Irony is one of the few pleasures available for free. After decades of post-colonial guilt and political-correctness, there is one subject on which what in other contexts would be called racist discourse is still allowed – that issue is, of course, traditional Christian attitudes to homosexuality. While all opinions are relative and equal, the views expressed by African Christians on the subject of homosexuality are not – they are bigotry and evidence of backwardness, or a legacy of colonialism. I wish those holding such views joy in getting them across to the Africans – perhaps they will produce a latter-day Dr Livingstone for the purpose?
The assumption, deeply embedded, is that in not holding to the views normative to Western liberals. the Africans are wrong and will, in time, catch up. What never occurs to our society and its intellectuals, is that it and they may have taken a wrong turning and need to rethink.
This isn’t about the subject of homosexuality, with which I suspect we are all bored, but it is about orthodox Christian teaching. What was taken for granted not just when I was a lad (which was a heck of a time ago), but also as recently as a few decades ago now seems almost radical: marriage is between a man and a woman; you should try to save yourself sexually for your spouse; you should try to be modest and respectful; a firm knowledge that there were things such as right and wrong, as well as a common consensus on which fell in which category; that churches preached against sin and in favour of virtue and knew which was which; all these seem to have been lost.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
But before we get carried away, we might recall that in many ages as much could have been said. Those French Catholics who suffered at the hands of the Revolutionaries, or those Russian Christians who were persecuted by the Godless Soviets must have felt much as the Jews who suffered in 70AD when Jerusalem fell as Christ had foretold it would.
There are, in short, many minor last days for us all before the end times that will come as we are told it will. The scoffers can mock and say where is He and when is He coming, but a judgement comes to us all twice – once at the end, but also here and now. For as we live, so shall we be judged. The coward dies many times, the brave man but once.