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The BBC withdraws from Stonewall and Christ offers Fulness of life to all LGBT+ people

Christian Today asked me to write this extra column….although the issue of the BBC withdrawing from Stonewall may appear somewhat insignificant – it is a straw in the wind – and there is an important gospel truth we can learn from it  – read until the end!  I called it – “The BBC withdraws from Stonewall and Christ offers Fulness of life to all LGBT+ people”.  They went with this title…(somewhat sadly I have been plagued with invitations to Pride events and gay pornography since publishing this –  Someone thought it would be intimdating/funny to sign me up…it’s neither…)

More civic institutions must disentangle themselves from Stonewall

(Photo: Unsplash)

Now that the BBC’s links with Stonewall have been exposed by one of its own journalists, Stephen Nolan, it is perhaps not too surprising that the BBC has reacted by withdrawing from Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ programme.

The programme gets companies to pay Stonewall so that Stonewall can tell them how to promote its own peculiar brand of LGBT ideology in the workplace. Then these companies are given a rating and are placed on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index. The BBC also announced that it is withdrawing from this index.

It makes interesting reading to see who is on Stonewall’s top 100 list of companies and institutions. Holding pride of place at no 1 is the University of Newcastle. A number of NHS trusts also feature and I’m sure patients who are stuck on waiting lists will be delighted to know that NHS money is being paid to please Stonewall. Who needs doctors when you can have diversity officers?!

There are several other universities featured, as well as police forces, the British Army and the RAF.

Of course, getting a Stonewall award is perceived as a bonus for the big corporations – Vodafone, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, Barclays, Aviva, Moody’s, KPMG, Fujitsu, Sainsbury’s and Enterprise all get their places in the top 100.

It is also fascinating that while the Welsh government (and the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff University, Swansea University, the University of South Wales group and Public Health Wales) is high up on the list, the Scottish government and all Scottish universities are absent from the list.

Is this an indication that the Scottish institutions are particularly homophobic or that there is something in the water in Wales? Or is it just that they are not as gullible as the top 100?

Stonewall of course is not happy about the BBC’s withdrawal, calling it a “shame” and claiming that it is “shocking” that organisations are being pressured into rolling back support for LGBTQ+ employees. They back this up by their own research which of course shows just how much Stonewall is needed – and how Stonewall alone can protect LGBTQ+ people.


READ MORE: Is it time for a public inquiry into Stonewall?


And there you see both the genius and deceit of Stonewall’s position. If you don’t support them then you are for discriminating against LGBT+ people and well on the way to being responsible for their deaths! Such hyperbolic language is useful for emotional bullying but far removed from reality. Recently the creator of the TV series Transparent claimed that “trans people are in the middle of a holocaust”. Apart from the disgraceful demeaning of those who actually suffered because of the Holocaust, the comment reflects a dishonest and hyped-up rhetoric of the sort that Stonewall is also not ashamed to use.

The BBC said it withdrew because of the appearance that it was being influenced (i.e. dominated) by one lobbying group. Stonewall has set itself up as the thought police of LGBT rights, but there are other groups – such as the LGB Alliance – who would disagree.

The extent of Stonewall’s monopoly on our civic institutions was seen in a report in The Times this weekend in which the former Prime Minister’s director of legislative affairs, Nikki da Costa, claimed that Stonewall was the only organisation which had a direct line to the Prime Minister. Boris Johnson’s wife also spoke at a pro-Stonewall Conservative LGBT event in Manchester this year. Da Costa claimed that Stonewall had influenced the conversion therapy consultation while other voices were excluded.

And therein lies the problem. If the Stonewall scheme was just about corporate, government and academic virtue signalling then it might be seen as relatively harmless. The amounts of money involved are not great – although they all add up to a nice little earner for Stonewall. But the trouble is that Stonewall is also purchasing influence and claiming a monopoly on who should determine what is right and wrong.


READ MORE: Is Nolan’s BBC-Stonewall investigation a ‘Romans’ moment in culture?


