that fail to answer the question, and quite likely if he had answered the question he would have been branded as a homophobic bigot – indeed one of my Facebook friends has said as much anyway!

I like the way the article concluded: “What these interviews demonstrate is how intolerant, authoritarian and anti-Christian our society is becoming – at least at its elite levels. The danger is that Christian politicians and leaders will be pressured into compromise, and that the mockery narrative will be the background against which many ordinary Christians live their lives. We need the church to pray for those who are in authority, recognising them as the servants of God. We need Christian leaders who will be prophetic, proclaiming and living the Word of God in a culture that despises it. Only then will we see the world turned upside down!” While it doesn’t quite answer the Islamic extremist concerns, that if anything is likely to increase, it does suggest an approach that may well be the key to dealing with the matter of coming to terms with radical Islam and deliver salvation if adopted.

As for the gay community and those I have got to know (and there are many) I will continue to befriend, respect, affirm, engage and work with, even if some of my beliefs may be at odds with theirs. As for the Muslim community and those I have got to know (and there are many) I will happily say to them “Eid Mubarak” just as I might “Merry Christmas”, and will continue to adopt an approach that began in my long ago student days: befriend Muslims, try to live a good life consistent with authentic Christianity and be a robust apologist for the Christian faith. I do so as Christians seek to serve their communities (and I see their contribution to meeting the great needs as monumental) and yet they are increasingly being despised and sidelined for their faith. I am confident, despite how it seems, that ultimately Christ and His gospel will win the culture wars.

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One thought on “Eid mubarak and gay sex

  1. James says:

    My concern is two fold. Firstly, can we not agree that conscience as different from the preveiling worldview is critical in standing up against such opponents as governments such as Nazi Germany in the 30s and 40s.

    Secondly, it could be argued against those who discount God in favour of evolution that this has relied on diversity and trial-and-error to reach where we are so any attempt to stifle differences of opinion and belief might consign all of us to history.

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