Some Thoughts on the Persecution of TIM FARRON…

Posted: June 18, 2017 in (All Things) CULTURE, (Politics) CURRENT AFFAIRS
Tags: , , , , , ,

This is probably being a little tongue in cheek; and it probably isn’t the most serious or important story in the news right now.

But it bothered me enough to want to say something about it. Specifically about Liberal Democrats leader, Tim Farron, resigning. The reason he has specifically given for having done so is the pressure and criticism he has received lately on account of his Christian beliefs.

This was something I had been vaguely hearing about in the news during the weeks leading up to the recent General Election. And it had been bothering me the whole time. Farron was being repeatedly asked by journalists to clarify his ‘position’ on gay sex – specifically, whether he believed it was a ‘sin’. While he was very evasive about the subject and didn’t commit to a definitive answer, the inherent bullying in the repeated line of questioning was uncomfortable to see.

And no, this isn’t some wrongheaded rant about ‘political correctness gone mad’ or anything like that.

While I do think there have been occasions in recent years where the Thought Police did get a little too harsh against certain people, I entirely argue that – for the most part – the advent of ‘political correctness’ was both good and entirely necessary. There were frankly way too many people who were so stupid that they probably needed to be told what was okay and what wasn’t.

I’m just about old enough to remember what a non-PC society was like: and I know even better, from people older than me, how much bigotry, sexism, racism and homophobia was so commonplace (and, worse – it seems to have made a massive comeback).

But Tim Farron isn’t anything to do with any of that.

Even speaking myself as someone not attached to any religion or religious belief – and also as someone who considers himself a total, absolute liberal – I find it troubling to observe the amount of flack someone like Farron has been given simply because he is Christian or subscribes to a Christian tradition.

Don’t get me wrong. If he was some mean-spirited, evangelical type or some right-wing nutjob like those that can be found in the Tea Party or with Theresa May’s friends in the DUP, then I could understand him coming under attack.

But his very position as even a member of the Liberal Democrats – let alone its leader – negated all of that.

More to the point, his voting record clearly shows that he has always argued on the right side of gay issues and LGBTQ rights – and this should surely be the only thing that matters.

In other words, whatever degree of Christian faith he holds to, it had no bearing on his voting record or his actions as leader of an ultra liberal political party. Clearly, whatever his personal beliefs are, they haven’t interfered with his judgement or his ideological leanings; and they therefore shouldn’t ever have become such a big issue.

In fact, I’ll go even further: the fact that he has always acted on the side of LGBTQ issues and equality in spite of a religious belief that may (or may not) slightly conflict with his liberal values means that Tim Farron’s commitment to those liberal values is *even more impressive* and even more meaningful.

His religious beliefs are an aspect of his personal life and not of his political life or political activities. And it feels a little like he has been bullied into a corner by people who were singling him out for questioning – and not asking the same questions of vicar’s daughter, Theresa May, for example.

I value – above almost anything – the liberal values in our society and the ideals of equality, and I despise discrimination. But surely a properly free, liberal, equal society – and the respect and tolerance for personal lifestyles, differences and beliefs – should work both ways and apply to all sections of society as much as possible. So that someone like Tim Farron is free to believe in his religious tradition (in a country whose Head of State is head of the Church, for that matter), so long as he isn’t imposing his own beliefs onto others or engaging in some form of discrimination.

And he clearly wasn’t – he was clearly a true Liberal Democrat and wholly committed to liberal politics and issues.

He also seems like a sincere politician and generally nice guy, so I really don’t get what all the fuss was about. It’s not as if the Lib Dems are going to bar Christians from the party. Most of our Prime Ministers – including the current one – have subscribed to some form of traditional Christianity or another. Tony Blair was Catholic – and he legislated in favor of gay rights and equality, again suggesting that it really doesn’t matter.

In fact, Blair was apparently so worried about what people would think of him that he literally tried to cover up his Catholicism for a long time.

He was literally in the closet about the fact that he was religious. Tim Farron wasn’t in the closet – but was open about his traditional(ish) Christian values; but the implication is that he would’ve been better off in the closet and not being true to himself.

The odd thing is that the party in government – both before, during and after the election – is probably full of people who hold a negative view of things like gay marriage: but, bafflingly, someone like Tim Farron was singled out instead, because – I guess – he was a soft target.

Maybe I’m missing something.

__________

 

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Comments
  1. You are right to ask why his religious beliefs are being questioned when so many others are let off the hook. There is surely something afoot under the surface. I hadn’t really paid any attention to this before the election but now we are post-election and pre government alliance with the DUP I have a suspicion that this was a result of a split within the party about what should be done if there is another hung parliament. Farron was clear throughout there would be no deals etc, but what if there were some in his party pushing for another 2010 like coalition? Has his party (and his MP’s) rebelled and forced him out in the hope they can still scupper the DUP with a backroom deal with the tories to keep Labour out?

    In Scotland it’s likely that the LibDem almost handed the Tories votes/victories with no benefit to themselves ( https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-cannon-fodder/ ) just to make sure SNP didn’t win. Believe it or not the leaders of the Branch Offices for the Scottish parties advocated tactically voting for one of their opponents just to stop the SNP in various constituencies.

    With many LibDems clearly proud of their time in government with the Tories, with many of them joining the anyone but Corbyn propaganda, would it be so surprising that there are still some in the party that would jump at the chance of saving the Tories in Westminster? There is still time for anything to happen before the queens speech next week as even the DUP deal is yet to be nailed down. What will be really interesting will be the vote the following week, after debate, on the queens speech. How will the LibDems vote then? How will Farron vote? Will they keep the tories in power?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Really interesting thoughts.
      From everything I heard, I don’t imagine Farron would do anything to support May’s government. But with Farron gone, we don’t know what position the Lib Dems will take – and it would also depend on whether Mrs May remains as PM or some other Tory takes control.
      I wasn’t aware of the extent of tactical voting going on in Scotland, particularly with a Lib Dem component to it. I often wonder what would be going on if Charles Kennedy was still alive and still leader of the Lib Dems.

      Like

  2. renegadepoet says:

    The hidden hand has already decided that Vince Cable will become the new Lib Dem leader. That’s why Tim Farron had to go.

    Liked by 1 person

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