In defence of Tim Farron (sort of)
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I’m not straight. I hold the Liberal Democrats in utter contempt, and take great pleasure from their misfortunes. And I loathe Christianity (and religion in general) in whatever form it takes, whether that be the bovine and hypocritical wooliness of the modern apologists or the extraordinarily cruel and stupid barbarism of traditionalists and literalists. But for all that, I feel ever so slightly sorry for Tim Farron. The furore that engulfed him when, last Tuesday, Channel 4’s Cathy Newman put to him a question he had struggled to answer two years previously – is homosexual sex a sin? – has been unpleasant to witness. Granted, it’s partly his fault. Mr Farron is silly enough to be a Liberal Democrat and chose – actually chose, at the age of 21 – to abandon his parents’ healthy scepticism and become a committed Christian. Either one of those positions provides a lifetime’s worth of hypocrisy and doublethink, but to marry them together? The mind boggles. We are all made of contradictions, but his are truly remarkable for their number and their scope. He has invited criticism by the manner of his answers, which have been altogether too equivocal. Asked whether gay sex is a sin, he replies that homosexuality is not a sin; all very well, but even those with scant knowledge of Christian teaching are familiar with the well-worn casuistry of the believers’ claim to ‘hate the sin but not the sinner’, and see it for what it is: nonsense. He hyesterday said that he does not believe gay sex is sinful. Yet so long has he prevaricated, and so uncomfortable was he when saying it, we can reasonably conclude that this is a lie for the sake of expediency. It’s too little and it’s too late, and the damage has been done. It is for this that he should be blamed. And yet, and yet. Still I find him worthy of sympathy. It’s worth looking back at the original interview, from 2015, and examining his statements. Pay particular attention to the comments immediately preceding the fateful question. Cathy Newman asked him about his stance on abortion, and I happen to think his answer merits some respect.
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