This absolutizing of Stonewall’s ideology should cause us real concerns, not least because those of us who do not share in it are automatically labelled heretics. When this is backed up by the power of government, academia, the capitalist corporations and the media, then it becomes really dangerous – which is why the BBC’s withdrawal from Stonewall’s programme is good news and perhaps a sign of better things to come.

What has this to do with the Church? We do not argue for discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in the workplace. Such discrimination is shameful, wrong and rightly illegal. What we argue against is discrimination ‘for’ – which inevitably leads to discrimination ‘against’ other groups. Why are the police spending money on having rainbow cars? Why do NHS trusts have diversity officers who limit themselves to what Stonewall defines as diverse? What about those of us who publicly disagree with Stonewall’s ideology? Should we, in the name of equality and diversity, be banned from speaking on the BBC?

Stonewall’s ideology is of course covered by the usual mishmash of trite phrases. One that struck me in particular in their statement was: “We imagine a world where all of us are free to be ourselves and can live our lives to the full.” This obsession with the self is illogical and harmful. What if being free to be yourself is harmful – both to you and to others? What if you feel that being yourself means you are violent, or racist, or misogynistic, or sexually perverse, or incestuous or greedy? Should we be ‘free to be ourselves’?

The response immediately comes: ‘how dare you equate being LGBTQ+ with these things?’ But that is not what I am doing. Stonewall has made an ideological and philosophical statement that all of us are to be free to be ourselves. Do they mean it or not? Do they mean ‘all’? Or are they placing some limits and boundaries? Unless they have descended into a hellish insanity, they will of course place such limits and – so then the question arises – whose limits? Why should Stonewall get to determine who can, and cannot, be free to be themselves and live their lives to the full?

There is only one way for human beings to live our lives to the full. It is not to be ourselves – because our selves are the main part of the problem. Paul gives a list of what ‘being one’s self’ meant for some in the Corinthian church – incidentally a list that Stonewall would probably want me prosecuted for citing in public! (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Self is far too often shallow, selfish and sinful. We all need to be saved from ourselves. And that is possible – “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Stonewall’s ideology is a deadly, destructive ideology that empties. The way to fullness of life is described by Jesus – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). If only our companies, universities and institutions, many of which were founded on Christianity, would get on board with that message, they might actually do some good!

David Robertson works as an evangelist with churches in Sydney, Australia, where he runs the ASK Project. He blogs at The Wee Flea.

Banning conversion therapy: a step too far or not far enough? – CT

Quantum 172 – A Hard Rain‘s Gonna Fall – China, the US, East Timor, Belarus, North Korea, the UK

 

5 comments

  1. IF the sole agenda of such groups is that members ought to be treated fairly and respected with the right to express their worldview and if they adhered to that agenda in all likelihood they would not feel challenged.

    But whereas those groups demand the right to freely express their postmodern moral relativist views they would deny such freedom of speech to those who do not share their views.

    One doesn’t need to be a Chief of Detectives to work out that their agenda is to silence those of us who believe – based on sound reasons – in objective moral standards and that there is such things as right and wrong and good and evil and that we are all, whether one likes it or not, accountable to our Maker for our thoughts and behaviours.

  2. Intolerance is not the exclusive domain of the Far Right, as some on the Left would claim. The Far Left is equally guilty of employing intolerance to further its agenda. Anyone who disagrees with their position, even if in the slightest, is branded a racist, a homophobe, etc..

    Those of us belonging to the Moderate Middle within our various democracies must stand up and oppose all forms of intolerance regardless of which end of the political spectrum it comes from. Whether we be theists or atheists, we must stand together against the relentless attacks on our cherished democratic liberties: the liberty to think and believe differently from the majority, and to say so publicly. We must not allow the extremists to extinguish that freedom, for without it, we can no longer call our societies democracies. Pro-democracy atheists must stand with pro-democracy Christians against any infringements on religious liberties, and pro-democracy Christians should stand with pro-democracy atheists against any attempt to turn a democracy into an autocratic theocracy.

