Monday, 6 February 2017

Vicars' todgers Part 2

If nothing else, the recent Church of England's House of Bishops Report into Marriage and Same Sex Relationships reminds us that the todger stands tall in the conservative imagination of parts of the church. Like the dark tower of Mordor, it looms over all else: clouding judgement and blotting out the light. Those who attempt to pretend otherwise always end up stumbling over their own hypocrisy.

It is not true that all we ever think about is sex, protested one apologist in a TV interview. Without a blush, she then went on to demonstrate that she could think of little else. Society should tolerate men and women whose attraction to their own sex is not expressed in sexual relations, she explained, as she began her discussion of vicars' todgers. If a vicar uses his penis for sex "without a procreative purpose", however, then out of the church he must go. Her public obsession with what polite people once called "private parts" would matter less were it not shared by all religions and too many in the right-wing press and Tory party.

To be fair, the Anglican church is far more liberal than orthodox Judaism, Catholicism and all versions of Islam. It concedes that a vicar can be in a civil partnership but if he wishes his superiors to elevate him to a bishopric, he must submit his sex life to cross-examination. Only if he can tell them he abstains from sex will they promote him.

These are questions that shame the interrogator more than the interrogated. Imagine if you went for a job and the interviewer said that you were ideally suited for the post, but you had to tell them who you had sex with and when the dirty deed had last occurred before they could hire you. Why would anyone who wasn't a voyeur want to ask about that? I know it is dangerous to generalise on a subject as vast and complicated as human sexuality, but I have gleaned from my admittedly sheltered life that men who are, as they say, "secure" in their heterosexuality, have little interest in what their homosexual friends do in bed and that indifference is reciprocated. Whenever I hear conservatives announce that equality for gays "undermines marriage", I think: my marriage can take it, what's so wrong with yours?

It may be 2017 but homophobia still flows from many sources. It can be voyeuristic, impertinent, hypocritical, prurient and covertly envious: it can be ignorant, mobbish and servile to authority. In the end, it does not matter. No one has the right to deny equal treatment to a fellow citizen for whatever motive.

And shame on the Archbishop of Canterbury for saying after the appointment of the suffragan bishop of Grantham at the end of last year that his (the appointee) sexuality was completely irrelevant to his office. If that was the case, Justin, why was he subjected to a sexquisition during the interview process? We can do without Trumpian distortion over here, thank you very much.
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