    Gary (an atheist)

  3. Let’s get back to biblical basics here.

    We have erroneously made sin a God only thing have we not? But Jesus didn’t. As such we are letting people off the hook, including Stonewall.

    Peter asked Jesus, how often must I forgive my brother who ‘sins’ against me?

    Sin being, to miss the target. To miss the mark. To not receive the reward of being on target.
    This can apply to anyone. We can sin against each other, not just God. Therefore we need to forgive. If we only sin against God, how can we forgive our brother if they cannot ‘miss the mark’ with us?

    For decades now, the church has been decried for using the term sin. Look what happened to the Lib Dem leader Tim Farren when he was asked about something being a ‘sin’ or not. Therein was the trap. The church has taught us sin is only a God thing, whereas they were accusing Tim Farren of missing the mark according to the political sin scale!

    All Stonewall have done is establish their own ‘sins’ against which the public are measured. They have simply silenced sins the church talk about, made the word something to find offensive, but applied the same principle under a different name.

    Can you imagine the church holding public bodies to account for their sins? Missing the mark?

    Here Stonewall do what the Church has never done. Holding public bodies to account for their ‘sins’, where they miss the target Stonewall set!

    We should stop using sin to be exclusively about God. The term is not used biblically that way, as Jesus set out with Peter.

    The issue is, who decides what the target is? What happens if it’s missed? Not what it’s called.

  4. One that struck me in particular in their statement was: “We imagine a world where all of us are free to be ourselves and can live our lives to the full.”…

    Stonewall has made an ideological and philosophical statement that all of us are to be free to be ourselves. Do they mean it or not? Do they mean ‘all’? Or are they placing some limits and boundaries?

    I don’t care in the least for Stonewall, but clearly, what they’ve written isn’t meant to be taken by anyone as carte blanche permission to act in any which way they liked. If that’s what was meant, Stonewall wouldn’t have made it a point to list areas of workplace difficulties or gone on to say:

    We face rising intolerance degrading our hard-won rights. But we won’t be silenced. Not until all of us are free to be proud, free to be loved, free to be together, free to be who we are.

    Contextually this statement concerns (1) LGBT+ peoples being free to be LGBT+ without living in fear of (2) workplace discrimination or hardship. It seems to me that they’re concerned primarily with identity rather than act: with being LGBT+ rather than actingLGBT+ (a distinction without much difference I admit, but the point is made). Whatever philosophical disagreements someone might hold regarding LGBT+ identities, discrimination clearly isn’t acceptable. Just as it isn’t acceptable to discriminate against someone because they are Christian.

    Of course, the political means by which Stonewall drives itself are quite questionable indeed. Its lobbying is equally troubling. It most certainly does not represent all LGBT+ people. It especially does not represent me.

    But, are we in a position where Stonewall would act as arbiter, determining the limits, as the question poses?

    Why should Stonewall get to determine who can, and cannot, be free to be themselves and live their lives to the full?

    While I’m sure they’d like to have a say, and arguably they should be allowed to have input, I doubt it. Or at least, when it comes to things like workplace discrimination on the basis of identity then we ought to tread carefully. There are some instances where discriminating between candidates is justified, but many others where the discrimination is purely prejudiced, and it’s those latter instances that are in view. What governs these instances is a broader set of laws that mostly everyone agrees on: discriminating on the basis of certain identities (religion, race, sex, etc.) is wrong.

    I myself haven’t experienced such workplace issues, but let me tell you, when I walk into a church I get the feeling I’m viewed as an ideological problem, or an unsettling reality, rather than a person in need of the grace of Christ. But I suppose it’s not all that fair to bring up the ills and failings of the church when it comes to LGBT+ people.

    There’s plenty to criticise about Stonewall and the statement they made in response to the news regarding the BBC. But to make the point above seems like a cheap shot for the sake of some Pauline instruction. That is, there are other, stronger arguments to be made against Stonewall and for Christ.

    And you know, there’s something to be said about being honest with oneself, and having an understanding of the self one is (oh, Socrates!), to then live in the fullness of Christ and to appreciate and acknolwedge all that He’s done.

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